A lot could be said about Cory, and while the interior narrative within the show begins to display people turning on Cory after his actions from the past three seasons, he may actually be playing his best game ever.
To start the season, Cory has had the most confessionals out of any competitor so far this season, and the most attention paid to when not competing. Other times players have gotten this much attention as early in the season:
Ashley Mitchell (Invasion): She got a ton of interviews early in the seasons, and all throughout got many unnecessary plugs. Ashley went on to win.
Cara Maria (Bloodlines): Another person set in the middle of the drama ending in a win.
Jordan (Free Agents): This was a spectacular burnout that ended in him falling down the wall in his elimination loss to Bananas.
Franks (Seasons): Again, another winner.
Wes & Kenny (Rivals 1): Their dysfunctional relationship ended in their hilarious loss atop a mountain with Kenny cursing out Wes.
Wes (The Ruins): Like Jordan, he was the center of all the drama until he loss like Goliath to a modern day David (Cohutta).
At the pace that Cory is going, he either does something special and wins, or crashes and burns to the point of a Big Easy level of embarrassment. People complain about Cory being a player and a fuckboi, except Cory has taken it to a transcendent level that is not being properly appreciated. Remember the first episode when having 3 girls in the house who he had previously hooked up with was a problem? By episode 2 he had one of the girls crying over him, making out with another, and built a sand castle with the third(building a sand castle = consensual sex). That is some skill. The guy’s dick game must be on point if the girls are that quick to accept him back.
He finds himself in the first elimination due to being public enemy #1 of the veterans. Cory will be facing either LeRoy, Dario, or Derrick H, all who have comparative advantages over him, all who he has advantages over as well. Bananas criticized Cory for “laying his cards all out on the table”. Yet, Bananas is the same guy who criticized Cory for finding himself too often in the middle ground, and does not play a game as overtly as he should. By putting himself front and center, Cory is finally playing his own game, rather than letting the game run its course and having it bring him along for the line.
Cory is right in the mindset that he should be gunning for Bananas, CT, and Derrick. As much as those guys are your fan favorites, they’re better players with way more experience than Cory, so you should penalize Cory for gunning at them. He got killed in the final he ran with dad bod CT, and he can’t even keep up with Cara Maria, so having to see a Bananas, Derrick, or Jordan type competitor in the final would be a death sentence. Winning and making the final is the ultimate goal, leaving early means you get the same appearance check you would have for losing the first elimination. It is cliche, but Cory has to play a dirty game to win.
From there Cory becomes a figurehead for the anti-veterans alliance. Hunter, Dario, and Nelson are on the outside of the competition looking in. Hunter is great at anything non-mental, Nelson has excelled in eliminations, and Dario is the other guy in the potential alliance. You’re probably scoffing at this being a “powerful” group, but Wes showed people on the Duel 1 and Exes 2 that if the outcasts can properly come together, they can be a strong unit. On the Duel, a rag tag group of Wes, Nehemiah, Svetlana, Aneesa, and Beth were able to take on the “cool kids” by keeping each other safe and proving themselves in eliminations. At the end of the day, of the final 6 male and female competitors, they composed half of them, had two people in the final, and Wes won the whole thing.
If they can pull something off similar, where even one of them makes the final, then that would be a major win for the new kids. The veterans have the edge of experience and age, while the newer generation is continuously playing catch-up. Cory coming back this week will need to rally the troops and finally attempt a real assault in order to win.
Mr. Cory Wharton has been a good player, now is his chance to become a great one.