Television

Double Agents – Sparkle!

Ladies and gentlemen, the Queen is gone.

Although never gone from our hearts, we had to say goodbye to Big T on this week’s episode of The Challenge. All season long, T.J. has teased a twist in the elimination crater. This week, he finally delivered on that unspoken promise when he threw the ladies into elimination for the second straight week, and Big T fell to Amber B in Hall Brawl.

Oddly enough, it may have been her own partner that ultimately doomed her. All episode long, the clear narrative was Kyle and Amber needed to win or else they would see the crater. It was assumed to be a guy’s elimination night. After another Leroy/Kaycee win in the daily, the house was seemingly split between the Kam/Cory and Fessy/Nany alliance, and the Kyle/Amber and CT/Big T alliance.

Kyle came up with some cockamamie scheme involving a fake fight, but ignore that — if CT, Big T, Amber and Kyle all voted the same (knowing that the other two teams would be voting the same themselves), there would be a tie, and we don’t know what that would entail. Would T.J. break it? Would both teams go down? Would the double agents break the tie? Two of those three scenarios end without CT/Big T in the crater, which begs the question of why CT decided to vote for Kyle/Amber? He mumbled an explanation, and it basically came down to he would rather go against Kyle in elimination than Fessy, Cory, or Leroy. But if there’s a chance you don’t even see elimination, why force the issue?

Regardless, CT was the vote that doomed Kyle and Amber B into the crater, where Leroy and Kaycee chose CT and Big T to join them, and where T.J. told the guys they’d be cheering on their partners in elimination.

With that, Amber, the rugby player, swept aside Big T without much difficulty. And so we have to say goodbye to one of our absolute favorites. We sincerely hope to see her again and again on future seasons. Though we may be sad now, we shall take Big T’s advice to Amber: Sparkle.

Odds and Ends

After her elimination win, Amber chose to ditch Kyle and partner up with Fessy, much to his chagrin. That left Nany to choose between Kyle and CT, and she hilariously picked the man with the blinding white smile, who had a come apart as a result. That left CT as a rogue agent, and it sure seems like that means he’ll be cruising to the final, at least he thinks so. Kaycee does, as well, after telling Leroy under her breath, “That was so dumb.”

I loved the daily this week, it reminded me of an old American Gladiators game. Leroy and Kayce only beat Kyle/Amber and Fessy/Nany by one point. The thin margins that dramatically shift the direction of the game, I tell you.

Confessionals

Blaine
It was odd and a bit disappointing that the audience didn’t get a peek into CT and Big T’s strategy for the daily challenge: it’s possible they didn’t have one, proven by their bad showing. Which leads me to say that these intra-pair connections suck. Being able to predict who will vote for whom or help one another during a daily lacks drama. Speaking of less dramatic, I found it outright thrilling to see Kyle talk CT into a fake fight for deliberation — there’s true tension on if they were going to be convincing enough. Sadly, the fight never escalated for the two to show off any acting skills and CT voted for Kyle anyway. It led to Big T’s second elimination in as many weeks. I was afraid that her kindness was going to be determent in a Hall Brawl sort of elimination, and it was. I sincerely think that Big T has come far enough with strength and intelligence to destroy Amber B (and was hoping for it, too), but she never had the cruelty to fuel her. Amber B has shadiness. Who knows how far she’ll go, but I’d like to see her gone before the final. Lastly, did anyone else catch that cursory look of sheer intensity from CT in the crater once he wasn’t picked as a partner?

Adam

I wish I had 1/100th the bubbly optimism that Big T exudes, particularly in defeat. She told everyone she loved them and that she was grateful and very proud of herself and the experience she’d had, and she meant it. She has grown in leaps and bounds and she should absolutely take pride in that. I can’t imagine this season without her personal arc and her love-hate-love relationship with CT. In the big picture, despite the high stakes, this week was a little low on drama. The daily was fun, and one of those that could have been sneakily dangerous. No one wants to tweak a knee or shatter a collarbone right now, and the possibility was certainly there. As a viewer, I appreciate this. Metal cages and minimal padding, lets roll. The only real drama came when CT abandoned Kyle during voting, and I’m with TD on this. Forcing a tie would have at least been interesting, because it felt inevitable that this would be the elimination matchup as soon as Leroy and Kaycee won the daily. All roads led to Rome here. For the first time, I was relieved this was only an hour long entry. It feels like the pieces are moving at a snails pace towards the final. Surely CT is right, surely we are one gentlemen’s elimination away from the promisedland.

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