The Challenge Double Agents — Episode 9 Preview

Welcome back to another edition of What To Look For where we deep dive on things to keep an eye on heading into Episode 9. In this edition I lay out my prediction for CT’s epic tale, GOAT Talk, and consequence makes an appearance…

Last time I tried this, I came up with the brilliant idea that Lolo should find a way to throw herself down every time and just keep eliminating everyone until she’s the only woman left. Well, because I’m an idiot, I didn’t consider that she was being iced out like she’s MJ at the 1985 All Star Game.

But this time, I think I have a good one. All five Gold Skulls on the men’s side are accounted for at the moment. This leaves heavy hitters CT, Cory, Nam, and Darrell scrapping to find a way down into the Crater. So if you’re the five guys with the skull, let’s be real, those four have as good a chance as any at winning when TJ sounds the horn to begin the Final.

What’s to stop them all from forming a Gold Skull Coalition and rigging the eliminations so that two of those four are going against each other, until three men’s elimination days later there’s only one standing.

How many weeks do we really have left? Can’t be that many. Seven? Eight? Either way, since there’s only two women’s skulls accounted for, mathmatically the amount of men’s days left is few and far between.

I understand partner switching complicates this, and in some ways the Challenge Gods won’t be happy that their formats keep getting turned around on them. But I’d argue that this would lead to a really fun story. Let’s say CT battles his way through Cory, then Darrell, then Nam (again in the mud but preferably shirtless because duh), just to find out there are no more eliminations left?

A flashback appears, beginning with his decision to turn down Kam’s invition to homecoming…cut to Ashley going home, then returning, then going home again…then quick flash to him forgoing his opportunity to send himself into elimination (despite it being a girls day, most won’t remember the details)…cut then to a montage of Big T struggling at assorted daily challenges…cut to him triumphing in elimination after elimination with Big T nervously on the sidelines worried she’s about to get dropped…go back to his promise at the bar that he’d stay with her…then cut to CT in confessional looking down processing how it all went wrong…finally finishing with a short speech about how he learned more this season than any of the previous ones **smiles** “But, I’ll be back. I’m just gettin’ goin’”

You’re welcome MTV.

In the last seven months two athletes who most concede are the greatest to ever do it in their respective sports have won their record setting 7th championship.

One of them is a charismatic, handsome guy from California who has amassed a trophy room overflowing with championship belts, who while not being the most physically dominant force, has bent the rules and at certain times downright cheated, and will do whatever it takes to win.

The other one is Johnny Bananas.

(You’re probably asking yourself, what does that have to do with previewing Episode 9? Nothing, really, I was just feeling myself.)

Mechie was the first person of no consequence to the title that was traditionally eliminated since Joseph. That feels like ages ago, but it’s true. A lot of the best people have gone home on the front end, which is breaking from Challenge norms and mores of old, and sticking with the Moneyball era we’re in now.

Many fans (or maybe just me I’ve watched alone with only my thoughts for the majority of my fandom) have wondered for years why the big players in the game always sat back and let the rookies weed themselves out. It never made any sense from a logic perspective, but I think I’m starting to realize we were all missing the point.

When we’re at the Final and the five women are Kam, Kaycee, Gabby, Big T, and Amber M. we’re going to be watching wondering what the fuck just happened. Same goes for the guys. Is Leroy vs. Fessy vs. Kyle vs. Josh vs. Devin really the Final we want to see?

More than likely I’m being hyperbolic and am way off about the women and the men’s side evolves further than where it is now. But the point is that’s the lineup in the Final that the players (KamRoy) who have political pull want. And usually, when the numbers are right, what the power players want the power players get in this game.

Is it for better or worse for the viewers that Wes, Nicole, Nelson, etc. went home months ago? Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check back after Episode 9 for my weekly Winners & Losers recap column! In case you missed it: Be sure to check out my updated Power Rankings for Week 9. Also be sure to browse my Moment in Challenge History Series: Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3. Happy Challenge watching!

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Brian Batty

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