Television

Spies, Lies & Allies Recap: Truce or Dare

The third episode of The Challenge was quite an action-packed affair. We had drama in the house and in competition. We said goodbye to yet another contestant. We saw multiple bloody noses. Let’s get to this week’s questions.

Question 1: That water looked ROUGH, Michele got a bloody nose and Tommy got concussed and had to leave the competition; is this one of the toughest daily challenges in recent memory?

TD: Man, as someone who is not a strong swimmer, that daily had me a little nervous from the safety of my couch. Add in the fact that swimming in a life-vest is pretty damn difficult, and I was gassed just watching. The daily that comes to mind was “Road Kill” from last season — the wrestling match on top of the moving 18-wheeler that resulted in two shoulder injuries. But even that was a quick encounter. This one involved a 30-foot jump into some seriously choppy water, a long swim, becoming a human wakeboard, ending with yet another swim. Good job producers.

Blaine: I couldn’t help but be reminded of the HBO show 100 Foot Wave during this week’s challenge. That dangerous water paired with the jagged cave was enough to hurt a few and scare even more. TD says it every season, but it bears repeating: don’t these damn competitors know what they’re signing up for? Hughie made the jump — and good for him — but he, Jeremiah, and Tacha should be prepared for this. And I am in agreement that Jeremiah and Tacha deserved elimination bids for that, which they rightfully received. It should make nominations easier when that sort of frightened antics occur with the players, especially if they’re rookies! Oh, and I’ll put it here: the daily helped us learn that poor Tommy is a 4th grade teacher! Okay! He won me over! Bring him back next season! I’m sorry, Tommy!

Adam: This one was brutal. Everyone looked absolutely gassed putting their “bombs” in place at the finish line. Sometimes they make dailies too complicated; this hit the right balance of visually impressive, physically daunting, and simple enough that the competition level was high. It always surprises me what they make them wear helmets for, and what they don’t. How do you not see a concussion coming on this one? I was indifferent to Tommy, but its a bummer to see anyone go out that way. What’s not a bummer to see is Hughie puking before jumping off the cliff. Hughie ralphed! Kudos to him for doing it!

Question 2: Ed now has an elimination win and a daily win in back-to-back episodes, is this the making of an all-time rookie season?

TD: More so than his physical performance, I think Ed’s strength is his likability. Everyone in the house seems to get along with him, and that is always a good thing for your longevity in the game. I think Ed has potential as a face-of-the-franchise type of guy.

Blaine: Ed!?! Where did you come from!?! If you can win me over as a rookie, you have something strong. TD’s right: Ed is immensely enjoyable. He has a glee about him that isn’t rooted in negativity in the least. He’s also tough! Good for him. I’m excited that he’s on the show now, and I hope to see him for years. And who knows? We had a rookie, Amber B., win last season. Ed could make it the second in a row.

Adam: Ed is in a great position. I could see him falling in with the vets and riding to the second half of the season. I don’t think anyone wants to go against him. He physically reminds me of Hunter (pride of the Wiregrass, it should be noted), but actually likable and with a social game. A cannonball of muscle, flying low to the ground. He is trying to keep his hands as clean as possible, which is smart, but you do always wonder about these irrepressibly positive, excited types. If Ted Lasso is showing cracks these days, will Ed be able to keep the optimism? It probably doesn’t matter much, because he’ll physically handle most problems, should they arise. He’s got staying power.

Question 3: How do you like this season’s elimination selection process compared to past seasons? Do you like the all-out-in-the-open style? Or do your prefer a more secretive selection process?

TD: I’m torn. On one hand, I like the secretive process. I feel like it leads to more deception and drama. On the other, I do love a good house-wide debate session where all the dirty laundry gets aired, and all the nervous faces. It does create good TV when a fan-favorite starts to fall victim to pack-mentality, as well. I may have talked myself into this season’s version.

Blaine: I think the change of pace is welcome because, perhaps obviously, too much of one thing can get old. The arguments help reveal who truly needs to be sent in elimination each week. Tori proves once again that, while she’s a veteran who can get it done, she’s also getting worse as a person to cheer on. What’s the point of going to Tacha and discussing a possible plan? That only would lead to her looking shady. And I’m very happy that she adhered to the veteran truce that’s been in place because now wasn’t the time to go after Big T, whom I’d argue is much more likable as a TV personality and as a housemate than Tori.

Adam: I prefer the public selection process. I’ll say it again, I do miss the days of last place in the daily earning a direct ticket to elimination. Winners get immunity, the worst team goes in, and the house votes on their competition. Simple. But this isn’t a bad alternative. And I couldn’t agree more with Blaine on Tori. She was insufferable this episode. I used to pull for her, but I think those days are gone.

Question 4: As T.J. pointed out, the vets are absolutely murdering the rookies with the house vote. We’ve already talked about who will screw up the vet alliance, but how long will it last? Or will the rookies even figure it out before it’s too late?

TD: Well, the tease for next week’s episode may have given us the answer to this question. It looks like the Devin-Josh rivalry will be renewed… and that doesn’t bother me in the least. I’ll tell you what, though, these folks better be careful just throwing Corey L into the Lair week after week. He is a physical presence and some vet might end up on the bad side of The Agency and find themselves face-to-face with a Corey L ass whuppin’.

Blaine: I’m for this strategy so much that I was cussing Tori for even thinking about going against the truce. Get rid of the rookies! You don’t know them, you can trust them, you could lose to them — which won’t look good, and you need to keep friends around. I’m just a viewer, but the only rookie who’s appealed to me lately has been Ed (see above) and Amber B. Amber B. didn’t really demonstrate an appeal until late in last season, by the way. Maybe I should be more forgiving to the rookies? But at some point, surely The Challenge will make it about Big Brother and/or Survivor versus Challenge veterans. I’d watch.

Adam: Last week it was the temptation of Fessy, this week it was Tori. Eventually, someone will cave. It would have made no sense to throw Big T in this week. It would’ve ended the ceasefire, and Big T shouldn’t provide competition later in the season for Tori. Now, if Corey L is in the Lair and the guys see a chance for him to get rid of a strong player…things might change.

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