The Brits Are Falling!
Two weeks, two Brits gone. Technically, we’ve lost more. Zahida lost a family member and in turn, decided to give up her spot on the show. Faith lost a bit of sleep, and also decided she couldn’t handle the rigors of living in a Challenge house. We also saw Big T put up a valiant fight, ultimately losing to Georgia in the second elimination of the season.
The Comp: Just another embarrassingly easy win for the US team in a combination swim/puzzle challenge, followed by Kam taking the American reigns for the week.
The big picture question of the season remains: Can the UK team get in any sort of rhythm and put the US on its heels? We’ve already seen cracks and division after lopsided wins, so what is this team going to look like when it finds itself against the ropes? For the sake of the show, I hope we find out.
Currently, the biggest buzz on Team USA is 1) treason by Wes and the subsequent ‘deal’ Jordan made (and, in my opinion, his explanation was valid) and 2) who gets to stand up and lead the Tribunal after their inevitable weekly wins. Jordan volunteered after the first win, but you can’t tell me the US didn’t think about the who’s and why’s this week —why did the entire team stand stone-faced until Kam spit her name? This wasn’t a surprise or anything…but you’d think they would have thought this out a bit.
Okay, so last week I did a deeper dive in my Male rankings (as we had just witnessed our first male elim). This week, more info on the ladies.
#7 Georgia v #16 Big T
Another thisisthefinalcut proud moment. After blindly ranking Sean as the bottom-feeder male and watching him go, another last-seed player is put to rest. I have to imagine most people would have put Big T toward the bottom of their rankings, and that’s just what I did. Out of 16 females, she came in the #16 spot. She had already expressed concern to Sean (hmmm, trend?) about not making friends with the house, which was a bit of an alarm. She is also vastly undersized. Of course, that’s not a death rattle or anything - I believe Camilla and Cara and some other competitors that are considered to be high-level are small in stature - so that’s not exactly the worst thing to be.
When analyzing the men, most of the upper-tier came from the US side. That disparity grows even deeper when discussing the women. In fact, it might get even more distant in taking Wednesday’s female elimination (Georgia v Big T) into consideration. The UK threw Big T into elimination — meaning they likely viewed her as their weakest member —and the Americans took a shot at what they believed to be one of the UKs strongest players in Georgia. What we got, though, was an hour-and-a-half snoozefest.
The beautiful Thai rain did little to push this elimination anywhere but the forgettable zone —around 90 minutes of pushing and pulling an oversized cart which proved very hard for the viewer to be invested in. Regardless, 16th-ranked female Big T heads home, and Georgia provides a little itty bitty amount of drama before loudly proclaiming that she is, indeed, loyal to the British.
This is sort of the episode I was looking for in preparation of ranking the ladies. We got a sense of who stands where on the UK side, and while I still stand by the women from the US being far superior, we’ve got some contenders shining through.
I have added tiers. This more or less groups contestants into a bundle of similarly-ranked players. For example, with the women, I feel Laurel and Cara are in a league of their own atop everyone else, so there is a gap between Kam to Cara.
US Laurel - I likely won’t make a big change amongst the top two until one takes a stranglehold on the other. We saw Laurel more or less win the first challenge for the US, using strategy to pin UK players with her flagpole - we’ve also seen her start to get mouthy, in particular with Jordan during the word puzzle this week. I’m anxiously awaiting the first true ‘Laurel Moment,’ where we see her plow someone over or absolutely manhandle another. I still believe Laurel has that fire within…and it’ll truly be must-see-TV when she decides to unleash.
US Cara Maria - Cara likely has more allies than Laurel, but she probably also has more enemies by default. Again, her run of shows is one thing —but a string of finals appearances is quite another. Win or lose, I think anyone would take a spot in the final and roll the dice from there, which is basically what CM has done on a season-by-season basis. Whether she seemingly coasts or not, she is making the finals on the merit of being feared. One big wrench in those plans: Laurel. See, other girls seem to be intimidated by Cara and therefore are reluctant to throw her in to an elim…I don’t see Laurel backing down from that. This could be the heavy-weight match we’ve all been waiting for.
US Kam - While still a physical presence, Kam has really shown her affinity for playing smart social games and loves theatrics. When she first came on the scene, she seemed to be a more physically rugged player, but with the addition of more athletic women over the past few years, Kam more or less fades into the background when it comes to being a hulking character. Also, I wonder how other people —especially women—take to her attitude and self-made titles (Killa Kam, for example). We’ve already seen an interview with Tori who clearly wasn’t having it. Could that make Kam a popular target?
UK Jennifer - There has to be a UK woman in the top five…and I snuck in two. There are a ton of unknowns when it comes to Jennifer —she is a new player that we have never seen in action, we don’t really know if she has allies. We have seen her run a fitness class or two for the Brit women - perhaps that will win her favor. The American women in the house are terrified of her, and that seems to be a well-earned reputation. She could be a real match physically for Laurel in some sort of headbanger, and we can only hope to see it. One thing is for sure, the Brit team needs her to stick around if they want to win anything.
UK Georgia - This one comes with a little consternation - I wasn’t buying into Georgia being some feared beast coming into this season, and after her elimination with Big T, I think that idea is even more shaky. I like Georgia, a lot. I think she has the ability to make allies easily, but has also rubbed some the wrong way (Kayleigh, for one). The fact she wasn't able to somewhat easily dispose of Big T (which, if you’re following along, should be ‘Little’ T) concerns me a bit for her overall longevity in this game. Choosing to come back to the UK team should at least earn her something positive with that squad - they need every strong player they can get their hands on.
US Ninja - I think everyone was expecting a little more from Ninja last season, which, considering she made and completed the final, might tell us a little something. While I was very uninterested in her personality, I thought being teamed with Paulie would make for an unstoppable team. Paulie was, until that fateful water-Challenge, pretty much as billed. That said, Ninja did seem to be the weaker of the two. Having an entire season as well as a final under her belt, she might just be the sleeper no one is expecting. Ranking her middle of the female pack might end up being more of an insult than anything —only time will tell.
US Tori - I think most of the Challenge World was more or less enamored with Tori when she made her debut. I had watched her on Are You the One and always thought she could hang in a Challenge season, but still feel I had her underestimated. Since then, Tori has been more comic-relief than threat, but showing up for this season with her now-fiancée could be the settling force for her to buckle down and be the MVP of the show. My gut, though, sees her find an untimely end leaving Jordan to try to win it for the duo.
US Ashley - I’ve argued each side of Ashley til I became blue in the face. I was super-high on her after she came into the vet-heavy season of Invasion and won it all —but showed frustration when she seemingly couldn’t stick out an entire season for personal reasons. She then came into Final Reckoning and secured her second win, along with a cool million bucks. Most will say she rode Hunter to that win, and while I don’t completely disagree, the Challenge is a game in which you need to adapt, outplay and outsmart your opponents and, sometimes, your teammates. That’s what makes Ashley so dangerous in this game —she will act as the lone wolf that no one likes, and will eat up anyone who comes near like a black widow. I would be none-surprised to see Ashley Mitchell running in a final for a chance to obliterate the total moneys earned record —which for the record, she already sits atop.
UK Dee - She’s a bit of an interesting competitor. From the eye test, she appears to be someone that could hold her own in a one-on-one. Likely a top-half sort of team challenge type. That said, I’ve never really seen her do anything that impressed me, perhaps other than learning to swim overnight (maybe some editing) for a water challenge. Big picture, her relationship with the US might either move her forward or get her slaughtered —it’s really too early to tell. I did find it funny when the Americans were calling out Wes for sneaky treason, Dee told the cameras that she may have overestimated Wes’ place in the house…it might be smart for her to ditch that relationship before she goes down with the ship.
US Nany - I wrote an entire piece on Nany last season. I couldn’t understand the obsession with her, and why people were clamoring for her to come back. I consistently ranked her very low, and in turn, Turbo was ranked low seeing as how I felt she would hold him back. To try and fight for myself a bit, I believe that most of the Turbo/Nany team success was initiated by Turbo. Once Nany was split, she went home.
UK Nicole - Nicole just hasn’t had much screen time, other than being noted as a Georgia ally (and best friend). This may or may not help her, we’ve already seen a minor uproar on why she wasn’t included in the first nomination as a rookie.
UK Esther - Another competitor I know little about. We saw her beg to stay out of the elim, which ended up working for her. She claims to be invested in this team and game—time will tell.
UK Kayleigh - I’ve never had much to be excited about with Kayleigh. If I’m being transparent, I don’t necessarily see her as the next woman out the door, though she will sit at the bottom of my rankings for now.
Males - In-depth breakdown for men next week, tiers and rankings below:
CT - [Sneak Peek]The Americans betrayed him, and I think that helps light a fire under his ass. On the US squad, CT is one of a handful of guys that could be the leader and best player on the team, but with the UK he becomes de facto numero uno. It’ll be interesting to see if he is able to motivate this team, or if he’s just the head of a dying snake.