The Challenge: All Stars Season 1 Episode 1 Recap 🙂
I am… so… deeply… utterly… and fully… IN LOVE WITH THIS FRANCHISE. THESE CHARACTERS. THIS NOSTALGIA THAT I FEEL FOR YEARS I WASN’T EVEN WATCHING THIS SHOW AND/OR ALIVE. I’m just so OBSESSSSED. I have seen this episode 5 times since it came out, and that will probably just be my warm-up.
Sometimes when they (general… media and writers? IDK) write sequels to a book or movie series, they can’t capture the same magic they made in the first one. That’s obviously disappointing… So my anxious little heart was worried All-Stars wouldn’t measure up to all my dreams, but, folks, let me tell you…. IT WAS EVERYTHING TO ME AND MORE. I AM SO THOROUGHLY IN LOVE WITH EVERY SECOND ON MY SCREEN, AHHHHH.
Duh, I love the montage at the beginning with all the old clips of current All-Stars challengers on their original seasons!!!
A cardinal-style bus pulls up in the Argentinian mountains, presumably full of all of our challengers. The first to step out is Katie, prefaced by an old clip of her telling Veronica Portillo “Don’t. Fuck. With. Me!” She says she used to be known for “getting a little crazy on these challenges”, but that she’s matured over the years & is now a mom and a wife. Seems nice and chill enough! But once a freak, always a freak, so I REALLY hope she freaks out (spoiler, she does 🙂 ).
Next out is Mark Long, one of the best and most influential challengers to play the game. He’s one of the oldest people on the cast, but he looks RIPPPPPPPPPPED. 20 or 50, this man is not one to mess with.
After Mark, Alton strolls in, recalling his Challenge accomplishments, (1 win, 2 other seasons in the finals, & 1 additional season), and I’m thinking, okay, now Alton… I do believe you’ve got a good chance at WINNING. He says his life now is simple- he has a 7-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter. Sweet!
We see a woman with a beautiful red jumpsuit start to stealthily & sexily walk down the bus steps when ABRUPTLY she gets caught, & haphazardly falls down the rest of the steps, landing on her butt in a sitting position. She throws her head against the side of the door in uproarious laughter. I love this moment SO MUCH.
In her ITM, she tells us her name is Jislea saying, “I’m 40 now… oh wait… do we still do that? Let’s not do that. Back to me being 25” – CUE THE MUSIC CHANGE to “Feels Like the First Time” by Foreigner. IT’S A PARTY NOW.
Syrus talks about how he won Extreme Challenge in his entrance. Trishelle talks about leaving early in a self-elimination last time she played.
Faces flash of the other challengers getting off the bus, & they all start walking into a grassy area with seats.
The challengers all look a little surprised to see TJ as they walk in (I read in an article many of them didn’t expect him to host). Derrick gets a glance of TJ and his face immediately cracks into a knowing smile. He gives TJ a bro-to-bro nod that lasts about 3 seconds, but it’s my fav part of the whole episode.
TJ greets everyone and welcomes the “legends” back to The Challenge. He tells them there will only be one winner of the All-Stars season who will take home the full $500K as their prize. Everyone oh’s & ah’s! This shit is LEGIT.
The creators put in so many cute little moments that make this episode so wonderful, nostalgic, and honestly just human. After his welcome & intro to the game, TJ sends off the challengers to move into the house. Ruthie starts to go up to KellyAnne after TJ’s dismissal, walking up a little timid, but KellyAnne sees her and immediately pulls her in for a hug. I LOVE THIS;,)
OMG, I LOVE THAT THEY STILL RUN INTO THE HOUSE. IT’S SO CUTE, OMG, JUST LIKE THE GOOD OLE DAYS!!!!
The house is all pimped out in Challenge nostalgia and the challengers run from room to room taking it all in.
Syrus admires Beth’s quote on the wall, “I don’t kiss ass, I kick ass, and if you don’t watch it, I’ll kick your ass.” – Cut to a whole intro on Beth. She says the women never tend to like her on The Challenge, but that she has her guys in the house, including Nehemiah, her “tenderoni” which she nicknamed him in The Duel (S13).
Now outside, Beth calls out to him over the balcony, “Nehemiah!” then switches to “Tenderoni!” when he doesn’t answer. Nehemiah, talking to Alton in the yard, says, “Oh, my lord” in exasperation & turns his head slowly, like, “… hello.” Needless to say… I think Nehemiah likes Beth a little less than she thinks, LOL.
The next day, the challengers have their first challenge and it is INTENSE! This is a very Survivor-style challenge to me – The challengers have to first solve math problems & then swim out into really cold water, dive down, and locate the correct numbered block to their math problem. They have to unhook the block & swim it back to their team. And the blocks are HEAVY (we see some people able to reach them in the water, but not pull them off/up). They’re randomly split into two teams of 11- The Gold team, & The Silver team.
TJ tells them they have to choose captains for each team. The winning team captains will obtain some power, but the losing team captains, he warns, “let’s just say, “Don’t lose”. Dun, Dun, DUNNNNN.
After the challengers are split into their teams, they all discuss what it will mean to be captain & who will volunteer as tribute.
Derrick, on the Cooper team (Challenge podcaster/journalist/super-fan), calls it EXACTLY HOW IT IS – He predicts the winning team captains will probably pick one person to go into elimination, & that the losing team captains will likely have to go into elimination… MASTER OF THIS GAME.
Laterrian (“I’ll do it, I don’t give a fuck” – say’s the man who hasn’t played since season 7) and Kellyanne agree to be captains for the Cooper team.
Over at the silver team, Jisela is giving everyone a pep talk saying, “if you have the ‘we might lose energy’, you’re gonna start thinking about going into elimination.” But JISELA, she’s having the “I can do energy” and she’s “already having some ideas on how we can do this.” OMG, JISELA, I LOVE YOU. Is she a therapist cuz she kinda sounds like one 🙂
Someone points out Jisela is acting as a leader, so would she like to be team captain?? At first, I think Jisela kind of naively agrees to this, but at the same time, maybe she just knew with that CAN-DO ATTITUDE, nothing can stop her!!! Teck steps up to be the male team captain (also saying, “I’ll do it, I don’t give a fuck” – a man who hasn’t played since the second season… )
All these captain agreements seem naive except maybe KellyAnne who said hopefully by doing it now, I won’t have to later… That’s the best way to think about it I think.
TJ blares the horn signaling the start of the challenge and all the players are OFF! They run down to their respective cement math problems to start solving their equations.
Both teams spend some time trying to solve their math problems, but ultimately Alton is the first one out in the water from the Silver team. The Cooper prematurely thinks they may be trouble… Next comes… a lot of… ups & downs, LMAOOOOO. Teck later describes it in an ITM as “recess at old folks home. A lot of old people going down today.” LMFAOOOOOOO. And I’m not judging them for being old because they’re all amazing badasses & everyone ages, DUH, but it’s just funny the whole montage they turned it into. LOL.
A lot of the All-Stars challengers went to their own defense on Twitter, saying even the modern Challengers would have struggled with this challenge with the water and the blocks being so deep… And that’s probably true. I remember a challenge from Vendettas (S31) I believe (I WAS RIGHT)? A ton of people have to tap out because they can’t swim deep enough to put these balls in these cages or something, lmaoooo. This shit is hard, I’m telling you, it’s damn near SurvVIVOR.
JISELAAAAA!!!! Jisela is KICKING ASS, just like her can-do attitude said she COULD. Not the most striking physical competitor you’d expect just by looking at her, but she marches her ass into that water, absolutely determined not to come back unless it’s with a block.
When she pops back up with the block popping up a moment after her, and I start going WILD, I’M LIKE, FUCK YES, JISELA. She brings the piece back and nearly collapses, but it’s FINE because she GOT IT. The FIRST PIECE FOR SILVER. Jisela got that team momentum going (it’s called inertia ;,) )!!
The people on both teams who end up not being able to complete the challenge are Beth, Trishelle, KellyAnne (after searching around for a while to her credit), Arissa (gets an insane cramp and comes crawling out of the water in AGONY, DAMN), Jonna, Teck, Ruthie, Kendall, Ace, Big Easy, Syrus, Laterrian, Katie, & Aneesa (almost gets it, literally touches the block, but can’t shake it loose).
The Cooper team (spoiler, the losers) was only able to get 3 or 4 blocks (out of 11 needed) – brought in by Alton, Derrick & Mark.
For the Silver team (The WINNERS), Darrell was the first to bring back a piece until they realized it was a copper piece, LMAO. Jisela is the first to bring back the correct piece, with Yes securing the second block. Jemmye gets the third block, Nehemiah the fourth, Darrell the fifth, and then Jisela gets ANOTHER block, the 6th block. Then lastly in a heroic underdog montage, Yes gets the 7th block, followed by Nehemiah with the 8th, Darrell the 9th, Yes the 10th, and finally Nehemiah with the 11th and final blocK.
They have to solve one last math problem and write on the answer with a marker. Yes leads the group and writes in the final number “9” to which TJ blares the horn declaring the Silver team the official winners. These people go NUTSSSSS. This is one of the best celebrations I’ve ever SEEN, OMFG….
In Teck’s celebration ITM, he calls Jisela the “MVP” and I agree! She was the only girl to get two blocks, and one of the only two girls to get any blocks at all (the other being Jemmye). Who runs the world!!!!!
TJ gathers all the challengers post-challenge and tells them they will have a male’s elimination. Since Teck is the winning team’s guy captain, he is safe from elimination. Jisela receives a “lifesaver” (“Which is literally just a mint “- My friend’s boyfriend, Joe) that she can use to save the person voted into elimination by the house from having to go in. Aneesa’s in an ITM saying how it adds a weird element to the game – If it’s used, does everyone have to re-vote right there? How will they decide who goes in if the house vote gets saved?? Only time will TELL.
As the losing team’s captain, Laterrian is going into elimination. TJ sends them back to the house to determine who will go into the elimination against Laterrian.
OMG, I LOVE THIS SHOW AND ALL THE CINEMATIC SHOTS. A DMX (Rest in peace) song starts playing, “Ruff Ryder’s Anthem”, & Teck jumps forward after TJ’s done talking and starts breaking it down in the cutest dance EVER, which switches into all the challengers walking back to the house occasionally going into sloooooo-moooooooo, then sped up – OBSESSED with this whole SCENE!!!
Later that day in deliberation, Syrus starts the conversation off saying Laterrian wants to go against Ace because he knows him the least. Ace quickly gets defensive and reactive saying, “are we just going to let the loser pick his opponent every time?” (fair).
They all go back and forth, everyone justifying why they’re voting in Ace, Ace calling them “fucking monsters” back (a little over-reactive but this tells me this must be a very sensitive man 😦 ).
They all start the vote officially, and there’s a sweet moment where Arissa says she doesn’t want to vote in Ace (In an ITM, she says she saw how to hurt he was, with a “visceral reaction”), but after some hesitation, Ace encourages her it’s okay to vote for him, as he 95% likely going to be the vote anyway. It’s sweet.
Ultimately, Ace is the house vote. He goes back to the house after deliberation, sneaks in through a window (instead of going through the front door???), and pulls his hat over his face lying on his bed. Maybe cuz he got a few little tears???:,( Sorry Ace, this is sad and sweet.
Back in the living room, it’s time to partttttyyyyy. And I’m, like, OMG. I was fearful it’d be, like, this is cringey event, but NO this all looks BADASS. Everyone is wearing 90s clothes, everyone’s laughing and dancing, and I’m, like, dammmmmmmn, can I get an invite??? A PARTY. WOULD BE. EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW. Especially a house party with people you’ve known for like 20 years???? Holy shit, that sounds hype.
Ace comes in dressed in a potato sack??? Everyone’s like, ACE! What the fuck are you wearing??? He goes, “I thought you guys said 1890’s”. “NINETEEN-NINETIES” they all laugh and scream back at him. LMAOOOOO. If this is true, I’m LOLING SO HARD. WHY WOULD YOU HAVE A 1890’S PARTY, WTF EVEN IS THAT??? LMAO, APPARENTLY A POTATO SACK.
Ace says in an ITM, “I’ve never been able to hold a grudge. These are people I’ve been friends with for 20 years. The memories & the friendships… That’s why I’m here. And that’s why I need to win”. Sentimental & inspirational!!! This whole ep makes me fall in love with Ace, our southern, tree-hugging teddy bear.
The next morning, they show the house in disarray, & all the 40-year-olds passed out on the couches, lmaooooooo. Obsessed. I hope this is me when I’m 40.
Right before the elimination, Ace is in a little creek (LOL??? Normal I guess???) and says, “I really want to win this money, and not for myself. I want to win this money so I can give it all away and try and make the world a better place.” Now, usually, if someone were to say this in the modern game, I’d be, like… lol… that ain’t true. But when Ace says it (maybe it’s the innocence & nature-ness of him being in a creek when he says this???), I believe him? UGH, the editors do give Ace a pretty good showing before his early demise (maybe besides the “fucking monsters” part? But he said it!).
It comes time for the challengers to head to the arena for the elimination. Once there, TJ calls down Laterrian and the house’s vote, Ace, to come to face him. TJ asks Jisela, the holder of the “life-saver” if she wants to save Ace. Jisela says in an ITM, “ I seem to remember him calling my dead weight” – cut to a clip of Ace essentially saying this exact thing. The past can HAUNT YOU. She answers TJ in a resounding “no”, confirming it will be Ace & Latterrian in elimination.
TJ tells the two male competitors that tonight they’ll be playing “pole wrestle”. Laterrian responds, “What’s pole wrestle?” CUE ALL THE HISTORICAL FOOTAGE OF POLE WRESTLING ELIMINATIONS, lmaoooo. My friend Joe had a great point – They can so easily incorporate all this old footage of challenges when they were younger, of notorious eliminations they used to do. The trivia in episode 2 is perfect for playing a bunch of old clips (spoilers, lol), there’s just a lot of great ways to incorporate all that nostalgic past shit and it makes it that much better.
Ace is in an ITM and says, “Tonight is ‘pole wrestle’… Fuck, you guys” then laughs. HAHAHAHHA, this is a FAIR REACTION!!!
Jemmye says in an ITM she hasn’t seen Laterrian smile the entire time he’s been there, but once he found out it was physical elimination… he was grinning ear to ear. SPOOKY!!!!
Laterrian says in an ITM he’s pumped & feels he needs to redeem himself from the last time he was in elimination (like 20 years ago!!! That’s a long time for something to haunt you, DAMN).
TJ blares the horn to start the match and immediately, I’m, like, oh, no, poor baby Ace. He gets ROCKEEEEED by Laterrian. Ace looks like a very fit guy, but Laterrian is a personal trainer??? Aneesa says in an ITM Ace “looks like he’s being plunged into a toilet. Literally, plunging.” and then does the up and down plunging motion, and I’m just, like, OMFG.
Laterrian wins although Ace made an admirable effort. Ace says in an ITM after his loss, “When I was hitting the ground, it’s like getting the air knocked out of you every single time. It was painful”, and I’m, like, Jesus, that looks ROUGH. He goes on to say, “Losing anything is upsetting, but it’s life right?” Ace:,(
TJ gives Ace a wonderful send-off, thanking him profusely for being on the cast, calling him a legend, saying everyone loves him, and whenever TJ is surprisingly empathetic & sweet, it always SENDS ME.
Everyone chants his name as he walks out. It’s so fucking PRECIOUS, OMG.
In his very last ITM, he says, “This has been the honor of my life. Getting another chance to see these people after 15 years was worth getting the crap out of me… But I’m very looking forward home to see my dog…*voice breaks* Who I miss very much.” ACE, I LITERALLY LOVE YOU OMG, WHY’D YOU HAVE TO GO?? I hope you are enjoying your dog and not being too sad about being the first to leave All-Stars. ;,( He posted a “parallel play” like Game of Roses podcast would call it, a Bachelor recap & analysis podcast that breaks down the show in their own sports terms – the term means it happened on the show, and then there was an affiliated post on social media about it – )
Okay… That episode was… AMAZING. I am so sorry I’m behind on these recaps. I was going to combine Ep 1 & 2 but then I just had too much I wanted to say. Hopefully, it was all beneficial and enriching to your viewing experience. 🙂 Thanks, as ALWAYS, for reading. 🙂 If you want to receive my blogs in your inbox every time I post them, please hit the “Follow” button on the bottom right-hand side of the screen & enter your email address. See you soon for more Challenge episode recaps & analysis. 🙂