The Challenge Double Agents Episode 12 Recap — Winners & Losers

Brian Batty
10 min readMar 4, 2021


Welcome back to another edition of Winner & Losers! This week we watched three people leave us, four new teams formed, and one big broken heart. Inside this edition Darrell serves up humble pie, the gang breaks another boring barrier, we examine CT’s apology, and much much more…

Winner: Consistency

Tigers don’t change their stripes. Gonna miss this guy.

Loser: Aneesa

Aneesa, anyone who’s seen any of the last 35 seasons of The Challenge knows that CT is good at puzzles. Nobody thinks CT is bad at puzzles. Stop putting words in our mouths. Unless this season is your first season you’ve ever watched, which okay fair enough, but CT being good at puzzles has been a throughline between 10+ seasons at this point.

Loser: Challenge Platitudes

“Who want it? Who want it?”

“Well I think we both want it, Leroy”

I love this show so God damn much.

Winner: Devin

During an early episode of The Ruins, Cohutta and Adam are sitting on a pier chatting and watching some local Thai fisherpeople go about their business. For whatever reason they start chatting about metaphors.

Adam says “…you know the saying ‘squeaky wheel gets the oil. Well we have an Asian saying, ‘the duck that quacks, gets shot’.”

Devin finally quacked one too many times.

Say what you will about the guy, but without him this season would have been drier than an aged Tempranillo on a muggy day in July.

Living with him on the other hand? Look, ultimately you can walk away and just go do dead lifts whenever you want, but if I’m just trying to eat breakfast on a Tuesday and Devin’s shouting “Big Brother sucks!” from the shower, yeah that might get a little old.

Winner: Humble Pie

Darrell’s a four time champ. Darrell’s never lost a Final he was allowed to participate in. To beat him in this game you need some combination of an overserved-Brad/Cara Maria as a partner/bad luck.

If anyone deserves to peacock preen around after an elimination win this late in the season, against the loudest mouth in the house no less, it would be Darrell.

Yet we saw none of that. My man kept it perfectly copacetic. There’s something to be said for that. Is it great for reality television? Probably not. But in a world full of peacocks, a quiet Bluejay majestically cruising in, grabbing it’s worm, and peacing out is a refreshing change of pace.

Loser: The Equipment Manager

Can we get CT a helmet that fits? What’s happening here? Is his head simply just too large for the largest helmet in Iceland? Did they give him Amber M.’s old helmet? Do Icelandic people have historically small heads and even the idea of someone like CT is foreign to them? Is Iceland’s murky relationship with the Vikings (the people, not the football team) responsible for their aversion to helmets?

Some things we’ll just never get answers to.

Winner: Gravity

In Chuck Klosterman’s book “I Wear The Black Hat” he has a chapter that focuses on the similarities and differences between Kanye West and Lebron James. In it he writes one of my favorite lines ever put to paper…

“Cheering for Lebron James is like cheering for gravity.”

This is how I felt rooting for CT last night during his elimination against Josh. Did I want him to win? Of course I did. Did I think he was going to win? Duh. Most of us enjoy cheering on dominance without even realizing it. Others turn on a game and automatically want the team with the lower score to win. Some of us are asparagus, some of us are peaches.

But there was something unearned about watching my least favorite Challenger ever demolished by maybe my favorite. Eating Doritos straight from the bag is a blast for awhile, but eventually your fingers are cheesy, your tummy hurts, and it’s only noon.

Losers: Kyle, Fessy, & Leroy

Wow. Trading in Josh and Devin for Darrell and CT as Final opponents is pretty much worst case scenario. I could only dream of being clever enough to properly analogize this trade off, but most of us who watch this show don’t need anything fancy to contextualize what a disaster this is for the rest of the skull holders.

“Hey Challenge Fan. I understand you’ve been in a cave for the last three months avoiding society. Good for you. I just wanted to quickly update you on the current season. Devin and Josh just got switched out in the Final for Darrell and CT”

“Oh shit, that sucks for everybody else. Could I have a bite of your beef sandwich? I’m staving.”

“I’m absolutely not sharing my beef sandwich with you. Your hands are filthy and you smell like a cave.”

“Dude, then why did you wake me up?”

“Because CT and Darrell got their Gold Skulls? Duh?”

Winner: My Power Rankings

Kam has been my number one since like week two. This has been questioned a few times, directly and indirectly. Some out there still didn’t understand how politically and physically she was by far the most dominant woman left.

Well, CT burning every single bridge he’s ever built just to crawl back to her with his tail between his legs, and Kyle’s reaction to said burning of bridges tells you all you need to know about her stronghold on this game.

Winner: Kyny

They’re back!

Time is a flat circle everywhere but the Challenge house, and two of my favorite people in the world are back to square one.

Maybe they’ll both be so distraught that they’ll have a couple glasses of wine and make all those bad decisions they’re been holding themselves back from for reasons I don’t quite comprehend.

Or maybe Nany will just cry about it, because it’s 2021 and everything sucks.

Loser: Gabby

Big gulps huh? Welp, see ya later!

Winner: Cory

Alright dude, you win.

Cory’s insistence on kitchen dominance is one of my favorite Challenge subplots in awhile. At least he put his bag down this time.

I’m just waiting for Cory to give us a tour of that fridge/freezer MrChiCity3 style.

Loser: Cold Cuts

Those poor cold cuts. Imagine just hanging out in the fridge, packed up tight and warm with the only friends you’ve ever known. Then some giant grizzly bear in a Dwayne Johnson brand hoodie comes and just annihilates you and everyone you’ve ever known.

On one hand, dude that’s gross, that’s everybody’s turkey. On the other hand, arguing with a defensive CT while he devours deli meat has got to be more terrifying in real life than we realize.

CT crushing cold cuts and arguing about Kam with said cold cuts hanging out of his mouth isn’t exactly what I thought I wanted on a Wednesday night in March, but it’s exactly what I needed.

Loser: The Lingering Effects of Lolo

Poor Nam.

What a brutal first season.

He opens by grabbing the New Hot Guy Championship Belt, to the point where one of the most disciplined women on the planet was willing and ready to risk it all for a little bit of schnitzel.

That didn’t last long, obvi, as Lolo’s manic energy banged against the soft walls of Nam’s personality for roughly two months. The lasting effects of carrying around all of that emotional turbulence finally broke Nam this week, as his back pain forced him to head to the hospital. And if we Challenge fans know one thing, when it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, a hospital visit is all you need to start quacking.

Loser: Production

“Let’s get these people out of the house and into bikinis, into a pool, and bring them some champagne. There’s no way they won’t let loose a little bit.”

— And executive producer roughly two weeks ago

“Oh yeah? You thought we could be boring at home? Watch this.”

— Everybody else

Loser: Communication

CT was being weird this episode.

I don’t really know how else to say it, but he was acting weird. I’m guessing he was completely resigned to the fact that this wasn’t his season. He didn’t ever think that he would win a daily being partnered with Big T. It took him a bit, but his mind may have already been on that plane ride home.

Then they won a daily and he got saucer eyes. He started realizing The Challenge Gods threw him a bone. He had his opportunity to go down there and earn his ticket. The combination of all of those things may have just broken his brain and resurfaced years of suppressed emotion.

The way he acted choosing Kam was so out-of-pocket that I don’t really understand what he thought he was going to accomplish with that. But it was genuinely heartbreaking to watch Big T’s face fall further and further towards the earth. Which leads us directly to his fireside apology tour…

CT knew he fucked up. Let’s just start there, because it’s important to know. CT was fully aware of his mistake starting at the walk to the bus after elimination. But instead of just laying down and letting Big T rip his face off for ten minutes, he doubled down on his personal defense. He thought that by explaining to Tula that he didn’t think he could win with her, bringing up his son to make her feel bad, and then hammering the “Big T sucks” point home a second time would somehow mend all fences.

But sometimes, keeping it real can go wrong, and CT was either unable and unwilling to see the forest through the trees.

Big T didn’t give a shit about CT switching partners, she was upset with the way he did it. And CT just refused to apologize for that part of it. He didn’t understand that she built herself up for weeks because she knew at the end of the day she had CT as a partner. The magnitude of something like that for a person like Big T may be totally lost on CT. Which, ya know, I get it. Most of the time it’s hard to tell the true impact you have on someone. But for someone like CT, who has no true peers in The Challenge or otherwise, it’s even more difficult. CT has no idea how it feels to not be CT. To not have full confidence in your abilities at all times no matter what. That’s a personality trait 90% of the world would kill to possess. But for Chris, it’s just Tuesday.

But by acting like a six year old getting a Nintendo 64 for Christmas as soon as he was able to switch partner, those real life feelings of confidence and belonging Big T manifested were shattered in seconds.

I’m sure now, with months to reflect, CT understands what he did wrong and made real life amends with Tula, but in the moment it might have been the worst look of the season.

Well…maybe the second worst look of the season. Because there was the one time Lolo wore this in public with nary an ounce of irony…

That insult to anyone who’s ever put on clothes gets worse and worse as you scroll.

Winner: The Richmond Oilers

Winner: Timing

Big T could not have picked a better round to be the Rogue Agent. I thought Amber M. dodging the trivia challenge was the luckiest moment in this show’s history. I was wrong. Big T avoiding the “stay up all night and drink cow piss while chained to someone you cannot wait to get away from” challenge is the biggest stroke of luck anyone’s ever seen on this show. Speaking of…

Winner: Anticipation

I love challenges like this! Anything that isn’t heights over water, or swim/run from Point A to Point B is always a winner for me. Well, I guess besides fly drones in a cave. That’s gonna be a big no from me dog.

There’s gonna be a lot of theatrics next and tons of funny camera shots. But the main reason I love daily’s like this is that I get to sit on my couch under and blanket with a glass of wine while I watch a bunch of good looking people experience pure misery.

BRB, gotta go stock up on Cheez-it’s and Sauv Blanc for next week.

Thanks for reading! In case you missed it, you can find my Week 12 Power Rankings here. And be sure to check out my evergreen content A Moment In Challenge History Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and Vol. 3. And as always, happy Challenge watching!.



Brian Batty

Writing about MTV’s The Challenge, one of America’s great institutions, from a fan’s perspective. Inquires: -Twitter: @TJsAirhorn