The Challenge: All Stars recap: Another double elimination shakes up house politics
Who was eliminated in episode 6, "Free Fallin'?"
The first double elimination rocked the house last week on The Challenge: All Stars, knocking out Beth and Syrus in one fell swoop. And now that the game is continuing forward with double eliminations every week, we need to start preparing ourselves for lots of goodbyes in a short amount of time. I love how cutthroat this is already making the game, but I am not ready to say goodbye to these players after waiting decades to get them back on my TV screen!
When everyone comes back into the house, they've all got one thing on their minds: the new double elimination twist. That means every challenge is now vital because winning is the only way to stay safe. This new twist just injected a lot more tension and stakes into the game, and it's keeping everyone on their toes. Except for Aneesa and Katie, who are thinking about making a pizza. They've got their priorities in order! And later that night, Katie and Jonna strategize about playing up their bad elimination records to make sure guys don't pick them as their partners. That's actually not a bad way to play this. At this point, if you're a strong player, you've got way more to lose if someone picks you as their elimination partner. I bet we're about to see some really strong champion contenders lose out that way.
And even later that night, Aneesa and Laterrian get really close cuddling in Laterrian's bed. He's turned on by the bruises she has on her knuckles from her elimination win; she thinks he's "an aggressive teddy bear," and suddenly I'm very much rooting for this new couple.
The Challenge: Escape the Room
Played in four randomly selected teams of four, players stand in shipping containers hanging 30 feet above the water and solve individual puzzles as fast as they can before the floor drops out from underneath them. The team that solves the most puzzles by the end wins, and the winning team captains will be the only two safe from elimination. The losing team captains go straight into the arena. And this week, the female nominated for elimination will choose her male elimination partner.
The teams are: Gold (Ruthie, Big Easy, Jonna, Laterrian), Silver (Jisela, Alton, KellyAnne, Darrell), Copper (Katie, Yes, Aneesa, Derrick), and Black (Mark, Kendal, Nehemiah, Jemmye). I'm surprised at how entertaining it is watching these teams debate and decide who the captains are going to be. There's a lot of strategy on display: Jonna is refusing to be a captain because she wants to avoid any chance of elimination, while KellyAnne is taking the opposite approach and stepping up as captain because Darrell would be her elimination partner if they lose, and she feels confident going into an elimination with him. We don't usually see these conversations happening in regular seasons to this extent and I'm loving it!
The first round is Gold vs. Silver, and Jonna and Alton are the first to drop. And they drop fast and hard, so much so that Jisela starts to freak out. She still finishes her puzzle in time, but is it right? Big Easy finishes his, and Laterrian works to fix his drops before he can get all the pieces right. Big Easy tries to coach Ruthie before he drops, and Darrell tries to do the same with KellyAnne. In the next round, Black vs. Copper, Katie is already freaking out about the heights over water. She doesn't even try to solve her puzzle and just tucks her arms in and waits for the drop. The montage of her many face injuries from past drops is hilarious but we haven't seen Katie really do anything all season because of her fears. It's really disappointing. Yes and Nehemiah both think they did well before their drops, but Derrick starts to freak out. He ultimately thinks he got his, while Kendal's is solved completely upside down.
After both rounds, TJ announces only one person got the puzzle correct: Big Easy. That means Gold wins the challenge, and Easy and Ruthie are both safe from elimination. As for the losing team? The Black team, meaning Mark and Kendal, is going straight into elimination. To rub salt in the wound, it turns out Kendal actually did have her puzzle correct, but since it was upside down, it didn't count. Brutal!
So now Mark and Kendal have to compete together in the elimination, which will be hilarious because Mark doesn't like Kendal and was actually trying to send her home earlier. But they're both really strong competitors so I don't see anyone beating them in an elimination. Their opponents will be the female who is voted in, and the male she picks as her partner. Kendal is thinking she'd want to go against Jisela, but she decides to just let the house choose at nominations. That's risky! But then again, Kendal hasn't exactly made a name for herself when it comes to strategy in this game.
Nehemiah reveals Kendal is leaving the decision up to the house, but Katie makes it easy on everyone by volunteering to go in. Again! Listen, you've got to admire her for owning up to her failures in the daily challenges but Jemmye is right to point out the whole point of this game is to avoid elimination. This is now Katie's second time volunteering to go in and it's just getting weird at this point. Did she not come to compete at all?
KellyAnne then points out that it's not just up to Katie, since she's going to be affecting a guy's fate in this game as well. A lot of the guys don't really want to be partnered with Katie since she hasn't exactly been in game mode this season. It ends up going to a vote and Katie gets all the votes anyway, and some of the guys get really nervous thinking they're going to end up as her partner, especially since she'll get to see what the elimination is and pick her partner based on whatever it is.
When the cast goes out to a bar that night, Derrick puts on a show for Katie like he's super injured and can't compete against Mark in elimination. Yes plays into it too, giving Katie a fake doctor's note excusing him from elimination. Pretty soon, all the guys take their turns trying to "reverse Bachelorette" Katie, giving her all the reasons why she shouldn't pick them. To his credit, Laterrian is the only one who tells Katie if she picks him, he'll go in and crush the elimination. He's not scared to go against Mark. It's a great attitude, sure, but terrible strategy since she's probably going to pick him now.
Walking into The Arena, the setup for the elimination looks simple: individual tug of war, man against man and woman against woman. So who is Katie going to pick? To no one's surprise (and to Aneesa's disappointment) she picks Laterrian, and he walks down into the sand with his head held high. But I'm worried for him! This is not a great way for his game to end.
Elimination challenge: Pull Me Over. Players face off while standing on logs, pulling the heavy rope towards them and trying to pull their opponent off their log. If both players from the same team win the round, that's one point. The first team to two points wins the overall elimination. So this could go on for a while if teams can't win the same round.
In the first round, Kendal looks like she's going to get an easy win but then drops the rope out of nowhere, giving Katie the first point. What an upset! Now it's up to the guys, and Laterrian goes into beast mode, ultimately beating Mark and getting the first official point. I'm really pleasantly surprised by Katie and Laterrian pulling out the first win! They might actually have more of a chance than I originally thought.
On to round two. Kendal and Mark know they both need to win this to stay alive. Mark uses some strategy and leverages the rope to knock Laterrian off his stump early into the round, and so Katie just lets the rope go and gives the other team the overall point to "rest up" for the next round. That was not a smart move! Now the teams are even, and since both teams are tired, this final point is really up in the air.
In round three, Katie drops the rope pretty quickly, leaving the rest of the round up to the guys. They go for a long time, but Mark eventually gets most of the rope on his side and Laterrian ends up dropping his end, giving Mark and Kendal the overall win.
The elimination ended up being pretty evenly matched, but I wish Katie hadn't given up in that second round because she gave the other team their opening to win. Judging by how exhausted all four players are at the end, this elimination was tough, and they gave it their all. It just sucks to see such a strong player like Laterrian have to leave like this when he had a great shot at making and winning the final. But on the flip side, Mark and Kendal have bonded like crazy, and they'd be an unstoppable team in the final. So all the other players better watch out for this duo.
Katie walks out hugging everyone, which is quite a change from her past when she'd walk out flipping everyone the bird, and Laterrian gets some kisses from Aneesa before he exits. I'm sad that relationship is getting cut short right before it got good! But at least now, Aneesa can put all her focus back on the game again. Because with people getting to choose their elimination partners, the politics of this game have flipped upside down.