The Challenge: Spies, Lies & Allies Episode 1 Recap — Winners & Losers

Brian Batty
8 min readAug 12, 2021

Welcome back!!! What a way to start a season! A bit of whiplash with all the new faces. But for now, let’s focus on the Winners and Losers. Inside this edition: We take jargon for granted, Aneesa does an awful Johnny Bananas impression, Emy dresses like a baby, and much much more…

Winner: Modes of Transportation For The Wealthy

My man TJ out here playing Grand Theft Auto with the unlimited money code in.

Winner: Lloyd Christmas

Now that I’ve realized Nelson is just a handsome version of Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber, life is all beginning to make sense.

Winner: Nam

Aw man, now that he’s got a Survivor winner and strong rookie partner, there’s no way this season isn’t for him. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say Nam’s officially my favorite to win this season. That’s right, you heard it here first. Nam’s going to win. Unless his just disappears without explanation or something. But that would be too weird, no chance that happens.

Loser: Esther

I hope she’s ready to be at fault for basically everything from here on out.

Winner: Bare Skin

If one of these Challenges coming up is based on who has the most bare shoulders and forearms, these two are definitely screwed.

Speaking of, there is nothing in the world that gives me the itch to get a new tattoo (I already have my next one picked out too. But it’s so weird how backed up every tattoo place in Chicago is, and I just can’t commit that far ahead. What’s that? Nobody cares? Okay, well this parenthesis is over then I guess…Oh right, I gotta type the) than watching The Challenge. Underrated part of no cold weather is getting to marvel at all the cool tattoos.

Loser: Joe DiMaggio

After losing this challenge, (I know we haven’t gotten there yet, but spoiler alert I guess. Although it would be strange if you were reading this without having seen the episode. And if you are, well then I guess my response would be that that’s a really strange way to follow this show.) Nelson’s streak has now reached 0–36.

Him shouting at an inanimate object then throwing his glasses at said inanimate object kind of does all the heavy lifting for me on laying the groundwork for how we got to that ridiculous number.

Winner: Logan’s Expectations

Logan definitely layed his head down on his pillow at the end of this night and already started counting all the money he’s going to win.

Winner: Nam

Seriously. I cannot stress enough how well this all worked out for him. There’s as good a chance of literally anything in the world happening as Nam lasting a long time in this game. No better cure to the dog days of summer than a healthy dose of Nam. Buckle up, fuckleheads.

Winner: Fate

There was no other outcome that could have actually happened. Ashley and Hughie were meant to be partners. From the moment Ashley stepped into her Real World house, to the moment Hughie showed up wherever the hell it was he showed up, there was no finish line more obvious than them eventually being paired together on The Challenge.

Loser: Jargon

Funny all the lingo that we’ve internalized and completely take for granted. Of course Hughie wouldn’t know what a purge is in the context of this insane world he just stepped into.

But more on purges in a bit…

Loser: Logic

Yeah, no, for sure.

Winner: Self Awareness

Wow. I love you, Gabo. On the other hand…

Loser: Any Of The Vets Who Believe There’s Actually A Truce

To borrow a line from Katie the Bachelorette’s psycho aunt from Monday, “that’s cute”

This is going to last ten and a half seconds. But good luck guys. Every single one of them, except for probably Josh, is going to be working from the “get them before they get me” approach, which may as well mitigate any idea this pact may be forwarding in the first place.

Winner: Johnny Bananas

The toasts this season have been….underwhelming?

Kyle went with “Fuck the American’s”, which while funny, hurts my feelings. Hughie went with “let’s all just have a nice time”, and Aneesa closed us out with “‘lets have fun this bleeping season”.

Not exactly inspiring verbal spitfire as far as opening toasts go.

Winner: Nelson

Somebody was enjoying themselves…

Loser: Peace And Quiet In The Streets Of Austin

Nelson and Ashley live on the same street?! How terrifying. Either they end up running on the 2028 Democratic Presidential Ticket or the first ever black hole on planet earth will form equal-distant between their homes.

Stay tuned America.

Loser: The Cleaning Crew

Do you think there’s anyone who likes purges more than the maid? (You thought I forgot, didn’t you?)

Good god. The amount of dishes 34 people use is astronomical. And also pretty gross. They couldn’t find them some paper plates? Plastic cutlery? I know we’re trying to save the planet and stuff, but good god. Think of the help! For once!

Winner: Off Brand Croatian Tablets

“Hi Croatian Best Buy employee, I’m here to purchase 34 of the absolutely cheapest tablets you can possibly sell me.”

Loser: Topical References

Woahhh. Too soon.

Winner: Being Hot

Ya know, it must be nice to be as hot as Logan. To be so hot you can leave the house wearing that silly ass jacket and not get beat up. A boy can dream I guess.

Loser: Your High Score

What’s the chances Gabo was playing Fruit Ninja on his iPad and forgot to vote?

Winner: Nam

Of course he made it through the first round of voting. He’s freaking teflon this season. God, after what he went through last time, I’m so happy for him. A nice, easy road is what he’s earned by now. I’ll say it again just to reiterate for those not paying attention. Nam is going to win this season and definitely not vanish without explanation. I’ve never been more confident in anything in my entire life.

Winner: Howie Mandel

Shout out to Deal or No Deal.

Loser: Rosetta Stone

Who needs formal education when we have The Challenge? I seeked out the definition of cambiamos immediately upon commercial break.

If I’m not speaking Romanian by the end of this season, I want my money back.

Winner: The Pyro Gal/Guy

Don’t forget, job security is important. No matter how superfluous and gratuitous that job may be.

Winner: Babies

Why is she dressed like a baby? What is happening here? Shout out to Phil and Lil.

Winner: Michaela

While she may have lost the game, she learned a valuable lesson. The lesson being, unless you’re Laurel and everyone’s already terrified of you, don’t be writing shit down.

Loser: Nam

God damnit.

Loser: Skulls

We doing skulls this year? We not doing them? Is that experiment over? Are we just moving on? Are the only skulls back to being the ones CT wants to smash and eat?

Loser: Kelz

Life comes at you fast in The Challenge house. He looks stoked.

Michaela and Renan may have gone home unceremoniously, Michelle and Corey may have won their first elimination, but it was Kelz, going from Tori to Tracy, who truly got his “Welcome to the Challenge” moment last night.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check back on Sunday for a fresh batch of Power Rankings, including all the rookies we just met (even the ones we didn’t). And as always, Happy Challenge Watching!!!



Brian Batty

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