Last week, we ended on another cliffhanger as the contestants were called into a night-time challenge as the episode’s credits began to roll. This week’s episode dove right in, as we found out the torture the teams had to endure was a sleepover in the world’s worst nightclub (non-Panama City Beach division).
After the initial stage of grating sounds and flashing lights, we finally got our nasty food challenge this season — the week after Adam and Blaine talk about the lack of one on Taking It Down, no less. As far as the cast goes, it was probably the most pathetic overall effort in a food challenge in Challenge history. Only two teams — Kaycee/Leroy and Cory/Gabby — even finished that stage. Fessy was blatantly trying to lose in the hopes someone would steal him away from Aneesa, which prompted the vet to quip “Fessy’s a bitch” during a confessional.
We also saw the first sign of regret about his teammate switch from CT, as Kam was basically worthless during this episode (the tease for next week’s episode also had a “maybe I made a mistake” comment from CT).
The last stages involved a math puzzle, then an Andy Dufresne special, finished with some scratching and digging. That’s absolutely an oversimplification, but it was also a lackluster daily if only because once Kaycee/Leroy and Cory/Gabby finished their food, the rest of the teams pretty much stopped and rooted for the team within their alliance.
Kaycee and Leroy won out in the end, and then we got the least dramatic deliberation of the season as the house nominated Gabby/Cory, knowing that Leroy/Kaycee would give Nany a shot at a gold skull.
Nany finally gets a big win
Nany, The Challenge’s permanent bridesmaid, looked to be on a course for yet another disappointing late-season loss in elimination. After Gabby took the victory in the first round, we saw an all too familiar look on Nany’s face: one of defeat. Some people just don’t respond well to competitive adversity, letting an early setback defeat them well before the contest is over. For years, this has been Nany’s M.O. However, Nany scratched out a hard-fought victory in the second round, and then absolutely smoked Gabby in the third, earning the final gold skull and sending Gabby home, much to Fessy’s disappointment. That juke Nany put on Gabby was no joke.
While this probably doesn’t mean anything towards this season (no way Nany is winning a final with Kaycee and Kam still around), should Nany continue her Challenge career, this should give her confidence to know she isn’t cursed.
As for Gabby, I thought she had a fairly strong rookie season. Yes, she had an all-time screw up in not volunteering to take on Amber in the crater; but she is a fitness professional, and had a good sense of political strategy. I hope we see her again.
As Aneesa feared, Nany stole Fessy from her. I feel bad for the vet, too. Yes, the criticism of her lackluster endurance training is well founded, but she’s such a good-hearted person and genuinely entertaining that you can’t help but root for her to win a final and ride off into the sunset.
Aneesa then picked Kyle as her partner, and he wasn’t exactly thrilled. Does anyone else want to see a 30-minute special of those two just shit-talking everyone in the house? They are comedy gold in the Challenge universe.
That left Cory to pair up with Big T, prompting the line of the episode in her confessional when she said, “Should I just pack now?”
All of that said, I must reiterate the point that we do not know the format of the final, and that all of this partner-swapping may be a moot point in the end. T.J. has been telling us all season to expect chaos, and he really hasn’t delivered on that yet. He gave us yet another fake-out before the elimination, teasing that it might be a team final. We obviously didn’t get that, but there’s no way all that hype from T.J. leads to nothing. Maybe we get a purge next week, especially now that all of the gold skulls are claimed. The only two people without a skull are Cory and Big T, meaning they absolutely need a daily win next week.
Again, there just has to be some bombshell coming from T.J. in the very near future, and I can’t wait to see those react shots.
I made the joke to Adam and TD separately before the airing that maybe the torture would just be Lolo returning and whining about not winning. That’s what it should’ve been because I think it would’ve been more exciting. T.J. nailed it when he reprimanded those that didn’t try; it’s a shame that he didn’t use that as some sort of shake up prior to elimination. He should’ve doled out some punishment for all that quitting! I’ll end here: Kyle’s reactions in both the crater and in confessional are high quality TV entertainment.
You know who would’ve made this episode more entertaining? Devin. It really highlights how boring folks like Fessy and Kaycee are on screen, despite them being good physical competitors. They can’t all be blockbusters, I suppose. In the true spirit of our “confessionals” theme, I’ll admit something: Nany has really annoyed me this season. After years of rooting for her, I just couldn’t do it this go. Maybe it was the Josh effect. Gabby put up a great fight before the excellent juke move TD celebrated above, and seeing how much it meant to Nany did draw me back in a bit. Maybe a Joshless finish to the season will see the old Nany back. Gabby learned hard lessons on her first Challenge, but it seemed like she’d seen the light. It will be interesting to see which of the rookie girl crew MTV brings back. The dudes will be walking on eggshells now, and I have to think Cory is snagging a skull from someone real soon. He has the “peaking at the right time” edit working for him. Just don’t steal from Kyle.