The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 recap: Rogan shows his true colors
How do you follow up an episode of The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 that featured a real-life romantic happy ending? I don’t know about you all but I’m still riding that engagement high after Jordan’s elimination win resulted in him dropping to one knee and pulling a ring out of his back pocket (real talk, if it was in his pocket the whole time during his Proving Ground elimination I will be so impressed). Tori and Jordan are engaged, they’re now both turncoats on Team U.K., and we’re inching closer and closer to the final. But before we get to the action, we get to bask some more in the afterglow of the surprise proposal at the top of this week’s episode. Jordan carries Tori over the threshold of the house; she’s showing off her ring; they’re kissing on the couch — let’s just enjoy this happy moment while we can, because things get messy fast.
Back in her room, Cara Maria keeps spreading her negativity by spouting off some BS to anyone who will listen about how she thinks the whole proposal was staged. She also refuses to go to the engagement party Nany throws for the whole house to take a break from the game and celebrate the real-life event that just happened. She just sits on her bed in a bathrobe reading a book instead. Even Paulie goes to the party, hugs Jordan, and has a great time with everyone. Can’t she take just one night off from being a hater? She and Paulie are basically running this game and yet every time she’s onscreen, she looks miserable. I don’t know what’s going on with her but it’s just sad to watch the longer it goes on. She used to be one of my favorite competitors; she was always the underdog yet kept winning eliminations, earning her spot in the game no matter how much people didn’t want her there. But now that she’s in a power position, she’s become what she always fought against. She’s not even performing in challenges like she used to. It might be time for her to take some time off the show to work on herself.
But despite all that, Cara and Paulie have done the impossible and successfully evened out the formerly extremely unbalanced teams by picking off all the strongest players on their own side and causing Tori and Jordan to swap to Team U.K. That’s not great for Team U.S. considering this season was basically in the bag for them from the start, but it’s better for viewers as the competition is now unpredictable and therefore much more exciting to watch. Team U.K. actually has a fighting chance now, and Josh and Zach know it.
But it’s surprisingly Team U.K. giving us the most drama at the start of this week’s episode, as immediately after Dee thanks Rogan for being her rock this season, Rogan goes to Paulie and says that he “wholeheartedly” wants Dee to go in to the next elimination because he doesn’t want to have to “drag her” across the finish line of a final. “Feelings aside, I think it’s time to cut Dee,” he says, promising to throw the next challenge to do it. This came out of nowhere and it’s going to destroy Dee once she finds out. But it’s harder to throw a challenge than it may seem, Rogan. You’ve got to do it in a way that doesn’t look obvious to your teammates. Will he pull it off, or will his savage plan get outed immediately?
The Challenge: Escape to Freedom
As a high-speed boat tows a 120 ft. obstacle course, players must race one at a time down the course and ring the bell at the end while one member from the opposite team acts as a blocker and does whatever they can to throw them off. The team with the most players to ring the bell at the end of two and a half minutes wins. Because there is one more female on Team U.S., Nany gets chosen at random to sit out.
Degree of physical difficulty: Moderate. Speed and agility are important here, as are defensive tactics.
Degree of mental difficulty: N/A. This is all physical.
Potential for drama: High. Members of Team U.K. plan to throw this, but it’s an individual run so that might not happen as Rogan wants it to.
Winner: Team U.S., because that was always the plan. But it actually wasn’t Rogan who threw it!
The female Brits go first, with Kam acting as the Team U.S. blocker. Kam successfully blocks Jenny and throws her off, but Jenny takes her down with her. Tori goes second and immediately slips off, which might be her worst performance on this show ever — you know this one’s going to haunt her for the rest of her life. With Kam no longer on the course, Dee is the first one to ring the bell, which doesn’t help Rogan’s argument that she’s the weakest player on their team. And then Kayleigh makes it to the bell. Team U.S. goes next with Jenny acting as the Team U.K. blocker. Kam goes first, making it a Kam vs. Jenny throw-down round two. They both fall off yet again, making it a clear course for the next three women. Ninja goes next and flies through the course to ring the bell. Cara rings the bell next, and Ashley rings it last.
Then it’s time for the guy rounds. Zach acts as the blocker from Team U.S., and CT is the first to run it from Team U.K. But what should be an intensely violent showdown between the two biggest guys turns out to be… a rock paper scissors round? CT immediately sabotages the team for Rogan’s plan, finally picking a side after remaining neutral for the entire season. He aligns himself with the numbers, knowing that it’s his best chance at survival. Instead of attacking Zach, CT sits down and jokes around. Jordan’s furious, TJ is disappointed, and the Brit women are in shock. There’s a lot of talk about losing respect for CT, and I see both sides. But I hate seeing people give up, intentionally or not, during a challenge. That’s not what we’re here for.
Tribunal: Kam is nominated as speaker, and she picks Leroy and Nany to make up the rest of the Tribunal. She thinks Leroy will vote however she tells him to, but despite their romance picking back up, that’s not a solid assumption she should be making. Leroy and Nany go back way further than their relationship, so there’s no telling where he’ll vote.
At nominations, there isn’t even a pretense. As soon as Team U.K. sits down, CT just says, “All for Tori?” And almost everyone raises their hands. It’s emotionally devastating for Tori, and you can see it on her face. Then Leroy and Kam basically demand that Nany says whatever name they say to go against Tori, and it sets her on edge.
When everyone goes out to a bar, Kam overhears Leroy talking with Nany and Jordan about why he chose to side to with Paulie and Cara’s alliance — because he wants his first Challenge win — and everything just devolves. Kam thinks Nany should be grateful for picking her to be in the Tribunal, Leroy thinks Kam should let him be his own person, and Nany and Jordan think Leroy destroyed the game by siding with an alliance that is bringing a bunch of layups to the final. Back at the house, things erupt into a confrontation between Kam and Nany, with Leroy stuck in the middle. Honestly, I’m not even sure what Kam’s upset about and hearing her try to explain it to Nany, it sounds like absolute nonsense. To his credit, Leroy successfully diffuses the situation by breaking down how it’s all pointless. But the damage is done and his two closest allies are now pretty much enemies.
The next morning, Rogan and Joss powwow with Paulie to figure out the best way to get the Tribunal to vote for Dee — and Rogan says he’s “excited” about this “big move.” What a dick — he’s about to screw over his own girlfriend, in secret, as a blindside, and he’s “excited?!” I’m kind of disgusted; this guy is a total d-bag and he’s showing his true colors right now. Poor Dee. And then Paulie and CT try to convince Leroy to vote for Dee without warning Nany and Kam, making it more of a blindside?! What is this garbage strategy! And then when Leroy doesn’t go for it right away, CT says in a talking head interview that he’s “starting to feel like this alliance is one-sided.” Uh, duh! Paulie and Cara’s alliance is 100 percent benefiting Team U.S. and not Team U.K. and yet their alliance members on Team U.K. keep doing whatever they ask even though it keeps weakening Team U.K. It’s time to wise up and break this alliance!
But Leroy goes with the plan, deciding to tell Kam about it, but for some reason, he does it in front of Ninja, who we all know is going to tell her BFF Dee about it. Nice try with making this a secret blindside, Rogan, but your number is up. CT decides to take the heat by breaking the news to Dee himself, and she goes straight to Rogan who says he doesn’t think she’s ready to run a final. Coming from Mr. I Gassed Out Before I Could Finish The Very First Challenge On Vendettas Rogan, that is IRONIC. Dee ends up in tears, heartbroken, and no longer trusting anyone on her team or her alliance, and I feel for her. I hope she uses that anger and rage to fuel her in the elimination. But I’m rooting for Tori to come back no matter who she goes in against, just because I want the teams to be as even as possible in the final to make it a fair fight and Tori is one of the strongest players on Team U.K. This is just a really s—y way for Dee to go.
The Proving Ground elimination
Walking into the Proving Ground, it’s clear that this is going to be a Hall Brawl headbanger elimination. And when Jordan tells TJ that his “fiancée” is who Team U.K. voted to send in, Cara rolls her eyes and mutters, “Oh my God,” and I have officially hit my limit on her BS negative attitude. Can someone please upend this numbers game of a season and get Cara out? I’m done with her. She’s just a horribly mean girl.
When the Tribunal votes for Tori’s opponent, Nany votes for Kayleigh, Kam votes for Jenny so she “can prove her stripes” (but she already did in an earlier elimination, so… what?!), and then Leroy votes for… Jenny?! Whoa. Smart move for Team U.S., but not at all what Cara and Paulie’s Team U.K. alliance members wanted (Rogan tries to take the credit by saying his “overwhelming sense of guilt” stopped him from pulling the trigger on Dee, but is that true?). Is this the moment that the Team U.K. alliance members realize they’ve been playing right into Team U.S.’ hands? They’re handing Team U.S. the win! A Tori vs. Jenny elimination guarantees that Team U.K. loses one of their strongest women. No matter who goes home, this is going to be a massive loss for Team U.K.
Elimination challenge: Hall Brawl. Players start at either end of a hallway and run through, around, under, or over their opponent to ring a bell at the opposite end. First to ring the bell twice wins.
Degree of physical difficulty: High.
Degree of mental difficulty: N/A. This is all physical.
Potential for drama: High. Hall Brawls are notorious on The Challenge for being an absolute bloodbath. They’re violent and dangerous. And with Tori and Jenny both being absolute physical beasts, this is going to be brutal. Usually Hall Brawls are reserved for male eliminations, so this couldn’t have been a better matchup for the first female Hall Brawl.
The first round is so close that TJ has to leave the Proving Ground floor to literally check the tapes to see who won. By two-tenths of a second, Tori got the first win, and I am so proud. People thought that Jenny’s size and muscles alone meant that she would be a shoo-in, but Tori is holding her own. In the second round, Tori absolutely smashes into Jenny and knocks her down on the ground, literally dragging her as she runs toward her bell. Even CT is impressed, passing the title of “Choo Choo Train” onto his successor. She easily runs to her bell, winning the first-ever female Hall Brawl in total style. Team U.K. loses Jenny, and CT is right — their team is a mess.
Challenger of the week: Tori for completely dominating the first female Hall Brawl and proving why she is now officially Team U.K.’s strongest female player. If they try to send her into an elimination again, they don’t even deserve to be in a final. She’s their only female asset at this point.
The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on MTV.