As entertaining as the Mercenary twist is, it is simply unfair. The idea has been flawed since its inception. CT backpacking Bananas on Cutthroat remains one of the greatest Challenge moments, a moment I show my friends when I explain the Challenge to them.
Johnny was backpacked and Tyler moved on in the game. What is forgotten is how awful Tina was in this role, she went all out to beat Theresa (which she could not do) and then put up zero fight against Tori, giving Tori the win. Theresa had a decent chance to beat Tori 1 v 1, and in the end, she lost that chance due to a heavy hitter who basically rigged it one way. On Vendettas, Joss went from facing Shane and having a good chance to stay in the game, to facing one of the greatest elimination competitors in Challenge history. This season, the unfairness is taken to another level.
Ashley and Hunter get to enter the game after 2 purges and 3 daily challenges. Three pairs have gone home, and three teams are already sitting in the Redemption House. Yes they had to defeat a team to earn their spot, and they had to deal with an equalizer (their walls being 3x thicker), it is still not fair that they get to join the game like this. During Invasion of the Champions, the Champions team entered around the same time in the game — the difference is they were playing for only one spot in the final. I love Hunter and Ashley; Ashley’s win on Invasion was one of the most surprising moments in Challenge history and it is great anytime we see her in an actual Challenge house yet again. Hunter was the star of Dirty 30, his battle from Redemption and through a broken wrist portrayed the heart of a Champion. The problem is, they are a powerhouse team who got to jump into an already existing game.
As happy as Amanda is to have her best friend back in the game and as happy as Kyle was to get another sexual partner, their teams are now threatened by Hunter and Ashley. The teams who have been dominating the game now have to worry about this team jumping into the game and beating them at something they have been working hard for. If you have been paying attention to the intro this season and all the trailers, like Hunter and Ashley, Cory and Devin are set to appear as a mercenary team later this season. Imagine bringing in a duo who is nowhere near as good as Hunter and Ashley after eleven episodes and plopping them in the final six or seven when teams have been fighting all season and avoiding purges. These twists are getting way too out of hand.
What is the solution?
Do not have mercenaries. If you like Hunter and Ashley that much, put them on the normal cast. Purges and Redemption Houses are problematic already, do not mix things up any more than it already is. Let Faith and Angela prove themselves against the people they are playing against, not two beasts.
What is an actual solution?
Have Hunter and Ashley as Redemption House mercenaries. Bring all four teams in the Redemption House and Hunter and Ashley in. They all compete in an event where if Hunter and Ashley can beat them all, then they get the spot. If they really are Heavy Hitters, let them live up to the title, if they cannot, send them home.
At the end of the day, Hunter and Ashley have entered a game where they can possibly be the best team long-term as they complement each other incredibly well. Ashley is a firecracker who is sure to be entertaining as hell, and Hunter is walking in with a cocky swagger that may either be hilarious or insufferable.