Welcome back to “The Challenge: Vendettas!” We’re at the halfway point and it can only go up from here. As per usual, this week’s episode began where last week ended: elimination time. The Troika of the time (Johnny ‘Bananas’, Kyle and Tony) chose former “Big Brother” contestant to face “Challenge” veteran, Brad. They proceeded to battle it out in one of the strangest eliminations I have ever witnessed.

The two men were standing in what was essentially a glass box without a top. That’s a bit boring for the “The Challenge,” so of course it was filled up to their waists in water. The object of the game was to use their bodies to remove the water in their boxes, down to a marked midpoint. Once the sufficient amount of water was removed, the competitors were free to break out of the glass box and escape to ring the bell of victory. Brad had his movements down pat, whilst Victor floundered and splashed his way to another reality TV defeat. As the winner, Brad got his choice of grenade, able to choose between Time Crunch, Sit Out and Blindside, to be decided at the challenge.

Cue scene of Brad and Britni aggressively making out.

Speaking of Britni, another note was found in her room. #Notegate confirmed. Her roommates, fellow occupants of the blue room, are all suspects, along with their vendettas of course. This week MTV did shine the light on the actual culprit, Bananas. I did suspect him last week, but what I did not suspect was the immaculate planning he acted with. Johnny Bananas has quite a few henchmen, and his sister seems to be one of them. He had her write a series of notes in her ‘girliest’ writing to stir the pot whenever he so desired. It seems the only person of the cast that knows about this is fellow henchman and accomplice, Leroy.

So on to the challenge of the week! It is revealed that Sylvia is too sick to compete and therefore was sent home. Additionally T.J unveiled a new plot twist: double elimination in celebration of the halfway point. The name of the game is “Puppet master.” The cast is divided into two teams (decided on by the previous Troika) and chained together. They must retrieve puppet pieces and then assemble it in their designated area. Brad chose to use Time Crunch as his grenade, adding a one minute delay to the other team. He chose to use it on rookie Kam, as she voted for him in the team decision last week. The time delay ultimately caused Kam’s team to lose. As it is a double elimination, the losing team had to choose one man and one woman to go straight into elimination. For the men, it was a choice between Nelson, Joss, Zach, Devin and Leroy. For the women, it was between Kailah, Kam, Britni, Veronica and Marie. If it were solely up to the guys, Leroy would be going in, but luckily for him the girls had his back and voted in U.K’s Joss. The majority of girls and boys voted Veronica in. Though Veronica is a veteran and has been on quite a few “Challenges,” she has no alliances and no one in her corner, so that is of no surprise. Joss is a very strong rookie, he won the very first challenge of the season and this was bound to happen eventually. I am sure it would be happening to U.K’s Kyle as well if he did not have a budding romance with fan favorite Cara Maria.

Speaking of Kyle, he may be laying low, but he proclaimed to be running the game. And it is hard to dispute that claim when he’s in the Troika once again. The winning team was able to choose their top three players to form the Troika this week, and somehow Bananas convinced everyone it should be Tony, Kyle and Nicole. Well, he did not so much as convince, as he said it and no one suggested anything else. I am really surprised at how little people are being proactive in their game play. The same five people or so are making strategic decisions for everyone.

There was no inquisition this week! The Troika announced their shortlist and then voted on who was going in to face Veronica and Joss in elimination. They chose Shane to go against Joss. Tony and Nicole both have a vendetta against Shane and would love to see him leave. They also voted in Kam, possibly for the lack of ties. Just when I thought we would get what we came for, T.J called in a few heavy hitters at the last ten minute mark. In walks “Challenge” finalists and veterans Tori, Aneesa, Derek and Jordan. These are some of the toughest competitors to ever grace MTV’s programming. Previews suggest that there’s a few more heavy hitters waiting in the wings. With their announcement, the elimination is flipped on its head. Shane and Joss no longer need to battle each other, but the vets. Same with Kam and Veronica.

The good news: we actually saw about half of the elimination. The competition this time around was to battle to grab a roped loop from their opponent and to hang it on a pole outside of the circle. If both competitors have hands on the rope and cross the line, they must start over. The pairings are randomly selected by chips. First we see Shane battle Jordan, his so proclaimed “celebrity crush.” Jordan is a lot of things, including hot, but celebrity isn’t one of them. Their match is over fairly quickly as Jordan demolished Shane 2-0.

Next up was Veronica and Aneesa. They have some major beef from last season. Veronica felt Aneesa used her and her feelings for a storyline and Aneesa feels that Veronica felt ‘outed’ for being with her. So not the bestest of friends. Unfortunately we do not know the winner, as Veronica’s hand was injured in the last minute of the episode.

We are getting very close to a full episode! This episode can be excused, as it started with an elimination and it contains part of a double elimination. So if next week’s episode does not encompass a challenge and end with a completed elimination, many will be disappointed.

I know I will be. We will 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!

If you need a refresher on the cast here’s MTV’s page: http://www.mtv.com/shows/vendettas/cast