Episode 13 is in the books and I decided to focus on the 10 Biggest moments/takeaways from the thirteenth episode. Since you’re Challenge fans reading this, I figure you likely have watched the episode already. These will be integral storylines that the thirteenth episode focused on. I’ll breakdown why they matter for the season:
10 Joss and Kayleigh’s sudden exit
While I am not a fan of Purges in general, I think the fact players had to try during the daily challenge made me engaged during the opening forty-five minutes of an episode for the first time in maybe a month. Generally speaking, I find Purges that only test one skill to be flawed. I would have loved for the pairs to have done a swim and then a puzzle together. Nothing was funnier than Joss continually hammering in the fact that all he and Kayleigh had to do was not be the worst team. Then as the Challenge goes on, Joss realizes, “Oh shit, we might be the worst.” When he gets eliminated, he is in tears. Joss may have played a decent political game based on the fact he and Rogan were able to remove the opposing alliance, but he could have killed the swim with Jenny or Georgia. Hell, Joss should have swum with Dee. It must get noted; Joss should have let Kayleigh grab onto his life vest while he swam them to the finish line. He watched Josh do it for Nany but never considered doing it himself.
My favorite part about their purging is that Kayleigh didn’t seem to care. Joss was devastated while Kayleigh had an “aw shucks, guess I’ll do better next time” look on her face. All Kayleigh cared about was lasting longer than Georgia and Jenny, and she accomplished that.
9 Ashley is the best female swimmer left!
Kudos to Ashley for killing the swim. With her slender frame, Ashley gets forgotten as an athlete. People know her as a champion, but they think of her political game and puzzle powers before her killing it as an athlete. To this day, people still doubt her abilities, and she proves them wrong over and over again. Ashley has a legitimate shot at becoming the third-ever female 3x Champion (which would tie her for the most all-time by a female).
Zach also killed this swim, which matters as he was a doggy paddler back on Battle of the Seasons.
8 Paulie and Cara hit rocky waters
While this swimming challenge strengthened the relationships between different players, it challenged Paulie and Cara. Cara was not one of the worst swimmers. However, Paulie loves to finish in first place to throw it in the face of his opponents. To Paulie, Cara threatened his status as a top competitor as she was not able to keep up. You could see Paulie get frustrated when he suggests to Cara that she work on swimming more when they got back to the house. Cara does not care; she is a 2x Champ and 8x finalist who has managed to succeed without being an excellent swimmer.
Paulie did impress me when he solved the riddle. As much as I like to make fun of Paulie for his questionable antics, he does have book smarts.
7 Leroy and Kam narrowly escape
If Kam and Leroy win this season, they need to cut a check to Kayleigh. Kam and Leroy both got out-swam by Dee (I know Kam beat Dee in the first half, but she also had a headstart). I am often willing to excuse bad swimming, but Dee didn’t even know how to swim less than a year ago, and here she is beating out two veterans who talk about wanting nothing more than to win.
I am happy Leroy remains in the game as you can tell how drained he is from the fact that after a decade of being on the show, he still cannot call himself a Champion. Leroy is the Donovan McNabb of the Challenge. Had he won it in his prime, he maybe gets ranked as an all-time great who is beloved by the fandom. Instead, he will get remembered as a former All-Star who stayed on longer than he should have. This season is likely his last chance to win.
Part of me wishes Kam was harder than herself. I appreciate her confidence as the world needs more strong women like Kam, but she is a flawed competitor who relies on her ability in eliminations. Kam needs to improve if she wants to be an elite competitor, rather than just a good competitor.
6 Dee dragged the boys while carrying her own weight
This scene was one of my favorite clapbacks in Challenge history. So often, when challengers argue about who is weaker and who is stronger, they speak in such superficial and emotional terms. Dee was upset, but she brought her book of receipts and a resume of stats when arguing with Rogan, CT, and Joss. Dee won 5 paired and individual daily challenges last season, while CT won none and got eliminated early. Dee ran laps in the African desert while Rogan died on a mountain top. CT and Rogan are thicc bois questioning Dee’s endurance and abilities when, in the last 12 months, she’s accomplished the most out of anyone on her team. Joss and CT are better players than Dee; it’s just in terms of arguing for the sake of arguing, Dee has made a case for herself as a formidable competitor.
Dee might have been the 5th best female swimmer in the challenge. Let that sink in.
5 Rogan lost his Brogan
I did not weep a tear for Rogan when he lost Joss. They played a game where they protected Kayleigh without considering the fact she was possibly the biggest anchor on their team. They called Dee out for being weak when Kayleigh was so obviously the weaker link.
His move to pin the idea of throwing Dee in on Joss was hilarious. Dee is a fool for believing Joss was capable of anything like that after she was in alliance with him for six weeks. Dee probably lied to herself that it was Joss who did it because if she doesn’t, then she rejects Rogan and is alone for the rest of the game. We have all had relationships in life where sometimes you’d rather have that shoulder you can lean on, rather than rough it by yourself.
4 Ninja is lame
Each week, I watch and hope Ninja will provide me a reason to like her. Each week she continues to disappoint me. She gets a free pass on the Purge because none of the guys want to swim with her. It is wildly unfair to the other females swimming for their lives in the game. Then she gets to be in the Tribunal for doing nothing. Part of me hopes she will throw Rogan in as it would be a ballsy move and show that she’s the friend who will defend Dee as Dee does for her. Instead, she tries to show up Jordan in the nomination ceremony and then follows Paulie’s order by voting in Josh.
I loved watching Jordan interact with Ninja. At one point, Jordan had a look on his face where you could tell he had 40 different smartass responses, and he was trying to figure out which one he would use.
3 Nany can’t catch a break
As a fan of Nany, every week gets rougher and rougher. The mental wear and tear of the game are affecting her. Right when she and Josh are at their highest point as a friendship, she loses him. Nany lost Jordan and Tori as teammates; she lost her friends in Josh, Wes, Bananas, and Laurel. Leroy is playing with the Cara/Paulie cult, and now all she has is Zach.
She will likely face Tori in the next elimination as they are quite literally the only two females left in the game who are not in the Cara/Paulie cult.
2 Josh has had an interesting run
After making fun of Josh and his lack of chemistry with Georgia, he has been incredibly endearing the past few weeks. I noted that most of the season, his alliance has not cared about him. Even last week, Tori only listed Zach, Nany, and Jordan as being the people on her side who she cares about in the game. Yet, you can tell Josh earned their respect this week.
Josh killed the swimming challenge with ease and even carried Nany to safety. Joss and Paulie could have done the same with their partners, but they did not put forth the effort. The guy Cara was making fun of two weeks ago and calling useless is now carrying his partner to safety, while Paulie tells her to take swimming lessons.
The elimination also made me appreciate Josh’s size. Because Josh doesn’t have a super toned body, we forget he is 6'2 and maybe over 200 lbs. He is not a small guy by any stretch of the imagination. Josh looked like a giant next to Jordan. I would have liked to see Josh win 1 round as losing 3–0 when you have the two to one arm advantage is a tough look, but overall, I still thought he didn’t look like a complete chump out there.
1 Jordan is on another level
I stopped playing Madden Football a while ago. However, there is a YouTuber I watch who does a plethora of Madden related challenges, including ones where he attempts to beat people by only playing defense and special teams. Watching Jordan play this elimination, was like watching a football team try to win a game where they run the QB Kneel every play on offense.
Having only one hand forced Jordan to play a perfect game. To win this elimination, Jordan needed to get in Josh’s head completely. In the first round, Jordan studied Josh’s technique, and he picked him off at the exact moment. As the elimination went on, Jordan would throw little comments towards Josh’s way. My favorite was when he asked Josh is his forearms were tightening, then told him to imagine doing the elimination with only one arm. Josh played smarter the second round and was inches from winning. It forced Jordan to play riskier, even lifting the rope with his back leg, giving the facade that Josh was going to win given one more strong tug. Jordan risked it for the biscuit, and he got rewarded. Josh fell off the platform a second time. By the third round, Josh was desperate, Jordan took advantage and the win.
In a Challenge world where everyone makes excuses for why they lose, Jordan stands singular in the way he can overcome obstacles to win. With a 7–1 record, Jordan holds the second greatest elimination record of any male in Challenge history through eight eliminations. First is Wes, who went 8–0, and Nelson is third with a 6–1–1 record in their first eight eliminations. The craziest part about this stat is Jordan does not get consideration when we talk about elite elimination competitors. Almost like nobody considers the fact Michael Jordan won defensive player of the year. Jordan is on another level.