The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 recap: A master manipulator is born
Last week we learned just how dumb Team U.K. is (along with some Team U.S. players) on The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2. Can they overcome that to finally start winning some challenges? Probably not. But let’s find out, shall we?
Now that Nany knows exactly where her friend Leroy stands — a.k.a. with Team U.S. over their individual friendship — she’s leaning hard on Turbo. It’s sweet to see their friendship has continued into this season, but why can’t Nany just rely on her own skills and strategy in this game for comfort? I’m ready to see her take ownership of her own power instead of constantly hiding behind strong guys to get further in this game. Turbo’s already talking about wanting to help get Nany to a final and help “make her a champion,” but why can’t Nany do that for herself?
And since we’re seven weeks in to a season of The Challenge, that means we’re about due for someone to freak out over the general state of the house — i.e., how disgusting things have gotten, especially in the kitchen. This season? That honor goes to… Jordan! Which is surprising, since he’s done multiple Challenges before (and has won) so he should know and expect how gross people are while living in the Challenge house. No one does their dishes. There’s trash and old food everywhere. If they don’t clean, it doesn’t get cleaned by production, so it just sits there attracting all kinds of bugs. And now we get to watch Jordan have a mental breakdown because of that.
But hey, I get it! That place looks disgusting! But for some reason, the rest of the house (and even his girlfriend/soon-to-be fiancée Tori) view Jordan’s complaints as him being a dick. Is it weird that I find myself siding with Jordan? Having lived through some gross situations where mold literally grew on dishes that a roommate left “to soak” in the sink for weeks, I absolutely empathize with Jordan. That’s nasty, and not something you want to have to worry about while going through a physically and mentally grueling competition for a million dollars. Clean up after yourselves, you animals.
The Challenge: Resilient River Run
TJ kicks off explaining this week’s challenge by saying something about how it’s inspired by “Essentia supercharged ionized alkaline water” which… what? I honestly have no words for that. Teams begin by building a pyramid puzzle on a raft and then carrying that raft 400 meters up the river. They will then retrieve a relic, place it at the very top of their pyramid puzzle on top of the raft, bring the entire thing back to the start of the course, and place the relic on top of the podium. They will then continue on another 400 meters to grab another relic and do it all over again. The first team to place both relics on each podium wins. Losing team will send in a guy for guy’s elimination week. But wait, there’s more! “Essentia supercharged ionized alkaline water” is providing a riverboat excursion tour for the Tribunal, so it’s like a Survivor reward challenge. That’s certainly… different.
Degree of physical difficulty: High. The raft is huge and bulky, that puzzle looks heavy, and dragging it through the river a long distance is going to be taxing while also balancing the relic on top. Weaker players are going to be extremely noticeable. This is where you start to get an idea of who can even finish a final, let alone win.
Degree of mental difficulty: Moderate. That puzzle doesn’t look too hard, and with the entire team working on it, it can be solved pretty quickly.
Potential for drama: Moderate. Mostly the drama is going to come from stronger, louder players yelling at weaker players who are falling behind. Expect lots of yelling.
Winner: Team U.S. — are you even surprised at this point? I’m not!
Team U.S. makes quick work of their puzzle without even breaking a sweat, smoking Team U.K. at the very start of the challenge. Team U.K. isn’t even listening to CT, a.k.a. the best puzzle person on their entire team. He, of course, gets frustrated and starts screaming and swearing. But they soon get their puzzle built and begin their river walk not too far behind Team U.S., so this is still anyone’s game at this point. Ashley uses her cheerleader skills to scream directions at her team, while Team U.K. drops their relic. Soon after, Team U.S. drops their relic. Team U.K. drops theirs again while Team U.S. places their first relic and turns around to get their second. Team U.K. places their first relic and starts their second trip right after them.
Despite the continued lead for Team U.S., Jordan’s temper gets the better of him and he starts screaming at some of the women, even Tori, to “shut the f— up.” Not cool, man. Turbo loses a lot of respect for him during this challenge, but Jordan is confident that being “bossy” leads his team to victory. But dude, there’s being bossy and then there’s just being mean. And then when Ninja takes over Ashley’s job of walking in front and calling out directions, Zach starts yelling at her for being “useless.” And then he just straight up splashes her! What a child. This always happens with Zach at some point during the season — his misogyny and disrespect towards women comes out no matter what BS he spouts earlier in the game about learning and being more evolved this time around. It’s also telling that both times Zach has lost it on a woman this season, it’s been directed at Ninja.
Team U.S. gets their second relic, Team U.K. splashes them when they pass each other, and then Team U.K. gets their second relic. Team U.S. drops their relic, and Cara Maria notes that Zach, the tallest person on their team, puts it back every time. She calls him the MVP. When Team U.S. drops their relic again, they let their raft hit the water and a puzzle piece drifts away. They struggle to put it back together while Team U.K. approaches behind them, catching up finally. Team U.K. drops their relic another two times while Team U.S. makes it to the finish line, with Turbo placing their second relic.
Tribunal: Despite their win, Team U.S. screams and argues and fights as if they had lost. And then everyone starts screaming at Turbo for practicing his karate kicks. Jordan walks up to him screaming about how they have to “shoot them again,” a.k.a. production has to get B-roll of the relics placed and Jordan knows that Turbo kicking them off just means their time on location will take longer. And out of nowhere, Turbo shoves Jordan. Tori immediately jumps in to defend Jordan. Turbo, despite being held back by security, keeps trying to rush Jordan. Turbo then declares himself the speaker for the team, which Jordan immediately refutes. Zach then declares himself the speaker.
In a talking head, Turbo says he wants to send Jordan to elimination and then will voluntarily go against him to send the “p—y chicken bitch” home. Whoa dude! This anger came out of nowhere and I am confused! Zach ends up getting the title of speaker and picks Tori and Turbo for the Tribunal. This calms Jordan, knowing that even if Turbo says Jordan’s name, he’s got Tori and Zach backing him up, so he feels safe. But Tori and Turbo still have to endure a riverboat ride together with Zach as their reward. As Georgia oh-so-perfectly puts it: “F— me, that’s going to be awkward.”
Back at the house, Turbo hasn’t let up on his tirade against Jordan, even while Josh tries to calm him down and explain why sending Jordan in wouldn’t help their team. Kyle, smartly, keeps poking at the problem, hoping that Jordan and Turbo get physical with each other, sending them both home. He rightly says in a talking head interview that the only way Team U.K. is going to eliminate Team U.S.’ strong players is if Team U.S. eliminates themselves. It’s worked so far!
Meanwhile, CT’s paranoia is starting to get to him. He sees the divide on his team and the strong alliance of “besties” that he’s not in, and he sees a future where it’s going to be him alone on the team with that alliance. At nominations, Bear says that Rogan hasn’t been “tried and tested” yet so he deserves to go the Proving Ground — I will say that Rogan has been performing all season long; he just hasn’t done it in elimination. He’s the only one who hasn’t gone into an elimination though, so he really should go in at some point. I just don’t think it’s the smart play for Team U.K. right now. Rogan throws his vote back at Bear. During the vote, CT and Idris don’t even vote, which rubs people the wrong way.
Finally, CT speaks up and vocalizes how he and Idris are the swing vote and they need to do what’s best for them, and even though they’ve been “through the mud” with the bestie alliance, they know they’ll be on the hit list at some point soon. Zach is shocked to see CT scrambling like this, but at this point, it’s the only move he’s got. Idris and CT finally vote and they both say Bear. Nice! I know Bear has proven himself in eliminations many times, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that he’s a sore loser and an all-around terrible player to watch on this show. I’m okay with how this vote went, but you know that Bear is now going to come for CT, spouting ridiculous lines about how CT doesn’t “deserve” to be on The Challenge. Uh… do you know who you’re talking about, Bear?!
The rest of Team U.K. immediately appeals to the Tribunal about how they should put in Rogan against Bear because of how he was “begging” not to get thrown in. Did we just watch the same nomination meeting? Rogan never begged, he pointed out to his alliance member Idris that by not voting for Bear, he was sending Rogan in. I don’t understand where Kyle’s anger about Rogan is coming from, to be honest. Bear says he wants to go against Rogan, win, and then switch to Team U.S., which they do not seem psyched about (for obvious reasons). But Tori knows the best thing to do would be to send in someone from Bear’s own alliance against him to break up some of the numbers. Turbo refuses to say anyone else’s name other than Jordan though, which annoys Zach and Tori.
Now it’s time for a night out at a bar, which usually means that tempers will flare under the influence of alcohol, but this one ends up being pretty chill. Turbo is in the corner, staring daggers at Jordan (and also weirdly petting a pink stuffed animal?). Nany tries to diffuse his temper and explain how Jordan’s actually a nice guy, but in challenges, he’s got a temper. Almost like a certain Turkish superhero we all know…
On the other side of the bar, Zach and Tori are mad that they have to essentially be the two people to call out someone from Team U.K. because Turbo refuses to work with them, and so they tell the rest of the team. Since they all agreed not to send someone in from their own team (even saying their name), the rest of the team gets upset. Jordan jumps on that, saying that if Turbo goes against their “Geneva Convention,” that means he should be sent in next since that’s what happened to Bananas. Zach senses that this will turn into a disaster if they end up targeting either Jordan or Turbo, two extremely strong players on Team U.S., so he needs to somehow convince Turbo not to say Jordan’s name.
The next morning on the riverboat cruise (sponsored by Essentia supercharged ionized alkaline water!), Zach and Tori work together and convince Turbo to meet with Jordan to discuss their issues to help the team. Tori now has to convince Jordan to apologize to Turbo, which hopefully he will (even if he doesn’t want to) just to save their team. Suck up your pride and lie through your teeth if you have to, Jordan! That’s the smart move, and I’m not sure if he’ll be able to do it.
Tori immediately finds Jordan when getting back to the house and appeals to his ego, saying that apologizing to Turbo will only make Jordan look more like a leader for the team. But he, of course, counters with the fact that apologizing to someone like Turbo will only feed Turbo’s ego. The way Tori handles the rest of the conversation is absolutely beautiful, making Jordan see how he’s not a single guy anymore and is playing as a unit with her, and changing how he speaks to people is necessary not only for his game but also for her game to thrive. It works, but Jordan still hedges that he’s not sure if he should “give Turbo what he wants.”
The Proving Ground elimination
Heading into the Proving Ground, Team U.K. players like Kyle and CT are pretty sure Rogan is going to be thrown in against Bear. But seeing as how we never actually see Jordan approach Turbo, there’s no telling where tonight is going to go. And that feeling of unpredictability turns out to be spot on, as Zach is the first one to vote and he says… Joss. Whoa!
Joss, completely thrown off, immediately goes, “Motherf—er,” and strips off his jacket, assuming he’s going in. Turbo is next to vote, and then we’re treated to a flashback from earlier that day where Jordan approached Turbo “man to man,” and apologized. Turbo immediately changed his demeanor, “happy” that Jordan came to him, even calling him “bro,” and they shook hands. Beef, squashed! Turbo and Tori both vote for Joss. It’s a smart move for Team U.S. — Bear has already sent one of The Challenge‘s best vets (Wes), so putting him up against one of Team U.K’s strongest competitors like Joss means that no matter what, Team U.K. is losing one of their best.
But it’s shocking because Joss has a lot of ties to people on the Team U.S. side after his past seasons working with them. I did not see this one coming! Both Joss and Bear look absolutely gutted at this turn of events since now it’s not going to be an easy win for either of them. But I will say, Joss’ angry, charged-up demeanor is way more intimidating than Bear’s easygoing one. Joss’ wide-eyed declaration of, “Bear, you’re screwed,” is legit terrifying. He’s got serial killer eyes right now! If I was a betting woman (which I absolutely am), I’d say that Bear’s time is officially up this season.
Elimination challenge: Whalloped. Players start by racing through five hallways, rounding the corner each time. When they collide, they will either have to go through or around their opponent to get by, by any means necessary, and ring the bell first. First player to win three rounds, stays.
Degree of physical difficulty: High. This is a headbanger!
Degree of mental difficulty: N/A. This is a headbanger!
Potential for drama: High. Team U.K. is losing a strong player, and no matter who wins, this will absolutely change up some alliances.
Winner: Obviously Joss.
Joss absolutely steamrolls Bear in the first round, practically tossing him aside before ringing the bell. But despite smoking Bear again when they collide in the second heat, Joss trips rounding a corner after Bear ankle taps him and Bear gets to the bell just a second before he does, tying it up. In the third round, Joss beasts Bear, getting his second point. In the fourth round, Joss is clearly winning over Bear, so Bear tries to pull off Joss’ athletic shorts to stop him (honestly, thank you for that glimpse of his butt, Bear!). But Joss ends up getting the win. Both exhausted, they hug it out on the ground. Up in the stands, Theo and Georgia are practically in tears (well, practically for Theo, actually for Georgia). See ya, Bear! And to prove that he’s a Brit through and through, Joss pulls down his pants to reveal the U.K. flag briefs he’s got on. All these shots of Joss in his underwear this week are mightily appreciated.
Challenger of the week: Tori for sure. The way she psychologically manipulated so many egotistical, arrogant men on her team to pull off the move she wanted was downright artistic. She played not only Jordan and Turbo but also Zach into voting how she wanted, navigating their egos beautifully. Joss may still be around to come after her, but it got rid of Bear and she’s proven to be quite the mastermind in the game.
The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on MTV.