Takin’ on ‘The Challenge’: A Bumpy Ride

We are back with our much-beloved recaps of MTV's seminal reality show, The Challenge.

We are now three episodes deep into the 38th season of The Challenge. Initially, it looked to be a rookie-heavy affair, but T.J. has since surprised the cast with teams Bananas/Nany, and Jordan/Aneesa. A large amount of this episode featured fallout from Jordan and Tori seeing each other for the first time since calling off their engagement. While there doesn’t seem to be a ton of animosity between the two, it’s certainly a dynamic to watch going forward.

In this episode we saw Fessy Faysal & Moriah win the daily, and ultimately nominate Johnny & Ravyn for The Zone. They were joined by Horacio & Olivia after Tommy & Analyse drew the “safe” dagger and chose to save Kim & Colleen — a spicy decision amongst the cast. Olivia & Horacio made fairly easy work out of Johnny & Ravyn in a modified “hall brawl” style elimination, earning their way back into the house.

Of course, T.J. had one more surprise for the house, and two shadowy figures emerged as the show closed, giving us a tease for next week.

Question 1: Was the decision by Tommy & Analyse to save Kim/Colleen over Horacio/Olivia as big of a deal as the cast made it out to be?

TD: I mean, where there’s smoke there’s fire, I guess, but it didn’t elicit much of a response from me. It seems like Tommy/Analyse have a strategy they’re going to try out, and they sent a tough rookie team home early (Johnny/Ravyn), while aligning with a team (Kim/Colleen) that, early on anyway, seems like a better political player. Horacio & Olivia are certainly a strong team that would probably beat Tommy & Analyse in any head-to-head affair, but do they have enough sway within in the house to make them pay anytime soon?

Blaine: I think the blatant lying to got to me. I was pissed as a viewer at Tommy and Analyse. I know backstabbing happens — it’s engrained in the show — but to seek a pair out to tell them you’ll save them just to help your cause “just in case”? I’m with Nelly on this one and I hope the rest of the cast remembers. Horacio seems like too good of a guy to treat in such a way.

Question 2: Fessy is now officially going by Faysal — although he says he doesn’t mind still being referred to as Fessy — which he says means “The Decision Maker.” Is this a turning of the page for a much maligned player, or just a new name on the same old product?

TD: Well, we’ve already seen Bananas point out that Faysal remains mired in his “Messy Fessy” ways, flirting with about half the female cast members. Whether that’s some good, old fashioned “polidicking” or Faysal setting traps for himself remains to be seen. He still seems like the same arrogant guy to me, and until he wins the big one, I remain unimpressed.

Blaine: His arrogance may be worse this season. What an idiot. I look forward to one of the vets, again, putting him in his place.

Question 3: We didn’t get to see who T.J. brought in at the end of the episode, but we have seen Darrell & Veronica in teasers before. Is that who’ll we see next week? Or do the producers have a twist of their own waiting for us?

TD: It sure looked to be a tall and short figure, which would absolutely point to a Darrell/Veronica team. What gives me hesitation is the lack of veteran starpower on this show, and the fact it seems TOO obvious. We know they’re coming at some point based on teasers and trailers/social media posts released before the season began, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the producers threw a curveball to subvert our expectations.

Blaine: As I watched TJ laugh his way through the surprise, I was hoping for a lot more twists and turns — not just the ones we know about. At some point, I’d love for a rule change as a surprise: being chained to the same partner is really bringing some quality players way down (cough, Jordan, cough). Maybe they get a chance to go solo or switch pairs. It’s doubtful, though, as heavily as they’re pushing the “ride or dies” theme.

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