The Challenge
Credit: MTV

After Rogan showed his true d-bag colors last week on The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2, the fallout from him screwing over his showmance Dee was inevitable. It didn’t happen last week, as the Tribunal voted in Jenny instead of Dee at the last second, but that only paused the drama. So let’s jump right into it for this week’s episode!

After getting back from Jenny’s elimination, Team U.K. immediately has a team meeting where Kayleigh tries to open the floor for an honest discussion, but no one can look Dee in the eyes. It’s so hard to watch, and she immediately starts crying about how everyone betrayed her. I don’t blame her, she got screwed over by everyone, including her boyfriend, out of nowhere — despite the last-minute save. And Rogan defending himself by saying she shouldn’t be surprised by comments “doubting” her abilities is just s—y icing on the crap cake. Get this guy out of here.

And I won’t keep harping on the whole Paulie/Cara stuff, but watching them try so hard to name Kam and Leroy as the new “power couple/it couple” is desperate and sad when it’s clear: Jordan and Tori are the real power couple/it couple this season. Sorry not sorry, Cara! Get over it!

The Challenge: Puzzling Swim

Each team starts on its floating platform with a padlocked scroll containing a riddle. Pairs then swim one at a time 150 meters to a buoy to collect their team’s key until all four keys have been retrieved. Teams then use those keys to unlock their scroll to solve the riddle — whoever solves it first, wins. Since Team U.K. has only seven players, one guy will swim by himself (CT) and since Team U.S. has an extra player, one girl will sit out (Ninja). But here’s the twist: The slowest swimming pair immediately gets eliminated — it doesn’t matter if they’re on the winning or losing team. It’s a purge day!

Degree of physical difficulty: High. It’s literally sink or swim.

Degree of mental difficulty: Moderate. These idiots can’t solve word puzzles!

Potential for drama: High. Purge challenges are always full of drama because there’s no telling who’s going to mess up. There are a lot of players who can’t swim well (or at all), and this is going to come down to speed. Plus, this could also mess up the “numbers game” if the eliminated players are from the dominating alliance! I really want that to be the case. And watching everyone politic and choose their partners is incredible because it gives great insight into how players feel about each other. Zach rightly calls out Ninja for sitting out because she’s a bad swimmer, knowing that puts all the better female swimmers on Team U.S. into the line of fire instead. CT refuses to let Rogan off the hook for Dee, forcing them to be partners despite Rogan’s protests — and Dee sees the entire thing! Ouch. And Cara is upset that she’s Paulie’s partner, knowing her bad swimming skills are putting his game in jeopardy. I am loving this purge already!

Winner: Team U.S., thanks to Paulie solving the riddle.

The swim goes exactly how you think it will go. Cara struggles, and Paulie screams at her. For some reason, Ashley’s swimming the entire thing on her back. Dee actually catches up to Leroy and then leaves him in her dust! That should shut up anyone doubting her swimming abilities. Josh literally tows Nany and they’re faster than Joss and Kayleigh, which says more about Josh’s swimming abilities than anything else (but Kayleigh is somehow even slower than I expected). Team U.S. has a little bit of a head start on the riddle, and Paulie ends up solving it. As for who gets purged, the two slowest pairs are (no surprise) Leroy and Kam, and Joss and Kayleigh — but Joss and Kayleigh were just a little slower, meaning they’re officially gone.

It’s shocking to see Kayleigh’s reaction — she’s just weirdly smiling and saying “f—” over and over again. I feel for Joss since this is clearly Kayleigh’s fault, but he dug his own grave all season by siding with Kayleigh’s dumb moves, resulting in the loss of strong players like Georgia. And he knows it too — seeing him realize in his talking head interview how much he screwed up this season by eliminating all the strong players from Team U.K. is like an actual lightbulb moment, but instead of it turning on, it’s legit shattering in his face. Leroy breaks down into happy tears knowing that he’s safe and his slow swimming didn’t get him eliminated. This challenge makes me wish we’d get more swimming eliminations since that’s such a crucial part of this game and yet eliminations never take place on the water.

Tribunal: After Joss and Kayleigh are booted (literally, they have to leave right away), Team U.S. picks… Ninja as speaker? What that actual f—. She didn’t even compete, which TJ points out in shock. She picks Zach and Ashley to round out the Tribunal, and I just don’t understand how this happened.

With only Jordan, CT, and Rogan left on Team U.K. for a guy elimination week, this could be a brutal episode for them. But back at the house, Paulie starts floating the idea of “trimming the fat” on Team U.S. by throwing Josh in instead of another Team U.K. guy. I don’t know how or even if the teams are going to be evened out for the final, but the nine-vs.-five imbalance absolutely should have Team U.S. worried if there’s going to be a team-specific purge. I just hate that once again, Paulie and his alliance is in control of this no matter what happens.

But there’s definitely trouble in paradise — Paulie tries to rightfully tell Cara that she needs to work on her swimming/breathing, and she goes off on a tirade about how being in a relationship in The Challenge house is the worst environment. I’ve got to give a shout out to the editors here for cutting a montage of Jordan and Tori and Kam and Leroy being all lovey and couple-y elsewhere in the house. Cara, you’ve got issues and it’s not just because you’re competing with your boyfriend! Later, he complains to some of the guys about how he’d like a more “coachable” teammate instead of Cara and how he doubts if she can run or even wants to run this final. Yikes. She’s run plenty of finals and even won, but that was the old, pre-Paulie Cara. She just hasn’t been performing at her normal levels this season. Meanwhile, Rogan puts all the blame for doubting Dee on Joss knowing that since he’s gone, it’s an easy out. Dee, please, I beg of you, do not fall for this! If she doesn’t write Rogan off in the house now that his talking head interviews are airing, this has to be the final nail in the coffin of their potential relationship, right?

At nominations, Dee gives a big speech about how Jordan and Tori supported her and she’ll never forget that, but she’s still “loyal to a fault” and votes Jordan in with the rest of her alliance. The numbers game is alive and well, people, and I still hate it! She should have flipped and voted in Rogan but she didn’t want to go against her alliance (despite them trying to go against her just last week). He has yet to see an elimination and CT and Jordan are both elimination vets. Plus, they’re both champs and Rogan is still a rookie with a lot to prove after he DQed himself on Vendettas. But oh well. Hate him or love him, Jordan’s attitude towards eliminations is awesome to see — instead of wallowing, he’s psyched to compete. This is what The Challenge is all about!

The Proving Ground elimination

Walking in, Jordan sees two ropes attached to platforms, and for the first time in his Challenge career, he expresses fear about how not having two hands could cost him this. Usually, he’s driven to prove how having only one hand doesn’t hurt his game, so that immediately gives me anxiety that this won’t end well for him. As for his opponent, Ninja votes for Josh, Zach votes for Paulie (knowing it’s a burn vote), and Ashley votes for Josh, sending in their own teammate against Jordan.

Elimination challenge: End of the Rope. Buried under the dirt is 100 feet of rope. Players stand on pedestals and pull the rope as fast as they can until it becomes taut. It then becomes a tug of war — whomever gets the rope all the way on their side or pulls their opponent off the pedestal wins. But it’s the first to win three, which means this is going to be a long, brutal fight.

Degree of physical difficulty: High. But points to Josh for not only having strength and size on Jordan, but two hands as well.

Degree of mental difficulty: N/A. This is all physical.

Potential for drama: High. Team U.K. cannot afford to lose Jordan. But if Josh wins, he’s coming back with a vengeance against his own teammates.

Winner: Jordan! Despite Josh’s clear strength and two-handed advantage, Jordan plays a smart game. He watches Josh to figure out his tell when he’s about to make a big move with the rope and times it just right to make him lose balance and fall off the pedestal in the first round. In the second round, despite Jordan only having about 10 feet of rope left after Josh pulled it all, and standing on one foot, Jordan wins again! Turns out that Jordan pretended to lose his balance and let go of the rope, knowing Josh would tug on it hard believing it’s going to get him the win but really makes him fall off. And it happens exactly how he planned it to, proving that brains can win over brawn. In the third round, Josh falls off yet again, giving Jordan his third and final win, keeping him in the game and sending Josh home.

Challenger of the week: Jordan for absolutely smoking Josh in an elimination that should have been an easy win for Josh. Again, hate Jordan or love him, you can’t deny that he’s one of the best competitors to ever go on this show.

The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on MTV.

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