Takin' on 'The Challenge': A Legend Returns

Season 39 of The Alabama Take's favorite thing -- next to college football -- continues with Battle For a New Champion! This season is all about finding a first-time Challenge champ. Every week, devotees to The Challenge answer questions. Spoiler warning ahead!

Another week closer to the final, and tensions are growing with each episode. The house was once again split into teams of four for the daily, with the team of Ed, Horacio, Zara, and Berna coming away with the win. To everyone's surprise, T.J. had them pick a woman to go into elimination, and they chose Colleen. Then there was stretching, so much stretching. Eventually, the house got together to vote Ravyn into elimination. This week's champion was none other than two-time champ Cara Maria.

Question 1: Do you feel like this set of competitors take getting nominated for elimination more personally than years past?

TD: I think so, yes. This seems to be a very emotional group, and rarely this season has the aggrieved party taken the attitude of "well, it's a game, it happens." There's a lot of griping about alliances and betrayal amongst the cast. Again, another reason these are the folks who have yet to win a final.

Blaine: That absolutely is the case here. Vets have an implicit understanding of the notion that someone has to get the vote. It’s not as much wailing and gnashing of teeth when sent down. There are a lot of overlaps in these alliances and subgroups, which also causes the pain in the voting.

Question 2: Were you surprised by Cara Maria selecting Michele? Did you agree with her reasoning?

TD: I was a little surprised she didn't straight up ask Colleen and Ravyn who they'd like to see against her, but the selection wasn't a shocker. I actually understood her reasoning, too. Michele's stammering, stuttering non-answer would've annoyed me into picking her, too.

Blaine: Michelle gave the safe and scared answer. Her hemming and hawing was an immediate target for the likes of Cara Maria. Had she quickly said a name, Cara would’ve moved on. So for Michelle to say that she didn’t understand how she got picked, I hope she reads The Alabama Take weekly. That’ll set her straight.

Question 3: How shocking was Michele's win over Cara Maria? Also, how does it change your opinion on her chances to win it all?

TD: I've thought all season that Michele might be the best political player on the show, but her physical prowess was decent at best. That said, her beating Cara in a head-to-head elimination was definitely not on my bingo card. I thought she was done for when Cara blocked her path -- it seemed like Michele was gassed and losing the mental battle. But, to persevere and get the win shot her up my rankings.

Blaine: It was as shocking a win as I’ve seen lately, but perhaps the folks in editing got the best of me. It looked like Cara Maria was crushing it so well that Michelle wouldn’t have time to catch up even with Cara’s needed time for thinking. Plus, from my TV, that really looked like an easier puzzle than I’m used to seeing on The Challenge. I had it figured out, and puzzles baffle me. But the question above nailed it: I instantly thought, “Yeah. Michelle can win this, despite me not wanting that outcome.” She’s tougher than she and her gameplay appear.

Blaine Duncan
Blaine Duncan
Editor-In-Chief, Host of Taking It Down
TD Wood
TD Wood
Editor and host of Takin' On Sports