The Challenge: Final Reckoning's Cara Maria Breaks Down That Shocking Elimination Twist

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.

When we last left off, karma seemed to be taking a vacation as Zach and Amanda won the most recent challenge. Marie and I came in last place and earned a handicap for the next challenge — if we are even lucky enough to make it there.

The main house divided

Zach and Amanda are one team completely split in terms of alliances which is why the neutral Jozea and Da’Vonne have been their eternal “no feathers ruffled” easy vote. However, this far into the game, moves need to be played. Nelson is in Zach’s ear pushing for a Johnny/Tony vote. Zach won’t budge on this because he says Tony was his ride or die who helped him get to the Vendettas final.

To be clear, here are the alliances, as they stand:
The “Name Your Friend Group” alliance (aka the Lavender Ladies and Team Young Buck, combined): Nelson & Shane, Hunter & Ashley, Joss & Sylvia, Amanda
The “No One Likes Us” alliance: Johnny & Tony, Cara Maria & Marie, Zach
The total wildcards: Jozea & Da’Vonne

At this point, I realize that if the larger alliance gets their way and sends home either Johnny and Tony or Da’Vonne and Jozea, Marie and I are next. Our smartest move is to stick with Johnny in hopes we can take out someone from the other side. I am completely transparent and let him know that we all need to vote one way as long as it isn’t Shane. We are ready to put up or shut up. I’ve got nothing to lose anymore.

Zach and Amanda’s poolside battle

Amanda decides to lay down the law on Zach by stomping her feet and telling him that his friends suck and hers are better. She then lets Johnny know that he is a “loser” and she has more friends than him. She says that the only friend Zach has besides Jenna is Tony but that Tony really isn’t even his friend. PLUS, she justifies saying she wanted my horse to die because that was better than saying she wanted me to die. So there’s that.

What you didn’t see: Marie orchestrates a tie vote

Unbeknownst to me (or the editors of this episode), my partner was busy doing God’s work. Marie was making moves politically manipulating the Lavender Ladies. Apparently, despite all the anti-Bananas rhetoric, Hunter and Ashley wanted to get rid of me and Marie first. Shane was the only thing holding this off from happening. No one wants to face elimination, but if they do, they want their best odds of staying in the game. Marie and I are looking pretty tasty right now so Marie’s wheels are spinning. Marie tells Hunter and Ashley we are voting for them, forcing the LLs to stay united in a Johnny vote. Jozea and Da’Vonne are in with the plan and vote with us. With this move, they are officially not a wildcard anymore. Marie is the reason that the split alliance team of Amanda and Zach are forced to make a decision between Johnny/Tony and Ashley/Hunter.

But now that we’re in Armageddon…

Hunter & Ashley and Johnny & Tony are tied in the votes, forcing Amanda and Zach to finally pick a side. TJ warns them that if they can not agree on a team, they themselves will have to compete in the elimination. Apparently, Zach thinks standing next to TJ in elimination is a whole lot more appealing than spending one more second next to a girl who verbally attacked his girlfriend, who wished death on animals, who compares how many friends she has to others, and so on. I feel you, Zach. As Amanda goes down into the elimination in disbelief, it’s clear that the two teams being fought over have zero intention of volunteering to come down on their own. It seems neither Zach nor Amanda actually have “real” friends. Amanda once again sacrifices herself for her “friend” Ashley. Please recall that on the final elimination of Invasion of the Champions, Ashley used Amanda to secure her spot in the final. She tricked Amanda, leaving her to face Nicole one-on-one in a tug of war. I have yet to see where Ashley has ever helped Amanda in a game but Amanda continues to let herself be a pawn.

Amanda and Zach call down their scapegoats to join them in Armageddon before TJ reveals mercenaries Cory and Devin are actually competing in the face-off.

Cory and Devin have to win both rounds to get back into the main house. I am quite sure Jenna & Jemmye, Britni & Chuck, and CT & Veronica wish they had that chance as well, but you can’t hate the players anymore, only the twisted game.

It’s worth noting: Cory is a “Young Buck” tied in with Nelson and Hunter. Devin hails from Are You the One? and is close friends with Amanda. Cory and Devin both are heavily against Johnny due to past game and personal moves, so having them back in the house just adds numbers to the other alliance. Super!

Zach should’ve had the first heat in the bag. Amanda holds on to the rope for her life while he jumps on like a gorilla and goes bananas. Zach has a hard go of it when a medallion whips up and hits him in the eye and the rope dislodged from a stunt guy whacks him in the nose. Despite bleeding profusely, he manages to shake down all the medallions in record time save for one at Amanda’s end. Eventually, Cory and Devin catch up and take the win, sending Amanda and Zach packing.

Though Cory and Devin have the strategy down now, their endurance has to be shot and their muscles fatigued. Jozea and Da’Vonne get the benefit of going second. They got to see the strategies that worked and their muscles are fresh. This should play to their benefit. However, the same stubborn medallion that wouldn’t shake off for Amanda and Zach is now causing problems for Jozea and Da’Vonne as well. Despite their best efforts, they can not get this one medallion down. Cory and Devin take their second win and earn their spot in the game.

The “name your friend group” alliances are sad to see Amanda go but celebrate Cory and Devin coming in. Drunk off power in numbers, they take this opportunity to gang up on Johnny and remind him that he has no friends. Are we seeing a pattern here? Is anyone else as annoyed as I am at this point?

Two teams are off to Redemption House so let’s take a peek at what’s going on there…

Shocker! Tensions are high

The tensions rise between Paulie and Kyle. Brad reiterates that Kyle has feelings for me which is why he is can’t stop talking about Paulie. Paulie loses his cool and hurdles insults back at Kyle. These two are oil and water and its clear nothing is going to be resolved anytime soon.

With the addition of Jozea & Da’Vonne and Zach & Amanda, there will be five teams in Redemption. Fingers crossed this means a Redemption challenge is on the horizon.

Check back here for more recaps and exclusive insider information only this weirdo can bring you. Stay weird. And don’t count your friends.

The Challenge: Final Reckoning airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on MTV.

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