The Challenge Spies, Lies & Allies Episode 14 Recap & 10 Biggest Takeaways
Episode 14 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 14th episode. Above is our YouTube Podcast Video recap, and for those that prefer Audio Only, Spotify and Apple 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 Ashley Dilemma
We are going to start this recap by jumping out in front of the Ashley dilemma. Ashley went from in the episode, actively getting confessionals and screen-time, to a time-jump between the night at the club and the deliberation the next day where she is no longer in the house and gets deactivated from the game for breaking a rule. When news broke out about this DQ during Spoiler Season, the rumor that has prevailed since is that Ashley made a jab about Josh Martinez’s sexuality and got removed from the game for it. If true and her comment was out of line, then Production holds the right to remove her.
So why did Production edit this all out? Let’s make a quick list.
- It protects Josh from his sexuality getting aired out on Television. Regardless of what he identifies as Josh probably does not want his family to watch anything like that (he identifies as straight.
- It keeps anyone from saying MTV promotes homophobia.
- Potentially protects Ashley as an asset for a future season instead of putting her immediately on a blacklist.
- I’ve heard rumors that what Ashley said was misheard, that it was bad but not close to removal-worthy, and if that is so, MTV protects themselves from the potential backlash of fans & Ashley herself.
The issue I have with all of this is the Challenge seems to have a genuine detachment from the authenticity that built this franchise into what it is today. Real World and Road Rules were shows that brought people from different scopes of life together, and people had fights about race, sexuality, religion, gender, etc., and they were real moments that depicted the world we live in. So while I understand why MTV edited out whatever happened with Ashley, the fact it happened so abruptly will lead to many different conspiracy theories. Hate will get spread across the board between Josh, Ashley, and Challenge Production themselves. In an effort to protect themselves, MTV may have created more drama and problems in the process.
9 It’s the Amanda Show
Subtitle: Nelson is Down Bad
If you hate Amanda, then man, watching the show the last few weeks must be terrible because she has been the main character, and in this recap, she is involved in almost every significant aspect of this episode’s plot. If you like Amanda, then you’re eating good.
This brings me to my sub-note, Nelson was the person most featured in the trailers for this season, and while he started strong with two showmances and his Nelly T Bootcamp, he has fallen by the wayside. Nelson’s lost both showmances, he lost Cory, and his Daily Challenge loss streak is now up to 48. The man is down bad.
8 The Men are Getting Too Involved
Spies, Lies & Allies might have the weakest male cast in Challenge history. After CT, the drop-off to the 2nd best player in the game is stark, especially compared to the War of the Worlds era, where you had Jordan, Theo, Bananas, Wes, Rogan, Idris, Turbo, Zach, Joss, and Leroy, among others. Despite this being one of the weakest male casts, these men still make it a point to use the women as a scapegoat for why they might lose a daily challenge or Final, rather than potentially put the onus on themselves.
Watching the men of this game scramble to make sure Amanda & Big T wouldn’t join their teams gave off a bad vibe. There is no incentive to make someone who might join your team feel like trash. It will only lead to more trouble. At this point, I’m also tired of CT prefacing every time he shits on Big T by saying, “I love Big T, but…”
7 Top Gun Maverick Sponsorship
Personal Anecdote: Top Gun Maverick comes out in May of 2022, and I am already so fucking tired of this movie. I go to my local AMC Movie Theater once a week, and every time I go, I get a gigantic diet soda because I am a child who needs something to sip on while I watch a movie. Since the Summer, the cups have Top Gun Maverick on the cover from when it was supposed to come out in June 2020 (pre-pandemic). I just want a different logo to stare at on my cup at this point.
Sidenote, Some Movie Grades:
The Suicide Squad: 8.9/10
Free Guy: 8.1/10
Shang Chi: 8.8/10
Many Saints of Newark: 4.3/10
Halloween Kills: 5.1/10
Last Night in SoHo: 7.6/10
French Dispatch: 6.5/10
Nonetheless, it was a cool sponsorship and daily challenge. The players looked fantastic in their pilot outfits, hats, and aviator sunglasses. I wonder whether the players actually got the rules for the daily challenge in the video they showed in the episode or edited the footage in during post-production with the players fake watching a video. Also, I can’t say I was expecting Tom Cruise to be in the video explaining to us a daily challenge, except couldn’t we get one person with better name recognition? No John Hamm? No Val Kilmer? Not even Miles Teller? Boo.
6 Top Gun Challenge
If you’re afraid of Plane Crashes, if you’re Claustrophobic, and if you’re afraid of drowning, this was not the daily challenge for you.
Emerald — Them losing in part due to Josh being unable to find the 25th puzzle tile attached to his leg has to be the funniest shit ever. When you choose to play the game with Josh on your team, you have to account for moments like this. Emerald struggled with communication during this daily challenge.
Ruby — Ruby had no shot of winning or even completing this daily challenge. Bad swimmers who have no memorization skills are not winning a daily challenge where that is the crux of the competition.
Sapphire — CT did all the memorization and communication. Ashley put together the puzzle and organized everyone. Logan/Emy became work dogs, with Logan chucking puzzle pieces to Emy across the middle of the water to make each of their swims shorter. When they ran into the trouble of finding the last puzzle piece, even Ashley came out and hit an immaculate dive into the water, and the whole team came together beautifully. Emy finds the final piece, and Sapphire wins. Finally, Team Emerald’s win streak is over.
5 Amanda Chooses To Play Offense
At the club, Amanda sees the Emerald Women too comfortable after a daily challenge loss. Amanda realizes that since Big T will likely call her into elimination anyway, she will take fate into her own hands and ask to be the House Vote. That way, Amanda can pick her opponent based on the elimination; if she sees it’s a puzzle, she swings big, and if it is physical, she’ll take Big T. There’s nothing I hate more on the Challenge than when people in a losing game position choose to play a passive game. Amanda did the opposite; she saw her position in the game and decided it was time to put the ball in her own hands.
When she tells the Emerald Women this, Kaycee pops up by confidently saying, “Can you pick me?” She does this as a means to intimidate Amanda, except you can tell Kaycee has never seen Amanda’s past seasons because Amanda has gotten into with some of the strongest women to compete on this show ever (Cara, Laurel, Camila). I loved this scene because most of Kaycee’s cockiness has stayed in the confessional room. Watching Kaycee buck up and be a Reality TV personality for a hot minute was exciting. Likewise, some OG Nany came out in defense of Kaycee, and man, for once, this couple became Challenge Characters rather than IKEA furniture, and you have to thank Amanda for that; she stirred the pot and got people going. I did find it ludicrous when they tried to call Amanda “defensive.” The girl was playing offense from the jump and never stopped shooting.
4 Devilish Deliberation
Amanda sticks her to guns at deliberation, asks Sapphire to throw her in, and announces she will infiltrate the Emerald Team if she wins. This leads to Team Emerald saying whatever they can to dissuade Amanda from joining, which gets weirdly ugly.
Devin goes hard at Amanda, calling her toxic and saying she is spreading mindless threats when in reality, she is just playing the game. If anything, there’s a lot more subtlety to what Amanda is doing than the way Devin has gone at people in the past as a means of “manipulation.” I find Devin’s statements bizarre as Amanda would defend and ride for Devin when people thought he was the most garbage player on the show. Now that Devin has become a good player, he’s putting down a long-time friend for what? Tori then tries to persuade Amanda not to infiltrate Emerald by informing Amanda that if she beats an Emerald player in elimination, Emerald will only have two women even if she joins the team, which Amanda already knew. Again, this comes down to, do you want to play a passive or an active game? If Tori and Devin desperately do not want Amanda infiltrating, then Tori, you volunteer for elimination so you can pick Big T or Amanda to face in elimination and keep your team intact.
Josh pulls a big GOOF moment by saying he loves Amanda but wants to run the Final with his girls. A stupid statement, as he told Amanda the day before, he wants to run with Kaycee & Nany first & foremost, leading to him getting somewhat blown up by Amanda. Amanda would not have revealed that secret at deliberation had Josh just kept his mouth shut.
3 Amanda vs. Tori
Watching Amanda and Tori’s distaste for one another throughout was hilarious. I loved Tori trying to create the narrative that Amanda talks shit about her behind her back when Amanda’s face whenever Tori does anything in the house is that of pure disgust. What’s funny is if you check social media, Amanda clearly heard Tori’s issue with her and has since been tweeting her complaints about Tori out in the open.
One of the more fascinating scenes was Tori asking Josh what he sees in his friendship with Amanda. Which, if you rewind a few weeks, Tori helped instigate the fight between Josh and Fessy that led to Fessy’s DQ. During that same night, Amanda defended Josh, calmed down Fessy, and literally cursed out Tori for manipulating him.
It’s funny because Tori’s words and actions reflect the character she is painting Amanda to be. They are two completely different humans and players. Amanda values intelligence, where Tori cares more about brawn. Tori tries to be friends with everyone, Amanda prefers closer bonds and fierce loyalty. Amanda will pop off whenever, and Tori avoids conflict unless it’s pre-produced. It will be interesting to see if things escalate further between the two than they have.
2 Mom Strength Stays Undefeated
When Amanda gets to the elimination, she has no idea what the game is, so she calls out Big T, her best shot of winning. I enjoyed this elimination. It was almost like a Mario Party Mini Game mixed with some physicality. If it was not apparent to those watching, you needed precise accuracy in this elimination, as only a specific spoke on the wheels could lead to a Beam being able to get pulled out, and the players could only turn the wheel one way. So if you miss the exact placement, you have to turn the wheel an entire rotation again. To which Amanda figured out a great strategy, she treated the wheel almost like a shake weight, gyrating it back and forth, moving it slowly to make sure she never overshot. Big T had a small comeback during the elimination, but Amanda ran away with the win in the end, completing her final 8th beam when Big T was still working on her 5th.
Amanda gets her second career elimination win, and it is long overdue. People will comment that beating that Big T is no significant accomplishment, and it’s not (sorry, Big T); however, in Amanda’s entire Challenge career, she’s either gone against strong competition in the elimination or gone into the arena under weird circumstances. A win like this does not show she is a power player by a means; it shows that elimination records can be bull-shit sometimes. Amanda always puts up a fight and is better than a 2–4 record indicates.
Sidenote: They quite obviously rigged this elimination for Amanda as this elimination was a hardcore version of jar opening, and we all know moms have the superhuman ability to open jars nobody else can.
After the elimination, Big T gets sent to the graveyard, only to get immediately revived by a Monster Reborn. TJ informs us that due to Ashley’s deactivation, Big T will be getting a second shot, and while I’m happy for Big T the human, my brain wants this season to accelerate. I understand they want to keep their numbers on schedule for whatever they’re planning, but I would have preferred they make next week’s episode a double male elimination instead.
Amanda makes good on her promise and takes Tori’s spot on the Emerald Team, much to the dismay of Devin. The Emerald Team could use some of Amanda’s puzzle and mental prowess; she is insurance for them in the scenario Devin gets taken out in elimination or removed from their team via infiltration. Meanwhile, Tori adds some needed size and athleticism to the Ruby Team. Sapphire is now down to just CT, Logan, and Emy, a solid squad, though it leads to CT having to do more parenting.