Devin and Cory are(n’t) in the House! Power Rankings
*All odds are strictly for entertainment purposes only. This is NOT a betting site.
***I have been driven to start this out with a little personal opinion on the Devin/Bananas thing as a whole. This exact idea hadn’t formulated well enough until I started reading some posts on the matter, and taking other readers opinions into account until I finally saw my own thoughts getting a little clearer.
I hate that Bananas went to the dad thing with Devin. I am close with my parents, and am lucky to say they are both alive and pretty healthy. When I lose a parent, I don’t know how I’ll respond, but had Devin chose to go home for a season or do what he did and come back shortly after, that’s entirely his decision. He can grieve in his own way.
This is not a pro-Devin post, however. I’ve always been a Bananas fan, but I’ve also loved the new crop of players coming in. I love Cory announcing his Hit List. I love Devin trying to be the Joker to Bananas’ Batman (is that how it is?). I love Nelson, for all that he is, wanting nothing more than to blindly go after Bananas. It’s great tv and I love a legend getting beat.
The thing is, Devin has openly and publicly made it very clear that his main intention is to fuck with Johnny Bananas. And let’s be clear — Johnny never did anything directly to Devin (well, nothing at the beginning of this ‘feud’). Devin was in the final as a rookie when Bananas took Sarah’s half of the cash, and has since formulated a hate for Bananas. He has made it his mission to make Bananas miserable by constantly taunting and fucking with him.
Lets flip this around for a second, and say Bananas took exception to Devin and made it his mission, for the last 5 or so seasons, to verbally berate Devin. To go in his room and start fights, to pick on him on the Challenge field, to take every television appearance and interview as an open forum to spew his disgust for him, etc. Most people would be calling Bananas a bully. So why is it a double-standard when it’s the other way around? Because Bananas is an asshole who has it coming? I guess. But when Bananas was trailed this last episode, walking around the entire house to try and avoid Devin, not saying anything (or much of anything) in reply to Devin saying he is smarter, better, etc., did you/me/Devin/anyone expect anything else to happen? When you are constantly poked and antagonized, and nothing you do will shut the antagonizer up, where do you go? Maybe the lowest you can? To the only words you know for sure will get their attention?
Look, I’m not trying to defend Bananas. In fact, when it happened I thought “oh shit, you fucked up.” But when you pride yourself on trying to make another human miserable because you don’t like them, Devin, I think you may have gotten what you deserve. And truthfully, I think he might have gotten what he wanted. Devin’s goal is to make Johnny look like a terrible person, to show the world how shitty Bananas is. Certainly no one wants a reminder of their parent passing...but have we thought for one moment that maybe Devin wanted to push until Johnny said something that could prove to the world that Devin is right and Johnny is evil? Devin was out for blood, and he got it. Just not the blood he expected.
Now, on with the showww....
Unfortunately as viewers, we were served a big helping of ugly Tuesday night, as we saw three different examples from three different people of what not to do in high-pressure situations.
I will start by looking at the parallels between the Challenge this week and, maybe this season as a whole, to the episode title bestowed Tuesday: ‘The Leftovers.’ It’s hard to watch this episode and not see Johnny Bananas as Kevin Garvey — he’s a little troubled, a little confused, still maybe thinks he is god — or maybe he’s just the leader of this fucked up group of people that keep chasing TJ Lavin to random countries in search of a prize. Bananas as Kevin would make Devin, by default, Patti Levin — the ghost that just won’t leave Kevin the fuck alone. The voice always calling him out on his shit. The Young Bucks and Lavender Ladies all sort of fall in to the culty Guilty Remnant, and we can draw our other parallels as we go (perhaps this should be my thesis paper).
Lets step back a second. Devin is claiming he lost a million dollars over pasta. And depending on how you view it, he isn’t entirely right...or wrong. But the real truth — and problem — stems from putting these huge egos in the same house, adding a dash of alcohol, years of pent-up jealousy, a lot of competition, the constant threat of backstabbing and, oh ya, a shit-ton of money, and basically saying “go get it.” I don’t care if you’re pro-Devin, pro-Cory or pro-Johnny, what the latter said to Devin last night could not be more true — “You are nothing without me.”
Now, before I get all the hate claiming how much you love Devin and what an egotistical piece of shit Johnny is, take this as a meal and not just ala cart: I’ve been a Bananas-backer since he came on the show. I like that he has gone out, gotten it done, won six shows and made a name for himself. A few years ago, we saw Cory come on the show and I had this odd thing happen to me internally — I kind of liked not only him, but what he represented. I found it hard to figure out whether I wanted Bananas to kick these kids out of the game, or if I wanted this guy to run up in the house, call it like it was, and start checking names off his Hit List.
I think we can all agree that, though it was kind of cool to watch him come in the game guns a’blazin’, it wasn’t very effective. Cory and his friends were targeted by the much stronger, better-connected vets, and we saw a familiar run of Cory leaving the house very, very early. Around that time, we also witnessed a rookie come into Rivals III and watch, first-hand, as Johnny chose to keep all the prize money on the top of that snowy mountain. Years later (meaning now), we see the same two guys with a lot of hate in their hearts for the King of the Challenge stand as a team, with eyes dead set on the guy they think is “all that’s wrong in the world.”
Back to this episode: We see everyone having a good time eating dinner away from the house, and on the ensuing bus ride home, Tony takes Cory’s leftover order of pasta and chucks it out the van window. “Everyone else was laughing” is not a good explanation or excuse. Drinks have been consumed, people have egos and pride — and truthfully if someone threw my shrimp pasta out the window, I’d be pissed too. Unfortunately, it pours out onto the Challenge House parking lot, and words start to fly. Tony puts his arm around Cory, and this is where Ridiculous Act #1 happens.
Cory very purposefully puts his leg behind Tony’s and throws him backward to the asphalt. Bananas jumps in, Cory claims “innocence,” and it’s just an all-around bad look. I immediately feel for Cory — I think he probably didn’t want Tony’s drunk ass hanging on him, he made a stupid decision and it all happened pretty fast. There is no doubt Cory fucked up, but still, I felt for him a bit. Devin is immediately in protect mode. He knows his game is over and he can’t believe that’s what did him in. He whole-heartedly believes it was slip. More on that later. Bananas goes ape-shit, things are ugly. Bananas decides to calm Tony, saving them their lives in this game.
Later, Nelson is listening in on a private convo between Bananas and friends, and decides to intrude into Bananas’ bedroom, getting in Bananas’ face and demanding Devin come join. To me, this begins Ridiculous Act #2.
Perhaps some don’t see this on the same level, but Devin continues to berate Bananas, first in his own room and later as Bananas tries to get away. Bananas is surprisingly cool, continuing to walk away from the attack. We see edited minutes of this, I can only imagine he bit his tongue for 10-20 minutes. Devin continues to repeat how he is better than Bananas, is smarter, and remember — that he beat him once. Bananas’ confessional proclaims he is trying to stay out of a fight, but that “every man has his breaking point.”
To be fair, none of us are in that house. Sometimes I see Bananas make his comments and stabs and I laugh, sometimes I cringe. If you already dislike the guy, I can absolutely see how his constant jabs are like irritating flies around your face, and after a while, you’re gonna take a swat. This was the setup of the first problem: Johnny has had the best of Devin since day one when it comes to the Challenge. He has the wins, he has the glory. He is the face of the show. The pendulum did swing, if for only a short time, when Devin masterminded sending Bananas into elimination and ultimately finished him off last season. While it was a cool arc and gave some sizzle to an otherwise meh run, I think it did more harm than good over the long haul, not just for the show, but for Devin and Bananas. While beating Bananas in that elim was a huge moment, it was not to win the final or some massive turning point. It was a bit of a tailor-made Devin elim, and ultimately all it did was put a little fuel on the fire that Devin could use and that burned Johnny’s ass. Had that elim never happened, I think Devin is less able to get under Bananas’ skin. Bananas could continue to just ignore him and move on...but that’s not where we are. Devin throws that elim victory in his face whenever possible, and deep down, it has to get to Bananas, just as it would get to you or I. We even saw Devin run the media circuit; immediately following the episode where Devin beat Johnny, we got Devin on a post-Challenge show talking a ton of smack and acting like a pompous ass. Every interview since then has been about that elim, and while I get it was big for him, act like you’ve been there before. Devin does not do this. And he isn’t doing it tonight. He is egging Bananas on, and there’s not much Johnny can do or say to diffuse, so he goes for the haymaker. And this is where Ridiculous Act #3 happens.
Johnny begins a tirade of criticising Devin for coming back to this season, and that he should be at home mourning the death of his father. We had just seen a clip of Devin saying his dad loved the show and loved seeing his son on it - and believes his dad would want him back, fighting. Johnny says he hopes “the apple fell far from the tree.”
I believe that even Bananas knows the simple mention of his dad was too far. He does make an apology in his confessional, but we don’t see it to Devin’s face. I believe that had Johnny been the bigger man and pulled Devin aside, apologized for saying what he did and explained it was in the heat of the moment, maybe these two could have had a bit of a reprieve. Instead, we see Tony and Cory hug, while Cory then refuses to shake Johnny’s hand (who had extended the bro-hug arm) proclaiming he “heard what he said about Devin’s dad.” I appreciate Cory for standing up for his teammate. We then hear Joss get onto Johnny for his comments, which leads to the line of the night: “Who put a nickel in Joss?” We’ve heard about 3 words from this guy all season, now he starts to charge Bananas as if he has any skin in this game.
Here is my main takeaway: Cory was stupid and that was a bad look. Johnny’s comments were in bad taste. However, I feel as though Devin was maybe the most reprehensible. Devin knows better, Devin plays on other people’s emotions. I don’t want to speculate anything here, although I guess I am. Devin went through the trauma of his dad dying weeks before this moment, and he decides to go after Bananas unrelentingly. Here is my controversial statement: I think he wanted Bananas to say something about his dad. And I am not saying he did it for tv, I don’t even think he did it to make Bananas look bad (although perfect target), I think he did it for himself. I think it hadn’t been a big storyline, Devin came back sort of in honor of his father, and what better way to stir up sympathy than to goad Johnny Bananas, the guy that is what is wrong with this world, your mortal enemy, into finally going low-blow and bringing up your dad? Because he didn’t wish his dad dead. He said, in a nutshell, what are YOU doing back here? And that he hoped the apple had fallen far from the tree. While that is a kick in the dick, I think if Bananas wanted to go real low, he could have. For the record: I don’t think it is Bananas’ place to say a word about Devin’s father, however how long do you let someone follow you around a mansion before you just say what you need to say to get them to leave you alone? I believe that’s where Bananas was at that point.
We also got trivia! And viewers got to win money too! Awesome! It was okay! Watching TJ maniacally laugh when people fall used to be funnier, am I right? Maybe it’s because it felt more genuine when he did it once or twice, but every time? Just a thought. This brings us to the most interesting part of this episode that will probably barely get discussed — Paulie and Natalie WON THE FUCKING CHALLENGE. They’ve spent the last couple of months (??) wasting away in Redemption. Being mocked, teased, laughed at. And now THEY ARE THE POWER DUO. This game y’all. And to top it off, Cory and Devin are gone while Nat and Paulie seem to be hanging on the Banana Boat (sorry, that was bad). This went from Bananas backed into a corner to Bananas on the offensive. This house needs to watch the fuck out. We’ve also seen the power split down the middle: who would you want? Nelson, Shane, Joss, Sylvia, Hunter and Ashley or Bananas, Tony, Cara Marie, Marie, Paulie and Natalie? If I had to choose a side, I think I’d stick w the Lavender side...for now.
AS USUAL: These can be read as Power Rankings. Top of the list is best odds to win Final Reckoning. Odds next to the teams represent not just their chance to win, but gives you a good barometer of where they stand against one another. Nelson and Shane at 5/1 and Bananas and Tony at 6/1 show they are nearly identical. Cara and Marie at 22/1 show they have a very small chance of winning.
1. Nelson and Shane 5/1
I still see these guys working well together and putting their differences aside. I am worried about Nelson, though I think the scene of him fighting was from this past episode. Don’t blow it dude. It’s been fun watching them come into their own and be physically strong while also building their team.
2. Bananas and Tony 6/1
Wow, did they come up from the dead? Who would have thought all it would take was getting four allies back in the house and your two worst enemies DQ’d? Lolz. Nice little three-team momentum-changing swing for the bad boys. It’s only going to take them either winning another challenge or gaining a little ground somewhere to be my new number one team, and it maybe should have already happened. There is a pretty obvious split here, 3v3.
3. Hunter and Ashley 7/1
I keep believing this team is very strong, I just don’t see them making friends like Shane and Nelson did, and I feel that will hold them back. To me, Hunter is the best male physical competitor on the show (so long as we all agree Jordan is retired), and if he could work on his social game, we’d be looking at a multiple-time champ down the road. Ashley has already put a championship under her belt, and I believe she could also snag multiple. This season, their lack of communication is hurting their chances each week.
4. Paulie and Natalie 12/1
There are still a lot of issues when it comes to trusting Natalie in a physical elimination. It’s not as if she is helpless — perhaps she has just had some bad luck — because she is not Shauvon or Casey. And love him or hate him, Paulie has the chance to be an absolute physical beast. This show has proven that an athletic, strong player that is agile and smart is worth more than a Hulk (mentioned above but, say prime Jordan v bulky muscular Zach). Paulie is smart and a gifted athlete — if he either gets a good partner in the future or plays in a season alone, I would have a lot of faith in Paulie winning a season sooner rather than later. So, can these guys sneak into a final? If so, Paulie could will them to a victory. Color me interested.
5. Sylvia and Joss 14/1
Joss finally woke up, showing some emotion toward Bananas. As ripped as this dude is, he still doesn’t bring much to the overall game — however, laying low has paid off for him so far. For Sylvia, she’s been another player that has stayed very down the middle (other than the headbutt), I just feel as though it’s only a matter of time before someone throws them to the wolves.
6. Cara Maria and Marie 22/1
They continue to underwhelm. Marie is such a great part of the show and house, and they’ve officially given Bananas another ally, but she just isn’t a physical threat and Cara has been a total bust. Unless they get carried to the final, I see them being the next team that the Lavenders shoot for.
We are still unsure how this last one will play out, and how many teams will be in here. I do know it’s time to rid this game of Redemption and get to the final.
Kyle and Brad - Obviously love their chances right now to get out, Brad and Kyle are still massive threats in this game, regardless of which house they reside.
Kam and Kayleigh - Still a strong player in Kam. Will be interesting to see who they have to battle to make it out.
Devin and Cory 6/1 (Disqualified)
Jozea and DaVonne
Zach and Amanda 6/1 (Disqualified)
Angela and Faith 22/1
CT and Veronica 10/1
Tori and Derrick 14/1
Jemmye and Jenna 16/1
Britni and Chuck 18/1