War of the Worlds 2 Episode 2 Recap: Stand By Me

Welcome to Week 2 of Season 34 of MTV’s The Challenge! If you came back to read my 2nd ever recap, you’re in good company with Logan Hedrich & my mom. Buckle up, because there’s a lot to cover, and for Team UK that requires subtitles despite the fact they invented the English language. Before we start, it’s worth noting, there is an addition to the elimination winner twist – once you switch teams, there’s no going back. I’m guessing this means someone is going to make an emotional decision they live to regret. Wait, did I just describe the whole show? (Editors note: THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING!)

‘Stand by Me’ plays when Idris stays with Team UK which has me trying to figure out how they can afford Bananas, Cara, Zach’s early exit agreement, Fortunate Son, and Stand By Me. Oh, right, an additional 30 minutes of commercials. Secure that bag, MTV!

Wes is having what I’m going to call the “Sophomore Year” experience early on this season. He drank too many Four Loko’s in a random field when his parents thought he was at a sleep over? No. He went from thinking everyone in the house was his friend, to realizing that no one in the house is his friend. To that same end – Jordan – don’t head to Las Vegas anytime soon my man. There’s a thing called “showing your hand too early” and I have a bad feeling you’d be guilty of it. This meeting that Team USA has about who sucks the most is a lot of things, but mostly, it’s premature. 

Speaking of Vegas, Dee and Rogan are all in on a bad hand and continuing with their ‘exclusively casual’ relationship. At this point, I got momentarily distracted from taking notes, texting my group chat, and live tweeting, because I started googling if it’s legal to start a GoFundMe for Ninja Natalie to get a fucking haircut. 

Someone must have heard me mention 10th graders, because there’s Bear! Fingers crossed for a Femme Fatale situation between him and Laurel. They talk about who is more scared of who, which is a weird thing to base a relationship off of, but we all know the answer already, Laurel – YOU IN DANGER GIRL.

Jenny, Esther, Georgia, and Big T get in a bit of exercise and if any movie producers are reading this, I am formally nominating Jenny for the eventual She-Hulk film; what an absolute unit. Big T is struggling to get through the workout, and you can feel the sharks start to circle.

Quick note – the pacing on this season is fantastic so far. We were lost, but now we are found, and I couldn’t be happier that we’re back into OG Challenge format territory. 

A swimming challenge this early on sets a precedent for how physically taxing this season will likely be. Even the most in-shape competitors have struggled with swimming challenges. There’s also a mental aspect to this challenge, so we’re in for a treat. Each member has to bring back a letter that goes into a word scramble, that gives the key to a criptext. Hold on, when did we put on the Da Vinci Code? Also – did Georgia call Joss slim? Is that one of those words that means something different in the UK? 

Esther explaining that she told her little girl she would win The Challenge is a nice reminder that sometimes it’s okay to lie to your kids. Bananas’ strategy of getting Jordan launched faster by putting the letters up incorrectly to better delegate their time is really smart and a difference maker in this Team USA win. I guess even if you leave class early every day, you still learn something. 

Georgia thinks EVACUATE is spelled with a Q and suddenly she reminds me of a very sexy Dory, except she doesn’t sing “just keep swimming” instead she makes out with Josh Martinez and sings “just keep slumming.” As a North Carolina resident who is about to get pummeled by Hurricane Dorian, I now want to go door to door to make sure my neighbors know how the word EVACUATE is spelled.

It’s pretty hard to watch everyone yell at each other. It’s been so long since Team USA has played a team game, they seem more worried about shouting “don’t tell me what to do” at one another than actually solving the puzzle. Turbo is the only one with the right strategy – acknowledge your strengths and embrace your weaknesses. 

In completely unsurprising news, Wes’ illness has been made worse by swimming in murky, foreign water and Bananas thinks it’s bullshit. One of these days, probably during Rivals 4, they’ll realize that they would be better together than they are apart. Until then, we get to live through this manufactured rivalry.

There’s exactly zero preparation from Team USA when it comes to deciding a Speaker. Kam, always one to jump on an opportunity, nominates herself and TJ carries the motion. I don’t hate this move from Kam. Shooters are gonna shoot. Millionaire Mitchell and Paulie are asked to join Kam in the tribunal. I’d love to see Ashley and Kam team up, that would be a huge upgrade to Ashley’s current purple-hued alliance for future seasons. Does anyone else feel like the link-up between Kam, Paulie and Cara could actually be slightly lethal?

There’s a lot of drama on Team UK who are apparently just noticing this is a competition show and not a giant game of spin the bottle. Georgia, who finished her first Challenge season 30 days ago, has cast herself has the female lead in this show and tells Big T that she’s going in and that Nicole is protected until the end. I’m too distracted by how cute Big T is with her bangs, adorable body, and perfect purple bathing suit to take it all in. Kayleigh has a longer challenge resume and is more qualified to make bigger moves with the help of Kam, so that’s exactly what she does.

I’m going to come out and say it: only targeting the two black women that are rookies on Team UK is just not a good look. I don’t think it was intentional, but it feels a little icky and serves as a reminder that prejudice can slither in anywhere, even on accident. Kayleigh speaking up for Esther and Big T does nothing other than ruffle a few feathers, and Big T is going in. Honestly, the conversation between the nominated challenger and the Tribunal probably won’t matter much until later in the season.

Ashley telling Big T that people doubt her & second guess her, is so frustrating to watch. Other than the times where she has left early, one could argue that Ashley is as impressive of a challenger as Jordan. They’ve each won 2 seasons, one individual and one partnered, and banked a lot of money in the process. Notice the difference in their demeanor though – Jordan is self-appointed Captain America, where Ashley is still second guessing whether people take her seriously or not. Do with that what you will.

This “who can wake each other up more dramatically” game is very stupid and doesn’t have any winners. Faith decides to leave in the morning, which is surprising and disappointing. She’s a United States Veteran and I’m sure has had a few sleepless nights in her life. I feel like there’s something that has been edited out because what made the episode didn’t add up. 

Pause for the Pledge of Allegiance.

(I feel confident Josh said invisible instead of indivisible.)

Fast forward past this ridiculous Team USA meeting where they all essentially admit to having at least one ally on Team UK. Everyone shows up to the Proving Ground, and I have to note that Ashley Mitchell looks like an ice cream sundae personified. Georgia gets voted in against Big T and you should note I plan on starting a petition that when you google “shit-eating-grin”, Kayleigh’s face pops up. 

I don’t know how to make the next couple of minutes sound entertaining. It’s going to be a long season if I act like every elimination is equally exciting. I am about 95% sure that was a rain machine though, so I guess that’s something. Big T loses after a valiant effort and joins her buddy Sean at the holding hotel. Georgia seems pretty genuine in her praise of Big T’s efforts, but she’s always been a gracious winner so I’m not surprised.

Always looking to make a juicy TV moment, Georgia acts like she’s leaving Team UK. Girlfriend, not a single person up there thought you’d actually jump ship. Come on.

Before I go, I want to send out some love to sweet Zahida. She had to leave early because her Grandmother died, and I feel sad for her. Not only did they kind of gloss over her departure, but she didn’t really have a fighting chance last season either because it was #weddingSZN in Michigan, and Zach needed to be home in time for the open bar.

And just like that, team UK is down 3 soldiers and we’re on to week 3! Until then, subscribe to the Rotten Banana podcast and enjoy this week’s special guest – the one and only Jemmye Carroll!