The Challenge: Battle of the Exes 2 Recap

[SPOILER ALERT: The following discusses details, including the winner, of Battle of the Exes 2]

Another season of MTV’s The Challengeis in the books. It was my third time watching it unfold in real-time (I have watched many past seasons online), and it was tremendous. One of the best seasons of The Challenge in a long time. Great battles, good contestants and two very deserving winners.

One of the twists of the new season was that contestants from MTV’s Are You the One? were included. With rumors swirling that Real World won’t be back after 30 seasons, it seems like this preemptive move to tie another show to The Challenge makes a lot of sense. And despite everyone’s fears going in, it worked out pretty well. John and Simone were non-factors, but Adam and Brittany won a bunch of elimination rounds and both had the personalities to fit in. Adam is a pretty beastly competitor and if he comes back has a chance to be a future star. Brittany is feisty and fun and it seems very likely she will be back as well.

Meanwhile Real World: Ex-Plosion cast members Jay and Jenna not only made it to a final as rookie, but did it without ever seeing an elimination round. That was huge for them because it seems unlikely that they ever would have won a dome, and had to give up in the final on a checkpoint that didn’t even require physical activity. Very embarassing, but they will be back after making it that far. No way they last that long again.

Leroy has always had the physical tools to be a serious threat but refuses to play the politics game. That coupled with some bad luck over the years has prevented him from making it to the end and winning. He came up short here, but he was an absolute beast throughout this show. He and Jordan have setup a possibly legendary battle over the next couple of seasons.

Speaking of Jordan, he got his first win, and Sarah finally got hers after coming up short and suffering from horrible luck over the years. Sarah had partners leave the show twice and be forced to give up. This win was definitely a long time coming and after the Diem and Knight tragedies it was exactly what the show needed to put a positive cap on the end. It will be interesting to see if this was her last Challenge. She is married (to a very successful man it sounds like) and probably thinking about starting a family soon. And now that she has this elusive win she might decide that is enough. Jordan, like Leroy, was an absolute beast throughout this season. He looked like he was barely exerting himself in the final and was also a lot more likeable than in past seasons. He really looks like potentially the “guy to beat” for a while.

Johnny Bananas is great, but his complaining about Sarah putting them into the final elimination is bogus. I have never been on this show, so I don’t claim to know how things really work behind the scenes, but from the outside looking in this is a game, with a lot of money at stake. People should be (and are) trying to win at all costs. Keeping Jay and Jenna around proved to be an absolutely genius move.

Nia getting kicked off was sad, but she was slowing going off the rails all season. She is going to be back because they love to have at least one unpredictable loose cannon back. She was very disappointing as a competitor, especially since she talks so much game. She flat out gave up on one of the last challenges, claiming she was “too tall”. Zach was another disappointment. After crapping out in the final of Free Agents and then failing to win a crucial elimination against Jordan. It’s clear he is nearly unbeatable at anything where size is the main factor, but we may have overestimated him. Johnny Reilly looks like a guy just on the outside of the Leroy/Jordan “tier”. He will be fun to watch going forward. His partner Averey looked sharp and very likely will be back for more.

Speaking of which, here is my best guest for likelihood of returning on future challenges:

Definitely Back

  • Bananas
  • Jordan
  • Leroy
  • Reilly
  • Zach
  • Jay
  • Adam
  • Nia
  • Theresa
  • Jenna
  • Jonna
  • Nany
  • Brittany

Maybe Back

  • Wes1
  • Tom
  • Dustin
  • Sarah
  • Averey
  • Jemmye
  • Hailey
  • Jessica

Probably Not Back

  • CT
  • JJ
  • Simone
  1. With all his companies you never know []