The Challenge: Spies, Lies & Allies Episode 12 Recap — Winners & Losers

Welcome back to another edition of Winners & Losers!!! This article might be a bit late, I fell asleep on a pink flamingo floatie for a few days. Inside this week: CT puts on a masterclass, we determine that Cohutta can fix society’s woes, Cory makes 24 year old me feel stupid, and much much more…

Winner: Kyle (Maybe?)

Couple things here…

#1 — This is quite the come up for everyone’s favorite Brit. Breakfast cooked and ready to go for the rest of the season? I’m all in. That sounds perfect. Couple issues though. The second most important of those issues is what if Kyle and Emanuel are up and ready for breakfast at different times? I don’t know about you, but those two seem like their morning routines are quite the opposite and I’ll just leave it at that.

But the larger issue that could spring from this hasty deal making is the simple fact that Emanuel might suck at cooking breakfast. And then what? Kyle’s stuck eating shitty Romanian style eggs every day just to make Emanuel feel better?

This deals starting to sound worse and worse as I talk it out.

#2 — How much did Emanuel hate Agent Ed really? The minute his victor triumphantly returns to the house Emanuel offers to become his sugar baby? Was Emanuel this anti-Ed the entire time? Or did something happen? Did Ed’s rejection of Tori have residual effects and now Emanuel has been brainwashed into disliking him?

Well there’s no way this conversation gets interrupted by anything or anyone (especially not an angry Nelson lololol), so I’m looking forward to hearing more details about this arrangement.

Loser: Kyle

Oh right. Nevermind.

Loser: Misplaced Anger and How We Bottle It Up

So we all understand that Nelson wasn’t actually mad at Kyle right? Nelson’s the type of dude who needs to let emotions out. Bottling them up is simply just not the way his brain works.

Some people, I’m one of them, can compartmentalize and bottle up emotions until they become a tumor that eats us alive from the inside until we implode like a dying star.

Others, like Nelson, need the constant outlet for emotion. It’s going to leak out. Happiness, sadness, or hell, even anger. Nelson has no capacity for bottling. He’d make terrible homemade salsa for that exact reason. Kyle just happened to be the pinprick to his balloon that’s been filling with hot air for awhile now.

It’s like on Total Madness when Nelson called Kailah and foul woman and suggested that she participate in coitus inside of a porter-potty. I don’t really think he even meant any of that, and probably doesn’t even remember saying it. Yet at that moment Kailah just happened to trigger Nelson’s emotional release valve and it didn’t come out so great.

But when do emotion’s come out great? They’re a naturally illogical and stupid thing. From the happiest you’ll ever be to the saddest you’ll ever be. It’s all sort of fugazi. Unless you’re like Taylor Swift and can let it all out via smash pop record or something like that, it’s hard to have a healthy outlet for those things.

Either all that or Nelson’s just a hot head who needs to relax. It might be the second one.

Winner: The Inevitable

I mean, you guys let him stay here. All of this is technically Nelson’s (and every body else’s) fault. More on this in a bit…

Winner: The Challenge: Season’s 1–36

Definitely not a new thing.

Loser: Sand

Kyle might as well just throw those socks away. They’re never gonna be clean ever again. How would that work if somebody in the house just ran out of socks? Would a PA have to run to target or something to get him/her (although, let’s be real, this particular situation would almost certainly be a him) some fresh footwear? Would they have to suffer? Would it behoove the rest of the cast to not lend them a pair? How big would the scabs be on the back of their achilles?

I’d imagine they probably just get them new socks. But I digress.

Do you think that they went and worked out after this?

Because getting to work for them at this point should be doing Sudoku’s and sitting in bed like Landon and Carley doing tangrams with a cut up single subject Mead.

They probably just went and did some cross fit though.

Winner: The Beauty In Simplicity

In most aspects of life, us humans possess the debilitating capacity to over think everything. That cute girl in chemistry class asked to borrow a pen? That obviously means she both likes you and wants to go to homecoming but also can’t stand the sight of you and wants to use you for a ride home this weekend…more than likely she just needs to write down some notes. Your boss tells you “good job on that project, but next time can you do it this way?”. That obviously you’re either getting fired or a promotion…but more than likely she/he just likes to visualize it a certain way.

The Challenge tends to make things incredibly complicated. But not more complicated than the Challengers themselves make it. That’s one thing this show will always have going for it no matter what. They 30+ people they stick in this house will always convolute things for themselves just enough to make the game interesting.

But what Kyle did here is pretty interesting. He cut out all of that completely. It’s a simple game. Latch onto CT and good things will happen for you. There’s a Rick Ross song where he talks about Skypeing a friend of his in prison and just counting money for him to get him hyped up.

I wonder if Amber did that to Kyle during the off-season. Kyle might not be exactly locked in during his stay in Croatia, but he has managed to strip away all the bullshit and understand what it actually takes to win right now.

Winner: Creativity

Call me crazy, but I would love to see that.

Winner: Any Freshman Currently Taking Psych 101

“Oh guys, guys, I know that one!!! It’s called Projection!!! We just learned about that for the mid-terms! What’s that? Oh yeah, I got a C.”

If we ranked “Biggest Group of Hypocrites” in the whole world, Challenge people are right up there with the best of them.

Winner: CT

Laying out a plan that involves convincing someone who would run through a wall for you to potentially sacrifice themselves to better your own position then ending it by saying “but I’m not gonna ask you do that.”…..I mean. Wow. *chef’s kiss* Bellissimo, CT.

Loser: CT Lying To Himself and Everyone Else

I mean……… you don’t.

Winner: Cory’s Challenge Merch Connect

Why don’t they sell that hat? Like for regular schmegular folks like you and I to get? Why can’t I be ensconced in Challenge merch in my real life? I would drink out of a Challenge Camelbak all day. Let us customize our own Challenge jersey, from any season we want, on your website. Let us buy just a jersey of our favorite Challenger! Imagine just being out in the wild, buying groceries, and somebody in the grains isle is rocking a Cohutta Ruins jersey?! I mean, there’s no way I wouldn’t approach them and say something.

We want our local communities back, MTV! Do something about it. It’s your corporate responsibility to make the world a better place.

The point is, sometimes MTV makes it harder to be a fan of this show than it has to be. Let us rep! The only Challenge based anything I own is a Johnny Bananas tee my sister got for me for Christmas a few years ago. If it were possible, we’d have been getting each other official Challenge merch for Christmas every year. Like sell all of it online, ya know? Why do they keep parts of this show under such lock-and-key?

Loser: Self-Flagellation

One drawback to having so many rookies on this season is that there’s really only so much screen time to go around. You can’t let me in on everyone. They gotta pick and choose.

Some rookies become relevant because of the game (Corey L.), other rookies become relevant because of how they act (Hughie), and other rookies become relevant because of things outside the actual game itself (Michele). And then others, like Bettina, kind of slip through the cracks. The editors were probably in a tough spot with her. If this was 2010, and the world took itself a little less seriously, I feel like some of Bettina’s rumored antics would have been on the forefront.

But the world’s not fun enough for the Bettina’s of the world, and because she’s had essentially the same impact on the actual game as you and I have, they really had nothing to work with when it came to her. So this scene of her feeling sad and isolated really leaves me cold.

That being said, I’m gonna use this time to self promote!

The guys on the Redditors React Podcast were nice enough to allow me to take over and host for an episode. It’s easily the worst one they’ve ever put on their feed, and I couldn’t have been happier to show up and ruin it. If you wanna hear me say the bad jokes you’ve read/are going to read here out loud, go ahead and click play. I promise I only repeat, like, most of them.

Thanks again guys!!

Winner: Romanian Trash Talk

“Hey hunny, welcome home. So I have some bad news.”

“Wait before you start, lemme tell you what happened at work today. We were down at the fire-house, I was beating Carl in Risk, finally, and the siren’s go off. So we scurry to the truck and head out to the location. It was weirdly in the middle of nowhere. But get this. Some Romanian guy was playing rugby with a bunch of American’s for some TV show, and he ran so fast his shoes caught on fire. Can you believe that? Just when I was gonna quit and start my candle company they pull me right back in. Nothings wackier than fighting fires, ha! So what was the news?”

“Our dog died.”

Loser: My Work Ethic Circa 2015

The restaurant group I used to work for was a bunch of scumbags. Essentially what they would do is open a “new” property, get a bunch of money from their investors, skim off the top, and cheap out with whatever venture they made up this time.

And one time, it was a “restaurant” called Expat.

Now the idea behind Expat was a small sidewalk cafe with boozy snowcones and fun shot combo’s with some small plates to go along with it. What it was in reality was an absolute shit show that was miserable to work at from the moment it opened.

But the one caveat, is that it was entirely weather dependent. And if you know Chicago, you know that depending on the weather for something is a futile enterprise. So, with this knowledge and a long shift awaiting me the next day, there was one Thursday night that I spent doing a rain dance.

An ancient Native American rain dance that I looked up on Wikipedia and practiced for like ten minutes, before stepping outside into the backyard to officially perform incredibly poorly and ineffectively.

Did it rain? Of course it didn’t. Because that was a stupid thing to do. But I was desperate. I don’t even remember if it was a bad day or not. But that’s not really even the point.

The point is that all I really needed to do is scream “LET’S GO” at the top of my lungs and the rain would have promptly appeared. The lesson, as always, I’m an idiot.

Loser: Loose Fitting Jersey’s

Throw the flag ref! That’s a horse collar! What? Do you got money on this? Get off your knees ref, you’re blowing the game!

Loser: Covid

Hiring managers everywhere just wept into their Chardonnay.

I watch this show as an escape, CT. I don’t need my real life problems seeping into The Challenge.

Loser: Safety Help

I don’t know whether it was a miscommunication on the front end, but it maybe have looked like Josh got dusted here, it wasn’t entirely his fault.

If you just look at the above shot, on the snap, it’s clear the corners were playing some sort of soft zone. The way their set up leads me to believe they were under the impression they had safety help over the top. At least Josh did. Not whether or not this was the right defensive alignment against a QB trapped in the pocket with a bum leg is another question entirely.

Look how soft in coverage Josh is here. He’s actually in a pretty perfect position, if as I said before, he was under the assumption Devin would be dropping into coverage. So while on the surface, this looked like another blunder by Josh. He wasn’t given the right help by his teammates, leaving him on a island without the tools to survive.

Going back to pre-snap, it’s clear that beyond Devin getting frozen in an ill advised QB contain, the real misstep here is Logan completely missing a wide open Nelson who gave Emanuel the juke of his life off the line.

I could watch these people play actual sports all day.

Winner: The ’85 Bears Reincarnate

There was nobody more impressive during this Challenge than the combo of Kaycee, Tori, and Nany. They were swarming out there. Nany gave Emy the Penaut Tillman and stripped her twice, then Big T had the misfortune of stepping on the field in the first place and got demolished by Kaycee, only to get double demolished by the incoming missiles named Tori and Nany.

Holy hell that was scary to watch.

Winner: This Camerperson, Feelin’ Themselves

“Wait a second, I know what would be a better way to show this conversation!”

“Nailed it. I’ll be shootin’ for the Coen Brothers in no time. Goodbye Croatia, hello Hollywood!”

Winner: Challenge Tradition

You’re not officially a Challenge person until you get drunk and scream out “I’m done!” because of a minor social inconvenience irrelevant to anything that resembles importance.

Loser: Emy

Hey just some life advice for you wandering souls out there…if six people surround you in a room by yourself asking you to do something, do not under any circumstances do that thing.

I mean this is pretty over the top. Did all six of them have to go? This couldn’t have been an Emanuel/Tori combo conversation?

I don’t know about you guys, but despite them winning every daily since their inception, the Emerald team has kinda started to show their ass a little bit. They’re so desperate to stick together it’s actually going to eventually morph into their downfall. Amanda figured that part out real quick, and when she paraded around the house dressed like a member of Cypress Hill she went full Amanda and shouted the quiet part out loud.

Loser: The Time We Spent Watching This Deliberation

Here’s the cliffnotes….

Emerald Team: Guys, we’re all besties. Stay out. And if you threaten to come over here, we’ll do whatever you want. Basically we’re just gonna say our strategy out loud cause we’re morons.

Emy: Hey, pick me so I can go against Bettina!

Bettina: Hey, pick me so I can go against Emy!

Amanda: Hey fuckheads, don’t pick me or I’m gonna blow up your spot.

Loser: Cory’s Ability To Scout Other Challengers

Really? Precision? Emy?

Loser: The Movie Selection On Croation Airlines

I’d say it was right about here when Bettina started trying to figure out which of her shows she was planning on catching up on during her flight home. I heard a rumor online that the flights on the way there were pretty sparse on the movie selections. It’s no wonder Bettina seemed so distracted.

Winner: Fluff

This episode could have easily been 22 minutes long.

Winner: Emy Being Emy

Say it…

No, no, no. Do the Romania thing…..

There it is. Nailed it.

Thanks for reading! My apologies on the delay this week, that damn real life got in the way again. But be sure to check back Thursday for the next batch of Winners & Losers. And until then, as always, Happy Challenge Watching!!!




Writing about MTV’s The Challenge, one of America’s great institutions, from a fan’s perspective. For inquires:

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Brian Batty

Brian Batty

Writing about MTV’s The Challenge, one of America’s great institutions, from a fan’s perspective. For inquires:

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