Does MTV know their audience?

This week in “The Challenge: Vendettas” there was a lack of elimination footage. It seems that we, the fans, critics and even the casual viewers are just waiting for that anticipated week of a competition and an elimination in the same, fulfilling episode. However, with the introduction of the Troika, this may never actually happen. There is a chance that the Troika will be abolished in later episodes, and that its use is to give more power to more people, given just how many cast members there are.

This week started off as last week’s ended. Sylvia has won the elimination competition against Melissa, sending her home, but not without a few battle scars. She still has teeth marks on her arm from Melissa’s dirty tactics. She’s also sick with a fever and unable to complete in this week’s competition (or use her grenade). Luckily for her this is a male’s elimination.

The challenge of the week has a twist: lack of daylight. The competitors are split into teams, and one by one must dive into the sea and attempt to move a ring down a rope. The team with the most feet traveled, wins. Then the top three competitors from that team form the latest Troika. T.J. Lavin, the host of “The Challenge,”claims that the teams were chosen randomly and are gender neutral. Yet, a few cast members (including Marie and Jemmye) took to Twitter to say that the former Troika, which consisted of Marie, Tony, and Zack, picked the teams. They also did so with the intent of causing Brad to lose and go straight to elimination.

And that’s exactly what happened. Though Brad scored top marks, tying with Tony and Bananas, his team ultimately lost, and they voted him in to face the elimination instead of Nelson (the only other male on the team). The winning team’s top three performers were Bananas, Tony, and Kyle. They were all previously in a Troika, so nothing new there.

Is Bananas the Tom Brady of The Challenge? Between his personality and record holding “Challenge” wins, he considers himself public enemy number one. And he’s actually not too far off. Earlier in the episode we saw Devin, one of his vendettas, propose an alliance to a group of men with Bananas as the target in mind. He was speaking to “Big Brother’s” Victor, “Challenge” vet Shane, Brad and Nelson. Victor and Nelson vocally supported his arguments while Brad and Shane took a backseat to the discussion. Victor has a few reasons to be weary of Bananas. Not only is Bananas a strong competitor and tough competition in a final, but he’s cozied up with Victor’s vendetta and fellow “Big Brother” alum Natalie. Nelson, on the other hand, is one of the ‘Young Bucks’ that has been against Bananas in the past few “Challenges,” along with the eliminated Cory and Hunter, who is not on this season.

So the Troika had a great decision to make. What three guys are a threat to them and should face an inquisition? Well, for all three of the Troika, Nelson would be a great pick. He is going against Kyle because he broke his word against Cory, Tony is one of his vendettas, and so is Bananas. However the Troika doubts that Nelson can actually win anything. So they decide on Devin, Shane and Victor. Obviously, Bananas is in charge because only his targets were chosen and that was further proven when Tony decided he was the Scotty Pipman to Banana’s Michael Jordan (he also referred to Kyle as Dennis Rodman, much to his surprise). It was very ridiculous. During the inquisition Shane attacks Victor and Devin, throwing them under the bus in an effort to deflect attention from himself. Unfortunately we won’t know if it works until next week.

So why couldn’t MTV fit an elimination into the episode? Well for the daily drama that no one asked for! Someone is terrorizing one of the women’s rooms. There was a mystery note left on Britni’s bed, proclaiming that all of her bunkmates talk poorly of her and are fake. And then there’s a second note of the same variety. And then there was a series of kissing and flirting at the club. Apparently all of this suspense and wacky confessionals are supposed to make up for the cliffhanger of no elimination! What is most interesting is actually the fact that the note bearing culprit is being hidden by production, so not even the viewer knows who is behind the psychological warfare. My bet would be Bananas or Devin as they are both self-proclaimed manipulators.

We will most likely find out the next episode, so tune in to “MTV’s The Challenge: Vendettas” every Tuesday night at 9 p.m., then read my take on the season here at the Niner Times!