The Challenge, Episode 13: Almost There

In all honesty, this week's episode wasn't particularly interesting (besides, I guess, whatever is going on with Kaycee and Nany that made all the guys go nuts), but it was kind of an important status check for the cast.

The focus of this week's episode was the tension between Bayleigh and Kaycee, former castmates on Big Brother. According to both, they were friends on BB; and according to Bayleigh, they were close to becoming more than that. So, after the weekly challenge was won by the team with Nany on it -- meaning she could choose to volunteer herself for Purgatory -- the house vote came down to Bayleigh versus Melissa, with Melissa winning. The deciding vote came down to Kaycee, and in a favor to Nany, she voted for Melissa. This did not please Bayleigh. In fact, it sent her into a screaming fit, complete with the requisite threat to quit and a private conversation with the producer. Kaycee's explanation was that while she and Bayleigh are friends, as far as the game is concerned Bayleigh and Swaggy C isolated themselves and she felt it was a better move to align with Nany (she's not wrong). Bayleigh does not seem like she's sticking around much longer.

The other story to come out of the weekly challenge was a small, but noticeable one. The mission split the house up into two teams, taking separate turns at a gigantic sliding puzzle made with cars (the idea being to move the cars around until the team could push the lone red car out of the puzzle area). Team 1 consisted of Jenny, Bananas, Aneesa, Rogan, Nany, Cory and Josh. Out of the gates, they decide Rogan is the man to call the shots, and the rest would push the cars. About halfway through Rogan starts to freeze up, and both Jenny and Aneesa have correct suggestions shouted down by the rest of the team, until Rogan and Bananas see the moves on their own. Team 2, made up of Kyle, Nelson, Melissa, Bayleigh Fessy, Kaycee and Dee, actually seemed to have it together a bit more. Bayleigh took charge and directed the team to solve the puzzle. Ultimately, Team 1 won by 13 seconds! I really enjoyed this challenge. The best weekly's are the ones that cause chaos, and when you make the teams big, chaos ensues.

Anyway, I thought the dynamic of how the weekly played out was interesting. Team 1 basically did everything but tell Jenny and Aneesa to shut the fuck up, and I wonder how that affects the game going forward. Bayleigh's a roller coaster right now, one minute throwing fits and seeming like she's absolutely lost without Swaggy, the next taking charge and almost helping her team win the mission. The more the pressure mounts as time runs out will only exacerbate these situations, and that makes for great TV.

In the end, Melissa defeated Nany in Purgatory, and so we say goodbye to Nany. Once again the bridesmaid, never the bride for poor Nany.

Time seems to be almost out for people to win red skulls. In the tease for next week, TJ reveals that it's a double elimination week. Seems to me we're probably only one or two episodes away from the final at this point. Next week should be a ton of fun.

The Alabama Take Challenge Championship Rankings

13. Bayleigh – After this week's display of pouting, doesn't seem like we'll see Bayleigh around much longer.

12. Josh – Please, TJ. Please let Josh be the one who gets locked out of Purgatory and left behind. Please. "Oh, man," he'll say, and you all just did the same voice in your head.

11. Melissa* – Sweet, sweet Melissa. It's so great to see her last this long, get a red skull in the waning weeks, and maintain poise. 

10. Nelson* - Nice moment from Nelson taking a second to talk to Bayleigh when she was low, and telling her that she still has people there for her even without Swaggy.

9. Kyle – Despite still not owning a red skull, Kyle had a good showing this week, helping Bayleigh take command in the weekly. We shall see if Kyle can find his way into the final.

8. Aneesa* – She tried to help Kaycee and Nany, but boy did that turn out to be futile. She's hanging around this season, she's got her skull, is she poised for heroics or heartbreak (again)?

7. Dee** – It's amazing how the editors make her seem like she's not even on the show. 

6. Cory* – Maybe it's a kind edit, but he's really flourished this season. Staying drama free, competing hard. And now talking a little smack about Fessy?

5. Kaycee* – Tough choice this week for Kaycee, but I get it. This isn't Big Brother; alliances from that show don't matter.

4. Rogan* - Dropped a spot after he froze in the weekly and ignored correct advice from Jenny and Aneesa.

3. Fessy* – A powerhouse, but next week's tease implies there could be a weakness somewhere in him.

2. Jenny* – This show doesn't deserve Jenny, a powerhouse competitor with what seems to be a heart of gold. Now that Dee is invisible, we're left to wonder where their drama stands. Is something brewing?

1. Bananas* –  *dons sweater, sips wine, surveys empire*

Notes: italics denotes a former Challenge winner; each * represents a red skull




The two months in the bunker is causing people to go into -- wait for it -- TOTAL MADNESS! Okay. I had to get that out of my system. Bayleigh actually is breaking, though. In a bit of hilarity, she was away from Swaggy for a full day before she starts losing it on others. TD mentions it above, but the weekly challenge was a lot of fun to watch. And like Kyle's admission, I can never figure out those puzzles; speaking of that joke, Kyle has grown on me a lot. I hope that he gets a red skull over Josh if that's the way it's got to be. And how badly would it suck to be hanging on to a thread of the possibility that you could a red skull only to find out that there won't be another elimination? (I'm looking at you again, Bayleigh.) So Bayleigh's the worst, yes? And Kaycee seems chill enough that she's cool, yes? And Bananas drinking that glass of wine in an old guy sweater was worth watching the episode, yes? All yes. 


You know, after Bayleigh's initial outburst early in the season, she and Swaggy quietly dug themselves out of the hole, for me. Boy, did all of that change fast. Her hiding under the covers, not even attempting to speak at the nominations, etc. is some of the most dramatic behavior I've seen on a Challenge, and that is really saying something. This is the first adversity she's faced in the game, and she broke. I can't imagine what it would've looked like on a normal season-one where they are actually mean to each other, and scheme to throw enemies into elimination. Her saying that "maybe Nany isn't cut out for this," after Nany was eliminated got to me. Really, right under my skin. Nany isn't the best, but she's been around a long time and has become a favorite. Godspeed Nany. Melissa handled this whole thing, from the nominations to the wrestling, like a pro. She had no shits to give about Bayleigh's drama. Does it tell us just how poorly Game of Thrones landed the plane that no one is making Daenerys references about her? The daily challenge was a lot of fun. It broke the "run somewhere, get a puzzle piece, solve the puzzle" pattern. Was Team 1 pretty sexist in who they listened to and who they shushed? Sure. Kyle made a joke about his team where I knew the punchline before he said it, but still laughed, because I like Kyle. And really hope his lack of air time early in the season is leading to a strong finish. Low key MVP: Nelson's hair these days. 

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