The Challenge Recap: A Double Elimination Brings a Red Skull Scuffle

The Challenge Total Madness Recap Season 35 Episode 14

As The Challenge‘s finale rapidly approaches, the remaining contestants can smell the million dollars like blood in the water. So in this week’s episode, it’s the perfect time for TJ to make everybody sweat with another double elimination!

It’s crunch time on Total Madness, and those without a red skull are starting to trip. (Josh, Kyle and Bayleigh are the only ones who haven’t punched their tickets to the final yet.) With the ultimate challenge looming, Josh, Bananas and Kyle are worried about running it with Aneesa. “I think her best days are behind her and I do not want to be paired with her in a final,” says Kyle. “I’ll take a terrible human being as long as she can run.” Nelson calls it “disrespectful” in a confessional. They want to compete with someone who has experience, and Aneesa has it, he says.

Aneesa tells us she’s been on 12 Challenges, and she’s come up short every time. She’s even made it to the day before a final several times. “Hopefully this season will be different for me,” she says. “Don’t underestimate me because I haven’t won yet. I will push through.”

At 1 in the morning, the sirens in the bunker start flaring. Time to suit up for TJ and head off to an overnight challenge, where players must lift heavy objects and put them in their enemies’ barrels. At the end, the top male and female to lift up their barrels the longest will win and form the Tribunal. Since it’s a double elimination, one male and one female will be going home.

Per the rules, Kyle, Nelson and Aneesa don’t make it back to their bins in time for Round 2, so they’re eliminated. Fessy and Cory promise Josh that he’ll “be in,” but then Fessy promises Cory the same. The communication is so bad here: Fessy says he promised Josh he’ll toss him into elimination, not the Tribunal, which irritates Josh. Jenny and Fessy win the challenge, and though Jenny owes Cory a solid, she ultimately chooses Josh to complete the Tribunal. (Cue the clips where Cory helped Jenny a trillion times.) The man’s got a point! That was a pretty shady move by the Brit.

Cory’s understandably pissed, which causes him to question Fessy’s loyalty, but Fessy tells him he should be pissed at Jenny. He tried, but according to Cory, he didn’t try hard enough.

At the house vote, it’s unanimous: Kyle’s getting his shot at a red skull. Finally. The house also gives Bayleigh the same opportunity. Now, it’s do-or-die for these two, but for the women, one lady who already has a red skull will have to go in, too. Could Aneesa be in trouble?

Nelson gives Aneesa the heads-up that people don’t want to run with her. In sum: She’s got to get politicking if she wants to avoid Purgatory. Seeing Aneesa cut when she’s come sooo close again would just be heartbreaking.

The Tribunal decides to interrogate Rogan, Nelson, Aneesa and Melissa. The guys’ chats are more or less a joke; Josh needs a skull, and he’s definitely going in. Josh tells Aneesa that if he’s paired up with her, he’s not sure how they would do. Aneesa counters by saying that they’ve seen some Challenge beasts “absolutely die” in a final, and sometimes, you need someone who’s great at puzzles and math. She’s right; you never know what lies ahead in this game.

Cory and Fessy make up after the Tribunal grants him safety. He’s not mad, he’s just disappointed, he says. Melissa and Aneesa’s fates, however, are up in the air, and both women are beyond nervous. “I have this crazy feeling. This happens to me every time… My gut is just telling me something’s not right,” says Aneesa.

At Purgatory, Fessy votes for Melissa, but Jenny and Josh both throw Aneesa in against Bay. Josh then throws himself in against Kyle. Both pairs are playing Knots of War. Challengers must weave a rope through a car to make the biggest knots they can, which their competitor will later need to race to undo. The first to untie their opponent’s work will stay in the game. The loser will go home empty-handed.

It’s neck-and-neck between Aneesa and Bayleigh in both the tying and untying portions, but Bay edges her out for the win. “It’s like I can’t catch a f–king break,” Aneesa says through tears. You have to feel bad for the vet. She’s usually an elimination beast; I wish this one had turned out differently for her.

In the Josh-vs.-Kyle showdown, Kyle’s strategy looks solid, while Josh can’t seem to figure it out. Panic gets the best of the Big Brother winner, and Kyle takes the W and the red skull.

After TJ bids Aneesa and Josh farewell, the cast anxiously waits for him to announce the final… and he doesn’t. Next week on The Challenge: the group will face one last gnarly elimination: the brutally physical Hall Brawl.

Are you feeling gutted for Aneesa? Who are you rooting for at this point? Sound off in the Comments below!