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Bear is finally gone from The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 after his defeat in last week’s episode, and while Turbo is worried that a Bear-less house is a boring house, the drama is only just getting started. Team U.S. and Team U.K. are each divided down the middle with two alliances at war per team, and at some point, they’re going to have to come head-to-head in the struggle for dominance in the game. Is that finally going to happen now?

All the alliances are scrambling at the top of this week’s episode, and while Joss and Rogan are making deals with Paulie’s group on the Team U.S. side, CT is setting his sights on Kyle and his “lie-abetes.” But you know this episode is going to be good when it only takes seven minutes to get to the challenge — that means a lot is going to happen when it comes to the voting/elimination.

The Challenge: Crate Expectations

Teams must race across a large field to retrieve 125 crates which they will then use to build towers large enough to reach relics strung up overhead. The first team to get all 12 relics and 125 crates past the finish line wins. But here’s the kicker: whoever loses will have to vote in both one female and one male for elimination, because it’s a double elimination week. Team U.K. really can’t afford to lose this one!

Degree of physical difficulty: High. This is all endurance and strength with running and carrying the heavy crates, and weaker players are going to struggle with gassing out.

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

Potential for drama: High. This is another team challenge that will result in lots of yelling because the stakes have never been higher.

Winner: Do you even have to ask anymore? Team U.S. gets an early lead with three relics before Team U.K. even gets their first, despite everyone predicting that Theo’s height would be an advantage for Team U.K. Esther’s struggle to run and carry the crates cancels out any height perk her team might have had. Both Rogan and Kyle claim that the other player is useless during the challenge, and Theo can see Idris struggling too. Once it starts raining, things get chaotic but Team U.S. gets all 12 of their relics placed and all 125 crates back across the line first, continuing their clean sweep of challenges and escaping the double elimination.

Tribunal: Team U.S. picks Ashley as the speaker and she picks Paulie and Cara Maria to round out the Tribunal. Team U.S. is not thrilled about her picks considering they’ve already gone back on their promises this season, but it’s really not surprising considering they’re her alliance.

The constant losing streak is really starting to wear on Team U.K. Georgia breaks down crying after the challenge, with Kyle right there with her feeling absolutely defeated. But Esther surprises me by immediately saying that she’s going to nominate herself for the Proving Ground after Team U.K.’s loss to prove herself. She knows she’s the weakest female player and wants to go in to sink or swim, which is an incredible attitude for a rookie to have. But Team U.S. wants Esther to stick around because they view her as an advantage, knowing that she’s holding her team back, so now they have to figure out how to protect her from getting thrown in.

Ninja appeals to Dee with the logic that they need Esther to stick around for their alliance, but Dee doesn’t want to keep a player around who keeps holding them back from winning challenges. Since Esther is already going to volunteer to go in, Ninja tries to get Dee to protect Idris from being thrown in for the guys instead. Dee tries to use her relationship with Rogan as a way to push that agenda forward, but he’s dead set on making their team as strong as possible so they can start winning. However, Rogan immediately goes to CT about throwing Kyle in instead of Idris so maybe Dee’s plan may end up working after all.

The Proving Ground elimination

At nominations, Esther stays true to her word, much to Cara’s chagrin, and throws herself in for the girls. For the guys, there’s an awkward silence before Joss throws out Kyle’s name for always being a floater and never knowing where he stands. But Kyle pushes back on Rogan still not having done an elimination yet and gets agitated. Kyle says Rogan or Idris should go in instead of him, so the vote comes down to Kyle or Idris but the votes are overwhelmingly for Kyle. He’s hurt to see people like Dee voting him in, but this season has already proven to be more about numbers and alliances than keeping your best players around.

When the rest of Team U.K. leaves, Esther shocks the Tribunal (and frankly, me) by saying that she could take on someone like Georgia or Jenny and potentially take home the W in the upcoming elimination. Kyle wants to go against Rogan most of all but has no qualms on taking on Idris or Joss, just anyone besides CT or Theo. And he promises the Tribunal that if he’s forced to go against Theo, whoever wins would be the first turncoat and swap teams. He’s apparently just saying that so the Tribunal doesn’t throw in a friend of his, knowing that Cara and Paulie would rather die than be on a team with him.

The Tribunal is suspicious of how Dee voted against Kyle, and so her and Georgia’s names get put on the table to go against Esther (along with Rogan and Theo) to go against Kyle. When Team U.K. files back into the house, Kyle snaps at Joss for what he sees as a huge betrayal, and this is the first time all season we’ve seen Kyle care about something. He’s furious at Joss and Rogan and vows to do whatever it takes to get them out on every season of The Challenge moving forward indefinitely. A new vendetta is born!

And with tensions running high, a night out drinking sounds like the perfect situation! Cara tries to make Dee agree that she should have done more to convince Esther not to nominate herself, but there was truly nothing Dee could have done if Esther made it known from the start she was going to throw her own name in. Now, however, Cara is painting a target on Dee’s back for not going with her plan.

Cara and Ashley then gang up on Dee and try to get her to throw out a name that should be sent in against Esther but she refuses to get played by them and stands her ground. Things get pretty tense, and Ninja stays quiet throughout the entire conversation. And Kyle just decides that with nothing to lose he’s going to stir the pot whenever he can, provoking fights. That’s fun to watch but when he starts throwing low blows about how Rogan is just going to “chuck” Dee out as soon as the season ends, things take a turn for the messy… but it’s Ninja who starts crying instead of Dee. All in all, this night out was not fun to watch. I expected more fireworks! But I guess the remaining minutes are going towards the double-elimination instead of some huge fight.

At the Proving Ground, Kyle tries to make Rogan go down by telling TJ that’s who their team voted in, but it doesn’t work and he joins Esther on the ground. The Tribunal unanimously votes for Georgia to go against Esther, which shocks Dee, who thought it was for sure going to be her. They also unanimously vote for Theo to go against Kyle, which breaks Kyle’s heart.

Elimination challenge: Running Riot. Two answer keys feature two lines of numbers that list different weights. Outside the Proving Ground are giant relics that players must bring back to correspond with the weight listed on the keys. First-person to line up all their relics in the correct order listed wins.

Degree of physical difficulty: High. This is a lot of running and lifting heavy objects, so endurance and strength are key.

Degree of mental difficulty: High. These players are not known for their number skills, which could prove to be a fatal flaw here no matter how strong or fit they are. But there’s no math involved in this one — it’s literally just a list of numbers. It’s really not that difficult but depending on how exhausted the players get, the numbers could get jumbled.

Potential for drama: High. Team U.K. is losing a strong male player no matter what, and Kyle or Theo might actually swap teams. The big stakes here are with the female elimination because if Esther actually pulls off this upset, it would be a huge blow for Team U.K.

Winner: Georgia for the females and Theo for the males.

The females go first, and Esther shocks everyone by taking off faster than Georgia in the beginning. Georgia places all her relics first but gets the order wrong, giving Esther time to catch up. But despite Esther only needing to place her 25th and final relic, Georgia fixes her order first and wins. For the males, Kyle takes an early lead because Theo targets the heaviest relics first while Kyle wants to do the lightest first to lap Theo and beat him with speed. Theo starts to gas out but Kyle leaves his heaviest relic for the end, which proves to be his fatal flaw. He’s already used up all his energy by now and can’t even pick it up, despite truly giving it his all. This gives Theo the time he needs to get his last three relics and pull out the W. Kyle tries to convince Theo and Georgia swap teams, but Georgia chooses to stay with Team U.K. (after coming out strong against Cara and Paulie). And while it seems like Theo seriously considers swapping, he also chooses to stay. Bummer.

Challenger of the week: Even though she lost her elimination, Esther absolutely is the MVP of this week! Not only did she send herself in knowing that all rookies have to prove themselves at some point, but she also did so with extreme class. Her speech after her loss was incredible to see. Even TJ was moved! I’m going to miss you Esther, but I am glad that we’re going to get to hopefully see Team U.K. start to pull off some wins with a team full of all strong players. I’d like to see you come back for an individual season though; your heart and attitude were such an amazing addition to this show.

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

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