Previously: The red team “failed miserably” at the Challenge and then lost their punching bag, Brandon, while Camila (allegedly) inadvertently sent Tori into a rage by voting for Brad. The NERVE! The blue and gray teams were also there, but did not have much drama to speak of at the present time.
Also, TJ has been released from the hospital! Obviously he’s still recovering, but apparently he will continue to host Challenges, which makes me happy because I’ve been liking him more lately. Although hopefully even those who aren’t fans of his hosting ability are happy he’s recovering, at least. Also, he won’t be riding competitively anymore (although he was scheduled to retire after the same tour where he was injured, poor guy), and he can’t even ride for fun for a year.
But back to far more trivial things: it’s Dunbar’s birthday, and he gets a “surprise” party! Bananas whacks him repeatedly with a plant as he walks through the door, and between Meathead throwing things in the bathtub in NOLA and Ty’s rampage on Emily’s bed, plants on Bunim-Murray shows have taken an awful lot of abuse lately. Anyway, he’s 26 today and when asked what he would like to do before he’s 27, he comes up with “Win a Challenge!”
LOL, good one bro. You do know you’re on the red team, right?
The celebration continues out in the hot tub, where Skull Beads has gotten into the hot tub in her clothes instead of going “all the way” back to the house for a bathing suit. Either she’s really lazy or that backyard is really massive. I’m pretty sure it’s a little of both. Anyway, Laurel hulks out and rips Skull Beads’ shirt right off of her torso. This Girls Gone Wild display is right up Dunbar’s alley, of course. Then a giant pillow fight emerges when the dry people surround and attack the hot tub people. They actually look like they’re having drama-free fun, it’s like I’m watching RW: NOLA all over again! I kind of want to have a pillow fight now. (And build a massive blanket fort, and shoot people with fake prop guns, and go to a puppy parade… why isn’t Community real life?)
Back in the house, the Girls Gone Wild shenanigans continue as Laurel is dared to give Dunbar a naked hug and complies. Once she has a towel wrapped around her, Walnuts knocks her over and exposes her again. Hulkel responds by ripping Walnuts’ shirt in two. Walnuts says she liked the shirt, so she would have been pissed if she wasn’t so doggone impressed. This evolves into a topless wrestling match that is unlike anything Camila has ever seen before… live, at least. Isn’t she from the SPRING BREAK Challenge? She doesn’t want to go against Laurel.
Meanwhile, Tyler and Jenn look like an old couple choking on their heart medication.
Okay, time for game talk. Walnuts tells us that Camila knows she’s going into elimination if they lose. Hulkel would like to get rid of Skull Beads, but she’s protected since she’s banging Abe. Cut to Abe in bed with Skull Beads, giving her a flower and talking like a Nicholas Sparks character. Hulkel tells Tori and Walnuts that she doesn’t want to have to take care of Skull Beads until the end, while Skull Beads tells us that she thinks Abe will send her into elimination if she deserves it. Yeah, I’ll believe that when I see it.
Meanwhile Tori appears to be auditioning for an 80′s exercise video.
Clue time: It will be a “fine line between success and failure.” I bet I know which side of the line red team will fall on! Sarah thinks the gray team will win their third challenge in a row for the hat trick. Ooh, they should do a challenge involving hat tricks! They could… toss them onto each other’s heads, or pull rabbits out of them, or perform song-and-dance routines with them. I don’t know, I’m just spitballing here. These are the places my mind goes when I’m recapping late at night.
Challenge time! It’s called “Give Me A Hand.” They will be attached to one of their teammates at the hip and the ankle, and they must sidestep along a tightrope while using hanging ropes for balance. So it’s a combination of walking a tightrope and a three-legged race. Nice, I can dig it.
While strategizing, Sarah suggests that Abe go with Skull Beads since he will be able to drag her across. Skull Beads says she’s going to act strong and confident so no one knows that inside she’s peeing her pants. This is accompanied with footage of her cuddling up against Abe looking like she wants to cry.
Hate to break it to you, but everyone can see when you pee your pants. If it makes you feel any better, only you can feel its warmth… and maybe Abe.
Bananas and Theresa are up first, and he’s worried that looking down from nine stories up will cause him to shit himself. Good lord, I’d hate to be one of the innocent Czech citizens walking around underneath this challenge. Theresa is shaking like a leaf on a tree, and Bananas rambles about cheeseburgers to calm her down. To his credit, he is pretty nice to her and very supportive. I guess he’ll save the degrading for later, when he doesn’t need her help getting across. They make it across, but their time of 17+ minutes seems pretty slow. They’re the first team, so there’s no basis for comparison yet.
Emily and Jenn are up next, and despite one almost-fall, they make it across in 8:36, thus confirming my suspicion that Bananas/Theresa had a slow time. Derrick looks a little wobbly as he and Bananas make their way across, but they do it in 6:24. So basically other than Theresa being slow, it was a respectable showing for the blue team. Derrick tells us that he hopes the other teams plummet almost to the ground, but don’t die.
You’ve been spending too much time with Bananas, D. You’re supposed to be the nice one.
Red is up next, and since Brad and Tori are married and Walnuts and Dunbar are in some sort of toxic non-relationship, Tyler gets stuck with team outcast Camila. They seem to be doing well, and Sarah tells us that Camila has proven herself and it’s obvious to everyone but her own team. Well, her team is kind of stupid, and they’re all friends who are trying to protect each other. Tyler and Camila make it across in 6:50, which is the second fastest time so far. Walnuts and Dunbar are up next, and Walnuts wonders why they keep putting her up in the air and what she has to do to remain on the ground.
Well, you might consider not agreeing to be on Challenges, but then you would have to find something else to lose at… besides life in general.
As they make their way across, Dunbar mutters about pretty clouds in an attempt to calm the terrified Walnuts. As they’re nearing the finish line, and TJ is telling them “Good job!” they plummet… about three feet, but it’s enough to get them a big fat DQ (disqualification, not Dairy Queen).
Everyone who had Season 20, Episode 7 as the moment when Walnuts and Dunbar literally “fall for each other” in the office pool, you win. Their couple name: Dumbnuts
Dunbar is seething, and basically tells us it was Paula’s fault, but he knows it made him look bad. Meanwhile, Tori has decided that she and Brad needn’t bother trying since the team has already lost and she doesn’t want to give anyone a reason to doubt her abilities. She’s probably SO HAPPY she has an excuse not to compete. Brad tells us that he would have loved to try the challenge, but then Tori would have made him spend extra time with his balls in the vice grip, so he knows he can’t.
Gray’s turn. Abram and Skull Beads are up first, and despite a lot of flailing and near-falling (at one point they were both straddling the rope), they get across in 6:25, which is only one second off of the fastest time. So basically, they kind of did well and poorly at the same time… toeing that “line between success and failure,” for sure. Sarah and Laurel are up next, and make it in 7:27 but with much less flailing. Also, a man in a business suit is down on the ground admiring them. Laurel notices this, since she and Sarah are both looking down and showing no fear, unlike most of the other competitors who stared straight ahead the whole time. I know Laurel can be a psychotic bitch sometimes, but I really like these two. They’re the type of girls who actually stand a chance of gaining respect from the asshole guys on these challenges, since they can compete well.
Things are looking good for the gray team, since they have faster times than blue so far. As Dan and Luke begin their trek, Tyler tells us that Dan is even more afraid of heights than Paula, and Luke “has the reach of a hobbit.” They know they have to make it across or else blue wins, and we even have a commercial break for suspense, but sure enough…
Dan and Luke take over the homoerotic void left by Chet’s departure. Their couple name: Duke
As the blue team enjoys their victory dinner, Bananas mocks the other teams for not knowing what they’re doing. Pretty much every team thinks the other two are idiots, so whatever. Meanwhile, the red team is having a meeting. Tyler pipes up to say that Camila “rocked it” and he feels bad sending her into the Gulag. Brad whines that Camila was mean to his precious wifey, and he’s “never seen anyone play the game this sloppy in my life.” Oh come on Brad, this is like your eighth Challenge. Surely SOMEONE has played worse. I wouldn’t be surprised if Camila wins a Challenge before you, or Paula. Camila says the red team is pathetic and she doesn’t even care anymore. Good for her. She probably knows they’re going to lose the final challenge anyway, she might as well just come back some other time and maybe then she’ll stand a chance.
Things are less hostile over on the gray side as Dan and Luke both try to volunteer themselves. Dan says if he’s not doing them any good, he needs to get out, and Luke blames himself for their loss today. It was kind of his fault, but not entirely.
Can’t we just send Dan’s haircut in and keep him? Please?
Honestly, at this point, I like all of the guys on the gray team, so it’s hard to choose. On the girls’ side, Laurel seems to be the candidate of choice. Abram claims she’s saved him twice in challenges, and that he’s voting for Laurel based on performance. Cut to a confessional of him telling us, essentially, that he did it all for the nookie (come on!). Well, I’m glad he admitted it to us, but he should have had the balls to say it to his team. And again, I know Laurel’s not too popular with you guys (and I agree that she was utterly ridiculous when she attacked Big Easy), but I’m on her side with this one. Skull Beads is not my favorite, although she’s growing on me, but I really do think she’s the weakest girl on her team. Laurel pleads with her team to think about who they want at the final challenge and vote that way, and I would rather run a final challenge with Laurel and Sarah so I know how I would vote.
But enough talking about voting, it’s time to vote! Camila votes for Brad and Tori, and I can’t say I blame her. Brad and Dunbar both vote for Tyler (the only guy on their team to complete the challenge) since they promised they wouldn’t vote for each other. Paula votes for Dunbar since he fell, even though SHE ALSO FELL. Over on the gray side, Sarah and Laurel both vote for Skull Beads, the latter doing so rather vehemently.
Teej comes in to announce the results, and we learn that everyone on the red team received votes, except for Paula, who I’m pretty sure was the primary reason for their loss. The guy going in is Dunbar, which means that since he and Brad both voted for Tyler and Camila voted for Brad, Paula/Tori/Tyler all voted for Dunbar. And I’m not trying to defend Dunbar or anything, but he REALLY got screwed by Paula, since she contributed to his fall and was somehow the only girl not to receive a vote. Of course, Camila is going in, since everyone else voted for her.
Over on the gray side, Teej announces that the guy vote was unanimously for Dan. Dan tells us that he hasn’t proven himself yet, all he has proven is that he’s not a complete idiot anymore.
That haircut provides some evidence to the contrary.
As we all knew, two girls received votes- Laurel and Skull Beads. And Laurel is going into elimination. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Skull Beads actually looks kind of guilty about it, which sort of makes me like her more. She tells us she knows Hulkel wants to bite her head off, and I’d be scared if I was Skull Beads, because Hulkel’s crazy enough to do it. Tori tells us that the size difference between Camila and Hulkel makes her happy and it’s karma.
No, karma will be watching your ass get DESTROYED, either in a Gulag or in the final challenge, and I can’t wait.
Camila’s pissed, even though she had to know she’d be going in, and calls her team pathetic. Thank you, Captain Obvious. Bananas sees this opportunity to convince Camila to come back from the Gulag and make sure her team doesn’t win another challenge. Way to shoot yourselves in the foot, red team. It’s like those relationships where one member gets paranoid and accuses the other one of cheating or something, therefore driving the accused right into the arms of someone else.
Dunbar talks to Walnuts and Brad, trying to figure out how he ended up in the Gulag. He tells us via confessional that he pretty much knows it was Walnuts, even though she feigns innocence to his face. Dunbar says that “us four” (presumably referring to the three of them and Tori) need to communicate better. Ummm, duh? They clearly have the majority. Although, poor Tyler, because he’s been performing well, but he’s clearly the odd man out. Brad asks who’s leading this team, and they suddenly seem to realize that no one is.
Sarah and Hulkel reiterate their frustration over Abe’s determination to keep Skull Beads around. Hulkel tells us that they have to adjust for Skull Beads in every challenge since there are so many things she “can’t” do.
While he packs, “Danimal” tells Abe that he feels confident, and he wants to win for his own personal pride. Again, might I suggest not wearing your hair like that if your concern is pride? After that lengthy chat, Dunbar simply says that he’s there to win and take your money. ”Dummy Bear… grr.”
Much like any red shirt worn by a “Lost” character, that red emblem next to your name does not bode well for your future.
Laurel calls Abe out again for sending her into elimination, and he makes up some response about her not living up to her reputation. I’m sorry, if Laurel has been failing at challenges I must have missed it. This is a challenge in which there is NO ADVANTAGE to sending strong players into elimination. It is to every team’s advantage to lose their weakest players while other teams keep theirs.
The Gulag is Die Hard again, in which the players are on top of a giant die and must get it to a certain area on a certain number without touching the ground. Walnuts calls it the “equalizer” and says it’s Camila’s best option to take out Laurel and return to the red team. You might think Walnuts doesn’t want this, since the whole red team seems to hate Camila, but if Camila doesn’t come back then Walnuts is next, so of course she wants Camila to win.
The guys are up first, and they both spew confidence in their pre-Gulag interviews. Dan says he’ll do what he needs to for money, and tonight that’s playing with dice.
Please don’t replace your alcoholism with a gambling addiction, Danimal.
Dan gets off to a slow start, and by the time he recovers Dunbar is pretty far along. Dunbar wins, and is incredibly relieved. TJ tries to play it off like Dunbar had to use his brains to win this challenge, and that seems like a bit of a stretch. We get some nice words from TJ, Abe, and Paula about Dan. Paula is happy Dan is sober, Abe’s in love, and Teej is a big fan who wants Dan to come back. Yes, Dan, please come back. And not to beat a dead horse, but don’t ever do that to your hair again. Dan leaves in good spirits.
Now it’s time for the girls, and Tori confessionals some bullshit about Camila being a liability and not wanting her back. Camila seems to think she’s going to win, while Hulkel is just pissed that she doesn’t get to tear anyone’s limbs off. I hate the editing in this Gulag, because it jumps all over the place to make things look confusing and close, but a couple of time both of them are in the frame and the interview comments about them being neck and neck are actually true. It’s REALLY close, but Laurel wins by one turn of the die.
Poor Camila looks really sad and frustrated, while Laurel just looked all hulked-out, of course. For some reason, Camila hugs her team goodbye. She crying in the confessional as she tells us that it’s frustrating, but the red team has the team that they wanted now. She doesn’t think it’s going to be good enough. Don’t worry, it won’t.
A lost Challenge is like spilled milk: don’t cry over it.
Back at the house, Bananas says that losing Camila has weakened the red team. I hate it when I agree with Bananas two weeks in a row. He says the blue team has the best chemistry and the other two teams have animosity, but I’m pretty sure that whichever team wins says some variation of that every week. Tori tells Brad that they have to win now since they have no more cannon fodder.
Hulkel is still pissed that Skull Beads wasn’t sent into elimination. Basically, she’s pissed at her whole team except for Sarah. I’m hoping the two of them can somehow convince Luke to vote with them, but I’m not too confident about that.
Next week- Wait, TWO WEEKS! DAMMIT! So cruel, MTV. I can recap The Challenge and eat my turkey too, dammit! Anyway, in two long weeks, Bananas is pissed again and also: CT AND TINA! FINALLY!! Wow, I capitalized a lot of that.
Well, I must say I’m very intrigued by the rest of this season. It seems there are only two more regular challenges left before the final, and the teams have just been evened out at five members each. This means exactly half of the original players are gone. Interesting. From the previews, it looks like CT and Tina are at the Gulag, but I’m still not sure why. It’s not like any of the teams are going to run out of members. Anyway, I like Dan better than Dunbar so I wish that elimination had gone the other way, but I’m not that upset. And I was rooting for Camila in general, but I like Laurel better than most of you so I didn’t exactly want her to go home. I doubt the red team stands much of a chance, but it should be interesting between the other two teams. I won’t decide who I’m rooting for until I know who else gets sent home between now and the final. What does everyone else think? Go ahead, let me have it for siding with Hulkel and Sarah! See you in two weeks, I guess, even though that makes me a sad panda.