The Challenge Spies, Lies & Allies Episode 9 Recap & 10 Biggest Takeaways
Episode 9 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 9th 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 Josh, Cory, and Ashley at the Bottom of the Totem Pole
With no more Double Rookie pairs after Priscilla’s move last week, we see some vets begin to feel the heat, specifically Josh, Ashley, and Cory. Josh was nervous as his new partner was the rookie who ended the Vet Truce (Priscilla), and thus, it will be easy to make them the house vote, and Josh does not want to go into elimination as he generally loses them. Ashley was on edge because she went into the first or second elimination in 3 out of her last 4 seasons, and now that the truce is over, the game has started for her, making her paranoid. Meanwhile, Josh, Ashley, and other start saying Cory’s name and begin a narrative of him being the leader of the rookies in the game, which if you count three people (Jeremiah, Priscilla, Bettina), then I guess he is.
9 Alliance Map
There is a moment outside where Cory has a notebook and outlines to Nelson where people in the game stand. He describes the Big Brother Crew as Kaycee, Josh, Nany, and Emanuel, which without Fessy makes them more Kaycee’s squad. Cory calls another group, Devin’s crew, which includes Kyle, CT, and Ed. It is surreal to watch CT come on the Challenge all these years, and while he’s had general comradery with many people, I never expected him to have a best friend type figure like Devin. When Cory talks politics with Devin, Devin tells Cory that he wants a Vet Non-Champ to win, yet, his actions reflect someone trying to protect his guy (CT). Seeing Ed as part of the group makes sense as he was there when the guys made Emy sign the veteran alliance contract in Sriracha.
Cory’s side has him, Nelson, Jeremiah, and potentially Bettina and Priscilla. In this scene, I found curious and somewhat clueless from Cory was how little he talked about the females in the game. The females consist of half of the house vote; the fact Cory left Amanda, Ashley, Amber, and Big T out of the picture shows a flaw in his game/plans. Especially now that the amount of people in the house is dwindling, each number counts more than ever.
8 Daily Challenge Part 1
Players racing up and down a mud pit to collect balls as fast as possible and potentially using strategy/getting dirty once it gets to the end to advance another round/win makes for a tremendous daily challenge. The best part about this daily challenge is you didn’t have to worry about whether MTV was rigging it for any of the teams or if one team only won because they were in a particular heat. Nope, it was all players going simultaneously, and they could visually see one another playing. In most of these daily challenges, the cast cannot see their opponents or get an obstructed view. The fact that you had the crowd cheering people on in the later rounds enhanced the experience.
In Round 1, the first four teams to finish were the Powerhouse Duo of Kaycee & Emanuel, Nelson & Big T with a surprise 2nd place finish, Nany & Logan coming in 3rd, and then Devin & Amber in 4th (Amber has been much better in the dailies this season than last). With six teams vying for the final ball, it becomes a battle, and people realize they will need to team up at a certain point. Cory makes the first move, goes for Josh, and tries to assist Jeremiah, which confirms the idea to everyone that Cory was working with the rookies. Even worse, Jeremiah is terrible in the mud, so he then loses the ball, and Kyle tosses it to Ed because Kyle knows that Ed’s partner Ashley would keep him safe as he is with Amanda. Josh and Cory proceed to get into a verbal altercation where Cory takes off the kid gloves people usually talk to Josh with, and you could see Josh being completely flummoxed. While Cory came out of this with a much bigger target on his back, he mostly had Josh sitting there with his mouth open, looking dumb.
7 Daily Challenge Part 2
Jumping into Round 2, one of the clear strategies of this daily challenge was teams throwing their balls out of the middle of the pit closer to their position at the top of the hill. Kaycee and Nany worked together, getting Nany a spot in the final round with Logan. Ed and Ashley also earned a spot in the final round, and then the last spot came down to Amber, Big T, and Kaycee. Kaycee tried to tackle Amber, which led to Amber playing her style of defense by sitting on and straddling Kaycee to allow Big T the final spot. Kaycee didn’t want Amber to win, and Amber decided she wouldn’t let Kaycee win either.
Round 3 came down to Logan, Nelson, and Ed, and you could see they were all exhausted and trying to figure out who would make the best winner. It is crucial to note, Nelson going into this final round, was/is on a 42 daily challenge losing streak, and so when he decides to tackle Ed to give Logan the win, he extends the streak to 43. When Logan tells Nelson he will be safe if he wins, Nelson takes the deal as he knows Big T is his partner, and he does not want to risk potentially facing Cory in elimination. Ed was somewhat doomed by his partner being Ashley, as Ashley and Nelson are clearly no longer on good terms. Nany gets her first daily challenge win since the Total Madness episode where she volunteered to go into elimination to get her skull, and Logan gets his second of the season.
Watching Ashley cry at the house and after daily about how she is going into elimination with Amanda stonefacing her in confusion was one of my favorite moments from the episode. On the Ashley Richter scale, it was a 2.3 earthquake.
6 Logan’s Pitch
Logan tells Big T earlier in the episode that he does not trust Cory or Nelson, which makes sense as his allies in the house are Kyle and Devin, who are definitely against Cory. When they win the daily, and Logan knows Cory will likely be the House Vote and already made a deal with Nelson, he chooses Jeremiah (Cory’s ally) as the person he wants to throw in. He suggests Amber going in as they are a showmance. Nany is entirely on board because it keeps the Vet Males on her side, and Kaycee is anti-Amber. Logan has been a bit of a charisma vacuum this season; nonetheless, it’s an excellent choice from him, and Nany jumps right on board.
5 Why Don’t Cory and Ashley do some math?
Before the deliberation, Cory and Ashley each went on a strategy/campaign trail, trying to get the votes to throw one another into elimination. Ashley had more success; my problem with both their campaigns is that their goal is too short-sighted, delays the inevitable by one week, and gives power to the Big Brother/Devin’s Crew. If they sat down, did the math, and aligned, they could have figured out they had: Cory, Bettina, Nelson, Ashley, Amanda, Priscilla, Jeremiah, and Amber. That is 8 out of 18 votes, and if you have those numbers, getting one or two swing votes is not impossible. In that scenario, you could make CT & Emy the house vote, a situation that the Big Brother alliance would be cool with because then nobody on their sides goes in, and they get to take a shot at the best player in the game.
Even if CT won the elimination, he already has his preferred partner. If he steals Kaycee, that only benefits the Big Brother alliance. I think Ashley and Cory scrambled too much and looked weak in the process. You either should own your fate or be willing to make a more significant move that will at least shift the game completely.
4 Lavender Lady vs. Young Buck Deliberation
Ashley and Cory, as former Rivals (and Double Agents) partners, went at each other. They called the other untrustworthy, and there was a weird amount of Hunter Barfield brought in an episode of the Challenge when he hasn’t been on in four seasons. Their respective Vice Presidents Amanda and Nelson had a debate of their own, in which Amanda stood up for Ashley and stayed fiercely loyal and straight to point. Ashley came into the deliberation much more prepared and won the verbal debate between her and Cory. Nelson brought up something I never knew: Ashley sent Amanda a $500 gift card after Amanda went down into elimination on Final Reckoning for Ashley, which made me wonder, what type of gift card was it? Sephora? Ulta? Starbucks? Applebees? I now need to know where the gift card was from.
Amanda hit him back with the fact Nelson went in for Cory, and Cory did not even win. Hilariously, Ed and Bettina stayed silent through it all. In the end, Cory & Bettina end up the house vote, and Logan & Nany go through with their plan to throw in Jeremiah & Amber.
3 Bettina & Cory vs. Amber & Jeremiah
Watching both teams immediately fall the second they stood on the unbalanced beam made me quickly realize how difficult this elimination was. The two teams had to adapt and find what worked best, and for Jeremiah & Amber, Jeremiah being not so graceful was a detriment. Nonetheless, they figured out a strategy where Amber would crouch in a crab position and use her long legs to move, acting almost like a shelf for Jeremiah to lean on, as she made use of her lower body/hamstring strength. The position put Jeremiah’s back in pain, but it was probably the only way to make it across as his balance/footing was not great. Bettina and Cory tried to copy them. It was not working out, in large part due to Cory not having a lot of muscular endurance, which ended his run on Rivals 3 during his elimination with Ashley against Nate & Christina.
Cory was looking exceptionally defeated in this elimination, and then Bettina took the reigns. She told him to try her method once, and if it fails, they will go back to the crab method. Bettina had zero nerves; she and Cory began moving down the bridge with ease and speed and made three treks in the same time it took Amber and Jeremiah to make one (which they fell at the end). Once Bettina and Cory got all their pieces, she completed the puzzle before Amber and Jeremiah even got a shot at theirs. Maybe I’m hyperbolic, but I think Bettina had one of the best elimination performances we have seen in a long time. As an assuming rookie in her first elimination where her veteran partner looked defeated, she swung the game in their favor physically and mentally, going up against a duo who has won elimination(s) and had a former champ on their side. Give Bettina her flowers.
2 Bookkeeping and Aftermath
Amber is now 3–1 in eliminations. I was more impressed seeing how she competed in the face of adversity this season than I was through her entire Double Agents run. Amber was an alternate going into this season; however, her getting into some drama, a hookup, and truly hold down the mantle of being a champion physically makes her an almost lock for Season 38 if she chooses to come back. Jeremiah walks out of this season 1–1 in eliminations; he is handsome and likable, just didn’t bring enough to the show for me to want him back. At least Jeremiah and Amber joined Adam & Brittany and Abram & Cara as teammates to kiss during an elimination.
Bettina gets her first elimination win ever. Cory is now a career 8–3, technically the 3rd best record by a male competitor after 11 eliminations (the sample size is small). The only players who have had a better record after 11 eliminations are Wes (9–2) and Nelson (8–2–1). When you look closely at Cory’s 8–3 record, the number feels much less impressive. Bettina had her head on straight from the jump; she wanted Cory to take Kaycee and herself to take CT; that way, she and Cory would be in solid pairs, and it would create a Double Rookie pair (Emy & Emanuel) to give them a day where they wouldn’t be the house. Then TJ tells them to get back in line.
1 What is the Twist and What Could It Mean?
At the most basic level, this twist could mean you can no longer steal partners, which would make the game a little more boring, yet, it would make fans more invested in the pairs. On War of the Worlds 1, they ended the pair twist at a somewhat similar point, which if they make this an individual game, I fear how boring the politics could become as the Vets could quickly go back to the previous truce. Likewise, it would become a more accessible game for those at the top, as potentially pairing Kaycee or CT with a weaker partner was a viable blindside strategy if someone was willing to make a move.
I’ve seen people say we could be getting a 2-team format, and the only reason I do not believe that is that we currently have 9 men and 9 women. Based on the trailer for next week, they are competing in a daily challenge that mirrors the one that opened this season, so maybe everyone will be scrambling to win a partner they will be keeping for the rest of the game? My only worry right now is that the show’s politics finally got mega interesting, and now a twist may flip the season on its head in a bad way. Regardless, I give Episode 9 an 8.8 out of 10; it was a great episode that had me invested the entire time.