After a week full of drama and arguments, The Challenge is back with a surprisingly shortened brand new episode. So let's dig in.
The Challenge picks up right where we left off last week, with the challengers chained up in large cells for the daily mission- well, nightly mission in this case.
After a few minutes of lights obnoxiously flashing, TJ asks all of the teams to pick up a heavy bomb- which is just a big medicine ball- and hold it until he tells them to drop it. It becomes quickly apparent that teams will have to perform various tasks throughout the night, most of which are unpleasant.
After two hours, teams put down their heavy bomb for task two, the eating portion. On tonight's menu, challengers will find ram testicles, fermented shark, and artic cheese juice. It looks as nasty as it sounds, and several teams start to struggle.
Fessy is purposely throwing the daily, but it is obvious he isn't trying his best. Cory and Nany cannot keep any of the food down. CT's grunting is not a communication style Kam understands. It is honestly a hot mess, and almost everyone gives up.
Well, everyone except Kaycee and Leroy who are the first to advance to the third task. From here, they run away with the daily mission. Outside of Cory and Gabby, no one even gets close to them. They complete the remaining four tasks and escape their cells.
For Leroy and Kaycee, this is their third daily mission victory. The duo is dominating this season. They consistently put up great performances and work well together. Unless the house decides to break them up, it is hard to envision another team winning the final at this point.
I did not realize this week would only be an hour-long episode, but it was a kind of refreshing change of pace. The hour and a half run times have been a bit of a slog at times this season.
Don't get me wrong. I do enjoy the additional time to highlight strategic conversations and drama. It just does not always feel like there is enough meat on the bone to justify the extra thirty minutes of storytelling each week. The brevity this week was a welcomed sight that benefited the episode.
Much like the episode itself, the house deliberation was quick and easy. Both Gabby and Nany want their shot at a gold skull, and the house happily obliges. At this point, most of the house is in self-preservation mode and will do whatever it takes to protect their gold skull. There isn't a need for teams to rock the boat if someone willfully asks to go into The Crater.
It will be interesting to see how the house strategies moving forward now that there are no more gold skulls left and a handful of challengers still waiting for their chance to earn one. It feels like the game is about to pick up as we head into the home stretch.
Fessy took center stage this week as he found himself at the center of two relationship triangles.
Fessy and Gabby have grown closer over the last few weeks and are ready to take their relationship to the next level. The only problem is that Fessy still has eyes for another woman: Tori.
The show briefly highlighted the connection between the two before she lost her elimination earlier in the season. While Fessy and Gabby have bonded, it is clear that Tori is the apple of his eye.
Of course, Tori is engaged to Jordan, and Fessy doesn't want to overstep. But nostra-Cory doesn't think things are great between the couple, predicting they will eventually break up. Since filming wrapped, Jordan and Tori have revealed they called it quits on their relationship. One has to wonder what Cory knew that the rest of us didn't.
The other triangle Fessy finds himself in is between Aneesa and the other women in the house. At this point, it is clear that Fessy wants nothing to do with Aneesa as a partner. He is willing to do whatever it takes to switch partners, including throwing the daily.
There several women who I am sure view Fessy as an upgrade over their partner. Gabby would love to mix business and pleasure, Nany cannot trust Kyle, and Big T, as the rogue agent, doesn't even have a partner. All of them would not hesitate to pick him if the opportunity presented itself.
Aneesa has a moment of vulnerability with Nany, opening up about not wanting to feel like she is unwanted by her partner. It's sad to see Aneesa struggle because she has worked so hard to win this season.
Unfortunately, the house continues to view Aneesa as one of the weaker females in the house, no matter how well she performs. I hope she can get to a final and prove all of her doubters wrong.
Ring of Spies
The Crater this week was called Ring of Spies. Two competitors start at opposite sides of the arena before racing to a hanging ring in the center. From here, it becomes an all-out brawl to place the ring on one of three posts located on the outer rim of each challenger's side of the arena. The first person to win two out of three heats wins The Crater and the final gold skull.
In round one, Gabby gets the jump on Nany and reaches the ring first. The fight between the women is back and forth, with Gabby overpowering a scrappy Nany to win the first heat.
Round two is similarly close, with Nany getting to the ring first. Nany uses this advantage to pull Gabby to her side and get the ring on her post to win the second heat.
Nany solidifies her victory with a dominating round-three performance. After getting to the ring first, Nany jukes Gabby out of her shoes, leaving her in the dust as Nany walks to her posts.
The win was an emotional victory for Nany. She has a history of struggling to perform in these types of moments, but she stepped up to earn a hard-fought victory and the last female gold skull.
Gabby should be proud of her season, but her road on Double Agents comes to an end here. She went down with a fight, but the curse of Cory proved too strong to overcome.
As the victor in the Crater, Nany has the choice to switch partners. Ultimately, she chooses to infiltrate and steal Fessy. In turn, Aneesa picks Kyle since Cory doesn't have a gold skull, and the "Cory partner" curse continues to rear its ugly head.
That leaves Big T to Cory's partner. It might be a good idea to start preparing your goodbyes, Big T because things aren't looking great for you at this point.
Then again, Big T has been the underdog all season. Maybe she can surprise everyone once again and reverse the infamous partner curse.