The Challenge: Spies, Lies & Allies Episode 9 Recap — Winners & Losers

Brian Batty
15 min readOct 8, 2021


Welcome back to another edition of Winners & Losers! Just when Priscilla thought she’d changed the whole game, that sneaky bastard TJ drops the hammer as we exit the episode. What’s coming next? Inside this week: Tori throws a wrench at a bone, we discuss The Real World: Ex-plosion, the Challenge cast contributes to the climate crisis, and much much more…

Winner: The Duality of Man

In a communal living situation, there’s more than one way to skin a cat as far as keeping your food out goes.

I had a roommate once who would go to the dining hall in the morning, fill up a to go box with whatever the fuck, bring it home, leave it open on the island in our kitchen, and slowly throughout the day peck at it like a baby bird until the container was empty around 7:30 or so.

No I was not living with Jeffrey Dahmer.

Others like to keep their food covered and protected from prey. When your plate is covered by another plate, it signifies “I’ve gone through effort to protect this.” It may has well have that charm that Hogwarts had over it to keep Voldemort out.

When your plates out in the open, or in the case of my old roomate in my face all day every day, sometimes a person just gets hungry and doesn’t feel like preparing anything. So a bite here, a bite there, who’s to notice?

If the coffee industry can make our coffee 1% less real every year where we’ll never be able to tell the difference, then don’t get upset with me for taking a bite of your hashbrowns every once in awhile.

What were we talking about again?

Loser: Asaf, Bayleigh, Chris, Jenn

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, the suckers who did Total Madness and had to live in that nightmare bunker without ever experiencing what a real Challenge is like must be so upset seeing things like this.

My man Nelson’s eating goooood late night. Gourmet burger lookin ass.

Winner: Idioms

Which came first? The chicken or the trampoline?

Winner: Nelson/Nicholas Cage

Loser: 8% of Men and .5% of Women

Gonna be honest, this Challenge would have been impossible for me and my colorblind bretheren out there in the wild. Silver Bomb? Bro, Teej, like half of those balls are silver. I see a red, a yellow, and a lotta greyish pink.

I wonder if being colorblind has ever effected someone on this show? At some point the odds say that they have to. What can go wrong will go wrong type of thing. Just like stop lights while I drive, I would have had to have gone down there just kind following along with everyone else.

Loser: Whoever Gets Stuck Guarding Me At The Park

Whenever some skinny nerd gets stuck checking me when I’m at the park playing basketball, I cannot help but trash talk. I’ve gotten people pretty upset in the past, but hey, they left the house that day. Not my fault.

But my absolutely favorite thing in the world to say after overpowering someone for yet another bucket, is “get in the weight room”. It’s pretty emasculating most of the time.

That’s what CT more or less said to Kyle in the mud pit that day. Last season Kyle may have a spiritual pole wrestle victory over CT, but the K-Dog has never looked so small and helpless.

Loser: The Streak

Here we are, nine weeks in to Season 37 of MTV’s The Challenge. And this was the most tense moment I’ve ever felt in the long history of the show.

It’s been 1,325 days since Nelson won a daily challenge. His losing streak is at a remarkable, intergalacticly awful 42 (!) daily challenges, missions, whatever the fuck you wanna call them in a row. 42! That is so many!

So when he grabbed that silver (I think?) ball with only a cackling Agent Ed standing in his way, I thought this was the moment. This was his chance to end the misery. To end the suffering. To go from punching bag to lightning rod.

The beast that lays dormant within Nelson was sure to come out to play in the mud that day…

Loser: The Streak (Again!)

See! He wants it! Today is the day it ends! Today is the day Nelson wins and goes on to win 42 daily challenges in a row, cementing himself as a living legend…

Winner: The Streak

Ugh. Make that 43 in a row.

Look I get it, making a deal there is a really good move considering the tenuous thread upon which veteran safety is dangling at the moment. And I’ll be honest with every single one of you, if a muddy and sweaty Logan looked me directly in the eyes and said “you are safe” I’d pretty much melt. So I totally get it, from all angles.

Still though, it would be nice to see my guy Nelly finally get one of these.

Loser: Kyle’s Originality

I don’t know who wore the yellow hoodie first, but this is not Kyle’s first offense in the outfit matching arena. I’m starting to think he’s doing this as an elaborate extension on the white polo prank from last season. I wouldn’t put it passed him. He’s seemed incredibly bored during his entire stay in Croatia.

Winner: Tempura

Winner: Priscilla’s Taste in Americans

I agree.

Loser: MTV’s Propane Bill

I’ll tell ya what, my restaurant has a bunch of these for our patio, and as someone who processes these invoice, these things they really add up. These cute little heaters have a unique ability to run up a Barney Gumble sized tab quicker than you’d ever believe.

What’s that? Nobody cares? Got it, let’s move on…

Loser: The Couch They Bought For The Double Agents Deliberation Room

Coulda definitely gotten that from Facebook marketplace, because it became a less than zero part of the ultimate outcome the entire time.

This room though? Well, let’s just say this week alone was worth all of it.

Loser: All Those Other Tablets

Remember when there was like a thousand people crammed in that room playing Fruit Ninja? I hope they at least got donated to a local school or something.

“Hey guys, free shitty tablets for everybody down at Kraft Services!!! Hurry! Before they’re gone!”

Winner: Saying What You Really Mean

“Hey guys, real quick, let’s huddle up. Now I know none of you were there for Final Reckoning, but lemme tell you how this went. That girl Ashley over there stole a bunch of money from a friend of mine. And despite that fact that I’d probably do the same thing, as would most of you, she was the only one here given that opportunity. And she took it! So let’s crucify her for it.”

“Cory’s soft. He’s played by far the most scared game out of anybody since he came back from Pastagate on Final Reckoning. And I don’t blame him for it! It’s gotten him to levels of comfort within The Challenge ecosystem that I could never have even on my best day”

Priscilla — “Who the fuck asked you?”

Jeremiah — “You know what I’m sayin?”

Did I just turn on War Of The Worlds 2?

“We’ve both done some shady things. My name is Cory and it’s easier to hide them from everyone. My name is Ashley and it’s easier for me to throw the most egregious one in your face hoping you don’t go looking for more. Oh and we also both understand that everybody standing in this room is a liar but saying that out loud wouldn’t benefit us in any way.”

“Shit, I’m scrambling. Good thing I pulled a word like “proclaim” out of my ass. That outta stagger her for a bit while I regroup.”

“Cory, are you aware of the idea of ‘leaning into the skid’?”

“That’s the phrase I was looking for five seconds ago. Damnit. Why now?”

Loser: Ashley’s Expectations

Expectation management is the key to happiness. I truly believe that in my heart of hears. I’m not saying set high goals for yourself. Just ensure that they’re attainable.

To think that the most impactful singular decision in the history of this show wasn’t going to hang on you for the rest of time is naive at best and on the verge of insanity at worst.

Winner: Devin

Did Devin just solve the conundrum of social media?

Should Devin be the Czar of The Internet?

Calm down Brian. Have another beverage why don’t you…

Winner: Josh’s Ability To Make Anything About Josh

This conversation has been about basically everything, including things like The Real World house, besides Josh. But there’s never been another person in existence quite capable of making innocuous things incredibly not innocuous, it’s Josh fucking Martinez. Shout out to South Florida.

Speaking of The Real World…

Winner: Thomas, Jenny, Club Rat Jay, and All The Rest of Them…

The Real World Ex-plosion is one of the most historic Real World seasons there has ever been.

The biggest reason, and this is larger than you can imagine, as that it changed The Real World forever. It was the disease that temporarily made it stronger while eventually succeeding into killing it forever.

But Cory and Ashley were directly in the center of that. Let’s start with Ashley….

Ashley shouldn’t be here. It’s very rare that someone who leaves their Real World house early becomes any kind of household name. Even to the biggest obsessives. It’s even rarer that someone who left their Real World house early would become a Challenge Hall of Famer.

If everything was equal, Ashley shouldn’t be here. Her time on the Real World was as short as it was impactful. But people like her just don’t end up on the right side of the reality TV universe. And yet here we are, Ashley being a two time champion and a focal point of any season she is on.

Cory, on the other hand, was as sure fire as it gets. Any Challenge fan who took a mere glimpse at his inaugural Real World season would have predicted at least one or two Challenge runs in his time on reality TV.

Little did we know what was to come next.

On top of all of that….they are both complicit in the murder of the greatest show to ever grace television. It’s not that The Real World Ex-Plosion was a bad season. Quite the opposite. But it introduced “the twist”. Which was the antithesis of The Real World in general.

It didn’t need a twist. It was Real.

Even the next season, ‘Skeletons’ was a great watch. More so for the personalities than anything else, but great nonetheless. But this twist idea, starting off bring an “ex” of every house mate to live with them. And finally dying with a weird Seattle season where their “worst enemies” came to live in the house. Most of these were just people they went to high school with who hooked up with the same person they did after a football game or whatever.

Just like that, the great show television has ever produced, The Real World, was gone forever. But not before they gave us Ashley and Cory….

Winner: Boredom

She’s like “fuck I gotta get in this somehow”.

Winner: Space Cowboy Jeff Bezos

The thing is with these gift cards is, you’re only gonna end up spending 498.75 of that. So that’s like a dollar twenty five directly into Space Cowboy Jeff Bezos’s pocket. Extrapolate that over every Amazon Gift Card given out over the holiday/money stealing season, and boy oh boy. We might be able to fill up the gas on his rocket ship at least a third of the way.

Don’t worry about us normies down here on earth though, Jeff. Everything’s fine.

Loser: Nelson’s Idea of Friendship

I don’t know, it’s possible that Nelson’s not listened to enough Jennifer Lopez in his life. But don’t be fooled by the rocks that I got, you can buy a little help from your friends…ah shit that’s not right.

Something John Lennon said about his friends but then J-Lo mentioned something about not being able to buy her love. Are those related? Not really I guess.

The important thing to remember, Nelson, is that friendship goes far beyond an Amazon gift card, and even further beyond your sacrifices for your actual friend Cory in The Challenge.

Friendship extends beyond boundaries. Right now I’d say something condescending like “one day you’ll learn that” but you already knew that. The game gets the best of all of us.

Well, I mean, he did go home broke that season. So. Kinda different…

Winner: Emy

That’s the same look I had on my face the first time I saw a boob.

Loser: TJ

I know the above line of text is blasphemy, but I can’t help it.

That deliberation was incredible. As far as long-term storytelling goes, that was a pretty heavy pay off. Cory’s been coasting for three seasons in a row now, and the idea that Ashley who he came into the world with, would be the one on the direct opposite side of it? Well that’s something that was years in the making. I could list the storylines for days, but let’s start here.

Ashley got kicked off of Cory’s Real World season in like six days.

Ashley has Challenge championships weighing her down, while Cory has really only pretended to come close.

Both of them clearly care a lot about their legacy around here. Cory reaching for respectability, and Ashley desperately needing more of the same, their stories couldn’t be more intertwined.

That deliberation, with those two people going directly at it, is all the payoff long time fans are ever looking for. That’s one of my favorite things (among countless others) about this show. If you stick around long enough, it’ll always pay off. It always comes back around. Shout out to Thomas Buell. Shout out to San Fransisco.

Loser: When Your Friends Start Arguing

You know that moment, on that weekend trip with friends, when that joke from Thursday isn’t funny on Saturday afternoon anymore?

I hate it too. But honestly? The best times usually come on the other side of it. That tension’s just gotta clear.

I feel like this Kyle/Cory kerfuffle was a product of that tension never getting a chance to boil over.

Loser: Earth

Use one damn Sriracha at a time. Jesus Christ. #MotherEarth #Kony2012 #Recycle.

Let’s get real about the issues people.

Winner: Amber M.

Winner: Amanda, Still Bored, Unable To Help Herself

Regardless whether or not that’s true, Amanda just unequivocally could not help herself on this one. It would have been more much difficult for her to not say that stupid joke than to just let it loose like she did.

Winner: Amber’s Facebook Notifications in 2009

Jeez Amber, brag much? We get it. All the unoriginal guys like me were flirting with you in high school. You gonna tell me you got notes passed to you too? Couple Candygrams around Valentines day?

Lemme guess, you wanna wear my football jersey to school on Friday? Hate to break it to ya, but get in line.

Loser: Amber and Jeremiah…but also Cory and Bettina

I know technically only half of those names are loser, but that elimination looked like it sucked to do. No thanks. I’d have given up like nine different times.

Winner: Cory

Go Blue.

Winner: Bettina

And she didn’t even laugh one time!

Loser: Jeremiah

What’s the chances Amber stopped texting him back within a week of getting home? Fifty percent? Seventy-five? I’d go with a hundred.

Winner: Twists

The twist is that they forgot to film everything so we have to restart the game from the beginning.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check back for more Challenge content. And until then, as always, 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