The global pandemic has shut down all modes of normal life. But MTV’s The Challenge stops for nothing. What—you thought they’d take a season off? The NBA returned, the NFL returned, the NHL returned, MLB returned—why wouldn’t America’s fifth sport also find a way to compete? This past September, production plunked down in Reykjavik, Iceland, to begin filming the 36th (!!) installment of The Challenge. They’re in their own bubble—though, it’s worth noting, they are not being held underground like last season—and they’re ready to kill each other for a million dollars. And we’re ready to document every moment: from the feats of strength to the bad decisions, from the bonkers late-night fights to the extraordinarily dope shit TJ Lavin does.
Amber vs. Amber
There was a lot of Amber-related beef this week. Just a whole bunch of Ambers being mad at other Ambers. You hate to see it—I wish we could get some unity among all Ambers. Although, to be honest, the tension never really amounts to anything: Both Ambers aren’t a threat to win it all so the stakes are low, and on top of that, Amber B. is wholly uninterested in having a fight. (How did this seemingly rational person end up on reality TV?)
But I did want to point out the line Amber M. used to open up her conversation with Amber B.: “If there’s anything I don’t like it’s fake bitches, and I feel like you fall into that category.”
Amazing line. Coming out of the gate real hot. Maybe Other Amber didn’t start a fight because she was just so stunned from First Amber’s opening blow?
IT’S TRIVIA TIME
The best group challenge on any season of The Challenge is the one when TJ Lavin asks the contestants to spell or answer trivia questions. It’s always astonishing to get a true grasp of the vacantness of some of the people you spend too much time watching. Never forget the time the “clinically dumb” Nicole guessed that there were 56 seconds in five minutes; or the time Ashley said that there were 21 continents in the world; or when Cara Maria didn’t even know what a continent was.
Honestly, though, this year’s outing was a bit disappointing. First of all, TJ gave everyone true-false questions; it’s a lot harder to embarrass yourself if there are only two viable answers, and one of them is guaranteed to be correct. Secondly, these questions really weren’t all that easy! There was a bunch of strange, spy-related questions (because of the Double Agents theme) as well as a lot of questions you can’t really fault anyone for getting wrong. Like, sure, Big T should probably know that the sum of all angles in a triangle is 180 degrees, but the way they were suspended in the air during the challenge, it’s not that wild that she forgot her geometry lessons.
There were really only three absolutely absurd incorrect answers (ordered from extremely easy to oh-my-god-how-do-you-get-that-wrong):
- Kaycee thinking that Angelina Jolie was in Atomic Blonde
- Lolo Jones thinking that WASHINGTON D.C. IS A STATE
- Kaycee thinking that WOLVES ARE VEGETARIANS
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure in every photo I’ve ever seen of a wolf, the wolf’s mouth is dripping with the blood of another animal. I mean, Liam Neeson made a whole movie about trying not to get eaten by wolves. The Grey would’ve just been about a dude going on a leisurely hike if wolves were vegetarians. Game of Thrones would’ve been TERRIBLE.
Let’s just say it’s a good thing that Lolo Jones and Kaycee have other talents.
The Most Important Question of the Week: What Is Nany Eating?
The house finally managed to get Theresa out of the game this week; Kam tried really hard to make “Toxic T” a thing; and Amber B. proved that she’s either a coward or an idiot by refusing to go into elimination and handing Kaycee a gold skull. But really, the only thing I’m interested in is Nany’s breakfast, whatever the hell it is. (I’m assuming it’s breakfast because her hair’s still wet from the shower, though I guess she could’ve taken a midday shower—nothing in this bowl specifically indicates breakfast, that’s for sure.)
Early in the episode, Kam comes to Nany to talk about how much she wants Theresa (I will never say “Toxic T”) to go home, while Nany eats … I don’t know? You tell me what’s happening here:
In every single shot she’s holding a different kind of food that seems unrelated to the previous food! What is that green stalk she’s holding? Did she eat a whole head of cauliflower? What is that yellow thing?! And where does the bread come from at the end?! The only things I could discern for sure are the tomatoes—and those are the only things Nany wasn’t eating.
Please. Someone explain this to me. I’m not going to be able to stop thinking about it.
The Best Moments From the Rest-of-the-Season Preview
Truthfully, the best part of this episode was the 57 seconds at the end that teased the rest of this season. Double Agents has been really strong so far, but things are about to REALLY pop off. Here are the five best screenshots from the preview:
My god, I cannot wait.
The Double Agents Power Ranking: Week 9
After each episode, we’ll determine the players who are best situated to win it all—and the ones who are hanging on by a thread.
The Top Six
2. Kaycee: Kaycee did two things in this episode: She got her gold skull, and she proved that she’s the woman to beat.
4. Kyle: The extent to which this top four is running the game can’t be overstated. Everything has gone their way, everyone they’ve targeted has gone home, and as that happens, their majority in numbers grows only larger. Barring some incredible unforced error, they’re untouchable.
6. Nany: I may have no idea what she’s eating, and I may not be that comfortable backing her, but with Theresa gone, Nany’s competition to get into the final just got very slim (literally).
The Bottom Six
17. Josh: It is a massive missed opportunity by MTV to not make one of Josh’s trivia questions, “What’s eight times nine?” I think that would’ve legitimately broken him.
16. Amber B.: Amber B. doesn’t want it.
15. Amber M.: Amber M. isn’t going to get it.
14. Big T: The past couple of weeks, it’s been clear that there’s some displeasure about Big T brewing within her partner, CT. In that new preview, CT can be heard saying to Big T, “I didn’t lie, I broke a promise.” Just last week, CT promised Big T that he’d stay partners with her for the full season. It seems pretty clear: Look out for CT to win an elimination and switch teams, leaving Big T alone and without a path to the final.
12. Cory: Can I just say one thing? It’s wild that Cory—a true family man, as he makes sure to mention every week—started this episode being like, “Theresa’s a great mom and I’m gonna stick by her and help her get to the final,” and then an hour later he was like, “This girl’s toxic and I hate her and I cannot be seen next to her.” That is just very bad karma. So far he’s been the curse—all four of his partners have gone home—but I think his time’s up.