The Challenge: Spies, Lies & Allies Episode 13 Recap — Winners & Losers

Brian Batty
16 min readNov 4, 2021


Welcome back to another edition of Winners & Losers! We sent home a challenge stalwart last night, and Logan somehow got even hotter. Inside this week: A production assistant makes a Target run, Ashley makes my Mother proud, and I tell you all about the three times I’ve eaten a shit sandwich…

Winner: Manifest Destiny

While this may not be the most mature way to handle being on a new team, Amanda’s kind of got a point here. A lot of people, when put in this situation, would take it upon themselves to prove all their doubters wrong. To prove that they’re not as bleep of a player as they bleepin think that you are.

That’s not Amanda though. She has nothing to prove to any of these people. Not really. So I see her point. Treat me like an adult and I’ll act like one. Treat me like bleep? Well then, the bleep’s on you.

Loser: The Audience & Our Ignorance

All season long, in this same space you’re reading right now, I’m been waxing poetic about how silly it is that nobody has even pretended to kind of even a little bit target CT.

Now I get it.

We don’t see everything, by design for obvious reasons. We see like 5% of what’s really happening. Most of the bigger stuff we have to see for reasons that have more to do with formalities than anything.

It’s been a long time that I’ve been more obsessed with the minutia of their living situation. A lot of times that’s more interesting to me than the game itself (this season and it’s relentless predictability is certainly one of those examples), at least to me.

Bringing it all full circle, watching CT do meal prep while everybody else drinks and tans by the pool explains and answers all my questions regarding CT’s confusing rock-solid foundation.

I have a feeling Nelson, Tori, etc. aren’t necessarily great cooks (I cannot see most of these people having the patience to mince garlic, even in a Challenge house where boredom relief is sparse), so if the choice is home-cooked gourmet meal or some off-brand mini Croatian frozen pizza? I’m keeping CT around as long as I can.

Loser: That Pig

The fact that they didn’t include a trigger warning for any stray pigs in Romania who may have been watching last night is completely irresponsible and I demand an overhaul of the executive board at Paramount.

Loser: Tori

Tori and Emanuel are getting smoked right now, 8–2. How is it possible they’re doing so bad? Oh I know, let’s rewind to three seconds before this shot….

It’s been awhile since I was single and playing beer pong at a house party situation, but I gotta say, Emanuel is a patient soul for this.

Tori, just relax. My mans is shooting. Maybe it’s the Virgo in me, but I am way too competitive in small meaningless situations to have some rando American girl hanging on me while we are in the midst of getting demolished right before the BBQ is done.

She should try, for once, to not mine the social well for attention. Just once. She might like how it feels.

Loser: The Production Assistant Who Ran To Target Earlier

Who went shopping? How are there brand new sandals with the tag still on them and we’re thirteen weeks into this thing? I mean, I don’t see a world where someone was conscious enough to buy and pack brand new pink sandals, and then actively choose not to wear them once.

Not only not wear them, but bring them out and then set them on the top bunk? I have more questions about the origins of these sandals than I’ve had about anything all season.

This is a thinking-person’s show, people. Don’t let anyone ever tell you different.

Winner: Honest Episode Titles

So thatttttttsssssss why the episode was named Titanic. Copy that.

Winner: Ashley’s Dental Hygiene

My wonderful Mother, who was a Dental Hygienist (shout out Moms everywhere), always told me flossing was more important than brushing, and as we can see here, Ashley must have gotten that same memo.

Those floss picks are so important to my day-to-day life that not having them or running out would be one of the hardest things about living in The Challenge house.

Loser: Being Social

Dude, same, honestly. Speaking Spanish directly to this former English major’s soul.

Being able to speak multiple languages has always been kind of a super power to me. I can speak decent kitchen Spanish and I’ve forced myself to be able to at least communicate in Spanish on a rudimentary level. A good chunk of the people the work for me speak Spanish, and I never understood other people in my position who never thought it would benefit them.

I’ve also learned some other fun phrases as more of a “just in case I’m ever lost in a Spanish speaking country” safety valve than anything. So for those Spanish speakers out there reading this, I’ll leave you with my favorite of those Spanish phrases.

Las mujeres malas, y mota bueno toda noche para mi y mis amigos. Gracias.

Winner: Gabo (Still)

Surfboards are dope. Once I’m so rich that I don’t have to work anymore one of my many dreams is to move to Hawaii, drink amazingly-stupid-expensive coffee every morning, surf all day, and smoke the stickiest of the icky Hawaiian weed all night.

While I appreciate Logan’s honestly, simplicity, and refusal to pretend he signed up for reality TV for any valiant reason…..I still prefer Gabo’s version much better. Shout out to watches and sports cars.

Loser: Umami

Younger me was outlandishly stubborn about mixing sweet and savory. I was working under the assumption that the separation of church and state was vital to a meal ecosystem.

Then I grew up.

Mixing sweet and savory is now a priority rather than an inferiority. I still go all savory sometimes, but rarely do I go all sweet.

Big T went all sweet for her breakfast that morning, and while not quite the breakfast of losers, I do understand the disdain of her peers. Have a donut. Hell have nine donuts. I don’t give a bleep. But you gotta have an egg or something with it. That umami flavor profile when that sweet really kicks up that salty and it all hits at the same time (*chefs kiss*) really kicks the day off.

Also, beyond all my bullshit that I just forced you all to read (if you didn’t just scroll past it to the next section), those donuts looked so dry. When Cory smacked it it exploded like a confetti cannon. I’d be out regardless.

Winner: Kenny Loggins

Where did you say they were? Come again?

BRB, going to play shirtless volleyball in the sand with my closest buds.

Loser: Nature

I have a question…

Do they just leave the decal on the boat underwater forever? Like, does somebody go dive down there and get it when they’re done? If not, does that mean there are just random Challenge logos scattered around the world?

That should be the next Final. Find all the Challenge logos we’ve left on random things throughout the globe and return them. Who am I kidding? CT would still probably win.

Loser: Deli Ham

And now, the story of the first time I had a shit sandwich…

I was a very young lad, probably around 7 or so. It was a Saturday afternoon and I was a hungry boy. I was still in the “ask your parents for sustenance” stage of life so I went looking my Mom, who was not around for whatever reason. So I went to seek out my Father, who I found napping on the couch.

Northwestern was playing somebody in an afternoon college football game, which makes sense why my Dad decided to nap instead. So, without any interest in waking him, I decided to nut up and make my own damn lunch.

What I created was a ham sandwich so full of mayonnaise and American cheese that I ended up throwing it all up almost immediately and to this day I still cannot eat deli ham under any circumstances.

Loser: The 2018 Oscars

Believe me, I thought Shape of Water sucked too.

Loser: My Best Friend’s Older Brother

And now, the second story of me eating a shit sandwich…..

It was the summer before 6th grade. I was a cool middle schooler now. Everything was important and dramatic and perfect. Problem was, my shoe game was improper. It was embarrassing.

I begged my parents, pleaded with them, to understand that I could not walk into the first day of 6th grade without some fresh, all-white shoes on my feet. The shell-toe Adidas are too expensive? Fine, I’ll settle for K-Swiss.

My parents hated spending money on anything stupid like that. Back then it was the end of the world, and now that I’m older they were so damn right it’s crazy to think about.

But after weeks of incessant complaining and bargaining, they finally acquiesced. We went to the Kohl’s in Crestwood over by the movie theater, and I wore those damn white K-Swiss shoes out of the store I was so proud and happy. Nobody was swaggin’ harder on the Southside of Chicago that day than me.

So I naturally wanted to flex on the neighborhood. So I called up my best friend and was like “hey bro, I’m coming over” and he was like “totally bro”.

Quick background here, my best friend had a brother about four years older than us. And he was a menace. Still is. If you look up “bully” in the dictionary, a picture of his bald head is going to be staring your right in the face. Let’s just leave my childhood trauma (mostly) alone and just say I was the easy target for much of that bullying growing up.

Anywho, I sauntered down the street with my new shoes. Women up and down the sidewalk fawned over the coolest chubby sixth grader they’d ever seen in their lives. I got to my friend’s house to show off my sick sneakers. He and his brother pretended to be interested. I was so blinded by my new found confidence that I didn’t even see my future coming.

The older brother said “you hungry?” and of course I was hungry, I was a sixth grade boy. So he handed me a sandwich that was already curiously (more curious now, at the time I wasn’t curious at all, mostly just focused on my shoes) put together. I greedily snatched the plate from him, set it it down, and took a big walloping bite.

What I didn’t previously realize is that they filled the two pieces of bread with enough mustard to make Harold Heinz himself blush. A stream of yellow mustard squirted out the back and all over my pants and….you guessed it, my brand new clean white shoes.

That stain never did come out. Sixth grade sucked. I don’t think that was a coincidence.

Winner: Pay Day

The only times in my life my fridge has been that stocked are when my sister helped my move into my first college apartment and spent like 800 dollars at Wal-Mart to buy me things like a broom and ya know, groceries.

Must be nice to be on The Challenge. Full stocked fridge? That’s some rich people privilege type bleep. Oh well, don’t wanna be jealous, that’s unhealthy. Shit sandwiches for everybody!!!

Winner: Time Spent Waiting For A Drink

When there were one hundred and seven people in the house, it probably took a minute for the bartenders to come around and take care of everyone. Now? There’s like twelve people left, so it’s probably so nice not having to wait for a beverage.

Maybe it’s my job, but going out on Friday and Saturday nights really sucks. The servers are always busy, bars are packed, it’s a nightmare. Monday’s and Tuesdays are the truth. Seriously, go out to dinner on a Monday night and your entire dining experience levels up by about a thousand.

Oh, and by the way, one more pro-tip, order dessert first. You’re welcome.

Loser: Power

I’m sorry, maybe I missed the memo, but since when is Josh the most powerful person in the house? I’m not even making fun of him, or even stating anything that isn’t a fact. Josh is (and this episode proves it more than anything) the most powerful voice in the house.

How the hell? When the hell? The Challenge is weird.

Loser: Complicated Hypothetical

Oh wow thanks, Tori. You’re complicated ass plan makes me feel so much more secure. I’m sure that’ll all work out exactly as you posed it.

The progression of Devin’s face throughout her explanation tells you everything you need to know about this cockamamie concoction.

Winner: The Scarecrow

There’s a deleted scene on the Wizard of Oz DVD where The Scarecrow says this to Dorothy before the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion stop him from eating her. I, for one, can’t believe they cut that part out.

Winner: Amanda

I’ll be honest. I’m with Amanda on this one.

Nelson and Cory can pretend that they’re an actual team, but let’s be real here, they’re not. Nobody’s an actual team. Teams can and will and have changed every week. Why would Amanda take some blood oath and tattoo “Ruby Or Death” on her arm. It’s not gonna happen.

She knows damn well that in two days from this argument she can be on another team entirely. Or on flight home. Nothing is permanent on The Challenge. Amanda knows that and Nelson’s never been able to quite figure that part out.

She could have displayed a bit more tact than the “cry about it” and the “I don’t care” strategy she went with. But still, her point was rock solid.

Loser: The Emerald Team

The NBA has had a pretty bad foul-baiting problem over the last few years. They’ve taken steps to fix it, and this season’s been better than any in years past because of it. But the one major issue that I always had with it is why do the refs keep falling for it? Why do they keep letting these players make them look so silly and not in control all the time? They’re gonna keep doing it because they allowed to do it.

I have no idea how this season shakes out eventually, but this is how I hope the Emerald cell feels at home watching this episode and all the ones previous to it. I understand the trepidation in saying CT’s name out loud. But how do they just keep falling for his bullshit?

Give the old man a break? Keep me with the misfits? Come on guys. I mean he’s not even trying.

CT’s a genius at this game, and him speaking up first (and for the first time all season) was absolutely intentional. By going first and taking the reigns of the conversation, he makes it certain that everyone’s going to forget about him because human’s are naturally stupid creatures and we only really remember the last things any of us heard. So CT knows if he goes first that by the time they have to make a decision, they already forgot he was there.

Loser: Kaycee

Yeah, but, I can think of one….

Loser: Kaycee (Again)

Yeah, I don’t know, again, I can think of someone?

I mean what is she talking about? What kind of justification is that? That doesn’t answer anything? If the idea was the keep the vets around, and there’s only one rookie guy left, and he’s extremely eligible to be voted for, then yeah Kaycee I can definitely think of one name that it was “supposed” to be.

But if nobody else is gonna say it out loud, than neither will I.

Loser: Honesty

I think every single one of us can relate to Cory in this moment. I mean we’ve all been voted into elimination by our friends in a Challenge house, right?

I kid because I care.

Really though, we’ve all been in a situation where we felt wronged. Whether it was by friends, family, colleagues. Whatever it is, anybody reading this has felt wronged by another person before.

And you know how it is. Cory doesn’t want an explanation from Devin, Josh, any of them. He just wants them to be honest with him. To not duck, dive, dodge, and swerve away from what he’s laying out there. To be real with him. Something he believes that he would be with them.

Winner: The Challenge Gods

You wanna make God laugh? Tell them your plans.

Winner: Arsonists Everywhere

Hell fuckin yeah it is.

Winner: The Pyro Squad

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Job security is important.

They haven’t lit anything on fire for like a month now. I was starting to get worried.

Winner: Mario Party

That damn mini game with the damn flaming jump rope used to get me every damn time. I miss when losing to my friends in Mario Party was my biggest worry in life.

Loser: The Eastland Mall Food Court

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for, here’s the story of the third time I ate a shit sandwich…..

Never ever ever, under any circumstance, get a sandwich from the Subway in the food court of the Eastland Mall in Bloomington, Illinois.

It’s possible their sandwich artists have improved since then, but back in 2013ish, boy lemme tell ya. They fucking sucked.

I worked at the Lids in said mall. And the deal was, sometimes I was all alone for the entire day. Which meant I couldn’t really leave the store for more than fifteen minutes at a time. And even when I did I had to call mall security, ask permission, close the gate, and blah blah blah. It ended up never even being worth it.

But a guy gets hungry after a long day selling hats, ya know? But the problem was delivery food’s expensive and I was a broke ass college kid. But, there was one option I always had. The Subway at the food court offered intra-mall delivery.

Sounds great! Spicy Italian on wheat, coming right up!

Except it wasn’t. Because the folks that made the sandwiches over there held the immense capacity to completely ruin your meal. I’m talking sloppy tomatoes, sometimes one slice of cheese, toppings you never asked for. But their largest offense, above all else, was the quantity of sauces. Not the quality. The quantity. They would either slab so much mustard on there that the ghosts of my K-Swiss rolled over in their graves, or so little that you’d need a gallon of water to get the bread unstuck from the top of your mouth.

So like I said before, do not ever eat at the Subway in the food court at Eastland Mall in Bloomington, Illinois.

Winner: Spain

Not only are their Hot Guys hotter than us Americans, they’re better at Tug-O-War too.

We’re falling behind in everything over here state-side.

Winner: Friendship

Friendships are hard to make. They’re even harder to maintain.

As I said before when Amanda and Ashley had their moment, making and maintaining those friendships is a lot harder when you’re beating each other up for a million dollars every six months or so.

Winner: The Handful Of Months We Get Before We See Cory Again Next Season

I mean really. He’ll be back on MTV like so soon.

Thanks for reading! Check back next week for another recap, and until then, Happy Challenge Watching!!!



Brian Batty

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