The Challenge: All Stars 2 recap: The old Tina returns with a vengeance
Time flies when you're having fun, so I shouldn't be surprised that we're already halfway through The Challenge: All Stars 2. It's been exciting, hilarious, heartbreaking, and most of all, fun from the jump. I'm really sad that we're heading into the final stretch of episodes already. After the slow march towards the Spies, Lies, and Allies finale, this season went by way too fast! But here we are at episode 5, and All Stars 2 continues to deliver. Let's recap!
Back at the house, Ayanna is celebrating yet another elimination win and her new Life Shield, and the drinks and questionable dance moves are flowing for everyone. But Nehemiah, Laterrian, and Teck are off in a corner focusing on their "Three Kings/Kings Palace" alliance. Teck mentions that if he ends up in an elimination, he'd want to go against someone like MJ to get some respect for taking out a legendary player. They also solidify Steve in their alliance — for the sole reason that he has no one else. All they need is for someone in their alliance to win this daily, and they can make another big move.
The next morning, Casey and Tina talk about how Tina's no longer the mean girl she used to be. Inside, Melinda has an emotional talk with MJ and Jonna about how she was scheduled to have a C-section for her daughter that she lost a few months ago the next day. She breaks down in tears and admits that tomorrow's daily challenge is going to be rough for her. My heart is breaking for her, and once again I'm struck by how all these All Stars are dealing with such raw, real-life issues and showing the kind of true emotion that we haven't really gotten from the flagship series in a while.
The Challenge: Bounce Back
This daily is played as individuals, which I always love since we see who really came to perform. Players jump up a trampoline stack and make a leap of faith to grab a puzzle piece, falling into the water from high up — so we're in for some nasty falls. They then swim to shore, drop off the piece, and repeat the process two more times (or until they collect all three puzzle pieces, if they miss their piece on a jump) and solve the equations on them to stop their time. The man and woman with the fastest times win, and the slowest go straight into elimination.
Tyler and Casey go first. Tyler shows everyone how it's done, getting all his pieces on his first three jumps and solving his equations quickly. Casey, on the other hand, struggles to get her pieces, just tapping them and not giving enough force to knock them down. After multiple jumps, she gets pissed off at ... how everyone's supporting her and trying to give her tips? They're being really nice! But she just quits. Now this is the typical Casey we all know from The Challenge — last week was amazing, but turns out it was just a fluke.
Jonna and Teck go next, and Jonna's piece didn't fully drop with her, so she has to try again. Teck calls for a check on his equations but can't get it right. He keeps switching the numbers and ends up getting it right, but he screams "F---!", throws his helmet and life vest and storms off, knowing he lost a lot of time. Eventually, Jonna gets hers right, too.
Steve and Melinda are next, and Steve forgets the crucial rule that you can only go for one piece at a time. He jumps, knocks two down at once, and has to leave one floating in the water while he swims the other one in. The piece drifts really far away, making his last swim take even longer. He eventually finishes while Melinda struggles after her second fall into the water, gasping for air. She comes crawling onshore and the medics rush over and carry her to the ambulance. She officially DQs.
The challenge continues with Janelle and Nehemiah, Ayanna and Brad, Kendal and Darrell, Jodi and Laterrian, MJ and Tina (with the least graceful technique TJ's ever seen), and Jasmine and Cohutta. Jasmine also starts to struggle after a bad fall, but she continues on and ends up finishing strong. She even gets a standing ovation from TJ!
As the sun sets (a rarity to see a challenge go into the night!), TJ reveals Melinda is going straight into elimination because she couldn't finish; Casey had attempted one more jump than her before quitting. That's complete BS. Casey flat-out quit and should be the one immediately going in, not Melinda! Steve was the worst guy, so he's also going in. As for the winners? Jodi won for the women (again), while Darrell just barely beat Brad. Brad is relieved to not have to call out four players and make new enemies, and Darrell is in full cringe mode since that didn't go well for him the first time around. This is both Jodi and Darrell's second daily individual win this season, widening the targets on their backs.
Back at the house, Darrell, Brad, and Jodi conspire to burn Ayanna's Life Shield and nominate her, Teck, and Tyler. Brad pledges his allegiance to Darrell and Jodi now that Derrick's gone, solidifying the power of that threesome. As Darrell and Jodi have their winners' meeting, Jodi immediately puts Tina's name on the board for some swift revenge. They put Ayanna's name as the second woman so she'll flush her Life Shield, and that allows them able to put Teck and Tyler on the board for the men because she can't save Teck, too. Darrell wants to make sure Teck goes against Steve, thinking that because Tyler is so well-liked, the rest of the house will vote Steve instead. It's a risk! Why wouldn't they put in Laterrian or Nehemiah instead, thereby ensuring that the Three Kings alliance would be going against each other? What if the Three Kings put in political work and Tyler gets voted in? Darrell and Jodi also decide to put Casey in as Ayanna's replacement, which is appropriate since she quit the challenge.
Ayanna and Brad walk in to use their Life Shields (even though Brad knows he won't have to), and Ayanna tries to make a problem with Darrell and Jodi for taking away her Life Shield powers. Thank god for Darrell responding, "Same thing that happened to her," and pointing to Jodi. Brad says that he's not going to use his Life Shield and he respects their move. Ayanna saves herself and they swap in Casey's name, but now Ayanna is pissed. And Tina's pissed because she knows Jodi took a personal shot at her. Melinda's crying because of the way she ended up in elimination. And Steve is running his mouth about how Teck would be his choice of opponent instead of Tyler, even though Teck is in his alliance. This is getting messy!
Casey and Tina both give their hilarious pitches to their house for why the other should be voted in, and Teck jokes that he's only here so he won't get fined (shout-out to Marshawn Lynch). He won't say anything else because he's pissed that Steve wants him as his opponent. Nehemiah and Laterrian still hope to rally numbers against Tyler but they fail, and Tina's pissed that she's getting more votes than Casey, since Casey quit. As Teck and Tina get voted in, they both get fired up.
After the vote, Laterrian, Nehemiah, and Melinda can't get over how they helped Steve and welcomed him into their alliance only for him to turn around and betray them the first chance he got. After Steve screwed over Katie last week and now this, I don't think he'll ever have any allies again. Everyone wants to see Steve lose.
In the kitchen, Tina's on one. She starts knocking pans together to make an announcement about how she's a genuine person and everyone else is "a bunch of fake motherf---ers," and how "nice Tina is dead." She calls out Jodi before walking out of the room, leaving everyone in stunned silence. That didn't take long! Only one rough moment and she's right back to Mean Girl Tina. But Jasmine gets the true mic drop: "I'm too old for this s---."
Elimination challenge: Switch Back. Players race back and forth to turn off their opponents lit skulls and making sure their own lights stay on. The first person to switch off all three of their opponents' skulls while keeping at least one of theirs lit wins. This is the first elimination all season that's purely physical since it's just all speed and endurance.
The men go first. After the first light is switched, Teck runs right into Steve and knocks him to the ground. Yes to physical contact! Steve gets Teck right back and knocks him down on their second collision. On their third collision, they both remain upright, but it's clear that both guys are getting exhausted at this point. And while Teck was slightly behind, he picks it up and ties it just as Steve didn't fully hit a button, turning it into a footrace to the final light. Teck jumps for it, beating Steve and sending him home. Teck finally got his first elimination win! He's over the moon, both for sending Steve home and getting that sweet taste of elimination victory.
In the women's round, TJ blows the horn and Melinda sprints full force while Tina … just slowly walks to the center of the pit and stands there with a smile on her face. What is happening?! Melinda runs through the full elimination, but she's clearly upset that Tina didn't even try. Melinda, of course, wins, and everyone's shocked to see how Tina gave up. But Tina explains that it's because she didn't like who she was becoming in the house and she wanted Melinda to win. Melinda's disappointed because she wanted to prove herself and win fair and square, but a win is a win.
Tina tells TJ the energy in the house isn't something that she's meant for anymore, so she's "gracefully" bowing out. We all know how TJ feels about quitters, but oh well. Teck and Melinda rejoin the Kings Palace while Brad exclaims that he cannot believe he's seeing this alliance announce themselves so loudly to the rest of the house so early. Something tells me that's going to end in disaster for them. I can't wait to see it all blow up!
Challenger of the week: Teck for getting revenge on Steve while also getting his first elimination win. It took more than two decades, but it finally happened!
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