The Challenge: Spies, Lies & Allies Episode 10 Recap — Winners & Losers

Brian Batty
14 min readOct 15, 2021

Welcome back to another edition of Winners & Losers! It’s 2011 again and we’re now watching a pretentious version of Cutthroat and the season’s officially interesting again. Inside this week: Shout out to Detroit, Al Pacino makes his second appearance of the season, Big T does her best Rob Lowe impression, and much much more…..

Winner: Detroit and The State of Michigan

Everyone’s from somewhere.

This simple fact of life is why I despise Lebron’s #JustAKidFromAkron schtick so much. Everyone’s from a place. Sure, everyone’s upbringing is different. Some have it awful like Ponyboy, some have it great like Cherry Valance. But the lesson, as always, things are tough all over.

Cory’s from Michigan, not exactly Detroit but stick with me here, and I can almost guarantee you young Cory was a fan of Detroit sports (probably still is. Shout out to Cade Cunningham). And one of the city’s slogans which has popped up in this new era of everyone (From Chicago, am guilty) and anyone (the economy, international trade regulations eviscerating the American car market, killing off thousands upon thousands of jobs in a state heavily dependent on said jobs) shitting on Detroit every chance they get, is the slogan “Detroit Vs. Everybody”.

An all encompassing slogan basically implying “look, we know we’re awesome, so fuck you. You don’t care about us, we don’t care about that.” Or, in Cory parlance, “it’s me against the world, just the way I like it.”

Cory lives a charmed life as a Hot reality star in Los Angeles. A far cry from snowy Michigan. It’s not really Cory against the world at all, but everyone’s from somewhere. #JustAKidFromMichigan

Winner: Amber M.

Rent. Free.

Winner: Journey

You ever think she’s taken the midnight train? Going anywhere? Plus this stupid jokes comes full circle as the next line would have been “He’s just a city boy/Born and raised in South Detroit”

Did you think you were going to get two references to Detroit, Michigan when you clicked on this link? I sure didn’t think I was going to make them when I stared at the blinking cursor on a blank screen this morning trying to type all this up. I’m gonna go for a third Detroit reference at some point. Wish me luck.

Winner: Gabo

Here we have a moment while Priscilla crushes Amber’s missing pizza and Bettina eats some sort of healthy looking bowl of something not pizza like an idiot (if the options pizza or something else, unless you’re at the Pizza Hut in Williamsburg, Kentucky (I know that seems random, but the worst pizza ever made in the history of ovens was created on a random night in that town when my parents and I had the misfortune of visiting said establishment, and I will take well-deserved pot-shots on that town until the day I die. In fact, if I were ever running for President, I’d specifically campaign in that town for them not to vote for me. I don’t want your pizza and I don’t want your support.), you have to choose pizza every time. But I digress…) where they discuss the different things the two of them are fighting for.

Bettina quotes Journey and Priscilla gives the SparkNotes version of her family history. Sounds like her Mom pretty much rules. Mom’s pretty much rule in general, but Priscilla’s mom clearly didn’t have it easy. Shout out to her.

This scene is great and all, and the human element of all of this is so important. I learned more about Bettina and Priscilla in this scene than I learned in nine previous episodes.

But let’s all just be honest with ourselves for a second. I know Bettina wants to show small town girls that they’re not living in a lonely world, and Priscilla wants to pay off her mom’s mortgage or whatever……….but are we gonna pretend that if they were to win a bunch of cash that they wouldn’t spend it on a bunch of bullshit? I get a minuscule paycheck every two weeks and I spend that on bullshit. And before you get on your high horse, go ahead and check your Chase app and tell me you have.’t been increasingly spending money on
fleeting endorphin hits just to squeeze whatever fraction of happiness you can find out of this apocalyptic world we find ourselves living in.

Maybe they’d be a bit more frugal than sports cars and watches like Gabo, but at least he was honest.

Winner: Fun Facts

Fun Fact: This is how Levi and George from the Redditors React Podcast greet each other when they get on Zoom to record.

Another Fun Fact: Said podcast is easily the best Challenge podcast out there. Just a couple affable Brits being affable about The Challenge. It’s made my weekend commutes to work at least 8% better over the last season and a half. Check it out if haven’t already!!!

Even Another Fun Fact: Did you know otters are the only animal that kills for sport? How bout them apples?

Loser: Common Courtesy

Who left that plate there? I mean honestly.

They were nice enough to stack their dipping sauces (ranch and BBQ? I think? Man, last year when I was on funemployment I would have had so much time to dissect the hodgepodge of nonsense on that table, but these responsibilities aren’t gonna adult themselves *lets out big sad sigh*) and other garbage on top, including their can of whatever that is. You were 80% of the way there! You had to get up from the table already! Just walk it over to the trash and set it next to the sink!

Truthfully, for me, the biggest challenge (lol) of being on this show would unequivocally be the living situation. You guys wanna know why your favorites might not want to come back, it’s definitely shit like having to reach over Emy’s honey mustard from last night just to grab a banana.

Whichever Croatian cleaning service they hired definitely is boycotting this season out of spite.

Loser: “Film Appreciation” Class on Tuesdays at 9pm at Moraine Valley Community College, Fall Semester, 2010

Like so many of us, I spent my first few years after high school a bit lost. Yeah I was going to college, but only because I was supposed to and most of my friends were. Yeah I was meeting new friends and going to parties, but there was a purposeless feeling to it all. I’m putting myself in debt for all this?

So during my transition period (aka going to community college and living at home from age 19–21) I took a lot of bullshit gen-eds. Nothing was worse than being an English major in a math class learning things I was never going to use. (Turns out, taking classes on how to dissect poetry and other useless shit were the ones I was never going to use and now I have to use a calculator for simple division. Reading novels as a child really fucked me up.)

So when my buddy and I signed up for a once a week “Film Appreciation” class that took place on Tuesday nights, we thought we had it all figured out. We’d get stoned on the way to school and watch a movie, get some solid low-effort B’s, then go home.


The movies selected for this class were some of the most dreadful, slow, boring movies I’ve ever been forced to watch being taught by one of the most dreadful, slow, boring professors I’ve ever had. Not even a metric ton of marijuana and early Kid Cudi records could make it worthwhile.

Adaptation, a Nic Cage vehicle from before he went nuts, was genuinely the best movie we watched that semester. And I mean, yeah, it’s good and all. Won some Oscars or whatever. Who cares. For a stoned 20 year old, it was worst case scenario.

What were we talking about again? Oh right, The Challenge.

Loser: Seemingly Unbreakable Bad Habits

I’m a nail biter. There I said it. My hypothetical therapist I visit in my head sometimes would be so proud of me for saying it out loud.

On Dirty 30 they had a team challenge similar to this task where you had to scratch a code off a pane of glass with you nails. This would be my worst nightmare. I just would be able to do it. I simply don’t have nails at all. They’re in rough shape.

Shout out to all the nail biters out there reading this and reliving this week’s episode in horror. We’re all in this together, hiding our inner anxieties through minor self-harm.

Loser: The Second Half of This Challenge

I was gonna do a bit where I pretended this was the end of the episode, and that Nelson finally won a daily challenge, and The Streak is finally over, I can pop the bottle of champagne I’ve been saving all season, and we can all fucking party on the moon together…

Then I decided not to because that would be truly lame of me. Shout out to Nelson, finally coming in first when it didn’t matter at all.

Loser: Pretentiousness

Couldn’t have just gone with red, blue, and green huh?

Every day somebody re-invents the city bus.

Winner: Tom Brady

This is a little like if Patrick Mahomes had a press conference before this season being like “No guys, you don’t understand, Tom Brady’s still really good.”

We know dude. He just got done waxing your ass in the Super Bowl last year. And CT just got done dusting Cory in Iceland like eight months ago. We get it. Spare me the emphasis.

Winner: Bouncers At The Various Bars Agent Ed Frequents

He knows this works because this is exactly how you get into bars that are “at capacity”. And I have a feeling that there are no capacity limits that Agent Ed feels uncomfortable with. The higher the capacity the better in his mind. I did a backflip after writing that.

Loser: Me

Psh, you think that’s impressive? During that same time I started a blog.

Loser: The Word “Teams”

Who’s your favorite baseball cell? Mine’s the Cubs. And my favorite basketball cell is the Bulls.

I may sound silly right now, but only as silly as TJ. Just call them teams, man. Shout out to jargon and everything, and maybe I didn’t read enough spy novels as a kid. But I get the heebie-jeebies every time they say cell out loud.

In the same sense that an angel gets their wings every time someone says “Amber B.”, those same angels die every time they call their teams “cells”.

Loser: Josh

Is Josh lint-rolling his beanie?

He is. He’s lint rolling his beanie.

My best friend used to iron his basketball jersey/shorts before games. I’d tell him he’s an idiot, and this is all pointless. But it’s what he did, and it made him feel comfortable. Plus he was our best player so truthfully who gives a shit. De-wrinkle away brother, just keep getting buckets.

But Josh isn’t my best friend since kindergarten, nor is he the best player on my basketball team. So I’m gonna make a ruling here and say that Josh is entirely up for clowning on this one.

Lint rolling your beanie dude? We can argue about the merits of beanie’s in general (I’m anti, but I guess I get it) but like nobody cares. Truthfully, nobody cares about how lint free your beanie is. Especially since your just going to the club in your backyard. Not even a big night out. Go practice a tangram or something.

Man, Josh sure does make it easy doesn’t he?

Winner: Cory, The Last Challenge Poet

Shout out to all my basic white girls out there who are about to make this their 2022 New Years IG caption. Somewhere Drake is furious at his ghost writers for not coming up with this.

Winner: Old Co-Workers

I used to work with a girl named Ruby who was aggressively not unattractive.

This is how most of the busboys acted around her at all times. I wonder how she’s doing these days? Eh, I don’t really care. Moving on…

Winner: Coach Tony D’Amato

Winner: Ben Simmons, Finding Someone To Relate To

One the great things about The Challenge is it’s diversity. Almost everyone can watch a season of this show and find at least someone they can relate to. On a personal level, because they look like you, because they remind you of yourself, whatever it may be. A diversified portfolio of personalities is ingrained in this show’s DNA.

And finally, for the first time since The Real World: Sydney, estranged NBA Superstar Ben Simmons has someone he can relate to on MTV. Who would have thought it would be Tori. Agent Ed probably hates this section.

Winner: Dr. Jack Shephard

Winner: Ashley

That little “Logan Roy at the end of Season 2”smirk that came across Ashley’s face was absolutely amazing and I’m so glad they showed it.

Ashley smiled right then and there because she knew Priscilla was cooked. The main reason anyone has ever gotten voted into elimination on this show is that there’s any reason at all. And by Priscilla stating that she’s already been down there, she may as well have given everyone an open invitation.

On her way to go vote, Ashley was probably paranoid. This is stating the obvious as she’s perpetually paranoid, but the moment Priscilla brought the agency down memory lane, Ashley didn’t need to say another word.

I love this show so much sometimes it hurts.

Winner: Kaycee’s Fashion Sense

Ya know, it’s weird. Kaycee and I couldn’t be any different if we tried. And not only different, but different in a myriad of ways. I’m sure we’d get along, it wouldn’t be a personality clash by any means. But we’re still different.

You know what’s not different though? Our style. We dress the same. Or, as I’d prefer to say it, Kaycee dresses exactly like me. That’s what I wear in the fall/winter when I go out. Hair pulled back in a tight bun, plain dark t-shirt, gold chain, bomber jacket, dark jeans, Chuck Taylor’s. Like it’s kind of uncanny how similar it is. I have about nine inches and a hundred and fifty pounds on her, so we probably couldn’t share wardrobes, but put pictures of us out at a bar in early December side-by-side and you’d barely notice a difference.

Loser: Tori

Isn’t Tori the one who’s supposed to say nonsensical Challenge hyperbolic catch-phrases??!?! What the hell is going on??? Is nothing in this world sacred any more?!?

Loser: The Beach

Sand sucks.

Anakin Skywalker would agree with me. Anyone who saw Connor Roy’s sex worker girlfriend Willa’s Broadway show would agree with me. It’s just the worst of the terrains, by far.

I haven’t been to the beach in like four years and just last week I finally got all the sand out from between my toes.

Winner: Wale

Winner: Playing Both Sides So You Always Win

Winner: Priscilla

While quiet on the front end, Priscilla was the only person on the cast this season willing to actually play the game. To not just lay out and play smart. To shake things up. To go against the grain.

Now, obviously, that backfired big time and she got sent home like fifteen minutes later. But that fact that she did it, I have a lot of admiration for. Moneyball has seeped into The Challenge, as it has all sports, and playing like CT has become the only way to play anymore. This makes for both success in the game and awful TV for us.

Priscilla tried doing both at the same time, which was doomed from the start. Just don’t tell any other rookies in the future about that last part.

Loser: Josh


Winner: Friendship

There’s a lot of Challenge friendships out there. 99% of them are bullshit. Cory and Nelson? Actual friends. Devin and Kyle? Eh. Maybe. CT and Anyone? Not even close.

But in the handful of times it does happen, seeing genuine friendship grow and blossom over the years is something that’s unique to this show and this show only. Ashley and Amanda didn’t know each other at all until they met on The Challenge. And while their lives have changed in many ways because of and since then, gaining a real friend is more difficult than you’d think and something to be cherished forever. It’s difficult enough in real life as it is, but attaining that while trying to beat each other up for money is something special.

Thanks for reading!! Be sure to check back next week where my real life schedule will hopefully clear up and bit and I can get back to getting these out on Thursday mornings. And as always, Happy Challenge watching!!!



Brian Batty

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