The Challenge: All Stars
It turns that I was right (of course I was!) to bring up Trishelle’s verbal attack on Aneesa during her last appearance on The Challenge in my previous recap. This week’s episode, which is very Trishelle-heavy, addresses the matter and features one of the weakest apologies I’ve heard in recent memory for an altercation that was both anti-Black and anti-Semitic, the worst double whammy I can think of. According to Trishelle, though, her remarks were simply “racially insensitive” and “immature.” They weren’t not those things. But being “racially insensitive” is just being racist. So be a grown-up and use that word! Also, a lack of maturity may have enabled Trishelle to make a fool of herself on-camera, but it’s not the reason she’s prejudiced. That’s its own can of worms you’ve still got to work through, babe! It’s just frustrating, because white people have given other white people so much language to publicly express remorse for their racist transgressions over the past ten years since this argument happened. Oscar-worthy scripts, I would say! And this is the best Trishelle can do.
Of course, if you were to have a preplanned redemptive moment for a racist incident with anyone, it would be Aneesa, who, in recent years, has become a bit of a doormat, in my opinion. I definitely don’t think Aneesa should have to hold on to her anger about that fight, and I’m glad she seems to have let it go for her own mental sake. But girl, why are we crying? This woman is apologizing to you in the most relaxed manner with the type of coy smile I give to people when I need to ask for a ride. Not to mention she has her feet up in her chair! Call me old-fashioned, but I think when you’re apologizing for something as serious as racism, you should at least have both feet on the ground.
Anyway, Aneesa is more than willing to accept this apology, which reminded me of another, yes, another, apology for racism that KellyAnne gave to Aneesa at the reunion for Bloodlines after she randomly pointed out her “Black skin” during an argument. These white women simply can’t resist screaming “Black!” whenever Aneesa appears in front of them. What a wild way for someone’s brain to function!
Aside from the more controversial stuff, Trishelle also has some tension with her former BFF and roommate Katie, who she assumed would be her ride-or-die throughout the competition. Katie has seemingly associate-zoned Trishelle, for reasons that aren’t articulated and honestly don’t need to be for us to understand and applaud her for it. There’s some random yelling between the two at three o’clock in the morning that made me laugh. But first, let’s go over this week’s challenge.
We get a game of trivia earlier than I expected. Of course, it’s Challenge-themed, to go along with the masturbatory nature of this show. In between the questions about the show’s most iconic moments, we actually get to see old clips, like when Tina punched Beth (God, I miss Tina!) and got disqualified, and when Julie almost killed Veronica for $10,000 by trying to unlock her harness. This challenge made me sad that we don’t see the legacy of the franchise being referenced and honored as much on the regular show, where we’re currently being forced to know the names of people who’ve competed on Big Brother against our will! I still can’t believe they cast a former Bachelor four seasons ago. I don’t need to know these other reality people exist when I’m watching this network! Anyway, this trivia was genuinely delightful in every way, And they didn’t even need to make the contestants fall in the water in some absurd/painful way to make it entertaining.
I also have to point out how happy T.J. is to be surrounded by this particular group of veterans and reliving these moments. I feel like over the years on the regular Challenge, T.J.’s been positioned as a scary principal who shows up to work because he has to. Whereas in earlier seasons, he wasn’t put on that high of a pedestal. He used to show up in flip-flops and shorts! There’s so much unnecessary distance between T.J. and the competitors now that it was nice to be reminded that T.J. actually likes his job and isn’t being held captive by Bunim/Murray Productions.
The notable performances this week are Aneesa and Nehemiah, who win their respective heats. Ruthie comes close to winning in the women’s round. And Kendal, who’s too scared to take a step forward on the platform, just takes a seat awkwardly and forfeits. Trishelle fell into the water first, so she’s automatically going to the Arena. Back in the house, some of the women are discussing which female competitor they’re going to make the house vote. Aneesa throws out Kendal’s name because she sucked at the challenge and is also athletically strong. Trishelle notices that Katie doesn’t have anything to say on the matter. I’m getting the vibe that Katie and Trishelle haven’t actually spoken in over ten years, and Trishelle is projecting loyalty and sisterhood onto this non-consenting woman. Trishelle ultimately tells the group to vote for whoever they want because she obviously just came on All Stars to show her face and tell the world that she’s no longer racist.
At the deliberation, Kendal tries to explain why she stumbled at the challenge but can’t. I’ve never seen a person struggle so hard to say, “I don’t like falling from big heights.” Everyone votes for Kendal, except for Kendal and Road Rules pal Darrell. Arissa, once again, says that she doesn’t want to vote for whom everyone else is voting for, before voting for that person. I hope she makes a habit of this because it’s very funny. When everyone gets back to the house, Derrick tells Trishelle that she’s competing against Kendal. Trishelle doesn’t understand why she’s hearing this from Derrick and not Katie first. The answer is camera time. This leads to a 3 a.m. argument where Trishelle is telling Katie that she always has her back and she never has hers. Apparently, they were roommates for six years, presumably sometime before iPhones were invented. Now Katie’s crying in her confessional because she does consider Trishelle a friend, but not the kind of friend that you stick your neck out for, apparently. Katie then tells Trishelle to tell Nehemiah to use his Lifesaver on Kendal so they can duke it out in the Arena. But Trishelle doesn’t want this because, at the end of the day, she has friends and Katie doesn’t, which is a non sequitur if I’ve ever heard one.
At the Arena, Nehemiah doesn’t use his Lifesaver on Kendal, and she and Trishelle play a classic game of Knot So Fast. I was curious why we haven’t seen this game on the regular Challenge in a while, and I realized it’s because it’s one of the only eliminations that’s truly unpredictable — and as we know, the new seasons have been r*gged. Typically, the second half of this elimination where the competitors have to untie each other’s knots is really nerve-racking to watch. But the close-ups on the rope and slo-mo effect make it hard to see who’s in the lead. The women aren’t visibly drenched in sweat the way competitors usually are when they’re doing this challenge, so I didn’t have the visceral experience of feeling tired for them. Out of nowhere, Kendal wins, and I truly had no idea she was ahead of Trishelle by that much. But congrats to my name twin. Trishelle hardly seems bothered by her loss because she apparently only signed on to this show to hang out with Katie, which is creepy. As much as Trishelle irked me at the top of the episode, she certainly gave us classic Trishelle.