Episode 3 of Challenge All Stars S2 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 3rd episode.
10 Sophia & Ayanna Moment
In Episode 1, Sophia establishes that she and Ayanna had a close bond on Battle of the Sexes 2 back in the day, and she’s excited to be able to go on this show together again with her. At the beginning of this episode, when Sophia asks Ayanna to braid her hair, Ayanna braids the hair in a way that sets off a trigger in Sophia of something from her past and has her acting emotional and erratic. It creates a schism between the two as Sophia lashed out at someone innocent, and Ayanna felt no remorse towards what Sophia was going through and lashed back. There seems to be some content missing here too, because the situation quickly escalates between the two.
Normally drama on the main seasons of the Challenge is rough to watch because it feels fake; this was the opposite. It got a bit too real too quickly. Sophia was obviously going through some stuff, and once Ayanna felt slighted by Sophia, she went all-in against her. Jonna pegged it from the jump; they are simply two very different humans. For Ayanna and Sophia, that’s tough because they were once close. Then again, the kid who was my best friend in 4th Grade wasn’t even my friend by 8th Grade. People change, life moves on, and so on so forth.
9 Eat My Shorts
The dissolvable shorts prank Tina played on Ryan was so juvenile and perfect. It was the type of light-hearted fun we’ve been missing on the main seasons, and Ryan had the perfect reaction. Make the Challenge fun again.
8 Daily Challenge
For reference, the teams were:
Black Team — Darrell, Brad, Derrick, Nehemiah, Laterrian, Tyler, Tina, Melinda, Janelle, Jasmine, and Katie
Green Team — Ryan, MJ, Cohutta, Steve, Teck, Ayanna, Casey, Sophia, Jodi, Jonna, Kendal
Darrell and Tina volunteered to be Black Team captains, both with the mindset it would be better to step up early because even if they end up in elimination, there are still weaker players to go against. You’d rather take the chance now versus when losing could result in your facing a powerhouse in elimination. Ryan volunteered on the Green Team because he knew he could potentially get voted in, and thus, he might as well take the calculated risk; meanwhile, Ayanna knew due to her having the Life Shield, stepping up as a captain was no risk, only reward.
In the actual challenge itself, Black took an early lead, they had the more physical men, and Tina did a great job of barking at everyone to get into order. The Green Team trailed for most of the challenge, and the person that stood out most for them was Jodi. She went the extra mile during the swimming portion by pushing all their puzzle pieces towards the shore so her teammates would not have to swim much. When a player willingly takes on extra weight to carry and lift up their teammates without being asked to, that’s the difference between being a great player and an elite one.
The Black Team takes the win, Darrell & Tina have the power to nominate two players for elimination, and Ryan is automatically going in. Since Ayanna had the lifeshield, the losing team had to pick someone on their team to go into elimination, and that’s when things swung in a wild direction.
7 Ayanna Takes Control
When the Green Team learned they had to pick someone to go into elimination, they looked bereft and pained by the idea of having to throw someone into elimination. Well, everyone except Ayanna, who saw an opening, declared that because she saved herself, she will gift someone with the opportunity to go in and unilaterally decides Sophia will go into elimination. Everyone has a look of shock on their faces…and even more amazingly…they just let it happen.
The men let it go because they didn’t want to get caught in crosshairs. The women let it go because why create trouble and have a revote that could result in one of them going in? Ayanna’s was fucking ballsy, and I’m kind of jaw-jacked by the move. I felt terrible for Sophia as it was a move made for personal reasons. Then again, as Ayanna said, she already knew things between her and Sophia were bad and probably not going to recover, so she might always try and get her out immediately before they have a chance to bite back.
6 Confessional Look
A small detail I’ve enjoyed this season is that in the player confessionals, their nametags have photos of them from their original show/seasons of the Challenge. Seeing what these characters looked like when they entered the franchise versus how they look now is simply cute and puts a smile on my face.
5 Tina is a Boss
Tina and Darrell had to nominate two men and women to face Ryan and Sophia in elimination. Darrell informs the people he shares a room with (MJ, Cohutta, Teck, and Jonna) that they won’t have much to worry about as he will try to keep them safe, and additionally, he’ll likely be nominating Steve. When he and Tina choose who goes in, they immediately note that anyone on their Black Team will be safe. Historically, Darrell is a very safe game player who never wants to rock the boat, so when Tina suggests they pick randomly who goes in, you see Darrell’s gears start to go a little haywire. He then tells her the simple solution is they each pick one guy and one girl. Then it devolves into a game of who they are protecting.
Things become interesting because Tina refuses to let Darrell nominate Steve; Tina has Steve’s back, which throws an unexpected wrench into the game. Tina steamrolls Darrell, leading to the male nominations becoming MJ & Teck, to which Nehemiah uses the lifeshield on Teck, and from there, it is MJ & Cohutta.
Tina was swinging big and was dead-set on taking out Jodi when it came to the girls. Likewise, Tina had a hardline stance on protecting Casey, and since Darrell had to look out for Kendal, they had to make Jonna the other nomination. Since Tina knew she was big-game hunting going in, she succeeded with her nominations. However, Darrell potentially might catch the ire of two of the strongest females in the game, and now the people in his room might be upset that he was unable to keep them safe after giving them a level of assurance they were okay. Darrell is an elite social player, but politically he is a bit iffy and kind of got his ass kicked by Tina this episode.
4 The Voting Ceremony
At the deliberation, Sophia asked to face Jodi as she saw Jodi as the stronger competitor and wanted to either win/go down with honor. Ryan asked for Cohutta as it would be a more fair match-up if the game were hyper-physical. 11 out of 12 votes went to Cohutta; the only person who voted in MJ was Derrick. 10 out of 12 votes went to Jodi, with Derrick and Tyler voting in Jonna.
3 Tic-Tac-Toe Extreme Edition
Whoever thought Tic-Tac-Toe on Fire was a good elimination idea needs to get punished with something ungodly, like having to watch all of Spies, Lies & Allies with commercials.
The key to winning tic-tac-toe is getting the center square. If you don’t get the center square, your chances of winning are minuscule, and your strategy from there needs to become forcing a Draw to restart the game. Except in this version, the quicker player will almost always be able to establish center square position, and from there, they should be able to maintain an advantage state. Technically, there is a cardio element if a player slows down and their opponent catches up/outpaces them, they could change the math of regular tic-tac-toe as they won’t have to wait for their opponent to make their next move. Still, it was a flawed and hilariously bad elimination.
2 Cohutta vs. Ryan
Cohutta was faster than Ryan and got the center square in both rounds they played. Add in that Cohutta knew the basic core strategies of Tic-Tac-Toe, and he won with ease. Ryan got outworked mentally and physically, and while I’ve enjoyed seeing him back on the show, it’s not a shocking loss. Most of Cohutta’s eliminations throughout his Challenge career have been uphill battles, so it was nice to see him get an easy win for once.
1 Jodi vs. Sophia
In the first round, Jodi fumbled her ball as she tried to put it in the center square, allowing Sophia to do so, giving Sophia an edge and a chance to win. Sadly, Sophia played it wrong from there; she put her next two balls in suboptimal positions that allowed Jodi to block her, and not only that, once Jodi outpaced her, Jodi was able to make a straight line in the bottom row. I know the physical element of the game changes the math, but you should not lose Tic-Tac-Toe after getting the center square.
Round Two was much worse for Sophia as he got outpaced and had no clear strategy. Jodi takes the win, and it’s her first-ever elimination win. Sophia goes out, and it’s a rough episode for her. She seems to have lost a friendship and had her return after all these years get cut short so quickly. As sad as it is to see Sophia and Ryan go out this way, Jodi & Cohutta are people who deserve to stick around.
Overall, this was another great episode and I’m excited to tune in alongside all of you next week.