The Challenge Spies, Lies & Allies Episode 17 Recap & 10 Biggest Takeaways

Allan Aguirre
9 min readDec 2, 2021


Episode 17 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 17th episode. Above is our YouTube Podcast Video recap, and for those that prefer Audio Only, Spotify and Apple Below.

10 CT The Family Man Never Gets Old

Spies, Lies & Allies is the 9th season since we found out CT became a Dad on Invasion, and yet, every scene with him and his family still feels surreal. Watching the guy who used to crush skulls and eat them become a corny dad trying to bring home ice cream money will always be bizarre and heartwarming. Also, we are watching CT’s son CJ grow before our eyes via facetime video calls. He’s gone from a baby to a kindergartner before our eyes!

9 Emanuel’s Story

Emanuel went 16 episodes without seeing an elimination and was the last rookie to do so. An especially impressive feat when you consider Bettina, the rookie who went the second-longest, went in Episode 9. From Day 1, the guy has been a great competitor, having multiple Top 3 finishes as a pair with Kaycee and piling up wins as part of Team Emerald. He’s had showmances with Michele and Tori and been able to stay under the radar as America’s Favorite Dancing Romanian Vampire. To this point, Emanuel had embodied the idea of: “no worries, only vibes.”

For once, we saw him get serious and talk about his life outside the show and why he wants to win. Emanuel shares a moment with Tori; he reveals that if he won the Challenge, he’d pay off his mom’s debt, bring her back to live in Romania, and further his pursuits as a dancer by moving to Los Angeles. The guy has been a caricature the entire season, so it was nice to see him show us part of who he is outside the show. It did not help that he physically resembles Jordan Wiseley and got in a showmance with Tori, leading to direct comparisons. When he mentioned LA, the evilest part of my brain thought Tori was going to say, “I’ve got a friend who lives in LA who looks just like you.”

8 The Daily Challenge

The daily challenge was fun. Watching people getting hit by giant balls and knocked into water makes for good television and is hilarious. The loophole of this daily challenge where an individual player could take as many treks back and forth for their team as possible, and the factor that if you didn’t try to retrieve a capsule, it stayed in play for your team made the daily interesting. It is easy to criticize Nany and Amanda for dipping out of the challenge, except, looking back, had Nelson and Tori done so for Team Ruby and allowed Logan to solo the mission, then maybe Ruby could have won. In a perfect world, you would have multiple players speeding through this mission with ease, except the difficulty level of this challenge had a barrier. Only those who were good with heights, fast, and coordinated did well/could complete the challenge.

In the end, the Sapphire won because they got out of the way and let their best guy (CT) run through the Challenge.

7 CT is a Fucking Boss

CT took apart this daily challenge with such ease. Despite being the biggest guy in the house, he is the most balanced and light on his feet. CT does not fear falling in the water at all or the heights he is at. When a ball actually hits him, CT’s big and strong enough to catch it. He also has the reflexes to time when to run, dodge, and catch based on peripheral vision. If other players had one or two of the skills I mentioned above, we would talk about them as good to great players. CT has all of them. The guy is 41, and there is no reason to think he can’t keep dominating for another seven years. CT and Tom Brady are two Masshole Legends that moved to Florida who refuse to let age keep them from obliterating their competition.

6 They Could Have Went More All-In on the Spy Theme

Watching the Challenge shoehorn in dumb spy terminology to their common daily challenges, eliminations, and voting formats is so fucking corny. I’m not the first person to complain about the spy themes hurting the show. What I am going to complain about is that if you are going to do a Spy Theme, at least put more money and production value into the theme. Have individual bank accounts where players can steal money from one another. Pay the money to have Sapphire, Ruby, and Emerald jerseys pre-made for each player, so they don’t have to wear dumb sleeves. Create real espionage daily challenges rather than your basic height over water challenges with random explosions thrown in.

If you are going to do something creative, commit to it so that you can walk away with zero regrets. There is nothing worse in this world than when someone puts out a half-assed product and expects to get patted on the back for it. As I type this, I would very much appreciate you Like, Upvote, RT, and Share this mediocre article as it would make my day.

5 Fancy Dinner

Wine. Seafood. Dessert. The height of luxury!

4 Amanda’s Confessional Look


3 Deliberation

The final male deliberation had to be one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. All four men decided it would be in their best interest to be as nondescript as possible to keep themselves under the radar, especially since if they throw someone under the bus, that person could call them out in the lair. CT was begging Logan and Emanuel to say anyone’s name other than themselves. Devin spoke the most in the deliberation, out of his fear of getting called out for elimination if it ended up being a headbanger.

In the end, Kyle protected his best friend Devin, Emy protected her Romanian brother Emanuel, and CT protected his Instagram follower Nelson. Logan felt a bit blindsided by the move, though he probably should have politicked harder to avoid this situation.

2 Emanuel vs. Logan

Logan picked Emanuel because he had no clue what the elimination was going to be. Other factors that came into play are Logan mentioned earlier in the season that Devin is someone he trusts. Nelson has been his teammate for multiple challenges (likewise, he promised Nelson he would not call him out for elimination). While Logan & Emanuel have been two of the best rookies this season, they have done so without any on-screen interactions, forging their own paths.

Unfortunately for Logan, the elimination ended up being an elimination purely about speed and endurance. Even though Logan has good endurance, Emanuel’s endurance is just as good if not better, AND Emanuel is the fastest guy left in the game. Since Day 1, Emanuel has outpaced all other players when it comes to dead sprints. Logan would have been better off facing anyone else in the house in this elimination.

Players had 15 seconds each round to complete the task in the elimination at first, and I tried to precisely time how quickly Emanuel was able to do it in the first round. I had Emanuel clocked in at about 6 seconds, more than double the amount of time to spire. Logan knew his only shot of winning was Emanuel tripping and falling. When TJ reduced the amount of time to 10 seconds, it gave Logan a slightly better chance of that happening; unfortunately, Logan fell first. Emanuel picks up his first-ever elimination win in a big moment, and it’s a win he needed as the elimination was tailor-made to his skills; a loss there would have had people questioning whether or not he simply floated through this season. Logan moves to 2–1; although Logan is obviously a strong player, I have no desire to see him again. He’s a charisma vacuum who kills the vibe any time he is on screen.

1 The Cliffhanger

After another subpar episode, the producers find a way to reel me back in by dropping the cliffhanger bomb that two more eliminations will be happening on the spot, followed by the opening of the Final. Holy shit. How they will determine who goes into this elimination will definitely lead to a plethora of complaints of rigging/unfairness, and yet, it is the most engaged I’ve felt all season. They somehow made next week’s episode must-watch television.

Off the top of my head, ways to pick who will be going into this last elimination could include bringing back the Kill Cards from Free Agents or a House Vote where everyone is eligible, and then that person picks their opponent. Also, considering half the players were not even wearing their competition gear to the elimination arena, what could the elimination be? Do they have extra gear for the competitors on standby? Remember, Amanda Garcia had to compete in elimination on Final Reckoning wearing skinny jeans because she wasn’t expecting to go into elimination. Oh, the possibilities.


Saw Two Movies over Thanksgiving Weekend. House of Gucci and Licorice Pizza. Licorice Pizza is only available in about 5 theaters in the US currently, but will get a mass release during Christmas time.

House of Gucci — 7.2/10 A fun campy movie that is about 30 minutes too long. Lady Gaga is fantastic in her role and is an absolute smokeshow throughout the film.

Licorice Pizza — 9.9/10 Paul Thomas Anderson going back to his roots. The movie felt like Almost Famous mixed Rushmore along with the same vibes you would get from Boogie Nights. The best movie I’ve seen in 2021, easily.



Allan Aguirre

28 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.