Challenge Total Madness Episode 8 Recap: Ten Biggest Takeaways
Episode 8 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 eight episode. These will be integral storylines that the eigth episode focused on, and I’ll breakdown why they matter for the season.
10 The Daily Challenge Strategies
This week’s daily challenge was fun to watch because there were so many different strategies applied. Cory, Mattie, and Swaggy teaming up was a smart and efficient play, except that if one of the early colors is not in order, it will require the players to lift a bunch of disks from their existing pile. That’s much easier than it sounds, but if you watch the challenge back, the disks were decently heavy. Although Nelson is usually a clown, the strategy of copying his opponents and having the final five colors memorized was clever. The problem is it predicates on the fact that your opponent got all the colors correct.
Wes impressively won this daily challenge by himself despite going first. It’s crazy to see Wes do so well in the mental challenges the last few seasons after struggling with them for the majority of his Challenge career. Bananas winning his heat by seeing/finding the little space from where the lights got projected is classic Bananas chicanery and made me laugh so hard. I was happy to see Big T and Fessy have some success, Dee continues to be near the top, and Mattie finally got a win.
9 Wes and Bananas Romance
Kyle put it perfectly when he said Bananas and Wes were like a divorced couple getting back together. Watching Wes and Bananas come together has been like Shawn Michaels and Triple H reuniting DX. Two waning powers deciding that they’d rather play together then go out early because they’re trying to take one another out. This season is already a massive success for each in comparison to War of the Worlds 2.
I’ll note that I don’t know why we keep getting confessionals from people along the lines of “I think Bananas and Wes might be working together.” We got one from Cory early in the season, another when Nany walked in on them literally plotting, and then again this week from Aneesa after Wes picked Bananas for the tribunal. Like either the editing team is placing old confessionals from day two and putting them in now, or everyone is dumb as hell. Both very likely considering it is the Challenge.
8 Tribunal Choices
I felt bad for Mattie because you could tell that she wanted to have fun with the limited power, but immediately became the third wheel to Wes and Bananas shenanigans. With Fessy and Nelson as elimination representatives, Wes and Bananas chose to nominate Cory, Bear, Kyle, and Jordan. Swaggy was not nominated as he is working with both Wes and Bananas, and Rogan is not on their radar (he’s also hooking up with Wes’s girl Dee). Wes and Bananas were putting Jordan in elimination regardless because they can’t beat him in a final, they know it, and Jordan knows it.
Watching Wes talk shit to Kyle was hilarious, “You provide nothing to us. You have no value. You don’t win. You don’t politic. You don’t even fall in line that well. We’re just tired of carrying you. This is kind of like an intervention.” If Wes and Bananas are parents who got back together, Kyle is their son who got used to two Christmases and no significant repercussions for bad behavior because each parent didn’t want to be harsh, but now they have a 16-year-old who has a 2.1 GPA and a diet that consists of Hot Cheetos and Arizona Ice Tea. They are bringing down the hammer, so he goes to college (the final). Kyle has had good moments in the past. However, in regards to this season, he hasn’t done anything extraordinary, has coasted day to day, and only strengthened his relationship with Melissa in regards to the social game.
Bananas wanted Cory in elimination over Bear. Although, Wes knows Cory isn’t a threat in the final, and he is working with Cory silently as well. Quick note: Wes told Bananas not to vote Cory because you have to think about all the eliminations Cory has lost. Except, Cory technically has a solid 5–2 elimination record (even if the wins aren’t quality). Then again, Wes saw Cory lose an elimination Nate Siebenmark and to Matt Rife, so Wes has seen Cory in two of the worst elimination losses in Challenge history. Cory helping Mattie in the daily challenge also likely helped sealed Bear’s fate.
7 Josh got dunked on
A few weeks ago, Josh was threatening to throw Wes into elimination because they were rivals, and Wes thoroughly rebuked the idea. Wes went in on Josh, calling him the weakest player in the house, explaining that he only guns for people like Jordan, and he did so while keeping a dulcet tone. The internet championed this moment as an all-time savage Challenge moment. However, I think not even nominating Josh for elimination was a much crueler move. Four men were getting nominated out of a possible 7 (over 50%), and Wes would rather make fun of Kyle for ten minutes than even given Josh the respect of nominating him. The only rivalry between Josh and Wes is Josh fighting to create one, and it’s so bizarre.
When Josh finds out from Swaggy that Wes was always going to vote in Bear, Josh decided he would go after Swaggy. It seems like an appropriate level feud for Josh. It reminds me when a new UFC fighter or a WWE wrestler gets demolished by an upper-card fighter/champion and then chooses to go back down the card and try to work their way up. If Josh can beat Swaggy, then maybe he can get a rivalry with Wes one day.
6 Big T’s Bloodied Big Toe
I love Big T. Sometimes I feel bad because it seems like she doesn’t fully grasp the game and people don’t take her seriously. Yet, you can’t deny the girl brings the best type of vibes to your television screen. She is always cheery, and no matter what Big T says, I get engaged because of her voice. How her injury occurred from this week will have fans posturing ideas until Big T/a trustworthy cast member gives us what actually happened.
From what we saw, she jumped out of the bunk, landed awkwardly, and then her toe was gushing blood. The rumor is that in actuality, Bananas and Kyle told Big T that Mattie was talking about her, a drunk Big T went to confront Mattie, stepped on a piece of glass, and then had to get taken to the hospital. Again, rumors. There was a giant jump in time gaps from what we saw on TV, and Big T was very intoxicated. From the looks of things, Big T’s time on the show might be over. Melissa had a foot injury on Vendettas and got to stay. They didn’t let Melissa compete in a daily challenge because of it, though, and she wasn’t on crutches either.
5 Nelson and Kyle’s Fight
Before the season, I ranked Nelson and Kyle as the 5th and 6th strongest players on the cast and the dark horses to win. They are each flawed players who have struggled this season. Each has found success on the show and in the past, having been close to winning before. Due to a weak cast, and CT/Jordan being out, this is the best chance for each ever to win.
Kyle blowing up Nelson’s spot as someone making deals with everyone seemed unnecessary because Nelson was already on the bottom. Since Nelson was already getting voted into elimination, mentioning their deal can only put a spotlight on Kyle as a desperate Nelson would take as many shots at Kyle as possible. Sidenote: Nelson trying to campaign to the same females he cursed out in the previous weeks to not vote for him based on the fact he apologized is ordacious. Nelson … apologizing doesn’t matter because other people never cursed them out in the first place.
Their fight at the bar was visually spectacular because both individuals looked like they wanted to get physical. Kyle using his 6' frame and staring over Nelson to intimidate him, and Nelson, who is known for getting physical, was an exciting moment. At this point, Nelson cares more about cursing out women than he does getting DQed for fighting (again). Josh struggling to separate them was also hilarious. The best part about their fight is it got Melissa’s old-self to come out and fight. Melissa was shooting from the hip and going hard at Nelson. She noted Nelson being a loser, a misogynist, and ripped him for his Dr. Phil appearance! Melissa didn’t just fight to fight; she brought facts to the table and was getting only headshots! I hope more people fight Kyle so that we see more of this Melissa.
4 Jordan’s Dominant Reign is Over
If you were not aware, Jordan had won his three previous appearances, making this loss historically significant. We have all known for years that standard Pole Wrestle could be a struggle for Jordan, and to be forced to face Fessy (a D1 athlete with 60–70 lbs on Jordan). Jordan has worked his entire life to be the best athlete he can be and is to some the greatest Challenge competitor ever, but it’s stuff like this where this is no way for Jordan to improvise a strategy or method for him to win. Regardless of how you feel about Jordan, it was heartbreaking to watching him go down like this, especially once his shoulder got separated.
It was incredibly careless of MTV and TJ Lavin even to allow Jordan to compete in that final round with Fessy after his shoulder was clearly injured.
3 Fessy is a Red Skull owner
We all knew with Jordan’s disability and Fessy’s size that Fessy was going to win. It’s not an impressive win for Fessy based on circumstances. What’s is remarkable is the demeanor Fessy had when getting voted in. The guy told everyone in the house that he is likely to come back, and he did that. He is 6'5, 240 lbs, is the fastest guy in the house, and owns a Red Skull. Fessy will likely be able to coast for a bit as the players who need Red Skulls will not be wanting to face the juggernaut that is Fessy.
2 Bear and Kailah are Broken Up
Wes’s “blindsiding” of Bear was hypocritical and incorrect because technically Josh blindside voted Wes in, and voting in Bear goes against Wes’s claim that he only guns for people who can beat him in a final. I understand him saying it as a way to maintain his relationship with Kailah; it just isn’t correct once you analyze it.
Personally, nothing was shocking about Bear going into elimination. The only relationship he has forged in the house is with Kailah. For him to not go into elimination, he would have needed to win the daily challenge. Bear didn’t even care about winning the season; he only wanted to spend more time hooking up with Kailah. Then again, that might be the logical choice since Bear isn’t good enough to win, and many men and women would drop anything to hook up with Kailah.
You have to wonder where Kailah’s mind will be after losing Bear. Her competitive focus got thrown away once she kissed Bear, and it’s hard to get that focus back when the anxious feeling of her boyfriend/social media finding out about her actions on the season are in the back of her head. Bear helped create drama for her and eased her mind by distracting her from any negative thoughts. Now that he is gone, either Kailah will need to kick it into high gear competitively or mentally check out. I’d bet on the latter but would prefer to see Kailah get back into a mode where she’s winning eliminations and trying to make big moves.
1 Nelson Breaks a Record and Has a Red Skull
Nelson got in a fight with Kyle and Melissa, cursed out Aneesa, attempted to belittle and slut-shame Kailah, and now he owns a Red Skull. Similar to what I mentioned about Fessy, yes, you can throw Nelson into every elimination from here on out to try and get him out. The issue with that is there is a limited amount of Red Skulls. Also, as proven in the dominant performance by Nelson in Pole Wrestle this week, he is a formidable foe in 1 on 1 physical competition.
He might not be the brightest competitor, but Nelson understood the right strategy for Pole Wrestle before TJ blew the horn. He was positioned to bring the pole as close to his body and was ready to fight on the ground. While on the ground, he would use leverage to his advantage and be able to tire out his opponent over time if he had to.
Nelson is now the second male in Challenge history to have won 9 career eliminations and is tied for third-most all-time regardless of gender (Laurel and Camila have 9, Cara 13, Wes 14). The record Nelson broke is he is the first Challenge competitor to win an elimination in six consecutive seasons. He won 1 on Rivals 3, 3 on Invasion, 1 on Dirty 30, 1 on Vendettas, 2 on Final Reckoning, and now 1 on Total Madness. Previously, he was tied for the record with Laurel and Jordan. Had Jordan won tonight, they’d have remained tied for the record. Laurel’s streak got snapped during her controversial elimination against Ninja. Nelson has staked a flag in Challenge history.