The Best Laid Schemes o’ Bananas and Gingers, Often Go Awry

Johnny and Wes

In spite of the preponderance of top male competitors remaining in the field, Wes and Johnny are clearly running the show early on this season. This is no surprise. We all know their politicking was a notch above the rest, and as a result they are one another’s primary targets and primary threats at this early stage in the game. They have now both won a Challenge, and both postured with threats of throwing the other one into an elimination round. However, reason and sense won out in the end and neither power pairing has been thrown into an elimination by the other yet. 

In spite of how sensible that decision is, however, it was surprisingly difficult. We already knew Wes and Johnny hated each other, but they’re both too savvy and experienced to make a power play this early in the game. Their partners, however, don’t seem to see things that way. Our loving latina “Gonzalez sisters” Theresa and Nany have already decided they hate each other (eased along by Theresa’s past actions on Free Agents especially) and have decided they want to go at each other’s throats. While this is all well and good for the drama of the show, it isn’t exactly making Wes or Johnny’s jobs easier. It is absolutely spectacular to me to see those two forced to switch from posturing and empty threats to immediate damage control to keep things from spilling over and causing an early exit for one or both teams.

Approximate reenactment of events.

Approximate reenactment of events.

Wes’s downfall is always and has always been the decision of the other competitors to pick off his rookie minions one by one, depleting his armor until he finally stands alone. And because he never truly cares about protecting his rookies he always let’s this happen, and sometimes willingly offers up his rookies in secret deliberations in order to save himself. Not exactly the most savory technique, but it works for a while. However, it won’t work forever and never does. I’m not too worried for Wes’s survival yet. Especially when he and Theresa were so close to winning that ludicrous challenge (and honestly should have won), but Bananas has taken the first of many steps toward chopping Wes down to size.

This time around, however, he may have another problem is his own partner doesn’t quit starting fires around the house. I’ve seen Johnny control crazy partners before, but can’t recall Wes being put to the same test. In fact, in Rivals II it often seemed like CT who was keeping Wes in check, rather than the other way around. Theresa is undeniably a strong partner to have when it comes to physical competition. Her politicks, however, remind me of old Johnny Bananas the bumbling villain rather than his new form as a modern day MTV Otto von Bismarck. She just tries the “nice to your face, lie behind your back” stuff which never works. It is too purely motivated by greed and selfishness, and always backfires as it currently is with Nany.

Now, normally this wouldn’t be a problem for Theresa as there are only a handful of female competitors on this show superior to her physically, but this time around her picking on Nany is going to bring Bananas into the fight, and could spell ruin for her team. She has a great opportunity to learn from one of the best schemers in Challenge history with Wes on her team. Last episode she did not seem to want to learn from him as he pleaded with her to apologize to Nany, and she sat silent like a petulant child. She’ll have to fix this attitude problem and start learning a thing or two from Wes if they want to succeed. Its so obvious she wants to win one of these things, and works really hard to put herself in successful positions, but she hasn’t achieved anything yet. She needs to shut up, humble herself, and learn from Wes for the time being. If she does she might turn into one of the most dominant female characters we have. Otherwise her Challenge might be shorter than she would like.

So with that said, let’s take a look at some updated Power Rankings shall we?

ELIMINATED:

thomas and hailey

No surprises here. I never expected much of them to start the season, and was shocked that Dustin and Jessica ended up going down week one instead of someone like them or JJ and Simone. It all worked out in the end though as Thomas and Hailey were double eliminated this week, losing in both The Dome and in Exile. The only sad part about them leaving in my opinion is that Wes is now short of 2 more minions. O’well though. Better luck next time folks.

Final Rank: 13

Change from Last Week: -3

Preseason Rank: 11

EXILED:

dustin and jessica

This is much more like what I expected from Dustin and Jessica. I think they’re better than almost every single rookie pair with the exception of Adam and Brittany who they had to face in exile (and honestly should have beaten… they were several rungs ahead of them on that ladder challenge until Jessica toppled them). So anyway I’m happy to see them win in Exile. Also, I absolutely love the Royal Rumble setup for these exile eliminations where Dustin and Jessica will have to run a full gauntlet of 9 teams if they hope to make it back to a Final Challenge. I highly doubt they’ll succeed, but I’m excited to see how long their run lasts.

Current Rank: 12

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 9

LIVE AND KICKIN’:

jj and simone

I have no idea how these two continue to sneak under everyone’s radar, but I am convinced that they are legitimately terrible. They’ll shatter worse than a recent college graduate’s hopes and dreams after they enter the job market as soon as someone decides to test them. It’s just a matter of time.

Current Rank: 11

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 13

jay and jenna

I’ve said the whole time that I think Jay could actually put on a respectable showing physically on this show, but that I doubted Jenna’s abilities. Now, with Jenna starting a romance with Thor’s nephew Zach you’d think they improved their chances and gained a powerful ally. However, only half of the team-members involved in that love quadrilateral are happy about it. Both Jay and Jonna seem to be out of sorts, and I can only believe Jenna’s actions are going to create enough drama to drag her team down, and maybe even take Zach with them.

Current Rank: 10

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 12

Knight and Jemmye

They didn’t do anything to hurt themselves this week, but I still don’t have much faith in the ever-feuding twosome. Their veteran status will carry them a ways, but their hatred is gonna send this house of cards crashing down eventually. Although I did love their comments during the Challenge that “they wouldn’t have to talk to each other so that would help.”

Current Rank: 9

Change from Last Week: 0

Preseason Rank: 10

adamn and brittany

This ranking isn’t about them falling, as it was last week, but rather the next team in our list passing them. Adam and Brittany have done nothing to make me think they’re worthy of the inflated preseason rank I gave them, and Brittany is even starting to get on my nerves. I still have faith they’ll put it together and make a small run eventually, but they’re not final Challenge material. At least not at this point in their young careers.

Current Rank: 8

Change from Last Week: -1

Preseason Rank: 4

boston johnny and averey

Johnny and Averey had an impressive Dome win over hapless Thomas and Hailey. I’ve got all the faith in the world in Boston Johnny after his surprise Finals appearance last season, but Averey I still question. She took FOREVER to complete her half of the elimination challenge, and only succeeded because Hailey completely failed to move on. However, I do give her props for accomplishing a difficult task, as countless girls on this show can’t even do that, so there’s hope here. I’m just not sure there’s enough hope for them to upset any of the teams ahead of them.

Current Rank: 7

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 8

zach and jonna

Thor and his partner dropped thanks to the time honored tradition on the Challenge of ‘trouble in the bedroom.’ Zach is breaking the #1 rule of The Challenge (given to us by Johnny Bananas himself): NEVER FALL IN LOVE ON THE CHALLENGE. There is no way this Jenna fling can end well for him, and it only makes things worse that his jealous partner is now making out with Jay just to make herself feel better about it. Troubling seas ahead for The Great Viking.

Current Rank: 6

Change from Last Week: -1

Preseason Rank: 6

leroy and nia

Zach’s loss is Leroy’s gain. I think the two are about equal in terms of physical strength so the only way to differentiate them (normally) is through their political standing in the house. Normally the edge here goes to Zach because Leroy flatly refuses to politick (something I’ve always admired in him as it reminds me of the old CT), but this time around since Zach is actively hurting his political standing, Leroy’s neutral stance wins out. I still can’t put them in the Hallowed Top Four because I don’t trust Nia in a Dome Elimination, but they’re in pole position to capitalize if any of the Top Four should stumble.

Current Rank: 5

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 7

jordan and sarah

Jordan and Sarah dropped a spot this week, but I don’t think it’s really anything to be concerned about. They’re still one of the strongest teams out there in terms of both male and female rankings. They got hit with some tough luck with that ball spinning Challenge considering the fact that Jordan only has one hand, and that type of thing could easily come back to haunt them in crunch time, but I doubt it. So even with a one spot drop I don’t think they have any less of a chance to win the whole thing. They’re still Top Four and have a great chance to make the Finals.

Current Rank: 4

Change from Last Week: -1

Preseason Rank: 3

ct and diem

They leapt over Jordan and Sarah this week to continue their upward trajectory in the rankings largely due to their fantastic performances in Challenges. They finished 2nd (barely missing out on 1st) in Week One, and now they made it to the top three in the Week Two challenge as well. I’ve had my doubts about Diem’s abilities for years, and her sickness only further shook my faith, but if her and CT keep putting up these amazing finishes (narrowly missing out of victory each team) I’ll have no choice but to reconsider. Already I think Diem is one of the top female competitors after her performances thus far, and we all know CT is a monster in these things so if they can keep it up I foresee nothing but success for these two.

Current Rank: 3

Change from Last Week: +1

Preseason Rank: 5

wes and theresa

They BARELY lost the Challenge this week so they’re obviously still near top dog status, but unfortunately the team they lost to was the only team outranking them last week, so I can’t move them up. Moreover, if Theresa doesn’t get her act together and start playing safer Politicks these two will be in trouble. For now though I still consider them one of the frontrunners to bring down the whole thing. The only problem is theres one team still ahead of them…

Current Rank: 2

Change from Last Week: 0

Preseason Rank: 2

bananas and nany

… the King still sits atop his Banana Throne. They narrowly won a Challenge this week, putting them into Power Couple status which is always a plus. However, Nany has apparently turned nearly the whole female side of the house against her which if left unaddressed will become a major issue. I have faith that Johnny will straighten everything out though, so for now I guess it reamins “All Hail the Banana King.” Until next time folks.

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