Final Double-Cross (?) Power Rankings
*All odds are strictly for entertainment purposes only. This is NOT a betting site.
There were a lot of promises made for viewers of the latest Challenge episode, Lavender is the New Black. This was very much a Marie-centric episode, what with her fight with Sylvia and her girl-mance blossoming with former rival and now-teammate Cara Maria. And who at this point is asking for less Marie!? She is unapologetically honest (about herself and others) and knows exactly who she is, showing no fear of telling everyone her opinion.
I’ll be the first to admit that after Sylvia’s Emmy Award winning acting job during Kam’s early season play on the house, I got heavy “this is all a ploy” vibes when I finally saw the trailer for this episode. Couple that with the rumors that Sylvia was not sent home and I thought there must be more to it. Alas, there was not. Sylvia and Marie have a genuine argument and, with a little help from Marie herself, Sylvia delivered the awkward blow. Also awkward? The absence of a mention from TJ (or anyone really) in the aftermath —especially considering the Challenge has a Dirty Harry-like trigger finger when it comes to sending offenders home for violent acts.
Moving forward, let’s talk of Marie one more time. And honestly, I’m not super excited to talk about this cutesy little friendship with the (IMO) unlikable and pouty Cara Maria —but rather the fact that unpolished, uncoordinated and out-of-shape Marie has been the Cara Maria - ironically enough - of this duo when it’s come to Challenges. As much shit as I love to talk about CM, she’s backed herself up by being a strong competitor (so long as the Challenges were more ‘Cross-Fit’ and less ‘swimming’ or ‘heights’ or any of the things CM is VERY bad at), however from the jump this season, Cara has been very much the Robin to Marie’s Batman, and a second-class social gamer when compared to Marie. And perhaps that’s the whole point. Lets parallel Cara and her buddy Bananas. Both sit with very few allies, and find themselves as underdogs in their own right. Bananas has stooped so low as to try and make buddies with Da’Vonne and Jozea, which if this were high school (and we aren’t far from it) would be absolute social suicide. Marie has the numbers and the allies, and it’s at least possible that makes her feel more powerful, maybe enough so to translate to her physical performance. Whatever the reason, it’s been a welcome sight after the basket case —pun intended—we saw last time.
In a bigger picture, friends and allies aside it is time for the Lavenders to cannibalize, and their shakiest member (or member at all?) Marie is voted in to elimination, where she and partner Cara Maria decide to take a shot at the team that seems to be running on the most fuel right now, Shane and Nelson. We know that Nellie is an elimination monster, and Shane is more than capable. But these elims are not made as before. In seasons past, you didn’t dare play a top dog as it would fare far more like two boxers in a ring —the better player would typical prevail. Think about Laurel and CT and Bananas (ok ok I know his elim record isn’t hot, but I’ve got the answer for that), you did NOT want to meet them in a do-or-die. Now, the comps seem to be a little more luck than skill. There are equalizers and mixed-sex teams and super tight training bands and nothing is what it seems. If you’re a weak team, why not aim high? We’ve seen Kyle and Brad get bullied, Zach look helpless and professional athlete Paulie look useless (more than once). This is a carnival at its finest, and if you’re a strong team you want nothing to do with that elimination ring.
We also see the Bananas v the World thing. All’s fair in love, war and the Challenge. Everyone (except Marie because she is on the fence and Cara cause she’s a victim) tries to sabotage Bananas and Tony during the weekly comp, though they still win. It doesn’t matter much, as the LL’s are too deep to overcome their vote.
I would like to talk about next weeks episode and how Redemption plays a part. This far, we’ve seen one team pull the double-cross and then choose their opponent. Going on this format, I (very accurately and handsomely) surmised that this left Zach and Amanda and Brad and Kyle with a snowball’s chance in Shane’s hair helmet to get back in - reason being if either team did not pull the double-cross (with 6 teams that makes a 17% chance to pull), no one would choose them to face in a losers-go-home battle. In fact, I would have said Da’Vonne and Jozea had the best odds, considering they’re the team everyone thinks they can beat. However, we see yet another twist by the Teejman - telling us there are eight spots for the final battle. That tells me that two teams will be eliminated on the spot, with four teams hoping to punch their ticket back. Perhaps we get two teams coming back, but for the love of god we need to rid ourselves of having damn near 25 people still in this game a few months deep. It’s getting to the point that we’re heading back to the house from an elim with more than we took. Jesus guys.
For those of you that don’t understand general odds (and don’t worry too much, we are currently dealing with just simple odds) you may look at this as a Power Rankings list. Top teams —looking at this as a list — are most likely to win; however with the odds next to that duo, you can see that the difference between 1st and 2nd might be closer than between 2nd and 3rd. How can we tell? Well, 1st place might have 5/1 odds to win, 2nd place at 6/1 odds (meaning these teams are ranked very close) and 3rd might be 15/1 odds —meaning they are a bit of a distant third. Other Power Ranking folk, up your game (jk, don’t steal my shit).
Nelson and Shane 5/1
Boy do they look strong. If Nelson has a glaring flaw, it’s his brain. If Shane has a master attribute, it’s his brain. So long as this team is fighting and trying, they look great - not to mention Nellie has TYB and Shane has the LL’s. They are protected almost everywhere and playing at their peak. A few weeks ago, I had Nelson and Shane as a bit of a sleeper, but they have absolutely flashed their muscles as of late. It looks as if Cara and Marie recognized this, as their latest call-out has Nellie and Shane headed to another elim. With a win, they come back as an absolute powerhouse. With a loss, they find themselves in an incredibly loaded Redemption House.
Hunter and Ashley 8/1
Once again, the only thing that stands between Hunter and Ashley and a final, is Hunter and Ashley. These two are bickering idiots that can’t see past their own issues with each other. If they could pull their heads out of their ass, they may very well walk to a million dollars. If I had to choose a hierarchy in the LL world, I find Ashley right near the top. If we could put the personal Drama aside, they very well might be the favorites.
Cory and Devin 8/1
Cory’s bad elimination record is about the only negative I see when looking at this team. Devin is the brains and the social wizard, Cory is, believe it or not, still a huge strength physically. We’ve seen Cory have trouble in finals, we’ve seen Devin held back by Cory’s now-baby mama in a final, but these guys are fresh and ready to roll. I can see these two really complementing each other in the day-to-day game as well as the final, and I wouldn’t be surprised to have these guys as front-runners after the next episode or two.
Bananas and Tony 10/1
The lack of allies in the house for Banony is really fucking with their vibe. Bananas has never been this out-numbered, whether his backers were friends or more or less forced acquaintances, he’s set himself up nicely season after season. This is a very different Bananas game — one that, through this last episode, he is at least managing. The question is, is managing enough? Johnny is not in control, he is a passenger on the roller coaster. Where exactly will that lead Johnny and Tony?
Sylvia and Joss 18/1
To be clear, I don't see them winning this game. They have to have a decent shot mathematically, however, as they have come this far and stand as one of the final teams left. On top of that, Joss is a physical specimen and Sylvia isn’t terrible —in fact, she’s been decent over the last couple seasons. Joss doesn’t really have a ‘team’ of allies per-say, and Sylvia is entrenched in the Lavender Ladies, so their social status is a bit in the air. They aren’t sitting dead-red on any radar, but they’re also not safe at any given point. If they can sneak their way to the end, they certainly have a chance to finish a final…and perhaps even win. That said, again, I just don’t see that happening.
Cara Maria and Marie 25/1
This is not going to end well for Cara Maria stans. And I couldn’t be happier. Marie has not-so-quietly been the stronger side of the duo (who saw that coming at the start of the season?). We had to watch Cara Maria hold her nose high when talking about Marie for so long, while Marie had nasty comebacks consistently to match the attitude, that it felt a little special watching them come together as a team and friends. All of the ooey-gooey aside, this won’t help them win the season. And with a potential trip to the loaded Redemption House looming at the beginning of the next episode, this is very likely the last we will see of the new buds.
This has an all-new twist. Originally, I figured the double-cross would be handled much like previous Redemption battles from this season, however, from our preview for next week, we see that eight people (four teams) get a chance to battle it out to get back, making who gets to play a little foggier. This now evens the betting field —teams will be ranked in order of their likelihood of winning a group challenge, with little other factors. These odds are simply to get out of Redemption:
Brad and Kyle 3/1
Zach and Amanda 4/1
Kam and Kayleigh 9/1
Paulie and Natalie 10/1
Jozea and Da’Vonne 13/1
*Shane and Nelson 4/1
*Cara Maria and Marie 12/1
*If they end up in Redemption