As with The Real World, I am way late with my entrance to the blogging game for this season of The Challenge, but don’t worry! I have been watching closely all season, and am excited to start sharing my thoughts with you as we approach the end of another quality run of The Challenge.
-Biggest take away from this episode: is it possible for Zach to be a bigger asshole. I didn’t watch the second San Diego season, so my introduction to Zach was on Battle of the Seasons, and he didn’t make a great first impression. The way he and Frank treated Sam, particularly during the final mission was disgusting, and quickly turned them into some of my least favorite challengers. However over his last few appearances on The Challenge, Zach had really been growing on me. He still acted like a douche occasionally, but generally speaking he seemed like a nicer, calmer guy, and he was even good for a funny soundbite from time to time. This season has made me realize I was right the first time. I wouldn’t ever say Jonna is my favorite person on these shows, but she’s far from my least favorite, and Zach has treated her like trash from the moment they stepped into the house. This week, not only did Zach berate Jonna when she did nothing wrong, (her jumping off the truck at the end did not result in a DQ) he also cost the team a victory when he jumped too soon. That night Zach makes a very half-hearted effort to apologize, but the apology quickly turns into another attack on Jonna who FINALLY says she’s done with him (I doubt that’s really true, but still nice to hear).
-Final note on Zach, after his conversion with Jonna the night after the challenge, as they are walking away he says “I’m a wolverine, I’m a champion.” But are you a champion Zach? Are you really? Let’s look back, he did win his first challenge, Battle of the Season’s, but most of the credit for that victory should be given to Frank. Since that first victory he DQ’d in the elimination round on Rivals 2 when he broke through the floor of the level Trey was supposed to break, then he cramped up during the finale on Free Agents, almost costing Laurel the victory, and this season he and Jonna were eliminated when he lost a sledge-hammer swinging elimination to a guy with one hand. Zach has been anything but a champion for most of his time on this show, and it’s time for him to reevaluate the way he treats people.
There were two major victories this week, one for Wes and one for Sarah and Jordan, let’s talk about Wes first.
-Wes is known in these games for trying to control things, and in the past generally being outmaneuvered by one or multiple members of the JEK empire. (My personal favorite example of this was on Fresh Meat 2, when Wes seemed to have things locked up, and Kenny somehow managed to build a rag-tag alliance and still take Wes down). However the tide may be turning for Wes, he defeated Johnny Banana’s on Rivals 2, and would have succeeded in sending him home this season if it weren’t for the Ex-iled twist. Regardless of the seemingly eminent return of Banana’s and Nany, it still seems like Wes and Theresa (who is finally performing up to her hype) are the favorites to win this season. Wes helped his chances of winning this week when he was amazingly able to manipulate Leroy into sending Zach into elimination, telling him the only way that Leroy could become his “number one” was by eliminating Zach from the competition. Leroy is convinced this is a great idea, and despite shaking his hand earlier in the evening, Leroy decides it’s time to send Zach into the dome.
-The second big victory of the night was scored by Jordan and Sarah. If I’d had to bet on who would win a competition that consisted of hitting a sledge-hammer against a metal beam, I would have been hard pressed to pick Jordan, the guy with one hand, over Zach, someone refered to as “Thor” because of his godlike physique. Jordan, despite his disability, is a great competitor, and I, like most people, assumed Zach would gain a fairly narrow advantage in the first portion, and then Jonna would blow it and Zach would scream at her following their loss. But it turns out the opposite happened. It appears that Zach has never swung a sledge-hammer before, as he had terrible form, and was smoked by Jordan in the first portion. Jonna put up a good fight, but could not overcome the advantage Sarah was given, and Zach and Jonna are the latest couple sent packing.
This week’s episode closed out with the four remaining teams celebrating, which seemed strange because I thought only three teams made the final, and the celebration will seem even more premature next week when the winning ex-iled team (who appears to be Banana’s and Nany) returns to add yet another team back into the game. Heading out this week I’m going to leave you with my power rankings for the remaining teams.
1. Wes and Theresa:
Arguably the strongest team all season. Both competitors really seem to be at the top of their game, but there are a lot of other strong teams still around, and these two are both capable of blowing it in a final.
2. Banana’s and Nany:
Banana’s is always one of the top choices to win any final, and Nany has really stepped up her game in the last few seasons.
3. Sarah and Jordan:
It was a tough call between Sarah and Jordan, and Leroy and Nia for this spot. I love Sarah, and would love to see her finally get a victory on one of these shows, but as she proved again earlier this season, distance running is not her thing, and we all know it will be a big part of the final. I mostly gave the advantage to Sarah and Jordan because I have serious doubts about swimming and puzzles for Leroy and Nia, and those two things are also always a part of any final on The Challenge.
4. Leroy and Nia:
Another pairing that seems to be at their peak in terms of this competition. Leroy is probably my second favorite person on the show, and another person that I would love to see get a victory, I just have my doubts about it ever happening. As I mentioned swimming and puzzles are a big part of this game, and neither one of those things is a big strength for Leroy, which makes it hard to see him securing a victory, unless this final is different from the ones we’ve seen previously.
5. Jay and Jenna:
These two have been in the “just happy to be here” category for weeks now. I actually kind of like them both, even though I can’t really explain why, but it would take a miracle for these two to win a final. Of course they did manage to win the trivia challenge, so maybe they can shock us again…or maybe their going home next week, we’ll have to wait and find out.
That’s all for this week, see you Tuesday for a recap of The Bachelor: The Women Tell All, and later next week for another recap of The Real World and The Challenge.
Thoughts/Questions/Comments? Feel free to contact me via email: SHMcG223@gmail.com or on Twitter: @NoOneGoesToClev