The Challenge Season 2 Episode 8 Recap — Winners & Losers

Brian Batty
23 min readSep 8, 2023

Welcome back to a fresh batch of Winners & Losers! After a two week holiday break, I’m refreshed and returned to recap Episode 8 of The Challenge USA Season 2! The vets took control and Big Brother went up against Little Brother, much to Alyssa’s dismay. Inside this week: Randy Quaid gets mocked for no reason, Cory shows off his famous best friend, Devin speaks for all of us, and much much more…

Loser: The Aliens

While I’m almost positive there was an episode titled Independence Day on Season 1 of this spin-off, meaning this may be a re-run bit for the 19 of your who are paying attention, I’m gonna go with the YOLO strategy and say fuck it.

Independence Day is my second favorite movie ever made. It’s the non-Billy Madison/Dumb and Dumber movie I’ve seen the most in my life. Right now you might be thinking, that’s kinda weird, Independence Day? Of all movies?

But that’s the thing, you don’t choose which VHS tapes your parents happen to buy you when you’re 8 years old. That’s what it was like before the idea of streaming was even a glint in Joe Netflix’s eye. You watched what you had, then you hit rewind, and then you watched it again.

By far, by far, the best part of Independence Day at this point in my life is a scene towards the end when our plucky heroes are planning their Hail Mary assault on the aliens. If this doesn’t work, then they’re screwed anyways.

Randy Quaid’s character is an alcoholic former military pilot who was abducted by aliens back in the day. This is played for laughs at first, showing how pathetic his life has become (sort of like the real Randy Quaid now, but that’s a different Google search for a different day). But then the aliens attack viciously. Major cities across the world are totally wiped out. The loss of life is catastrophic. Millions upon millions of lives vaporized in an instant. If the humans even defeat the aliens, what’s left of society will have to sort itself out in ways we can’t even imagine. (Though they did make a sequel which I never saw. Sad. Maybe those ways have already been imagined. Wouldn’t know.)

So one thing leads to another and Randy Quaid picks up a hitchhiking Will Smith and they end up at Area 51 which has now become the locust of military intelligence in America. The plan is to launch a world-wide counter offensive after Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum fly to space and infiltrate the main alien ship and shoot a nuclear bomb at it (don’t ask).

Which then leads to my favorite scene in the entire movie….

So the aliens are here. They’re here, right this moment, and have began the process of eliminating human life. Which they are succeeding at at a higher rate than anyone has ever succeeded at anything. Anyone in this scene can look up in the sky and see and alien spaceship.

And yet they STILL laugh and roll their eyes at the drunk guy who claims he had been abducted by aliens. No greater proof of aliens existing has ever presented itself, and the yackity-yacks back there are still doubting this guy’s story. How could he possibly have gotten abducted by aliens, what a crazy person!

I almost wish the aliens had won.

Anywho, did ya miss me? Because I sure missed you!

Winner: Just Sitting Or Laying Regularly

Chris, dawg, idk bro I don’t think that’s how you do that.

Winner: Tori

The clashing of visuals and message/consequences here is either a beautiful accident or an editing room master stroke.

Nobody benefits from this format switch up to a higher degree than Tori. From the guys perspective, they’re probably thinking any leg I run with Tori in the Final (not to mention potential random pairs during a daily) I’m going to have an advantage. There are no direct enemies to contradict that idea, so almost every guy who acquires power from here on out is going to do what they can to ensure Tori’s safety into the next week.

And from the women’s perspective, and maybe this is me playing the results a bit, but other than Michaela and Desi, what threats are out there? And what threats are out there with the right combination of political heft and desire to take a shot at her? She’s likely not losing a non-chance based elimination to anyone besides Michaela or Desi. And even then, who knows?

Now between the Hopper and standard Challenge Bullshit, obviously she’s not entirely safe. Nobody is ever truly safe-safe in this game. Yet right now Tori’s about as close as it gets to automatic. They had their chances at the beginning and did a decent job at leveraging them, but the Blue Team ending up as the safe haven for all elimination winners almost neutered any idea of getting rid of Tori completely.

Like Milhouse when his bedroom floods, right now, everything’s coming up Tori.

Loser: Wearing Army Pants And Flip-Flops Simply Because Cady Heron Was Wearing Army Pants And Flip-Flops

What did they catch again? I missed it the first eleven times they repeated it back to each other.

Loser: Big Brother

This screen shot represents one of six times he said Big Brother in a seven second span.

Look, I know it’s not entirely his fault. We only see what we are told to see. This show is total propaganda for whatever idea the editors are attempting to forward. That’s just how reality TV works. And it’s how it will work until the end of time.

That being said, I’m telling you what, if the thinking was to have them say Big Brother and Survivor so much that those of us that don’t watch those shows will subconsciously want to watch them, they are completely missing the mark.

I had zero interest in watching Big Brother before, but after being chiseled down by eight straight episodes of Big Brother people refusing to have a personality beyond the fact that they were once cast on Big Brother I have less than zero interest. In fact, when my salsa company takes off and I become the richest person in the world, the first thing I’m going to do is buy Viacom and immediately take Big Brother off the air, lock and border the windows and doors to the house that’s currently being filmed, and instead show alternate programming of them disintegrating into animals and literally eating each other to survive.

That’s where Tyler has taken me. Is that rational? Not at all. But I’m here now. I’ve been driven to insanity by a curly blonde empty vessel posing as a human being. You hear that Dad? I’m doing great down here.

Loser: Doing The Thing I Just Gave You Credit For Calling Out As A Stupid Thing To Do

God dammit Monte!

Just like three weeks ago, I praised you in this very space for calling out Chris when he said to you “this isn’t Big Brother”. Which you rightfully asked what he meant by that and of course Chris had no response because it’s a meaningless thing to say.

Then you turn around and say you studied Tyler’s game for your own season of Big Brother.

Studied his game? What does that mean? What are you, Kobe breaking down Elgin Baylor game film to add some new wrinkle to your fifteen foot pull-up jumper?

Saying you studied someones game on a reality show is just about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. I might sound stupid to those who actually watch Big Brother and can explain to me what he means by that. But I don’t care. Sometimes it’s just fun to send nuance on a one-way ticket to the moon and spew ignorance. I mean, that’s how you become an elected official. Which would be dope, because then I can just take money from companies and vote however they tell me too. Why didn’t I think of this earlier? All this time I’ve wasted not having a dope ass lake house paid for by lobbyists for the companies actively destroying the planet.

Loser: Attempting To Turn The Worm On Cemented Perceptions

Okay so there was a ton of Frankenbiting going on during this clip, so what Michaela actually said is totally up for debate. But remember, I’m running for office, so I’m just gonna say whatever the fuck I want.

The idea of being aware that Wes isn’t going to stick his neck out for you, yet imagining a world in which Johnny would, is borderline irresponsible. Johnny and Wes are both only going to stick their necks out for one person. Themselves. Same goes for essentially every single one of these scoundrels, including Michaela herself.

Yet here’s the deal, when they show Michaela essentially saying that she can trust Johnny more than she can trust Wes, your gut instinct is to agree with her. Though most of us quickly did a Lee Corso not so fast my friend to ourselves and came to the conclusion that trusting either of them is laughable.

Which means that Wes is stuck. Somehow the guy who stole a bunch of money from someone he was friends with is more trustworthy than Wes, someone who actually has stuck his neck out for friends multiple times over the years.

On The Challenge, reality is nonexistent. It’s a fugazi. Perception swallows reality whole. And even perception doesn’t really matter that much. Wes is stuck in a world where the perception of him swallows his reality, no matter how much he complains, or how many TLTR Instagram posts his wife puts up. None of it matters.

He’s Wes the Untrustworthy Challenger. Right now, he’s in the same spot he was during Rivals 3. The season prior, on Exes 2, he pushed all his chips into the middle to win with Theresa. And it might have worked (Jordan and Sarah were no joke, though) if it weren’t for a redemption house he couldn’t have seen coming directly leading the the return of the worst possible person for his own game. And afterward he limped into Rivals 3 carrying no sway with the masses, yet still seen as a threat, and perceived as totally untrustworthy.

Does that sound familiar?

And just as in that season, right now his skills and game related acumen have been able to carry him further than he probably should have gotten. Can he still win this thing? Of course he can, he just won All-Stars 3 like twenty minutes ago.

It’s clear though that the worm has fully turned on his perception. And there’s nothing he can do about that. I guess besides fake retire like last time. Hmmm, weird.

Winner: Mullets

I’m assuming Alyssa’s not an Eddie Guerrero fan.

VIVA LA RASA!!!

Loser: Making Friends

Maybe you should just go and talk to people and ask them about their lives and make a connection that goes beyond fucking Big Brother Jesus H. Christmas these people are so unbelievably lame.

Imagine how stupid Tori would sound if she said things like “I’m the last Are You The One girl”.

Anywho, back to the chlorophyll….

Winner: Re-Using This Location Because, Duh, Look How Dope It Is

I remember this place! This is where they did that daily on Spies, Lies, & Allies when Michele got a broken nose and Tommy washed up on the beach concussed and dangling his dick for the world to see.

I swear if I don’t see dude pubes by the end of this daily challenge I’m going to call Paramount+ and demand my money back for this month.

Loser: Using Pop Culture To Understand The World

I gotta be honest if I saw Panther in this situation, my brain more than likely would immediately go to the Dillon Panthers and I’d start thinking about Coach Taylor and Tim Riggins and Lyla Garrity and Buddy Garrity and by then the word Panther would be so warped that there’s no way I’d end up considering the actual fact that a panther is a cat.

Which makes me feel like a complete moron.

Loser: Tyler

Do you think he’s frustrated because neither Big nor Brother are four letter words?

Loser: Keeping Your Sick Biceps Covered

If anyone else in the world rolled their long sleeves all the way up and over their biceps I would have written 500–600 words in this space totally lighting them up.

But I like my head to be connected to my neck where it belongs. And those who speak negatively upon King Faysal of House Fitness are quick to become acquaintances with the Royal Heads-person and their trusty guillotine.

So because of that, I say huzzah! May we all roll our sleeves as far up our arms as we can in honor of our one and only, first of his name, the King of Kings, King Faysal of House Fitness.

Huzzah!

Winner: Alyssa S. From Big Brother Season Whatever

Sometimes you just gotta dance, man.

Winner: Cos-Playing The Craziest Friday Night You Could Ever Imagine

Sounds like every weekend of my life. Keep up, Alyssa S. From Big Brother Season Whatever!

Winner: Clarifications

Lmao, cats, ya know, like meow.

This show fucking rules. I don’t understand how anyone could complain about it.

Winner: The Director Of Photography

Hang this in the Louvre.

Loser: Bragging

Oh yeah? Well I have a third-rate Challenge blog with almost twenty regular readers, but you don’t hear me bragging about it!

Winner: Burying The Lede

Okay so let’s put Johnny’s University of Phoenix Scuba degree aside for a second. This Challenge is right in your wheelhouse because there’s like five people in the world who have multiples of experience with doing something silly like diving into the water to do a word search, swimming to a lock box, then swimming to another word search, and then back to another lock box while racing against others attempting to do the same and Johnny’s one of them.

It’s no surprise that those who performed best in this very Challenge-esque daily challenge were those who have years of experience in these sort of nonsense situations.

Loser: Putting Heart Eyes Under Her Pics, It Ain’t Gonna Work Dawg

*cough* LOSER *cough*

Winner: Lying To The Creepy Guy To Get Him To Settle Down A Little Bit

Lmao, right, yeah, that’s definitely what it is.

Winner: Chris

What a pioneer. He’s like Ferdinand Magellin.

Despite the rules explicitly stating that you can only speak and commiserate with those who were once on the same CBS show as you, Chris is going out there and making friends. When they tell you the world is flat, say fuck it and take a long ass boat ride around it and prove em wrong.

Winner: Lloyd Christmas

See this Josh? That’s a car. Two hundred and seventy-five thou. Might wanna hang on to that one.

Loser: Michaela, Desi, & Channelle

“Kobe, tell me how my ass taste”

— Shaquille O’Neal

L O Fucking L

The three amigos, determined down to their bone marrow to get these crusty old vets out. These scumbag, untrustworthy vets that everyone’s sick of. God, aren’t they the worst? Let’s band together and work to rid ourselves of them so we can get some new winners around here.

Then the fucking second that those same people you boxed out of decision making and took shot after shot at, confidently and to their face, get power in the game, all three of them starting singing a totally different tune.

What’s that Johnny?

Oh sure anything you say. Great plan. Also, great haircut!

Oh my gosh, Tori, I love that outfit. Where’d you get that super slick black Challenge hoodie? Can I borrow it some time?

HHAHAHAHA Tori your life is crazy!!! Girl you got the best stories

lololol Bananas you’re so good at doing the robot!! Salute to you, man.

And then there’s Michaela, who could only fake it so long. Have you ever seen someone so disassociated from reality? She looks not only dead inside, but already totally decomposed.

In fact, scratch Michaela from the Loser section up top. I respect her lack of stamina for pretending to like these people so much. It’s admirable.

I joke around, but the three of the are simply doing whatever it is they have to do. I do not blame any of them for turning against their morals faster than a professional athlete who’s against any and all social atrocities besides the ones happening in China because there are a lot of zeros at the back end of a Nike check.

Loser: Actively Competing For The Title Of Biggest Loser

He heard Sebastian say he thought it was hot how Tori completely disrespected him and said hold my bong.

Where are the Tony’s and the Cory’s of the world at? Why are we getting Skim Milk Tyler and Heart Eye Emoji Reply Guy Sebastian?

These two losers are setting the idea of the New Hot Guy back decades. They’re disrespecting the foundation laid by Eric Neis all those years ago, further nurtured by those hot guys out there blessed with the opportunity to sow their wild oats with Nany and Aneesa on National Televison.

And now we get….this…whatever this is.

We used to be a proper country, ya know? We used to build stuff and try things and take risks.

To quote The Nard Dog himself, I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.

Winner: School

Does Fessy know he doesn’t have to go to high school football practice?

Why does he have a backpack?

Sorry, uh, what I meant was…wow! Look at that royal backpack! My apologies for questioning your choice of satchel your Grace.

Winner: Persistence, According To Films Created By An Aggressively Patriarchal Society, Always Pays Off

No, maybe not, but you definitely came here to meet the girl from the Instagram page you’ve spent a little too much time looking at.

She’s got it all besides any interest in you beyond the fact that you probably get her coffee every morning and make her plates of food from catering and give her massages because she’s sore from crushing you and the rest of her competition and generally kowtow to her every need.

I almost feel bad for him. Should I? Do you? I mean what does he think is gonna happen here? Like there is no way she’s actually going any further than making out with him and maybe some hand stuff. Which he’s totally cool with because they have the rest of their lives to go further than that.

Like, dude, go out to the bar. Go mingle with the rest of the cast. Go have some fun. There’s about a one hundred percent chance that Sebastian has been sitting at home the last few months regretting spending his time listening to Tori talk about herself instead of creating lasting memories and soaking up this opportunity.

Especially considering that every night since they got home Tori mysteriously stops responding to texts around 9 pm only to finally get back to him in the morning with an “ugh sorry fell asleep lol”.

Lmaooooo bro, come on.

Winner: Doing The Opposite Of What You’re Saying

So behind this shot of Tyler, Alyssa S From Big Brother Season Whatever, and Monte sitting totally separate from the entire group during what looks to be some sort of beverage fueled pool gathering, is audio of Monte lamenting the fact that there’s only the three Big Brother players left, and that Fessy and Josh don’t count because they have other relationships, and that they feel alone together.

Here’s one idea…go walk over there and make friends!

Oh right, I forgot, that’s not allowed. Silly me.

Winner: The One Girl Who Is No Longer Lonely

Holy shit I didn’t know Cory knew Justin Beiber!

Winner: The Challenge

I’ve now watched this episode twice and both times I’ve missed everything TJ said at the beginning because I was laughing at these two imbeciles.

How can you not be romantic about The Challenge?

Winner: The Opportunity Has Finally Arrived (Ignore All The Other Times The Opportunity Already Presented Itself And Look Forward)

Well surely somebody has thrown some votes Fessy’s way. I mean now that he’s not on the Blue Team, the time is now to lob his balls into the ball sucker. All it takes is one ball in the Hopper, and the votes are anonymous, so there really is no downside to taking a shot at him.

Especially if you’re Wes. Fessy is easily Wes’s (Wesi? Wei?) biggest competition in a Final. He’s hungrier, younger, and has way more to run for, both in-game and monetarily. The kid’s an athletic freak, and yeah sure, he can’t get out of his own way and Wes likely has the inner confidence that he can beat anyone on any given day so who cares as long as he gets there. Still, though, the path gets a bit easier with Fessy out of the game.

So, as TJ said, let’s see what they came up with…

Uh….okay…sure? Just a couple “burn” votes I guess. Plenty of balls left to go…

Good one, Wes.

Well, I’m just glad everyone has their priorities in order.

I understand that Fessy is probably going to beat Tyler. And that the most likely scenario carries little to no upside for you on the back end. Yet you know who’s missed a ton of game winning shots in their life? Michael Jordan. You know who’s struck out with runners on down one in the ninth inning more than once? Babe Ruth. Even Tom Brady lost Super Bowls.

The point is nobody can get Fessy out unless they vote Fessy in. Maybe it’s coming and people are waiting until after the first elimination cycle in this solo game just to ensure there’s no strange rule after the dust has settled to make a bigger move.

Or maybe not. Maybe there really is some sort of royal decree that allows King Faysal of House Fitness to get to the end no matter what. At the end of the day (shout out Nany), I don’t know shit about fuck so I’m just gonna pretend to get jazzed up for Monte vs. Tyler.

Loser: Contributing To The Greater Good

Then why in the world are you here?

Any time I see someone on one of these shows who could be using this time to contribute to society in some way I get frustrated. Monte could be working with small river towns whose bridges are on the verge of collapse. Monte could be working to repair historical landmarks and restore them into something meaningful, boosting tourism dollars for towns who lost their soul to a Wal-Mart decades ago.

You’re right, those tasks seem hard. I guess I don’t blame Monte at all. Rock on, rockstar. Rock on.

Loser: Lying

No you wouldn’t have.

Loser: Having To Do This Elimination

There have been so many elimination rounds over the years that I watch and have no interest in participating in at all. This one’s right up there with any of them.

I’d rather go two on one against CT and Fessy in a Hall Brawl than do this three hour misery marathon where the objective is to ensure that a round ball doesn’t do the one thing in the world it wants to do most, roll.

After about the ninety minute mark I’d have just taken my equipment off on the spot and just walked back to America from Croatia. Maybe hitch a ride swabbing the poop deck on some freight ship headed for Boston or something. But more likely I’d just pull a Camila and walk straight into the water and hope for the best.

Loser: The Rest Of The Group Back On Stage

Are they watching a group of school children get mauled by a pack of malnourished tigers or an elimination round ?

It would be tough to find a more dramatic group of people than a room full of Challengers, but this is like, a lot. Like a lot a lot. They seem genuinely distraught by what’s happening in front of them.

Well, everyone except for…

Winner: TJ Lavin

What a legend.

Loser: Tyler’s Weed Guy

This is some bullshit, my man’s got a cell phone bill to pay.

Loser: The Editors Ensuring That Having Been On Big Brother Once Is Your Entire Personality

I know nothing about Monte other than he was on Big Brother and that he has a degree in mechanical engineering. And I only learned the second one like five minutes ago.

I don’t know where he’s from, I don’t know what he likes, I don’t know what he dislikes. I have no idea who or what Monte is about. Was it his fault? Impossible to know. The Challenge Gods can only give us what they are given themselves. And then by the time things get filtered down to us we’re left with a fraction of a percentage point.

If the overall footage they compile during the filming dates is a pie, the episodes we see are merely a single flake off the crust.

So now Monte’s gone. Hopefully to build a bridge somewhere. Or study more Tyler Big Brother game tape. Or maybe to do something else. We just wouldn’t know what that could possibly be.

Loser: Joking Around In Serious Situations

Wait a minute, you’re telling me that we were all just joking around this entire time?!

Well, I guess there’s really only one way to end this episode. Devin, your thoughts?

VIVA LA REAL WORLD!!!

Thanks for reading!!! See you back here soon, hopefully back on a regular schedule again. And until then, as always, 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