The Challenge Battle For a New Champion Episode 8 Recap: 10 Biggest Takeaways

Allan Aguirre
10 min readDec 7, 2023

The 8th 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 8th Episode.

If you prefer audio/video, my podcast recap can be found above/below.

10 Who is playing to win?

In the past few weeks, I’ve lamented how this season’s majority alliance feels a bit like the Vacation Alliance with different faces. This week’s episode opened with an alliance meeting where they discussed who should be the next target.

Some players shined bright this week as those actively trying to win, others are playing it safe, and some are playing dumb & petty.

Jay was very firm in saying they should target Zara. As much as I love Zara — that’s the type of player you target if you’re trying to maintain your alliance while also taking out actual threats in the Final. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a very petty and dumb Emanuel says his main priority is getting Big T out. Jay quickly pointed out how dumb that idea was, where even though Big T has targeted him, it’s not like Big T will beat him in a Final.

I’m glad we finally hit a point in the season where people openly asked: “Wait, why are we tossing in Big T? She’s not a cardio threat in the Final?”

9 Surprise Appearance by Kyle

We got a super surprise Facetime call between Big T and Kyle this episode! To be honest, I didn’t have many thoughts other than it would be nice to see Kyle back on The Challenge again soon. Their conversation was pretty boring/stand stuff. Moving on.

8 The Daily Challenge

The daily challenge was the exact elimination Jay beat CT in on Total Madness, except done in a team format with two doors. Jay made sure to bring it up 8,000 times. Then again, if I beat CT in anything, I would bring it nonstop, so I can’t fault Jay.

Hell, if I were Jay, I would have both the CT backpack elimination and his own elimination against CT saved in my phone and ready to show to random people at the bar.

It felt like it became a battle between Jay & Kyland as they each took the lead for their teams. During the scramble for materials, the two teams got into a heated wrestle over some chains to barricade their doors. In the end, Jay’s team won the chains; to me, that’s when they won the daily challenge. The intricacy of loops and knots that you can make with the metal chains is far superior and more complex than what you can do with the thick ropes that Kyland primarily used.

For what Kyland had to work with, he did a great job considering how close the two teams were at the end of the daily challenge. However, Kyland’s inability to communicate with his teammates as to what he was trying to do and the fact that they lost was a bad look for him.

7 Melissa Gets Voted In Again

After the daily challenge, the winners decided to run it back by nominating Melissa for elimination with the intention of pitting her against Big T/a mercenary again. I appreciate that James and Zara stood strong and said they wouldn’t vote for Melissa. I did find it funny how much offense Melissa took to getting voted in, as it should have been an almost foregone conclusion for her once she lost. Melissa trying not to blow up entirely in that moment by saying she’s stayed pretty calm all season cracked me up.

Meanwhile, we’ve already seen Melissa’s blowup with Berna, her scrap with Nurys, and her up-and-down showmances with Kyland, which seems to be an affair based on her ex-boyfriend’s recent social media behavior. That’s more drama than some people on this cast ever get into, and that’s a low-key season for Melissa. Even better is that we got more out of her soon after.

6 Strategic Lying

Melissa debuted on Reality TV back in 2015. Compared to most of this cast, she is a seasoned Reality Star with a lot of experience and is willing to get down and dirty. At the club, she was ready to stretch the truth and sometimes outright lie as much as possible to stir the pot, get certain people to say the wrong things, and hope they fall for the trap to get a target on them. It was a desperate style of gameplay, and yet, also great television, and it is something I wish more players were willing to do.

During this night, Melissa decided to target Ravyn & Berna. She chose these two women as they are two of the more volatile women in the house. Melissa hoped she could get Ravyn/Berna to say the wrong things to put a target on them for next week — so that way, if Melissa survives, she won’t be the easy vote again.

Berna’s inability to comprehend why Melissa would lie in a game like The Challenge was funny but also head-scratching as to how a person on their 2nd season (4th or 5th reality competition show) can be that naive. It makes sense why Berna thought Nelson was smart now.

5 Moriah is playing the game from all angles

If Moriah had not come and set Berna straight, I wonder whether we would’ve seen the drink get thrown at Ravyn later on. Maybe Melissa & Berna would’ve been the big blowup. Instead, Moriah diffused the situation, quickly saw through Melissa’s bullshit, and resumed her night. It was a tad comical looking back, as Moriah was one of the few people from her alliance who was open to saving Big T/Melissa.

Moriah intrigues me in this game as she’s more selfish in a good way than I realized. To win The Challenge, you need to play for yourself. This week, we saw Moriah broach the idea of tossing Colleen in, as Colleen is a more significant threat in the Final than Big T/Melissa and isn’t a number to her. We’ve seen her form strong bonds with James & Zara, and she is seemingly kind/friends with everyone. All the while, Moriah has been quick to point out when others play poor political and strategic games, like Ravyn and Berna.

I think Moriah has more going on than people realize, and it would be awesome to see her make some big plays in the future.

4 Melissa vs. Ravyn

I kept rewinding the Melissa vs. Ravyn fight at the club, specifically everything that preceded Melissa’s drink toss. This was because I kept thinking I was missing something that would provoke Melissa into throwing the drink. Melissa was the instigator the whole time, while Ravyn responded very directly and firmly yet also didn’t throw any major punches back.

Melissa’s drink toss was lunatic, desperate behavior. Additionally, the drink she threw at Ravyn was so fucking full. There was almost as much drink in that glass as the 2-liter soda Wes dumped on Cara Maria, as not only did Ravyn get drenched, Colleen & Asaf took hits as well.

Even more insane is how Melissa tried to play the victim after. Melissa was crying, saying she’d been calm all season and was only here for her daughter. As much as I support Melissa as a badass mom on The Challenge — saying that she’s only there for her kid card at that moment was absolute bullshit.

And even after all this, Melissa tried to come across the bar to confront Ravyn again. I have to say, MTV should have sent Ed home immediately for standing between Melissa & Ravyn in that club, as he impeded excellent television. If I were Ravyn, seeing people console Melisssa would’ve driven me insane. Sadly, this moment may somehow play a factor in putting a target on Ravyn next week when she did nothing wrong.

3 Colleen was on-screen

After getting a ghost edit for seven weeks, we finally got some Colleen screen time this week, and I was left underwhelmed. Colleen seems to be in her own world where she’s distantly aligned with the Ride or Dies ladies and isn’t making any mistakes or games to put a target on herself. It’s boring gameplay, and the confessionals we got from her felt incomplete. I think she’s adorable and intelligent, but I’m not sure we needed Colleen on this show.

2 Kyland’s Dumb Deliberation

We all knew Big T was getting voted in. We didn’t know that Kyland would give a speech saying people should stop being sheep and voting with the majority only to then vote with the majority himself.

It was idiotic and painted a bigger target on him. Crazily enough, it’s not even a bottom 3 deliberation moment from this season.

1 Big T vs. Kaycee

Big T has tried to be friendly to avoid elimination, and Melissa has been wreaking havoc. When it comes to the Draw, it’s been Big T’s name, and Melissa has coasted her way through these mercenaries. We got Kaycee vs. Big T in a Pole Wrestle.

Watching Big T’s growth as a competitor on this show has been spectacular. I want to get the slight negative out of the way first and say that I don’t believe Kaycee gave 100% in the elimination until the third and final round where she won swiftly. At the same time, the Big T we saw on Double Agents would’ve lost that elimination in seconds against a Kaycee giving 50%.

Kaycee wasn’t going to hand Big T a round with no effort. Big T fought hard, showed heart, and displayed some veteran instincts by using her legs and weight to her advantage.

I’m glad we saw Big T shine so much this season; she should be proud of her Challenge return. Now that she’s out, the game becomes more real as they can’t nominate her AND Melissa again. They have to go after someone new, and if Melissa wins a daily challenge, then some real exciting possibilities begin.

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Allan Aguirre

27 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.