The underdogs take Thailand for the season premiere of The Challenge Invasion!
SEASON 29 EP 1
Title: Gimmie Shelter
The 18 underdogs show up to live in “the shelter” in Thailand. Though many complain about the camp setup, it’s on the beach and they even get a dog.
We quickly meet/remeet/get something of note on most of the cast members. Anika stinks at getting off a boat. Marie wants to start a business. Shane is divorced, coming out of an 11-year relationship. LaToya is a single parent of a cute dog. Tony is sober now with baby #2 on the way. Hunter also maybe has a kid? It’s the island of responsible parenting.
Nicole chose The Challenge over her girlfriend and cries to Bruno about how hard that was (5 points). She also cries in an interview about it (5 more points).
Over on a happier section of beach, Sylvia and Shane take off their clothes and swim in the water (10 points each).
Sober Tony delivers the opening night toast (with orange juice). You know, the one Bananas usually delivers.
T.J. comes to tell everyone that they’re living in the shelter, sorry not sorry. They can earn their way to “the best Challenge house ever” – which is the Oasis. People are psyched. The cast is also pumped there are no champions. T.J. says four are going to the finals. Do they really think MTV is so cheap that they made a mini-seasons with not a lot cast members? I mean, Viacom is pretty low-budget, but still.
Kailah and Cory flirt. Marie and Anthony flirt. Nothing happens.
Then it’s challenge time. The Over Under.
It’s an individual challenge in a clay dirt/mud area. There’s a tall wall the competitors have to get over, followed by a shorter wall they have to dig under. Finally, there are a series of masks on ropes. Each player will have to untangle their mask off the ropes and hang it on a hook. Winner goes to the Oasis. Loser goes into the elimination.
T.J. blows the horn and everyone runs to grab buckets. Jenna, Kailah, Cory, Bruno and Tony build a little hill of dirt to get over the wall, while the rest build their own.
Smashley climbs up the muddy dirt hill first and runs off. It’s an individual challenge. Plus, would she really be helpful on the top of the wall trying to pull people up? The other side sends Tony up first and he helps others get up.
It’s rough for Cory, the last on his side, trying to get over the wall. He ends up getting help from Nelson and Theo on the other dirt mound.
It doesn’t matter much anyway. While Smashley left her fellow mud pile builders behind, she started digging the under for the next wall ahead for them.
All the teamwork doesn’t matter because this all comes down to untangling the rope. This is not the kind of puzzle Nelson expected. He didn’t download an app for this.
Nicole finishes first (15 points). Dario finishes first for the guys (15 points), followed by Cory, Shane, Tony, Theo… then Smashley finishes and vomits (5 points).
After Smashley, the finishing order for the women goes: Amanda, Anika, Sylvia, Kailah, and then Jenna.
Marie and her Real World St. Thomas season-mate LaToya are the last two ladies. Marie is gassed and comes in last. She’s headed to the elimination.
Anthony and Nelson finish, leaving Hunter and Bruno as the last men standing. Bruno is frustrated and quits. Hunter finishes, so it’s Bruno going into the male elimination.
Nicole gives him some attitude for being so lame. Her and Bruno have a fight about his lack of effort (10 points each).
Nelson thinks Tony is a bad friend for not being Bruno’s cheerleader and encouraging him to keep trying. They fight about it (10 points each).
T.J. tells the winners that they won’t be going to the Oasis until all those spots are filled. Wamp wamp.Dario and Nicole are especially bummed.
T.J. expresses his disappointment in Bruno for quitting (-5 points) and onto the second episode we go…
Episode 1 scores shown below:
A link to the excel score spreadsheet is here: Invasion-Ep1-Scores
Best player performance of the episode: Nicole (30 points)
Worst player performances of the episode: A lot of people (0 points each)
SEASON 29 EP 2
Title: Skeletal Fracture
The episode opens with the cast doing exactly what people should never do: assume. They assume that the entire “house” (aren’t you a shelter?) will vote on who goes into the elimination against first challenge losers Marie and Bruno.
It doesn’t take long for the bickering to begin. Tony, Kailah and Jenna and have formed an alliance already, just by building their own mound to get over the first wall during the challenge.
Nelson yells about how they should have all worked together. Kailah screams the reminder that it was an individual challenge. Kailah, Tony and Nelson shout at each other (10 points each). Nelson really does not like Tony.
Jenna calmly states to Theo that they shouldn’t go crazy about who should go into the elimination, even though they just did that. Theo and Jenna exchange a little attitude. They aren’t impressed by each other. Lines are being drawn even though, again, T.J. hasn’t given explicit rules on how the other elimination competitor is chosen.
Sylvia does not like the politics of choosing sides. Welcome to The Challenge, honey. Kailah and Cory talk by the beach. She doesn’t really know how to operate this environment either. She likes Jenna, but wonders if it was too soon to have picked a side. It’s frustrating and she cries (5 points).
Cory works his game charm, noting how good-looking Kailah is. She’s in his top 8 of the 9 in the “house” (it’s a shelter!). Cory and Kailah make out (10 points each).
In the morning, T.J. comes to stop the speculation. He explains that the male competitors will choose which female faces Marie in the elimination and the ladies will choose which guy goes against Bruno.
Cut to Smashley being interviewed. “I guess that polidicking may come in handy,” she says. The producer asks what polidicking is. This is her answer: “When you politic with your vagina and maybe you sleep with some people so that maybe you can get farther in the game.” Nice word, Smashley.
Nicole votes for Theo. Kailah follows, so does Jenna because she thought he was mean to her. Smashley picks Tony. Anika also says Tony. Amanda follows on the Tony hate train. Sylvia is stressed and confused by this big girl decision she needs to make. After a little panic attack, she picks Tony because she’s an idiot. She obviously could have thrown her vote away, but instead Sylvia cries (5 points). LaToya could make the vote tied, but throws in Tony.
Sylvia and Nicole bicker about loyalty. They were on the Real World Skeltons season together (hence the episode’s name) with Tony and Bruno. Nicole expected a natural alliance and thinks Sylvia was dumb to sell out to the herd. This is not backstabbing, because Sylvia never explicitly promised her vote or considered herself in an alliance with her season-mates.
On to the other side of business…
Dario picks Kailah, as does Hunter and Shane. Tony says Sylvia because he’s pissed. Anthony says Kailah. Nelson says Marie feels comfortable going against Kailah, which is silly. Kailah is ripped. Cory says Kailah because he knows the game is to follow suit. Kailah understands.
T.J. informs the cast that elimination wins (just like challenge wins) means a ticket to the Oasis. They are pumped that merit matters in this game.
After the vote, LaToya and Anika try to comfort Sylvia, reminding her it was her vote to cast as she pleased.
But Nicole is pissed off. She approaches Sylvia and yells that she’s a liar, hopes her boyfriend breaks up with her, hope she cries every day. Sylvia and Nicole have a verbal boxing match. Low blow after low blow. Sylvia hopes Nicole’s girlfriend breaks up with her, oh wait she already left. Yikes. (10 points each). Sylvia cries (5 points). She apologizes to Tony, caring about how he feels, not how Nicole feels.
Tony doesn’t accept the apology. He has babies to feed. This is serious, Sylvia.
Theo, Cory and Nelson talk about the Champs. Who’s better? CT or Bananas? MTV takes this opportunity to flash over to the Champs. CT has an adorable kid. Darrell has two adorable kids. Zach knows Jenna will be on the season. Camila, like Tony, thinks she can maybe calm her demons.
Back in Thailand, Shane tries to calm down Sylvia. She cries again (5 points).
Marie and Anthony flirt, hoping Marie survives and comes back to continue that. Kailah is not worried at all about Marie. Cory wants her to come back so he make out with her again.
Only those going into the elimination go to the elimination. It’s called In the Trenches. There’s a trench, of course, with five sandbags on each end. The goal is to get all the sandbags on your side, via wrestling through the opponent you face.
Kailah and Tony win (25 points each) and head back to the shelter. The losers are graceful and don’t cry.
When Tony and Kailah return, they are met with grumbles. Tony tries to smooth things over, and it’s met with mixed reviews.
Nicole reminds everyone that there’s no need for tension… “Hey, didn’t we all get along the first day?” Dario says the only smart thing he’s ever said on this show, stating that the game has begun.
- Seriously, what are we calling The Challenge dog?
- We get that the Champs are coming later, MTV. It’s the whole concept of the season. How many flashes back to the gym are we going to go on?
- So happy that the season didn’t open without an elimination. Thank you, MTV for learning from last season’s slow start.
- Nelson learned from his first season last season and wants to be in a power position. Interested to see how this works out for him.
- Oh, Marie and Anthony. What could have been. Never slow-play a showmance when you’re likely to be eliminated early.
- T.J. is really messing with fantasy participants by using cliches that are not his signature, “you killed it.”
- Considering there was a fair amount of fighting in these first two episodes, MTV could have delivered a better trailer.
- Our guess is two will be eliminated next week, then two more the week after and then the Champs will come.
Episode 2 scores shown below:
A link to the excel score spreadsheet is here: Invasion-Ep2-Scores
Best player performance of the episode: Kailah (50 points)
Worst player performances of the episode: A lot of people (0 points each)