We have hit the time in the season where we expect our fearless leader T.J. to announce the final any moment now. That moment did not come last night, but it it surely coming within the next episode or two. All of the gold skulls have been claimed, and only one competitor remains who isn’t in possession of one (Big T).
Last night’s episode began by focusing on Kyle’s fear and Cory’s desperation. Kyle was scared of being sent into elimination to defend his skull, and Cory was desperate to get into elimination to steal a skull. It seemed like the producers were telegraphing their move and we’d end the night with a Cory/Kyle showdown, but that is not how things ended.
Instead, the house chose to vote in the team of Darrell/Amber B after the team of Kyle/Aneesa won the daily challenge (beating out CT/Kam and Leroy/Kaycee), with the winners throwing in Cory/Big T. T.J. let us know it was a guy’s elimination, and in surprisingly easy fashion, Cory defeated Darrell to take his gold skull and send the four-time champ home. The younger man’s speed was just too much for the Challenge legend in the end. Leroy was probably just as happy as Cory after his win, as beforehand Darrell let him know that is he was voted in and won, he was going to steal Kaycee.
Afterwards, Cory caused a stir when he chose to steal Kam from CT; and after asking if she would have him back, CT reunited with Big T (and yet again vowed to help her get a gold skull). That left Amber B as our lone rogue agent, and I’m thinking she needs to win the daily next week or she’s toast.
With the cast numbers dwindling, it’s time to look ahead to the final and the favorites to win it all.
- CT – It’s tempting to put Fessy in the top spot, but he gassed out pretty hard in last season’s final. CT has been prone to the same misfortune in the past, but the 3-time champ and wily vet gets the nod here.
- Fessy – The kid is a physical specimen, for sure. His political game isn’t the best, but it shouldn’t hurt him this late in the season.
- Leroy – The vet in his last season is on a mission to finally win one of these things, and it’s hard to bet against a sentimental favorite.
- Cory – Cory feels like one of those teams who gets hot right before the playoffs then goes on to win the whole damn thing.
- Kyle – Kyle’s lack of confidence will be his undoing. There was a brief moment during the episode where it looked like he was going to choose violence, as he floated the idea of a Darrell/CT elimination showdown (Aneesa quickly shut that idea down, but Kyle doing a heel turn and adapting the Joker’s mantra of pure chaos is an intriguing idea). A favorite of The Take, here’s hoping he at least makes the final and has another chance to annoy Fessy throughout the night.
- Kam – There’s a reason Kam keeps getting stolen as a partner, although we’ll see if it even matters come final time.
- Kaycee – Last season’s runner-up should get another shot in the final, and a showdown between her and Kam sounds like great television.
- Nany – Nany’s physical attributes often go overlooked in this game. She’s not necessarily the best at any one thing, but she also isn’t the worst. She could absolutely steal the final if Kam or Kaycee slip up.
- Aneesa – While questions about her endurance during a final are legit, the vet knows a few tricks the younger gals have never even heard of, and never count out the vets when it comes to finals.
- Amber B. – She has a gold skull, but she is fast running out of friends in the house and may yet have to defend it in elimination.
- Big T – Another fan favorite around these parts, it’s not a good look to be sans skull at this point. She took back CT, although it didn’t seem as if she was thrilled.
Darrell goes home, and it’s a shame that more wasn’t made of how he’s a four-time champ. It got mentioned here and there, but it’s impressive: it’s one more than the legend CT. The good news for fans of Darrell, myself included, is that he’ll be one of the twenty-two competitors in the upcoming Challenge All Stars show on Paramount Plus airing April 1st. (Just a note: Aneesa’s also a part of that cast, but no CT; does that spell spoilers for this Double Agents season?) The wrinkle that last week’s winners got to pick the order for the daily challenge was one that should’ve been employed more while the recycling of eliminations starts to get old. In fact, this episode lost some of its heft because of that elimination being just another reused competition. All if it did all lead up to the sweetest line of the season when Big T welcomes CT back with a smile and an “Okay, let’s do it.” I hope they indeed win it all.
We are well and truly into the home stretch now, and it’s always one of my favorite points in a Challenge season. The cast is small enough that everyone gets plenty of camera time and storyline involvement, and the investment level I can give as a viewer rises right along with the stakes for the Challengers. I’m with Blaine, the return of showing the winners choosing the order for the next daily is very welcome. That was always a fun drama point in seasons past, though it proved to be inconsequential this week as the teams completed the task out of view. And what a cool daily it was. That combined with some classic politicking made for a solid episode. It was hard not to notice that they never used anyone from Big Brother’s confessionals to explain that political process, which makes sense. They suck and are uninteresting. Though I hated to see him go, Darrell made a dignified run. No early exit like his Dirty 30 nightmare, and he lost fair and square to the quicker (younger) Cory. Cory deserves props for just how dominant he was over one of the all time greats. I think he knew it was speed or bust: despite the extra years, I still would’ve picked Darrell to win had it gone to a struggle in the sand. My only disagreement with TD’s great assessments above is where Amber B sits. I do think she’ll have to defend her skull, but I also think now is a fine time to be a rogue agent with a ticket to the final. Sit back and watch the chaos. Can she use that to jockey above Nany, Aneesa, and Big T?