'The Challenge' Field Study, Entry 9: The New Blood Is One Step Closer To Nest Dominance

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!


A slight chill has spread itself throughout the once scorching air, like a hand opening from a fist. Each day, the sun sets earlier; the clouds grow grayer, damper. Soon, only six "Rival" pairings will remain in the herd to be pitted against one another in the final challenge for riches and nest dominance.

The swiftness of the season has sunk in deeply with the surviving herd members, and the impending end has forced them to increase their training methods so they may enter into the final with as much stamina as ancient soldiers. Last night, spiritual leader T.J. allowed them some levity from the mounting pressure by granting everyone access to the Temple of Revelry. The pheromones released simultaneously by CT and Diem were undeniable, and the two shared a romantic moment in their stupor. Back in CT's bed, Diem, who had consumed far more sweet nectar than she could handle, fell into an aching, instantaneous sleep, casting former (new?) mate CT to the floor. While knowing the nectar had some role in this blackout, I was hoping Diem understood this potential reunion could be an emotional interference at a time when ferocity should be the priority.


T.J.'s latest challenge harkened back to his own bike warrior days. Four ramps positioned in a cross had sacred blue orbs and nets on the top of either side, and both rival teams were required to take the 20 orbs and safely transport them from one side to the other in under three minutes. The challenge proved harder than it initially appeared, as veterans and rookies alike became severely winded, often having to stop and rest. While Johnny and rival Frank competed with rookies Jordan and Marlon, Johnny was hit with a spell of exhaustion that caused him to vomit. Though he couldn't help it, this was a display of weakness for the other males that would surely be used against him in future nest competitions. Knight and Preston wound up losing overall, sentencing them to the final male Jungle, while Wes and CT solidified their place in the ultimate challenge.


The females unsurprisingly sent in rookies Jordan and Marlon to compete against Knight and Preston. However, the dramatic reveal of the final male Jungle was overshadowed by veteran pair CT and Wes, who began arguing with fellow veterans Johnny and Frank, each bringing up past competitions where the other had suffered exhaustion and illness as a means of cruel, mental warfare. Jordan began praying to the Jungle spirits that a punch would be thrown, casting one or both veteran teams into mandatory exile from the nest. The veterans were able to compose themselves before violence occurred, but it foreshadowed the sure bloodbath to come in the final.

The Jungle game presented to the players was the same one that led to Zach's demise, and both teams were once again required to smash their way from the top of a stone monument through many levels of obstacles and break through a door to win. Jordan made the excellent point that, no matter what, patience was the key to securing victory in this event, as it bred precision. The teammates, wise beyond their years, broke down the final door, beating the veterans and claiming their rightful place in the top 3.

I am truly at a loss for speculation of what will occur in these final games. Will the veterans maintain authority, or will new blood reign supreme? Only time will tell.

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