For the first time since the Pokémon Go craze, Hotline Bling was dominating the charts, and #RIPHarambe was trending around the world; Nany has won an elimination round on The Challenge.
After a disappointing daily challenge, the Double Agents (Leroy & Kaycee) and the house decide to let the two women without Golden Skulls, Gabby and Nany, go into the Crater. Following an unexpectedly physical elimination round, Nany wins her Golden Skull and selects Fessy as her partner, angering Aneesa.
Not Really Torture
The daily challenge, while being conceptually cool, is a massive letdown this week. Pairs must complete a series of “torture-themed” tasks throughout the night while chained together.
When first explained in the previous episode, I was under the impression that the challenges would be similar to the show Solitary, with staples like “count the number of grains of rice” or “sleep on a bed of nails” or “guess how many minutes we forced you to stay in a tiny metal coffin”. I was thinking of some form of long-term endurance competition that measures mental endurance rather than physical.
However, the tasks end up being relatively common things that typically appear in The Challenge finals, such as carrying a medicine ball, eating gross food, or doing math equations. The challenge generally has a vibe of a very linear escape room, except with more vomiting.
It doesn’t help that every contestant knows that two women both wanted and had to volunteer for the Crater this week, so literally, nobody tries. As most of the cast end up throwing the challenge, Kaycee and Leroy win by default, making them the Double Agents.
Not Really Strategy
With both Nany and Gabby wanting to go into elimination, it is clear what was happening from the jump.
The house drama focuses on Fessy’s relationships with Gabby and Tori. Hilariously, Cory tells Fessy that the second Tori says she’s single, Fessy would break up with whoever he is with to run off to Mexico with her, which to the people who follow the Instagram drama between contestants, is what happened two months after filming.
Having a Fessy centric-episode is strange because, on paper, Fessy is a perfect The Challenge competitor. Fessy is dumb. Fessy is strong. Fessy makes bad decisions. However, Fessy just doesn’t have the charisma to pull it off.
On Double Agents alone, Fessy betrayed his best friend for no reason, got involved in two separate love triangles, throws the challenge every week in an attempt to eliminate his partner, controlled the major alliance, got into fights with people regularly, and is a big threat to win. Fessy is unambiguously a main character on Double Agents.
However, Fessy, as of episode 13, has fewer confessionals than Darrell, who has done little outside of stick to his alliance and original partner the entire season. If Fessy is supposed to become the new face of The Challenge, he needs to work on his charisma in hopes that people care about what he does next season.
At the deliberation, Gabby and Cory are voted into the Crater, with Kaycee and Leroy selecting Nany and Kyle to face them. The match-up is confirmed when TJ says it’s a woman’s elimination.
Not Really Fair
TJ then announces the elimination to be Ring of Spies, the game in which Kyle beat Joseph in episode 2. This added crane element tilts the challenge in Nany’s favour, as the ring is hung up roughly 6-feet from the ground. Gabby is 5’1, and Nany is 5’8, meaning that Gabby has to jump to retrieve the ring, while Nany just has to reach for it.
This height difference ends up being the deciding factor, as the first person to reach the ring gets the point every time, giving Nany the win. Nany selects to steal Fessy, which puts Aneesa with Kyle and Big T with Cory.
Not Really The Next Time On
With Nany winning her Golden Skull, Cory and Big T are the only two people remaining without one, meaning that they will have to go into the next Crater. Following that logic, the only other people who should want to face them are the people who need to trade partners.
Of the remaining partnerships, I see no reason for Darrell and Amber B, Fessy and Nany, or Leroy and Kaycee to send themselves in. I also think Kyle nor Aneesa would risk going into elimination to get a new partner. This puts Kam and CT in a situation where both are likely to send themselves in to get their preferred partner, and I’d be curious to see how that comes about. I’m hoping this is where Big T’s “I’m going to send him into elimination every time” threat comes true.
Overall, this was a dull episode caused due to the medical evacuations messing up the intended format. After the medevacs, producers should’ve decided to remove two Golden Skulls; and have the final run between four pairs. This “jockeying” for Skulls doesn’t really provide much entertainment when it really only applies to one person in the entire cast.
However, while the last few episodes have hurt my enjoyment of the season overall, I think this has been a strong season. If I were to rate the 30s seasons of The Challenge, I would comfortably say that this is my second favourite behind War of the Worlds (now on Netflix UK), despite its glaring issues.