We begin this episode mourning last week’s elimination results. Ashley, Sylvia, and I pour one out for our homie Amanda, while Tony shares a love note Zach left him with John. With Zach and all of John’s other bros in Redemption, Bananas realizes he’s going to have a tough time moving forward. Considering nobody likes him. Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on the day for me), he isn’t fully out of luck. Cara reminds us while playing with a green boa alone in the background that nobody likes her either. Losers unite!
I feel slightly embarrassed as I watch Devin and Cory take a house tour. It was much cleaner six weeks ago when the rest of us moved in. As they celebrate their win, we get another ridiculously adorable picture of Cory’s daughter, Ryder. I want to babysit her forever. The audience then learns that Devin was meant to have a place in this house from the start. After flying 24 hours to South Africa, Devin was made aware that his father had passed away. My heart breaks for him now as it broke for him then.
Devin, If you ever need a friend, a shoulder to cry on, a hug, a kiss, late night booty call, girlfriend, future wife, or whatever you want—call me. Jokes (or truth) aside, I’m so happy he decided to come back. He’s the only person that can make John angry solely by breathing. Would’ve loved seeing them forced to work together. Now you know why fruity didn’t have a partner in the beginning.
Outside, The Lavender Ladies and their “groupie” (me) are chatting by the pool. Now that Jozea and Da’Vonne are at Redemption, there are only two teams left for the LL’s to target before self-destructing: Banony and #TeamCaraMarie. While I haven’t always been tight with the Lavender Ladies, I was close with Sylvia, a fellow “Dolphin”. During Vendettas last season, Sylvia, Kam, Kailah, and I formed an equally, if not more obnoxiously named, girlfriend alliance, The Dolphins. Don’t ask. Nonetheless, Sylvia and I had a real, and very recent, relationship going into this house.
I understand why she might want to go against me in this game, as I’m aligned by default with two people that I formerly hated as well. There’s a reason you see Johnny and Tony vote for Ashley and Hunter later in the episode during nominations. The goal of speaking to Sylvia was for her and me to regroup and take advantage of the new numbers (and teams) in the main house.
I can’t say if Sylvia would have agreed with my plan because she never gave me the opportunity to pitch it, but I can say I’m a ridiculously good saleswoman and would have closed the deal on the spot. Ashley thinks I’m delusional and I think Sylvia, along with everybody else, needs new jokes when it comes to my numerous personalities. They’re called moods. Okurrrr?
At the Redemption house, Paulie is sad to see his Big Brother friends walk in while Zach seems happy, for the first time ever, as he runs inside the house with open arms. Zach lets everyone know why he’s blessed them with his presence and how much of a better person he is than Amanda for doing the exact same thing—being stubborn. You’re both great humans and I appreciate the decisions you made in last week’s elimination. Love you both.
It’s Challenge day and we’re playing “what goes up must come down”. TJ explains that a two hundred foot building and weird floor puzzle are the only things standing between us and a win today. He lied. That’s not the only obstacle for #TeamCaraMarie; we’re also rewarded with the disadvantage we took home last challenge after losing. For us, the door to that 200 ft building will be locked until we find the key to open it. Good.
Devin and Cory are up first and Devin is excited. This challenge seems like it’s right in his wheelhouse: “little cardio, big puzzle.” He gets me. TJ blows the horn and they’re off. Down below Hunter chants “TYB” for the 29299483209th time since Cory entered the house last night. I think Nelson might actually have a hard-on. They cruise past the puzzle portion with great communication and make their way down. I begrudgingly laugh out loud as John says that Devin looks like a geriatric patient as he slowly makes his way. Anxiously, I wait for TJ to tell them that they “set the bar low” like he’s told Cara and me every single Challenge so I can let out a “haha” and point like Nelson from The Simpsons. I don’t get my chance.
Ashley and Hunter are up and we see exactly why their love never blossomed. I feel like I’m watching my grandmother scream at my grandfather because he hears nothing. It is at this exact moment, while Ashley is screaming out orders to Hunter, that I realize who she reminds me of! Ruth Langmore, the badass hillbilly from the Netflix series Ozark. If you don’t know what I’m talking about and have access to Netflix, close this recap immediately and go watch it right now. Ashley struggles to get down the building and Cara yells that there’s a Gucci bag at the bottom for some game time inspiration. Where’s that kind of motivation when I’m doing something Cara? GUCCI GETS ME GOING!
Cara and I are up next, and I’m pissed off. Cara takes longer than expected to unlock the door and I’ve managed to memorize nothing while she was doing so. We make it to the top, without stopping might I add, and we get a stomach-turning POV shot from Cara as she looks down at the puzzle. I hate heights. Cara begins reading off colors but I, in all my glory considering I am still alive after that stair run, do not realize there are TWO buckets of puzzle pieces by the board, not one.
We actually communicated extremely well once someone from production tapped my shoulder and made me aware of the issue (another box of puzzle pieces) at hand. We strap in and head down the wall and I am literally in shock at my own performance. I’m in even MORE shock when I turn to tell Cara “Look what I can do!” and realized she’s way behind me. While we probably won’t win today, I felt as if I did. No offense taken, Tony.
Up next is Shanelly and I’M SCREAMING at their team interview. Nelson has my brain on overdrive. He’s giving me way too much material to roast with him with. It’s time to go night-night!
My takeaway: At first Nelson wanted to strangle Shane but now he wants to straddle him. They speed up the steps and are clearly the team to beat at this point. With Shane’s help, Nelson completes his first puzzle in his life and probably last ever too. I have to say, while I currently don’t like Nelson because he tried to get mad at me over Kayleigh drama, I do love watching him. The guy is literally THE GOOFIEST. The sexual puns he’s unknowingly feeding the audience right now are the highlight of the episode for me thus far.
Sylvia and Joss go, and I actually forgot about this dynamic duo. They race up the stairs, yada yada yada, John sends another lame joke Amanda’s way and they finish. Sylvia makes a good joke about not working out when she gets to the top, but clearly, I’m feeling a type of way tonight as I write this. It’s hard not to go back to a feeling when you’re watching it back. I love you, Sylvia. I’ll try harder.
Banony is the last pair to go. They are well aware that if they can’t beat Shane’s time, Nelson is gonna put the power vote on dat ass. As everyone screams different colors from the ground below in hopes to mess up John, I chose to remain silent and pray. I know that if Banony wins, Cara and I are definitely going into elimination. Spoiler Alert: Banony wins. Crazy how John could go from world’s biggest bully in Challenge history to the victim in only 14 episodes. I bet you’re rooting for them, aren’t you? He’s really embracing the victim role well. I guess that’s what happens when you get on basic television.
ANYWAY, as a self-described realist, I’ll be the first to say that the performance of #TeamCaraMarie thus far in Challenges deserves an elimination appearance. However, I’ll also be a complete hypocrite and say how the f*ck is this season fair? Whoever created this “Final Reckoning” theme definitely had their sights set on two new male champions to add to their short list of alumni under 60 who’d accept a Champs Vs. Stars call. I’m pissed.
During what should be a friendly game of cards in my and Shane’s room, I think it’s a good time to try to talk game. Again. Persistence breaks down resistance! I won’t go down without a fight. BET. LOL. Sylvia doesn’t want to chat because she’s having fun knowing she’s not going in, and I find out that my bestie Shane plans on saying my name as well. If ANYONE has had a real alliance here, it was me and Shane. We shared that cozy little room you see us sitting in, we burned votes on each other numerous times, and even Cara knew well enough to tell John last week that I’d never say his name. Even if every team still planned to say my name, why couldn’t you just vote rogue? It’s not like anyone expects that we’d chose to go against you. That’s crazy talk.
Cara feels bad for me but she shouldn’t. I’m never a victim because I don’t allow myself to be. I’ve known where I stood with this group all along. I’m just in a dark, angry place right now as production forces me to get dressed for a night out. The bar is completely empty because we’re not allowed to speak to strangers and it’s just adding insult to injury as I have to listen to “TYB” chants after every fruity shot of Triple Sec they take. Like, Can you even? Triple. Sec.
Ashley decides to join me in the corner and asks why I’m upset. I don’t know, maybe every single team in the house is voting me in tomorrow. It’s pretty reasonable that I don’t want to be around them. I know eliminations are part of the challenge. I also know that I don’t f*ck with anyone right now, so let me live. Ashley lets me know she’s won one of these before, just like she lets anyone know within five minutes of meeting them. She says I need to accept elimination and that I shouldn’t light fires. Alexa, play every time Ash has started a fire on a Challenge. The New Yorker in me is starting to show.
Oh god. Now I’m crying? I’m an emotional drunk. Kidding. I’m always emotional. Big f*ck you to Shane who says a million dollars can buy him friends who are less crazy than me. Drinks are on YOU motherf*cker at the reunion this week. I hate that it seems like I’m desperate, but all I ever wanted was a conversation because I’m desperate. I wasn’t frustrated so much about going in as I expected my time was running short, I was frustrated that Sylvia (my friend who I talked to every day prior to the show, and even went on weekend getaways with) wouldn’t give me the time of day.
As I pull Sylvia aside again for the second time that night, I laugh as I watch myself transform into Marnie, my alter ego. Part of me feels as if I secretly enjoy being denied. Would totally make sense considering my lifelong list of unavailable crushes and men who will never be interested in me. On a positive note, my hair looks great here.
Back at the house, Cara’s making pizza, and that’s never a good sign for me. Sylvia tells me that I’m the only person freaking out while simultaneously freaking out herself. We do the chest bump thing that everyone does in this house and I hope that she hits me. I’ll take a bruise over an elimination ANY DAY. If it gets physical someone goes home, right Kailah? Seeing this footage makes me understand why it didn’t happen. I was clearly an antagonist in this situation and the headbutt, while a great throwback WWE move, really was weak AF.
“Did you just headbutt my partner?” “Noooo never.” I AM DEAD. I wish I would’ve fallen to the floor screaming like I used to back when I played soccer many, many, many, years ago. I am cracking up at how unbothered I am as I storm around like Dora The Explorer in my backpack. *shrugs* “Fine. f*ck you” *middle finger high* exits. The next day they made us film TJ warning us about physical altercations, so the “that’s my warning” line was in response to his. Is it weird that I’m my own biggest fan?
TJ shows up for the secret vote, but it’s no secret, Cara and I are 100% going in. Nelson knows that it’s down to the “needy greedy” and everyone votes for us as predicted. OUR TURN! Sorry about the turtle comment, Sylvia. No idea. Cara calls me her friend and what follows is my favorite moment from Final Reckoning… and that says A LOT. Now that NOBODY LIKES ME too, Cara can finally like me. Sylvia head butting me was just what the doctor ordered. Is it just me or does Cara seem fired up for the first time this season? Gotta be top five cutest challenge moments ever. Don’t @ me.
Cara and I have nothing to lose going into this elimination. We’re both fired up over recent events and even more fired up over our recent friendship. The board lights up and Cara is excited we finally won something. Let’s keep this momentum going! TJ tells me I’m a far cry from cigarettes and sadness and I blink twice with no expression and say “Thank you, TJ?” It’s time to see who our options are when a song I’ve never heard before (but will totally jam to) turns on and so does the board.
Everyone is worried about getting picked. And everyone has good reason to be. Cory and Devin just got here, Hunter’s been a b*tch aggressively coming for Cara (Not John) all season as he pretends, Sylvia, because the head thing, and Shane because he’s right when he says I’M PETTY.
Without discussing our options we look at each other and call down Shane and Nelson. Nelson’s final interview of the episode erases all the good he did earlier and I dislike him again. Here’s hoping we get those equalizers. GIRL POWER!
What’d you think of tonight’s episode? Best one yet?
Images: Giphy (3); MTV (5)