In addition to the cameras, this season of "The Challenge" was documented in print. Check out the latest behavioral analysis, straight from our anthropologist-at-large's Thailand field notes!
By Carey O'Donnell
The herd's aggression has increased greatly in the past week, both physically and socially. Perhaps it's because of the looming pressure to perform while competing for dominance over the nest; perhaps from being in heat for mates. Regardless, the herd is already experiencing a collective breaking point.
Since my first entry, other members -- even those who displayed a docile nature last week -- are now acting in a hostile manner. One of the herd elders, CT, continued with his characteristic manipulations, inciting a physical fight with another herd elder, Frank, while in the nest feeding area. It appears that many of the older alpha males can no longer be within the same perimeter as CT without some type of altercation occurring, be it territorial chest beating or violence. This will prove to be an extremely divisive factor while the herd attempts to achieve order, even in the midst of competing for the nest; however, CT's arrogance may have caused his downfall in the second nest competition.
Spiritual leader TJ instructed each pair in the herd to combine their physical strengths and agility into one, quite literally. Again, broken into female and male groups, each "Rival" pair was tied together around their stomachs. While one pair member stood upright, the other was inverted upside-down, putting herd members into extremely peculiar and overtly sexual positions. They then raced by running, tumbling and crawling through various obstacles to reach an end point. The race ended when the upside-down member placed an orb blessed by TJ into an ancient pipe in the sand using only their mouth. CT, Wes, Preston and Knight were disqualified due to Wes and Preston's refusal to participate in the strange competition, much to the (assumed) pleasure of the rest of the herd.
However, prior to the race, the spiritual leader alerted the herd to a most shocking change of events. A much hated elder, Cara Maria, returned to the herd after an arduous migration to Thailand, to fill in the opening left by Naomi last week. Though quite strong as a pair, Cara Maria and Cooke's physical strengths did not successfully keep them safe in the nest, and were surprised with a trip to the Jungle. But, more on that later.
As previously indicated, CT had already succeeded in roping in the doe-eyed, young member of the herd, Anastasia, through his seductive pheromone levels. Despite objections from her "Rival," Jess, and other female nest members, Anastasia was stubborn and steadfast in welcoming CT's sexual manipulation, resulting in the first male-female altercation I've seen thus far. While Anastasia and Jess were already headed to the Jungle because of their failure in the earlier competition, the male side voted new pair Cooke and Cara Maria to compete against the struggling younglings in the elimination challenge.
In the Jungle, the two pairs were suspended above a swamp with rope, and both teams were required to saw through sacred Jungle wood as fast as possible to send the other pair into the depths below. Anastasia, due to a poor diet consisting of cigarettes and copulation with elder CT, had a mild fit of (questionably genuine) exhaustion prior to the competition, and her physical inferiority was apparent. During this downtime, Cooke -- still suspended -- struggled to maintain her bladder. Either by total accident, or as a way to psych out her competitors, Cooke made use of the water below her as a makeshift toilet. These herd members' territorial displays have now reached new, astonishing levels.
Anastasia's ability to gain composure was quick, however, and she was soon sawing away with Jess to cut her nemeses out of the competition. The matchup was close -- both rival members demonstrated great agility -- yet ultimately, Anastasia and Jess plummeted into the fresh swamp of pee water below. Their exiled migration over the seas may prove difficult, especially with Anastasia's physical state (or lack thereof). I hope Jess is a good swimmer, she may have some extra weight to carry.
Again, I must retreat back to hiding for more observations over the next week, where my fear for my own safety has grown even more!
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