The 10th Episode of The Challenge Battle For a New Champion 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 6th Episode.
If you prefer audio/video, my podcast recap can be found above/below.
Caffeine Confessionals: The Challenge Battle For a New Champion Episode 6 Recap: Horacio & Nurys…
Allan and Zoe sit-down and breakdown The Challenge Battle For a New Champion. They talk about the mercenary twist, the…
10 Are People Actually Playing To Win?
I want to open by saying that Big T & Melissa have done a poor job playing the political game as they went in immediately as a pair and constantly distance themselves from the rest of the house. Specifically, Melissa is always with Big T or Kyland.
Except with this new format where mercenaries will be coming in elimination after elimination, it’s insane that they are the targets. Big T & Melissa are solid players; however, they are not threats to win in a game with one solo victor. This is everyone’s shot to take down a Horacio or Zara by feeding them to a Laurel or CT, and instead, it seems like they’re all going to play the safe game. In a standard game, I get it; in a game where only one person can win, you have to take some shots.
9 Daily Challenge Bullshit
Production/TJ decided that the daily challenge teams would be whoever was standing next to each other. It was lazy and had poor game design. Of all the times to have captains/schoolyard pick, this was the daily challenge. A schoolyard pick would indicate who the people in the house believe are the strongest/weakest players, which, in part, could spice up the politics/strategy aspect of the game. The U.S. players would have also had to think more critically about how they would get Big T/Melissa into elimination.
Instead, with Big T & Melissa on the same, everyone teamed up on them, including players on Big T & Melissa’s team. The daily challenge should have been an epic battle — and while there were good moments, it wasn’t what it could have been.
8 Melissa vs. Nurys Part 1
Melissa had every right to be upset during the daily challenge. She was fighting for her life in the game, and instead of getting a fair shot for immunity, Melissa got teamed up and pinned down to the point where she couldn’t even score a point. That said, Melissa trying to choke out Nurys by her helmet and then kicking her from behind when the round was clearly over was undeniably dirty.
Dirty…and some of the best TV we’ve gotten this season. Melissa & Nurys are two of the most gorgeous human beings on the planet, but they got down and dirty in that mud and in this game. The differing body language between these two, when they fight, is fun to watch. While Melissa is thin, she’s taller than you realize, and when Melissa gets angry, she gets on her tip-toes, elevates her neck, leans her shoulders back, and puts her head forward like a Vulture ready to strike a victim. Nurys talks a lot with her hands when she gets heated, almost like she’s trying to materialize her anger.
7 Daily Challenge Standouts
I want to show love to two players. First, Ravyn killed the daily challenge. Ravyn is a good sprinter, physically strong, and crucially, has that DOG in her. She will fight and scrap to stay in this game, even if she continually slips up politically/strategically.
Second, the player I want to highlight is Zara. We saw Zara dominate the swim earlier this season, and in the daily challenge this week, Zara was so fast that women couldn’t even tackle her. There were rounds where Zara was able to grab the ball and turn around quicker enough so that nobody had a shot. On top of being a physical threat, Zara has made quick friends with the U.S. ladies and is very close with all the internationals. The deck is stacked against Zara this season with how this game got formatted/cast, and she continues to shine. Zara is a mega threat to win; unfortunately, people might notice it soon.
6 Watch The Dozen
Shameless self-promotion because it’s Thanksgiving.
It’s Thanksgiving; I’m thankful for all of you readers. As my day job, I write for a Sports & Pop Culture trivia show called The Dozen with Barstool Sports. We put out 3–4 episodes a week. It’s an excellent show and takes up much of my time. Give it a watch sometime. Back to The Challenge.
5 Horacio & Nurys Heating Up
A few weeks ago, I blogged about MTV selling sex to us with some of the eye candy this season, and this week, we got a lot of shirtless Horacio. Not only that, we saw Horacio come out of his comfort zone to give Nurys a lap dance in the club.
These two are so nervous around each other because they are such different humans yet so mutually attracted to one another. Nurys is trying to learn to take things slower because Horacio isn’t the dirtbags she is accustomed to, and Horacio is trying to add a little sizzle to keep her interested. It’s fun and healthy, and they’re fucking hot together.
4 Melissa vs. Nurys Part 2
My favorite part about the Nurys and Melissa club squabble at the club is that you could tell that both players thought they won the interaction. Both players are in very different positions game-wise. Melissa underestimated Nurys’s power in the house and how strongly Nurys carries herself in the game. Nurys was willing to extend an olive branch but wasn’t going to pretend like she did anything other than play the game when it came to the daily challenge. It was a tactful interaction by Nurys as Melissa is a Venus fly trap waiting to attack her prey.
Melissa had a big target on her, was already nominated for elimination, and was likely to be standing down there with her best bud, Big T. In that club, Melissa’s best chance for getting Nurys into elimination either this week or in the coming weeks was by instigating and forcing Nurys to create a scene that would attract greater attention to the grand political game that Nurys is playing. We saw Nurys get completely winded up, and rather than fight back like she wanted — Nurys chose to play the smart game move and walk away from the situation. When Nurys walked away, Melissa had a big smirk that she got the better of her ( and she did a bit); for the long game, Nurys made the right choice.
A drunk, delusional Melissa telling Big T after the club that they had the votes to get in either Ravyn or Nurys was rough to watch.
3 Constant Kicking Down
At the deliberation/nominations, Melissa got a promise from James that he wouldn’t vote in Big T and tried to rally some other people onto her side. By the third vote, when Callum (a UK player) tossed his vote onto Big T, it was clear it would essentially be a unanimous house decision for Big T to be the nomination.
So many players on this cast either don’t realize they’re near the bottom of the totem pole or aware of it, but because they aren’t the immediate target, they don’t do anything to change the game. Callum, Zara, Ravyn, Emanuel, Berna, James, and even Asaf are players who will very clearly get targeted in the coming weeks once Big T & Melissa can no longer be the easy votes.
Despite this, so many of them will wait until their name is on the chopping block. Rather than unite and create an outsider alliance, they kick each other down while the majority alliance continues to prosper. It’s not a phenomenon unique to this season either — it’s a constant in what feels like almost every Challenge season.
Survivor is a very exciting show because people constantly switch sides and flip on alliances when they realize where they stand politically. You rarely see that on The Challenge, and it’s a bummer. It leads to a drawn-out, boring game where the only possible exciting factor is seeing someone become a hero by winning multiple eliminations. The season we’ve had so far has been good — I don’t want to see it fall off.
2 Kaz’s Historic Entrance
The winner for the funniest mercenary entrance of all time is Kaz. Rather than sprinting in or trying to look stoic and intense, we got Kaz walking in with her cute little smile, waving at everyone like a pageant queen; meanwhile, a decent amount of the cast was trying to figure out she was as they quietly applauded her. Kaz’s entrance had the exact opposite intensity as Jordan’s last week.
It’s crazy that Kaz made her MTV Challenge debut tonight, already owning the moniker of being a 2x Champion. There were probably so many people watching at home that had no clue who Kaz was. Actually, I’ve seen the ratings; not that many people were watching.
Then, in the elimination itself, Kaz basically got roasted by the cast members in the crowd for her poor performance. It was a brutal U.S. debut for Kaz.
1 Big T’s Big Win
Experience matters on The Challenge. Hilariously, the mercenary was the far more inexperienced player in this specific elimination. The Challenge UK consisted of only 4 daily challenges and eliminations before the Final — which means Kaz honestly only had a little more than 1 season under her belt before becoming a mercenary. Importantly, Kaz had only seen one elimination in her Challenge career before being brought in here.
On the other hand, Big T has competed in 30+ daily challenges, and this was her 7th career elimination (might need a fact-check). Even though Kaz was more athletic and fit, Big T had a clear strategy, stayed calm, used her brain, and pulled out a massive upset win. This win is easily the most impressive achievement of Big T’s Challenge career, and it’s been a hell of a return by her. Even if Big T gets knocked out in the coming weeks, she can walk away knowing she won a mercenary elimination against a 2x Champ when the entire house was against her (& Melissa). That’s badass.