The Challenge Spies, Lie & Allies Episode 1 Recap & 10 Biggest Takeaways
Episode 1 of Spies, Lies & Allies 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 1st episode. These will be integral storylines that the 1st 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.
Caffeine Confessionals on Apple Podcasts
A Podcast Covering Reality TV and Culture with a general focus on MTV's the Challenge A Podcast Covering Reality TV and…
10 Daily Challenge Winners & 17 New Pairs
Last season, all the men and women competed in a daily challenge where the 1st place overall finish got to pick their partner and be the first Double Agents of the season. The remaining 28 players partnered up with whoever they wanted. It was an incredibly inefficient way of introducing new players. How were fans supposed to care/have an understanding of a pair like Mechie & Liv or Gabby & Lio? The way they formatted it this season with the international players racing off to get the first pick of a partner gave us insight into what these players were physically capable and were mentally thinking entering. Going to provide quick insight/takeaways on the 17 pairs in order of when they got formed:
Kaycee & Emanuel: Very athletic and skilled duo. Two lady killers.
Tori & Kelz: Kelz is Tori’s type, tall, dark and handsome with an ego. Solid 3rd place finish in the daily challenge.
Amanda & Kyle: Kyle calling Amanda Satan while forcing the 125 lb girl to carry the heavy metal safe was fucking hilarious.
Michele & Nam: The pair did not matter by the end of the episode.
Lauren & Josh: They are editing out Lauren for reasons that may or may not get revealed, and by proxy, we did not have to listen to Josh! Overall, a win.
Aneesa & Logan: The daily challenge winners. Logan is a beast, and Aneesa has somehow won the first daily challenge in 3 out of her last 4 seasons.
Ashley & Hughie: Two drama queens with accents! A hilarious mess and last-place finishers of the daily challenge.
Bettina & Cory: Players were racing to get their hands on Cory, and Bettina was the winner. She has magnetic energy to her.
Priscilla & Nelson: They each got a fair amount of confessionals and were even working out together during the daytime. I like this pairing.
Nany & Gabo: Oh brother, this guy stinks. At least Gabo admitted he has popcorn muscles.
Michaela & Renan: Michaela was the last girl picked, and they still came in 2nd place. Had there been a longer cardio portion at the end, I think they win and completely change the direction of the episode/game.
Emy & Corey: A double rookie pairing which will matter a ton when we talk about some of the gameplay later on.
Berna & CT: I suspect Berna came in 1st place, picked CT, and now they are trying to downplay this potential power duo. Berna used to be part of a circus; she will be right at home living with clowns like Fessy and Josh.
Esther & Fessy: Esther is very cognitive of everything and thus is a great partner for the always unaware Fessy. She is also intelligent with a killer body.
Tracy & Devin: Devin did not want Tracy. I feel bad for her.
Big T & Tommy: I was pleasantly surprised to hear Tommy mention Big T’s social game prowess. He is a true fan of the show.
Tacha & Jeremiah: Tacha is a star, while Jeremiah is cool, calm, and collected. Unfortunately, being a rookie duo puts a massive target on their backs.
*TAKES A DEEP BREATH*
9 The Veteran Alliance/Truce
After the daily challenge, the vets corral together and form a massive truce since the rookie players outnumber them. It is a predictable and efficient way to play the game as long as you have strong allegiances within the veteran ranks. The viability of this alliance for some players is questionable to me as at some point in the game, they will be the low-men on the totem pole, and it also protects power players like CT & Kaycee too much.
Visually, we see Amanda and Ashley asking Devin what the gameplan is, and this is a strategy they employed very well on Invasion, where they ask someone what they want to push their agenda. They openly decide that their #1 goal is to take out a double rookie pair as it will mathematically even the numbers between vets and rookies as fast as possible. Also, by targeting those duos, the vets lull their rookie partner into a sense of security. If the rookies had operated as quickly, they would have gone after the one double vet duo (Kyle/Amanda). Except rookies don’t come into the game with that type of cohesion/instincts and also do not have prior relationships going in mostly. Having that level of trust from the on-set is close to non-existent.
8 Love is in the Air. Scratch that. Lust and Love are in the Air.
Last season on Double Agents, the only hookups we got were the awkward encounters between Fessy & Gabby and unaired footage seen in the trailer of Mechie & Amber. In this episode, we got three make-outs: Nelson & Ashley, Nany & Kaycee, and Fessy & Amanda. Usually, I like when MTV cast rookies because it leads to more hookups, but these are three veteran showmances.
Nelson revealed that Ashley moved to Austin, Texas, and they have been friends with benefits. When Amanda sees her two emotionally explosive best friends hooking up, she rolls her eyes because she knows this will only end in disaster. Amanda then veers her way into disaster by discretely making out with Fessy (until Cory catches them in the act). My favorite part about the Fessy/Amanda hookup is that it is purely physical attraction. Watching Fessy continually tell Gabby that he was an introvert or some weird babbling about how he is built differently as a means to hook up with her was so awkward. Amanda shut that down immediately by saying, “shut up, just be tall, hot, and kiss me.” Moving on to the couple with actual physical and romantic chemistry, Kaycee and Nany seem like a match made in heaven. Kaycee is showing genuine emotion that we have never seen before, and Nany is open and vulnerable in a beautiful way, and also, they are just hot together.
We also had Kelz throw a forehead kiss onto Tori. Based on Tori’s AYTO experiences, the first guy she connected with on that show was a guy named Prosper, and then AYTO Second Chances, it was Derrick Henry. Tori loves herself a tall, dark, and handsome man, especially if he has an ego, and Kelz checks those boxes. This is Tori’s first time in a Challenge house as officially single, so it will be fascinating to see if she can abstain from hooking up. Michele and Emanuel basically had sex with their eyes throughout the episode. I don’t even know if they spoke to each other; however, from what we saw, I’d say they have a deeper connection than Ashley/Nelson and Amanda/Fessy.
7 Fessy vs. Nelson
Nelson choosing not to let Fessy off the hook for his actions last season while also staying utterly respectful towards his long-time friend Amanda for her decision to have a showmance with him was badass. He preached loyalty and exemplified it at the same time. From a game perspective, Nelson knows the ball is in his court to strike back whenever he wants. The petty part of me also enjoyed that Nelson threw the fact that Fessy did not win last season in his face.
6 Michele & Logan’s Birthday Bash
Gosh, Devin delivering Michele & Logan their birthday cake while wearing a man thong and suit jacket was such an awkward moment turned completely awesome by the crowd celebrating the event. One of my biggest complaints in recent seasons is that MTV sucked the fun out of the Challenge, and here is what he have been missing. I saw a party that I wanted to be at, and it made me appreciate everything else going on in the show even more.
5 The Shutdown
Someone tested positive for COVID after the first daily challenge. It was either cast or crew. After that, the players went into a second quarantine period. During this time, as mentioned above, the veteran alliance was able to become solidified and put a massive target on the strongest rookies in the game. It changed the game’s direction, that is without a doubt, and affects the political game in the future. Nam is no longer on the show after the second quarantine.
4 Michaela’s List + Is Emy playing the role of Spy or the role of Rat?
Michaela was one of the few rookies proactive enough to see the great potential the rookies had to take over the game. Sadly for her, not everyone was on the same page. A strategic Survivor player trying to take down an established veteran force is similar to a socialist/communist trying to lead a capitalist’s insurrection in the US. While the list she was writing made sense and the numbers were there to turn the game over on its head completely, the established resistance and weakness in the face of opposition were too great. It is challenging to lead a revolt when one of the people you are inevitably relying on is Pumped Gabo, who seems to have no fucking clue what planet or show he is even on.
Along with that, Emy heard the rumblings that they were going to throw a double rookie pair in elimination, and she was in one with Corey Lay; thus, she threw Michaela under the bus as a means to save herself. It was a rat-like move that was effective in the short term as it kept her out of elimination. Once the wheels got spinning, Michaela did not combat the rumors well, and even worse, her Survivor compatriots Michele and Tommy saw the sinking ship and jumped off. People like Esther and Big T wanted to work with Michaela and agreed with some of her rhetoric; they just knew what was going on around them would be too much to overcome.
3 The Deliberation and Power Team Votes
Everyone knew Michaela & Renan were going to be the house vote going in. Michaela should have tried to start a spat with the weakest pair in the house, hoping that Aneesa/Logan would throw that team in elimination against her and Renan. Sadly, she threw Michele under the bus and then also got into it with Emy. Since Nam was not there, it was unlikely Michele would get voted into elimination; thus, it was a lost cause.
Aneesa and Logan were likely to vote in Emy/Corey into elimination as a Double Rookie pair. Once they got their picks, things got spicy. Aneesa went first and picked Corey, which I found very weird since she could have chosen anyone, and spent her preseason promos talking about how happy she was to have Gay Black Male representation on the Challenge finally. When he got picked for elimination, Corey’s face was hilarious and was matched in turn by Aneesa’s face and shoulder shrug. Logan went rogue; he decided he liked Emy and threw Michele into elimination. It came out of nowhere. Since he ended up going for a rookie anyway, I do not believe the vets would be that pissed. This elimination twist could pay off huge in the long run. Imagine being able to throw CT into elimination alongside someone like Tracy? This season’s potential for big moves is critical, and it could be what pokes a hole in the veteran alliance in the end. Or it could lead to a dull season as you can now throw in four rookies regardless of the pairings.
2 Corey & Michele vs. Renan & Michaela
Based on the crowd reaction, Michaela put up a hell of a fight. Sadly, Renan is about the same size as her, and Corey is a mammoth of a man. Corey had the most muscle and weight out of anyone and dragged him and Michele to the win (Michele fought hard). It was a performance where people now have to be afraid of Corey. Corey proved to be a fan of the show by knowing how to use leverage in reverse tug-of-war type situations; he kept grabbing the edges of the platform to pull himself forward. I didn’t see anyone else doing that.
Renan looked terrible on his back and side for someone who works as a sex therapist. I did feel bad for him that despite being in the heart of the same drama, he did not get any screen time until the elimination and hurt his elbow. I do not expect Renan back on the Challenge. I sure as hell expect Michaela, though, especially after she shined her notebook with notes of what to do next time. A real quality win for Michele and Corey.
1 Elimination Aftermath
TJ brought in Nam’s replacement, Ed Eason, from Netflix’s the Circle following the elimination win. He is a Cornell Educated former track and field athlete. On paper, that makes him a massive threat on this show. Brains and brawn. Michele and Corey got to pick new partners. People were shocked when Michele took Devin; however, she did it because he raised his hand and saw it as someone open to working with her. Devin raised his hand because he wanted to upgrade from Tracy. This duo is going to be formidable in mental challenges. Corey took Tori as he saw her as someone established and because it would potentially keep Aneesa from targeting him again.
Cory taking Tori pissed off Kelz because now he has Tracy, an athletic downgrade that puts a giant bullseye on them, as one of the only double rookie pairs. Ed and Emy will be dealing with the same issue next week. One of those duos, along with Jeremiah and Tacha, has to be worried about next week. All in all, this is a kickass challenge premiere. I scored it a 97 out of 100. It checked so many boxes in what I want in a Challenge episode.