Total Drama Review Week 14: No Pain, No Game
By: Justin Cummings
Chris lied to us! Chris Mclean lied! How could he? How dare he? He betrayed our trust and left us feeling utterly–actually this makes a lot of sense. Chris Mclean spent the first half of the competition repeatedly telling us, and the campers, that once you walk the dock of shame, you can never, ever return. Why would he beat us over the head so much if he didn’t plan on proving that wrong? It’s honestly like Survivor: Pearl Islands; someone who was eliminated comes back, and nobody is happy about it. When I first saw this episode, I really didn’t like that Eva was brought back. On rewatches though, the idea has grown on me. It really helps boost their Bridgette arc, and give another great moment for her and Geoff. I’m very glad Eva was eliminated in the same episode though, as she would have started to overstay her welcome soon.
My favorite thing about the episode on the other hand, is the return of Izzy. I absolutely love the character of Izzy; I did when season one first aired, and I still do. During her first stretch of episodes she may have simply been a minor character, but her eccentric manner is adorable, and she’s quite fun to watch. Pay attention to her in the upcoming episodes, as I argue this stretch of episodes is her best run on the show. I don’t think she would be as remembered in the fandom if not for her return in this episode.
Getting into the actual meat of the episode, I thought the challenge was fun. It balanced dangerous with playful and never felt mean spirited. The idea of giving away the trailer was a clear send-up of Survivor giving away cars in some of its seasons. It was a nice touch, and gave a good, defining moment to Leshawna. The one thing I’ve never understood about this episode is Gwen being mad at Trent. I think she’s trying to cut all ties because of the merge, but it just feels clunky and out of nowhere. If they had previously established any indication of why she was mad, the scene would make sense, but instead it just feels awkward. All in all though, this was a very solid episode, and truly sets the tone for the back half of the season. See you all next week for “Search and Do Not Destroy.”