Episode 14 of the Challenge All Stars is in the books. You likely have thoughts, and I am here to break down some of the biggest moments, Easter eggs, and storylines for you to either agree or disagree with. Let’s get into it!
10 DMX Tribute
They opened the episode with a DMX song as a tribute to the recently passed musician. It was a classy move by the editing team. The music has been excellent this season, so good that I felt that the editors put in much more work on the Double Agents Finale song choices due to all the acclaim the All Stars soundtrack is getting.
9 Nobody Wants To Be Team Captain
If you are a male or female player, being Team Captain on your elimination day is a risk that is not necessarily worth the reward of immunity. Yes, everyone wants to be immune, but if you have social connections in the game and perform adequately in the daily challenges, you should avoid the elimination arena. The only scenario where it was genuinely worth being captain was with Kendal — Jisela strong-armed her into the position, and with so many players being anti-Kendal, the safety is actually worth the risk since there was a decent chance she would be the house vote anyway. Jemmye kind of tricked Beth into being Team Captain on a team where we all immediately knew they weren’t going to win the daily challenge. Arissa played a similar card on Jonna, to which Jonna accepted to avoid any conflict.
8 Epic Daily Challenge
One of the best daily challenges I have ever seen, and I want them to use it as soon as possible on a main season of the Challenge. Watching players fall into the water after one of the ropes they held onto got detached gave me an immediate feeling of satisfaction only trumped by seeing them find a way to keep themselves up.
The way Jonna found it within herself to grapple horizontally, likely leading to a plethora of rope burns, was such a brave move that displayed she had a ton of heart. Her then getting knocked off by a second-released right before finishing had me gasping for air. Big Easy’s fall was hilarious, in part due to Darrell’s commentary. I was incredibly proud of Beth for even attempting the daily challenge. Beth in 2005 would have completely opted out of this challenge — she did a decent job facing her fears and had to take on a formidable opponent (Mark Long) in her round.
7 Top Performers
Some players kicked ass in this daily challenge. On the female side, Kendal held her own against Alton and stayed up after being the first player to have a rope released on them. Kendal competed on one season 17 years ago and looked like she does this type of stuff daily. KellyAnne killed this daily challenge as well; her strength to body-weight ratio is elite. You look at both Kendal and KellyAnne, and they both probably don’t weigh more than 120 lbs, and their sense of balance from all the yoga they do give them an edge in these challenges. Cardio-wise, I would not want to see either in a final. The other woman to dominate this daily challenge was Ruthie, and it did not shock me that she killed this challenge as Ruthie was a bit of a spider monkey back in the day.
I felt bad for Nehemiah because he was going at a fast pace; the only issue was this daily challenge was made for someone like Derrick, and Derrick got to pull the rope from under him first. The most under-the-radar performance was by Yes; he sped through the course, and they did not mention it. Alton and Mark put up solid performances as well. Derrick, Mark, Yes, Ruthie, and Aneesa pulled out the win for their team to no surprise; they had 4 of the best players in the game on their team. The team of Beth, Syrus, Jemmye, Darrell, and Nehemiah took the loss, which again was not surprising as Nehemiah is their only player who does well with heights, and Derrick took him out first.
6 Is Alton Single?
I know Alton has kids based on his confessional to open the season; however, I do not remember him mentioning having a wife or a partner. Every single week, a different woman thirsts after him for obvious reasons. Alton is the Exes 2 Jenna Compono of the Challenge All Stars. They try to limit his confessionals not to overexpose him, and they make sure to get good shots of his abs whenever they can.
5 Is Katie a Genius
Self-awareness is maybe the most underrated trait you can have on the Challenge, and Katie is exactly that, self-aware. Katie knows people see her as a weak competitor, and because of that, she does not mention to anyone that she was training before the show. In elimination, when an opponent underestimates you, that is when you are most deadly. As someone who has won 4 eliminations in her Challenge career, including defeating a male in a 1 on 1 elimination, Katie is comfortable in that arena. She plays with nothing to lose. Considering her history of hitting her face in the water, Katie choosing not to attempt the daily challenge was not a bad choice. She avoided any potential rope burns, and instead of potentially looking like she had no upper-body or core strength, she looked like a person afraid of heights.
Katie then smartly volunteered for elimination as it would take any heat off her performance, and if she wins that elimination, she can probably coast going forward. The added blanket of her friend Mark Long holding the lifesaver. She had a get-out-of-jail-free card in the worst-case scenario. Everything Katie does is so effortless in a good way — she is the kid in school who never seems to care about homework or tests, and then at the end of the semester, they somehow get a better grade than you.
4 The Godfather’s Table
I am incredibly 70–30 on Mark Long this season. 70 percent of me loves him for actually pulling off this fantastic show for us all to enjoy. The other 30 percent can’t help but feel that he is still in Producer Mode on this show. Almost every confessional he gives sounds like he is doing a Hot Wheels commercial. Mark is so naturally charismatic, yet, I am getting Tori Deal vibes from him at times. The scene where he brought all the women in, asking if they wanted him to use the lifesaver was a mixed bag. Again, it was 70–30, 70 percent thought it was super cool, and the other 30 percent found it super corny. It is an unfair rationale and opinion that most people probably do not have, and part of me feels bad for being a Debbie Downer as most fans are just enjoying having the Godfather back on their screens. This is the biggest of nits to pick.
3 Beth’s Family
During Beth’s original run on the Challenge, she got portrayed as a villain. She was someone who would stir the pot and change the energy of a room by walking in it. Beth also quit on multiple seasons and daily challenges with little to no remorse — she did not seem human. The Beth we are getting on the Challenge All Stars is one of the most human characters on the show. At 52 years old, she is taking on heights challenges she would never have attempted twenty years ago. In these episodes, Beth has shown care and affection to her long-time friend Syrus and finding herself connecting with Jemmye in a mother-daughter way. This week, we got to see her video call her husband and kids, and the absolute joy you could see in her eyes was palpable. As much as I wanted to see villain Beth, this motherly version of Beth has been just as dope and is a great story to watch.
2 The Lifesaver Twist
Mark finally used the lifesaver, and I believe he would have probably thrown Kendal into elimination if he had gotten the unanimous power for re-nomination. That was not the case, the entire house got to vote, and Darrell, with the first vote, asked Beth who she wanted; she said Arissa (likely due to the weight difference). As I mentioned in the first two episodes, once someone says a name in the Challenge house, it is easy for others to bandwagon onto that name. Aneesa vehemently dislikes Kendal — she and her best friend Jisela threw two votes onto Kendal. If Darrell, Kendal’s Campus Crawl RV-mate, did not have that first vote, the house could have easily piled votes onto Kendal.
Sadly for Arissa, she was that first name and got blindsided. It was not the house’s intention to blindside; the game just played out that way. Arissa did not interpret the move as such and blew up.
1 Arissa’s Exit
Click on this Tweet, and it will take you to Arissa’s entire Twitter thread explaining her situation on Challenge All Stars:
Arissa explains that she was not being fed like everyone else and was getting rashes and breakouts because of her intense Gluten allergy. Food on the Challenge is already famously bad/limited most of the time. Add in; they were in a pandemic where the shopping of food also needs to pass whatever safety/COVID protocols they had compounds the difficulty of the situation. She also mentions in the thread that other people in the house helped themselves to here already limited food and that she had gotten assured she would not be going into elimination.
Her sudden “quit” came so abruptly after the edit portrayed everyone in the house to be respectful towards her. It was not adding up at all. I am glad Arissa could tell her side of the story on Twitter, and part of me is also happy Beth is still in the game. If you get to the bottom of the thread, Arissa mentions how helpful certain cast members were to her, and at the end of the day, she is glad to have gotten to be part of the experience.