Alright gang, I’m kicking it old school today and going with the live blogging format. It’s been a while and I’m pretty rust, so I actually forgot to put the time stamps on when things are said or when I had my reactions, but here they are! They’re mostly unedited, though I use a fun little Challenge shorthand I’ve worked out over the years that I’ve converted and taken out a few profanities to keep things PG. Anyway, if you’re interested in seeing what I thought of the first episode of The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons episode one, read on…* They’re in Turkey this season.
* It’s like a weird school reunion where most of your friends have shown up, but you still recognize everyone.
* Austin – Wes, Melinda, Lacey, Danny (Wes has his own rep while Lacey’s never done this and Danny and Melinda used to be married)
* New Orleans 2 – Jemmye, Knight, McKenzie, Preston. (Knight cracks on Preston, not sure if that rift will heal)
* Cancun – Jasmine, CJ, Jonna, Derek (pretty solid actually, get along well)
* San Diego – Ashley, Zach, (she broke up with him), Sam, Frank (Frank & Zach are cool now)
* Vegas – Trishelle, Alton, (curious about these oldies), Dustin, Nany (no bad blood)
* Brooklyn – Sarah, Chet, JD, Devyn (this team seems to be the weakest, Sarah’s been around a while but never won, Devyn seems weak, not sure about JD and Chet talks mountains of BS, but he hasn’t done anything but host aftershows)
* Saint Thomas – Robb, Laura, Trey, Marie (both former couples)
* Winning team gets $250K, second place $50K and 3rd place gets $40K.
* The Arena is this season’s elimination place. Teams that lose the challenge goe into the Arena. Winners are dubbed the Power Team and send in one team to face losers. The twist: the teams going into arena has two chose two players to go in, one man, one woman.
* Seeing them all together reminds me of how new to this most of these guys are. Without a solid alliance that’s done this a thousand times, this game actually has the potential to be pretty insane.
* Cut to running around the house, skinny dipping in the pool and drinking. Surprsingly no one says, “These young kids are partying WAY too hard.” Would have bet money on that one.
* Trey and Marie talking strategy, she says they need to get along to win because they have a past of getting into it with each other. Marie talks a great game, but I don’t think she has it.
* The San Diego group talks. Franks wants everyone to be open and honest. He thinks Ashley’s a liar. Ashley just wants to win. Frank already walks off.
* Wes and Danny hanging out with Melinda. Danny says they got married for all the wrong reasons. It’s 10 minutes in and Wes hasn’t a mutant yet, I’m shocked.
* Alton’s talking to Dustin, says they’re the strongest team. I think he’s right because this group has zero baggage. Alton says he’s in the best shape of his life, Alton 2.0.
* Dustin says he and Heather live in New Jersey now together.
* Preston says his challenge will be keeping his head in it. I give him two to three episodes, max.
* Knight and Jemmye hang out. Knight doesn’t like Preston, knows he might lack heart.
* Knight and Jemmye were together, until he cheated on her with his ex. Jemmye donated all his clothes. He’s super duper drunk.
* Chet and Sarah talk. They’re both worried about Devyn. He seems way too hooked on staying angry at people. Sarah’s never won a Challenge, this is her 6th.
* Zach and Frank rock pink speedos. After this display, Jonna tells her Jasmine she’s crushing on Zach. Jonna is already saying she can see something really happening with Zach, that’s nuts, it’s like the first or second night.
* CJ has it in for Wes because he sent him home in Fresh Meat. CJ calls him out when he reads TJ’s text about the challenge the next day.
* Wes is talks to Trey, says St. Thomas won’t get thrown in if Austin wins. Wes says he wants Trey and company to join his team. Wes tells the camera that the St. Thomas kids are his fans and will do what he wants.
* Danny looks like a different person with his hat off.
* At the challenge, TJ says there’s one more team that turns out to be a Fresh Meat one featuring Cara Maria, Big Easy, Brandon, Camila. Big Easy says he’s lost 70 pounds!
* The challenge is called Don’t Cross Me. Two giant crosses hang 25 feet above water with rope ladders hanging down to the water. You start off with each member of your team on one ladder. Everyone climbs up and then, two at a time, cross the X, meeting in the middle. Then the other team goes. You have 20 minutes to do this. If one person falls, their opposite on the other end of the beam has to fall and start over. Fastest time wins, slowest automatically goes in.
* Before going in Wes is actually coaching Lacey pretty well and Marie wants to make a name for St. Thomas right away and calls Trey out for his mild fear of heights.
* First up is Brooklyn and Cancun. Cancun goes faster, Jasmine and Jonna aren’t Challenge spring chickens.
* Devyn SUCKS and can barely get up the ladder. See ya later chick.
* Cancun has the girls go first. (Zach says likes Jonna.) Then the guys go.
* Devyn’s still climbing when Cancun clocks in at 3 minutes 47 seconds.
* JD’s going too slow for Chet’s tastes. Devyn finally gets up and crosses. They do it 6:17.
* Next up is Las Vegas & San Diego. Pretty evenly matched. Nany’s got a fear of heights.
* Frank’s super wobbly.
* Nany goes too fast and drops Tri down, but backs up and no one falls. Dustin and Alton talk them through it.
* Sam and Ashley get it.
* Alton & Dustin good are good. Both teams Climb down neck and neck, we’re not shown their times, though.
* Fresh Meat and St. Thomas. Big Easy’s also super wobbly. He falls. Brandon has to go back down too. Easy can’t get his unit back on him and winds up getting his team disqualified.
* Meanwhile Marie can’t pull herself up onto the cross. She finally does it. Boys cross first, then girls. So funny that Marie was the one who was giving Trey shit about his fear of heights and then can barely get up the damn ladder.
* New Orleans and Austin. Preston wants to prove himself. Good luck.
* Danny and Wes go up and cross quick. Lacey’s the question mark and isshaking like crazy, but she crosses and does it.
* Preston falls. It takes him a long time to get back up. They only have 20 minutes to do the challenge. He finally gets back up crosses and climbs down so they don’t get DQed.
* Fresh Meat is definitely going in. Cancun and Las Vegas are the top two, after a commercial break we discover that Cancun is the winner and Power TEAM!!!
* Wes talks shit about CJ. Pfft. Wes tells Chet that people there don’t get him. Cause he’s so complex…
* Cancun meets. CJ’s pushing for Austin because he’s got the mad on for Wes. They want to see what’s up with St. Thomas and actually have a meeting with the whole team. “Why should we save you?” Marie says they tell the truth always. HAHAHAHA.
* JD notes that St Thomas needs to side with them because, basically, you’re with them or against them. Make an enemy and you’re in now, don’t side with them and you’re in next time. Actually, it’s not that simple because it’s not like other teams have any say in who goes in aside from latter day back watching.
* CJ goes up to explain who they’re picking and why. They go with Austin. CJ chooses the name of the elimination game too. They’re sending in Austin! Wes says he’s going in because Danny doesn’t want to and he’s confident. He also says Lacey needs to go in to prove herself.
* Late Wes sits at the end of a table and tells everyone that he intends to come back and doesn’t mind getting sent him back, but he wants to be open and friends…or something. This does not sit well with Jasmine. Wes wants to hug CJ, but only gets a handshake. Wes is a weird dude.
* Big Easy wants to go in, Cara Maria too, but she doesn’t sound confident at all. I think it’s Wers and Lacey on the other team.
* Everyone else gets DUNKKK.
* Zach and Frank say they love each other and even kiss. It’s awesome. This is the growth I wanted to see on their season.
* Then Frank goes after Robb and knocks into a girl. Frank gets into it with Wes. Haha. “I’m better than you,” Frank says. I love seeing Frank getting in Wes’ face. “I want to see you bleed tomorrow.” Then Danny jumps up and Zach’s trying to hold Frank back.
* Wes is basically hoping Frank lays hand on him so he maybe won’t have to go in. Frank is fighting Zach like a monkey. Zach’s literally holding Frank down on the floor straddling him.
* 30 more minutes in the episode. I love this one. I must say, I don’t think there’s another show I’d watch over this one.
* I think Frank just tried to go after Sam. This is a mess. That paints a huge target on Frank and their team. Zach’s actually taking really good care of him. Now Zach’s off talking to Jonna, they’re cuddling and maybe kissing. Well, that happened fast.
* 11:05 – they’re going to cut the finale of this Arena off at the end aren’t they?
* Jonna tells Jasmine the next day that she started seeing someone before she left for The Challenge. Oof. Jasmine realizes the benefit: an alliance with San Diego.
* Jonna calls her dude back home to break up with him and he’s like “my heart is racing cause you called, I miss you so much.” Cut to commercial and then she has the nerve to break up with him and then tell him she’s being the bigger person and doing the right thing. Wow.
* In one of those quick between-commercial segments Alton’s working out and Jasmine literally walks across a room to just stare at him through a window.
* The next day Wes says no one could be more calm going into something like this than him. Man, I really used to like Wes. Can’t remember why, though.
* Cara Maria’s getting cold feet. She doesn’t want to go in if it’s Danny instead of Wes, though I’m not sure why. Camila’s giving her shit, though, as she should.
* At The Arena, both Wes and Danny have their jackets zipped up.
* Fresh Meat sends in Cara Maria, Austin Lacey.
* Then it’s Wes and Easy. Let’s see what’s up.
* The Arena is called Hall Brawl. There’s a thin hallway with one contestant at either end. You have to smash through your opponent and ring a bell on the other side. Best two out of three wins.
* They’ve got padding on under their t-shirts.
* DO IT EASY!!
* “This is a tough game to go up against a fat kid on.” – Wes
* Women go first and Cara Maria clotheslines Lacey OUT OF THE BOX and hits the bell.
* The next round is more of a struggle this, but Cara Maria gets it.
* “If I beat him, it’s going to shut a lot of people up.” – Wes
* Now it’s the guys. Easy knocks Wes out of the box and INTO THE BELL. AWESOME!
* On the next one Wes goes low and knocks Easy over. Easy holds him, they both get up, run and hit the bell at almost the exact same time. Expect a commercial break before finding out what happened here.
* Wes said how cool he was before, but he’s running around ranting like a maniac while they wait for the results.
* TJ says it came down to two tenths of a second before cutting to a commercial.
* The only other thing I get this invested in is Notre Dame and Steelers football. Waiting for this was like waiting for a really important booth review.
* TJ says…BIG EASY DID IT!!!!!!!! BOOOOOOOOM Peace out Wes, sorry Lacey.
* I assume this makes Austin an even bigger target now because you want to get rid of a whole team as soon as possible. Or do you keep them around because you think you can knock them out easily OR beat them in the finale. Double or, do you keep this particular team around because they’re divorced and probably unstable?
* Wes and Lacey leave on good terms with one another. CJ’s jazzed.
* This is pretty huge, actually. There goes one of the biggest manipulators the Challenge as ever seen. That leaves the vets with not-super-assertive people like Sarah and Big Easy.
* Oh man, this is gonna be a bonkers season. How many people will get kicked off for fighting? I can’t wait to find out!