“The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons” recap (1.7): I do not like you, Sam I am

After being sent to the elimination round week after week, Brooklyn decides to throw a house party in an effort to win over the rest of the cast. Brooklyn holds a parody reenactment of last week’s challenge, The Insane Games, and surprisingly, everyone is on their best behavior.

“People are pretending to get along, which is nice,” quips Las Vegas’ Trishelle.

The next day the cast gets a warning from TJ when they assemble for this week’s challenge. “If you do not make it through this challenge, you ain’t ever going to make it through my final challenge,” says TJ. This week’s challenge is called “Logged Out.” It is a puzzle game, where the teams must travel up a mountain, visiting three checkpoints. The answer key is at the first checkpoint, where the teams must memorize the completed puzzle. At the second checkpoint, the teams pick up puzzle pieces attached to heavy logs, and they must carry the logs up the rest of the mountain to the third checkpoint at the summit, where they complete the puzzle.

Brooklyn’s Sarah tells her team to pre-assemble the pieces at the second checkpoint, because the answer key is still fresh in their minds. Still, Brooklyn’s Devyn starts to tire from carrying the logs up the mountain. She tells us, “This was not made for black people. When was the last time you saw a black lumberjack?”

Meanwhile, San Diego falls apart. As Sam struggles to carry her logs up the mountain, Frank and Zach become frustrated and start screaming at her. Devyn watches the scene and tells us, “I don’t know what motivational speaking classes [Frank and Zach] went to, but they need to get their money back.”

Sarah’s strategy works out, and Brooklyn comes out on top for the first time. The rest of the teams have forgotten the answer key, so they book it down the mountain to refresh their memory. On the way down, Frank and Zach continue to berate Sam. Frank even calls her “fat.” Say what? Eventually, San Diego completes the puzzle, but not without more conflict, as Ashley gets fed up with Frank and Zach’s constant screaming and yells back.

The two person teams are at a disadvantage, so the last two teams are New Orleans and St. Thomas. St. Thomas manages to finish its puzzle before New Orleans, so New Orleans is going into the arena.

Brooklyn decides to put San Diego into the arena, as San Diego was a major force in the super-alliance, which sent Brooklyn into the arena multiple times. Besides, as Sarah notes, San Diego has proven itself to be a mentally weak team, so she decides that San Diego will be competing in a mental challenge against New Orleans.

Back at the house, New Orleans and St. Thomas find a folded up piece of paper lying on the ground, so they read it out loud. It is a love letter from Cancun’s CJ to San Diego’s Ashley. The two teams decide to play a prank on CJ and write a letter back to him, pretending it is from Ashley. Meanwhile, San Diego continues to disintegrate. Sam volunteers herself for the elimination round, but Frank backs out of his agreement with Zach to go into any mental challenges, and the two almost get into a fist fight. Later, Frank sees Sam crying and tells her he is sorry. He blames the tension on the stress of the challenges, but Sam correctly assesses that he is just making excuses for his douchey behavior.

CJ confronts Ashley about the letter, but Ashley tells him she didn’t write it. Everyone wonders who did it, especially Ashley, who thinks of CJ as only a friend and wants to give the prankster a high five.

At the arena, neither Frank nor Zach volunteers himself, so Brooklyn picks Zach to go into the arena. The challenge is yet again “Water Torture,” where the guy hangs from his ankles and holds his breath in a tank of water to hoist the girl up a vertical puzzle board so she can assemble a puzzle. Zach and Sam tell us that they feel that San Diego is no longer a team, but they want to finish the challenge for themselves. “We’re going to come back. We’re going to prove them wrong and they can shove it up their ass,” says Sam.

Whereas Knight and Jemmye from New Orleans work better as a team, Knight is unable to lift Jemmye all the way to the top of the board, so San Diego wins. As the buzzer sounds, Zach screams, “I love you Sam!” Then he follows up by flipping the bird to Frank and yelling, “Hey Frank! Fuck you!” Frank sulks on the sidelines and tells Ashley, “They haven’t been able to win one challenge without me.” Because clearly, this game is all about him.

Back at the house, Frank attempts to smooth things over with Zach, but Zach walks out of the room. Will San Diego ever be a team again, or are we going to see a resurrection of the Frank v. Zach deathmatch that we saw when they lived in a house in San Diego?

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