Episode 15 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 fifteenth episode. These will be integral storylines that the fifteenth episode focused on, and I’ll breakdown why they matter for the season.
10 Very Cool Daily with a few small flaws
This week’s daily challenge was visually cool, except with maybe a few minor flaws. From a production standpoint, it must have been a pain to set up the 30 barrels 11 times, and then to also lift the cast members each time. The daily challenge must have taken at least 4–5 hours to get through when you consider the set-up.
The real flaw of this challenge was the British drivers having to drive from the left side of a car instead of their typical right side. Making that steep turn to knock down as many barrels as possible seems exponentially more difficult when driving from a different side. It’s not a big flaw; it just seems like it could have affected the Brits. Rogan was the only non-American to knock down more than half the barrels. I wonder if a player standing on a barrel could kick the one they are standing on to potentially hurt/help another player. I’m glad everyone on the cast at least knows how to drive. Watching Nelson take a sick turn steep enough to miss all barrels was hilarious.
9 Daily Challenge Results
There were a total of 30 barrels that could get knocked down:
The difference between Kaycee and Bayleigh was Kaycee’s barrels got knocked a little farther Bayleigh’s. As much as I loathe Bananas at times, it’s these atypical daily challenges where his experience shines. Not to mention, if he had lost, he would have been the house vote for elimination. Cory and Fessy had great performances in this challenge, alas, they were still 4 barrels short of Bananas.
8 Kyle is Living His Best Life
After getting an easy Red Skull at the last minute against Josh, Kyle finishes in last place for this daily challenge and gets put in the Tribunal because he is Johnny Bananas’ friend, and because Johnny knows he can beat Kyle in a final. He was so excited and happy once in the Tribunal. Kyle was like a little brother getting to go to Baskin Robbins because his older got straight A’s on his report card. He’s soaking it all in without earning it and does not care about the optics.
7 Rogan Threw Himself In Because He Didn’t Want To Get Voted In
I can’t tell whether I respect Rogan’s decision to skip the vote and put himself into elimination. On the one hand, I like that he understood that at best, he’d have a 5 to 3 vote against him, and thus he’s better off not wasting time with a vote. Him saying that he decided he wasn’t going to play scared and show he’s a man by putting himself in is a bit of a weird spin on the fact that it wasn’t up to him. Rogan chooses to pick his own narrative so that he doesn’t have to watch friends vote him in. It’s a tad bit insecure while also self-aware.
6 Messy Jenny
Earlier in the season, people were taking shots at the way Dee was playing the game. I think Jenny plays the game just as messily and sloppy, but the main difference is, Jenny has a more friendly social game and is a better athlete (i.e., more intimidating). Last season, Jenny got outplayed by the UK Side of Cara’s cult and complained about how the game was getting played on who was the strongest. This season, she could have coasted based on her physical merits. The problem is, she made promises to people on the opposite side and did not hold to the promises she had with people like Cory by instead staying loyal to her core group of Kyle, Bananas, Melissa, etc. She stretched herself too thin. Had Jenny kept quiet and stuck to her word, she wouldn’t have alienated Cory, Nelson, Rogan, and Fessy.
It was the guys who controlled her fate of whether she was going in, and they didn’t care about whether she was the strongest to run a final with; all they cared about was loyalty. Meanwhile, Jenny’s friends got her to throw in the person she could have easily trounced in a final.
5 Why Were They So Mad at Melissa?
Even if Melissa had voted for Dee, it still would have been a 4–3–1 vote. It was not Melissa’s fault that Jenny told Cory and Nelson that she was going to vote for Rogan in advance. Jenny sealed her fate and guaranteed 3 male votes against herself. Melissa has been forthright about the way she has been playing all season. To expect her to drop Dee after everything is crazy. What’s especially weird is they could have worked with Dee to make Bayleigh the house vote and then had the Tribunal throw Dee in; that way, Melissa wouldn’t have to say Dee’s name. Instead, they just blame her. I know people can say, “well, if Melissa doesn’t vote for Bayleigh, then Bayleigh doesn’t vote Melissa.” If Bayleigh votes Dee, she automatically goes into elimination as Bananas/Kyle would protect Melissa and Jenny.
I am thrilled Melissa has made it to the final. You can tell she never expected to make it this far after the way her first two seasons. She is an absolute delight to have on my television screen. The girl is loyal, a great competitor, gorgeous, and has a fantastic accent.
4 Nelson’s Sacrifice
I can’t fathom how Nelson went from the biggest villain of this season to having me absolutely cheering for him and having me tearing up by the end of it. We love to make fun of the Young Bucks because they are idiots most of the time when it comes to puzzles and sentence construction. Yet, this season proved their friendship is much deeper than what’s on television. Nelson cares deeply about the Challenge. It’s the thing he is most proud of in his life, and he’ll do anything to win. Watching him volunteer himself when he was in a decent position to stick around and have a free pass for the final was admirable. Nelson sees that Cory is becoming a better man. He sees Nelson’s daughter Ryder as his niece, basically, and the guy knows that Cory is playing for more than he is, so he bites the bullet.
Dee got to have a few speaking lines this episode and now departs from the franchise. It’s no shock they went in against each other as Dee has alienated many, and also, for the female competitors, this was a godsend, as Dee and Jenny are on paper, the two strongest all-around females.
Jenny learned from the loss last season in Hall Brawl, as this time around, she ran like she was shot out of a cannon, and more importantly, stayed as low as impossible to drive herself straight through Dee. I was impressed by how long Dee could hold off Jenny in the first round despite taking a massive hit. What was hilarious is that Dee didn’t change her strategy in the second round and allowed Jenny to get low on her. Jenny torched Dee for an easy 2–0 win and exorcised her Hall Brawl demons.
It’ll be interesting to see how Dee gets viewed as a competitor in Challenge history. The girl had three strong seasons where she won one and got knocked off right before the final the other two times. Even Camila still has people defending her prowess as a competitor.
2 Rogan vs. Nelson
Probably going to be looked at as one of the weirdest games of Hall Brawl in Challenge history. Rogan came in with a pretty good size advantage and grew up playing rugby, so he’s comfortable tackling someone. What he didn’t see coming was a smaller Nelson being able to carry him and push him back for significant portions. Nelson works his ass off in the gym, and you could see it in this elimination. Nelson had gotten so close to the bell in that first round that all he had to do was let go of Rogan and run. At the same time, Nelson was working so hard to overcome the size gap and hold off Rogan, that the concept of running towards became lost on him. Eventually, Rogan’s size made the difference, and Nelson tripped up, allowing Rogan to get the point.
In the second round, Rogan got way under Nelson, and I thought it was going to be a quick victory. Somehow, Nelson was able to hold ground, push back, recover, and again, had a shot of outrunning Rogan. Instead, he got caught up in the wrestling portion and lost 2–0. If I had to describe it, this elimination was like an SAT test where Nelson worked his ass off to score the best he could, only to get so worked up that he forgot to write his name on the test. Even Rogan was saying he didn’t know how he won made this whole experience wacky.
The guy worked his ass off and came up short. Rogan is now 2–0 in eliminations and is going to second his straight final.
1 Final Power Rankings
Kyle and Cory are last because they can’t solve puzzles. Cory is last because he came in last place in almost every portion because of the final he participated in. This is the second final in five seasons for Kyle, and the third final in seven seasons for Cory. Fessy makes the final of his rookie season, and I have him at third because I’ve never seen him in a final. Bananas makes it to his ninth final in twenty seasons. He ties Cara Maria for most ever final appearances.
It is the first final for all females involved. Melissa’s pregnancy could hamper her in this final. It is Melissa’s first final in three seasons. Kaycee and Bayleigh are both rookies in the final. I think they will both do well, and that Kaycee is physically more ready for this final. If Jenny can solve her puzzles in decent times, then she is the heavy favorite to win this season with Dee gone.