The Challenge Spies, Lies & Allies Episode 8 Recap & 10 Biggest Takeaways
Episode 8 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 8th 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 Hypocritical Berna
The last couple of episodes have consisted of Berna complaining about Amber crying over the fact she got thrown into elimination. Yet, when Berna gets her partner CT taken, she is bitter and in tears essentially the entire episode the same way Amber has been!
9 Romanian Vampire Jordan
Both Tori and Emanuel had showmances earlier, with their romantic partners getting eliminated (Kelz and Michele). After Michele got eliminated, we saw Tori console and flirt with Emanuel a bit, and now a few weeks later, there is a mutual interest between the two. The visual resemblance between Emanuel and Tori’s ex-fiance Jordan Wiseley leads to hard looks from viewers. It is unfair to Emanuel as he seems like a guy trying to hook up with as many American women as he can; he probably had zero clue the specific baggage Tori came with regarding him. Likewise, I can see why Tori is interested in Emanuel. Based on watching her over the years, Tori is either into big physical marvels or talented men like Jordan and Emanuel. They are very self-assured men and willing to peacock their personalities.
Emanuel fully leaning into the vampire aesthetic, personality, and vibes is fun to see. Also, anyone who wonders how this vampire looking man with a terrible haircut has these women swooning, you must have forgotten that Twilight, True Blood, and the Vampire Diaries were all running at the same time in the late 00’s and absolutely raking in all that blood money.
8 Screen Time Bump
At the beginning of this episode, we got a Jeremiah confessional/scene followed up with Bettina and Priscilla’s game-talk scene. They are the three rookies who have had the least amount of screen time, and you could see MTV consciously remembering they had to feature them because they were finally going to be part of the show.
7 Water World
Getting a water-based daily challenge where swimming came secondary was a fun twist. We saw Scuba Nelly, a historically terrible swimmer, beat Josh, a great swimmer, in the water element. The players who threw themselves into this daily challenge fearlessly and rode their underwater propulsion devices as if it was riding a bicycle killed this challenge. Then you throw in a puzzle element to potentially even the playing field or lengthen the gap between the legitimately strong teams. My only issues with the challenge itself are my more significant issues with the season. Having different heats leads to conspiracy theories of production rigging the winner. They could have fixed it by having the three heat winners face off in one final round against each other, or here, is a crazy idea, given all three teams immunity. With fewer elimination voting options and more chances for safety, both the politics and competition become instantly more interesting.
Time to give some shoutouts and lowlights. Devin and Amber won their Heat; both performed well in the water, and Devin came through in the puzzle. Jeremiah and Big T both disappointed one another as she could not climb a rope, and he had no diving skills. Ashley and Josh came in last place in the water and were able to pull out the win in their Heat due to Ashley’s puzzle skills and their opponents’ lack thereof. Berna went through the water crazy fast in her Heat and was one of the only females to climb the rope to get the final puzzle piece and did it ridiculously quick; she just couldn’t solve the puzzle in time. The final Heat was stacked. All the players looked like pros. CT’s puzzle power came into play; Emy perfectly played the role of a kid who holds the flashlight when their dad is fixing the car/sink.
I want to shout out Bettina; she and Cory were the second-best team in the water, she earnestly tried the puzzle, and though she failed, good God did she look hot coming out the water. Sheesh.
6 Bettina is a World Class Flirt
At the club, Bettina hypes up and feeds a drunk Amber B’s ego. She tells her that if Amber goes in with Jeremiah (her showmance), he will be guaranteed to come back as Amber is strong and fearless. Bettina had Amber’s ego blown up bigger than a carnival balloon to the point that Amber even told Josh and Kaycee that she would be going into elimination. Kaycee (who doesn’t even like Amber) tried to warn her how she wasn’t thinking straight. I’ve seen clips of Bettina from other shows, she might be unassuming at times, but she is fucking charming and knows how to get her way.
5 Amber vs. Berna
We see Amber and Berna’s conflict with one another come to a head at the deliberation. At one point, Berna just says something to the extent of “I’m tired of hearing Amber tell the same stories about what she did last season and what she has done now; I just don’t like her.” To which Amber continued to go on the same rants mostly she has been all season. Berna did not come off likable this entire episode, except that doesn’t mean she wasn’t right about Amber. Amber does talk in circles and does not do well with conflict whatsoever, she tries to say she doesn’t have a real issue with anyone, and in doing so, it rubs so many others the wrong way. It’s okay for two people not to like each other and to acknowledge it; you don’t have to be kumbaya with everyone.
Nothing was more awkward than Amber saying she has a circle of friends in real life and friends in the game who love her. As she says this, nobody sticks up for her, and if anything, they look like they wonder if she will ever stop talking, especially since she wasn’t in real danger of going into elimination. That is until Priscilla mentioned that she had heard that Amber was willing to volunteer herself, which led to Amber looking like a deer in headlights.
4 Veteran Scare Tactics
A large part of the success of the Veteran alliance being able to keep Double Rookie pairs in play has been the Vet influence to quietly maneuver and influence the rookies into picking immediate safety for themselves over a long-term, more manageable game for all rookies. This week, Tori and Ashley went overboard and tried to tell the rookies that if they try to split up a Double Vet pair, they will be in trouble, which is a flat-out threat. Priscilla took it as such, and it fully cemented her plan to split a Double Vet pair if she were to win an elimination.
Tori and Ashley telling the rookies this is symbolic of their fears as players. Ashley got voted in early in three of her last four seasons (WOTW 1, Total Madness, Double Agents), and you can see the paranoia in her head. Tori has had early exits recently and clearly does not grasp the social/political game based on how she’s been on the wrong side of so many players in recent seasons.
3 DisASStrous Elimination
Priscilla and Jeremiah were in lock-step the entire time. They communicated and worked as though they’ve been partners for years. Berna and Hughie played this elimination completely wrong; even though Berna could balance on one foot, she tried to drag Hughie and go as fast as possible, making it more difficult for them. She put Hughie in awkward angles, and the result was simple, Jeremiah and Priscilla won. Hughie’s Brazilian Butt lift also cursed their pair as he could not get sound footing at the top of the pole.
MTV did not fully understand how to edit Berna this season; at some points, it felt like they were trying to make her a sympathetic figure with so many people with little on-screen interactions disliking her, and other times she looked like a bitter hater. The edit made her pretty unlikable while also leaving me generally apathetic, which if I am going to dislike someone, it better be with a fervor. She is undoubtedly a purely physical beast, except if their goal was to make us care about Berna for future seasons, they mostly failed. Hughie reached his natural end-point, he had some entertaining moments, and now he is exiting stage-left. Priscilla and Jeremiah are gaining some steam, and if they can win another elimination, then I think a potential callback could be in their futures.
2 Priscilla’s Power Move
Priscilla took Josh as a partner as a slight to Ashley’s statements at the deliberation. Watching Ashley get angry over the move, once again, had her looking weak. She should have laughed it off, and it would have been fine. Instead, the Vets might be looking at her as the person who shot the gun that ended the Vet Truce by talking too much in deliberation. Priscilla probably should have taken Kyle instead as Kyle is less likely to be the House Vote than Josh. However, Kyle has been a terrible partner in the daily challenge to this point, so I don’t blame her. Jeremiah took Tori, not a bad pick by any means; she is less likely to keep him from being a potential house vote than Kaycee or Nany.
Big T and Nelson get paired together, and that is great for Big T as she is at the bottom of the vet totem pole, but being a double vet pair gives them a small extra cushion. Ashley gets Ed, and from a competitive standpoint, he is likely an upgrade over Josh.
1 How The Totem Pole Stacks Up with the Vet Truce Off
I will break down who is most likely to be the House Vote now that there are no Double Rookie Pairs.
Double Vet Pairs
Amanda & Kyle
Big T & Nelson
Amber & Devin
These three pairs will not be the house vote as the vets will be working together most likely. Amber and Big T could get targeted for the Power Vote as they are the two veteran females at the bottom of the totem pole, and not to be mean to Big T, but I could envision her getting attached to a strong player in elimination as they might perceive her as weak.
Strong Vet Rookie Pairs
Kaycee & Emanuel
Emy & CT
Nany & Logan
Nobody wants to see CT/Emy or Kaycee/Emanuel as a pair in elimination. If you’re going to go after them, you stick them with a weaker partner. Nany has a great social game that will keep her from being the house vote.
No Clue Where They Stand
Bettina & Cory
Ashley & Ed
Cory has a great social game; the issue is, Bettina is one of the only rookies who has not gone into elimination and hasn’t been as impressive as Emanuel. The trailer for next week’s episode points to Cory maybe getting in hot water too. Ashley is a 2x Champ who people see as a threat for obvious reasons, and Ed is a rookie; they could easily get sent in.
Rogue Vet Rookie Pairs
Priscilla & Josh
Tori & Jeremiah
The vets will likely make good on their promise to throw in Priscilla, and Josh is not the type of vet people will worry about voting in. Jeremiah lacks social connections besides Amber (the female vet at the bottom of the totem pole). How the game goes from here is exciting because I think everyone left in the game is a pretty solid player, or at the very least has a skill in the game.