Challenge Final Reckoning: Redemption Houses are bad

The first episode of Final Reckoning attempted to shock the audience by eliminating three teams during the first challenge of the season only to reveal a Redemption House ten minutes later. MTV sometimes does this to keep viewers interested because to them, more twists automatically means a better show. Unfortunately, sometimes it is simply too much. Casual fans are being introduced to many new characters right from the jump, none of them being from Real World, but rather from throughout the reality tv universe, whether it be AYTO, Big Brother, Vanderpump Rules, Ex on the Beach, or Bad Girls Club. Thirteen people on the cast are on their first or second season. My best friend skipped out on Vendettas and for the most part, was lost while watching the premiere. If you can barely figure out who everyone on the show is, adding the Redemption twist is a too much to take in.

Veteran fans want a simplified format focused on competition, where twists do not ruin anything. Purging one team straight out of the game is fine, however, sending three teams straight to the Redemption House makes them irrelevant for a few weeks, while simultaneously retracting gravity from whatever is going on in the actual house. When Tony lost to Ammo and when Jenna lost to Kailah, it seemed like devastating moments. However, it only took one episode for them to re-enter the game, making their past losses an afterthought. Nelson had to eliminate his best friend and only an episode and a half later, Hunter was hyping him up after a night of drinking.

Until they pass, Redemption Houses ruin the game in the main house.

Why a Redemption House is actually good.

The Tony-Ammo elimination is a great starting point. After Tony was eliminated on Dirty 30 the first time, he had a somber confessional where he stated that he may not be meant for the Challenge. A naturally cocky Tony was mentally defeated following yet another quick exit, losing to a competitor he was expected to beat. His Challenge career was essentially dead. He then goes to the Redemption House and realizes he has a chance back in. Tony barely wins his first round against Derrick and then is one good nudge away from being eliminated by Darrell. In one brilliant moment, Tony finds the strength to pull Darrell down into the water to earn his way back into the game by beating one of the greatest competitors in Challenge history. He followed this up by winning his first ever individual daily challenge, winning an elimination, and making moves in the game to get him to the final five.

The next season he built on his success by dominating Vendettas and winning Champs vs Stars. The Redemption House truly gave Tony one last chance and he made the most of it.

Now that we have acknowledged why the Redemption is kind of cool, let’s get into why it diminishes the game.

#1 Makes people think multiple Random Purges are okay

When you run a hardcore endurance/obstacle course challenge in which the last place team gets purged or the winning team gets to purge a team out of the game, that is fair. However, the manner in which Veronica and Jordan were Purged by Jenna in Dirty 30 (where she only had to walk across a beam atop a skyscraper and press a button) was cheap. Veronica was probably not going to win Dirty 30, but her performance up to that point was top notch, and because she could not get to the button a quarter of a second quicker, she was out. It was not a ten mile run or a giant eating challenge, it was literally walking across a beam and you get this massive power. Yes, she got into the Redemption House, but it is still no replacement for an actual elimination. Veronica went from having a 50–50 shot, to a 20–80 chance.

Random purges are not cool, they only punish players for one slip up.

#2 Why should we care about an elimination or challenge?

When Aneesa got eliminated on Dirty 30, she returned to the game by winning the second Redemption against Marie and Nicole in an eating challenge. She promptly found her way back into the Redemption House an episode later after being eliminated again. TJ stopped the bullshit and informed her and Dario they would be going straight to the Redemption House. The entire house groaned over the idea of people returning once again. People in the game were frustrated because it seemed like there was no repercussion for losing and also a sense that making power moves come could back to haunt you even if your intended target were to lose in elimination.

#3 Producer Intervention

On Dirty 30, it seemed like producers made a concerted effort to keep Cory in the game. The first Redemption challenge occurred after five people of each sex were eliminated, the third Redemption had five people competing, what about the second? Conspicuously, the second Redemption only had three people competing, only two for the males. Everyone knows MTV loves Cory, he has been on eight reality shows in the last four years and was on the TimeSquare billboard of a season where he lost in the first elimination of the season. MTV wanted Cory back in the house and gave him a 50–50 shot. They did not even make it something physical as they knew Hunter would probably beat him again.

MTV picks and chooses eliminations in order to even up the playing fields, we all know it. The randomness of Purges and Redemption Houses at times sometimes feel more pre-determined than one would expect. Redemption Houses cheapen the game, simple as that.

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Allan Aguirre

Allan Aguirre

26 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.