The Challenge: Spies, Lies and Allies recap: The night of eliminations ends in tears and betrayal
Just when the vets think they're safe and in the final on The Challenge: Spies, Lies, and Allies, TJ throws them a massive twist. Not only was last week's Emanuel vs. Logan showdown not the last elimination, there are actually two more — and they're both happening right now. No time to rest. No time to scheme. It's the Night of Eliminations!
This has never been done before on The Challenge. So … what is it? I assumed that everyone would have to battle it out for their spot in the final, but that's not the case. Basically, the teams are no more, and everyone is playing as individuals. Everyone votes someone in to elimination (no one is safe), that person gets to pick their opponent, and those two battle it out. There's one women's elimination first and then the men follow. Easy enough!
As the winner of the last elimination, Emanuel votes first. He picks Amanda, Amanda votes for Tori, and everyone else votes for Amanda except for Nelson who votes Tori (because she whispers to him that Amanda is going to call her out anyways). Of course, Amanda picks Tori as her opponent, based purely on her personal feelings against Tori. Never make a decision like this based on emotions!
Elimination challenge: Drone Drop. A drone will hover above the sand and drop a football. Players must race to grab the ball and by any means necessary place it in a barrel. First to two points wins. It's like a high-tech, spy-themed version of Balls In. I'm psyched to see a full-on headbanger for this final elimination between two people who absolutely despise each other. And unless Amanda pulls out some wild strategy here, Tori's walking away with the win.
Once they change out of their street clothes and into their uniforms, the great Amanda vs. Tori showdown begins! Even though Tori is bigger and stronger and has full-contact training, Amanda puts up one hell of a fight. They wrestle all over the sand, and eventually Tori pins Amanda's arms and manages to throw the ball, pick up Amanda, carry her to where the ball landed, and get her first point. It's an impressive show of strength and, dare I say, the female version of the Bananas backpack! In the second round, Tori jackhammers Amanda into the ground after their first tackle and easily runs the ball to the podium, winning the whole thing. No surprises here.
The two women hug it out and Tori apologizes, but a tearful Amanda tells her not to be sorry. After some shockingly sweet words from TJ calling Amanda a "very nice person" and the "No. 1 mom," the self-proclaimed Spawn of Satan leaves the game.
And the Night of Eliminations continues! Because Tori won, she has to start the voting for the men. Since Nelson voted for her, she throws it right back on Nelson. Devin votes Emanuel to keep the vet alliance going (but where was that loyalty when Amanda was sent in instead of Emy?), Emanuel votes for Devin, and everyone else votes for Emanuel (except Emy, who votes for Nelson), sending the last male rookie into his second elimination of the night. Brutal! Despite Tori's shouts of "don't pick Devin" from the sidelines, Emanuel still calls out Devin. It's the smart call — he's viewed as the weakest male left. If this elimination is the same as it was for the women, Emanuel's got this win on lock.
CT and Nelson confront Tori for her comments since Emanuel was always going to pick Devin, and they're trying to figure out who she'd want him to pick instead. Nelson is pissed because he thinks Tori wanted Emanuel to pick him. He keeps saying this is "typical Tori" but like, dude, you voted for Tori first. You fired the first shot, so don't complain because she shot back. No need to make this personal. Tori eventually swaps spots with Nany so she doesn't have to stand next to Nelson anymore, and I don't blame her. He's like an annoying child throwing a tantrum right now.
Elimination challenge: Triple Threat. I'm so sorry Emanuel, but you're not playing the same headbanger as the women. You actually have to solve three different puzzles! Everyone starts laughing as Emanuel realizes his mistake in picking Devin for this, but to his credit, Devin keeps a straight face and doesn't celebrate early. Devin reveals he had severe dyslexia growing up and that he would memorize what he'd have to read in class the next day so he wouldn't get made fun of, which is why he's great with numbers and memory now. But he also knows not to underestimate Emanuel, because anything can go wrong in the sand.
The first puzzle is like a sudoku with colors, and Emanuel actually finishes his first, proving that Devin was right to not think he had this in the bag! He moves on to the second puzzle while everyone is shocked on the sidelines. The pressure is on Devin now, and since the second puzzle is another sudoku involving quick math, Emanuel asks for help from the other players … and Tori and Kaycee actually give him tips. Wow. Devin is furiously yelling at them to not help Emanuel and CT, Nelson, and Kyle cannot believe Tori is still figuring out the puzzle for Emanuel. Then Nelson starts yelling at Tori for screwing over Devin, and her defense is that she can't see the colors of the first puzzle so she can't help Devin. But that doesn't mean you help his opponent beat him faster either!
Devin, frustrated, starts his puzzle over. Finally, he solves the first one and moves on. CT tries to help Devin by hiding behind Kyle so that Emanuel can't see him hold up the right numbers, but Devin refuses the help because he knows he can do this on his own. And he's right — Devin easily solves the math puzzle and pulls into the lead. But with help from Tori, Emanuel catches up, putting them both on the third puzzle. All the other vets are wide-eyed with their jaws on the floor at Tori's betrayal of her supposed friend Devin, and when Tori starts to cheer for Devin, everyone just laughs at her because she's already shown her true colors. This is just a mess.
Eventually, Emanuel thinks he's solved his final puzzle, but he can't figure out if he has it right or not ... and he doesn't call for a check. Devin calls for a check, but has two mistakes. I actually paused right here to take a closer look and I think Emanuel has it right! But he's not calling for a check and starts moving pieces. This is a major rookie mistake. Devin figures out his mistakes and calls for a check again, and he wins. If he did have it right, Emanuel was this close to sending Devin home, but he didn't know he had to call out for a check to cement his win. That's brutal if true. But those are the rules! Emanuel runs out yelling he loves Emy and Tori, and with that, the final male rookie is gone. Emy is the only rookie of the season left. She really is rookie of the year.
Thankfully TJ announces that this final eight — CT, Kyle, Nelson, Emy, Devin, Kaycee, Nany, and Tori — have earned their ticket to his final. Celebrations ensue: CT says he might "screw around and go back-to-back here," Emy is sobbing and hugging her Uncle CT, and I am just relieved to finally be at the final. This season has been long. I am tired. And I'm enjoying All Stars 2 so much more at this point (sorry not sorry). But I digress.
Back at the house, all the guys congregate in a room to s--- talk Tori some more for helping Emanuel. The next morning, Kaycee and Nany have a little date to celebrate Kaycee making her third final in a row and Nany's third final ever. They say it's their dream to cross the finish line together — but that's impossible now that it's an individual game. Someone's dream is about to get crushed!
Everyone starts to mentally prepare and get into their final headspace. For CT, that means grilling up some meat. For Devin, it's relaxing by the pool. For Emy, it's learning what a final will entail from her Uncle CT. And for Nelson, it means giving his legs a pep talk while taking an ice bath. I'm not even joking. Never change, Nelly T.
But nothing can ever prepare you for the final, and since TJ laughs as he welcomes all the players to the starting line, I hope this one is epic. It's the classic final format: Players must pass a series of checkpoints before finishing at a distant mountaintop. The first checkpoint is a puzzle to solve before racing to a helicopter that will deliver them to the next checkpoint, where they have to jump into a body of water.
The horn blows, and Nelson and CT are neck-and-neck in the first run to the puzzle, with CT reaching it just a second earlier. The first puzzle is the world map (which we saw in an earlier elimination this season). CT solves it in no time at all, but he takes off without clearing his board, leaving it open for everyone to cheat off of. That's a rookie mistake I wouldn't expect him to make! Tori takes off in second place, and as CT reaches his helicopter, he realizes he didn't flip his puzzle and is filled with regret. But at least it doesn't look like the timing of this checkpoint will affect anything other than the order they get dropped from the helicopters, so it won't hurt CT long-term.
Nelson finishes third and races off, Devin comes in fourth, Kaycee in fifth, Kyle in sixth, and even though Nany was cheating off CT's board she still can't get hers right. This is just embarrassing, especially for a longtime vet. Since Emy dropped her American flag by accident and didn't realize, she ends up finishing seventh. And yet Nany still can't get hers right — multiple incorrect checks later, she finally finishes dead last. Not a good start!
After a gorgeous helicopter ride, CT and Tori jump into the water, swim and then use aquatic vehicles from an earlier daily to arrive at the next checkpoint. Nelson and Devin go next, then Kaycee and Kyle, and finally Emy and Nany. Tori reaches the next checkpoint a second before CT. They grab flags and continue onto the shore, change into their uniforms, and take off on the trail. CT gets in first again with Tori in second place, and they begin their rocky mountain ascent. Nelson overtakes Tori for second place, and Kaycee and Kyle creep up on Devin.
Higher on the mountain, Nelson catches up to CT and keeps celebrating, so CT tells him to chill because it's "a little early." Nelson takes first place and CT keeps climbing right beside him until they reach the next checkpoint, which is the "circuit" puzzle from the same daily that used those water vehicles. Soon everyone reaches the checkpoint, and Devin actually solves it first, taking off in first place. He reaches two platforms and suddenly realizes they're going to have to form two cells and continue on in teams. This is great for someone like Devin, and horrible for someone like CT ... which makes it all the more hilarious that they end up on the same team.
CT finishes the puzzle second and, learning from his earlier mistake, throws the entire puzzle podium on the ground and almost falls over from the effort before running off (I could not stop laughing at this moment). CT then joins Devin on the Purple cell, laughing at how they're now on the same team. Out of all the guys in the final, this is a fantastic pairing and I feel sorry for the four people who end up on the other team when it comes to future puzzle checkpoints.
Tori solves her puzzle third and takes off, and Devin and CT can't contain their excitement at having her join their team. Then Emy takes off in fourth, joining her Uncle CT on Purple and cementing both teams. Kyle finishes in fifth, Nelson in sixth, Nany in seventh, and then Kaycee brings up the rear to complete the Orange cell. So we have two cells — what now?
TJ announces they're going to be in these cells until he says otherwise, and drops an ominous warning about not wanting to be in the last place cell at the end of the first day. You know what that means … a final purge is coming! Will Purple perform as well as everyone thinks, or will Orange pull off an upset? And will the final end in teams, pairs, or individually? I have no idea how this will all shake out, but I'm just so relieved that it's finally over next week.
Challenger of the week: This week goes to Devin for pulling off the elimination win and for not gloating when he found out his elimination would be three puzzles and nothing physical. He got lucky there and he knows it!
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