We have finally reached the point of the season where you will have to steal a gold skull if you want one, at least for the men. And with some heavy hitters without gold skulls, no one is safe moving forward.
If Cory has his druthers, that moment will come sooner rather than later. He is ready to prove he has what it takes to be a Challenge champion.
He will have to wait for his opportunity, though. With Amber M operating as the rogue agent, this week is most likely a female elimination week. And the women in the house quickly begin maneuvering to position themselves for their best chance at a skull.
Female eliminations have not been kind to Cory's partners this season, and Theresa is a high-value target to some of the agents. Kam and Nany both agree that Theresa needs to go but have to be careful to select the right opponent to face her.
The only potential wrinkle is the drama between the rookie girls that dominated the house this week. Amber B ticked off Amber M by voting against her last week. Gabby jumps in with her two cents eventually, calling Amber B out for being fake.
Amber B thinks she is slyly playing a loyal game, but the house is starting to see right through it. As Amber M puts it, the B stands for backstabber. Or maybe Big Brother. Or perhaps just Borzotra. Either way, the B stands for something.
While the girls ultimately smooth everything over enough to make it through this week, I am sure this drama will rear its ugly head again before the season is over.
No, the big target this week is Theresa. Before heading off to a must-win daily, she and Cory have a conversation about parenthood and her postpartum depression. It's a touching moment, and it is nice to see vulnerability from someone who is usually a stoic competitor. The two bonding over parenthood is the energy I didn't know I needed.
The show has done well this season of shedding light on mental health and self-care. It is a refreshing change of pace for The Challenge.
The daily mission is the beloved trivia competition! And this year, it comes with a whopper of a twist. That's right, the sponsored challenge is back for another week, and this time Burger King is getting in on the action.
The daily is called Mission Interrogation. Contestants hold onto a bar suspended high above the water. TJ will ask each challenger a question. If they get it wrong, their bar lowers, forcing the player to hold more of their body weight up. If they get it right, they can sabotage another player. Played over two heats, the contestant who holds on the longest or answers the most questions correctly wins for their team, while also receiving an additional $5,000 from Burger King and a special gift from the king himself.
Now, I have never had to answer questions while dangling 40 feet in the air, so I cannot say how I would do in this situation. But I don't think it can be any worse than these challengers.
Cory doesn't know what a square root is. Kaycee thinks wolves are vegetarian. Darrell doesn't know TJ's real name. Nam answered more questions correctly about the United States and its governmental structure than his American counterparts, which tells me all I need to know about the state of our education system.
Not all is lost, though, as Fessy came in strong with his sports and snails knowledge. Talk about a well-rounded competitor.
Darrell pulls out a surprising win during heat one, despite his crippling fear of heights. Nam, meanwhile, wins in round two on the back of his US Civics knowledge. Ultimately though, Darrell hung up longer, making him and Amber B the double agents.
I am sure you are wondering what the special surprise was for the winners? Well, Darrell and Amber won free whopper sandwiches for life! Darrell may have missed a chance to take his son to Hawaii for his birthday, but at least he can take him for some whopper sandwiches when he gets home.
Since it is most likely a female elimination day, Darrell lets Amber dictate their strategy. He wants her to go in and get her Gold Skull because they aren't sure if and when they will have another opportunity to do so.
At the club, the big names going around are Gabby and Theresa. Gabby is nervous that she could be Amber's target after confronting her about last week's vote. The two eventually have a heart to heart, with Amber indicating she isn't throwing Gabby into The Crater. Gabby still doesn't trust Amber but is willing to do whatever keeps her safe for now.
With Gabby seemingly off the table, Theresa is almost assuredly going in. She is not the type of player to kiss ass to save herself. Toxic T, as the house is calling her, is ready to go in. You have to earn your Gold Skull at some point anyway. Why not now?
At the house deliberation, no one wants to talk. Leroy calls them out, telling the house that if they keep waiting to go into elimination, they will eventually find themselves in a waiting line for a ticket home.
It's a good point. The house doesn't know if there will be some purge like twist that eliminates those that don't have skulls. Picking your spot in this game is everything, but you can easily find yourself on the outs if you wait too long.
When Darrell and Amber enter the chamber, they find out Theresa and Cory are the house vote. Darrell wants Amber to go down to get her skull. Amber is unsure. Darrell is frustrated with her unwillingness to go in. You may not get another shot, so take it while you can.
The Crater: Snapping Point
The night before, Amber promised Kaycee the opportunity to go into the Crater if she chose not to. After seeing the elimination, Amber decided it wasn't worth the risk to go down. She and Darrell nominated Kaycee and Leroy for elimination.
For a hot second, it looked like TJ was about to pull the rug out from under the challengers by announcing it was a men's day. TJ has leaned into these fake outs all season. One of these days, though, it won't be a fake-out.
The elimination is indeed a women's day, meaning Theresa and Kaycee will face off in Snapping Point. The two will be facing back to back, tied together by a rope. On the horn, both women will run in opposite directions. The goal is to reach a group of rings and place one on three different posts. The first woman to do so wins.
The competition isn't even close. Theresa gives it her all, but Kaycee is just too strong. She shuts her out three rings to none. It's definitely a statement performance from Kaycee.
After a few weeks of fighting from the bottom, Theresa's game finally came to an end. Her long-awaited return didn't disappoint, even if her road was rocky the last few weeks. Her game could have been cleaner, but I think she acquitted herself well in a game that has changed so much since Battle of the Exes II. Hopefully, we see her back in the future.
Just like that, there are only two gold skulls remaining for the women. I am completely bewildered by these women who continue to avoid elimination while helping others win their Gold Skulls. Just like the men's side, the women will come to a point where they have to beat a Kaycee or a Kam to earn their skulls. That's a bold but unwise strategy.
You can't play the waiting game on The Challenge.