Without a hint of hyperbole, this much is safe to say: Cara Maria’s Challenge partnership with avowed vendetta Marie has so far been an unmitigated disaster. While Cara’s the reigning champ of the game and Marie typically has a handle on the series’ political movements, the combustion of the two has — strangely — yielded little more than discord, confusion and a handful of last-place finishes.
But have the tides finally turned, and are Cara and Marie finally united enough to push past the coming Final Reckoning elimination round?
On tonight’s episode, the two former avowed enemies slowly did away with their oil-and-water dynamic and teetered toward something more soluble. Cara felt heartened that Marie had stood up for her against the Lavender Ladies — people Marie had believed were friends — even though it put Marie at risk for becoming a pariah of the group.
But Marie’s bold stance bore an unexpected benefit: In the game’s next mission, “What Goes Up Must Come Down,” she and Cara competed as a united front in a way that they never had before. Though they didn’t win the game -- a high-stakes puzzle that concluded with a 200-foot walk down the face of a building -- they put up a good fight, and Marie even achieved the unlikely feat of beating Cara to the finish line, proving how far she’d come as a competitor.
“It is more critical than ever before to prove to Cara Maria that I’m here to compete,” Marie said. “I think I kind of put everyone to shame. Who expected me to be good at this?”
Still, Cara and Marie had to grapple with an unfortunate inevitability: Since fellow outliers Johnny Bananas and Tony — the only other team not at least peripherally connected to the Lavender Ladies alliance — won the mission, it seemed like a sure thing that Team Pink would be the target of the collective house Armageddon vote.
And while Marie eventually came to terms with the fact that she’d become the target of the people she thought were her friends, Cara sympathized in a way she hadn’t before. She began to cry out of frustration for Marie, and in an instant, the former enemies formed a bond that hadn’t previously existed.
“F*ck you for hurting my friend,” Cara said to the nominations screen — which featured a photo of Shane — as she teared up. “I don’t like seeing you treated like that. That’s your one friend.”
And Marie was incredulous that, for the first time, Cara had spoken of her fondly.
“No, that’s my second friend,” she corrected. “You’re my friend too…[You’ve] been loyal and cool, and our vendetta is no longer.”
Finally, as the ladies predicted would be the case, the bulk of the Armageddon votes went their way after the cast set foot into the battleground. But for the first time, Cara and Marie were a united front, and when TJ gave them their choice of opponents, they decided to swing for the fences and put their new resolve to good use.
They voted for Shane and Nelson.
“I don’t just burn bridges, I drop bombs because fires are too slow,” Marie said.
And Cara echoed the sentiment.
“I’m here for you, Marie, and I’m ready to fight,” she said. “I got you…Why not try to go big?”
But will going big pay off or prove to be an even bigger mistake? Is it finally time for Cara and Marie to shine, and can they take out elimination-round assassins Nelson and Shane? Or has their harmony manifested a little too late, and is it only a matter of time before they’re banished to the Redemption House? Share your thoughts, and see who comes out of Armageddon alive next Tuesday night!