A Best Friend Is Your Worst Enemy on MTV's The Challenge

Sometimes "best friend" is just another word for "pre-enemy." Unless it's late in the season of your particular reality show, in which case "best friend" could also mean "post-enemy." Whatever the case, nobody knows quite how to hurt you in the heart like a former best friend, so maybe that old adage "I'm not here to make friends" is very wise strategy after all. It definitely would've been this week as longtime The Challenge besties Laurel and Cara Maria engaged in a psychological catfight for the ages. While the rest of the cast had long ago written off Laurel as a sociopath (to quote CT, "Laurel would eat her own child if she was hungry"), longtime loyalist Cara Maria finally saw the jar of spiders stored behind Laurel's emotionless gaze. Their resultant, completely juvenile spat made the brutality of the physical challenges seem downright chill.

It all started when Laurel and Cara Maria were sitting on a bed relaxing and Laurel began decreeing who she'd be sending home and in what order, and Cara Maria's nervous questions about whether she was Laurel's #1 ally or not was met with hedging, refusal, and eventually fury, with Laurel straight-up commanding Cara Maria to "shut the fuck up." The pair then spent the episode refusing to speak to one another like a couple of third graders. But Laurel took things to an extreme when she openly rooted against Cara Maria in the arena. Worse, after Cara Maria came out victorious but on the verge of tears with a possibly broken hand, Laurel just stared apathetically into the distance. Very yikes.

There's something almost satisfying about someone like Laurel—so poised, athletically gifted, and least likely to misbehave while drunk—somehow winding up being the biggest nightmare. Yes, these people are all under incredible pressure, but it's really telling that even Zach was given pause by Laurel's treatment of Cara Maria. There are probably more than a few shallow graves out there attributable to Zach having too much free time on his hands, so when he came to Cara Maria's defense in this episode (and trust, people never come to Cara Maria's defense), it made Laurel look that much worse. She may still be the female frontrunner, but right now she's playing a shockingly sloppy game. Laurel had super close allies in both Jordan and Cara Maria, but she messed both of them up badly, and now she's playing a solo game when alliances are pretty much required to get to the end. Still, with Laurel turning out to be such a villain it just makes this season so much better. Someone to root against!

The Ballad of Cohutta and Nany came to a sad end this week after Cohutta was voted into the arena and faced the kill card-drawing Leroy. The challenge was that trashcan-ball in a sumo ring one and it was almost painful to watch Leroy repeatedly pick up lil' Cohutta, slam him to the ground, then kindly lift him to his feet again for another go. Oh well. Farewell, Cohutta! May your doomed romance with serial badboy-seducer Nany continue another day. (Oh, and bye Jessica, I still have no idea who you are or what your deal is. Next time?)

So the big cliffhanger was whether Cara Maria's hand is indeed broken and whether or not she'll be kicked out of the game. It was honestly very affecting when she burst into tears in the ambulance. Those tears weren't just for the camera; this lady makes a living doing MTV Challenges, so her very livelihood was at stake!

Meanwhile, in a fog of inky darkness only she can fathom, Laurel lurks. Waiting.

[Image via MTV]

Morning After is a new home for television discussion online, brought to you by Gawker. Follow @GawkerMA and read more here.