Challenge legends Veronica and CT may have collected five first-place finishes between them over the course of 33 collective years on the series, but on Tuesday night’s Final Reckoning episode, they found themselves as shipwrecked as a fleet of Lusitanias.
“Shark Bait,” the game’s latest mission, challenged players to cross a series of ropes that had been suspended over water — some were outfitted with giant steaks fit for King Kong’s feast. And while most teams made it at least a fraction of the way across, Veronica failed to make it past the first lifeline and — since the latest game was a Purge challenge — V’s last-place finish meant she and CT were immediately bounced to the Redemption House.
“I don’t expect Veronica to be the best, but not the worst,” CT lamented. “I’ll tell you what -- if that was a f*cking glass of wine, she’d still be up there.”
To put it simply, it was a real departure — and a total role-reversal — from the first time the duo met on The Inferno in 2004.
By the time Veronica and CT landed in Acapulco for the eighth Challenge season (friendly reminder: we’re now at Season 32), Veronica had already competed on four Challenge installments and had won two. CT, all the while, was a completely green newbie who’d only just graduated from his Real World: Paris season, and in a preview special of the show, Veronica, a member of Team Road Rules, laughed at Team Real World’s latest recruits and their potential as competitors.
“Four Real World: Paris? They’ve never done a mission!” she spat incredulously, sizing up CT. “It’s such an advantage to us, because they have no idea.”
And for the most part, V was right. By the time the final Inferno mission rolled around, Team Road Rules had an absolute stronghold over the game, the missions of which involved chewing bird seed and worms while dressed as chickens, shooting paintballs at fellow castmates’ faces and trying to sell Mexican knickknacks to cruise-docked tourists.
After 15 competitions, Road Rules had won 11 missions to Real World’s four, bested Real World in six out of eight Infernos and left Real World with only four players: Syrus, Mike, Coral and, yes, CT.
More impressively, out of Road Rules’ eight opportunities to win Aztec lifesavers, which could spare players from having to enter elimination rounds, Veronica won four.
Still, CT matched her and, though he was a rookie, also won four of Real World’s lifesavers.
And when it came time to play for the big money in final mission “Seven Deadly Sins,” Real World brought the brains but not the brawn, and Road Rules — led by Veronica — paved the path to ultimate victory, bringing its grand total prize money to $260,000, which amounted to $32,500 for each of its eight remaining players.
“Winning the entire thing is a huge accomplishment,” V said, bringing up her Challenge record to an impressive 3-5. “Everyone had something to put in, all eight of us.”
And CT was forced to stomach his first defeat, getting him off to an 0-1 Challenge start. Still, he’d shown great potential across the game.
So what happened, and why did Queen V — who once ran Challenge competitions — suddenly devolve into lower-case v? And why hasn’t CT — who’s gone on to win two of his own Challenge titles — been able to lift her up? It’s a long shot, but they still have a chance to return from the Redemption House. The question is, if they do, will they be able to repeat their 2004 performances, or are they simply over the Challenge hill?
See if these two can battle their way back into the game when Final Reckoning returns Tuesday!