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The Challenge Puts Its Money Where Its Mouth Is

And two more never-wons have to take a flying leap. Doggies! Babies! The champs arrive in Thailand!

A relatively quiet episode as The Challenge waits for the vets to show up and ruin everything (although Bananas isn't onscreen at all; thanks for the mini-valentine, editors!). No drinking, no brawling, and we spend a lot of time watching the nominees picking their way up the side of a mountain to the elimination site so they can go take a flying leap.

I get what the show tried to do vis-a-vis mixing things up a bit, and I respect the effort, but as tiresome as it sometimes is in a given Challenge season to wait around for the cannon fodder to get picked off, or to see eight episodes from the final who's clearly going in, the reimagining of Season 29 is tedious in a different way. Like, just get to the Oasis already, get the champions into the house, and let's get to the real show. This version spent a good five minutes of screentime tonight on "strategy" I couldn't parse because the elimination is both a negative and positive motivator (because surviving it gets you into the Oasis). And because what's an Anthony?

Primo Teej wrath this week, though. Let's rank the Challengers.

  1. Ashley M.

    Wins the challenge. Should consider upgrading her showmance from Hunter, but there's no accounting for taste.

  2. Jenna

    She might not know where Thailand is, but she knows what's up as far as "usually" being liked in Challenge houses but having gotten associated with someone who isn't this time. The elimination seems not to have gotten enough testing, as it comes down mostly to luck (they have to grab five balls and jump off a ledge with a quickness; whoever holds onto the most balls -- "ha"? -- wins, in theory, but that turns out not to be that difficult, so it's down to who can gather them all and jump the fastest), but she isn't afraid of heights and squeaks out a win by two seconds.

  3. Cory

    As I said above, I feel like there's more to his desire to go into the elimination than wanting to get into the Oasis, but I don't understand that more? In any event, he survives, thanks to Theo's self-ouster and to the resigned disgust of his enemies.

  4. Kailah

    Responds in sweary fashion to Hunter's putting Jenna into the elimination because she's "guilty by association" with Kailah. Apparently embracing her heel status, which I respect.

  5. The champs

    Bananas gets zero face time, and man do some of these past winners make cute children.

    2017-02-14-challenge-ct-baby 2017-02-14-challenge-darrell-kids

    Hat tip to Darrell's son for responding to the question of what he'll miss most about Daddy with "Mommy!"

  6. Shane

    Confronted with a customarily baroque challenge involving tiny boats, coconuts, and basketball, Shane's primary concern is that "some amoeba" does not crawl up his "peehole." Can't argue with either the priorities or the phrasing, tbh.

  7. Dario, Nicole, Tony, Anthony, Amanda

    Tony's and Amanda's respective attitudes for and against Jenna cancel each other out.

  8. Anika

    She loses the elimination, but not by much and not for any reason that's really about her. I wish her well in her quest to become the "millennial Oprah."

  9. Hunter

    Wins the challenge, then goes on a lunatic roid ("allegedly") rant about how athleticism "wins this shit," and calls out Cory for...reasons? I wish him well in his quest to open a gym for people with special physical needs, but more chill is needed rn.

  10. Theo

    In theory, I get not wanting to jump, but when you're just going to get lowered down on the bungee cord anyway while a slow drizzle of TJ's opprobrium soaks you to the bone? Just jump, bro. And Cory coming to you to tell you to your face that he's okay with going in against you and has told others this is not what "low-key shade" means -- especially when you end up proving that he's right not to fear you as an opponent.

    Lastly, while this tendency is hardly confined to Theo, can we stop gendering the perfectly logical feeling that you shouldn't just jump off the side of a mountain? "Pussing out," "I bitched it" -- fuck you. I'm not trying to do that shit either, but it's not because I'm a woman. It's because of gravity.

  11. LaToya

    It's hypocritical of me to dislike her for acting like Queen Shit of Fuck Mountain when she's done, what, 1.04 Challenges now?, because it's the kind of shade I can't with when veterans throw it in talking-head interviews normally...but she gets on my nerves.

  12. Nelson

    Loftily dismisses Theo as, and I quote, somehow, without laughing so hard that I can't see to type, "a disgrace to The Challenge."

  13. Sylvia

    The smug face she pulls when Tony votes for Anika instead of fulfilling his vow to throw her is not in the same time zone as cute.

Episode Superlatives

MVP: This beach pupper.

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LVP: The PA who lowered Cory into the undergrowth on his face.

2017-02-14-challenge-face-first-cory Best Reaction Shot: 2017-02-14-challenge-ash-reax Best Quote: 2017-02-14-challenge-starting-to-smell

..."Starting." Honorable mention to Kailah's "I graduated college and I'm dumb as fuck."

Sickest Burn: The shaming of Theo, as he's lowered down into the staging area after the elimination with humiliating slowness, then informed that he "obviously [doesn't] have the heart to be on The Challenge" and summarily dismissed.

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Crimes Against Fashion: What even is that thing -- a scrap of leather?

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It's like some dystopian prisoner tag or something.

The Wrath Of Teej: You can feel the genuine disappointment in his "God-dammit, Theo!"

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