Episode 12 Pictures of You

We kick off this episode with everyone returning from Purgatory. Johnny is trying to take the heat off him with Melissa by placing all the blame on Josh and Rogan. When we all know that Johnny is more than capable of making his own decisions and pulling some strings, ok a lot of strings. While they were bantering back and forth I couldn’t help but wonder are we viewers going to be hosed again with an hour episode or did MTV figure out a way to give us back our hour and a half while giving someone else a storyline? Back to the banter…….Johnny tries to make light of his pinky promise by telling Melissa that he had his fingers crossed and Josh seems upset that she doesn’t trust him. Johnny makes a great point about Dee with Melissa of “it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.” Josh asks for a hug and Melissa rejects it. Josh’s paranoia is growing about if he will get his red skull. More so now because he knows that Melissa is pissed at him too.

Swaggy and Bayleigh are hanging out talking about being in the game and how far they’ve come. Swaggy points at the board of remaining competitors and talks about how all the people remaining are physical but stupid and how they are smarter than them. Fessy delivers a confessional about playing with Swaggy on Big Brother, can we talk about the bandana he’s wearing? Why are so many people wearing bandanas again?

Swaggy needs to get a red skull and the pressure is on. Kyle is also feeling the pressure and he wants into Purgatory. I admire that he wants to win for his parents to give back to them. Josh and Fessy are talking about getting as far as they have due to their ties to so many sides of the house. Fessy is a thousand percent correct when he says that the red skull twist worked out to the rookies advantage because prior to this season the rookies were the sacrificial lambs to the vets. Now the vets are doing what they can to get in there and keep the rookies out. I know, I know, they are trying to make “prospects” a thing, it just does not work for me. Josh is becoming more and more paranoid about getting into Purgatory unsure of a purge or not.

Cory is looking at pictures of his adorable Ryder, then goes in to do a call in the creepy call room. Ryder is mad at him and doesn’t want to say hi. Cheyenne being the good momma she is encourages her to talk to him and we eventually see them talk a bit. Cory is emotional talking to Nelson about Ryder. This is a poignant moment of growth that we are seeing in Cory compared to the previous years. Nelson says what we all see; that Cory has become a better man because of being a dad. Cory’s confessional he talks about people depending on him, so he needs his red skull and get into that final. Here is where I noticed that they were only showing Cory talking about “people” depending on him and the edit shows him only talking about Ryder. Not only is MTV editing out Dee, they are now also editing out any talk Cory may have had about Taylor.

Onto the competition. All the challengers gather and are looking around for TJ, they soon realize he is in the tank that is coming in their direction. TJ is loving every moment of crushing the items strewn out before him. I feel like just crushing things while sitting in a tank would be some great therapy. Tanks-A-Lot is the challenge. Played in teams of three in two stages. No set time on the first round, just until TJ says stop. First stage is everyone filling up their bins to weigh the most. The two teams with the heaviest bins move onto the second stage. The second stage is pulling some heavy sleds across a finish line. If you are watching closely, this far into the episode it is becoming apparent that the editing has changed drastically as they are doing much more close ups of challengers, my assumption is to make it look less obvious that they are deleting out Dee. Winning team forms the Tribunal. Alright so to the competition. I am pumped for this one. It is basically strength, endurance, and speed. Teams are randomly selected.

Team one; Josh, Cory, and Kaycee. Team two; Melissa, Rogan, and Johnny. Team three; Aneesa, Kyle, and Jenny. Team four; Nelson, Nany, and Swaggy. Team five; Fessy, Bayleigh, and Dee. For being randomly selected, I would say that they are pretty evenly matched. No one seems to have a “stacked” team. They have a couple people talk before the competition starts and we are gifted the moment of Swaggy referring to himself in the third person again. I thought we were over this? Nelson laughs at him after he does this. Not sure if he was laughing at the third person reference or the idea of him getting a red skull knowing that his best friend, Cory, also wants into Purgatory? Kyle wants to win so he can be in the Tribunal and be able to choose his elimination. Josh and Cory being on the same team could be a problem if they win considering they both want into Purgatory. TJ blows the horn and Fessy has an incredible lead on the entire cast.

Seriously is there anything this guy cannot do? What an amazing addition to the show. Bayleigh lets viewers in on their strategy as a team. Fessy is their scale, if its something he finds to be heavy or too heavy that is what they are going to focus on bringing back to their bin. Decent strategy considering he is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, men in the bunker. Kyle made my house literally laugh out loud when he says that this competition is perfect for him because all it is, is lifting things and running and that is all he is good at.

Everyone seems to be doing really well, keeping pace and carrying their weight. Nelson admits that he has always underestimated Nany and that he has never seen her work out, “but today, oh my God, I am seeing true Nany and she is one hell of a teammate.” I will admit, I was impressed by how everyone was doing in this competition, especially the women. Minus Jenny of course, cause she is a physical specimen unlike any other woman in that bunker, we all knew she was going to crush this right? Johnny and Rogan come up with what seems to be a good plan of filling up the barrels, sealing them and rolling them to the dumpster. Let’s see how this works out. To be fair, I don’t think these two goons were trying real hard on this one, even if it seems like a decent plan.

Kyle gets his finger caught between a piece of the metal and he is panicking, rightfully so. Immediately I thought of tetanus, and was worried about his finger. Jenny yells for help, and Johnny comes over to help move the metal around and free up Kyle’s finger. Kyle bounces around in pain for a bit then jumps right back into the competition.

Cory and Josh are working together pulling something and they stop because Cory is in pain. This is when he tells the viewers that he had felt a pop in the back of his ankle. Right away my household is wondering if trying to go into Purgatory is a good idea if this just happened to his ankle? Jenny has a confessional where she gives Aneesa praise for how well she is doing but that she isn’t quite as strong as her and Kyle. She goes on to explain that other teams are lapping them but that could mean that their items aren’t as heavy as theirs. Nelson, Nany, and Swaggy are working together to carry what looks like a piece of a car and they are having great communication.

Johnny and Rogan are trying to roll their barrels to the dumpsters and the lids are not staying on and TJ is laughing his butt off at them. This is the first time in a long time that you see TJ really up close to the competition watching them and weighing in on what they are doing. “smooth as sandpaper huh?” as he continues to laugh at the guys literally crawling on the ground rolling their barrels. I don’t know why people dislike TJ as a host? I think he brings some great relief sometimes. I literally look forward to hearing him laugh at challengers, because you know we are all doing the same thing.

Nelson, Swaggy, and Nany are carrying a heavy item again and Swaggy is encouraging Nelson to keep going. Nelson drops it without warning and Swaggy’s body twists in such a way it made me yearn for my chiropractor as he falls to the ground. Nelson right away says “my bad Swag” as Nany helps him up and Swaggy brushes it off then gets right back in there. From the edit it looks as if Fessy is setting the pace for everyone as he is hauling pieces solo that other teams would need more than one person to carry.

Bayleigh is surprising everyone in my house as she is pulling items that look like they outweigh her. Kaycee takes a tumble over a piece of metal and pops back up. TJ announces five minutes left, but us viewers have no idea how long they have been going? An elapsed time would have been nice to know here. Melissa is putting in work, throwing things that are larger than her into the dumpster. They have a great shot of Nany throwing a barrel over her shoulder, this is where I said “ok Nany?” and did a single clap as I sipped my water. TJ blows his horn and everyone looks wiped out.

The two teams moving onto the second round were only separated by 10 kilos, I am no math whiz so I wasn’t sure what that converted into pounds until they cut in an audible of Johnny saying “wow 22 pounds” thank you Johnny for assisting me. I don’t know if that is accurate or not, but gave me a better idea of the comparison. TJ announces the two teams and they show a close up of Kyle, Aneesa, and Jenny with their announcement and they pan out to the whole cast when they announce Fessy, Bayleigh, and Dee. I know MTV is trying to edit her out but it was a bit of a disservice to Fessy and Bayleigh to not be featured after crushing that round.

Onto stage two. They get strapped into their harnesses, they show Dee, Fessy, and Bayleigh for a millisecond as Bayleigh starts explaining that this is the only possible way for her to get her man into Purgatory because she knows that he is probably not going to get the house vote. As she is giving her confessional, they show everyone gearing up and getting into their stance to take off with these crates. TJ blows his horn and it looks like every other person is struggling except Fessy. Fessy comes out of there looking like he’s just taking his dog for a stroll. This literally looks like cake work for this guy.

Kyle and Bayleigh surprise me at how well they are doing with this, Jenny does not surprise me as she is crushing it, and it does not surprise me that Aneesa is struggling. I have no idea how Dee is doing at this point due to the edit. Fessy finishes first, then Jenny, then Kyle followed by Bayleigh. It is down to who will cross the line first, Aneesa or Dee? Fessy is cheering on Dee and Kyle is pleading with Aneesa to get moving. Something kicks into Dee and she passes Aneesa and gets across the line. Fessy, Bayleigh and Dee win the comp of the day, they barely scan the camera over them.

Again, I am fully aware of what MTV is doing and why, but the celebration of winning that was taken from Bayleigh and Fessy and that makes me sad for the two of them. TJ explains to the cast what we already know, the nominations, the interrogations or Fessy can go down again if he wants. I want to point out here that Fessy takes a good strategic approach in this moment by throwing it out there of “if it’s a hall brawl I might.” This should put a little fear in those that want to go in. I would love to see this guy do a hall brawl. If I were a guy this would make me question if I really do want to go in? We got to see so much more of the competition than I think we normally would have gotten. 
Back to the bunker to select the loser’s nominee. Kyle is needing to scramble to try get the votes, Cory is not worrying too much as it seems he has already secured a few votes.

Kyle and Cory are having a discussion of both of them wanting to go in. For some reason Kyle thinks that Cory has the Tribunals vote with Fessy and Dee? I whole heartedly disagreed with that. Josh wants into the Tribunals nominations, but doesn’t want to nominate himself for the house vote? Scared tactic Josh. Why when it comes time to go in there do your balls shrivel up inside your body? He is convinced there is a purge and he wants into Purgatory but doesn’t want to go in really. Fessy calls him out and lays it out pretty plainly for him.

They gather for nominations and Cory kicks off his speech and starts with having a daughter at home, again no mention of the pregnant girlfriend. Kyle is hosed at this point, Cory played his cards that he had and he played them well. Kyle attempts to come back from that with starting with the same opening line getting some laughs out of everyone. Josh gives a little speech, and I tuned out a bit, I cannot lie. They went around and everyone gives their votes. Jenny votes for Kyle and Cory takes issue with this, I get it but I also see why Jenny voted for Kyle. Jenny has proven to be a very loyal person.

The highlight of this nomination ceremony was Melissa calling Josh out on his loyalty, mocking him, and getting in his face. She continues on about his inability to think for himself and makes the snake noises at him as she continues to get angrier and angrier. Josh mocks a snake movement, which was SUPER awkward and everyone laughed at him for it. Josh tries to say that Melissa is being manipulated by the biggest snake. I am sure he is referring to Dee, which if he is, he is right. But still, Josh you are on the losing end of this argument and there is no coming back from it. He thinks he is blessed by being in a game with a lot of friends? Does he really have a lot of friends there? I lost some respect for him when he told Melissa that she is foul. I haven’t seen anything that would give him the ability to call her foul? But we also don’t know what is on the editing room floor.

When Josh questions why Melissa is coming at him because they were cool, the hormone switch flips into full gear and she loses it completely. Rogan shrinks back into his spot as this little spitfire unleashes onto Josh. Rather comical to watch someone who is practically half his size dominate him and put him in his place. Like watching a Chihuahua intimidate a Great Dane. As they went to commercial, I laughed and said “well there’s the pregnancy hormones in full swing.”

Johnny says it best when he says “you can say a lot of things about Melissa, but one thing you cannot say is this girl is not loyal.” Nany stops the madness and just announces that everyone can just agree that Cory is going in. Kyle boos him as he hangs his name up. They disperse and there is some talk with Kyle and Aneesa about the next nomination. Aneesa apologizes to Kyle but reiterates on her integrity and honesty. Kyle is playing it off light heartedly, but we all know he is upset and nervous. Melissa and Jenny are talking about how weak minded Josh is, its as clear as air that Melissa is over Josh being in the house. Off to the bar. Cory stays back and ices his ankle.

In the bar everyone is having fun, and it is a relatively low stress environment. Nany and Kaycee are doing some flirting. It was a little cringe worthy to watch and one has to wonder how well Kaycee’s girlfriend enjoyed watching that moment? Did that get added in for some drama after cutting out Dee from the episode or did they always plan on showing that drama? Bayleigh and Swaggy are discussing the possibility of the next days Purgatory. Swaggy seems a bit nervous, maybe he doesn’t want to go in? In this shot is a great product placement for the bar that they are in, you see the IG handle and the bars website in between them. Good plug MTV. Bayleigh seems torn, throw him in and potentially get a red skull, keep him in the house so he is there with you, take the chance of him going home from Purgatory? Ohhh the decisions! Back to the bunker.

In the Tribunal we have a bunch of close ups, again to remove Dee. In my hyperawareness of this I notice the little shot of all three of them panned out there is an X on the bench that the nominees sit on. For production value, they preplace the X so that cast members know where to sit. I am seriously finding myself picking apart more and more of these episodes as the season goes on.

Bayleigh wants to pull in Swaggy, no surprise there. Fessy backs up Swaggy going in and wants to pull in Josh and maybe Kyle. We hear nothing from Dee. The names go up and a couple people tell Rogan that he is up for nomination, he looks super confused until he looks at the board. He has a good laugh about it. All in all the cast seems to really be getting along this season. Into interrogation first is Swaggy, he is ready to go in. he doesn’t want to wait. Kyle is up next, he wants to go in too. He is nervous that there won’t be another elimination. The only thing he doesn’t want is a puzzle.

Fessy lets Kyle know that he really has no loyalty to him. I applaud Fessy’s honesty here, not only was he honest it was a bit of an intimidation factor to Kyle. Last is Josh, and he is coming off a little too arrogant sitting there. Fessy lets him know that he wants to give him an opportunity but he has a hurdle to overcome having Swaggy’s wife in the Tribunal with him. Josh attempts to rally them onto his side and Bayleigh essentially shuts that down quick. Josh starts groveling a bit, but he has to know that this is not his time to go in right? Josh exits and slams the door, we hear Dee say “ok” and Fessy looks in her direction and says “you handled that well” ugh what did we miss?

Josh is talking to some other cast mates and he is complaining about more than likely not going in. Cory is talking to Swaggy about his ankle and how it might affect his Purgatory performance. Cory has a mature approach to it that it’s a win-win going in, either a red skull or going home to the people that he loves.

Purgatory time. It’s a big crate, not sure what it will be? Cory goes down, who will the Tribunal send down against him? TJ asks if they are going to send someone down or if Fessy is going to come down and knock Cory out of the game? Even TJ has figured out that Fessy is the next great thing to happen to the Challenge. Fessy declines and votes for Swaggy, Josh is whining that Fessy didn’t vote for him. Dee votes for Kyle, they didn’t even show her vote for him. It comes down to Bayleigh, she is torn on what to do. Ultimately Bayleigh votes for Swaggy.

Launch Button is the name of the game, they have to swing back and forth to light up the 20 lights on top, if you push them more than once they shut back off. Basically, it’s a memory game in a harness with some physicality behind it. Swaggy’s pregame interview he seems nervous and maybe doesn’t want to be down there. Cory’s pregame interview he seems pretty confident. It’s anyone’s game going into it. Horn blows, and Swaggy looks like a fish floundering out of water to begin with. Cory looks a little more graceful to begin with but he still looks a bit flounderish. Eventually they both find a grove and start to figure out how to get back and forth without looking completely useless.

Bayleigh is coaching Swaggy through it, helping him figure out which ones he’s missing. Cory hits a stride and there isn’t much room for error on Swaggy’s side with Cory going as smoothly as he is going. Swaggy turns off one of the lights he already had lit up, they are close. Cory gains momentum and takes a lead, ironically this is were Josh gives a confessional about how Cory has good body control and that Swaggy is just banging against the crate. Josh, you would probably be the same. Just sayin. Cory wins 20-15. Game over, red skull for Cory and Swaggy is going home. I appreciate Bayleigh not running down to the floor and doing the dramatic relationship leave.

TJ congratulates Cory and lets the cast know that they are running out of weeks. So clearly there will be at least one more elimination, right? Everyone is gunning for that million. Cory hugs Bayleigh and apologizes to her and she takes it with grace and tells him no worries.

Thank you, MTV, for giving us our hour and half episodes back. In this process we, as viewers, are able to see just how easily you can edit people out of this show. This can make us all wonder how many people the editing has turned into wallpaper when there was actually more to the story that we just don’t see? Think about that folks. How many competitors have we thought were useless, boring, or non-essential due to the edit? But here we are knowing full well that they are going in and editing someone out and we are seeing other story lines now that we most likely would not have seen before. I am guilty of thinking that people are taking up space that someone else could be there for but I am questioning that more so now than I ever have before.