‘the challenge’ field study, entry 5: failures and flubs ravage the nest

It has certainly been an eventful week for the herd. Love triangles, temper tantrums and cheating have rocked the semblance of peace and order that the nest had previous achieved. And they were beginning to show so much promise…

The fifth week began with herd members accidentally observing the nocturnal, physical bonding between Theresa and LeroyWes, the former mate of the female participating in the coitus, was less than pleased, and he became even more unsettled when he learned this pair had chosen to make their site of intimacy close to his own sleeping area in the nest. It’s easy to assume that this was an intentional move to psych Wes out, on either Theresa or Leroy’s end. To capitalize on Wes’ irritated mood, Leroy and other another “Rival,” Johnny, fashioned a voodoo doll in Wes’ likeness to curse their “Challenge” mate and placed it in his sleeping quarters. The doll was evidently used for magical purposes to weaken Wes, with an ancient inscription that means “insecure” carved into it. Fortunately, Wes was able to channel his frustration over this situation into the first of spiritual leader TJ’s nest challenges for the week, which boded well for himself and his “Rival,” CT.

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Another eruption of emotion came from Zach, who received word that his family’s nest back home had welcomed a new member. His sister’s gave birth to a son, and Zach — already growing tired of the increasingly erratic nest behavior — longed to be back with his familial herd. On top of this, Zach felt betrayed by Frank because of Johnny’s previous actions towards him, and the result is an aggressive verbal argument between all three Alphas. This negative energy proves costly to Zach in the first competition, which consisted of different rival teams swinging back and forth in sacred boulders, attempting to knock one or two members of each team off a suspended beam into the water below. Zach and Trey failed to keep up the impressive competitive streak they’d had and end up in The Jungle.

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When spiritual leader TJ called on the females to send over two more male offerings, the herd was thrown for a loop. Some votes were expected (new herd members Jordan and Marlon, for instance), but Leroy and Ty‘s team was targeted, instead. Theresa, trying to ensure that she and Jasmine would be spared from future scrutiny over a possible alliance involving her new bedmate, votes Leroy and Ty into the Jungle. However, the duo are voted for over and over, sending them into The Jungle. Though Theresa appeared distraught over this,  I questioned whether or not her upset was genuine. Herd members can be sneaky.

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The Jungle competition involved two parallel towers with four levels each. TJ required the sacrificed teams to shatter through each level using brute strength, and members had to alternate on each floor. The first to break through everything would be allowed to return to the herd. Zach and Trey initially beat Leroy and Ty, and in a display of sheer arrogance after reaching the ground, Zach threw his protective armor at the rest of the herd, who had been watching the game from above. His celebration, however, proved premature: the omnipresent forces of the Jungle informed TJ that Zach broke through the first level of the tower, when it was meant for Trey. TJ deemed this cheating, and the winners were disqualified and exiled. Not only were Leroy and Ty spared, but so was Theresa’s new bond with Leroy. However, time will tell whether their mating will hold up — the Jungle can be a tricky place, and I fear the worst for this new couple.