The Challenge: Double Agents recap: Karma, finally?
Who was eliminated in episode 16, "A Most Wanted Man?"
It's a great week to be a Challenge fan. Not only do we get another episode of The Challenge: Double Agents but we also get the season premiere of The Challenge: All Stars! What more could you possibly want? Well... I for one would love to see Fessy finally get some karmic retribution after his cringe display of overconfidence in last week's episode of Double Agents. Did I get my wish? Let's find out!
Everyone's proud of Big T for her Big W, and CT says that as a player, she's got "everything you can't train for." The endurance, strength, and conditioning she doesn't have is "an easy fix." But you can't fix that in just a couple of days or a week or however long we have until the final! And the Big Brother alliance of Kaycee, Fessy, and Amber B. is feeling strong, safe, and proud for making it as far as they have. But they also know it's not the final yet and anything can happen.
Meanwhile, Kyle isn't feeling great about his new partner Amber B. because not only is she in the Big Brother alliance, she's a rookie who will probably gas out in the final. He'd rather run the final as an individual — a sentiment I'm sure he's not alone in feeling, looking at these partnership matchups.
CT decides to try to train Big T with an early morning session and is there anything more terrifying than being (literally) kicked awake at the crack of dawn by someone like CT, especially when all he does is whisper to her: "Wake up. Dress warm." Big T is shocked at her 5 a.m. wake-up call, but CT gives her this in lieu of coffee: "Early? It's late. Late in the game." CT makes Big T do a lot of running and uphill exercises designed with the final in mind while he chills and watches her while wearing a hoodie, winter coat, wrapped in a warm blanket, and drinking coffee. I didn't know there was yet another version of CT to love, but Cozy Final Trainer CT is fantastic. He really loves serving us new layers season after season, year after year.
And Big T has never been more relatable than when she, already exhausted, asks CT if she's done, and he says, "No, that was your warm up." Her absolute shock and dismay at hearing the entire morning was only her warm-up is how I feel every time I warm up before a workout. And if you say you don't feel that way too, you're lying.
The Challenge: Mission Global Domination
While the players are hoping to see the words "Final Activated" on the wall, they're once again treated to the words "Challenge Activated," because this season is long. For this week's challenge, teams are locked into giant metal spheres for a game of... bumper balls? Offensive teams will attempt to roll over as many targets as they can while defensive teams will attempt to block them. The team who runs over the most targets at the end wins. And one team will get to play offense twice due to there being an odd number of teams, with their better score counting as their final tally. Since Kaycee and Leroy are the double agents, they get to decide who plays offense/defense and who gets to play twice, so they obviously choose themselves to go twice. That's a major advantage in this game!
The first round is Leroy/Kaycee, Fessy/Nany, and CT/Big T on offense with Kyle/Amber B. and Cory/Kam on defense. When the horn blows, Leroy and Kaycee immediately take a tumble, and it looks and sounds painful. Doing this in metal spheres instead of inflatable balls like they used to do in the past is certainly a choice. Nany is terrified about being locked in it with Fessy since he's a huge dude and doesn't care about the wellbeing of his partner. She's more worried about her own partner hurting her than she is about the actual task at hand, and I don't blame her after he kicked her in the face in their first challenge together! But Fessy/Nany actually take an early lead since they're kind of in the clear as Kyle/Amber B. keep targeting Leroy/Kaycee and Cory/Kam are focusing on CT/Big T.
Eventually, Leroy/Kacyee bring up their target count neck-and-neck with Fessy/Nany, while CT/Big T fall behind by a lot. And now it's time for round 2, where Leroy/Kaycee once again are on offense along with Cory/Kam and Kyle/Amber B. Big T/CT and Fessy/Nany are on defense this time. Fessy/Nany decide to split their defense time equally between all three teams, while CT/Big T payback Cory/Kam for the first round by focusing on them the entire time. But that means Leroy/Kaycee are virtually unblocked. But Kyle/Amber B. find out they're actually working well together and have the endurance to keep going in the second round while Leroy/Kaycee start to gas out.
At the end of the second round, TJ reveals only one target separated the top three teams (Kyle/Amber B., Nany/Fessy, and Leroy/Kaycee), meaning it was even closer than they realized. But the ultimate winner is — once again! — Kaycee and Leroy. That's five daily wins in one season! Leroy's never done this well in a game before, and for his final season, it's a great way to go out. The only thing that would make it sweeter is if he finally gets his Challenge win at the end.
Back at the house, Kam worries that she could end up in elimination if it ends up being a tie vote, and we haven't seen what happens if the house vote ties yet. At Club COVID that night, the battle lines are drawn between the four teams who will end up voting against each other in two blocks (CT/Big T and Kyle/Amber B. vs. Kam/Cory and Nany/Fessy). Kyle gets his foursome to agree to vote in Fessy and Nany. And Amber B. tries her best to politic with Kaycee to make sure she's not being targeted either, especially since she gave Kaycee the shot at her gold skull earlier in the season. But Kaycee's got limited options and she doesn't think she owes Amber B. anything "at this point in the game." That's ice-cold, especially for someone who rallied all the Big Brother players earlier this episode to talk about the importance of sticking together! And then to top it all off, Fessy has the gall to say that Amber B. has become "entitled in this game," to which I say, pot meet kettle, baby.
And then before the deliberation, Kyle and CT come up with a plan to start a public fight about how they're going to vote for each other in the hope of swaying even one person in the opposing block to vote differently, which would make Nany and Fessy the house vote instead of one of them. It's kind of a brilliant plan. And what else do they have to lose?
They execute their plan, with CT saying he wants Kyle to be the house vote and Kyle pretending to be shocked. But there's less fake fighting than I would have liked to see. Oh well, on to the vote! The real drama comes when CT actually goes against his own plan to tie things up and votes for Kyle/Amber B. That once again proves why CT is one of the best there is in this game. He knows he can't trust Kyle and doesn't want to risk his own spot in this game on a tie, even though it means going against his own alliance. CT is playing for himself and no one else.
After the vote, Leroy and Kaycee discover Kyle and Amber B. are compromised after Kam, Cory, CT, Fessy, and Nany voted for them. And CT doesn't even try to hide his betrayal — he immediately confesses what he did to Kyle because he'd rather go against Kyle than Fessy, and he knows Big T would rather go against Amber B. than Nany. So the stage is set!
Walking into The Crater, we see two tall plexiglass walls. You know what that means... it's time for everyone's favorite elimination, Hall Brawl! And with Kyle and Amber B. as the house vote, Leroy and Kaycee of course send in CT and Big T. The question is whether this is a male or female elimination? Or even a potential double? And while TJ builds suspense making everyone think it's a male elimination (I actually expected a double), it's actually a female elimination. That means it'll be a lot more anticlimactic than a CT vs. Kyle Hall Brawl. Hopefully, Big T's Hall Brawl training took!
Elimination challenge: You really don't need me to explain this one, do you?
In the first round, Amber B. and Big T collide in the center and struggle for a while, but when they eventually break apart and run for their opposite ends, Amber B. hits her button first. In the second round, it looks like Amber B. has it again as she keeps pushing Big T closer to the opposite end, but then Big T comes through with a burst of energy and pushes Amber B. back like a mini freight train. CT trained her well! It's an impressive showing from Big T, but when it comes down to a foot race again, Amber B. gets her second point, winning the elimination.
Big T really proved a lot of people wrong this season, winning daily challenges and her first elimination. But she's in no way one of the top-performing players. So while it's sad to see her go as a personality (and to see the end of Team Big CT for real), she had a great arc this season that she can be proud of. And that frees CT up for a partner who can endure (and potentially win) a final. I love Big T but you can't honestly argue that she could have won that final compared to these other female competitors. With some more endurance training in the off-season, maybe she could in the future! But it was too late for her to pull off a miracle this time around.
As for Amber B.'s choice of partners, she does what I've been wanting to see for weeks now and actually steals Fessy! His eyes-closed look of despair says it all. Nany's grin is bigger than ever now that she's freed from Fessy. She had her dream come true. And now both CT and Kyle beg Nany not to pick them since they want to be rogue next week and be safe for what's probably the final male elimination, and Nany ultimately picks Kyle, teaming back up with him for the third time. Kyle drops to the sand in anguish and CT is over the moon excited. What a crazy turn of events!
Now CT's bugging out since he thinks (and I think he's right!) that being rogue at this point means he's automatically in the final... and that's the last thing everyone else in this game wanted. TJ says something cryptic about the final being close, so you know there's only one more female elimination left. This partner switch-up just changed everything and I could not be more excited to see what happens next. Because karma finally came for Fessy!
Challenger of the week: Amber B. for pulling the trigger on the decision that needed to be made after Big T didn't do it last time. I'm here for this sabotage!