In a bit of a curveball, this week’s episode of The Challenge focused almost entirely on the Purgatory elimination challenge. Last week, we were left wondering who the two female competitors would be, with a strong hint towards a showdown between Tori and Jenna. And that is indeed what we got, but not before a couple of cast members showed their ass.
First up was Nelson, the moronic jackass of the group. After last week’s stellar showing (falsely accusing Aneesa of throwing the mission, without any solid reasoning, at that), Nelson somehow manages to top it this week. During a relatively straightforward nomination — in which Tori successfully lobbies the house to vote her into Purgatory — Nelson actually does the right thing and apologizes to Anesa. Everything is gravy…
… and then it all goes off the fucking rails. Kailah starts talking, and for whatever reason Nelson starts in on her, and brings the heavy artillery. He basically slut shames the shit out of her, calling her a slut, accusing her of fucking around on her boyfriend in a port-o-potty; meanwhile, everyone in the room is telling him to knock it off. Immediately after, Nelson is dressed down by the guys in the house for his atrocious behaviour — including his boy Cory, who in an aside talks about distancing himself from Nelson because it’s pretty obvious Nelson is headed for purgatory next week unless he wins the mission.
Onto our next undercard bout, Nany vs. Aneesa (poor Aneesa, she ain’t done nothing to deserve all this drama). Nany gets sloshed during a night out, and flirts heavily with Kaycee, who has a girlfriend back home. When Nany goes to the bathroom (after unsuccessfully lobbying Kaycee to join her), Aneesa slides in to make sure Kaycee doesn’t go the way of Kailah. Kaycee assures Aneesa that her will is strong and everything is fine.
Nany comes back from the bathroom to hear the tail end of the conversation, and takes umbrage to Aneesa stepping in, and that’s when Hot Mess Nany comes out. For the uninitiated, Hot Mess Nany is her drunken, completely paranoid, always ready to start some shit alter ego. She’s basically a poor man’s Camilla.
Nany starts telling off Aneesa, Aneesa is taken aback but stands her ground. When the cast gets back home, Nany keeps going after Aneesa, even throwing her goddamned ramen noodles at her (and missing completely). The next morning, a sober Nany issues a crying apology to Aneesa, and the two mend fences over her poor aim with the noodles. Such is life on The Challenge.
The Main Event
As for the Purgatory elimination, the tribunal (Jenna, Nany, Jordan) selects Dee, Big T and Kailah to interview. Dee gets super pissed, for reasons, I guess, and says her piece. It doesn’t matter though, because when the time comes Jenna volunteers herself to take on Tori.
The challenge involves carrying bricks up a ramp, smashing them through a grate which then fills up a wheelbarrow and then dumping that into a box — first one who fills up the box wins. It was a pretty competitive challenge, with Jenna gaining the upper-hand early on by using a better strategy. During this, Jordan is losing his goddamned mind on the sidelines, hollering out instructions at Tori and shitting his own bricks when she doesn’t listen.
Jenna, a.k.a. the Beast Barbie, wins a thriller and earns herself a red skull. By doing this, she confirms to herself she has a reason to stay, and postpones going home to manchild Zach — who is still pitching an insecure fit.
Good for Jenna, I’m rooting for her. She’s made three finals and has yet to win. I hope she wins the money, goes home and dumps Zach.
Is it because my wife has given me a quarantine haircut identical to Jordan’s that I found him measured and reasonable this week? Well, up until the heat of Purgatory, but afterward he was back to level headed. I think I’ve become a fan of Jordan. Now that Tori’s gone, he is alone, which makes for a more interesting story for him. This takes me to this week’s tribunal with Nany, Jordan, and Jenna. They, too, seemed matter-of-fact and straightforward — it was a breath of fresh air from the usual backbiting and plotting. I did feel for Big T. Her emotional response to being picked by the tribunal won her points in my view. In the end, Tori’s loss gave viewers a moment of intimate insight: what goes through their minds immediately after a loss? Tori’s conversation with Jordan opened that up a little. I was worried that an episode focused only on Purgatory ramp up wouldn’t be good television, but I was wrong. Previews seem to show a double elimination next week? Uh oh.
Why did anyone underestimate Jenna? I get that people think she was checked out, but she has always been a dominant competitor in crunch time. Like, one of the best in recent memory. If my stats are right, she’s now 6-2 in eliminations. Seeing the house disrespect that became grating. Let’s also remember that she shattered her ankle on Champs vs Stars a few years ago and has had a long road to get back to form. I found myself wondering aloud before the game started if “prime” Jenna could have beaten Tori. Well, she more than answered that. I loved seeing her put the Zach drama aside to make her own decision and have it pay off. That said, Tori is one of my favorites on the show, and it was a bummer to see her leave so soon. CT doesn’t make for bad company; they both understood the game early and gambled. On the other hand, Dee has quickly become my least favorite person on this season. At least Rogan knows when to cool it. Her reaction to being picked by the tribunal was super obnoxious and entitled and, let’s not forget, Tori literally sent her off in an ambulance last season when Dee attempted to run with her. She aint that great a competitor. Big picture notes: Bananas didn’t have a single confessional until well past the hour mark. What does that say about him long term? I’m thinking it’s good. Wes and Rogan also laid pretty low, as well as Cory. These guys are usually eating up camera time. Nelson’s tirade may cost him. Prayers up for the sweet Big T. Season notes: I found myself reflecting on this season vs recent ones, and am thankful that it’s high on drama but low on toxicity. Ban Paulie and Cara Maria for a few more rounds.