I agree that it was inappropriate for Melissa to prod her mom into defending her. I think that Joan is so well-respected on the team that the others give Melissa more of a pass than they normally would. The team has been successful until the last task, and it seems like Joan is a huge part of that, so they may even feel that keeping Joan happy is worth placating Melissa. I do think Melissa contributed, but I can also imagine that her personality would be grating, and I think being there with her Mom probably makes her feel more confident (full of herself) than if she were there on her own - again, aided by the fact that her Mom is so well-received. I liked Claudia, but do think that it was probably fair she was fired. It seemed to me that Trump was trying his best to come up with a reason to keep Claudia - he all but drools over her and Brande - but he just couldn't quite justify firing Khloe.