So episode two is in the books and it was a barnburner. Certainly a significant improvement over the lackluster premiere.
The second episode brought fisticuffs, friskiness and flying tops. Two teams left the show leaving only 10 competitors, and more importantly, we got a better sense of how important chemistry between each pair of exes will be this season.
Let’s get the main points out of the way first.
The swinging challenge asked the teams to jump from beams suspended in the air by only using a grappling hook looked a lot like last week’s challenge. It clearly took place at the same place with the honey being replaced by a hook and one beam being replaced by a few.
The surprise of the show was seeing how well Vinny and Sarah performed. Last week there was a lot of talk about how out-of-shape Vinny looked, but he had no problem with jumping from beam to beam and the pair managed to squeeze a victory out over perennial favorites Johnny and Camila. That being said, you do not need to be the world’s foremost reality television expert to see that Bananas and Camila (that sounds like an ice cream flavour that I want to try) were throwing the challenge as they did not want to seem like they are winning all of them so early. To be honest, it was the right move because judging from past challenges, Sarah clearly was aligned with Evan and Kenny, meaning that her loyalty is obviously with Johnny and he was in no danger of being sent into the Dome.
The losing team were rookies Leroy and Naomi. It came as no surprise to me as I had them ranked at the bottom last week.
That meant that Vinny and Sarah decided who went would face the former Real World Las Vegas alumni. Before the decision, the entire group went out to party.
I have to say, Mandi’s top was incredible and, generally speaking, the entire group looked good. I think producers made some mistakes by spending too much time on Leroy and Aneesa’s grinding when more time could have been spent on Diem, Cara Maria, Rachel and Heather, but I guess that’s why I write the articles and don’t produce the show. What made the decision to focus on Leroy/Aneesa even more baffling was the fact that Naomi’s “jealousy” didn’t even develop (unless it is was a set-up for future episodes).
The big story to come out of club night was Vinny messing with Mandi’s top and forcing it off (although it didn’t need much help).
The result was host TJ Lavin visiting the house and telling Vinny that he had to leave the show… and take his partner with him. The innocent bystander was obviously devastated as she was also kicked off without doing anything wrong and it came on the heels of her first win of the season. I guess Sarah and Vinny can thank Tonya Cooley for their new zero tolerance policy. The main issue that I had with their unceremonious dumping was that on Rivals, Adam was kicked off but Mike was allowed to stay. If that was the precedent, that’s what I feel should have been adhered to in this case.
Anyway, before they left, Sarah and Vinny decided to send Wes and Mandi into the Dome to face off against Leroy and Naomi. The challenge asked the guys to compete against each other and the girls to compete against each other in a challenge which saw them fight over a stick. Leroy and Mandi beat Wes and Naomi quite handily and as a result, a sudden death round was needed. TJ’s coin flip decided that the guys would fight again with the winner moving on and the loser moving out. Leroy dominated Wes despite the veteran’s weird somersault flip which Paula described as “Matrix” like. It was clearly ineffective as Leroy and Naomi pulled off the shocking win (and not Mandi’s top).
Let’s get to the power rankings.
Johnny Bananas & Camila
A phenomenal display by the game’s most powerful team. Johnny and Camila proved for the second time that they are capable of winning any challenge and made a smart move by not going all out and letting Vinny and Sarah choose the Dome’s next victim. They still got what they wanted (Wes and Mandi being eliminated), didn’t get their hands dirty, and didn’t show their cards. Couldn’t have had a better episode if they tried.
CT & Diem
As if Diem couldn’t get anymore perfect, she showcased her brilliant strategy and reality television acumen this week to compliment her stunning beauty. The decision to simply stay on the first beam instead of being disqualified was smart because she already had the advantage of knowing that as long as she didn’t make any mistakes with CT, they would not be going in danger. There are still newbies to get rid of so no veteran will put her in before the likes of Leroy/Naomi and Dustin/Heather. Winning would have only increased the target. CT should learn to listen more. Diem and Johnny are playing the best games right now. Oh and Diem… marry me.
Mark & Robin
Not a great showing this week for Mark & Robin. They dominated the challenge last week, but weren’t a factor for round two. Doesn’t matter. They are still in one of the best positions in the game.
Abram & Cara Maria
No change for Abram and Cara Maria. They aren’t fighting and have a good relationship. From what we have seen so far, they also aren’t as emotional this season as we have seen them be in previous installments. They are playing well.
Ty & Emily
Very strong week for Ty and Emily. While their position didn’t improve on my rankings, it’s only because the teams above them are having great games. Last week, it was clear that they didn’t like each other but this week they seemed to work quite well together. While the exes around them seem to have major problems, their issues seem light in comparison.
Aneesa & Rachel
No change to affect their position although if things do develop between Leroy and Aneesa, it couldn’t affect her game with Rachel.
Dunbar & Paula
I think Paula’s strong friendship with Johnny and Dunbar being out of shape will keep this team safe for the immediate future. There are bigger fish to fry and I don’t mean Dunbar… for now anyway.
Tyrie & Jasmine
While they had an explosive fight this week, Tyrie and Jasmine put aside their differences and still competed well together. That proves that despite the way that they feel… er… don’t feel about each other, they are there for the cash and it doesn’t really matter if it is a business relationship or a personal relationship, the fact that they can put their game faces on at Challenge time, definitely impressed me. I also love seeing their dynamic. Truly hysterical.
Leroy & Naomi
While Naomi’s lack of athleticism is holding the team back, on second glance this actually might be good for them. The rookies go first everytime, but the fact that Dustin and Heather are better competitors and teammates and that Leroy and Naomi are coming off a win in the Dome, makes me believe their Vegas counterparts are bigger threats and will be targetted first.
Dustin & Heather
I love Dustin and Heather. Good people. Great relationship. Fierce competitors. On their next challenge, I might even pick them to win. Unfortunately they are the strongest rookies and that means they are finished.
Great episode. I loved it. The only thing I would like to see is more of the other teams. This week’s episode centered around Wes, Mandi, Vinny, Sarah, Tyrie and Jasmine. I am hoping that changes next week.
The Challenge: Battle Of The Exes airs Wednesdays at 10 pm on MTV & MTV Canada