The Challenge: Double Agents recap: Team Big CT's final reckoning
Who was eliminated in episode 12, "Tinker, Tailer, Bunny, Spy?"
It's safe to say that last week's anticlimactic cliffhanger ending on The Challenge: Double Agents was more than redeemed with this week's dramatic events. Even without a formal daily challenge and with a different episode structure, this might be one of my favorite episodes of this season — and that's simply because the events that unfolded actually mean something. There's no BS rookie drama. Actual champion contenders made moves and got skulls, and the teams have been shaken up in a way that is actually going to change the outcome of this game. More episodes like this, please!
After a whole lot of build-up that we frankly did not need (after the entire past week of build-up), TJ reveals the security breach is... a double male elimination. Devin (and Gabby) received the most votes, so he's still in the sand. But who's next in line? It's Josh (and Nany), of course. The Goof is officially compromised, despite Darrell siding with Big Brother — it's a Challenge miracle, friends. And CT and Big T get to determine both matchups, so CT gets his wish of going against the Goof. This is such a major flip of the house dynamics, and Devin is thrilled, especially when CT straight up gives Devin his choice of opponent. And Devin picks Darrell! You've got to respect this guy's confidence. CT (and Big T) throws himself in against Josh. We're only a few minutes into the episode and I'm already cheering at my screen. Let's go get some skulls!
Enough waiting — let's get right into the action.
Elimination challenge: Dead Ringer. But it's turned up a notch this time. The poles are higher, further away, and players must knock down puzzle pieces off the poles and jump down to solve the puzzle to win. We know CT loves his tangrams, and Devin is also amazing at puzzles. Darrell's skills are more strength and endurance based (he thinks this is a "tangerine" puzzle), so this is really not the elimination he'd want. But never count out the four-time champ! And as for Josh? Good luck, Goof.
The first round is Darrell vs. Devin, and Darrell gets his momentum immediately, with Devin not far behind. They're pretty neck-and-neck throughout. Darrell gets his last piece first, but Devin's right there too. Then they both struggle with the puzzle — and Darrell actually beats Devin at "The Puzzle Master's" own game. What an upset! "The best man won tonight, and I've got to tip my hat to him. Called him out, talked a bunch of s---, and then got my ass kicked. Classic Devin!" Devin says, going out with a bang.
In CT vs. Josh's round, CT knows not to underestimate his opponent because he's "been beaten by some weirdos" in the past, but he also knows Josh is "big and clumsy." CT does some baby steps and then literally leaps to his first piece while Josh struggles to gain momentum. CT is out here looking like a real-life superhero flying through the air. He's never been in this kind of elimination before, but this is why he's the elimination king; he knows how to adapt to a weirdly-structured elimination quickly, and that's what The Challenge is really all about, more than strength or endurance — it's heart and thinking fast on your feet.
Josh finally gets his first pieces but keeps hitting himself on the podium, slowing his momentum down every time. CT gets all his pieces first, and his genius is proven once again: he actually had the forethought to drop all his puzzle pieces in the same spot, rather than just randomly everywhere on the ground so he didn't have to spend any time running around, grabbing them. That's a "CT pro tip" for ya!
CT runs to solve his puzzle while Josh can't get his final piece, and it ends quickly. CT places each piece exactly where it needs to go like he magically saw the answer in his mind. Like I said before, this guy loves his tangrams! "Me and my son, we do tangrams for fun," CT says with a smile. Kyle's impressed while Leroy is s---ing a brick because this is literally his worst nightmare: CT's qualified for the final. Just look at that grin:
Now multi-time Challenge champs CT and Darrell both have (stolen) their gold skulls, and "layups" Devin and Josh are gone (and they're now forced to spend a lot of time together on the very long plane ride home — "Can I punch him now?" Josh asks in his first intentional comedic moment in this franchise). This now makes the road for any male who doesn't have a skull very, very difficult. Nany's upset to lose Josh as her partner (girl, why?), and CT is starting to feel the pressure to play "like a scumbag" when it comes to either sticking with Big T or picking a better partner. Obviously, he doesn't want to hurt Big T's feelings, but he needs to pick a different partner if he wants to get his long-awaited fourth Challenge win.
CT gets first pick of partners, and without even a moment's hesitation, he switches into manic CT mode and immediately, literally, and figuratively turns his back on Big T and shouts, "Kam! Give me Kam! I've been waiting all season for Kam! I f---ed up in the very beginning! F--- you, Kyle! She's mine! Get down here, I don't give a f---! I've got my skull, we're going to the finals, baby!" Kam is laughing and smiling, Big T is horrified with her jaw on the floor, Kyle is glaring daggers at CT, and everyone is shocked at how cold CT is acting towards his former partner that got him to this point.
Finally, he calms down enough to address Big T, telling her that he loves her and she's been great, but she's not buying what he's selling. "I feel completely used," Big T says. CT keeps going on and on about how "not a day went by" that he didn't think about getting Kam "back" after rebuffing her on day one. Ouch, poor Big T. And Kam isn't thrilled with this change yet — she says CT still has many things to make up for after rejecting her earlier. Regardless, CT and Kam together? That is the one true Killa team. Everyone else can pack it up; this duo is officially unbeatable! Big T's plan of revenge to vote CT in "every time now" doesn't really have legs, but I understand where she's coming from.
And after all that partner-switching drama, Darrell actually decides to stick with Amber B. That's an... interesting choice for someone who hates the Big Brother alliance. As for Kyle, he decides to go back to Nany: "Nany, I'm home!" Cory is the first rogue agent of the night, so he picks Gabby as his partner. That leaves Nam with Big T. This game is completely different now! Just look at this new lineup:
Back at the house, Nany is crying because Josh always made her "feel better" about herself, and losing him sapped all her confidence. Why can't Nany ever get that confidence from herself? Every season it's this same song and dance. Meanwhile, Kyle is really pissed at CT for lying to him about promising not to steal Kam, while CT eats cold cuts and tells Kyle he just gave him a taste of his own medicine (don't forget: Kyle stole Kam first). And Kam wants to stay far away from this beef. Or is that turkey?
The next day, Nam is really feeling the pain from his back injury. All the rest and painkillers he's taken so far haven't helped. But he doesn't have to deal with that now because the players actually get to leave their COVID-safe headquarters and spend the day at a hot spring! It's been a while since we've seen the players leave for a day of fun. I hope they all get really drunk and bring on the drama. Just because it's their day off doesn't mean the game is on pause.
There are some sweet moments between Kam and Leroy looking like the ultimate Challenge couple they are, while CT knows he's got some work to do with smoothing things over with Big T. He sends her a big bottle of champagne. But it's Cory who gives her an inspiring pep talk to lift her spirits. Meanwhile, Nany reveals to Amber B. that if she wins an elimination, she's ditching Kyle for Fessy, which was her plan since the beginning of the season.
Back at the house, Nam's back is even worse. He's at a nine on the pain scale. Kam, Aneesa, and Leroy are urging him to take this seriously and not ignore it, so he goes to the hospital to get checked out. "I have to go, there's no other choice for me right now," Nam says, still hopeful that he'll return with a solution that allows him to keep competing. He's literally the polar opposite of Lolo, the quitter.
Outside, CT makes a campfire and sets out blankets and s'mores ingredients to lay the foundation for a Team Big CT heart-to-heart. "Hit me. Give me everything you got. I deserve it," he says. And she lets him know that while she wasn't surprised he wanted a new partner (which is heartbreaking, as she says that "nobody wants to be with me in this game," and even if it's true, no one should feel like that!), what hurt her was the way he delivered it. She was humiliated. And she breaks down while explaining that she did so many things during the challenges that terrified her for him, and she wanted to quit but didn't because she didn't want to let CT down. And while he can trade partners, he shouldn't treat a friend the way he treated her. I'm so proud of Big T for saying this so eloquently and honestly. It's hard to be vulnerable like that, and she really let it all out.
CT starts off with a great response about how he just helped her realize she's stronger than she thinks she is, and it's all amazing and sweet and inspiring! But then he gets a little too honest and tells her that she's just not ready for this final. He's not apologizing for picking Kam, but does apologize for breaking her heart. This weirdly is starting to feel like a breakup. It devolves into a shouting match and then Big T calls him a piece of s--- and walks off. Good for her for sticking up for herself! And now I'm laughing at her saying that CT was giving her "a Coach Carter-ass speech." Never change, Big T.
Nam comes back from the hospital after getting a giant injection in his back and sleeps it off. The next day, the daily challenge alarm goes off way later than normal, and you know what that means: night challenge, baby! Nam is not happy but determined to continue on. This guy's commitment is insane... and I'm more than a little worried for his health at this point.
When the players arrive to the night challenge, TJ kicks things off by addressing Nam's injury. The word from the doctors is he is medically unfit to continue, so Nam is officially out of the game. He breaks down in tears, saying he feels like a failure. This is so tragic to watch. He has the heart of a true Challenge champion, so this is hopefully not the last time we'll see him. But now Big T is now a rogue agent and won't have to compete in the challenge that's going to be everyone's "worst nightmare." However, she also won't be able to compete for the last female gold skull.
The Challenge: Mission Survive the Night
Each team will be locked together in a cell all night long, completing tasks and enduring "torturous conditions." The first team to break free wins. "Your night of hell begins... right now," TJ says, and the lights start strobing and a horrible metallic screeching sound fills the warehouse. Next week: we're thankfully back to a normally structured episode, beginning with the outcome of this challenge.
Challenger of the week: Nam for never giving up, even when his body did. Next season he deserves a much better partner than Lolo "quit and blame everything on everyone else" Jones.