The Challenge: Total Madness reunion part 1 recap: Even over Zoom, the drama is real
Praise be to The Challenge gods, because we've got ourselves a two-part reunion! Total Madness may not have ended with the normal in-person reunion due to the state of the world, but thankfully most of the cast reunited virtually and the first half of the reunion aired this week, hosted by NFL champ Vernon Davis.
Part 1 had the players talking about all the biggest fights from the season and revealing where they're at now. Next week's Part 2 will take more of a "$#!@ They Should Have Shown" format (Hey, remember when The Challenge used to air those specials? I miss those) in more of a behind-the-scenes, unseen footage clip show. But no matter what, it's good to know that even over Zoom, the drama is real. And yes, that is directed entirely at Nany.
But we'll get to her in a moment. Part 1 covered a lot, and some of it wasn't really all that important, so this week's recap is just going to focus on all the biggest beefs, rumors, and reveals discussed in the episode. Total non-spoiler alert: Dee was never even mentioned.
While Bayleigh opted out of finishing the final because she thought she tore her MCL, it turned out to be a less severe but still debilitating injury. "I went to the hospital in Austria and they told me I sprained it pretty bad," she says. "It sucks because I'm a runner. But I'm working through it."
Melissa's pregnancy (and those Kyle rumors)
It's pretty insane watching this season with the knowledge that Melissa was pregnant the entire time and didn't know it. And watching back the footage of her competing in the final made her tear up during the reunion. She reveals she found out she was actually four (!) months pregnant when she went to the doctor in Austria after quitting the final.
As for all those rumors that Kyle is the father, he jokes that he had to change his name and go into hiding for a few months after she announced her pregnancy on social media because he knew fans would think he was the father. And even though Melissa revealed who the real father is, fans still think it's him. He says they have never even slept together despite the rumors. But Melissa puts Kyle on blast, revealing that he actually tried to hook up with her the first night they met and she rejected him (he confirms this with a laugh). But the bottom line is they're just friends who get very handsy and sometimes hang out naked (according to that suspicious montage they rolled of Kyle and Melissa from this season).
Something was definitely up with Nany, even before this reunion taping started. Her body language was off, she seemed on the verge of either yelling or crying the whole time, and ended up walking off camera multiple times. It was shocking and bizarre.
Things started off relatively fine with Nany admitting to having had a crush on Kaycee. But when it comes to the rumor that they kissed, Kaycee says, "I know for a fact that Nany and I did not kiss. People can think what they want to think." And Nany owns up to flirting hard with Kaycee despite knowing that Kaycee had a serious girlfriend back home. "Yeah, I'll take the heat on this one. I did all the flirting," she says.
But when the conversation turned to Nany and Aneesa's fight over Nany and Kaycee's bond, things took a turn for the cringe. Nany clearly went into this reunion with a mission to confront Aneesa about how Aneesa didn't approach her directly to check her for flirting; instead, Aneesa approached Kaycee to tell her to be careful. Aneesa tries to discuss it and points out how Nany came into the house with Kailah and Jenna prioritized over her, so she became close with Kaycee and wanted to talk to her friend who had something to lose in that situation rather than Nany. But then Nany starts talking over Aneesa and won't listen or let her speak and threatens to just close her laptop because she doesn't "give a f--- anymore." Then why did you bring it up if you weren't willing to have a conversation about it?
For the rest of the reunion, Nany acted combative, shaking her head, fully closed off. It was awkward and weird. But maybe it all stemmed from her embarrassment over her drunken blow-up from this season, because she does say, "It's not okay, I'm ashamed, I do not want to do any more reality TV because of it, because of my actions... Bottom line, I'm f---ing Satan." There's definitely a lot to unpack there and for her to reflect on, but directing her anger at Aneesa seems unfair.
Nany ends up crying and tears off her mic and walks out of frame. When she finally comes back, she says, "Me and Aneesa are fine," when asked if she and Aneesa will ever be friends again. So where is this anger at Aneesa coming from?! Later during the reunion, she logs off the call saying she's "done protecting anyone because no one protects me." Oh, Nany.
Bayleigh and Kaycee
Update on Bayleigh and Kaycee's friendship after their blow-up this season: they really are over. "We haven't spoken," Bayleigh says. "Unfortunately this Challenge loses a lot of relationships so I guess ours is one of them."
It needs to be said that CT's dog Chewbacca is the cutest thing ever. What a great cameo! It might be the best cameo of the reunion (yes, that is a burn directed at Zach).
The unholy alliance
Johnny "Bananas" and Wes teaming up this season was a brilliant move. Bananas wouldn't have won without it. It made for a cinematic and surprisingly emotional story arc. So how did it start? Where did they get the idea to team up after over a decade of rivalry?
"It was a mutual decision," Wes says." We were in a car on the way to the Video Music Awards. Fifteen years of going after each other was summed up and fixed in 15 minutes — plus a bottomless pit of tequila."
CT had no idea what was happening but he's not mad that they didn't include him. 0"I'm happy for them," he says. "They make a great couple. I commend the way it ended. It was respectful all around. If you're going to do it, that's how you do it, right there."
As for how the unholy alliance ended in an elimination against each other, they both say they have no hard feelings about it and they're still good. Wes even says there's a reason that two of the smartest players in the bunker both wanted to go in at that same time. There was "no betrayal there."
The love triangle that never was
If you only watch The Challenge (and not Ex on the Beach), you probably had no idea that Bananas and Jay have a shocking romantic connection. But Bananas' current girlfriend Morgan (whom he met on War of the Worlds 1) is actually Jay's ex. "I mean it's f---ing true, what am I supposed to say?" Jay says.
But that surprisingly never was shown during this season and we never got to see that "love triangle" create drama between the rookie of the year and the champ. Jay reveals it's because he went up to Bananas at the start of the season and told him that he has no issues with Bananas because what happened with his relationship with Morgan had nothing to do with Bananas, and Bananas' relationship with Morgan had nothing to do with him. Yet another classy move from Jay!
The rivalry that never was
After a season of Josh claiming that Wes was coming after him (which never happened because Wes doesn't care about Josh), Wes hilariously calls out Josh for watching his Instagram Story during the part of the reunion where they're literally talking about Josh being obsessed with Wes. All Josh has to say about it is he's just "going to take the L" and won't comment about it. The facts speak for themselves here.
Jay's defeat of CT
CT doesn't regret going into elimination early even after losing to Jay, because he doesn't think he w0uld've gotten a chance to get a red skull again. "I blew it," he says of the elimination. As for his now-iconic "Don't make it weird, bro" response to Jay after the rookie told CT it was his dream come true going against him, he laughs. "I was a little salty, I'm not going to lie," he says. "What am I going to do, hug it out after you sent me home?"
Kailah and Bear
While Bear was not present for the reunion, we still got an update on his bunker relationship with Kailah.
"Honestly, he's just a really good time," Kailah says of why his flirting worked. "The bunker was really boring and Bear being there kept me really entertained. We hung out a lot and one thing led to another... I was unhappy in the situation I was in back home. I did a lot of reflecting in the house. Bear was being really persistent. And it was a way out. I said I was sorry, my ex-boyfriend and I have talked it over, and that's that."
But as for Nelson's claims that she and Bear "f---ed in a porta-potty?" Downright false. "I have never, and I would never. That is disgusting," she says with a laugh.
So what happened with Kailah and Bear after they were eliminated? "I went to the U.K. for like two weeks and hung out for a while," she says. "At that point, I had to go back to America, pack up my belongings from my old apartment which I was living in with my ex-boyfriend, and pretty much started a new life."
She is now dating someone new (Sam from Love Island and Ex on the Beach: Peak of Love) and says they're very happy together. She's actually in the U.K. living with him now.
Jenna and Zach
The bunker was hell for a lot of relationships, but especially for Jenna and Zach. Thankfully they got Zach to join the reunion, because he unfortunately was such a major part of her storyline this season. Jenna reveals they're getting married in February 2021. And everyone's facial expressions while watching playback footage of Jenna and Zach's video call fights from this season are priceless. It's extremely awkward and even Zach can't bear to watch it all; he has his face in his hands!
When asked what he found in Jenna's DM's that made him question his relationship, he gives a total non-answer. "Does it matter?" he says. "Regardless of what I found, we were strong enough to work through it. I won't go into that because that is between us. You can keep asking questions but I'll just keep deflecting." And looking back on it now, he says he wouldn't do anything differently in that situation. "No. I stand by my decisions," he says." Okay, dude.
Rumors of Jenna losing on purpose have been greatly exaggerated
And finally, everyone on the cast would like to put to bed any rumors of Jenna losing her second elimination on purpose to go home to fix things with Zach. She competed in true Barbie Beast style and did not quit or lose on purpose. Even though Nany spilled some "tea" on social media about Wes revealing to her that Jenna asked to be voted in so she could go home, it turned out to be false. Wes admits that he lied to Nany about Jenna wanting to be voted in because he didn't want "scary" Nany coming after him after 2/3 of her alliance went home on a week when he was in the Tribunal. So that's that!
Part 2 of The Challenge: Total Madness reunion airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.