The Challenge: When good game moves go bad

Last week on the Challenge, Jemmye voted in Devin into elimination, instead of Bananas. This was a good game move because, up to this point, Bananas has never nominated her despite being in the Troika several times. She is also aligned with Natalie and Cara, and Bananas has pretty good shot at winning the elimination and regaining power later in the game. At the end of the day, this is a game, and Jemmye made the best move for herself in the moment.

However, the move is also short-sighted in that Jemmye’s best friends, on these shows, will now have trouble trusting her with anything, as Jemmye has repeatedly shown that she only cares for herself. Jemmye loves Devin and Nelson, but how could they trust her now? How could they have her back when she has not shown them the same loyalty. We will see how it plays out.

This made me think of past Challenges, where good game moves backfired on the players who made them.

Derrick/Diem forcing a Darrell/Aviv and Theo/Chanda elimination on Fresh Meat 1

After Evan and Coral were removed from the game due to injuries, Derrick and Diem gained a lot of power in the game and won consecutive daily missions. After sending in a strong duo, Shane and Linette, one week, they decided to make an even bigger move by voting in either Darrell/Aviv or Theo/Chanda, guaranteeing that the other would get thrown in by group vote. Theo and Darrell, two of the strongest players in Challenge history with five wins between them, were now supposed to face one another. That is until Darrell won the life-shield, resulting in Tina/Kenny being put into elimination, creating two enemies in the scenario.

When Tina/Kenny won the elimination and won the following week’s challenge, they followed suit by throwing the two strongest teams into the final elimination (Darrell/Aviv & Derrick/Diem). With no life-shield, they lost the final elimination and were sent home before the final.

Kailah and Jordan purging CT and Cara Maria too early in Dirty 30

This was a great game move. At this point in the game, Cara Maria and CT were sweeping house, Cara had only seen one double cross, and CT had been safe the whole game. In one sweep, they were out of the game. But they weren’t. They were sent to the Redemption House, and Kailah/Jordan knew they would be sending them to the Redemption House. Which is bad, because those players have time to relax and plot revenge as they have good chance of returning to the Challenge. To top it off, Jordan and Kailah set the precedent of deceit. It made it very easy for Hunter to send Jordan into the Redemption House the next episode! Kailah got marked as untrustworthy, and while Jordan won Redemption, it was only due to Nelson’s DQ allowing two men to re-enter the game from the Redemption challenge.

Cory trying to play both sides of the house on Rivals 3

You can play both sides of the house. Sarah Rice, Jenn Grijalva, and others have done so with good to great success in the past. Unfortunately, Cory is not that good a social or political player. Cory had instant success on the Challenge. He set the record for most daily challenge wins in a row, made it to the final, and finished second place all in his rookie season. When partnered with Ashley Mitchell in Rivals 3, Cory looked primed for another final. However, Dario blew up Cory’s game, exposing him for playing both sides of the Wes and Bananas fences.

Cory got thrown into the elimination arena and shockingly lost to Nate Siebenmark (I’m not sure if that is how you spell his last name, but we will run with it). He got exposed and has been dealing with the repercussions ever since.

Dario voting Sylvia into elimination on Invasion of the Champions

You might have forgotten this, but Dario won the first daily challenge of Invasion. In a challenge with all eighteen people competing, he finished first. He followed this up with scoring the first point in the first challenge including the Champions, giving him the power to vote any girl into the elimination arena. Up until this point, Dario had not shown any cards and was leaning towards the Lavender Lady/AYTO alliance. In this moment, he decided to vote in Sylvia as the weakest girl. He thought either Kailah or Jenna would win the elimination against Sylvia, and the Kailah-Jenna-Nicole group would control the numbers for the girls side for the first time in the game, and they would owe him one.

Sylvia ruined that for him by beating Kailah. It also got him voted in the next week to face Nelson in elimination where he became one of Nelson’s many elimination casualties.

Tyler calling Johnny Bananas into the first Duel

This was a smart move because Tyler thought Bananas was the person he had the best chance of beating. Which, when you look at the Duel cast, makes sense. Tyler went on to win, and that was great. Then you get to week two, and the only person Tyler could have possibly been aligned with is out of the game.

You could argue this led to Tyler winning Rivals 1, though.

Diem and CT Exes 1 end-game

I understand why these two were so on and off as a couple. They completely over-thought every decision. With Emily Schromm in elimination to devour any of the girls, they chose to vote in Dunbar/Paula instead of Bananas/Camila for the elimination. They made this choice as Paula was a runner and more equipped for a final. However, Bananas and Camila were dominating the season, and Dunbar had never been better than average. Eliminating a good runner in the final in Paula was smart, just not the right move.

The following week, CT made the move to vote in Mark/Robin to face Bananas/Camila, attempting to knock out one of the two teams that were aligned all season. The problem was that they gave Bananas/Camila a chance to stay in the game. As long as the elimination is physical (which it was), in no world does that version of Camila beat that version Emily.

CT/Diem won themselves second place instead of first.

Devin calling out Bananas for the elimination, and Bananas pumping chest?

To be determined.



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Allan Aguirre

Allan Aguirre


26 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.