The Challenge All Stars Episode 2 Recap: 10 Biggest Takeaways
I just want to apologize to my loyal readers for the delay on this recap, life has been a bit hectic lately. Episode 2 of the Challenge All Stars is in the books, you have likely watched it and have some thoughts. It was another fantastic episode and I am here to break down some of the biggest storylines, moments, and production choices.
10 The Music Continues Kill
When I watch Double Agents, it is cool hearing songs from The Smiths or The Pixies pop up here and there because that is the music I love. However, it does not necessarily always enhance the show itself as it does not stay consistent with the theme/aesthetic. All Stars’ music doubles down on nostalgia and puts you in the perfect mood when watching. The show’s editing has also been fantastic; they are featuring those bringing a lot to the table to the point that you overlook that some people have been wallpaper thus far. It is jarring that the same people edit both Double Agents and All Stars.
9 Rivals 2 Closure
Aneesa and Trishelle reconciling and becoming friends nine years after their Rivals 2 fight was surreal. I never expected to see Trishelle on a Challenge again, and to be able to make amends with Aneesa, and for Aneesa even to be cheering her on in elimination was a full-circle moment. To watch that type of reconciliation and growth on our television screens all these years later is part of the reason why this All Stars season feels so important. There is actual history between these characters, and the ability to see certain storylines stay the same, change, or evolve is unique. It is much more fulfilling than hearing Devin yell Big Brother sucks at Josh and Fessy.
8 All The Uncensored Footage is Awesome
In my recap last week, I did not mention how cast members can curse freely due to the show being on Paramount Plus. That is because I am a casual swearer who does not notice when other people swear. This week though, I kept an ear out for it, and man, it does make the show better. Piggybacking off the last takeaway, they showed us the unseen uncensored versions of the Aneesa/Trishelle Rivals 2 fight! Then we got an uncensored Katie cursing out Trishelle, and when Trishelle got a trivia question wrong, she dropped one of the best quotes of the episode: “I don’t watch Johnny Bananas. I don’t give a fuck about Johnny Bananas.” Cursing is such a small element that adds to the show.
7 Terrific Trivia
MTV is giving us all the classics with the daily challenges and eliminations. The simple format choice of last place player goes into elimination, and first place gets safety is refreshing after the formatting debacle of the past few seasons. Players also had to take 30-foot falls into water, some doing so for the first time in over fifteen years! The players’ weight also played a factor, as some of the heavier men would break through the floor after one question wrong, and then some of the women had to force their way through the floor. Teck being in the final two was wild on the male side as he had not been on the Challenge in twenty years and likely stopped watching the show once he left. Nehemiah winning makes sense as he’s been in The Challenge universe since 2005. Even though Rivals 1 was his last season, his connection to Wes and the fact he has been alternate/accepted availability calls for seasons since then has kept him in the loop.
KellyAnne’s honesty in her response that she did not have cable growing up got a chuckle out of me. Katie getting her face busted up again this many years after her experience on Cutthroat was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Her fall may also have been a significant reason why Kendal did not try to force herself through the floor. I was utterly shocked by Ruthie mowing down questions, especially geography questions about seasons she was not on, such as: “Where was the Gauntlet 1 filmed?” The fact she remembered it was in Telluride, Colorado, of all places is ridiculously impressed. Aneesa should have won this challenge (and did); she debuted on Season 6 of the Challenge and is still active today in 2021. Trishelle coming in last place hurts because, as you can see from this episode, she is one of the people in the game stirring the pot a bit.
6 Fantastic Flashbacks
During the trivia, they kept dropping clips of famous Challenge moments. Again, they stayed committed to the nostalgia and are feeding us by the truckload. On paper, this daily challenge took up way too much time, and we did not get to see the cast interacting too much (besides the Katie/Trishelle stuff), and yet, all I am seeing is praise for this episode online. Going to hark back on this, it is a testament to the editing of this season because they highlight the important content so that you don’t notice some of the potential flaws (which a good TV show should do). Some of these flashbacks made me hungry for a possible All Stars Season 2 with people we saw in the videos: Coral, Veronica, Tina, and Timmy.
5 Teck $$$
Just one of the best confessionals in Challenge history. The guy exudes so much charisma and steals every scene he is in. I have seen multiple Challenge parents say that Teck is a favorite of their children when he is on screen. Teck is such an excellent addition to the show that nobody saw coming.
4 Trishelle vs. Katie
As much as the Challenge thrives as an ensemble show — when you can have an episode with main characters you can follow from the beginning with backstories involved, this show hits a level that most other reality television shows can’t. Trishelle was the player most shocked because instead of getting a fun and games two-week vacation, there would be legitimate challenges and eliminations for 500k dollars. Trishelle is also a competitive person, so even though this was not what she signed up for, she did not want to go out early.
To her, Katie being there was the one thing she could rely on as they have been life-long friends. Trishelle did not fully account for that they had not done a Challenge together since 2004, and Katie went on to do six additional seasons and was active up till 2010. I genuinely believe Katie valued Trishelle as a friend; the issue is, she has other friends to worry about and a game of her own. For Trishelle to expect Katie to hold her hand is unrealistic, and once the two got inebriated, some old laundry got aired out, and they lashed out at one another. Trishelle is not what I would consider a great arguer/verbal altercater, and to try to go at Katie, who is not only vicious but fucking quick to pull the trigger, is a losing battle every time. Trishelle tried to bring Jemmye in as backup, and Katie shut that down immediately by saying: “What, you need you a little sidekick? Can’t speak for yourself?” Holy shit, Katie’s appearance check was worth it for that line alone.
3 The Vote In
Trishelle asked to face Beth in elimination, and they refused to give her Beth after they did the same for Laterrian the previous week. Part of that is the women in the game are a bit more cutthroat, and it’s fantastic to see. I found it hilarious that Aneesa was driving the vote Kendal train because she did not jump and because she is a “strong” player when she refused to let Kyle have a Darrell/CT or Darrell/Fessy elimination on Double Agents.
At the deliberation, Kendal struggled when under the spotlight. I respect that she suggested they vote for someone else as that was my big complaint with Ace last week; however, suggesting Jisela after her swimming performance the previous week was not the best choice. Kendal should have suggested Public Enemy #1 Beth, or the youngest player in the game Jonna, on a rookie basis. While Katie did say during her fight with Trishelle to vote her in — Kendal would not throw her under the bus as they are long-time friends.
2 Knot So Fast
Knot So Fast was introduced the season Trishelle made her return to the Challenge (Battle of the Seasons 2012), giving her somewhat of an advantage. Most of the crowd is on her side also helped. She did not account for Darrell being on Kendal’s side and him losing to CT’s super knot on Invasion of the Champions gave him a level of expertise everyone else did not have. Kendal smartly listened to him and got to work, weaving her body in and out of the ropes. Her slender frame, cardio, and yoga flexibility all came in hand, and she was put herself through tiny holes to create strong knots. Trishelle tried her best; she simply got outsmarted and outworked. Kendal is a legitimate threat cardio-wise in a final, and knowing she is a nurse, she has to be of decent intelligence when it comes to puzzles.
It had to be hard for Trishelle to watch this episode and to have to hear that confessional where Katie said that they had outgrown each other.
1 Ice Breakers
We are getting a throwback daily challenge next week; players will be doing whatever they can to defrost a block as fast they can. There also seems to be some Ruthie/Aneesa drama going down. Now that we have had a male and female elimination, it will be fascinating to see how the game itself ramps up. Remember, we only are getting nine episodes, and it stands with seven episodes left; we still have 20 players and are only getting 1 winner.