Challenge All Stars Episode 5 Recap: Biggest Takeaways (Basically, All About Alton)
Episode 5 of the Challenge All Stars is in the books and you likely have some thoughts about the episode. Let’s compare. I breakdown the biggest moments and storylines from this week’s episode.
Great Daily Challenge
We had another great daily challenge this week. Players got to display how they worked in a big team, as a pair/partner, and as individuals. The first two portions had mental checkpoints. My only complaints are that I wish the partner portion was a little more physical and that the individual part had a small puzzle thrown in right before the finishing line. The cool thing about this daily challenge is that none of the top three finishes in either gender were on the team that finished in first place in the opening portion. It showed that even though you could have someone weighing down your group to start, you had the potential to catch up ground and then some.
There were some pleasant surprises in this competition, including Syrus pushing his team with a bum ankle and Big Easy, surprisingly being good with word puzzles. In the end, Laterrian and Kendal came in 1st place, Derrick and KellyAnne in 2nd, and Yes, and Jemmye in 3rd. Rounding out the bottom was Katie and Big Easy in second to last, and in last place was Syrus and Beth (timing out on the color puzzle).
Some players displayed they will not be threats in the final. Jisela, Katie, and Aneesa never gave up, but they were also tiring out quite early — none of them will be a threat, especially if it is one gender winning. On the male side, Big Easy and Alton were the two to struggle the most cardio-wise. Alton kept yelling for his team to take a break and did not carry the log at certain points. People chalked up Alton’s bad cardiovascular performances on Battle of the Seasons to him not wanting to be there. In 2021, it’s beginning to look a bit like that is just the competitor he is now.
Ruthie and Mark performed surprisingly poorly in their partner puzzle portion, and if they can’t solve puzzles, then maybe we have to take them out of winners’ consideration.
What a redemption story for Laterrian. The guy who was the OG popcorn muscles athlete is proving what he can do in a more athletic game, now having won a headbanger elimination and a daily challenge as an individual! While Laterrian and Derrick came in 1st and 2nd overall, I do not think that makes them the favorites in a final. Laterrian had Kendal as a partner, and Kendal is a nurse, meaning her entire life is paying attention to small details, making her perfect for the puzzle. Derrick had KellyAnne, who is historically good with puzzles. Had LT and Derrick been on their own, I don’t think they come in 1st and 2nd. Meanwhile, we know Yes is crazy smart and came in 3rd and consistently is killing these challenges. Yes Duffy is killing it under the radar; if he can avoid the last few eliminations, he has a good shot in the final based on what we have seen.
Going into the season, I felt Darrell, Mark, and Derrick were the odds on favorites; now I’m looking at some of these dark horses as maybe the actual contenders.
The Voting Ceremony & Bad Beef
After coming in last place, Syrus tells Alton straight up that he plans on facing him in elimination mainly due to Alton’s poor performance in the daily challenge. Alton cannot believe it. At the voting ceremony, we see how much the entire house loves and respects Syrus because the majority wins out, and Alton gets voted in. Alton tried to get Big Easy thrown in and even had back-up from Jisela and Jemmye; it just was not enough.
What is funny is that all the players who did not compete on Alton’s team in the daily challenge talked about him as if he is currently an elite-level player. Then Yes, who had been on his team was somewhat like, “Uhhh yeah, this guy sucked and brought our team down, Syrus kicked ass with a bad ankle, let’s put in Alton.” Except Yes said it in his way as he is a polite human being, and I am not.
Alton Thinks He Is a Superhero
Something I have noticed is that Alton views himself as a Superhero type figure. In all honesty, he used to be. Hell, I wrote an article calling Alton the first Challenge Avenger. On Gauntlet 2, he would let his opponents pick the eliminations because he could beat them at anything, and on Inferno 3, he volunteered himself for the first elimination to set the tone for his team. Fast-forward to Battle of the Seasons, and he was not the same player anymore, yet, he wanted to get treated as the Superhero he used to be, and the toxic team of Frank and Zach pushed hard against him. At the moment, we as fans chalked it up to San Diego being evil, undermining the fact that Alton kept the entire house from having a fun day at the beach simply because he did not want to go. Also, he essentially threw an elimination that took Nany out of the game.
A decade later, a similar criticism happens, and he unfolds. When a civil Syrus goes for a handshake, Alton refuses to give him that and throws a jab later that he’ll break that hand. It is bewildering behavior. Alton is simultaneously a great winner and a terrible loser. When he is on top, things look great, and when he isn’t, it can go south fast. None of this would be an issue if Alton just said, “Hey guys, I’m still a great athlete, but cardio-wise, I am not the same guy I was 15 years ago” then everyone would give him a pass as they have all gotten older.
Alton & Jisela’s Hook Up
Last week, I wondered whether Alton was single since the women keep thirsting after him. This week, the question got answered. He and Jisela hooked up under the sheets after a night at the bar. Watching two parents hook up in a Challenge house is something I never expected, especially considering one of them hadn’t been on the show in seventeen years! Now I wonder if we will ever see it happen on a main season of the challenge.
Shady Movie By Production
They announced before the daily challenge that it would be a male elimination day with the first place male getting immunity and the last place male automatically getting put into elimination. Once they got to the elimination arena, TJ blindsided Beth and announced that she would be going into elimination as the last place female. Frankly, it was a dirty move by production that felt as though it got made up on the fly because they realized there are only four episodes left after this one, and they need to boot some people before the final. This isn’t a clever twist; it is lying to the players and fucking over a few key individuals. Beth didn’t even have her tennis shoes!
I believe Alton picked Aneesa as a partner in case the elimination was size-based. Also, Alton might have made the pick knowing that the last time he did a season with both females, Beth quit on the Gauntlet 2 before facing Aneesa in elimination and was maybe hoping she would do the same here.
Alton & Aneesa vs. Syrus & Beth
They redesigned the elimination that was supposed to happen last week for two people to play the game. While the women did have to initially break down the walls with their fists and throw a ball overhead to their teammates, this game mostly came down to the men’s climbing skills. Climbing in Alton’s biggest strength, nobody was touching him in this elimination. Syrus tried his absolute best; unfortunately, his ankle hampered his performance. Every time he had to jump, I was in agony, as I could feel his ankle exploding with pain from within. Not only did he display a ton of heart, but so did Beth, even offering to allow him to use her as a step-stool, which almost ended catastrophically.
In the end, Alton and Aneesa are stirring the pot a bit more, and because of that, their staying in the game is probably better for the show. However, I am sad to see the two oldest players go out this way, especially Beth since she’s been trying her best all season and then got utterly blindsided. It was another solid episode, and we got four more left. Let’s enjoy the ride.