The Challenge Spies, Lies & Allies Episode 7 Recap & 10 Biggest Takeaways
Episode 7 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 7th episode. Above is our YouTube Podcast Video recap, and for those that prefer Audio Only, Spotify and Apple 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 Please No More Cliffhangers
The last two episodes without commercials have combined for 83 minutes of content. An average Challenge episode without commercials is generally 62 minutes. They could have easily trimmed some fat to merge these two episodes into one or just given us a 2-Hour Special episode. If you combine the best parts of Episodes 6 and 7, then I consider it to be a superb episode that I’d score an A or an A-. Instead, we get two meh episodes that I’d rate a D- and a C- individually.
You could tell MTV did this cliffhanger hoping that more people would tune in to see the aftermath of the fight and whether or not TJ would DQ Fessy/Josh/Esther, etc. If we see a massive boost in viewership, I will shut up about last week’s cliffhanger. Except Survivor’s 41st season is premiering in the same time slot, MTV may have just fucked themselves. The extra 30 minutes would have been clutch with Survivor coming back, as fans who watched Survivor who wanted more Reality TV could switch over to the Challenge and watch the elimination.
Edit: I just remembered Survivor premieres are usually 2 hrs, so the extra 30 minutes wouldn’t have mattered this week. Stay tuned for my Survivor recap coming out either Thursday or Friday.
9 Big Brother Civil War Electric Boogaloo
Subtitle: Josh is Loud for No Reason
They threw us right into the aftermath of Fessy mushing Josh, and this portion of the episode required me to unplug my headphones because I did not enjoy Josh screaming into my ear. Josh had so many ridiculous moments, from throwing drinks to yelling to Kaycee that she has pick between him and Fessy right then (spoiler: Kaycee refused to, but Fessy was her pick), and most egregiously, his *campaigning* to get everyone to make Fessy & Esther the house vote… Just a couple of hours after making out with Esther at the club. Josh tried to correct himself, but it was too late.
In all honesty, it was more fun to watch dramatic people like Hughie, Emy, Nelson, and Ashley be in utter stupefaction by Josh and Fessy’s clown show. Ed continues to look like he is having the best time of his life. I have to give a shoutout to Bettina; she continues to live in her own world.
Last week a gif appeared out of nowhere that in the middle of Fessy/Josh’s fight, Bettina walks through it with a glass of wine in one hand, a can of coke in the other, all while balancing a plate of food. She is the definition of unbothered.
8 Motherly Amanda Garcia is Wild
Typically when Amanda sees people get into drama, she either escalates the situation or revels in the madness from afar. She never tries to mediate, yet she does so to decent effect with her boy toy Fessy and her former partner Josh. Amanda is one of the few people to care about Josh genuinely, and when he smashed a glass/tried to test her, she showed a lot of patience with him that she usually wouldn’t. If Amanda wanted to, she could verbally berate Josh to a point where his tears would be crying tears. Meanwhile, she takes a more stern yet reserved approach to Fessy, making him think about what he did, which probably pushed him to try and reconcile with Josh as soon as he could. Amanda’s social media pot stirring has caught the ire of a lot of fans, but in terms of Reality TV, she is making noise and creating conversations.
I think her questioning Cory and Tori as to why they instigated so much was a bit misdirected and a tad hypocritical; the responses she elicited from them were telling, though. Cory’s response was on-point; Josh is a grown man who should control his emotions. Meanwhile, Tori pretended to act as if she didn’t know what would happen when she is the most overly produced human on the planet and knew precisely what she was doing. Amanda’s eye roll in response to Tori’s babbling was very relatable.
7 Esther and Amber is an Old School Challenge Rivalry
Subtitle: Berna is a Hater
So much Challenge drama has become artificial and contrived in recent years that fans see a rivalry like Esther and Amber, and they don’t know how to react. I saw so many people saying that Esther is jealous of Amber and a trashy human since she threw a glass of water. Or people on the other side were calling out Amber for playing a victim and being a confessional gangster. Do you know what Esther and Amber are? They are two badass women who truly do not mesh from a gameplay standpoint and a social standpoint, and for that reason, the two are beefing. It is a refreshing rivalry that makes me want Season 38 or 39 to be Rivals IV. I can already imagine them showing Esther tossing a drink in Amber’s face as their preseason promo together.
If you want to call someone jealous, it is Berna because she keeps inserting herself quietly or not so quietly into Esther/Amber’s feud. Berna seems like a straight-up hater dogpiling unnecessarily onto Amber when Berna herself essentially let Ashley roll over her a few weeks earlier. You can tell Berna has more going on with her than what we see in the edit because CT actively wants to dump her as a partner, even though she might be the fittest/athletic player on the female side. There has to be a giant red flag they are not showing us. This transitions us into my next takeaway.
6 UNCLE CT
Emy plans to go into elimination because it is her best chance to get a new partner, and the person she wants is Uncle CT! Picking CT is a no-brainer as he is the best player in the game, and even CT wants her as a partner. Looking back, CT has always loved those who are erratic with good hearts, as it is something he can personally relate to. If CT sees legitimate talent in you, he is willing to coach you up. Think of the pep talks he gave Ashley on Invasion when everyone thought she was just crazy or how he worked with Tony on Champs vs. Stars 3. CT knows what it’s like to let your emotions take over your game for the worse; that side of him still even comes out on occasion. There is nobody better to mentor Emy than CT. Emy has a ton of raw talent, has the physical tools to succeed, and the heart/drive required for a final/elimination. Watching Emy sign her Vet Alliance contract in Sriracha was a cute moment.
You might wonder why CT feels this way to Emy versus Berna when Berna is likely the better athlete. My conspiracy is that CT sees both Berna and Emy as chaotic; however, Emy’s chaotic nature is based on emotion and innocence. Emy is the kid who made a mess because they can’t pour a two-liter bottle of soda without spilling, whereas Berna will pour soda in every single shoe you own if she feels spite. Berna reminds me of Brenda Song’s character from the Social Network, just setting a dumpster on fire and pretending like she didn’t do anything. According to sources, Berna and Nelson were fighting a lot this season.
Another little aside, if Netflix remade the John Candy movie Uncle Buck and made it “Uncle CT,” I’d watch it.
5 Big Brother Rehab
We got two different reconciliation scenes with Fessy & Josh. One in Josh’s bed, which included a tearful a Kaycee & Nany nearby, and another in the morning rehashing events. Josh opens up that it hurts to get clowned by social media and Fessy about not being a great physical player, losing eliminations, and never making it to a final. We did not need both reconciliation scenes and had this been one episode, you cut one of them out. A large part of me is angry that we got a cliffhanger to a “fight” where the two players made up by the end of the second episode. Fans hate the Big Brother alliance. They got a tiny bit of satisfaction watching them fight. Now they are back to dickriding one another while providing subpar entertainment, drama, and competition.
4 Fessy’s Million Dollar Mush
TJ comes in to lay down the law. He gives Esther a warning for throwing a drink, and I saw people online comment that she should get kicked off the show for it. If that becomes a thing, we need to retroactively go back in time and vacate some Challenge Champions, Finals, and Elimination Wins. TJ tells Josh he is embarrassing himself, his family, his friends, and his cat, and for that reason, they are not kicking him off because they don’t take him seriously as a threat. Then the hammer comes down, and Fessy finds out he has 15 minutes to pack up and leave; his season is over as he put his hands on Josh.
Based on a technicality, Fessy did earn the DQ for putting his hands on Josh, although, when we talk about what violence is, I think Fessy mushed Josh in probably the least violent way possible. If Fessy wanted to hurt Josh, he is a big guy and could have made that happen if he wanted to; which makes Josh not getting DQ’d a bit crazy. Josh has a history of being a habitual line-stepper. Josh shoved Devin on Double Agents (more violently than Fessy mushed him), he punched a wall on Double Agents, got on top of a bar and challenged Swaggy to fight him on Total Madness, and in tonight’s episode, he shattered multiple glasses, even when just talking to Amanda who was trying to help him. Do I think Josh’s actions from the fight this episode deserve a DQ? No. Do I think when you add in what I listed above, the actual malice and recklessness from him at the drop of a hat and the fact Fessy got removed that Josh should have gotten DQ’d? Then, yes.
Watching Fessy go home is rough because even though I don’t particularly care for him too much, the gap between CT and the 2nd best player on this cast just became way bigger. Fessy is someone I would not mind MTV taking a break from; at the same time, he does find ways to stir up noise on social media and is a good competitor. Smell ya later, bro.
3 Butterfly Effect & A Straight-Forward Deliberation
Esther was in a decent spot game-wise compared to the other female rookies in the game, and because of Fessy’s DQ, she became an easy target, mainly due to the males seeing her as a free meal ticket for an extra week in the house. Fessy’s DQ massively shifted the numbers. Hughie got an extra week, and Emy got a much better chance at winning an elimination since she wouldn’t have to compete with Hughie either. Imagine if Hughie had to see a Hall Brawl against most of the guys in the house? That wouldn’t have been pretty.
2 HALL BRAWL…. JK … RAGE CAGE
Once Emy saw the elimination was physical, it was go-time. She went down to face Esther, a choice that Esther did not even see coming. Rather than the standard hit the bell at the end of the hallway, they elevated the bell on the fence, forcing players to climb up the cage a step or two to get the win. It was not the worst variant of Hall Brawl we have ever seen, and I will leave it at that. Emy had a massive size advantage on Esther, which matters even more in this variation of Hall Brawl, as being taller/having a longer wingspan is key to reaching the elevated bell. When you look at Emy, you know she has a Hall Brawl body; she has broad shoulders built to tackle someone.
In Round 1, their Go Pros literally go flying once they make contact. Esther was on her backfoot the entire time trying to hold back Emy, and she put up a valiant effort; unfortunately, at a certain point, it was her denying the inevitable. Nelson, in his confessional, noted that Esther needed to get low, which is true, but what makes the elimination itself interesting is that neither woman had a strategy going in; it was all-heart on both sides. These are the earn-your-stripe moments of the Challenge. Round 2 was more fluid, and they each went for the bell after some contact, Esther came up less than an inch short on her jump to victory, and in her fall, Emy climbed up and got her second elimination win of the season. After winning, Emy drops to the floor in tears and yells: “THIS IS FOR ROMANIA.” Emy is now the world’s 2nd most prominent Romanian, right above Emanuel Neagu and just below Sebastian Stan.
Esther put up a good fight in an elimination not built for her, and she did not leave quietly either. She chirped at Amber B, and oh boy, MTV needs to start printing up their Rivals IV jerseys right now. Looking at everything, Esther won two daily challenges, had a small showmance, has a new-found rivalry with Amber, and has a lively personality to mix with being ridiculously gorgeous; she should have a guaranteed spot on next season. Even in her confessional out the door, Esther talked about training her ass off to come back next season stronger. I know not everyone might be in love with her after the drink throw and a Goof Kiss, but I’m team Esther all the way (and team Amber too).
1 What’s Next?
Emy takes Uncle CT as a partner, leaving Hughie with Berna. The women remaining in the game have to be salivating as Berna got paired with one of the weaker men left. Next week’s trailer teases Berna & Hughie performing well in the daily challenge, except even if they win, that only gives them one episode where they won’t be the house vote. Watching Berna try to get revenge on Emy & CT would make for exciting television. Berna is guaranteed to see an elimination with Hughie; let’s see if she has some circus tricks up her sleeves and can pull a rabbit out of her hat.