The Challenge All Stars 4 Episode 5 Recap — Winners & Losers

Brian Batty
31 min readMay 3, 2024

Welcome back to a fresh recap for The Challenge All Stars Episode 5!!! After a week away tending to family matters, I’m back and ready to drop some of Brad’s Unicorn Emoji brownies and dig my fingernails into this thing. Inside this week: The Pelican Brief gets brought up a record twice within a single Challenge episode, Laurel gets her Billy Mumphrey on, Kam helps Handjob Steve find Waldo, and much much more…

Winner: Staying Strong In The Face of Adversity

“Hey Cara, congrats on that elimination win! So, this season, we’re doing a thing where the previous week’s elimination winner gets to narrate the ‘Previously On’ segment. We’re letting people get creative with it, as far as choosing what they’re doing at the time. So now’s your turn.”

“Creative how?”

“Oh, ya know, something silly or funny to show off your personality. Like, for example, Tina did it while putting on make-up in the mirror. Steve did his while using that crazy massage gun we caught Jasmine using as a vibrator in the shower the other day. Anything you want, really. Within reason, of course.”

“I was wondering what happened to that thing.”

“Yeah, just a sanitation issue at this point. Anywho, your choice, but we only have an hour so time’s-a-tickin’.”

“Anything I want?”

“…Sure. Anything you want Cara.”

In a world where anything is possible, Cara Maria will always choose CrossFit.

Winner: Life — On A Long Enough Timeline, Anything Is Possible

An immature person thinks that they know things.

A mature person understands that they don’t know shit about fuck.

It’s 2017. Invasion of The Champions is on. We’re watching a new generation of The Challenge spread its wings and take flight. The last vestiges of original MTV programming preparing to take off into the Challenge stratosphere and orbit the earth along with Johnny Bananas and CT and the rest of the legends of this game.

And I come to you and say that in seven year's time, on this very show (or at least a spin-off version of it) Katelynn’s Fresh Meat 2 partner Brandon and Jasmine (yes that Jasmine) will be making unapologetic power moves and pitting Hall-of-Famers against each other in elimination rounds to further strengthen their place in the game.

You’d have said that’s crazy. And then probably asked me to leave your living room. Not a single Challenge fan on planet earth, not even Brandon or Jasmine themselves, would have believed me. Even DraftKings, in their blatant, gross, predatory attempts to extract every single dollar from the American populace in any possible (Seriously, I was at the bus stop waiting to go to work and the rotating ad-board gave me the Mavericks/Clippers moneyline, like bro, it‘s 7:30 in the morning, relax) would not have even put odds on it.

Simply put, that situation just was not possible.

Yet here we are. In reality. Where the impossible is not only possible, but in fact, it’s probable.

Don’t ever tell me this isn’t the greatest show in the world.

Winner: Post-Elimination Snacks

One of my dreams in life is to get ensconced within the Challenge world for like three years, take copious amounts of notes, then write a Breaks of the Game style book about these people and their existence within this magical ecosystem.

But it’s not 1973 and nobody pays writers to do anything anymore, so you’re all stuck reading this blog I do for free instead.

What a wonderful world. I really hope some bellend hedge fund foot soldier made a million dollars somewhere today.

Anywho, I say that to say if I were to ever get to live out that dream, I would absolutely dedicate an entire chapter to the social norms, taboos, and mores around the Challenge house kitchen etiquette.

Especially the way post-elimination food is handled.

They almost eat the way one would eat upon getting home from a bar. It’s like they’re eating drunk food in a drunk way, but totally sober. It must be a food deprivation thing, like they force them to go to the elimination hungry so they’ll naturally be a little more agitated leading to potential “drama” at some point.

Which brings us to the question of what exactly Laurel and Ryan are eating here?

While Cara Maria is whining about something or another, Laurel and Ryan are simply trying to nourish themselves. I think it’s some kind of fruit? I only say that because Laurel’s using a fork and Ryan’s using a spoon, which means that the food must be malleable in some sort of way.

Rice, maybe?

I understand that normalcy surrounding food vehicles is the moon in a group living situation like this, so it’s possible that the opposing fork and spoon usage is a symptom of circumstance rather than one stemming from active free will. But idk, we don’t have a ton of data points to work with.

So I’m gonna go with assorted fruit. Maybe like cut up melons or cantaloupe.

Okay, assorted fruit, final answer.

That was fun. Was that fun for you?

Winner: Pop Culture References

Omg, no way!

I love The Pelican Brief!

Did not peg Cara as a fan of sweaty 90’s legal thrillers, but that just goes to show that we truly do not know these people based only on the tightly edited forty-two-minute package we’re delivered once a week.

Maybe we should give these people some grace.

Loser: Hearing The Same People Talking About The Same Things Over And Over And Over Again

This is the look of someone who just heard a person they’ve known for too long somehow still talking about the same shit they were talking about all those years ago.

You ever get that feeling? When you’re at a wedding or a funeral or something like that talking to someone you used to know but hardly ever see anymore, and then halfway through the conversation you realize, “holy shit, you’re still bitching about the same shit you were bitching about when we were 16”?

It’s weird because it’s not like you want to be judgey. And by thinking this at all, you’re inherently saying to yourself, “I’m better than this person.” But at a certain point, you just can’t help yourself.

That’s what Laurel realized in the kitchen sharing cantaloupe with Ryan while Cara Maria complained about how unfair something was and did her woe-is-me routine. Her face in that screenshot above says it all.

You know, I wasn’t exactly sure what I expected from Cara and Laurel this season. But them circling each other like everything is normal and that they’re just two rando challengers who have hardly even met….is not what I expected.

Yet, as always, especially with these two, reality has become so much more fascinating to me than any outcome I could have thought up. Just based on the trailer alone, it’s clear to me that the Cara/Laurel/Nicole Crazy Casserole was how they decided to sell the season. Cutting up a montage of Laurel screaming in Cara’s face, using words that carry weight beyond just the words themselves, was the hook of the entire thing.

It’s there, though. You can feel it each time they interact. But they’re savvy enough to understand that in a game where it’s open season on the stronger women in the house, they need each other. Fortunately, unfortunately, whichever one of those words apply to their own feelings on that situation is only for them to know.

Because if one thing is for sure, trying to put my own brain into either Laurel or Cara’s is an exercise in futility.

I’m simply happy to be here.

Speaking of happy to be here…

Winner: Billy Mumphrey And His Unbridled Enthusiasm (Part One)

That looks like the most fun I’ve ever seen in my life.

Winner: Opportunities To Call Myself Out

At this very moment, do you think Derek gives a single iota of shit about how “good” any of us think he is at The Challenge?

I’m not sure what this says about me, but by far one of my personal favorite moments in this show is when they prove to me how moronic any of us are for worrying about how good some of these people are as competitors.

Nikola Jokic is probably my favorite basketball player right now. And it really has nothing to do with his game, or his style of play, which is like everything I have attempted to replicate on the court my whole life as a fellow chubby tall un-athletic white guy with good hand-eye coordination.

Nope, he’s my favorite player for one single reason. The “Best Basketball Player In The World” is a role built for the type of person who thinks they’re a superhero. Because that’s sort of what they are. Michael Jordan started it, Kobe kinda made it weird but kept the mantle going, and Lebron eventually over-saturated it.

But they all understood that being The Best Basketball Player In The World carried a sort of weight to it. Whether or not that weight is actually important isn’t relevant. It worked on me. It’s worked on millions of other people. The role they’re playing in the culture is important. It matters. To them more than most. But that level of self-importance, with the help of basketball media, wears off on the populace leading to an increase in it’s tangible importance.

Nikola Jokic thinks that’s moronic.

And he’s the only one in this equation who is right.

From a distance, it would seem that he doesn’t care about basketball. Which isn’t true, you can’t be as good as he is without caring enough to put in the work. But what he doesn’t care about was all the stuff that Michael Jordan and Lebron think is important.

It’s probably true that you and I enjoy watching TNT on a Thursday night during the regular season about ten thousand times more than Jokic would. I’d even go so far as to say that there’s a good chance that you sitting at home on the toilet reading this straight up likes basketball more than he does.

And I think that’s hilarious.

Jordan, CT, Johnny, they all consider themselves important. Even if they would tell you the opposite if you asked them in a public setting. Get them alone, where you’re just talking between two people, being the Best Challenger Ever one hundred percent matters to them.

Is Derek Nikola Jokic? No. Unfortunately not. But while I sit at home writing thousands of words in attempts to parse who might possibly win the season, ranking who’s got the best cardio, debating the merits of different challengers in a pole wrestle, Derek’s fanning himself, sitting poolside and tanning in the South African sun.

Not a care in the world.

Any human being deep down just wants to be in the place Derek is right there. Maybe not the exact setting, but that exact feeling.

Loser: Me For Missing Last Week

I’ll get into why I missed last week in just a bit, but for now I want to point out that by missing it, I missed my opportunity to look like Nostrafreakindamus.

While watching the episode, I could not help but notice how fresh every guy’s lineup was. Ryan especially has been looking clean AF all season. This is no coincidence with the return of Leroy. As the drop-off in men’s hair quality as the season progressed was significant in his absence.

And now he’s back, and they all look great. Which I noticed and wrote down in my scattered notes for a recap I didn’t ever get a real chance to write.

As you can see in the top left corner, the very first note I wrote, Leroy Haircuts.

Fast forward to an episode later, and Leroy’s Barber Shop is open in the basement.

It’s funny, the section directly before this I wrote about the stupidity in caring about any of this, and here I am, writing about something stupid that doesn’t matter at all.

Do as I say, not as I do?

Idk, I’ve sort of lost the plot.

The point is, the guys all look great this season. Thanks to Leroy. But not as great as this guy, obviously…

…..

………

…………….

………………………..

……………………………………..

What? Did you expect shirtless, sweaty Horacio furiously pedaling a stationary bike in the woods?

Jesus, I’m not that easy.

Winner: Adam

Describing being able to have a conversation while giving a haircut as “beauty that transcends this experience” is like the illest shit I’ve ever heard.

Winner: Reaching Out, Even When You Don’t Think Anyone Would Listen

A few weeks ago, All Stars 4 premiered. We were flying high. I was flying high. If you had read those recaps, my joy surrounding this season was palpable. It was oozing out of the paragraphs, leaving the tips of your thumbs sticky by the time you were done scrolling to the bottom. This season was the cure to my winter-time blues. The cure to my depression and the balling up and dismissing of complicated, still unscrutinized feelings from all the real-life things I’ve gone through over the last year.

It felt freeing. I was Laurel riding the pool flamingo like a cowboy. I was unbridled.

And then the Tuesday morning before Episode 3 was released, I got a phone call.

And All Stars 4, scary quick, didn’t matter anymore.

It’s not my story to tell, but this is closest I’ve ever been to someone taking their own life. This was no one in my own direct family, but it was close enough. It also happened to be incredibly triggering for the recent death of my own close family member. Maybe the 19 people who read these can pick up on what I’m trying to say without coming out and saying it, maybe not.

The point is, just when The Challenge Gods give you everything you’ve ever wanted, just as Derek showed us while fanning himself poolside, and Nikola Jokic has shown us by winning fistfuls of MVPs and championships while being uninterested in doing so, none of this matters.

Want to make the universe laugh? Tell it your plans.

Between the rushing around Chicago, picking people up from airports, buying cards and flowers and all that, I was somehow able to eek out a recap for Episode 3 that I honestly don’t think was very good.

And then the week just flew by, I hardly even watched episode four, we went through the services, and now here we are. Back to real life. The world moves on. Regardless of who remains in it.

One thing I learned about this person along the way, picking up on ancillary details of his life, is that he was alone. Or at least he felt alone. And at a certain point in someone’s head, there is no difference.

This person didn’t have a Kam to notice they were struggling. To notice anything was wrong.

I’m serious when I say this, pay attention to the people in your life. If they seem off, if you don’t think they’re doing okay, ask. Check on them. They’ll probably lie, especially if they’re a man, and say everything’s fine.

Ask again.

Even if they lie again, just by you asking, they might not feel alone. Even if they never reach out and let you into the dark spaces in their mind, sometimes knowing the life-vest is tucked into a corner somewhere is enough.

It takes a special sort of courage to admit that you’re mentally not doing well. Like truly not doing well. And most of us are not that brave. Leroy just admitted he wasn’t one of those people. Whatever feelings he had, and I too am learning that fathers can get postpartum depression, which is why these conversations, no matter how forced they sometimes can be, are important, if left unchecked could have led to separate, worse feelings about something seemingly unconnected.

This is not a joke. If you’re reading this, stop right now, pull up your contacts, and reach out to a friend. Or a family member. Someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Or even someone you know is having a tough go of things at the moment. Just send them something short. Send them, “hey, randomly though about you, just checking in, hope all is well”. The words are less important than the message.

Go, do it. I’m deadass serious. Then come back and we can make fart jokes and reference Billy Madison for the rest of the episode.

Loser: Forgetting The Very Recent Past

Uh, idk Leroy, did you not watch Ride or Dies?

Duh!

The short attention spans on these kids these days is getting out of control.

Winner: Whoever This Camera Person Was Who Got This Shot

Give this person a raise. Give them a promotion. Give them access to Viacom’s fleet of private jets.

That is called visual storytelling people. There are so many layers and metaphors just in this single camera shot. Incredible stuff.

Don’t ever tell me this isn’t the greatest show in the world.

Loser: Boredom

You gotta wonder if Tony never had left and Nicole had someone else to hang out with if any of this would have ever happened.

Yeah, you’re right. It definitely would have. But maybe not so soon, ya know?

Loser: Wasted Space

What the hell is this room supposed to be?

I see a piece of loose carpet not fastened to the floor in any meaningful way, a travel-sized steamer, what I think is a WiFi router type dealio plugged into the wall, a desk or table of some sort, those bright ass light strips along the wall, a single framed something (a mirror perhaps?) on another wall, and then one outlet being used for something else in a bedroom adjacent to it.

So what the hell is this room?

Is it just a wrestle room?

Did the Challenge Gods have enough foresight to leave an open room for the potential of a Laurel and Nicole sexual frustration wrestling match?

Tori and Jordan set the tone on Ride or Dies, and getting this shot of them in that narrow hallway was probably tough. So instead, why not just give them potentially an enormous open space where we can get mostly any footage of it we want?

I’m all over your shit, Challenge Gods. I see you. Out here. Manipulating these people in extremely subtle ways.

The ham-fisted transition shots of chess boards are just a red herring to get me to think you’re not sophisticated.

No, no, no, not today!

Winner: Learning Something New About Someone You’ve Known Forever

Lmao, Laurel hates the term roller coaster?

What? Why?

What a strange thing to know about someone. That’s intimacy, right there. I bet no one else in the world knows that Laurel hates the term roller coaster other than Nicole.

Also, now that I have this information, how do you think it would be best to approach Laurel about joining you for an afternoon at Six Flags?

“Hey Laurel, wanna go to Six Flags and ride some roller coasters?”

“I hate the term roller coaster.”

“Right. Okay. Well, then, you wanna go to Six Flags and ride some carts which are rolling and coasting along metal tracks high in the air?”

“Hell yeah, I’ll be ready in ten.”

Winner: Being In Olivia Rodrigo’s Entourage

Vampire is like the fifth best song on GUTS. I do not understand why that’s the one she chose as the single out of all the great songs on that record. I’d have gone with All-American Bitch or Get Him Back, ESPECIALLY as my Grammy’s performance, but as usual, Olivia didn’t ask me what I think.

Hell, the song ‘bad idea right?’ is almost word for word about Laurel and Nicole’s current predicament. Maybe that confessional outfit was on purpose.

Also, is it true that people think SOUR is a better record than GUTS?

I feel like that’s the consensus and it makes zero sense to me. SOUR has some boring as stretches, and yeah ‘drivers license’ is probably a better song than any of the tracks on GUTS, and ‘good 4 u’ is still her best single and still the one she’s gonna close her concerts with forever, GUTS overall is just wayyyyyy more interesting and fun.

This was your Angsty Teenage-Girl-Pop-Music-Reviewed-By-A-Guy-In-His-Thirties update, sponsored by Tenscape!

Loser: Flora Misunderstanding Her Roommate

Yeah, see, the thing you gotta realize, Flora, is that Nicole doesn’t give a shit.

Winner: Billy Mumphrey And His Unbridled Enthusiasm (Part Two)

That looks like the most fun I’ve ever seen in my life.

Loser: Lying

Lmaoooo that is so not true.

God I love these people so much. They just say shit. To hell with veracity.

Loser: Subtext We Can’t Understand

Just based on the way Kam began this conversation, by bringing up “the Ayanna situation”, a situation which we weren’t fully privvy to and has only grown into a he-said-she-said monstrosity of rumors and allegations from something that happened to these people over a year ago, this says to me that no matter which way the editors are trying to frame this conversation, it’s very clearly about so much more than just a single vote.

But that’s the thing, I know more about “the Ayanna situation” than what is shown because I actively was seeking out that information. If I had to guess, I’d say seventy percent of the people watching this episode don’t know or don’t care about the complicated details of what “the Ayanna situation” actually was.

Which was, generally, if I’ve pieced the puzzle pieces together correctly, more of a situation that my white suburban self cannot truly comprehend and should rightfully take the “shut-up, listen, and learn” approach.

Yet what we’re presented with is a mother of two and a CrossFit enthusiast having an argument that doesn’t really make sense. Cara’s mad that Kam won’t admit she got what she wanted while Kam sits on the opposite bed admitted that she got what she wanted while disguising it as some sort of approach where Cara actually wasn’t the victim.

Even typing out that sentence made my head hurt.

Just another prime example of why having less information about a situation always makes that situation more enjoyable.

Loser: Brandon’s Perspective

Okay, sure, but Brandon do you understand how difficult it’s been for Cara Maria to keep her Instagram followers up when she hasn’t been on The Challenge since 2019?

Like, get some real problems before you start lashing out, ya know?

Exactly!

But Brandon wouldn’t know that, because he’s too busy having kids, getting married, getting divorced, losing his father, and getting into multiple car accidents to bother checking in on Cara Maria.

This is the Big Easy/Katelynn situation all over again for Brandon. Dragging everyone down with his privilege.

Loser: Taking It One Step Too Far

I mean, now we’re just being ridiculous.

Rather than showing any sympathy for her friend that just emptied his soul out to her in attempts to prove that her playing the friendship card is just goofy behavior, she then just dismisses those problems as too trivial to get her to care (Because she doesn’t care about anything! See!), but ensuring that it’s not personal because he’s the same amount of insignificant to her as everyone else.

I can get behind that line of thinking.

But to then follow it up by saying “I don’t follow everyone else’s life” when she’s just spent the last four years lobbing grenades into the Challenge Universe from the sidelines while using Paulie to go on podcasts and spread her messaging like he’s her own personal Shams Charania, now that’s just too much for me to handle.

It is just tremendous to have Cara Maria and her delusions of grandeur back in my life.

Winner: Aneesa

What may be a jump scare for some, to me was like flipping the pillow over in the middle of the night and feeling that cooling sensation wash across your cheek.

Winner: Watching The Challenge On Acid

This image isn’t totally inaccurate, from what I’ve heard from other people, of course. I’d never ever hypothetically trip while watching Rivals from start to finish when I was 26. No chance of that happening.

Anywho, you guys hear OJ died?

Winner: Anti-Freeze

Has anyone ever been able to explain why they made Anti-Freeze look so damn delicious?

If you haven’t looked at a container of anti-freeze and didn’t immediately think of blue Kool-Aid, then honestly, you’re as big of a liar as Cara Maria is.

I wonder if they got paid by like the CIA or Harvard or something to do research on how stupid humans can be. How many people have died from drinking anti-freeze? And how many of those people drank it because they were tricked into thinking it was blue Kool-Aid?

Deadass, Google might be the most useless website in the entire world.

Winner: The Sound FX Person

Lmao, fuck yeah.

Winner: Mutt Cutts

Sure, that’s one title for the song they played during this part. A better name for it, or the one I know it as, is the Dumb and Dumber song.

FOOTLONG! WHO’S GOT THE FOOTLONG!

“Harry, why haven’t you dropped those dogs off at the show yet?”

“Sorry I didn’t want to send them to a performance on an empty stomach, sir.”

Dumb and Dumber is the GOAT movie don’t @ me, @fessyfitness.

Playing a song that will conjure up thoughts of Dumb and Dumber in the heads of those who get the joke was an absolute genius move. I’ve been killing the music people for their ham-fisted and obvious needle drops all season. Yet this one was subtle enough to make up for all of them.

Thank you, Challenge Gods. Thank you so freakin’ much.

Winner: Brad’s Poor Performance

I love this show so much it hurts.

Winner: Kool-Aid

Which flavor of Anti-Freeze, I mean Kool-aid, would you choose from these options?

Grape all day for me. It is weird though, when it comes to Gatorade specifically, I’m a lime green guy all day. I’m also convinced they recently made the Cool Blue taste worse, like they made it cheaper or something, because they know people will buy it because it reminds them of the time they had to be hospitalized because they drank a liter of Anti-Freeze.

Winner: TJ Lavin, Finally

This is definitely the first time he’s actually enjoyed a day of work in like thirteen years, right?

Winner: Managing To Remain Focused On The Important Questions While Being Blasted In The Face With The Most Unnecessary Puff Of Smoke Ever

No, it certainly was not.

I ask the same thing when they do that at the eye doctor. Like, really? That seems like something some eye doctor came up with in like the 1780’s and for whatever reason no optometrist since has ever thought to update the procedure. What does that even do, honestly? Is that just one of those things they do to exert control over you?

Shout out to all the eye doctors out there and everything, but can we do away with that part of the proceedings? Imagine if some dentist in 1898 was like “I started twisting my patient’s nipples as hard as I could before each appointment” and then the rest of the dental industry just stuck with it.

Somebody likely would have done something to fix that by now, would be my best guess. And yet when I go to get my eyes checked I have to endure a blast of cold smokey air directly into my retina for reasons that remain unclear.

It’s barbaric, honestly.

Loser: Nobody In The Editing Room Noticing A Tall, Skinny Smurf Pissing Straight Into The Camera Before Releasing It On International Streaming Television

Winner: Brad’s Unicorn Emoji Brownies From Earlier Beginning To Peak

Winner: Peaking

What in the fucking early Odd Future video just happened to this episode?

This show rocks, never change #Gordo.

Winner: John Grisham

Damn, that’s crazy that there is now a second reference to the movie The Pelican Brief in the same rando episode of All Stars 4. Airing in 2024!

Also kind of wild that Brandon’s young child is such a fan of this not-that-great movie, that he comforts her by explaining he’s off in the fictional Mississippi town of Wakanda with Denzel and Julia Roberts.

But, as Brandon mentioned earlier, I too haven’t reached out to him in eight years. So how could I possibly know that his daughter was as into sweaty 90’s legal thrillers as Cara Maria is? Maybe that’s one thing they could have bonded over if Brandon would have just extended the olive branch a little earlier, ya know?

Loser: Club Rat Jay, But This Time It’s Not His Fault At All, He’s A Pure Victim

I’ve said it before, but I never feel bad for anything that happens to these people on this show.

They signed up to play a slightly dangerous, extremely unfair, biased across countless lines, uncomfortable game. There are hours and hours and endless evidence of every potential peril you may come across during your time there.

Even Olivia getting hit in the face with the golf ball. Not that it was her fault, I just didn’t really feel that bad. I felt bad on a human level, but idk, in a sick sadistic way, that’s just kind of part of the game.

The only time I’ve ever actually felt bad for someone was when Desi got disqualified from the Final before it even started due to Enzo’s allergy to competence simply because Enzo should have never been allowed to compete in the first place.

But this moment right here might officially be the second time.

Could you imagine Nicole sex noises? Sex noises from Nicole trying to put on a show for an ex?

I really am sorry, Jay. Truly sorry.

Maybe just cut my ears off instead.

Matter of fact, just give me the full Ned Stark. Chop off my entire skull. Nothing else would matter to me after being next to the two of them having make-up sex. The joy would be sucked out of me. By the time the sun rose in the morning I’d be more dementor than I was human.

There are so many feet in the air in that bed next to him. I thought that between Laurel and Nicole they only had four feet but apparently, I’m wrong because I count eleven.

That’s enough of that.

Let’s cleanse our palettes, shall we?

Alright, no more porn for today. Everyone’s been having a good time but it’s time to relax.

I need a cigarette.

Winner: What’s To Come

How do we get from this…

…to this?

They can pretend they’re just two regular ass people who are regular ass friends all they want, but we all know the truth. While it may have slightly ruined the Cara vs Rachel showdown (though the game they chose did plenty of work to ruin it on its own), showing this clip in the trailer keeps our heads on a swivel, even more than usual, each and every time the two of them interact.

Winner: Leroy

Yo, is that James Bond?

Shout out Leroy, Adam’s hair looks incredible.

Loser: Music Critics

This looks like the cover of a really, really shitty indy rock album that everyone on Pitchfork in 2013 swears is life changing.

Sobasically,y anything by Sufjan Stevens.

Okay, what I’m saying is this looks like the cover of a shitty Sufjan Stevens record which is actually a poorly written sentence because using ‘shitty’ to describe a Sufjan Stevens record is as redundant as Leroy’s former Real World Roomate calling himself Mike Mike.

Except the Illinois one. That had some good songs on it. Most of which I like because they’re literally called things like ‘Chicago’. And I’m nothing if not a totally biased shit head who is ultimately unreliable in regards to objectivity, but as King Sweet Potato said, I yam what I yam.

Anywho, you got any music recommendations for me?

So far, you’ve learned that I like late-period Olivia Rodrigo and hate all Sufjan Stevens records made after the end of the second George Bush administration.

Whatcha got for me?

Winner: Julia Roberts, Again!

Sadly not a third Pelican Brief reference, but still, the idea of yet another Julia Roberts movie being brought up in a single episode of All Stars 4 is bonkers.

Winner: Wale Deep Cuts

^^^Me during this elimination.

Loser: Orthodontist Waiting Rooms

“Wait, Kam, where did you say you saw Waldo?”

“By the hot dog stand, Steve. Near the page crease on the left side.”

“Yeah, I still don’t see it.”

“Would the two of you shut up?”

Winner: Leroy, Yet Again, Perfectly Describing What It’s Like To Be A Teenage Boy

Winner: Leroy

Look, they even made a graphic for me.

All jokes aside, whether he had won this elimination or not, it’s very clear to me and everyone else watching that Leroy is already a winner at life.

Which is all we can ever want for those we care about. And whatever, say what you will, but after all these years, I do care about Leroy. As I do for so many of these people. If I didn’t care, if we didn’t care, this show wouldn’t be where it is.

These early episodes have actually, in a strange turn of events, made me want Leroy to win less than I did at the start. Don’t get me wrong, I still want him to win. It’s obvious, though, that compared to everything else he has going for him, this win is meaningless. It’s a check. It’s a job. Which, in a way, it always was for him.

The meal has hardly even begun, yet I’m already full. These early episodes have been enough. I recently wrote an entire article, one of the longest I’d ever written, containing a running theme that on The Challenge, the results are the only thing that matters.

It seems to me, and most importantly to the man himself, that for Leroy, the results this season, whatever they may be, triumphant or not, don’t really matter at all.

Though I’m sure the money would be nice.

Speaking of results…

Winner: Brandon

He would be the first to point it out, but because I haven’t called him in the last eight years, I don’t really know Brandon.

Yet based on just what he rattled off to Cara Maria in the bedroom earlier on in this episode, in those eight years the universe tossed him into a blender, closed the lid, and turned the knob so far that it broke off leaving him to spend that time in a perpetual pulse cycle.

So, yeah, he may not have lived up to the “Assassin” nickname he was given for some reason. But maybe he saw The Killer and decided to be more like that Assassin rather than a talented one.

Either way, for at least a little while, Brandon was able to go back to a time before life threw him for a loop. A time when his most daunting problems were Big Easy and an affinity for morning beers and pre-gaming.

I’ll let Adam take us home, as this elimination round, and it’s participants, can both teach us this valuable lesson.

VIVA LAS VEGAS!!!

See you back here soon! And until then, as always, Happy Challenge Watching!!!

AUTHOR’S NOTE: So, we’re coming up on my 200th article soon, this one was number 185, and I wanted to try something a little more interactive. What I want to do is have an opportunity for any of my 19 readers to send in questions for me to answer. Doesn’t need to be Challenge related, it can be whatever you want. I just thought it would be nice to be able to hear from some of my readers and do a big celebration with fun screenshots and all that.

So I’ve set up a gmail account for you to send them in to, fessyfitness200@gmail.com and over the next few months I’ll gather them up and release them as a 200th article celebration.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll see you all back here soon!

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Brian Batty

Writing about MTV’s The Challenge, one of America’s great institutions