The Challenge Spies, Lies & Allies Episode 2 Recap & 10 Biggest Takeaways
Episode 2 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 2nd episode. These will be integral storylines that the 2nd 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 Ed Eason is a Hunter Barfield Market Correction
Hilariously, Ed got a more thorough introduction by coming in as an alternate than a majority of the rookies did in last week’s premiere episode. He understood that as the alternate, he had to bring good vibes as there would be a target on him regardless. Ed explained in his confessional that he would play up the goofy part of his personality as he knew that if he took himself too seriously, it would alienate other players. On top of that, Ed as a Cornell Educated engineer and former college athlete (was on the Cornell Track & Field Team), knows what he is capable of physically and mentally, and thus would rather keep that under wraps until he needs to perform.
I call Ed a Market Correction of Hunter because he fits a similar mold on paper in terms of archetype, except he fixes some of the original issues with Hunter. Ed and Hunter are both short muscle hamsters who are highly coordinated and fast on their feet. They both also have that country boy attitude and accent, and it seems as though Nelson loves each of them. What Ed corrects from Hunter is that he welcomes puzzles, is a natural when it comes to cutting confessionals, and has long luscious hair. I’m not trying to say that Ed is as good a physical competitor as Hunter; it is way too soon to make those comparisons. Hunter is legitimately a Top 25 male competitor in this show’s history and has become quietly underrated in the last couple of years. However, Ed won me over within the first five minutes of this episode. Watching him mix it up with everyone in the house so quickly and then partying on the dance floor with two girls on him assured me this guy will be on the show for years to come. Which transitions us into our next takeaway…
9 Fuck Yes, Party Time, Excellent!
The Challenge is back! Right after Ed’s intro, we get a jungle-themed house party. Players have their leopard print on, and some of the showmances are going at it like animals. Watching players look like they are having genuine fun makes the show easier to enjoy and makes me wish I was there partying with them. While the Challenge likes to throw out that 5th Sport moniker, a substantial amount of fans fell in love with this show because they wanted to party with Mark Long, The Miz, or Coral, and then they happened to do cool challenges too. Fun moments like a jungle party give you a greater appreciation for when the players act seriously and try to game plan/politic.
In terms of hookups, we got a long-term tease, a short-term dalliance, an extension of an existing showmance, and a big pot-stirring moment. Emanuel and Michele have not had a direct interaction on screen, only powerful glances and glowing confessionals about one another. It is a “will they won’t they” game that the MTV editing team is playing up, and let me say this, and I am eating it all up. Meanwhile, Tori and Kelz gave us instant satisfaction as they had a ton of fun on the dance floor and escalated it even further by sharing a bed. Nany also sneaked Kaycee off into the house when the party was at its peak, knowing it was the best time to get some privacy. Then, of course, we had Nelson dancing with Berna, then taking her upstairs for a cuddle session that he tried to keep discrete, which is wild as there are still 30 other people in the house! After his cuddle session, he then went to Ashley’s bunk and, according to Nany, “laid it down” as she was trying to sleep 5 feet away. God, I fucking love this show.
8 Amber is Back!
During the daily challenge, TJ reveals that Lauren got deactivated, and thus they are bringing in the alternate for this season, the winner of Double Agents, Ms. Amber Borzotra. You can tell that Amber has a chip on her shoulder after being made an alternate because her opening confessional had so much more swagger than she has ever had all last season. She immediately set up a rivalry storyline between herself and her former Big Brother buddies. Amber now understands that to keep getting cast on this show, she needs to bring more entertainment. Sidenote: I think Amber B is a market correction Jenna Compono like Ed is for Hunter.
7 Sun Burned Daily Challenge
The daily challenge was a classic carnival game mixed with an X-Games element. Sometimes MTV cares too much about the visual aspect of a daily challenge; it is almost like they don’t care about practicality, only what would look good on an episode/season trailer. The opening visual of players dropping “gems” to their teammates from a helicopter through a player peaking out the sunroof of a moving car was badass. By the third heat of players going, it became monotonous and boring. As the day went on, the Sun began beaming down on players’ vision, hampering multiple teams. The scores started in the 18–28 range, then suddenly dropped off to the 6–16 range when the Sun was really out, which I must note that some of the weaker duos participated during that stretch. After the Sun moved a bit, all the remaining teams dropped scores of the 20+.
1 Fessy/Esther 30
2 Kaycee/Emanuel 28
3 Nelson/Priscilla 26
3 Nany/Gabo 26
5 Amanda/Kyle 25
6 Devin/Michele 20
6 Cory/Bettina 20
8 Tori/Corey 19
9 Jeremiah/Tacha 18
10 CT/Berna 16
11 Ed/Emy 13
11 Aneesa/Logan 13
13 Ashley/Hughie 10
14 Kelz/Tracy 6
Josh/Amber & Big T/Tommy unknown
Esther and Fessy pulled out the win due to two majors, Fessy’s size and hand-eye coordination allowed him to catch throws other players weren’t able to, and Esther was tossing fast with zero fear and doubt. This daily challenge did a great job of highlight the charisma and skill of rookies. Tacha and Jeremiah had so much energy in their pre-challenge confessional, Bettina’s laugh stole the show and terrified Cory, Emanuel’s foot speed was impressive, and Emy was an absolute fucking mess. Emy reminds me of the girl who won’t stop tapping the aquarium gas in Finding Nemo. Another essential nugget to note is Berna’s admiration towards Nelson during the daily challenge, with Ashley claiming him as her man.
6 The Vet Alliance
If it was not clear last week, it was evident this week that the Veteran alliance is a cohesive unit that will try to steamroll the Rookies. The house vote plan is to go for a Double Rookie team, something that their rookie partners would agree on as it keeps them on TV for an extra episode at least, and their goal is to knock out Kelz as they see him as the biggest threat. Kelz getting attached to Tracy also made it the perfect time to strike against him. Watching him stand next to Nelson, and you understand why they feel threatened.
Josh was the player pushing the let’s take out Kelz narrative as it is his way to act as though he was the one who masterminded the defeat of the strongest rookies when everyone else is thinking the same thing.
5 What’s better than 1 Party? 2 Parties.
Again, the Challenge is better when players have some fun. After the daily challenge, the players venture out to a bar designed only for them, and it is a massive upgrade from last season’s igloo. It also seems to be in a separate location, which matters as the igloo was just an appendage to the house last season. Players getting out of the house in any way is freeing. We see Amanda kiss Fessy as a reward for him winning the daily challenge during the club night. At the bar, Fessy talks to Kelz about looking for one another, knowing damn well that Kelz will be the house vote the next day. Remember when I said that looking at Kelz stand next to Nelson was impressive? Well, Kelz still looked big next to Fessy.
The biggest advancement to blow-up to come out of this second party is Nelson showing affection for Berna, leading to an Ashley meltdown.
4 Bertha: The Story of A Love Triangle or Maybe an Attention Triangle?
We need to get the story straight here. Nelson is an idiot for thinking he can balance two different women in a Challenge house, especially when one is Ashley. Ashley had a full-on breakdown at a bar on Rivals 3 when she thought that Nicole Ramos maybe kissed Cousin Jamie (even though she didn’t really like Jamie). The fact the house did not get burned down when Nelson was cuddling, kissing, and actively courting Berna is a fucking godsend. As Cory said, Nelson needs to grow up and pick one (he has experience in this situation). I think there was some truth to Nelson saying that Ashley only “caught feelings” once she saw Berna show interest. Till this moment, they have been friends with benefits. Nelson had been her boy toy, and as my podcast co-host Luke illuminated to me, nobody wants to share their toys, especially if it is a sex toy.
Another interesting wrinkle is that according to some, Berna only showed interest towards cast members who were in showmances, and thus, maybe she is trying to steal some spotlight/attention. The scene from after the club with Ashley cursing out Berna and telling her to leave the area where everyone was hanging out (while calling her BERTHA) had me dying laughing. Nelson has not won a daily challenge since Vendettas, he is not tall, and his grasp on the English language is close to the bottom of a cast that is more than 50% International players. Despite all his flaws, Nelson has two strong female competitors and attractive women fawning over him. What a fucking season. All I can say is that as a short dyslexic man myself, this gives my love life hope.
3 Kelz clocks Josh, Esther Wows the Crowd, and the Voting Results
During the deliberation, Josh tries to go for Kelz by saying he was making deals all across the house. Kelz then quickly dismantles Josh by hitting him with the line, “Josh, no offense, you’re not known to be the most tactical/strategic person in the room. If I were making moves, you would not be the one to discover it.” It is not hard to verbally take down Josh, but Kelz did with such a calm demeanor, knowing he would be the house vote anyway. Watching Josh’s allies try their hardest not to laugh at him was such great television. Even his “partner” was enjoying watch Josh get served up on a silver platter. Kelz did not throw a rookie under the bus in this scenario because he knew if he did, then he would get viewed as a rat/hypocrite and did not go after a vet either, as it would be a lost cause. It did irk me when Tori pretended to be shocked he was the house vote. I understand she wanted to act like she did not know, but this is the stuff that gets into trouble on social media all the time; it is completely unnecessary, especially as Kelz is someone very understanding that this is a game.
Who I felt bad for was Tracy. This sweet girl is not meant for the Challenge, and the language barrier was too much to overcome. She had anxiety throughout her time in the house because it was a stressful environment mixed with communication issues. I wish MTV had done a better job vetting her beforehand. A great casting choice was Esther, and she proved why she is a lawyer because she gave a rousing speech about how people need to play big, think about the final, and that whoever she votes for, she hopes that person doesn’t come back. It got applause from the entire deliberation room. Esther is a badass. I got a give kudos to Fessy as well for competing during Ramadan. He is a massive human, so missing out on his morning calories will affect his energy/mood.
Fessy mulls between Corey/Ed/Emanuel as the people to throw in to face Kelz/Tracy, and then Berna/Emy/Amber on the female side. Josh pleads Fessy down from the Amber choice. Ultimately, they go with Ed & Emy, Ed is the rational choice as the new guy in the house, and Emy already has proven to be emotionally volatile and a bit of a rat. Emy’s reaction to getting voted in was hilarious because she acted betrayed even though she spent the whole episode talking about how she was going into elimination and had no deal/alliance with Esther. Ed had a fantastic reaction; he got the crowd excited and was passionate about competing.
2 Ed & Emy vs. Kelz & Tracy
I loved the design of this elimination. It included physical strength from both players, strategy, communication, cooperativeness, and a mental aspect. This elimination may not have the exciting appeal of a Hall Brawl, but in my opinion, it is a much more well-rounded elimination. Ed was a gamechanger in this elimination. He had a positive attitude that kept Emy going in the right direction. Because of the puzzle, he was confident it was their elimination the entire time. Emy’s physical strength also made a massive difference, as hoisting up the puzzle pieces required good upper body strength and muscular endurance.
Tracy did not have that same level of strength and did not have the form down. Her anxiety, plus Kelz getting frustrated with her, did not help either. Before people say Kelz was a bad partner in this elimination, I think he did not even get as frustrated as some people in the crowd were with Tracy repeatedly dropping her cubes. We even got a Tacha confessional bewildered by how many puzzle pieces Tracy had dropped during the elimination. Maybe the episode’s funniest moment was Devin yelling to Ed that the puzzle was a map of the world as if Ed never passed the 2nd Grade. Then again, Devin is used to competing with people on the Challenge who can barely spell their names correctly, so to have someone be not clueless on a puzzle was probably a massive twist. Ed and Emy get the win. Tracy/Kelz end up getting all 12 puzzle pieces, and the final result is much closer than expected.
1 Elimination Aftermath
Kelz is coming back for a future season. TJ is enamored by him, and he got heavily featured in the trailers for this season. Tracy… Sweet girl. Very pretty. I hope she has success in her future endeavors.
Emy and Ed pick Devin and Tori as their new partners, and I cannot tell whether this was pre-planned or that people see them as the two most connected people in the house. Their choices force Michele & Corey back into a partnership and leaves them as one of only two double rookie pairs left in the game, the other being Tacha/Jeremiah. Next week the House Vote will either get the ire of Survivor fans or the Tacha Titans. It is going to be a mess for the intern running the Challenge Social Media Account.
This was another fantastic episode filled with competition, drama, politics, hookups, and fun. I give the episode a 9.5 out of 10; the only thing keeping it from a 10 is it could have had a better daily challenge.