By her own admission, Big T — a Brit-bred Challenge import who got her start on Shipwrecked — is hardly the biggest, the meanest or the likeliest to leave you shaking in your boots. But on the latest Total Madness installment, she proved she had some rather big tricks up her sleeve and gave her housemates reason to believe that while her exit on War of the Worlds 2 was an early one, she might have some staying power on her second Challenge go-around.
On the show's fourth episode, the game got colder — literally — in "Cold War," which challenged players to complete a puzzle inside a freezing cold warehouse. After separating into teams of five, some players were tasked with extracting hulking puzzle pieces from a frigid pool and completing a subsequent brainteaser, while others sought to make conditions all the more unbearable for their opponents by breaking off chunks of ice and sliding them down into the water.
The game proved to be such a physical strain that, halfway through the mission, Nelson had to be rushed to the hospital after showing signs of hypothermia. But for Big T, Aneesa, Kaycee, Bananas and Bear, the game was no sweat, and the fivesome was awarded the distinction of the newest Tribunal members. This was especially critical for the women, who were consequently safe from elimination.
Though it was Big T's first time in the driver's seat, she wasted no time setting a few schemes into motion, giving players like Kam and Wes — master strategists — a run for their money. First, privy to the fact that the house was sick of Ashley, T immediately trashed her alliance with the two-time champ and supported the house's bid to throw her into Purgatory.
More impressively, Big T began thinking big-picture during a night out at the bar. Keenly aware that the "Holy Trinity" — Jenna, Kailah and Nany — were the most ironclad women's alliance in the game, she pulled each player aside one by one, falsely gave each the impression that she planned to nominate one of the three into the forthcoming elimination round and, in the process, exchanged safety for herself from the father, the son and the holy spirit.
"My plan is to do a deal with them so that they think that they need me to keep them safe," T said. "Good plan? I think so."
Even to seasoned vets like Johnny and Wes, it was an impressive performance.
"Big T is arguably one of my favorite people I've ever met on a Challenge," Johnny said.
Still, even with the Holy Trinity deal secured, T's wheelings and dealings didn't stop. During the interrogation of the Tribunal's three picks — Tori, Mattie and Dee — Big T continued to try to cut deals with fellow players and executed her pitches so smoothly that she gave some other players in the room whiplash.
"Damn, Big T -- you just grew up right before our eyes," Johnny said.
(Ultimately, Tori didn't take T's bait, but it was a valiant effort nonetheless.)
So while it was Dee who was eventually voted into Purgatory unanimously, and though she decisively eliminated Ashley in "Code Breakers," it was Big T who may have taken the biggest step forward toward control of the game. What do you think: Could Big T take control of Total Madness, and was her (very close) loss to Georgia in War of the Worlds 2 a potential fluke? Share your thoughts on how far you think she can go, and be sure to tune in to the next Challenge!