Episode 5, and we're down to 15 teams. Ellody and Mary were left behind on the beach, where they're probably ignoring cute boys in favor of some washed-up jellyfish.

Yesterday's review was a bit too much of 'here's exactly what they did,' so I'm going to try to summarize a bit more today. I also mention that I had headcanon for one of this week's last 2 episodes, but it *isn't* today's. You'll have to come back tomorrow to see the biggest potential missed plotline that I had in mind. With that, here we go on today's updates!

Tom and Jen: They run screaming through the geyser field, with Jen's scream shattering a camera (told you her scream was grating!) They completely skirt the 'telephone' challenge by complimenting the girl's dress, which I don't necessarily approve of game-wise, but thought it was a funny moment that was fitting for their characters. They're kind of shafted from lines for the rest of the episode, which is reasonable considering how many jokes they had in the previous 2, and the pacing/development/focus for/on some of the other characters in the episode's final minutes.

Chet and Lorenzo: They once again beat the snot out of each other when they can't agree on who was supposed to memorize which half of the sentence. Props to the telephone judge, for putting BOTH of them in their place. The push-push-tackle routine sees another use in the confessional. THEY ALMOST HIGH FIVED. YAASS. Even if they took it back, it's the first bit of anything positive between the two, which is a step in the right direction.

Dwayne and Junior: Dwayne gets a good bit of comic touch in the first challenge, where he continuously botches the Icelandic line. He gets slapped, bashes his face into the ground about a half dozen times, and pretty much just totally loses his mind. Junior eventually has to cover his mouth and recite the line himself, leading to a bit of a role reversal where Senior acts like a kid in the confessional. People have given Senior some flack for his remarks in previous episodes, and this is one where it kind of comes into play again. He remarks that the Icelandic girl is beautiful before trying to cover up by saying that her dress was beautiful, calls the Icelandic language 'ridiculous,' and the guy forgot his son's birthday. It was sad enough hearing that from Cody in season 3, but at least his parents weren't standing right next to him! My biggest complaint about this team, though, is how they keep using other team's misfortunes to their advantage. It feels like they've skirted a lot of work, like how Senior got a tag in the shark challenge after Devin retrieved it but was chased off, and then there was the fossil issue in this episode. Sure, sometimes life involves some luck, but these two really haven't had to do much *because* of how lucky they've been. I hope that this won't be too much of a continuing trend, because I'd like to see them revel in their *own* accomplishments. 

Emma and Kitty: Kitty saves them during the first challenge, and Emma tells her off for it. Once again, a case where Kitty was 'in the right,' but gets shut down by her over-controlling sister. "Next time you try to help, don't help.' This leads to a bit of a subtle jab, where Kitty *doesn't* help Emma at all during the Either Or. I say subtle, because it wasn't directly addressed, and some might think that Kitty just got distracted by her camera phone. Maybe that will finally be a wake-up call to Emma that she *needs* her sister's assistance if they're going to thrive as a team? Side-note: Kitty's selfie game is still on point.

Ryan and Stephanie: This is the first episode where Stephanie's temper is *really* brought to the fore-front. The girl would basically kill Ryan over french fries if the situation ever arose. She's not a fan of failure, and she goes a bit too overboard when she makes up for it - even if her celebration (and breaking all of Ryan's fingers with a fist-bump) *was* funny. On the other hand, Ryan proves that he's basically just another DJ with a million more muscles - he's very easy-going with Stephanie, super supportive, and like I said in one of my previous reviews, just a big ol' teddy bear. It seems like she takes advantage of just how gentle he is, which could be grounds for a break-up in the future, if her all-or-nothing failure-isn't-an-option policy gets the best of her. They also get a Lady and the Tramp reference during the eating challenge, which understandably horrifies Taylor and Kelly.

Crimson and Ennui: We finally hear Crimson's voice, and these two become absolute comedic gold in this episode. They were the only front-running team to pick the 'feast' end of the Either Or, and were rewarded by finishing their respective challenge first. They horrified the other teams by handling the gross-out food with such ease, they frustrated our peppy host, Don, by continuing to show zero emotion ever, and Ennui's 'excitement' rant (and peeing himself) was one of the funniest moments that RR has given us thus far.

Jay and Mickey: I wrote Owen and Noah's blurb first, and comment how they got lines, but not much development, and these two are the same. They got their spider freakout in the beginning, got blasted by the geyser and enjoyed it since it helps their skin, and they have their joke about probably dying soon in their final confessional. I still stand by the fact that they could be strong (in terms of knowing each other probably the best out of any team), but their knowledge of their strengths/weaknesses hasn't really been utilized to their advantage yet. Heck, even being called the 'adversity twins,' they really haven't dealt with much adversity in the last 2 or 3 episodes.

Owen and Noah: They get a few jokes thoughout the episode (Owen interprets the 'telephone' challenge as a drive-through, and he gets double-stuck in the geysers). Really, though, for the second episode in a row, they get shafted on actual character development. To a degree, I can understand why - they've participated in previous seasons, so they don't need it as much as the others. Really though, Noah was one of the least-focused-on competitors of the original cast (London was probably the most he got in terms of character development), so it's a bit of a bummer that he's not getting some background, or even, surprisingly, his typical snark. Also, it seems weird that Owen, who literally licked a toilet lid in season 1, finds the eating challenge to be disgusting - yeah, it's made to look that way, but Owen being the one to explicitly point it out seems strange.

Geoff and Brody: Poor Brody spent the day recovering from his massive electrocution episode in Calanque de Maubois, and Geoff picked up the reigns and guided the team through Iceland's challenges. Even if it meant that Brody was dead-weight in this episode, I appreciate the writer's nod to continuity. And props to Geoff, for making it work - they finish top 5, which is saying a lot. Brody also participated in the eating challenge despite his state, whereas some other characters didn't even do that much.

Taylor and Kelly: Initally, Taylor comes across as her usual self, as her first lines reflect how she sent her mom back across the geyser field by herself because they got the Icelandic line wrong. We see an early sign of Kelly 'pushing back' as she gives her daughter a dirty look when her snark comes out after Kelly's success with the 'telephone' line. The Either Or gives them some cute moments (well, as cute as barfing can be) where we see that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. However, PENALTY, and here's where Taylor's attitude becomes super unattractive. It was clearly Taylor's fault that they received the penalty, since she refused to go back during the first challenge like she was supposed to - however, she blames Kelly, and as usual, her Mom chalks it up to Taylor being a teenager, and just lets it happen. Getting an early hint of Kelly asserting herself, and having some moments where Taylor isn't solely snarky gives this team some promise moving forward, but it was sad to see them have an upward progression that was brought down by Taylor's attitude in the end.

Devin and Carrie: More development for Devin that's based around his girlfriend. Carrie walks 10 feet away to completely rip her apart. Their first lines of the episode, and their development continues to center on the love-triangle-where-we-only-see-2-of-them. Please please PLEASE have something else before the end of the episode...   Alas, they really didn't. Devin's foot gets stuck in the geyser, and that's really about it. I'm at least hoping for some inter-team interactions with these guys soon, because they need something new.

Sanders and McArthur: Early continuation of McArthur's grudge match with the Skaters - expected. Literally carries Sanders through another challenge - seen it. Although these two have great lines, and one of the few inter-team interactions, their activities have been pretty redundant to this point. Some background of their time as Cadets, why they joined the force, or some new team interactions would be good directions for them. McArthur's rough-and-tumble way of doing things gets her in some trouble, as she manages to destroy some fossils - Sanders' face in response is pretty priceless though. They come in lower than expected, given their early strength, and it will be interesting to see how they fare in the next challenge or two.

Josee and Jacques: They're pretty content with their win from episode four, and their confidence is running high for as early in the game as it is. They're so focused on maintaining their lead that they snap at 5 other teams, and McArthur snaps back, as per their rivalry. Surprisingly, they don't get much screentime, and ultimately come in third in the end. No freakouts this time though, unless they're saving it for next episode.

Rock and Spud: The first episode that outright addresses an issue in this team's dynamics - Rock is doing all of the work. Even though both heard the line, Spud basically acknowledges that he wasn't paying enough attention to memorize it, leaving Rock to stumble on his own - luckily, he stumbles onto the right words the first go-around. During the 'feast' challenge, we see that Spud isn't eating, and Rock tells him off for it. Even Brody, who needed hospital time during this entire episode, is eating! Spud has no excuses, and Rock has every right to be frustrated. They end up being one of the final teams, and Spud hypocritically tells Rock to hurry. Rock snaps back, just as he should. Even though they avoid last place, this seems like a good opportunity for Rock to get Spud's head into the game. Rock has carried them through 5 episodes, and if Spud actually started contributing, they could get somewhere.

Laurie and Miles: These two got a good bit of early focus in the episode, which was good to see. They're cultural awareness pays off again in this episode (although, wasn't Laurie's pronunciation just a *little* bit off - lord knows I can't spell the line, but I thought it had a 'mir mina' sound, not 'mira mina.' Maybe it was close enough to pass though. I mean, they did more than Tom and Jen in that regard). Ultimately, they made a massive mistake by taking their eyes off of their fossil during the Either Or. Which begs a question from me - yeah, duh, ice is cold, but *why* didn't some of the characters use their spare clothing to cover their hands? Laurie and Miles *both* have head-wear that they could have used for protection! Instead, they meditated, their fossil went for a slide, and got picked up by the Dwaynes. Laurie's hell-fire rage at Senior is my current favorite moment through the first 6 episodes, just because it defies everything we know about her character so far. It was unexpected, and absolutely glorious. The poor Vegans are forced to go back, and to save themselves some time (and probable elimination), they go rogue and eat the meat on the 'feast' side. They lose to Rock and Spud by a couple of feet, but are spared elimination, leading Laurie to beat the snot out of Don, since the non-elimination meant that they could have gone through the fossil challenge again and stuck to their belief system. Whoops. On the other hand, though, this sets up a potential grudge between their team and the Father/Son team, and it will be interesting to see if the writers play with that moving forward.

Overall, this episode gets a pretty high score from me. Also, creeping Tumblr after the initial spoilers, others thought the same - and here's one of my opinions as to why - unlike previous episodes, this was one of the few, if not the only, so far to have every team have some kind of line - even if Noah/Owen and Jay/Mickey didn't have much in the way of development, each had at least 3 moments of on-air talking time, which was good to see. The pacing was pretty good, there was physical comedy, and an ending that was suspenseful and sets up well for the next episode. Laurie and Miles were the first team to really be negatively affected by the actions of another, so it will be interesting to see if that carries over.

What were your thoughts? Did you appreciate the non-elimination? How were the challenges? Who are you loving and hating? And what do you predict for some of these teams in the near future? Leave your thoughts, and I'll be back tomorrow with a few more of my own!

~ TdrrTom

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