Challenge Total Madness Episode 3 Recap: Ten Biggest Takeaways

Episode 3 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 third episode. These will be integral storylines that the third episode focused on, and I’ll breakdown why they matter for the season.

10 One Elimination an Episode isn’t enough

MTV has 90 minutes (roughly 60 w commercials) to work with; we should be getting male and female eliminations. I understand MTV has switched to 1 elimination an episode to optimize the screentime they get out of cast members that they pay a lot of money to get on the show, but the pace is far too slow. Free Agents was an excellent season because the best competitors were able to earn their screentime and prove themselves as personalities.

9 Bring Back Money for Daily Challenge Wins

I enjoyed this week’s daily challenge and the fact we got a rookie female winner, and an old school veteran winner was a cool image. However, there needs to be some added value to these daily challenges, especially in a game where all that matters is Red Skulls. If MTV has the overall winnings for the season at a million dollars, there is no reason why they can’t give away 10k dollars to the winning male and female of each daily challenge and have individual bank accounts similar to the ruins. If we have 16 daily challenges, that means there would still be 680k dollars to give out for the final (250k for 1st, 75k for 2nd, 15k for 3rd), with players who make the final keeping whatever they earned during the season from challenges/eliminations.

It’s simple.

8 Cory is playing not like an idiot, but he also isn’t playing to win

This past week, Cory left Nelson out to dry by not voting for Bananas. Cory is not putting a target on himself early as he has in recent seasons, and it should allow him to last long into the game. Even though he left Nelson out in the cold, Nelson still needs Cory’s friendship/alliance in this game. Likewise, Cory puts the target on Nelson, while allowing himself to create a relationship with anyone else. Targeting Johnny Bananas has usually resulted in Cory getting eliminated. However, Cory can’t beat Johnny, Jordan, Wes, and many others in a final. So if he wants to win, he probably needs to go big game hunting. Sadly, that style of play gets you eliminated more often than not.

7 The Big Brother Thruple

Fessy has physically been impressive all season thus far, Swaggy earned a tribunal spot last week, and this week Bayleigh got a huge to get her and Swaggy in the tribunal. They may have been an awful Big Brother alliance, but this trio is thriving on the Challenge. Bayleigh and Swaggy are so in sync with one another that it does feel like a two for one combo when aligning with them.

6 Nelson and Kailah’s nomination skirmish

Nelson is an idiot for trying to throw Kailah under the bus during the nomination ceremony. It severs a potential alliance between them and creates an enemy for Nelson. However, I don’t 100% blame Nelson for getting mad at Kailah. Kailah’s top 3 allies (Nany, Jenna, Kaycee), all burned votes on Nelson for elimination. If you are Nelson, and you know that Kailah is far and away the most political/strategic player out of that group of 4, you probably assume Kailah told them to vote you in.

Kailah is an underrated strategic player that Nelson needs, and I think Nelson is a loyal player that Kailah could use to her advantage. Them fighting helps nobody.

5 Ashley and Bananas bickering

God, these two are in love with each other or something.

When these two people fight, both are losing. Bananas reeks of bitterness and jealousy over the fact that in recent years, Ashley fast-tracked her way into toppling Bananas achievements. Final Reckoning allowed Ashley to eclipse Johnny Bananas in all-time money winnings and completely stole Johnny’s thunder from stealing Sarah’s 137.5k by taking Hunter’s half million. Not to mention, she plays an eerily similar game to him. It sucks watching someone play your game and get gifted what you worked your entire life towards.

Except when Ashley argues with Bananas, she devolves into this person who says he can’t make friends, who he is too old and needs to retire, and that nobody likes him. Ashley needs to realize that Bananas won his first 3 championships solely because he made friends with the right people. Not to mention, she’s only five years younger than him. She is closer to Johnny in age than she is to Tori. Johnny and Ashley need to get married or something; I’d watch that reality show.

4 Wes and Bananas are having fun

Watching Wes and Bananas work together is like in the movie Step Brothers when Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly become best friends. They are frolicking together, playing pranks, doing karate for fun, trying to see if Bananas will invest in Wes’s new start-up. It’s a whole lot of fun between two former enemies.

Cory, Nelson, and Fessy approaching Wes to ask if he’ll throw his influence of power towards voting in Bananas and Wes replying, “I know where you’re going, and I think it’s hilarious” was an all-time Wes quote. Wes was having an internal battle with himself. Everyone else is coming to him for once to ask if he’ll throw in Bananas, and now he has to resist. It was like watching a porn addict reject advances from Lisa Ann.

If Bananas gets voted into elimination, what happens next? I’m not sure CT or Rogan throw themselves in, so we’d have to believe either Nelson or Bear would get throw in to face Bananas. Possibly Jay as well.

3 Dee and Rogan and ___ is the Triangle of Toxicity we never asked

I’m calling it the Triangle of Toxicity because there is no love involved between any of the individuals. Dee still has feelings for Rogan, and Rogan likes to have power/use Dee. Last week, Rogan purposefully went for Jenn as a penile game move, and Dee got ridiculously jealous. Dee went for Jay to make Rogan jealous, and Rogan got upset that she wouldn’t have ubiquitous loyalty to him.

Any fan support for Dee and Rogan as individuals and as a pair is only going downhill from here. They are hitting a level of exposure where Challenge Fans have seen too much. One of the weird things about this show is that at a certain point, fans need less of you. And at the same time, if it weren’t for Dee and Rogan, I’m not sure I’d be able to write these recaps. They’re killers, and they involve other people in their drama. Dee and Rogan made the wallpaper that is Jennifer Lee relevant. Jay got set up for both a rivals and an exes season.

If Rogan had thrown himself into elimination this week and lost, then I feel as though we would have all won. Dee would no longer get tied to Rogan in any storyline, Jay gets the win, and Rogan can start fresh next season.

2 Jay is a Legend

Wow. Jay has already surpassed 80% of the men on the current cast in career achievements. While CT has a less than stellar elimination record on paper, most of his elimination losses come with giant qualifiers. He doesn’t get the three wins from being a Heavy Hitter on Cutthroat/Bloodlines, and he gets losses from a random 3-way elimination, one where he DQ’d, and another where Adam King threw it. Jay took out CT straight in an elimination that was physical, mental, and endurance!!

Only the people who have won Challenge championships can say they’ve done more than Jay at this point. People will remember this win forever. In this elimination, Jay stacking tiny bricks in front of the door was smart because of the caveat that players had to open the door all the way. Anyone who has used a little door wedge before know it doesn’t take much to keep a door from opening all the way. All the little stuff Jay had in front of the door made it a real bother to get the door all the way open. Plus, Jay finding the master knot among CT’s giant entanglement is very underrated.

1 CT actually lost

CT changed up his strategy by going for the easy win, and he vastly underestimated Jay. I don’t think CT took it easy in the elimination at all, but I don’t think CT fully figured out the fact that Jay is very intelligent. Had CT played against someone like Cory, he probably wins this elimination because Cory isn’t anywhere near as smart as CT, and we know Cory isn’t stronger than CT. CT was also a victim of the fact that he won playing Knot So Fast on Invasion with the same strategy he used in this elimination. He didn’t account for the fact that the heavy rope doesn’t make as good of knots as tiny ropes, and his decision to smash the rocks only created smaller rocks that would impede from opening his door all the way.

CT was a victim of experience. He saw a small guy and a similar elimination, and figure he could coast to a win. Jay was an X factor, and he completely took out CT. The biggest positive is CT looked like he wanted to get back in shape after this loss. Not just him randomly making fun of his weight.

25 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.