The 6th episode of The Challenge USA 2 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 sixth episode.
10 Dusty Bonez
There have been many Challenge Vet minions over the years; few have been as delusional as superfan Dusty Harris. After the previous episode’s elimination, Dusty returned completely perplexed/stunned to have gotten 4 votes for elimination. Dusty has been receiving votes all season, and it’s for one simple fact: Dusty is the outsider and lay-up in the house.
It’s a tough pill for Dusty to swallow as someone who runs triathlons for fun and has been watching this show for over two decades. After all these years, Dusty thought he’d get to live his dream: be an elite competitor, crush daily challenges, make alliances and strategic moves, and become best friends with Johnny Bananas. In reality, Dusty’s struggled/performed poorly in most of the daily challenges; he gets tolerated by the Vets simply as a number they can manipulate, and he has no pulse of the actual game.
The four votes came from the Survivor women — who tried to keep a female out of elimination and ensure Chris would have the best chance to win, so they threw Dusty in. Rather than accept his fate as the lay-up, Dusty instead lashed out at his teammate, blaming her and the two Alyssa’s as three of the votes put on him. Hilariously, none of them voted for him, and even funnier, Alyssa S. didn’t even have a vote because she was on the winning team. Dusty’s meltdown was incredible, yet also a reflection for some superfans out there that The Challenge dream and reality can be two different things. I did enjoy the Blue Team (sans Chris) leaving their dinner just to watch Dusty’s blow-up at Tiffany.
9 Hat Trick Success
The one way Dusty was able to replicate his male Challenge idols from the past 20 years was by yelling at a woman as he angrily raised his voice at Tiffany following the elimination. Both the veterans in the game and the Secret Garden alliance were grinning ear to ear with Dusty’s implosion as they each viewed it as him taking the heat off of them.
Even though Faysal has been invisible this season, we got a great confessional where he openly talked about being in a good spot as he blurs the line between the Big Brother and MTV Challenger alliances. On USA 1, Danny McCray was obviously a top player, but he was under the radar the entire time — Faysal feels the same way so far this season.
8 Father Wes
Wes DM’d me before I posted this blog asking to be called “Daddy Wes” and under no circumstances will I be allowing that.
I will say that the video call between Wes and his wife Amanda was adorable. When she said, “Well, Well, Well,” with the exact same mischievous cadence that Wes has used over and over again the last decade, I couldn’t help but crack the biggest smile. Wes and Amanda are a ridiculously cute couple. As someone who has been covering this show for 6+ years and following for even longer, I remember when they first got engaged, then married, grieved the loss of a dog (RIP Bootstrap), added a new dog to their life, and now they’re finally having a kid! Based on how these two love and care for their dogs, I know they will be superb parents.
7 Great Trivia Challenge
I absolutely loved this trivia daily challenge. Having the entire team answer as a group per question was a fun and creative twist. Watching teammates/bicker and get mad at each other over different answers was a fun dynamic. Seeing a single person clutch a question for their team was excellent. And even better, when an entire team of 5–7 people don’t know an “easy” question, it makes you shake your head at home even harder!
Plus, the daily challenge design, where the incline of the glass they’re holding onto becomes steeper with each question wrong, added a fun physical element to the game.
6 Standouts & Results
I do not believe we got every trivia question asked during the daily challenge on-screen. I say this because we saw the Blue Team miss three questions immediately (they missed more after), yet we only saw Fessy on their team fall during the challenge. The incline on their Blue Team’s glass did not look anywhere near as steep as the Green or Red’s after they only missed two questions on-screen. This leads me to believe there had to be more misses/correct answers that we didn’t see.
There are a few people who deserve some credit for this daily challenge.
Last week, I called Tiffany the current lay-up in the game, and this week, she shut me up by crushing this challenge physically and mentally. Tiffany had some of the better trivia answers and held on the longest for her team. Alyssa did not answer many trivia questions, but she held on for a decent amount of time. Then you had Chris Underwood pull out a couple of the hardest questions for his team, like answering how many sides are on a dodecahedron, and he knew the capital of Canada (though his team didn’t listen to him.)
In terms of lowlights — Dusty was a mess, incorrectly answering who won the most recent Super Bowl without even conferring with his teammates, multiple of whom had the correct answer. I also couldn’t believe that all 5 members of the Green Team didn’t know Jack White was the lead singer of the White Stripes. In the end, the Blue Team took home another win.
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I was stunned to see Wes get nominated so easily by the Blue Team. Considering 3 out of their 7 players are Vets, I figured they would’ve fought to get one person to flip to their side or hope one person would flinch and burn a vote. Nope, they let Wes take a bullet; meanwhile, they threw in Tiffany as the female Big Brother sacrifice. Tiffany made sense as Alyssa formed bonds with Blue Team members before Desi took her spot on the team, and as Chris mentioned, Tiffany was much less likely to face someone in elimination due to her connections in the house.
The biggest takeaway from the nominations is that Sebastian is playing his own game and has his Survivor alliance. He’s not mindlessly following Tori, which is what I assumed to this point.
4 Politicking and Votes
We saw a very emotional Wes try to politic and petition whoever he could to put their vote on a woman to make sure it was a female elimination day. After his impassioned campaigning, we saw the entire house essentially laugh his tears off and agree they’ll be voting Dusty into elimination.
7 of the 11 votes went to Dusty. It wasn’t going to be a pure sweep as Wes & Dusty put their votes on Michaela and Alyssa, respectively; we also saw Michaela go rogue and place a vote on Alyssa. I think Michaela was both stirring the pot and hoping a tiny bit that she could keep Wes on her team for the daily challenges. I have no clue where to vote for Chanelle came from; if I had to guess, it had to be either Josh, Monte, or Tyler. In the end, Dusty’s name got picked out of the hopper.
3 Wes’s Final Season
I’m very torn on the emotional aspect of this being Wes’s “final” season. The hater/skeptic in me viewed his pleas and cries as a ploy to manipulate/gain some sympathy to turn the game around. I also partially think that if Wes knew he would retire soon, he should have stopped competing after his win on All-Stars 3. Wes’s All Stars 3 win was one of the most impressive wins in Challenge history as he went against the most accoladed male cast the show has ever seen, went to the Final with his best friends Nehemiah & Brad, and then dominated said Final. If you want to go out on top, it doesn’t get better than that. It is partially why I don’t believe for a second that is Wes’s last season, because… WES IS ADDICTED TO THE CHALLENGE.
The Challenge is Wes’s playground. Competing and playing this game gives Wes a level of high that nothing else can. Except for maybe… the fulfillment of being a Dad.
Being a great father and husband means a lot to Wes, so much so that he’s willing to move on from one of the great loves of his life so that he can commit himself to his family. Wes was 20 when he debuted on The Challenge, and he’s been competing for over 18 years now! He’s spent 48% of his life on this show that he cares so much about, and he’s transitioning into a scarier and more exciting part of his life. The hater in me wants to be a skeptic, but as someone who has been going through many big life changes the last year, I almost began to tear up just writing about Wes’s journey and what he’s going through.
If this is in fact Wes’s last season, I am going to be bummed out. Wes has easily been the most fascinating player to analyze and cover throughout the years for me. Nobody alters a game more with their presence than Wes. Even at his worst, Wes is more entertaining than 95% of Challenge cast members. If this isn’t his last season, this episode and these last few paragraphs will feel incredibly melodramatic and like a waste of time.
The elimination between Wes and Dusty was painfully awkward. Both players couldn’t maintain their balance on the logs for long once it got going. When Wes slipped off immediately, he assumed he had lost and was tearing up in the dirty pool as his Challenge career seemed over. Bananas even came over to emotionally comfort him after the elimination.
Then we found out that Wes actually won the elimination by 37 seconds. The elimination basically came down to who could untie their wheels quicker. I’ll say upfront that it looked to me like Wes got his first wheel untied much quicker than Dusty, and overall, everything Wes did when it came to unraveling his rope looked easy. Visually, it looked like Dusty was doing more work as he was dramatically pulling rope from any and everywhere. However, I would compare their untying methods to human keyboard typing. If you see someone rapidly typing on a keyboard using two fingers, it can give the illusion that they’re typing faster than someone calmly utilizing the entirety of both hands. In reality, the two hands can cover far more room much quicker and efficiently. During the elimination, Wes went with the more systematic approach, which looked slower to the crowd but got the job done.
There is also the chance that production wanted to keep Wes in the game and may have fudged the results. They paid Wes a boatload of money to be on this season, and since they’ve already lost Amanda, Jonna, and Paulie, it doesn’t hurt to keep around one of the icons of the game. Plus, seeing Wes’s career end with a loss to Dusty would’ve been a real sour note to end on. The loss hurts for Dusty, although, at least, Dusty can say he lost to the guy with the most elimination wins in Challenge history. Wes is now hilariously 7–1 in elimination in Challenge spinoffs (All-Stars, World Championship, Champs vs. Stars, etc.).
1 The Blue Team is now Team MTV
Wes took Chris’s spot on the Blue Team, and it changes the political landscape of the game quite a bit as Blue now holds a “Vet” majority with Wes, Bananas, Tori, and Fessy*. If this team wins any daily, they can take shots at the same group of people who put them on the outside at the beginning of the game.
The Green Team losing Wes hurts their potential in daily challenges as he was a guiding force for them. While Chris is a strong player, their team has no veteran experience on it anymore. Likewise, it’s not a good place for Chris and Michaela to be, as the Big Brother players still hold the voting majority on their team.
The Red Team continues to be a mess. Losing Dusty may make them more stable in the daily challenges at least. Blue may seem like a juggernaut, but whoever wins the elimination next week can take Wes/Bananas/Tori’s spot and switch the numbers up again. The game keeps on changing, and based on the trailer for next week, we might even see a big switch-up in game format at some point here.