Challenge Total Madness Episode 12 Recap: Ten Biggest Takeaways

Allan Aguirre
8 min readJun 18, 2020


Episode 12 is in the books. You probably have some thoughts, so let’s compare. Instead of giving a simple summary, I decided to focus on the 10 Biggest moments/takeaways from the twelfth episode. These will be integral storylines that the twelfth episode focused on, and I’ll breakdown why they matter for the season.

10 The Dee Edit

The big positive of this week is we got a 90-minute episode whose plot was not massively impeded from production wiping out Dee scenes and confessionals. However, she did win another daily challenge and even voted Kyle into elimination. It is likely due to her having issues with Swaggy/Bayleigh from the previous week (that got edited out), and also feeds into her distaste for Kyle.

If Dee loses the next daily challenge, there’s a decent shot she gets voted into elimination again, even with people still needing Red Skulls. So much of this cast dislike her at this point. Going forward, I hope the episode’s editing isn’t a complete mess like last week’s.

9 Bananas is in Full Bananas Autopilot

The fact he went against his promise with Melissa to only jokingly deflect the blame onto Rogan and Josh was hilarious. He then points out that Dee is a rat because she learned to play from Wes, then immediately realizes that he is now friends with Wes, so he has to note that so Wes doesn’t get mad at Bananas when he watches at home. The guy does not need a Red Skull and doesn’t see anyone left in the game as a threat.

8 Great Daily and Great Performance by the Females

They did a similar challenge on War of the Worlds 1 (the one where Ninja freaked out at Turbo). I think this might be one of my all-time favorite daily challenges because it tests strength, endurance, heart, and strategy. Jenny, Kyle, and Aneesa were getting lapped by other teams, but they were gathering the densest materials.

Meanwhile, Fessy was an absolute unit carrying a heavy load for his team, and Bayleigh/Dee likely killed it as well. A cool takeaway was Nelson being blown away by Nany’s abilities. Nany is consistently someone who impresses people when they get partnered with her. It’s a subtle thing that proves that elimination records aren’t always the end-all-be-all.

7 Fessy wanted to prove himself and did

I didn’t realize that Fessy hadn’t made it into a tribunal this season until he said so. The guy has been physically impressive from the jump, just been on the outside looking in every week. This week, he wanted to make a point by winning a daily challenge, and he did so. On top of that, he was openly playing the game amicably and honestly. He looked out for both Cory and Swaggy, allowing them to go into elimination to earn their Red Skulls, and openly nudged Josh about going in. Fessy was right; Josh is waiting for a perfect moment that might not exist.

6 Melissa is Fucking Awesome

As a person who analyzes the Challenge/Sports/TV and everything, I wish that I can hit Melissa’s ability to criticize and drag someone one day. When Melissa is angry, she will tear someone to shreds, throw words at a furious and fast pace, and hit them in the right places. Melissa got the boys’ promises not to vote Dee in and then got blindsided. It’s a bit hypocritical of Josh to take a holier than thou approach to the game and dislike people for being snakes when he is playing the same if not more of a snake-like game. I

do give Josh an overall pass when you watch the unedited episode where Dee rails into him and makes him cry when interrogating her in the tribunal; I just wish Josh owned his actions in a better fashion.

What adds to their fight at the nomination is ceremony because you

watch and think, “Wow, this girl is pregnant right now.” Yeah, it seems redundant to keep mentioning, except we are probably never going to have another person compete on the show while pregnant again, so I’m going to say it as much as I can.

5 Josh would be 1000% more likable if he talked 20% less

I appreciate that Josh is outspoken and is willing to get into it with anyone on the cast. I think it hurts him because there are so many occasions where he’d be better off by talking a little less. Josh needs to have the last word in any argument, and by doing so, he extends arguments and fights to a level that becomes hurtful for him. He also throws in little words/statements that are unnecessary. When he gave his house vote to Cory, he noted that he swore on his family that he would, and Kyle promptly asked, “why?” It’s such an inconsequential and small love that swearing on your family seems random and out of nowhere. If anything, Josh should have said, “I’m voting with the house majority.” The guys’ words are stretching himself too thin. Speak less and makes your words worth more.

Also, Josh needs to throw his ass in elimination and brave the conditions to get that Red Skull. I’m not entirely sure what Josh thinks he can get in an elimination. The remaining males in the game are all good with physical games, and it’s not like Josh is strong with puzzles. His best shot was throwing himself in against Jay early in the game, and for some reason, he threw Rogan the Red Skull.

4 Kyle is showing initiative a little too late

Kyle understands the urgency of the situation and went all out for the daily challenge win. The problem is that he can’t win a single daily challenge all season and get upset that Aneesa wasn’t able to pull out the win for him. If he had been more proactive, he wouldn’t be in a situation where he is desperate for a Red Skull. At least he is trying. Kyle is easy to cheer for when he is trying.

3 Swaggy C’s Time Is Up

Swaggy started strongly this season and petered out as it went along. The guy has tools to be successful on the Challenge (size, intelligence, athleticism). However, he also has glaring flaws (inexperience, water, body control). I do appreciate that in his confessional, Swaggy was quick to note that experience played a factor in why he was losing. My biggest issue with Swaggy on Big Brother was that he didn’t have a high level of self-awareness, whereas here, he is quick to acknowledge why he is losing. He also lasted this long when Jay and Asaf got thrown in immediately. That speaks for itself.

2.5 The Elimination Format

Eh. It was okay. Players traversing a giant container ban while on a harness to turn on/off switches on isn’t an all-time bad elimination, nor a good one.

2 Cory has a Red Skull!

Over the years, I have gotten used to watching Cory lose in hilarious ways. In this elimination, he was losing early, composed himself, found a rhythm, and won pretty dominantly (20–15). Cory has held himself well all season. He made it into multiple tribunals, never had a target on his back, and has displayed maturity. I don’t think Cory has what it takes to win a final, and he hasn’t been playing a winning game, but from a human standpoint, this being the most likable version of Cory during his six-year run on the show.

Now that he has a Red Skull, his goal should be to get Johnny Bananas out of the game because he and nobody else can beat that man in a final.

1 Who Still Needs a Red Skull?

For the men, Josh and Kyle are the two men left needing Red Skulls. On the female side, Bayleigh, Melissa, and Nany still need Red Skulls. Of the men, I expect Kyle to get his skull if he goes against Josh, and I think I’d take Bayleigh over either Melissa or Nany in elimination.

There is a genuine possibility that players with Red Skulls will get eliminated still as seven men are remaining in the game. They usually don’t let more than four compete in an individual final. I expect either a purge or a double elimination soon. They could also have a purge in the final, like last season.

Of the remaining men and women, I power rank them as such in terms of winning:

1 Bananas
2 Rogan
3 Fessy
4 Nelson
5 Kyle
6 Cory
7 Josh

1 Jenny
2 Dee
3 Kaycee
4 Bayleigh
5 Nany
6 Melissa
7 Aneesa



Allan Aguirre

27 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.