Much of the episode’s dialogue revolved around who should be sent into elimination, athletic favorites Fessy & Moriah or 7-time champ Bananas — who has eluded facing elimination this season — and his partner Nany. A tense daily ensued, won by Tori and Devin, giving them the power to send a team straight into The Zone. That team was Fessy & Moriah, who took on Bananas & Nany after Olivia/Horacio pulled the safe dagger and saved Jordan/Aneesa. In The Zone, the experience and agility of Bananas & Nany won out over Fessy & Moriah.
In the end, T.J. finally announced that the four remaining teams are finalists.
Question 1: What would you have done in Tori & Devin’s shoes?
TD: I don’t think you could go wrong with either Fessy/Moriah or Bananas/Nany. You don’t want to let Bananas skate by, but Fessy & Moriah dominated the mini-final, as Tori pointed out. You can’t play nice this late in the season, you have to make moves that increase your odds of winning the final.
Blaine: Devin likely thinks odds. The odds of someone winning their first Challenge versus someone winning their eight is higher. Faysal is younger, perhaps in better shape (but who’s to say?), and has a partner as equal to Nany in terms of physicality. The smart move was Fessy & Moriah, which they chose. Speaking of odds, even putting Fessy and Moriah in the elimination doesn’t guarantee that Bananas and Nany were safe. Like Horacio pointed out, it worked out to everyone’s favor. Well, everyone put one pair. And can we have every season of The Challenge going forward be Faysal being taken out right just before the final? It’s ideal. It’s reminiscent of Dana Carvey’s line about Donald Trump: “I want to live in a world where Donald Trump is always running for president but never wins.” It was joy — joy, I tell you! — seeing him absolutely perform terribly — terribly, I tell you! — after all his braggadocio this season. The Challenge is more than lifting weights, and when he realizes this, he may be a champion. Yet he still remarks to Moriah that if it involves skill, they’ll kill anyone in the dirt. Guess what? It involved skill, but not hitting someone. So, good riddance to Fessy. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy. Now I await his complete lack of self-awareness on the reunion show in a couple of weeks.
Question 2: How did you feel about Horacio & Olivia saving Jordan & Aneesa?
TD: Probably the right call. It’s always dangerous to give Jordan a lifeline, but — as we’ve mentioned multiple times — you have to question Aneesa’s ability to survive a final. Even though Bananas & Nany survived elimination, you have to put them in at least once.
Blaine: I was for it. It made sense. Horacio and Jordan did befriend one another for a bit, and although Jordan and Aneesa could’ve helped Horacio and Olivia previously and didn’t, Bananas needed to go to one elimination. It’s only fair. Plus, Bananas and Nany did well! They won convincingly! All around, a great elimination and episode. And as TD points out above, Aneesa could cause her pair to come in last out of the four remaining.
Question 3: We now have our finalists, and from the teaser we know it’ll be a 100-hour final. So, who is your winner?
TD: Man, it’s risky to pick a rookie team, but I honestly think Horacio and Olivia are the best equipped to win a grueling final. I don’t think Devin has the endurance, and Tori has always been overrated as a competitor. Jordan can do it, but can Aneesa do her part? Bananas and Nany are a good bet, as well, but are they in as good of shape as the rookie pair? It should be a fun watch, for sure.
Blaine: If you return to my thoughts last week, one (bold?) prediction I made was to pick Horacio and Olivia to win it all. They’re solid. They’re young. They’re better at communicating. One concern is the trailer with Horacio crying. That looked intense. And there was blood. Plenty of blood. We don’t know whose, so it’s anyone’s guess. Until she proves me wrong, I think Aneesa isn’t an asset in a final. I’m sorry. I like her as a competitor and especially as a talking head in confessionals. I’d like to see her get a win, I think, especially with Jordan. Would a Jordan win solidify him as one of the greats, a la Bananas, CT, and Wes? I think he may already be there, so it would be great for him to have another “ring.” To answer the question, I’ll go with Horacio and Olivia to get the win, barely beating out Bananas and Nany. Devin and Tori and Jordan and Aneesa are two toss-up teams to battle for third. I’m excited!
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