The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 recap: Someone's not a team player
As much as I’m enjoying all the drama on The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2, I’m really going to need Team U.S. to stop all the infighting and actually work together as a team to take down Team U.K. Save all the infighting for when it matters later in the season! We’ve got some underperforming players to cull and now I’m getting nervous that some of them might actually skate by and fail miserably in a final. We’re only six episodes in but at the rate we’re losing champs, the odds of an entertaining final are quickly dwindling. Wes, Laurel, and now Bananas have all been voted in to an elimination and sent home by their own team, so is another Team U.S. champ next? Let’s dive in to this week’s episode to find out.
Things kick-off, as they usually do, immediately when everyone gets back to the house after Bananas’ elimination, and people are reeling from Paulie’s betrayal. Of course, Josh is taking it personally and getting real emotional. Yeah, he even starts crying. But things go from zero to 100 real quick when Josh and Paulie start screaming at each other, security runs in, and Paulie loses his mind, shouting he’s going “to f—ing kill” Josh while being held back by multiple beefy security guys. That escalated quickly.
But the rest of the Challengers call it correctly: Wes, Laurel, and Bananas getting the boot has left a power vacuum, and Paulie’s eager to fill it. But he’s pretty low on the list of potential power players in the house right now, and his actions do not scream leadership; they scream loose canon. It’s actually Leroy who comes out as an early contender for Team U.S. leader, calling a team meeting the next morning and declaring there will be no more voting in Team U.S. members and no more bringing up the past betrayals (i.e. Wes, Laurel, and Bananas). With Bananas gone, Leroy finally has a chance to shine on his own instead of being a sidekick. Will he rise to the occasion?
Bolstered by Leroy’s new position as leader, Nany nominates herself as the team’s speaker if they win the next challenge, knowing that with most of her allies gone she’s probably the next female out. Kam suspects Nany is motivated for selfish reasons so she adds that Leroy and Ninja should round out the Tribunal. It’s the United States of Le-merica, and we’re all just livin’ in it.
On the romantic side of things, Dee caught real feelings for Rogan! Producers are tossing out the “L” word and she’s just giggling and saying “yes” and also crying. It goes from adorable to frightening pretty fast. Didn’t they just meet less than a few weeks ago? And Georgia still has feelings for Bear (girl, why?!), which makes watching him play spin the bottle and motor boating Kayleigh extra awkward. So she decides to get back at Bear by making out with Josh. This will totally end well. CT’s got it right: Ugh.
The Challenge: Trivia!
Okay, so the challenge is actually called “Explosive Decision,” but we all know what it really is. It’s the challenge that all players hate but all viewers love! These dumb-dumbs are asked the simplest, easiest questions and never seem to know the answers. This is the best week ever. This season, the teams pick their six smartest players (weeding out the dumbest of the dumb at the start, which, bummer!) “Idiots” get to sit this one out. Boo! One player from each team will be strapped into a launch chair, and TJ will ask a series of questions. If answered wrong, players will be launched into the air. If answered right, that team gets a point. First team to six points wins the challenge.
Team U.K. players: Rogan, Bear, Theo, Georgia, Nicole, and Dee.
Team U.S. players: Tori, Ashley, Kam, Paulie, Jordan, and Zach.
Degree of physical difficulty: N/A. This is all mental, especially with the fear of getting launched into the air upon failure to answer correctly.
Degree of mental difficulty: Moderate to high. TJ’s trivia questions are always so easy! Sometimes you just have to spell a simple word. And yet … these competitors always seem to surprise me with how many questions they can’t answer.
Potential for drama: Low. This is all comedy. We’re just here for TJ’s cackling as he launches dumb players into the air.
Winner: Team U.S. Despite the even playing field in this week’s challenge having no physical component, Team U.S. still absolutely smoked Team U.K. with a clean sweep of 6-0. So how badly did Team U.K. screw up their answers? Let’s run through them all!
Jordan starts out by correctly identifying the inventor of the telephone, and Theo fails by answering that Antarctica is the only continent that hits all four hemispheres. Guess he doesn’t know what hemispheres are? He’s the first to be launched into the air. Next, despite Georgia’s classic distraction technique of shouting noises while he’s trying to answer, Paulie correctly spells “alliance.” He’s broken enough of them to know! Georgia thinks “Oliver” is Tiger Woods’ first name, so she’s the next to be launched. Kam correctly identifies a Mean Girls quote, while self-described “completely dumb” Nicole gets asked how many seconds are in five minutes and says … “56.” That’s not even one minute! Is it just me, or are Team U.S.’ questions way easier than Team U.K.’s?
That changes with Tori v. Rogan, as she gets a multiple choice question about how many hearts an octopus has and gets it wrong, so she’s the first Team U.S. player to get launched. Rogan’s multiple choice question is how many men have walked on the moon, and he gets it wrong too, so not only is he launched, but no team gets that point. Zach can’t identity The Simpsons‘ dog’s name — ironically, Zach wasn’t allowed to watch The Simpsons when he was younger because it would make him “stupider.” He loses his shoe when he gets launched, which delights TJ to no end. Dee thinks South Africa and Russia are two continents so she gets launched too for another no point round. Ashley correctly identifies America as one of the two nations who fought in the War of 1812 while Bear couldn’t identify the artist with the most-streamed song of all time (it’s Ed Sheehan), so he gets launched. Back in the chairs for round 2, Jordan correctly identifies Einstein as the person who discovered the theory of relativity, while Theo couldn’t even come up with the first number of Pi so he gets launched again. In the final round, Paulie correctly spells “cutthroat” (again, because he literally is that word) despite Georgia’s garbled yelling, while Georgia didn’t know Bruno Mars’ real name. And thus, Team U.S.’s domination in challenges continues!
Tribunal: As previously agreed upon, Nany is speaker, with Leroy and Ninja forming the Tribunal with her … even though none of them even competed in the challenge. That seems right? Going into nominations, people seem pretty sure that Esther is going to be voted in because she’s the weakest player. Things kick off pretty awkwardly, as most of the guys make it clear that they all want to throw in Esther without actually saying her name. That gets her angry that all the guys are speaking when the women didn’t argue on a guys’ elimination week. Esther then tries to throw Nicole in for messing up the trivia challenge, and that prompts CT to point out the divide on Team U.K. — there’s the group of best friends who won’t vote each other in and everyone else. There’s a lot of angry yelling, and the vote ends up really close between Esther and Nicole, with Nicole maybe getting just one more vote? But Kyle storms off before the count can be totally finalized. Either way, it’s Nicole instead of Esther. And I totally understand Kyle’s frustrations.
Esther is without a doubt the weakest player here from both teams. She’s constantly needing help in the physical challenges, slowing down her team. And Team U.K. needs all the help they can get to beat Team U.S. Nicole may not be a powerhouse and she royally screwed up the trivia challenge, but she’s more of an asset to the team than Esther. This was a dumb move, plain and simple, just like throwing Theo in last week. After the rest of the team leaves, Nicole asks the Tribunal to put in Esther, knowing she’d have the best chance of returning. Plus, she throws it out there that if she wins, she’ll probably be a turncoat and join Team U.S. Would she really? Or is she just angry in the heat of the moment?
Leroy wants to have a team meeting to decide who they’re going to vote in to the Proving Ground, but Nany immediately starts looking out for herself. She doesn’t want to paint a target on her back by throwing in a stronger player who has a better chance of coming back and then coming for her. But she only got the speaker position because Team U.S. decided to start acting like a real team and make decisions together! Leroy reminds her of that, and Ninja agrees with Leroy. This is why the rest of Team U.S. wanted fair, trustworthy players in the Tribunal in case they’d have to outvote Nany. And she’s going into full panic/paranoia mode. It is too early for this, girl, especially if you’re so committed to finally winning a final for your first time ever!
Later that night, when everyone goes out to a bar, Nany continues her paranoia campaign by trying to reason with Ninja, but Ninja has the logic on lock for why throwing Jenny in against Nicole is the smarter move for both of their games than Esther. Meanwhile, Georgia throws out a comment to Dee about how Rogan told Nicole that once they all get home, he’s going to forget about Dee. She immediately breaks down, but Rogan assures her that they’re “so solid.” He even slips up and says they “love each other,” before immediately correcting himself with how they “like each other.” Okay, so things are back to being cute with Dee and Rogan now that it’s clear they’re both on the same page. Crisis averted! Nice try, Georgia.
The next day, Ninja and Leroy host a Team U.S. meeting to find out who the team thinks should be thrown in to the Proving Ground. Nany does not look pleased. And surprisingly, Tori comes up with the idea of sending in a weaker player, having Nicole come back pissed at her own team, and not risking any blowback on Team U.S. That’s a less risky move for sure, but how does that help Team U.S.? And Nany completely throws out Leroy’s initial team unity attitude by point-blank saying how she’s going to do what benefits her own game. Yikes. Shockingly, Leroy is having a hard time deciding what to do, either going with what the team wants or what his friend Nany wants. It’s time to step up and earn that leader role, Leroy!
The Proving Ground elimination
As the teams arrive at the Proving Ground, it looks physical but players are heard discussing how it’s a puzzle and not a headbanger, so the Tribunal whispers about throwing in Jenny. But Nany is still committed to not voting for Jenny. Ninja immediately votes for Jenny; Nany votes for Esther. So it all comes down to Leroy — and he earns his new leadership position by voting for Jenny.
Elimination challenge: Trapped. Players start at the top of glass towers where there is a puzzle. At the bottom, there’s a key hidden underneath balls. They will drop to the bottom, memorize the key, climb back up the tower, and solve the puzzle. Whoever solves it first, wins.
Degree of physical difficulty: High. Getting back up that tower looks tough and draining. Doing it multiple times? Major stamina and strength is needed, especially if you can’t memorize a lot at once.
Degree of mental difficulty: High. Memorizing what looks like 32 different nonsense symbols while blowing all your strength and stamina getting up to the top is going to be tough.
Potential for drama: Low. Either way, a Team U.K. player is going home. But if they lose Jenny, they lose one of their strongest females. Nicole hasn’t really proven herself yet, so now’s her chance to do so.
Winner: Jenny. Nicole completely gasses out after one climb up the tower and starts to doubt herself. She doesn’t even want to go back down and actually thinks (out loud!) about giving up, which is the cardinal sin of The Challenge. Jenny continues to push and proves herself as one of the biggest female threats here, pulling out the win in the end. She even earns TJ’s respect! She also stays with Team U.K.
Challenger of the week: Leroy, for finally stepping up and being the player we’ve always known he can be. He just needed to step out of Bananas’ shadow to do it. I’m excited to see him continue on this path!
The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on MTV.
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