Stubbornness was in no short supply on the latest Challenge episode, when Power Team Zach and Amanda — who should’ve been safe from elimination thanks to their “Caged In” victory — somehow found themselves out of the main game and stuck in the Redemption House.
So whose fault is it, and who should have acquiesced to the other?
That was the question throughout tonight’s Final Reckoning Armageddon proceedings — perhaps the most insane elimination round since the franchise began. During the secret vote, the game’s winningest team found itself at a crossroads: While Amanda had the numbers on her side thanks to her Lavender Ladies alliance and wanted to use the Power Vote on Johnny Bananas and Tony, Zach pushed back and insisted it was somehow a smarter idea to vote for Ashley and Hunter, even though their elimination wouldn’t help Zach and Amanda any.
So Zach and Amanda came to a compromise, even though neither was particularly happy with it: Vote for Da’Vonne and Jozea, who weren’t part of any existing alliances. It was the safest bet, they decided.
Until it wasn’t.
At the elimination round, and after a particularly dramatic light-up ceremony, TJ revealed that two teams received three votes and were eligible for elimination: Hunter/Ashley and Tony/Bananas. In other words, there was one eligible team that Amanda said she’d never vote for, and one eligible team that Zach said he’d never vote for.
Zach tried to strong-arm Amanda into voting against Ashley and Hunter, but Amanda — who was essentially the reason she and Zach had won “Caged In” — stood her ground and refused. TJ warned that if they couldn’t make up their minds, they’d forfeit their Armageddon immunity and have to compete in an Armageddon game themselves.
And rather than compromise, Zach walked down to TJ, an implicit sign that he’d sooner fight than bend to the whims of his female partner. And the entire cast was shocked.
“Even me, Johnny Bananas, I didn’t even see this coming,” Bananas said. “I don’t think Amanda can believe this is actually happening.”
Zach continued to try to deflect blame — he blamed Hunter for not stepping up and usurping his team’s spot, and he blamed Amanda for not submitting to him. But some of the cast just saw his move as boneheaded and needlessly obstinate (with Joss calling him a “f*cking idiot”).
“Zach is toxic masculinity at its finest,” Shane observed. “He says he’s throwing himself in as a noble 'cause he wants to nobly help Tony, but the reality is, Zach is a child throwing a fit. That is not a man leading a noble cause.”
And things went from bad to worse. TJ told the team they’d at least get their pick for Armageddon opponent, and obviously, they chose Jozea and Da’Vonne. But then he shot standard proceedings to hell with the introduction of a new pair of Mercenaries. TJ told Cory and Devin that if they could beat both Zach/Amanda and Jozea/Da’Vonne in “Shake It Off,” which challenged players to jiggle a designated rope free of attached flags, they could reenter the game, and both Jozea/Da’Vonne and Zach/Amanda would be sent to the Redemption House.
And that’s exactly what happened. Because Da’Vonne and Amanda were at a deficit where weight was concerned, they both struggled to release the same flag, meaning both their teams were suddenly out of the main house and at risk of permanent elimination.
And for Amanda, who’d won the day’s mission and was supposed to be safe from any of this, shock abounded.
“You’re an entitled dude -- that’s what you think you can do,” Amanda scolded Zach. “Just because you’re bigger than me and you’re a guy, you think you can call the shots on our team, and that’s not f*cking happening.”
Zach argued that Amanda was employing “Mean Girl” tactics and that her drinking somehow had something to do with their landing in Armageddon, but she only saw him grasping at straws.
“Now you know I’m serious,” Zach said, strangely. “That was her lesson, she didn’t learn.”
“You don’t teach me sh*t,” Amanda rebutted.
Now, Zach and Amanda have a long road ahead if they plan to make it back into the game, but they certainly could have spared themselves the trouble. The question is, who should have budged? Was Amanda right, and was Zach’s move stupidly inflexible? After all, it would have been very easy for him to concede, and Amanda did have the game’s strongest alliance on her side. Or should Amanda have backed down and acknowledged that Johnny Bananas and Tony were greater assets to their game? Share your thoughts, and see if Zach and Amanda can battle back when the show returns Tuesday!