The Final Five: Final Reckoning Power Rankings 11/07/18
*All odds are strictly for entertainment purposes only. This is NOT a betting site.
We got a lot of information this week. From the start of tonight’s episode to the end, we finally saw SIX PLAYERS leave South Africa. Three of the remaining eight teams pack their bags for a final time, and the stage is set for a sprint to the finish line. We also have done away with the awful Redemption House, which means that, even in Challenge-World, things should be fairly straight-forward from here on out.
Brad/Kyle pull the double-cross and get to choose their opponent, and every single male/male team would have chosen Kam/Kayleigh. It’s smart, it’s strategy. The other three teams are very strong. Yet we get to see Cara Maria get on her high horse and call Kyle a pussy one final time...ummmkay.
Lets begin with our bonehead of the week: Brad Fiorenza. Look, I like Brad. Always have, going back to Real World: San Diego. I think that, despite some lapses, he is a good guy. He was ready to see his kids —but he shouldn’t be leaving quite yet. If we are to believe the hype, Brad is above-average at math, and let’s face it, the Challenge isn’t full of scholars or Will Huntings. He chooses to climb the wall so as to “see the numbers as he climbs.” The whole point of the second player is to have them be able to stand back, look at the wall and do the math. There is no way you can do the math nose-to-nose with that wall, but that was Brad’s call.
Without breaking the entire elimination down, Brad and Kyle ring their bell for a check, which comes up incorrect. Moments later it’s Kam and Kayleigh with the win, and the boys head home. I’ll admit it is bittersweet —I’ll miss those crazy Brad eyes, however as much as I liked Kyle last season, he did himself few favors this season.
On to the Main Event: Nelson/Shane get Bananas/Tony in a physical elim. Unfortunately for them, this elim has a lot to do with which of your teammates is bigger, and while Shane is in good shape and Nelson is beastly, Bananas is no slouch and Tony is almost a head larger in stature than the other three, which I believe is the deciding factor here. I call from the beginning that Shane/Nelson have no shot and, sadly, they don’t. It’s been a trip to see these two go from true dislike to a genuine appreciation for one another. I’ve liked Nelson since day one (AYTO) and I think he gets a bit of a bad wrap, and it’s sad to see this duo leave despite the fact I’ve always been fairly anti-Shane (I just don’t love his style of play, throwing challenges ala Wes, etc.). I have to admit the bromance and awkward unintentionally flirty vibe from Nelson made Shane a lot more endearing to me.
We are also spoiled with a Challenge in which the winner gets an advantage, and loser GOES HOME. That’s right people, I wasn’t fucking around. A third team says hasta la vista after what amounts to an endurance challenge that may or may not be an interesting indicator of the finale.
Paulie and Nat are awarded a :10 head start as payment for their last win, and as they predicted, that quickly gets swalllwed up by the ravine in the middle of this course. Paulie is comically faster than anyone else left in this game —and it shows as he not only is pushing the ball alone, but Natalie is so far behind that his dust has cleared before she has to breathe it. More indication to me that Paulie is a force to be reckoned with and —spoiler alert — Paulie/Nat finish second in this challenge despite being hung up and falling behind several teams. I can’t stop drawing parallels between Paulie & Jordan —from their athleticism and agility to their attitude and confidence —Paulie continues to impress and I don’t see a world where he isn’t the guy to beat very, very soon in this franchise.
The real surprise here are Joss and Sylvia. Fresh off of doing nothing special this season, they dominate this week and set themselves up with a great shot at getting to the promised land. I think we all know Joss can handle it...but can Sylvia? She jokes about endurance and working out rather than shoving chips in her mouth and it’s all well and good but—what if she’s right? Sure, they got through this one. But I’m talking big picture, final, a day or two of hell (or if we are going off of recent finals, a day of mild inconvenience?). Sylvia is the type of Challenger that I feel has a knot in her stomach just thinking realistically about what it will take to compete in a final, and might even sort of wish she gets eliminated before she has to find that out, and I truly wonder if she is ready for the physical and mental strain.
Again, this weeks challenge is a Purge, so while finishing first guarantees safety, secures the extra vote and gives an advantage next week, finishing last punches your ticket back home.
We see Paulie and Natalie handed a ten second head start and, had the game testers done their job well, they would have rethought this one through. “Significant advantage” my ass, Teej. Not only is ten seconds really not much of an advantage, but just as Kam pondered, this seemed to be more of a disadvantage. With a ravine in the middle and multiple options to get through, the head start merely got Paulie and Natalie stuck first. They do, through the power of Paulie, manage to catch up during the homestretch to finish second.
Our losers today: we can all officially say goodbye to Vendettas Rookie of the Year Killah (Queen?) Kam and suitcase prank-target Kayleigh. Other than Kam’s fantastic game move earlier this season (which led to an unexciting nomination of rookies), these two have been fairly quiet and uneventful. I was a fan of Kam’s last season and feel she got the shit-end in the “we need to make sure Cara wins” finale, but she was more annoying than anything IMO this season. She did bow out gracefully, and although they knew they were being purged out of the game, I give K&K a ton of credit for pushing their boulder to the very end. Kam instructs Kayleigh to keep a smile on their face as they cross the finish line, since they should be proud. Hell yes, Queen Kam. That is how you go out.
So, again, three teams walk on out. Two of those teams led my Power Rankings at different times this season (Nelson/Shane and Kyle/Brad), so it should be interesting to see how everyone handles this.
As for Johnny Bananas —he is a bug that the LL’s and TYB’s just can’t crush. And like him or not, you’ve got to give him a lot of credit for sticking around this long despite being a marked man with little to work with in the case of allies and the such. He has Cara and potentially Natalie, but Brad and Kyle just went out the door. This could get interesting.
Power Rankings/Odds: I have Banony and Hashley ranked very tight, with a little separation between the bottom three. Paulie/Nat and Joss/Sylvia are almost equals, and Cara and Marie are a distant fifth.
I have also included my odds to win prior to the season starting as a fun comparison:
1. Bananas and Tony 3/1
Opening Odds: 5/1
Straight from Redemption and back in the driver’s seat. Shortly after Joss and Sylvia sent them packing, everyone watched in fear as the dynamic duo came back into the main house, fired up and ready to go. It goes back to the question I think we were all asking ourselves after episode 2: who is going to stop them? Assuming three teams make the finale as per usual, it’s hard to see these guys on the outs in any scenario. And with Paulie/Nat and Cara/Marie, it seems like they finally have the numbers. All hail the king.
2. Hunter and Ashley 9/2
Opening Odds: NA; Mid-Season Addition
Ever since this TYB and LL duo entered the house, I had high hopes for where they would finish. There was one large worry, however, and that was whether or not they could actually co-exist as teammates. Lately, it is seeming like the lack of communication is going to hold them back from greatness this year —I have a feeling this final will require teammates to truly work in unison —though I am excited to see them potentially put their childish bickering ways aside and thrive for Hunter’s first Challenge win, and potentially put Ashley in elite company as a two-time champ.
3. Paulie and Natalie 9/1
Opening Odds: 11/1
I can barely believe it myself. Paulie and Nat were the definition of hopeless a short time ago. Permanent residents of the Redemption House, it seemed as though it was just a matter of time before the BB18 duo were a distant memory —but shaky game design and a clutch battle-back has them right back in the thick of things, winners of 2 of the last 3 dailies. Paulie is the best athlete on the show (along with Hunter) and has proven to be a great teammate —something Hunter is not at this point. If they can make a final, I think they are the dark horse to win it all.
4. Sylvia and Joss 10/1
Opening Odds: 14/1
Following a very impressive endurance-based purge win, I wouldn’t blame you for having Sylvia and Joss in the third spot. In fact, we’ve seen Joss absolutely dominate at two endurance challenges (including his first ever, Gibraltar), while Sylvia looks like the parallel to last season’s Kyle —neither took the show as a whole very seriously and have even joked about their lack of commitment and training, but have all of the sudden caught a whiff of the finish line and the green. Sometimes that’s all it takes. But heading into the real meat and potatoes of Final Reckoning, will a newfound interest be enough? I have a sneaking suspicion this time might be left out of the final...
5. Cara Maria and Marie 18/1
Opening Odds: 13/1
They just keep sneaking in. I thought this last purge comp was the end of #CaraMarie, but Kam and Kayleigh taking the longer route proved to be a back-breaker. Finishing last or second-to-last as often as they do is bound to catch up to them, especially as we have carved down to the final five teams. I don’t see them getting it done, but it’s been an interesting season for the former Vendettas, more-so on a personal level than a competitive level.
Nelson and Shane
Opening Odds: 12/1
Kyle and Brad
Opening Odds: 6/1
Kam and Kayleigh
Opening Odds: NA; Not a Team
Devin and Cory 6/1 (Disqualified)
Opening Odds: NA; Mid-Season Addition
Jozea and DaVonne
Opening Odds: 28/1
Zach and Amanda 6/1 (Disqualified)
Opening Odds: 7/1
Angela and Faith 22/1
Opening Odds: 22/1
CT and Veronica 10/1
Opening Odds: 10/1
Tori and Derrick 14/1
Opening Odds: 14/1
Jemmye and Jenna 16/1
Opening Odds: 16/1
Britni and Chuck 18/1
Opening Odds: 18/1