“This is probably what it feels like to be sisters”

The episode begins with the continuation of last week’s best friend breakdown. Laurel and Cara Maria are still in the midst of their brutal fight that seemingly began over a petty roommate-like squabble. While Cara Maria is in the hospital, getting her hand checked out, Laurel talks to Zach, CT, and Johnny about her, claiming that she doesn’t care one way or the other if Cara comes back. (CT: “You’re being a little scary.”) She gets no sympathy from the guys, who flat out tell her she’s being stubborn and cruel.

When Cara Maria gets back, with a cast on her fractured hand, Laurel does her best to mend things, especially since she doesn’t know if Cara will be sent home before the next challenge. But she can’t bring herself to apologize. That’s not Laurel’s way. This is a player who constantly wears her game face and has destroyed players like Big Easy and Paula with her words. She’s not the type to swallow her pride and do anything to get a friend back.

For once, Cara Maria stands up for herself, telling her that she lost her as a friend the second she decided not to start out with an apology. “Our friendship is over,” Cara tells her. In her talking head, Laurel is brought to tears. She can’t believe that it all ends like this. It’s a great moment to see the vulnerability of a player who is usually made of stone.

“A couple of broken fingers aren’t going to stop her.”

Cara Maria and the rest of the challengers aren’t certain of whether or not she will be allowed to continue. The Challenge has a cruel history of allowing a challenger get dressed in their uniform, show up to the competition, and then telling them they have to go home. It happened this very season to Frank, so Cara is reasonably worried.

TJ tells Cara that it’s completely up to her whether or not she wants to continue. Since her hand is fractured, nobody would blame her for not wanting to agitate it further. However, Cara has been in more eliminations than anybody this season and lost a best friend. There’s no way she’s going to do all that for nothing.

Her decision to stay has mixed reactions. Johnny Bananas is begrudgingly proud of Cara, despite their hyped up rivalry. Devyn thinks she’s being stupid and claims that she would have taken her own ass home. Unsurprisingly, there’s very little reaction from Laurel.

Did Cara Maria make the right choice? If she messed up her hand any more during the course of a challenge, she could end up regretting it forever. It could effect how well she can compete in future challenges. Still, it’s great to see somebody so dedicated to competing, especially since Chet quit early this season over a tiny cut on his face.

“Pick me. Pick me now.”

The competition took over a majority of the episode. If it had been a more interestingly designed competition, it may have been worth it, but it was one we’ve seen many times before. Teams of two dig up a box of puzzle pieces, swim, dig again, and put together the puzzle.

Nany is paired with Bananas, who she declares is her last choice. Theresa and Zach get paired together. Devyn chooses Johnny. When it comes time for Cara Maria to choose a partner, she clearly wants CT on her team (and who wouldn’t?) but doesn’t want to doom him to having an injured partner. He asserts that he wants to be on her team, leaving Leroy and Laurel together.

CT clearly made a mistake. Cara Maria cannot dig with her wonky hand and slows them down tremendously. Meanwhile, Leroy is slow in the water. He and Laurel lag toward the bottom of the pack, which Laurel blames on her personal problems with Cara.

Nany and Bananas, two self-declared puzzle dummies, win while self-proclaimed puzzlers like Theresa and CT are left in the dust. This win means that Bananas and Nany can pick from Zach, Theresa, CT, and Cara Maria to throw into the elimination, while the rest are left to the draw.