Let it be known that the days of Sarah Rice being “The Challenge” nice girl are officially over.
In Tuesday’s (March 10) final challenge before the Final, Sarah and her partner Jordan secured their spot in the final three — but in the final moments Sarah also threw one of her oldest “Challenge” friends under the bus.
In the final moments of the episode, Sarah nominated Bananas and Nany to go against Leroy and Nia in elimination instead of putting Jay and Jenna in for the easy win. Everyone’s jaws dropped, except for Bananas who just kept saying, “Sarah…Sarah….Sarah…” over and over. In a matter of seconds Sarah became one of the most cutthroat “Challenge” players to step foot on the show.
Why was the betrayal so deep? Let’s start with the facts.
Bananas had every reason to go after Jordan at the beginning of the season, but instead made an alliance because he and Sarah were such good friends. Even when Wes had all the power in the house, Jordan and Sarah remained faithfully in the Bananas camp, even without knowing he’d be coming back. When he and Nany did return, Sarah and Jordan sent Leroy and Nia into elimination because it was understood that Bananas’s and Nany’s names would never come out of Sarah’s mouth. They were a ride or die alliance — at least that’s what everyone thought.
Let’s be clear, it’s not just Bananas and Nany that Sarah is screwing over. There was a justifiable reason for throwing Leroy and Nia in against Wes and Theresa — a strong team had to take them out. However, this alliance has helped them secure that sweet spot in the Final and go for the big money. Even if Nia and Leroy can defeat Bananas and Nany, Leroy will have to know he sent home his best friend in the last elimination before the Final. Losing at this juncture hurts so much more than going out even as the first team.
Throwing Bananas and Nany in to take out Wes and Theresa would be easier to defend — since they had just come back and it was their idea to take out the top dog. Picking Bananas and Nany when you could send in a rookie team that hasn’t seen a single elimination all season is downright cutthroat though.
It’s also the last thing anyone would expect from Sarah. She’s competed on eight seasons of the show and has always played a fair and honest game. She votes people in based on merit and performance and admits herself she’s always been the nice girl — and this time she’s out to make money for herself.
Strategically, Sarah made the best move. Jay and Jenna have skirted through the middle the entire season and being rookies mean they are in no prepared for the endurance test that is the Final. It’s almost guaranteed that they’ll come in third, giving Sarah and Jordan second place and a larger prize in the meantime. It was a straight up hardcore political move that no one would have expected her to make.
It’s awesome to see Sarah taking control of the game (and the fact that it was Jordan adamantly telling her not to do it is also shocking) but we can’t lie — seeing Bananas just repeat her name over and over is an image that won’t soon be forgotten.