The Challenge: Total Madness recap: Kaycee makes her choice, Bayleigh takes it personally
Yet another week of The Challenge: Total Madness, yet another week of producers completely editing Dee out after MTV cut ties with her due to her racially insensitive tweets. Last week it was obvious how much Dee had been edited out because she was a massive part of the story. We missed out on her entire reaction to being blindsided. While her absence is less obvious this week, what was obvious was how much rehashing and repeating of things we already knew was added to fill time. It was extremely boring and upsetting knowing there could have been actual juicy drama included in the episode instead. It sucks to know this season had the potential to be one of the most iconic in The Challenge's history and now it's just going to be remembered for dropping the ball in the final stretch.
But on to the recap! Josh still thinks he has a shot to get a red skull. Oh honey, that time is long gone. Meanwhile, the three remaining women without a red skull, a.k.a. Nany, Melissa, and Bayleigh, realize this is most likely their last shot to get one, so the campaigning is officially on. But Bayleigh keeps talking about how she doesn't think she can do this without Swaggy. And last week she said something about how her gameplan going into this season was to get Swaggy to the final and rely on him winning. I don't see her going much further this season if the fight is already out of her. Maybe it was never there?
Meanwhile, Nany and Kaycee's "friendship" continues to grow. They're cuddling. They're kissing each other's hands. They're saying "I love you." But Kaycee has a girlfriend back home! And the rest of the bunker is watching and talking. Bayleigh says that if she didn't have Swaggy during Big Brother, she and Kaycee would have "been a thing." And the way she's talking about Kaycee and Nany, it sounds like Bayleigh is a little bit jealous.
The Challenge: Bloc'd In
Played in two teams of seven, players must free a red car that is surrounded and boxed in by black cars. The way they move cars is essentially a gigantic, heavy, sliding puzzle: they can push the cars forward and back in different orders to free the red car from the board (kinda like that game Rush Hour). Whichever team frees the red car the fastest, wins. And then all seven members of the winning team will form the Tribunal. Team 1: Jenny, Bananas, Nany, Aneesa, Rogan, Cory, and Josh. Team 2: Kyle, Nelson, Melissa, Bayleigh, Fessy, Kaycee, and Dee.
Degree of physical difficulty: High. They literally have to move cars with their hands! Back and forth! For a long time! This one looks insanely tough.
Degree of mental difficulty: N/A. This is all physical.
Potential for drama: High. This has got to be the final female elimination (right?), so whichever team gets into the Tribunal has a lot of power over the remaining three women without a red skull. And since Nany is on one team and Melissa and Bayleigh are on the other, the outcome of this challenge is major. And what's even more interesting is that the team going second is taken away to a holding zone where they can't see how the other team performs, so they don't have an advantage. Finally the playing field is leveled with the order in which they compete!
Winner: Team 1: Jenny, Bananas, Nany, Aneesa, Rogan, Cory, and Josh.
Team 1 decides that Rogan of all people is going to be their puzzle master, which is insane. He's not exactly proven when it comes to puzzles, but okay. Jenny thinks she solves it immediately in her head but no one listens to her. Everyone on the team gets annoyed at her for talking and shushes her every time she opens her mouth. Meanwhile, Rogan starts to panic and doesn't know what to do. This is infuriating to watch. And then Aneesa sees a solution, but everyone keeps shushing her too. But when Bananas talks, no one shushes him and they listen, even though it was exactly what Jenny had said in the beginning! My God. Blatant sexism on display. I'm not surprised given who some of these guys are, but I am extremely annoyed. This team could have solved it so much faster if they had just listened to the women. Or even let the women talk!
Team 2 actually starts off by listening to the women's ideas, and when Bayleigh gives orders they immediately follow them. Even Kyle shouts out an idea and they listen. This team is working together so much better...because they're actually working as a team. It looks like they solve the puzzle much faster than Team 1, but they actually lost and only 13 seconds separate the times of the two teams. The magic of editing!
Tribunal: Jenny, Bananas, Nany, Aneesa, Rogan, Cory, and Josh. That means Nany is going into Purgatory against either Melissa or Bayleigh. What's interesting is that only the losing team gets to vote for the house vote, and Kaycee thinks she's going to be the deciding factor on whether to vote for Melissa or Bayleigh to go against Nany.
Back at the bunker, Nany tells Kaycee she'd rather go against Melissa, and Kaycee is clearly going to do what Nany wants. That means she's going to screw over her former Big Brother ally Bayleigh. We immediately see some fireworks since Bayleigh is taking it personally while Kaycee is just playing the game. She says she never made Bayleigh any promises that she knew she couldn't keep, and Bayleigh and Swaggy had separated themselves from the rest of the bunker all season while she was playing the game and making allies. It's a pretty valid argument but Bayleigh just keeps repeating that Kaycee is "hurtful" and "so rude."
At nominations, Melissa gives her speech about wanting to go in. Bayleigh is given the floor to do the same but just says that since it's an uphill battle, she wants everyone to vote and doesn't try to campaign for herself. Kyle votes for Melissa, Nelson votes for Bayleigh, Dee (in her first and only time speaking in the whole episode) votes for Melissa, Fessy votes for Bayleigh, and it, of course, comes down to Kaycee. Bayleigh won't even look at her, crying with her eyes closed while Kaycee votes for Melissa. Predictable but here we are!
After the nominations, Bayleigh freaks out and tells a producer she wants to leave. She goes "backstage," and refuses to be on camera. She finally comes back to her room and won't talk to anyone, even though Nelson very sweetly tries.
The group goes out to a bar that night and Kaycee can't stop hyping Nany up, which is definitely what she needs. And it's really adorable to see! Despite the potential relationship drama with Kaycee's girlfriend back home, I am loving Kaycee and Nany's connection. Bayleigh, of course, does not, and tells Bananas that she's going to make sure that Kaycee doesn't have a girlfriend to go home to... a.k.a. she's going to break them up by talking to the girlfriend about Nany. Yikes. Petty is not a good look!
The next day, the Tribunal has to call in Bayleigh, Dee, and Kaycee to interrogate even though this is all just going through the motions. We know it's going to be Nany vs. Melissa. But the interrogation does give us a quick scene of Jenny telling Dee she's not coming after her. The producers cut to a quick shot of Dee smiling/grimacing at Jenny. At this point, these edits are hilariously awful. What is this accomplishing?
Meanwhile, Bayleigh tells Nany during the interrogation that Kaycee pulled her aside after Swaggy left and said that she wished Bayleigh was in her bed. Is that true? Or is she just trying to cause some waves? And then Bayleigh tells Nany that everything that's happening (a.k.a. the death of Bayleigh and Kaycee's friendship) is all Nany's fault. But there's a difference between blowing up a real-life friendship and playing the best game for yourself, and it doesn't seem like Bayleigh understands that difference. She cries to Jenny about how she gets that she's the easy target and doesn't have ties but says she should still be treated like a person... How is not voting her into elimination not treating her like a person? That's not how this game works! She literally just said Kaycee's reasoning for voting for Melissa instead of her! Bayleigh threw down with Swaggy and Wes all season. Now that they're gone, she's acting like she was always siding with Kaycee, but Kaycee had to make other alliances. She's taking this way too personally.
When Kaycee hears that Bayleigh had said they slept together on Big Brother, she immediately goes to confront her. She calls it all a lie in front of everyone, and then Bayleigh just loses it and starts screaming in Kaycee's face while Kaycee just sits there calmly and tries to have a conversation. Bayleigh says she's being kicked while she's down because Swaggy just left and she doesn't have a red skull, but what about all those other times she had been in the Tribunal and refused to go into elimination because she didn't want to? Why is she acting like this was her only shot at elimination? She played this season wrong and she's trying to retroactively hold people to promises that weren't made. She also walks past Nany and calls her a "lyin' ass hoe" and just keeps walking. Wait, what did Nany lie about? Bayleigh's clearly just melting down and lashing out. And then it comes out that Bayleigh had a crush on Kaycee and thought it was reciprocated but now is realizing Kaycee didn't feel the same about her. Ah, finally, the truth! And then Fessy confirms that there wasn't a thing between them on Big Brother, just a friendship, and this was a good game move by Kaycee and Bayleigh took it the wrong way. That sounds pretty accurate.
Walking into Purgatory, there's just an empty circle in the pit, meaning this is going to be a headbanger! And just like we knew would happen, Nany chooses to go against Melissa.
Elimination challenge: Off With Your Heads. Players put on jumpsuits with five red skulls attached in different spots. Whoever rips off all five of their opponent's red skulls first, wins.
Degree of physical difficulty: High. This is a headbanger.
Degree of mental difficulty: N/A. This is all physical!
Potential for drama: High. This is likely the last red skull to be earned, and as a matchup, Nany's got the weight on Melissa, but Melissa is scrappy. This could be anyone's game.
Winner: Melissa, knocking Nany out right before the final again. You hate to see it.
Both women get a skull in the first, second, and third rounds. It's becoming clear this isn't a very well thought out elimination if each round ends in a tie. In the fourth round, they both grab a skull, but Nany rolls out of bounds when she grabbed hers, so only Melissa's counts. With Melissa up a point, the writing is on the wall, but it's thanks to a technicality. In the final round, Melissa gets her fifth skull, beating Nany. Sigh. I wish this had been pole wrestle. (Side note: Bayleigh gloats after Nany loses and says, "I don't think The Challenge is for you, sweetheart." Says the rookie to the longtime vet?! Girl. No.)
Challenger of the week: Kaycee for keeping calm and making a good game move.