Zach and CT show up to Hulk out
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Welcome back to The Challenge, where teased guest appearances from favorite past cast members rarely have worthwhile payoffs. Last week CT visited the cast, only to demonstrate a challenge with Diem’s sister Faith. He’s back again this week with Zach (a.k.a. Thor, a.k.a. Jenna’s boyfriend), but instead of jumping in to compete with Bloodlines, they’re both used as foils in the Pit, a producer-coordinated act that seems to imply what I’ve been thinking for the past few episodes: Bloodlines has gotten stale.

Remember when I said this was going to be the craziest, most insane season of The Challenge ever? Yeah, I was wrong. Instead, once we lost a majority of the heavy hitters (Camila, Nany, Leroy, etc.), the chemistry was gone. So was the quality of play. Lost on this season is the heightened skills of competitors like Landon, Derrick, Wes, Evelyn, Laurel, and Veronica. Instead, Bananas wins, and it’s boring. Half the competitors didn’t even finish this week’s challenge — and when Jamie and Mike went into the Pit against CT and Zach (more on that later), it wasn’t even a question if they could beat them. Instead, they held on for dear life while the vets tossed them around.

Let this be a plea for the next season of The Challenge to include old faves who can actually compete…or to groom better newbies to take their place. At this point, the joy of watching family members hang out has waned, and all we’re left with is an anemic cast who can’t finish challenges. Boo.

That being said, let’s get into episode 9, which picks up after Jenna beat KellyAnne in her third pit. Next up for the group: a terrifying underwater challenge that only four people complete. Huzzah! (T.J. also reveals that this is the last week they’ll be split up into teams. Next week, they’ll go back to their Bloodline pairs.)

This week, the teams have to take a deep dive under water and hold their head in a small box filled with air (yes, still under water) until another teammate comes to rescue them. Only then can they progress to the next box, and the next box, and the next box until they stop at all six of the air pockets. On the red team, only Bananas and Abram finish. On the blue team, only Jamie and Mike finish. Everyone else DQs.

I never realized how much I missed the challenge aspect of The Challenge until everyone started being bad at them.

Red team wins after their time is better than blue’s, and when blue deliberate about which guys to send into the pit, everyone looks to Vince to volunteer. He hasn’t seen an elimination. He’s straight-up bad at the challenges. And everyone’s taken to calling him “Creepy Uncle Vince.” Time go, bro… Except it isn’t. Instead, the team winds up sending Mike back in for reasons we can’t really understand.

NEXT: It’s time for a classic Abram rant

Then come the politics: In order to save Vince, Bananas try to convince Jenna and Brianna that he has their back. They’d been thinking about joining forces with Cara/Jamie and Abram/Mike — and they know how conniving Bananas and Vince can be. (Remember Nany?! Remember how many times Vince voted for Jenna?!)

But when it comes time to vote for a blue male, Brianna becomes the deciding vote (what?) between Jamie and Vince. She chooses Jamie. Cara says it best in her confessional: “Sheeple.”

Abram goes off on a classic Abram-style rant: “If you’re a liar and a cheater here, you’re one outside this house.”

Jamie and Mike (and by proxy Cara and Abram) head to the Pit where they each have to fight a vet (CT or Zach) to stay in the game. (Shoutout to Jenna and Zach’s cute lil’ reunion. Challenge love 4ever.)

Turns out Jamie can fight against CT more than Mike can fight against Zach, so Abram and Mike are sent packing. Mike, we hardly knew ye.

And that concludes the sad, sad week in which we realized Bloodlines is pretty depressing and lacks people to root for. Now for the Bloodline Rankings.

1. Cara Maria and Jamie

How is it that Cara Maria and Jamie have become the only people on this show who can think for themselves? Remember when Cara started out the game “flirting her way to the final?” Burn it down, Cara.

2. Jenna and Brianna

A deal with Bananas is as good as a deal with the devil, but look at who’s left on the female-team front. Jenna’s played a solid game that will land her some money. Props are due.

3. Abram and Mike

Alas. Goodbye to these brothers who provided us with a few moments of old-school Challenge drama and some extremely uncomfortable truths about a certain show-based relationship.

4. Bananas and Vince

Literally the only people on this show doing anything anymore. We hate them. We need them. We hate that we need them.

5. Cory and Mitch

I am truly shocked that these newbs are still here. HOW?!

6. Aneesa and Rianna


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