“What’s a blue state?”

Just last week, the forced love triangle of Cohutta, Nany, and Johnny reached its tipping point. Despite being all doe-eyed over the sweet, southern gentleman, Cohutta, Nany slept with Johnny, even though she claimed no interest in him. Apparently, this doesn’t bug Cohutta at all. They’re cute and flirtatious, but they both look a little stupid.

“You’re so annoying.”

Laural and Cara Maria’s history is fraught with fights, condescension, and ass kicking. When they were on Cutthroat together, Laurel despised CM and believed that she didn’t belong in the end. On Rivals, they barely interacted, despite being partners, until the house turned against Cara. Laurel defended her, stood by her side, and went on to get second place. Since then they’ve been the best of friends, looking after each other when it comes down to voting. But since the last episode, something has gone sour.

The editing of the episode makes it seem like they’re fighting over whether or not Laurel would ever vote in Cara, but it’s clear that the tensions started elsewhere. According to twitter, many of Cara’s talking head comments were about an unaired fight between Laurel and a member of production. Whatever the root of their re-discovered animosity, it hits them both really hard.

Laurel immediately replaces Cara with Jessica. They loudly laugh and chat while Cara tries to sleep, in true passive aggressive fashion. Laurel even implies that she’d consider voting Cara Maria into an elimination. This is going to get ugly.

“See ya in the draw.”

The Challenge this week is a retread of one we’ve seen at least twice before. Teams of two run back and forth, replacing one ball with another, trying not to knock into their opposing teams. The second CT and Zach end up on a team together, the rest of the men consider the outcome a forgone conclusion. These two muscled beasts could probably destroy any other team alone, let alone in a partnership. (The other male teams are Bananas/Cohutta and Leroy/Johnny.)

In true Challenge tradition, Cara Maria and Jessica end up paired together, clearly holding hostility about fighting over the affections of Laurel. (The other female teams are Nany/Theresa and Laurel/Devyn.)

The women go first. One would think that Laurel would have this in the bag, especially since her legs are twice the length of any other girl. However, she takes her sweet time so she doesn’t have to get knocked over. Meanwhile, Cara Maria is running circles around her partner and finishes a good few minutes before Jessica can do her part. Nany and Theresa win.

During the men’s challenge, it’s so obvious that none of the other teams can hold a candle to CT and Zach. Johnny even gets so confused by the different colored balls that he creates twice the work for Leroy. (It’s worth noting that Leroy is a great sport about the mistake and isn’t remotely upset. That’s why he’s a fan favorite.) CT and Zach win to nobody’s surprise. Now it’s up to the winners to decide who goes into the elimination.

“Kill all. Ask questions never.”

Zach and CT are gung ho about keeping the strongest competitors and kicking out the weakest. The strategy is baffling. Why would either of them want the strongest competitors in the end? They could easily send in Bananas and hope that Leroy pulls the kill card and destroys him in the elimination. But they’re set on keeping the biggest, baddest competitors, on both male and female sides.

All four winners vote in Jessica. CT says he would never want to be teamed up with her. Nany says she doesn’t want to give Jess a free pass to the end. Zach claims that her luck, and luck alone, has gotten her this far. Harsh. Cohutta is also voted in, but his explanations are much more complimentary. Except for CT who is strangely blunt in his reasoning, calling him a liability.

“Hopefully we don’t have to dig too deep because I don’t want to work hard.”

One of the biggest complaints leveled against Leroy this season is that he hasn’t earned his spot in the finals. He has thrown challenges because he prefers to take his chances in the draw than be voted in. Leroy can’t even muster up enough energy to make some empty promises to Theresa in exchange for not throwing him into the elimination. His desire to coast to the end doesn’t really make him look like a worth while opponent. It’s one thing to play it safe; it’s another not to play at all.

“You’re supposed to be distraught.”

It comes time for the draw. Leroy’s luck finally catches up to him and he’s left with the kill card. He’s visibly shaken, clearly believing that he was going to end up in the finals without really trying. Cara Maria also pulls the kill card. Out of her 5 times in the draw, she has pulled the card 3 times. Did she break a mirror? Walk under a ladder? Cross a black cat? Those odds are insane.

The elimination is one we’ve seen many times before. One person is offense; the other defense. Offense tries to get a ball in a basket, while the other person tries to knock them out of the ring. Best 2 out of 3 wins the game.

The female elimination is first and it’s not the done deal that it may seem. Although Jessica has never seemed like an actual threat to the house’s tougher girls, she puts up a hell of a fight. In the past, this elimination has been a little light weight. Last time Laurel practically squashed Jasmine. However, in tonight’s fight, both girls are hardcore, scratching, kicking, hitting, and doing everything they can to destroy the other.

Their fights are so tough that both girls don’t even score in the first round. Each round lasts what feels like a lifetime. CT loudly cheers for Cara Maria, while Laurel—in the worst betrayal yet—roots for Jessica. The entire viewing section regards Laurel’s cheering with disgust. So much for best friends.

Eventually, Cara Maria wins, but not before cracking her wrist on the basket. That was by far the toughest girl’s elimination so far.

Poor Cohutta. Was there ever a chance that he’d win this one? Leroy is three times his size. Not even Cohutta’s speed and cunning could get him past that giant of a man. Leroy beats him easily.

“If looks could kill, Laurel would be dead.”

The fun of a character like Laurel on a show like this is that she’s a tough competitor who is even more ruthless when it comes to her personal relationships. She gets more flack than characters like Johnny Bananas, Frank, and CT, who all act similarly. Laurel has spent most of the season looking practically saintly compared to her past personas. She was best friends with an underdog and former rival, while romancing Jordan.

Tonight we saw the real Laurel, the girl who could destroy a grown man’s self esteem with drunken rant. When she says that the words best friend are being thrown around too much (“I have other friends.”) it’s as wicked as we’ve seen her. Too bad we couldn’t see the root of the issue between CM and Laurel. Maybe next week.

Other Musings:

• Johnny: “It’s all messed up…I don’t know colors anymore.”
• Laurel: “I don’t want to be friends with a kid.”
• Cohutta is really wise. He calmly tells Laurel that she’s blowing things out of proportion and mentions that her pride is keeping her from a good friendship.
• Jess: “I didn’t expect you to be nice.” Zach: “Nobody ever does”
• Zach had some great commentary on Laurel. On her burn book: “We should steal her journal and send it into a psych ward.” On her cheering for Jessica: “Laurel has proven she’s a poor sport and a terrible person.”
• Anybody feel that cold breeze coming from hell? It must be because Cara Maria and Johnny Bananas high fived.
• Cara Maria may have broken her hand. It’s heartbreaking to see her tearfully plead with the medics at the thought of being sent home. It’s a cliffhanger, but I’m betting she’ll be able to continue.