Episode 17 of Double Agents 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 17th episode. These will be integral storylines that the 17th episode focused on, and I’ll breakdown why they matter. Also, if you prefer a traditional Summary, the YouTube Podcast breakdown is above, and the Spotify/Apple Version below.
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A Podcast Covering Reality TV and Culture with a general focus on MTV's the Challenge A Podcast Covering Reality TV and…
10 Math is Hard
I am glad when TJ kidnapped half the players at 5:30 AM that all the men and women separated. This way, we could get all of one gender racing against one another in a mini final, allowing them to prove themselves individually before the final and gauge their opponents. Kam demolished every portion of this mini final; the running, the math equations, and the final puzzle to earn the win for her and Cory. Cory got himself a Golden Ticket with Kam — it is her second daily challenge win of the season and his first, and it came at a crucial time.
Nany said she was good at math, and I believe that when we are comparing her to Kaycee and Amber B. Both her and Kaycee were a significant margin behind Kam, and when it came down to the running portion, Kaycee can run at a much faster pace. While Nany’s endurance is solid, if your opponent is outrunning you by potentially 2–3 minutes a mile, that is a real issue. Likewise, Kaycee losing a math portion to Nany, who is not known for being the brightest crayon, shows that she is beatable in a final.
I am not sure if Amber B could have completed the daily challenge using a calculator.
9 The Old Leroy Self-Sabotages and a Handshake Deal
The three men eligible for elimination (Fessy, Leroy, Kyle) tried to scramble for safety. Leroy has been talking about finally winning a season, and to win this season, he needs a top-tier partner because the drop-off between Kaycee/Kam and Nany/Amber is significant. He is not the all-around talent who can carry someone to a win — Leroy is not a Landon/CT type. The old precautious Leroy came out in this episode because he did not want to lose his last season’s final elimination. In reality, winning that elimination is his best shot at becoming a Champion. Winning players make big moves, regardless of whether they fail or succeed. If this is your last season, do not let others control your fate.
The handshake deal with Kyle to create a potential Fessy vs. Cory elimination was ingenious. It would have kept Leroy safe with a good partner, and you know that Nany and Kyle probably are not winning a final together.
8 Cory’s Mist
Cory has subtly become one of the best social/political players on this show. He has become a top-level finesser. From getting Amber M to volunteer for elimination, to never actually having a target on his back over the last two seasons, and to now convince Fessy to volunteer himself for elimination as a means to keep Kam happy was impressive. Not to mention, Cory knows that whoever wins the elimination is taking Kaycee as a partner, and Cory has seen Leroy/Kaycee dominate the daily challenges this season. Breaking up that partnership only helps his chances of winning. He knew that if Kyle won, he would be a physical and mental downgrade from Leroy for Kaycee, and Fessy treats his partners terribly. It’s a win-win all around.
Fessy reading his note as to why he should go into elimination reminded me of the Janitor from Billy Madison:
In Fessy’s defense, we saw his handwriting in the note he wrote to Gabby after her elimination — it would be difficult for anyone to figure out what it said.
7 Kam and Leroy are Killas, but Not Killers
Kam and Leroy have dominated this game politically from the jump. Yet, in the last week, with the final elimination on the line, they got soft and played for safety rather than to win. When Cory told Kam how he worked to keep Leroy out of elimination, her inner human could not backstab him. Kam backstabbing Cory would have been maybe the dirtiest move in Challenge history outside of stealing money from your partner after winning a final. It blows Sarah voting in Bananas on Exes 2 and Jemmye putting Jenna into elimination on Dirty 30 out of the water at least. Kam is a powerful woman who probably does not believe she has to stoop to that level to win. Except, this is Leroy’s last season, and if Kam wants him to win, then make that move because if Fessy beats Cory and takes Kaycee as a partner, that means Leroy will at least gets to run the final with her.
Had they put in Cory, they also keep their world on their literal handshake deal to Kyle, which means they were blindsiding someone either way. There is some irony to Kyle getting backstabbed on a handshake that kept Cory in the game, when on Kyle’s first season, he crossed Cory on a handshake deal, putting him into the first elimination against Nelson on Vendettas.
6 Another Hall Brawl?
Was the elimination production crew on vacation? Why did we get 2 Hall Brawls in a row? Not only that, them giving Fessy a second Hall Brawl (knowing he was going in) essentially guaranteed he was going to the final. Production trying to keep Fessy in the game as the show’s main villain makes sense. Hall Brawl has now been the final male elimination three out of the last four seasons. Nany picking Kyle as a partner last week is heartbreaking on so many levels; not only did she put this man on Death Row, but she deprived us of a potential CT vs. Fessy Hall Brawl. Then again, if Fessy and CT had gone into elimination, Production probably would have made it a puzzle to fuck with us.
5 Fessy vs. Kyle
Kyle has been good in headbangers in the past. He has held his own against bigger foes and has demolished much smaller enemies. Even in this Hall Brawl against Fessy, he knew to get low and had a strategy. He did not account for how fast Fessy is, and because of that, he did not brace in time for contact, and thus, was trampled and stomped over. Fessy walking over to the buzzer slowly after trucking Kyle was him trying to emulate a Backpack moment, which it was not. Good try, though. Kyle’s finger gets broken in the process, and although broken fingers suck, it is an ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card for all parties involved. It sucks to see Kyle go out this way when he has been one of the most likable and consistent characters all season.
Fessy is now a career 3–0 in eliminations; Kyle is 4–6 (those 3 Final Reckoning losses hurt his stats). Fessy takes Kaycee as his partner; after doing Big Brother 20 together, they are ready to take on a final. Leroy picks Nany as a partner, ten years after being on the Real World Las Vegas together. CT and Amber are finally reunited almost two decades after their Road Rules Campus Crawl season.
4 Can Cory and Kam finally take the throne?
Cory and Kam have been notable figures since debuting on the Challenge. They are no longer the fresh-faced rookies — while they are still young, both have established their place in Challenge history. The question is whether they can take the next step and become Challenge Champions.
Kam has politically dominated two seasons, she is the modern-day elimination queen, has solid daily challenge stats, and a Championship would give her a career “Win Ratio” of 318%, which would put her second all-time among females who have played in at least four seasons. She has played in an era statistically stacked against her and has thrived. Cory is in the Top 10 for all-time daily challenge win ratios, has a 7–3 elimination record, this is his 4th final in 8 seasons, and a win would put him at least in the top 20 all-time, male player list (which is an elite company). He has come a long way since being known as Popcorn Muscles. For Cory, only three players in Challenge history have not won a final after four attempts: Leroy, Jenn Grijalva, and Pre-Rivals 2 CT. He does not want to join that list.
3 Fessy and Kaycee are the Favorites Athletically
While I believe Kam and Cory are the favorites based on experience running finals and how they can complement one another, Fessy and Kaycee are athletes who can run at a fast pace. If they can push the tempo to minimize the gap between themselves and Kam/CT in the puzzle portions, then that is their path to winning. When looking at Fessy/Kaycee’s opponents, if Nany and Amber fall way behind in the run immediately, I am not entirely sure they have the mental strength to keep giving 110% once they feel they are losing.
From a historical standpoint, they have gone to back-to-back finals to start their Challenge careers, combine for a 5–0 elimination record, with all their elimination wins coming against strong players (Jordan, Nelson, Kyle, Kailah, Theresa). They could very well become the first Big Brother winners ever. If Kaycee wins, we are looking at one of the best females seasons in Challenge history.
2 Can CT elevate Amber?
If you look through CT’s history on partner season, he generally elevates whomever he works with (Adam, Diem, Wes, Big T). CT is hungry to win and will do whatever it takes — Amber only needs to keep up with him. He is willing to carry extra weight, solve all the puzzles, and eat extra food as long as it means Amber does not give up and goes at the pace they need to in order to win. The question is if Amber has to complete portions of the final (like puzzles or eating) on her own, will she able to? Based on today’s daily challenge, I’d say no. CT needs to put a Fresh Meat 2 Landon performance for them to win.
Historically speaking, this is CT’s 9th career final, tying him with Johnny Bananas and Cara Maria for the most final appearances in Challenge history. A win would tie him with Darrell for the second most Challenge wins. Amber is the 6th Big Brother player to make it to the final and the fifth to do it in their rookie season.
1 Leroy and Nany need to be their best selves to win
Two friends getting to compete as partners ten years after their original Real World season is adorable. Adorable does not win finals. Even though they love each other as friends, their skill-sets are not complementary. They cannot go at the same pace as Kam/Cory or Fessy/Kaycee and don’t have the puzzle competency of those duos either. It is Leroy’s last season, and Nany may never make a final again. This duo must pull out all the stops and cut corners in all the grit categories to win this final. The second they feel pain or exhaustion, they need to push harder than ever. If they do not leave it all out on the field, they will be a 2nd or 3rd place team at best.
The only argument on Leroy’s side currently is that no player has ever gone to five finals and never become a Challenge Champion. Also, the edit has been building towards a Leroy win, which if it happens, I will be over the fucking moon.