After winning MTV’s The Challenge: Vendettas earlier this year, Cara Maria Sorbello is back in action for her 12th season, The Challenge: Final Reckoning. As she vies for the $1 million prize alongside rival and partner Marie Roda, she’s blogging about it exclusively on PEOPLE! Follow Cara Maria on Twitter at @CaraMariaMTV.
After an explosive Armageddon that brought in a new set of mercenaries, Challenge winners Amanda and Zach were sent packing along with their favorite scapegoats, Jozea and Da’Vonne.
A little backstory: Devin flew in with us at the start of The Challenge — he was supposed to be Johnny’s original partner. However, as soon as he landed, he got a call from home informing him that his father had unexpectedly passed away. We hugged him goodbye and did not expect to see him again.
I believe Devin coming back to The Challenge was his escape from reality. I can’t imagine trying to process the loss of a parent. I think the suspended reality of the Challenge house, where the distraction of the game would help him mentally through this hardest time, was what he needed. He was always supposed to be here with us. It seems like Challenge fate that he would be here with us now to continue what he started.
TYB: “Thank you, Bananas?”
Cory and Devin join what is left of the main house competitors and Team Young Buck (TYB) celebrates their reunion. TYB (more affectionately known as “thank you, Bananas” for the storylines) consists of Hunter, Cory, and Nelson. Johnny feels the heat more than ever as his only alliance left is me and Marie.
However, he should feel pretty safe for at least another week. Hunter has made it known numerous times throughout the game (yet unseen in the edits) that he wants to come after me and Marie first. Nelson has also notoriously always come after me in the past just due to my friendship with Johnny. Despite me being cool with both Devin and Cory, they were clearly brought in to add another number against me and Johnny in the game.
So Johnny, you think you are sweating? Me and Marie need to win to be safe and we get to go into our first challenge with an unknown handicap. It is definitely hotter on the girls’ side of the kitchen.
The witches circle
We see the Lavender Ladies and Marie sitting down to recap that insane elimination. The LLs trash Zach’s move while praising Amanda’s. Except… you know… they both made the same move. The LLs then state that you can’t win without friends. I am living proof that this is malarky.
You can’t win without WINNING (challenges/eliminations/a final). Unless you are Ashley and have friends like Amanda who historically sacrifices herself to let you get closer to a final… but I digress.
The night ends with the LLs telling Marie that she is next to be voted in because she is my partner and I am aligned with Johnny. Let’s be real here, Marie has and always will be on the outside looking in. Even if I were not a factor, Marie would always be next on their list. That is a sad truth.
Avoid the red rope!
For the What Comes Up Must Come Down challenge, everyone must race to the top of the building. One player hangs over the building to relay the puzzle key to their teammate who must rebuild it strictly from communication. Oh, and as the losers of the last challenge, Marie and I have a handicap: a locked gate and a key ring with multiple keys and only one correct one.
Cory and Devin set the time to beat by going first. They rally the stairs and crush the puzzle. Devin pulls his way down the building at a hermit crab pace on this dreaded red rope. This could cost them.
Ashley and Hunter argue the entire time and lose it at the puzzle. Ashley has trouble pulling herself down the building (on that red rope again). I remember her screaming at production to loosen her slack so she could move forward easier. It was looking rough for her up there.
Then it’s our turn: Apparently, there were two boxes of puzzle pieces at the top. Marie thought the pieces on the right were for the right side of the puzzle and vice versa. After screaming back and forth for a few minutes, she notices the other box of pieces. We then put everything together quickly and Marie flies down the building. She was basically smoking cigs and breathing fine by the time I made it down. I am proud of her, but at this point, I am thinking there’s something fishy with the red rope. I am all upper body strength. This should have been right in my wheelhouse. However, I felt like I was pulling double my body weight down this thing.
Shane and Nelson make it to the top in record time and then destroy the puzzle. Despite Shane’s struggle on the red rope, their team is still looking like the front-runner today. This is the time Johnny and Tony have to beat to secure their safety.
Joss and Sylvia is where we start noticing something might actually really be off with the ropes. Joss is practically falling down the building as they descend. We holler up for him to wait for Sylvia but he screams he can’t and even takes his hands off the rope as he continues to fall. Meanwhile, Sylvia struggles to pull herself down the red rope step by step. Eventually she makes it down but we have all made a scene about the ropes at this point.
Johnny and Tony destroy the challenge. With the loud obnoxious jeering from the Challengers around me, it seems as if Marie and I are the only two people staying silent. I feel the hatred seething from the crowd as they make digs at me for not joining in. Hunter and I get into a screaming match at one point as he yells that Marie and I are next. It’s all incredibly bad sportsmanship, but at least Johnny and Tony get the W.
Cigarette butts to headbutts
What starts as a low-key card game turns into an all-out Marie explosion. Marie realizes we are officially going into elimination by her own friends’ hands. She is just not as important to them as they are with each other. Even Shane, her No. 1, would rather vote Marie in than Sylvia. It’s all hitting her hard.
Back from a night at the club, Marie and Sylvia get into it again. The squabble brings the girls nose to nose and ends in a hard headbutt from Sylvia. Marie is smart like a fox. She was betting on something like this to happen. If Sylvia got physical, she might get sent home, and we might have a shot at staying in the game. Despite Marie’s best efforts though, Sylvia stays to vote another day.
The “name your friend group” alliance unanimously votes in Marie and me. Johnny and Tony’s votes are for nothing. If Shane or Cory and Devin voted our way, we would at least make a tie. However, these cats are out of lives.
In the voting room, I suggest we go after Shane and “we’re coming down to the needy greedy” Nelson. Shane was Marie’s No. 1 in the house, but he is choosing to save Sylvia over Marie now. The whole gang is just treating Marie like an outcast loser and frankly it hurts me to watch. I’m ready to go big and send a message. Marie is touched that in my anger, I let it slip how I have come to care for her. We have a moment…
Honestly, at this point in my life, people can call me names or make fun of me or make me feel like an outcast and it doesn’t affect me because I just consider the source. However, seeing people Marie considers her real life “friends” treat her the way that they have just pokes my inner Mama Bear. It’s me and Marie against the world now and we have the power now.
We show up to what looks like some sort of maze. Maybe an equalizer will come into play that will help us, or maybe the elimination will be some sort of puzzle which is an equalizer in itself. I am ready for tonight.
The TYB/LL alliance votes us in unanimously and we get the pick of the litter. There is no hesitation with me and Marie. Shane, Marie’s tightest ally, crossed her without a second thought. So it is time for us to return the favor. Shane and Nelson are a strong team in this game but anything can happen in elimination. I am living proof after big elimination wins that had me send home Nia, Aneesa, and Johnny & Vince in things that should have been in their wheelhouse. I am ready to make a move here tonight that would seriously flip the house.
So Shane and Nelson, come on down.
Will I be writing from the main house or Redemption House when we return next week? Or will I even be writing at all? I can honestly say I don’t know.
Thanks for sticking with me on this wild ride. Trust me, it only gets more insane from here. Stay weird. Someone likes you ?
The Challenge: Final Reckoning airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on MTV.
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