Episode 5 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 5th episode.
10 The King’s Palace
I love when an alliance has a name, and this week we find out that the squad of Nehemiah, Laterrian, Teck, Steve, and Melinda is calling their room the King’s Palace. Their alliance name is corny in the best way. When it is thriving, you can say the King’s Palace looks immaculate, and when it’s doing poorly, you can say the King’s Palace is falling apart.
9 Melinda is a Fighter
During the episode, Melinda reveals to Jonna that the day of filming was when Melinda was scheduled to have a C-section. Unfortunately, due to complication, she had to have an emergency delivery a few month earlier, and devastatingly, she had to go home without a baby. The troubles of pregnancy/miscarriage and what it can do to a humans’ body/psyche does not get openly talked about enough when it is something so common that happens to everyday people. The fact Melinda is willing to speak about it makes for a kind of big Reality TV/human moment. Reality TV in the modern era is often not relatable. To get a character you grew up with come back after all these years and talk about real-life trials and tribulations openly and honestly in a way so many fans could empathize and relate with is something modern Reality TV doesn’t have.
Thank you, Melinda, for coming back and being able to bear your soul.
8 A Daily I Would Kill To Play
The daily challenge reminded me of a Nickelodeon game show in the best way possible. Players from jumped from one trampoline platform to another. Some did it with ease, and others belly-flopped with flair (looking at Tina). At the final platform, they had to jump and knock down one of the three giant elevated puzzle pieces, and once they had all three, they must solve some math problems with their pieces to complete the challenge. It was an individual challenge with the fastest male and female to the complete challenge getting the win, and those who finish in the slowest amount of time/or DQ the worst go directly into elimination.
As fun as this daily challenge looked, based on the exhausted faces throughout, the difficulty level of this challenge is not to be slept on. All the men completed the challenge, while two women DQ’d. To knock out the puzzle pieces, you need to use legitimate force. For this reason, the women had a much tougher time in the challenge, primarily due to them being smaller in stature (most) and weight, and scientifically the average women’s vertical jump is a few inches shorter. I need to commend Kendal and Jasmine for completing the challenge as two of the smallest women left in the game. I was so proud of Jasmine; her two biggest fears back in the day were heights and water, so for her to take multiple leaps of faith and refuse to quit this challenge was awesome to watch.
7 Winners & Losers
Let’s talk first about those automatically going into elimination. Steve knew he’d be the House Vote if someone from the King’s Palace did not win, and thus, he tried to be creative and knock down two puzzle pieces at once, which was not only not allowed in the rules, but in the process, he knocked the puzzle piece so far away, his swim to retrieve it took so long that he ended up with the worst time. At least Steve played to win; it just backfired epically. On the women’s side, Casey, after multiple failed leaps, opted out of the challenge, only knocking down 1 out of 3 puzzle pieces, and she did so thinking she’d go into elimination. Instead, Melinda got medically DQ’d from the challenge after taking a bad fall, and because Melinda took one less leap than Casey, she was the last-place finisher going in. ROUGH.
Jodi was the clear female winner to the point TJ did not even mention a runner-up. On the men’s side, it came down to Brad & Darrell, with Darrell taking the win; hilariously, both men wanted each other to win more than themselves as nobody wants to nominate four people for elimination.
6 Nominations & Lifeshields
Before nominations, Brad gameplans with Darrell & Jodi, cementing them as an alliance, which is crucial since Derrick was the person who linked them together prior to this week. They made sure to get all their ducks in a row and be on a united front. For the male nominations, they knew they wanted to throw Teck in. To ensure Teck would go in, they used Tyler as a pawn. It is wild to think among all the madness, 2x Champ Tyler has been able to float in the middle as the Challenge All-Star’s Switzerland.
To guarantee Teck would stay on the nomination board, they’d have to nominate Ayanna to assure she would use the lifeshield on herself. It must get noted, Ayanna LOVES her some Teck and his kingly scepter. Ayanna dropped a gem of a confessional during the daily challenge: “I don’t care if Teck was competing against Barack Obama; I’m going to be rooting for Teck.” When Ayanna saw herself nominated, she did not take kindly to it and looked at Jodi/Darrell with eyes of vengeance. I find it comical that Ayanna took this move with such offense when she unilaterally Sophia into elimination two episodes earlier. Regardless, Ayanna makes for great television.
Jodi put in Tina and Casey for the female nominations, both players nominated for her elimination already. Whichever girl got voted in was a win-win scenario for Jodi.
5 The Voting Ceremony
Before the voting ceremony, Steve tells people he wants to face Teck in elimination because he sees Tyler as a significant threat. Tina chooses not to politic, thinking it’s unnecessary.
The votes pile in.
Teck receives 7 votes from Brad, Janelle, Kendal, Jasmine, MJ, Cohutta, and Jonna.
Tyler receives 2 votes from Nehemiah and Laterrian.
Tina receives 7 votes from Laterrian, Janelle, Kendal, Jasmine, MJ, Cohutta, and Jonna.
Casey receives 2 votes from Brad and Nehemiah.
Tina is shocked by the outcome. She assumed that because she had not been making any trouble and since Casey had DQ’d in the challenge and made a move against one of the top guys in the game, she would go in. Not the case.
4 Kings Bitterness
Laterrian and Nehemiah did not take kindly to Steve vocally asking to face Teck in elimination. They viewed it as rat behavior, and I can see both sides. After all these years, Steve’s come back to this show and is simply fighting to survive, so he has a chance to win big money. At the same time, when you join an alliance, loyalty is essential, especially when you’re on the outside looking in.
I did find it absurd when they took credit for Steve still being here. While they did keep him out of the first elimination by moving the votes onto Derek, Nehemiah was the one who wanted Derek as he saw him as the easier elimination opponent. The other two weeks, it was Steve who won immunity for himself and Tina who kept him from going in. Also, Steve was willing to make the move for their alliance, and he was the first to understand how to knock out lifeshields.
I wonder why Darrell nominated Teck instead of LT or Nehemiah, because wouldn’t you want to send Steve against a stronger member of the alliance? Perhaps Darrell saw Steve as someone LT/Nehemiah could easily beat in elimination and thus decided he’d rather them not have the lifeshield. All I know is the King’s Palace is crumbling, and the throne needs to be protected.
3 Pots and Pans
After the nomination ceremony, the new Tina breaks, and the old Tina picks up the phone. Actually, she picked up some pots and pans, started banging them together, then announced she was a genuine person and that everyone else is a fake motherfucker. Tina welcomed them to her bad side, called out Jodi, and put everyone on warning. Unfortunately, nobody took the bait and tried to combat her verbally. One of my biggest takeaways is that these new-age pots and pans are now designed to make less noise when dropped, and thus, when someone smacks two together, yeah, it’s loud — it just doesn’t hit the same way anymore.
A couple of the funniest moments to come out of Tina’s outburst is a tired Jasmine simply saying, “I’m too old for this shit,” to which the entire house could relate. The other was Melinda asking Tina if she wanted some Green Tea when consoling her, a total mom/old person move. Tina was in such stupefaction that her anger went away and all she could do was laugh.
2 Teck vs. Steve
The elimination was a fucking banger. Players competed in an intense cardio/physical elimination where players had 3 light switches, and they’d have to race back and forth to turn their opponents’ switches off while protecting their own. The first player to knock out all 3 of their opponents’ switches wins the elimination. At first, I assumed players were not allowed to touch one another as they were not wearing pads or helmets.
Then Teck came at Steve like a bat out of hell and knocked him down with a full body check. My jaw dropped; I could not believe they had two 40+-year-old men playing a marathon version of rugby against one another. Teck and Steve threw a couple more hits at one another, and it was anyone’s game until Steve missed the button during one of his sprints. Teck took advantage, got an extra bit of wind under his legs, and won his first-ever elimination. Good lord, this elimination was heated, and it’s crazy to think it happened between two people who, prior to 2021, had not been on the show in 18 years. I thought Teck was a delight on Challenge All-Stars S1, but I didn’t know he was someone with intentions to win the game and was only there to have fun and cash a check. It’s clear Teck has caught the Challenge bug and fucking loved being able to prove to everyone he is more than just a personality; the guy is here to compete and has heart.
Likewise, I got to give credit to Steve; he came back after all this time and was willing to swing for the fences. He was good in the daily challenges and orchestrated the early elimination of a Challenge legend. I’m happy they brought Steve back, and I’d love to see him again.
1 Tina vs. Melinda
The elimination starts, and Tina opts out, allowing Melinda to win unopposed. Tina states she did not like the person she was becoming again, and I find that entirely fair. Reality TV can be a traumatic experience, and when you leave, you sometimes find the character you were on the show following you when you don’t identify with that person. At the same time, I know Tina will be on All Stars Season 3, so if she didn’t like who she was becoming, I don’t know why she would go back. I’m not going to complain because Tina has so much charisma and has done a great job carrying this show in the entertainment department; I just wish she went out on different terms.
Melinda takes the “win,” and I feel a bit heartbroken for her. It’s important to note that Melinda was a career 0–4 in elimination going in, and she probably wanted to prove herself and get that first elimination win after all these years. So by default, Melinda gets a win and a lifeshield; sadly, it’s not the way you want to earn it. Then again, Melinda shouldn’t have been in this elimination anyway if not for the medical DQ in the daily, and now she at least gets assured safety for an extra week. Going to repeat the phrase; I’m not going to complain about the fact that I get to look at Melinda for at least two more episodes. We got the midseason trailer at the end of the episode, and it seems like the season will be picking up steam fast.