Takin' On 'The Challenge: All Stars': "The Way You Make Me Steal"

This week opens with Leroy cuttin' hair, which is nothing unusual when he's on the show. I'm curious: do the competitors pay him or is he offering these stylings gratis as a perk of being a fellow player on The Challenge: All Stars? Either way: worth it. Perhaps it's a testament to my age, but I like the character notes of seeing various players talk to one another sans dramatic yelling or, dare I say, flirtatious wrestling. Adam offers kind words to Leroy and Kam, which hints how this week will end. 

Speaking of Kam, her grudge against Cara Maria seems both ridiculous and dangerous. Cara Maria tries Leroy's ear, and when he buffers a sit down with the Killa, it ends in a low-key argument where no one gains ground. But if you're Kam, let me ponder. Why make it a point to push against one of the better players in the house when the reasoning for anger is a bit faulty if not easily forgivable? Cara Maria didn't vote with Kam, but both of the ladies knew that it wouldn't matter as Kam was getting the elimination she wanted. Let bygones be bygones and save yourself from making an enemy who could crush you, Kam. Geez. 

On to the daily challenge of the week. If T.J. is involved in production meetings, I'm willing to bet that he requested to be involved in this week's event: riding what seemed to be a very fun version of an upright bobsled down a curvy metal half tube. I would totally do this challenge! In fact, when I think of this week's daily competition combined with last week's elimination, I'm not so sure I couldn't win The Challenge: All Stars this season! 

T.J. would leave the top of the hill first while players ran to their carts. With his head start, he would zoom down, reach the bottom, and leak colored water from a tube, which the teams of five (and one of four) are to shut the valve as soon as possible as well as gather small bags of water on their way down the same track. The water was there's to use to attempt to add lost water. Plus, all of them have the odd, goofy bobblehead attachment on their heads, which hindered their sight and, therefore, timing. It was a goofy challenge, but still fun. Plus, the timer on the screen is much appreciated despite some math to be done to finalize a winning team. The team to keep the most water in the fastest time were the winners. It leads to Brad not only having a lot of trouble garnering the small bags of water -- reminiscent of IV fluids -- but also catching a lot of hell from the usually chill Leroy. Leroy's berating of him felt a little too harsh, as Brad was being the Brad of late and in agreement that he'd fucked them. It cost badly as they were the losers. With the other team who did poorly, the entire group consisted of Nicole, Averey, Laurel, Flora, Jasmine, Brad, Leroy, Brandon, and Ryan. Only the men matter, though, as it's a guys' elimination to be decided by the middle group. 

The winners, though, who have no say in the voting, were the orange team: Tina, Kam, Steve, Derek, and Kefla. With that, Kefla and Steve maintain possession of their stars for one more week. It's little comfort to Kam, though, as Leroy could be put into elimination. 

After the fun, Brandon gets a moment to call home and talk to his young daughter. This sort of tangential storytelling can be hit, but with Brandon, it made a affable dude more endearing. And that usually spells trouble. 

Speaking of trouble, Laurel and Nicole continue their romantic approaches with the aforementioned floor wrestling. It ends up with Laurel bedding down with Nicole that night and Nicole demanding the next morning that it not happen again. Laurel looks incredulous, which makes perfect sense! Why let Laurel wallow in the floor all over if you don't want to have a make-out sesh that night? But Nicole sets the boundaries, which hopefully Laurel will respect in the weeks to come. We'll see. I have my doubts that any of this leads to anything warm and cozy. 

Soon, the votes are in, and Kam's fears were warranted: Leroy is in elimination versus Brandon. And it's a tough elimination to sit through as a viewer! The two guys are floating in the air with the help of ropes and each arm and leg are attached to a large version of one of those damn annoyingly tense games of balls in a maze with the various holes where they're to be placed (surely they have a name, but damn if I could find one). I was simultaneously addicted and pissed at those cheap pieces of plastic as kid! The rigidity it would cause my muscles!

In large part thanks to editing, the elimination turned a simple game into some teeth-grinding moments, especially when considering that no one wants Brandon or Leroy to go home. Alas, someone has to lose, and it was Brandon. I hope he comes back for another season or five. He seems like the kind who has his head on straight, is insightful, and is comedic. 

The episode finalizes with Leroy taking Adam's star -- opting out of getting one for Kam -- as Cara worries what this means for next week. And good for Leroy! He needed a win somewhere! He hasn't done shit this season until now! 


  • Having almost zero screen time to this point, Ace is surely a safe bet for the final. I'm good with that. I've always liked him a lot. 
  • There is a stark contrast between the flastbacks of eliminations of old (this week: Cutthroat) to the current ones. Are they taking it easier on the older challengers this season? Maybe a little? Has it always been this way on All Stars? I remember the first season being a bit rougher than players expected. 
  • Jasmine does not talk as much this week due to a smaller role on screen, but the trailer points to her having more to say next time. 
  • I'm still not that interested in the will-they-or-won't-they question of Laurel and Nicole. I hope it at least builds to some elimination drama. Will we see Laurel have to face Nicole for a chance at a star in a Hall Brawl!? That would be a good payoff. 
  • No 311 this week. Oh well. 

Blaine Duncan
Blaine Duncan
Editor-In-Chief, Host of Taking It Down