Challenge War of the Worlds 2 Episode 15 Recap : 10 Biggest Takeaways
Episode 15 is in the books and I decided to focus on the 10 Biggest moments/takeaways from the fifteenth episode. Since you’re Challenge fans reading this, I figure you likely have watched the episode already. These will be integral storylines that the fifteenth episode focused on. I’ll breakdown why they matter for the season:
10 Overall Thoughts on the Final
I have seen a lot of people note that it is Team USA’s fault for keeping too big of a team when there are obvious benefits to keeping a small, more efficient unit. I get that, but the fact is, MTV is penalizing one team for getting more of their players to the final.
By adding 20 total pounds per player, it forces Team USA to carry an additional 40 lbs than Team UK. It doesn’t sound like too much, but this is a 16 Mile Trek, where that’s 40 extra lbs per mile, and adds up to 640 additional lbs in the aggregate. Also, these are not extra pounds that you add to the rowing machine at the gym; these are pounds where the weight gets put on your shoulder, and you trudge through in sustained fashion in steep terrain — not only that but the difference in teammate height matters. Having the gurney on 6'1 Leroy’s shoulder and then the same pole on 5'1 Ninja is incredibly challenging to accomplish. Team UK with Tori, Jordan, and Rogan all near the same size have the benefit of height alignment, with CT and Dee as outliers on both ends of short/tall.
How would I have fixed this problem?
Option 1: Have both teams carry the same amount of weight, but you make a rule that players cannot take more than one lap off in a row, so that forces all Team US players to take at least two laps with the gurney.
Option 2: Give each player a weighted backpack proportionate to their weight. They did this on Fresh Meat 2 correctly, and then a bit improperly on Bloodlines. It takes away the team aspect, but the checkpoints are mostly individual anyway.
9 Kam is solid, and Ninja is not
If this were an individual final where players carried weighted backpacks, then Ninja Natalie would be outperforming most of the women on the cast. However, it is a team final where she has only hurt her team by being unable to carry the gurney and is a general negative to team chemistry.
Kam is killing this final. She did not complain about carrying the gurney and has done fine in both check-marks. The final is much harder than what Kam ran on Vendettas. Yet, she is excelling while many of her teammates crumble.
8 Ashley is hilarious
During Team USA’s first two laps, Ashley was quick to criticize Paulie and Cara for their shortcomings in the final. Ashley demolished the eating and finished her math puzzle with ease. One could argue, “yeah, Ashley seems like she’s doing fine, why doesn’t Cara and Paulie just get better?”
Then you take a moment and realize that Ashley didn’t carry the gurney during either of the first two laps. Since the teams are not going at a fast pace while carrying the gurneys, Ashley was the easily the most rested person in the final while talking shit. I don’t know whether to be upset over the slight hypocrisy or be impressed as I’ve never related to someone as I do Ashley. Talking shit from the sidelines is my brand, and I appreciate the levity she has brought to the final.
Sidenote: she did seem to struggle during the third lap when she finally had to carry some weight.
7 Zach has committed himself to failure
While Zach is entirely correct that the Paulie/Cara/Kam alliance got a little too squirrely in how they treated their team, I am not a fan of how he has mentally resigned himself to his team’s failure. It feels as though Zach would rather lose the final to say he was right about his team playing the wrong way, versus going the extra mile to help his team win.
Leroy is not taking a single break in carrying the gurney. He knows he is one of the few players able to carry the gurney with little resistance. Leroy will go the extra mile, but Zach decides it is Ninja and Cara’s turn to carry as he’s already gone. It is fair, but if he wanted to win, he would not be taking a break. Rogan, Jordan, and CT are never stopping on the other team.
6 Dee and Rogan are giving it their all
I don’t think the Paulie/Cara alliance gets enough credit for ruining Team UK. They got rid of Theo, Georgia, Jenny, and Kyle while keeping Kayleigh as a lay-up in their pocket. Kayleigh losing the swimming purge was unexpected bad luck for Team USA. You cannot account for that. They did keep Rogan and Dee. Rogan died on the Gibraltar Rock on Vendettas, and Dee who didn’t know how to swim a year ago and passed out while running laps around the pool.
Yet, when it matters most, they are physically killing it. Rogan has carried the gurney the entire time, and we haven’t heard a single complaint from him. Dee was able to carry the gurney without outward cries similar to Ninja, Cara, Paulie, and Ashley. They sucked at the math puzzle but made it up for it with their eating. The 40 lb difference is enormous, considering Team UK has had no real issues.
5 Jordan and Tori are powerhouses
When Team UK caught up to Team USA during the second lap, Jordan has the biggest smile on his face. The dude looks like he is on Space Mountain, not running a final. At no point during this final do I think Jordan is struggling or needs help. He is killing it. Likewise, Tori is a beast in her own right. She was the first person on her team to solve her math puzzle and then is carrying the gurney with no issue. Imagine if they were on Team USA? I know Turbo is probably pissed watching this final.
Also, I was highly impressed by Jordan’s ability to keep track of all 33 sixes on the board. I’m good at math, but visually, the board was an eyesore. Sidenote: what a fucking jiff that Jordan and Dee had to count up every one of a single number that had a massive amount in comparison to Paulie’s, where all he had to do was add up the right side.
4 Leroy is a Champ in my heart
Everyone in the house was treating Leroy as if he was this lay-up competitor. When Leroy cares, he is a BEAST. It is so disappointing to see all these people who talk about themselves as being the best, not be able to keep up. Leroy made the wrong move in putting Tori into elimination, but I still feel for him. Ashley and Cara are 2x Champs, Ninja completed the hardest final ever, and Paulie looks as though he’s built to smash a final. I don’t think he made the wrong choice on paper.
He has been the most valuable player on Team USA during this final so far.
3 The Old CT returns
When CT pushed Team USA’s gurney, one thing came to my mind: CT ripping the flag on the Duel 1. This guy habitually makes poor choices through his challenge career that often have devastating results in his game. CT’s one of the five greatest males in Challenge history in spite of himself. I’ve always thought some of CT’s “maturity” in recent years was less about him growing up, and more about him only having less energy to be out and about doing crazy. At the moment, he took the adrenaline and pushed the gurney because that’s what the old young CT would have done.
Regardless, he is doing well physically. Watching him curse out TJ despite fully knowing he did break the rules was hilarious.
2 What the hell is wrong with Cara Maria?
We have all seen Cara Maria perform well in finals that are harder than this. We have seen her eat grosser foods. We have seen her solve more challenging puzzles. Cara has now reverted to her cocoon form, and it is embarrassing.
Last season, Cara finished 95% of the hardest final ever, and now she can’t tie her shoes. Part of it is the fact that Cara is bad with partners who might be better than her. Cara is excellent when she goes at her own individual pace, but once she thinks people are judging her or are disappointed by her, she crumbles. She hates Jordan because he inhibits her self-doubt, and when she fails, Jordan is right there to smile and laugh.
There is also no way of talking to her when she breaks down. If you’re supportive, she gets harder on herself; if you’re hard on her, then she gets mad at you for being a dick. Paulie’s collapse has also ruined her final. The entire team wants Paulie to quit, while Cara wants them to care about the two of them.
Sidenote: Cara has two wins in her career, and they came in finals where one of them was a puzzle tiebreaker where it happened to be the same type of color memorization pattern that Cara has won in multiple times. The other was against Cory and Jenna, two of the worst final runners in Challenge history. I think Cara is an all-time elite competitor. However, if she can’t find a way to pull out a win out of nowhere here, then Laurel, Evelyn, Emily, Sarah, Camila, Jodi, Susie, Rachel, Ashley, and maybe even Paula all rank higher than her in my book. Karl Malone scored the second-most points in NBA history, but he’s not the second-best player all-time. Cara is a compiler at this point.
1 Paulie is running the most entertaining final ever
It sucks to watch Paulie die in this final as I respect him as a competitor. However, as a human being, watching him crumble harder than a Party Size bag of Fritos that just got sat on, is hilarious. Before the final starts, Paulie tells Leroy he has not been training hard all season to rest himself for the final. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. If anything, you have to run in the Thai heat to maybe acclimate yourself to the conditions. Dee passing out was a learning curve for her.
Part of running a final is being self-aware of your limits and pace yourself. Paulie does not want to be his opponents; he wants to dominate them. A sprint mentality works in a daily challenge, but Paulie far exceeded his limits. The guy blew his load before his clothes were even off. When Paulie yells about it being his second turn carrying the gurney, he does not realize that he could have asked not to carry it. Likewise, randomly choosing for the team to take a break is beyond rude. Paulie and Cara are self-centered in this final run. They are errantly taking out their frustrations with themselves on the team.
My favorite part of the episode was when Paulie mentions he can no longer see. Then you get a confessional where he’s like, “maybe I’m the dead weight on my team.” Yeah, you think?