Challenge Total Madness Episode 9 Recap: Ten Biggest Takeaways

Allan Aguirre
8 min readMay 28, 2020


Episode 9 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 ninth episode. These will be integral storylines that the ninth episode focused on, and I’ll breakdown why they matter for the season.

10 Big T is Medically Removed

Big T’s blissful ignorance has been enchanting to watch this season. She never fully grasps the game or the intentions of her fellow competitors, but the girl attacks everything with vigor and a fantastic attitude. Her medical removal is both a positive and a negative. It sucks to watch Big T get removed before getting to prove herself in an elimination (something she wanted). However, I don’t need to see Big T in elimination to know whether I think she has heart, or whether I like her. At this point, I’d almost rather she leave the game without potentially getting murdered in a Hall Brawl.

I don’t know what Big T’s long-term potential is as she’s not a significant competitive threat or involved in any hookups. Nonetheless, Big T is a fun character, and I’d like to see her on one more season.

9 The Daily Challenge

My biggest takeaway was the sewer drain/pipe was very deep! When they dropped down into the water, it was crazy to watch them submerge and swim in it like it was a pool. I also wonder how MTV was able to perform this challenge in general. Did they need to ask the Czech government or the water companies to see if they can do this? I need to talk to one of the producers.

The second takeaway is that Swaggy has issues with water. He did not even attempt the water challenge that Nelson/Dee/Kailah froze to death in (he was on their team), and now, he immediately medical DQs. It’s looking like a real issue/phobia, that will hold him back massively in the long-run. However, I don’t think people should clown him or degrade him for it. It’s something he is going to struggle and deal with obviously, and to me, that’s enough. As a whole, I think people are way too harsh to players who aren’t strong swimmers or have issues with water, especially in regards to people of color. This country is not far removed from having segregated swimming pools (not to mention white people dumping toxins/acids into pools for POC). If you’re a good swimmer, then good for you.

Wes, Cory, Bayleigh, Dee, and Nany won this challenge because they got the swimming done without anyone slowing them down and because they got the puzzle done in a decent amount of time. Josh did admirably in the swim, but his frustrations with not being given a chance to solve his team’s puzzle was somewhat his fault from an outside view. He kept holding one piece and continuously tried to drop it in the middle when that piece pretty clearly did not go in that position. I also don’t know why Swaggy was allowed to participate in the puzzle if he didn’t have to swim. It’s not fair to the team who had Nelson holding them back and had to basically carry him to land.

8 Swaggy and Josh’s Rivalry/Fight

To me, it is a little weird that Josh is incredibly upset about how Swaggy is playing the game with Wes. They are both grown men who can play their own games and can have their own friends; Swaggy isn’t targeting Josh, and thus, I think Josh should let it go. Not to mention, Wes might ironically be Josh’s most loyal ally in the game. Wes has gone out of his way to ensure Josh’s safety because he views him as a lay-up. I love Josh, but I never feel like anyone cares for him as much as he does them. He is unnecessarily burning a bridge between him and Swayleigh.

Josh learning that Swaggy is working with Wes could get used in a much better way. If I were Josh, I’d pitch to Swaggy ideas to blindside Wes from the inside, rather than simply put a target on yourself. Josh didn’t have a target on him, and now he does. Until this point, Josh had been a tad bit boring, so at least he is stepping it up from an entertainment perspective. In terms of gameplay, Josh is crashing when he should be coasting.

7 Wes is Out of Pocket

From Rivals 3 to War of the Worlds 1, he would probably be more on the side of a hero with villain/heelish tendencies. This season, Wes is at his absolute peak in terms of snarky ass comments, and I am living for it! Yeah, he’s going to get some angry tweets directed at him, but from my perspective, hilarious.

At the end of the episode, when Jenna and Kailah get eliminated, he says, “I hope you’re lives at home aren’t all ruined at home,” my jaw dropped. Super fucking rude and accurate.

6 The Holy Trinity is Down to 1

Nany wants to win. I’m not sure she puts in the work required in the offseason training or plays the political game enough to have a legitimate shot at winning. Regardless, you can tell that Nany, the human being, has a desire to win a season after all these years finally. Coming on this season and having two friends who on paper have great elimination records and recent-ish finals appearance to be a loyal alliance of three must-have felt awesome at first. As time went on, it must have gotten frustrating to see Jenna get taken out mentally by bitch-ass Zach, and to have Kailah lose focus because of her affair with Bear. Nany had to be a therapist to two of her best friends when all she wanted to do was play the game. Now, she gets an opportunity to, except I can’t shake the fact that Nany got held back.

When Nany won the daily challenge with Jordan, they could have knocked out Dee against Tori. On top of that, Dee wanted to make a big play, and Wes is her friend, so they could have created Jenny vs. Kaycee and Aneesa vs. Mattie if they wished to.

5 Dee’s Sloppy Gameplay

Dee’s plan/pondering to blindside Jenny might be one of the sloppiest game moves in recent history. On paper, Dee aligning with Jenny is a solid strategy because if you watch the Challenge’s other individual seasons, top players align with other top players to consolidate power and dominate. It’s a dull form of gameplay that works excellently. Her gifting Jenny a skull isn’t asinine if you stay loyal to her.

Randomly deciding a few weeks later, “Oh damn, Jenny is good, let’s blindside her” is a terrible move. Even worse, she didn’t go through with it! Jenny KNOWS Dee was planning on it and has given her the ammo to target/blindside Dee. Dee will be dealing with the negatives of throwing someone in without the potential of the foe getting eliminated.

4 Kaycee Killed Her Elimination

She won this elimination with ease. I think Kaycee will likely make the final because nobody on this cast dislikes her, and the editors don’t even seem to notice her. From a physical perspective, we all knew Kaycee was going to succeed based on her past as a football player and the way she performed on Big Brother. I think we all want to see more of her personality or to see her mix it up in a bit of drama.

3 Kailah seemed checked out

Kailah’s words were that she wanted to go into elimination because she was fearless and ready to earn her red skull. Her body language was distant and felt like a person who wanted to get out of there. Adding in the fact that Kailah is good friends with Kaycee makes it seem a bit like she was trying to get eliminated. Her showing in the elimination itself was sub-par, and she had at least 20 balls in her bin when Kaycee finished.

The only thing Kailah seemed to have energy and life for was when she talked about Bear. Her focus on the game got diverted, and it’s disappointing because Kailah on previous seasons had Champion ambitions. From an entertainment perspective, I loved Kailah and Bear’s affair; it livened up a pretty boring season. Overall, the Challenge needs her back for another season.

2 Aneesa Gets a Red Skull in 2020!

Aneesa is the first Challenge competitor to win an elimination in three different decades (the 00s, 10s, 20s)! Technically, this got filmed in 2019, but we aren’t going to care about that. Her career record is now 9–9, meaning she no longer has a losing record, and she ties with Camila and Laurel for second-most female elimination wins (the sixth individual with 9 official elimination wins as well).

I think this is my favorite Aneesa season ever. Her reaction faces have been hilarious, and she’s been killing it from a competition standpoint.

1 Jenna’s Journey Comes to an End

I don’t think Jenna threw this elimination. I simply think she didn’t give 110%. If you watch the beginning of this elimination, Jenna is an absolute machine and was chucking the balls out with ease. Yes, it was an endurance elimination, and you can say she gassed out. Except, I think about her much more intense elimination with Tori, and Jenna pushed through that with heart. This time around, it felt like half of her was invested, and the other half was gone.

Her career elimination record is now 6–3, and she’s now 8 seasons deep without winning, and five seasons removed from her last finals appearance. Ironically, Jenna lost to Aneesa, a player who her career is most similar. Both started strong with elite elimination records, and over time, the competition around them got better and better, and their records dwindled. They still have good moments here and there, but as a whole, they probably aren’t ever going to win a season.



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.