Love in the Fast Lane (The Challenge Free Agents Episode 2 Recap)

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I want to start off this week’s recap by saying I’m loving this season of The Challenge so far.  The draw has really put in an added dimension of suspense about who is going home that week, and instead of just watching Johnny Banana’s pick off rookies, we got to see challenge heavyweight Frank go into elimination for the second week in a row.  It’s possible that I’m just loving this format because none of my favorites have gone home yet, or because Dustin got sent packing this week and I was saved from watching another Jessica romance play out on-screen, whatever the reason, the point is that I’m in on this season.  This week we got our first big fight of the season, some stomach turning courtship between Jessica and Dustin, and the always suspenseful elimination round, so let’s get started.

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We open the show with Jessica and Dustin cuddling on the couch.  Dustin tells Jessica that everyone in the house keeps telling him how much they like her.  WHAT?!  I’m sorry, I try not to be overly judgmental, but Jessica is just SO annoying, I can’t understand how the people in the house like her.  I give her tons of credit for getting into shape for this challenge, that takes a lot of work and I was impressed.  However, it looks like she spent so much time working on her body that she had no time left over to work on her incredibly annoying personality.  Despite that fact that other people on the show do seem to genuinely like her, as was evidenced by them going to bat on Twitter for her against her attackers, so maybe there is some part of Jessica that I’m missing.  The only thing I was really looking forward to with Jessica on this season was seeing if she would stick to her vow of purity that she took during her Real World season, but with Dustin gone I think that story line is pretty much dead.

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This week’s challenge is a pairs challenge, and consists of two parts.  In the first part of the challenge guy/girl pairs drag race down a stretch of road.  The catch to this is that one of the people on your team has to be able to drive stick, likely for the competitors the only team that really gets tripped up with this is Swift and Theresa.  The second part of the challenge consists of the teams guiding a tandem bicycle through an obstacle course.  The catch here is that the team member doing the steering has to sit backwards, which leads to some fairly entertaining wipe outs.  Now for a few highlights from this challenge:

-CT summoned his inner Juan Pablo and kept telling competition train wreck Emilee to “look at me” while she was doing an atrocious job steering the bike.

-Nia and Frank had to wipe out of the day, crashing hard right before the finish line.  I was going to say that Nia was better at The Challenge than I expected, but they ended up in the bottom group of teams, so I’m withholding judgment for right now.

-Cara Maria (and most of the other girls) fell off the bike repeatedly, the key for Cara is that she was in front of Johnny Banana’s and kept slowing his team down.  While no one wants to be in the draw, there is a little part of me that feels like it might be worth it for someone like Cara Maria if it means taking frequent tormentor Johnny Banana’s down with you.

-I’m giving the MVP’s for this challenge to Laurel for absolutely dominating this competition from the girl’s side, and being one of very few girls who didn’t fall off the bike.  On the guys side I’m going with Preston who finally got to show off his running ability, and who had a strong performance overall.

The winners of this week’s challenge are Laurel and Cohutta with second place going to Leroy and Jessica.  Jessica did do better than I thought, but I think a lot of her (and Preston’s) success was due to being paired up with a strong teammate.  The bottom four teams going into the draw were: Swift and Theresa, Cara Maria and Johnny (Reilly), CT and Emilee, and Frank and Nia.

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It’s fight night time.  The gang all heads out to the bar, and as they often do on these shows, things turn south as the group is headed home for the night.  CT somehow got stuck paying for everyone’s booze, and is not very happy about it.  Then Camila, who is always ready for a good fight decides to get into it with CT, berating him for being a “loser with a beard.”  As things start to escalate between CT and Camila, Nany decides she needs to step in and help out her buddy, unfortunately Camila thinks Nany is trying to fight her instead of helping her, and this results in them turning on each other.  The fight continues for several hours when they get back to the house, with Dustin and Brandon putting in most of the effort to break things up while an always helpful Banana’s says to just let them go.  Honestly this fight looked exhausting, I don’t understand how two people this drunk can still have this much energy to fight at 4:30 in the morning.  The MVP of this fight for me is Brandon, I was really impressed with his dedication to stopping Camila.  Dustin and Nany are good friends in real life, so its understandable that he would be involved, but aside from being on an extremely dysfunctional Battle of the Seasons team together, I didn’t realize Brandon and Camila had much of a relationship before tonight.  Ultimately, after finally giving up and going to bed, Nany and Camila end up apologizing the next morning, and all is well again in the house (for now).

It’s deliberation time.  After the challenge Cohutta and Laurel decided that they would agree to nominate Dustin and Jonna to go into elimination.  These are some solid middle of the road competitors, I might have gone for someone a little bit tougher when you know there is no chance that you will have to face them, but I guess not upsetting the politics in the house is still too important at this point.  Jonna is upset and says she’s coming for Laurel, but Laurel doesn’t seem too worried about it.

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Finally, it’s elimination time!  The gang all heads over to the arena where the worst teams from the day before will participate in “the draw.”  We get to see once again what I twist the draw is when Frank ends up with the “kill card” for the second week in a row.  In a much less interesting story line, Emilee ends up getting the card for the girls and is forced to go up against her friend from their Real World Cancun season, Jonna.  Jonna proves that she is a solid competitor, even if she can’t tell the difference between left and right (according to Banana’s) and defeats an unmotivated Emilee fairly easily.  Emilee admits that going up against a friend made her not try as hard as she could have.  I’m not too sad to see Emilee go, between her very mediocre competition skills, and her failed attempt to woo Dustin away from Jessica, there was really just no reason to keep her around.  The guys side of things was much closer, and for a while I was worried that we might be losing Frank early, on what according to him will be his last appearance on The Challenge.  Frank manages to find some motivation however, afterwards he said he was climbing to get to his antibiotics, (he was sick during the challenge) and pulls out a narrow victory, sending Dustin home.  I don’t mind Dustin, but it would have been tragic to lose a character like Frank this early in the season (although the preview made it look like he may be leaving anyways, possibly due to his illness).

I’ve got a few more random takeaways from last nights episode and then I’m done until next week:

-I’m in on the Jordan and Laurel power couple.  There is some flirting, and there appears to be a kiss (although Laurel denied it the next day) during the groups night out to celebrate Cohutta’s birthday.  I’ve got a lot of respect for Laurel’s hook up game, if you’re going to hook up with someone at least have it be a strong competitor who can help you in the game (she hooked up with CT previously for anyone who has forgotten).

-Is it just me or do people not hate Cara Maria as much this season?  She didn’t get a single vote in nominations last night, no one has been mean to her yet, (that we’ve seen) and people seemed genuinely happy when she came back to the group after being safe during the draw.  I’m chalking this up to one of two things: 1. Cara Maria has matured and isn’t rubbing her fellow cast members the wrong way as much anymore.  2. People are so afraid of Laurel that they aren’t going to mess with her buddy.  Right now I’m going with the latter of the two options, and it’s always possible that the Cara Maria abuse is still coming.

That’s all I’ve got for this week.  The highlight of the preview for next week was TJ telling the group “we have a serious problem back at the house.”  Normally when TJ says this it means something has happened that is going to result in a cast member being kicked off, but it’s always possible that this was just a tease and something much less serious is going down.  The preview also seemed to show the beginning of the drama between Jordan and Johnny Banana’s that we saw on the season preview video.  The preview is also edited to make it look like Jordan may be the one in danger of being sent home, but that is purely speculation on my part, and would be very disappointing, as Jordan is one of the top competitor’s in the game in terms of both challenges and causing drama.  All I know for sure is that I can’t wait until next Thursday to see how things play out, see you next week.

If you missed this week’s episode and want to watch online here is the link.

Thoughts/Questions/Comments – You can reach me via email – SHMcG223@gmail.com or on Twitter – @NoOneGoesToClev

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