Episode nine of “The Challenge: Spies, Lies and Allies” saw the arrival of the highly anticipated veteran war as there were no easy rookie targets and the vets were forced to take the gloves off and reveal their cards. As the episode description for “The War” stated, “At long last, the Veteran War has arrived testing everyone’s loyalty. The muddy ‘Bombshell Battle’ mission shows who is truly playing dirty. TJ shocks the agents at elimination with a massive twist that will change the game.”
Warning: This article contains spoilers for the ninth episode of “The Challenge: Spies, Lies and Allies” which aired on October 6 at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific times.
Priscilla Anyabu finished the eighth episode with a bang as she infiltrated a vet-vet team and took Josh Martinez as a partner, leaving no new rookie-rookie teams to target this week. That meant from the start of the episode, the competitors were drawing battle lines and figuring out their numbers and it didn’t take long for shots to be fired. When the dust settled at the end of the episode, reigning champ Amber Borzotra and Jeremiah White were eliminated from the game.
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The Episode Begins With a Series of Discussions Between Veterans About the Next Targets
The episode starts with a lot of conversations about the inevitable oncoming veteran war and the various alliances trying to solidify their numbers. Cory Wharton tells some of his fellow vets that he’s proud of them getting this far and also mentions to Tori Deal that he knew Jeremiah was going to choose her (this will come back to bite him later).
A few vets in particular are especially concerned about being targeted: Cory because he’s tied to Bettina Buchanan who’s the only untested rookie and because he’s seen as a strong competitor, Josh Martinez is worried because he’s with Priscilla who just blew up the veteran alliance, and Ashley Mitchell is worried they’ll start gunning for champs.
Josh starts rallying numbers against Cory because he suspects Cory is working with the rookies or to take the target off himself, or both. We learn that Cory made a list (not another list!) of the three main alliances which is helpful to the viewers because it breaks down where everyone stands.
One of the alliances, of course, is Big Brother and its allies, comprised mainly of Josh, Kaycee Clark, Nany Gonzalez and Emanuel Neagu. Another, Devin’s crew, is everyone working with Devin Walker, mainly CT Tamburello, Kyle Christie and Ed Eason. On Cory’s side are Nelson Thomas and Jeremiah.
Devin later tells Cory he wants to see a veteran non-champ win the game and sees Ed and Ashley as the clear house vote, while in another chat, Logan Sampedro tells Tula “Big T” Fazakerley that he’s against Cory and Nelson.
The Mission Is a Purely Physical One That Sees Some Alliances Get Quickly Exposed
With all those alliances clearly laid out, we see the stars arriving for the challenge this week, “Bombshell Battle.” Teams have to retrieve their colored balls and then one of few silver ones to progress to the next round. It was great to see a mission involving just physical prowess without a puzzle after so many weeks of puzzle-related challenges. The editing of some of the scenes was a bit frustrating as the movie-style closeups made it difficult to actually see the action and who was in the lead, but overall it was a good competition with several rounds and some great moments.
The mission is won overall by Nany and Logan, who says in his confessional in a humorous deadpan, “I was born ready. Baby.” We see Logan making a quick deal with Nelson and Ed that he won’t throw them in and both accept, though it won’t keep their partners or allies safe.
The mission also exposes a move by Cory, who throws the ball to Jeremiah during one heat. It solidifies the doubts that some vets have about Cory working with the rookies and also leads to a big yelling match between Josh and Cory by the mud pit, with Cory telling Josh he’s never been to a final. The mission is also another opportunity to see the alliances at play, with Kyle helping Ed win his heat earlier on.
The Nominations Are Quite Heated With 2 Possible Teams Up for Debate
After the mission, the politicking continues as Ashley begins panicking that she’ll be the house vote while Josh reassures her he can get the numbers to vote in Cory. At the night out, Priscilla and Nany make a deal that they’ll have each others’ backs while Ashley and Amber commiserate about being targeted constantly because they’re champions (meanwhile, no one’s talking about going after CT, only the female champs are being targeted).
At deliberation, Logan shares with everyone that he made a deal promising Nelson and Ed safety, so it’s pretty clear he won’t be going back on it now. We then have a really heated argument between Cory and Ashley where Cory attacks Ashley for being untrustworthy because of her infamous move of stealing Hunter Barfield’s money at the “Final Reckoning” finale.
From this point, it gets even more dramatic and seems almost like a reunion show with a lot of tea spilled. Nelson gets involved and says that Amanda went into elimination in a past season to save Ashley but reveals that when the two-time champ “stole half a million dollars from our friend” she only sent Amanda a $500 gift card.
Nelson’s attacks seem particularly surprising as he’s a close friend of Amanda’s and only a few episodes ago was cuddling with Ashley. The house ends up voting for Cory and Bettina, though right after nominations Devin confesses that he doesn’t like Ashley so she may not have dodged the bullet for long.
The Elimination Was a Close One With a Great Comeback by Cory & Bettina
The Agency chooses Jeremiah and Amber to face off against Cory and Bettina in the elimination “Hang in the Balance.” It’s a very physical elimination that requires a lot of teamwork and coordination as partners have to cross an unsteady beam with puzzle pieces while holding onto each other.
Amber and Jeremiah start off strong and gain a great lead but in their final crossing, the positions they are using are no longer bearable and they keep falling from the beam. Bettina suggests a new method to cross with Cory after many failed attempts and it works for them and the two make a major comeback, crossing all of their puzzle pieces over quickly while Amber and Jeremiah continue to struggle.
Finally, Cory and Bettina pull off the win, making for an awkward return to a house that voted them into elimination. Devin jokes in his confessional that “Cory somehow managed to win a puzzle elimination without ever touching a piece of the puzzle.” We then see several of the cast members say they don’t want to be picked by the winners, especially CT and Kaycee, but TJ then throws out a twist.
He doesn’t explain the twist, though, he just doesn’t reshuffle the teams. Cory and Bettina are back together for the time being while Tori and Devin, whose partners were eliminated, are both on their own. Viewers will have to wait and see if the game becomes an individual one, if there are now rogue agents like on “Double Agents,” or another twist we’ve never seen before. In his confessional, Ed says, “Time and time again this game has taught me that I don’t know a thing.” Ditto, Ed, ditto.
“The Challenge: Spies, Lies and Allies” airs on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern and Pacific times on MTV.