With the epicness that was the 6-minute opening sequence of the previous episode, this episode's opening definitely failed to match the expectations I had and let me down. It featured enough evenly-distributed interaction between everyone else, but the quality of most interactions were bland. The best was Brick and Jo, as always.
The first part of the challenge was, naturally, a pain-magnet scene that I expected to feature a solid amount of physical comedy, with even some genuine cringe-worthy moments thrown in there. However, after two straight episodes of solid amounts of physical comedy, it was bound to end sooner or later. And it ended here. Although there were a few good hits here and there, there just wasn't enough pain to make the scene enjoyable, and there was hardly any entertaining interaction during the challenge. This scene was a big let-down, especially considering that it was so hyped up among the fan base by the leaking of the famous "couch pic."
Once again, the main focal point in terms of interaction and development was Brick and Jo, as always, going at it in the most competitive manner ever. At this point, it became quite obvious that Brick and Jo were going to be a major focus in the episode, with their constantly competing as an indication that they could possibly became the next big love-hate couple (like Duncan/Courtney), and the next major couple in the season after Mike/Zoey.
Whoops. There goes B, godplaying, again. While this was obviously setting up for Scott wanting to so desperately get rid of him, his godplaying becomes so genuinely annoying that we're actually rooting for Scott to get rid of him sooner.
FINALLY, hints of the long-awaited and much-anticipated Anne Maria/Jo conflict, which wasn't even as much of a conflict as I originally thought it would be; Jo is taking advantage of Anne Maria's sensitivity to her looks, her hair, and her style, and using that to turn her into a raging machine for victory. Effective, but with some negative backlash.
Wanna talk about rushed? The capture-the-flag challenge. This one definitely went by so fast, I was genuinely blinking, and it was over. It barely even resembled your conventional capture-the-flag game, as there was very little of the contestants actually racing back-and-forth between the forts to get the enemies' flags. It was mostly just a classic snowball fight back-and-forth between the two forts, which was entertaining in its own right, but not nearly as much as I would've wanted.
Lightning's going at it again. First he kicks down a bunch of rocks that knock Mike, Zoey, and Cameron off the cliff, and then he says that he'll rescue his teammate and "friend," Sam, from a block of ice after they win the challenge, only to fail at moving any further towards the enemy fort. Does this guy know no limit?
Aside from Brick and Jo, perhaps the one other major focus of the episode in terms of development and interaction was Dawn. She's getting better and better as the season progresses, and in this episode she was both funny and serious; saving Lightning from choking on his breakfast just to save the cockroach that was in his food, saving Sam from the giant fire-breathing cockroach, and her continued interaction with Scott later in the episode, all made her the more enjoyable focal point of this episode. No real significance, but she's always enjoyable and entertaining to watch. To me, the Scott/Dawn interaction was especially hilarious, and the scenes between them later in the episode were the best part of the episode.
Actually, take that back. Aside from Scott/Dawn, Sam was also thoroughly hilarious. He started to display a bit of cynical humor ("The crappiness is thorough"), and some hilarious one-liners ("And I'm officially done. Good night, everybody," and "I can taste my spine"). To me, just about every single line that Sam had was funny, and if it weren't for him, this episode would've been even worse.
The biggest shock or amusing moment in the whole episode came at the end; Dakota's back. In some ways, I saw a rehash of Ezekiel in Total Drama World Tour, only this time, Chris had a little more...motivation to grant the desperate contestant's request. So now she's back...as an intern. This definitely sets up for some promising, hilarious, and entertaining moments with her being tormented to no end in the near future. Oh. Almost forgot: More Sam/Dakota, too.
The elimination. Obviously, we all expected B to finally speak or make some kind of noise in his last moment on the island. However, all we got was his scream. To be completely honest, I half expected it to be a high-pitched, out-of-character voice in true Total Drama style. However, going against this reversed cliche, his scream was indeed a very deep, booming voice that's fitting enough for such a large guy.
So, overall, I feel that this was the first truly disappointing episode of the season thus far. The previous two managed to maintain a perfect balance between development/interaction and physical comedy. Especially with the latter, the last two episodes managed to push to the limit of the nonstop pain right before it could be considered overkill. This episode was good at evenly dividing the amount of screen time and focus among the characters, but the only ones that truly had good quality to them were the scenes with Dawn, Sam, and the scenes with Brick and Jo. Much like how Mike and Zoey was rushed and focused on greatly, to the point of overkill, in the first episode, Brick and Jo was heavily focused-on in this episode, and was overkill. There just wasn't enough good physical comedy, and not enough witty dialogue, strong jokes, hilarious one-liners, or decent writing to make this episode as enjoyable as the last two. With the last two episodes being so good, this one failed to fill the shoes and meet the standards met by its predecessors. I'll give it a 6/10.