Challenge explanation: The cast must race to the trailers while being chased by a monster; Find the key inside prop food.
This challenge kickstarts Total Drama Action by introducing the contestants to the abandoned film lot. The story is that there's a monster going around and terrorizing the film lot. This isn't Total Drama: Revenge of the Island, so the monster is actually animatronic. The monster goes around chasing the contestants all over the film lot. The goal of the challenge is to reach the trailers (about ten city blocks away, according to the contestants' estimation). The great thing about this challenge is that it allows us to get a great preview of the film lot, and see what's in store for future challenges. There's also some clever ways that castmates get captured, such as the buildings not actually being buildings, but just sets. Then, there's the second challenge. An eating challenge, so early into the challenge. It's not really an eating challenge though. All the food is actually props, and is unedible. The goal was to tear it apart and find a key. The winner gets to choose the trailers for them and castmates of the same gender. This challenge is just...what? I don't understand it. What's the point of tearing about food props to find a key? It's unnecessary, a better challenge would have been to hide the key somewhere. It was literally just a plot device for Owen.
Best Performer: Owen, because no one else even got a chance.
Worst Performer: Geoff. It was a close tie between him and Bridgette, but at least Bridgette considered focusing on the challenge. Geoff didn't.
Overall Rating: 6/10. The first challenge was good, but the second challenge was confusing and absolutely pointless.
Note: I'm doing this episode early per AD744's request.
Challenge explanation: Assemble and Revive a 'FrankenChris'; Cure a 'deadly' outbreak of disease
So now we come to an episode that is one of my personal favorites in the show, One Flu Over the Cuckoos. This episode's challenge is a medical-themed challenge. To start off, I want to emphasize the incredible realistic plots portrayed in this challenge. The part I'm specifically talking about is the studying portion. We've all been there; being forced to pull an all-nighter because you have a huge exam to give tomorrow. Maybe you didn't study before, or you just really want an A, but you're studying all night for it. The textbooks are huge, you've got a bunch of information to cover, and there's nothing you want more than to just fall asleep in your warm, soft, comfortable bed. Then, you remember; the exam tomorrow is only for extra credit! Sure, bumping your grade up to an A would be nice, but is it worth it? That's how you can think of reward challenges; extra credit that gives you benefits, but aren't as a whole required for survival. That automatically gives this challenge a great sense of relatability and something we can all resonate with. We see lots of different reactions; castmates trying to get others to do the studying for them, some simply giving up on the challenge as a whole because they couldn't be bothered, and some that just suck it up and cram the textbooks (think about school; don't we all know these type of students?)
Then, we've got the first challenge. The castmates have to use the knowledge they acquired to answer questions by Chris. It's then that we find out that the information in there is actually fake, which makes for some funny lines from the contestants (one of my favorites is "Sissy Pants McGee", Chris's expression is priceless). If you get a question right, you have to dive into a tub of...actually, I'm not entirely sure what that liquid is. Anyway, there are fake body parts in there. The goal is to collect all the body parts and construct a cadaver, which the teams have to then reanimate. I'm assuming the cadavers are either electronic or...zombies. Not really sure. Either way, that was never the end goal at all. Chris turns the tables on them when the castmates find out that their members have been affected with Mortatistical Crumples Disease, which was one of the diseases in the books. We get SO many different symptoms to this disease, and it's actually crazy that it's all really happening. They're not pretending! Something fishy goes down, and the goal was to find out what. It turns out that the pizza had laxatives and itching powder, and everyone was suffering from First Year Med School Syndrome – more realistic plot devices! As a whole, I absolutely adore this challenge, and everything about it.
Best Performer: There is no question about this. Leshawna worked hard to save her friends, and she deserved the reward more than anyone else.
Worst Performer: No one really performed poorly in this challenge, but I didn't really see Beth contributing a lot.
Overall Rating: 9.5/10. A phenomenal challenge which is probably one of the best in the entire season.
Note: I'm doing this episode early per Geo's request.
Challenge explanation: Jump out of a plane; Make a creative and controlled explosion with paint bombs; Capture/Protect the "Trunk of Mind-Blowing Secrets"
This challenge has three parts to rate, making it one of the more important challenges of the season. The first part of the challenge is to jump out of a plane. About halfway through the challenge, the castmates are told that they can't use parachutes, since they didn't exist in the time period that they're reenacting. It's fun to see how the contestants react to something as dangerous as this – Izzy, for example, was all for it. That's obvious, given how crazy she is. Another example would be Justin trying to pawn off the work to others. The funniest part is that they weren't even in a real plane – it was just a set, they only dropped like three feet. This is actually a good taste of what movies are like. Most things are fake, and since this is a parody show, this was a funny way of portraying that. It's also quite entertaining to watch, since you have some castmates that will groan in annoyance at how worried they were, then you have some that are just happy to be alive. Then, we move onto the second part of the challenge. They have to create a controlled explosion, except rather than using explosives, they use paint bombs. This gives an obvious advantage to castmates who are more inclined towards Chemistry, explosions, or being able to make things look cool.
Then, we have the final part of the challenge. Depending on who won the previous challenge, the winning team has to guard the Chest of Mind-Blowing Secrets. The team guarding the chest has to defend it from the other team. If the other team manages to get it, they win. However, in return for this advantage, the defending team has virtually nothing to work with. They're pretty much just sitting ducks (unless you have Harold on your team). This is actually a pretty good challenge that allows certain castmates to try and take a leadership role, whereas otherwise they wouldn't get a chance. It involves a great amount of strategy and planning ahead, along with unpredictable twists and some other added factors that make this challenge entertaining as a whole. It resembles a classic capture the flag challenge, except only one contestant has the "flag". The great thing about this challenge is that no side really has it that easy. In fact, both teams gain an advantage at some point or the other. It really puts castmates to the test and sees how good their strategic ability is. Once you get the Chest, you can open it. The end result is actually pretty funny too – there's nothing in it, reflecting the destructive theme of war which only leads to hardship.
Best Performer: Duncan. Even though Harold also performed well, Duncan in the end actually got more things done.
Worst Performer: Izzy. Although she was entertaining, her recklessness still lost one of the challenges for her team.
Overall Rating: 8/10. Having three challenges helps. They were all good quality challenges too.
Note: I'm doing this episode early per Duncan's request.
Genre: Fairy Tale
Challenge explanation: Cross a high bridge while blindfolded; Slay the "dragon" to save the princess; Sword fight with the princess
This challenge has roughly four parts, meaning it's a pretty big one. It begins with a fairy tale classic right from the start; Cinderella's glass shoe. The female winners of the previous challenge were permitted to try on the boot and see if it fits. One thing I don't understand is what would happen if it fit both, although Chris did mention alternate choosing methods so it's not that much of an issue. The rest of the castmates are dressed up as different fairy tale characters, such as Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood. So whichever castmate becomes the "Princess" gets to sing a song, and get rescued by one of her knights. The song is a great addition; it served as a pleasant introduction to the challenge. More challenges could use such an introduction (although we do have an entire season that has songs in each episode, so I guess I shouldn't complain). So the blindfolded castmates have to walk across the rope bridge to begin their "journey" to save the princess. Meanwhile, Chef Hatchet tries to stop them. This challenge sets the mood for the fairy tale challenge very well, with the rope bridge, the beginning of the "save the damsel in distress" plotline, and clever ways to cross the bridge.
Next, the castmates that survived the first part of the challenge long enough to make it to the end of the bridge continue onto the second part. The next part is to defeat a "dragon", which is really just the monster from Monster Cash. The way to "slay" the dragon is by stabbing a certain button on it with the wooden swords that the knights receive. Then, the castmate that actually does manage to defeat the animatronic monster gets to move on to the final part. At this point, everyone thinks it's over; the best knight won, he gets to save the beautiful princess, and receives his legendary kiss. It's a typical "happy ever after" story, until Chris introduces the final twist. The princess and the knight actually have to fight for immunity. This twist puts an amazing spin on an otherwise formulaic Total Drama Action challenge, and I very much appreciated the sudden turn of events. However, there is one issue I have. The thing is, the princess doesn't really do anything challenging for the majority of the challenge. They sing a song and get "kidnapped", but none of that is exactly hard or testing. In a sense, they get a free pass to the last challenge. Despite that, the fight is entertaining to watch, even if it is flawed.
Best Performer: Harold. He tried hard in each challenge, and I'd argue that his loss was very unfair.
Worst Performer: Beth. Her loss was pretty pathetic, honestly.
Overall Rating: 7/10. This challenge is almost one of the top tier challenges of the season, but it's bogged down by its flaws, mostly concerning the "Princess" role. It's questionable, but it's entertaining and a necessity for a challenge like this, so I didn't revoke too many points.
Note: I'm doing this episode early per Dip's request.
Genre: Rock and Roll
Challenge explanation: Play an electric guitar on stage; Walk through a red carpet obstacle course; Trash a hotel room
When you think of "celebrity life", these challenges are the type of thoughts you have. Up on stage, performing in front of all your fans, walking the red carpet in your designer dresses, paparazzi taking pictures of you, and being able to do virtually whatever you want. This challenge is a great glimpse into the realities (mostly the fun parts) of being a celebrity. But they also show how easy it is to mess up too, which makes this challenge super realistic and creative. To start off, we have the stage performance portion. Just like one of those instrument playing video games (like Guitar Hero), a note will come on the screen, and the castmates have to press the right button on their guitar, or they get shocked. This represents celebrity life well in the sense that they're expected to be "perfect" when they go up on stage and perform; even the littlest of errors is noted by the fans and the celebrities are closely scrutinized. The castmates that participate in this challenge will have a tough time making it, and only the best of the best can actually make it to the end, or get shocked (in other words, fail as a performer) trying. Despite that, everyone does get to move on to the second portion, which I enjoyed (eliminating castmates in each challenge can get repetitive).
Next, we have my personal favorite of the three challenges. The castmates have to walk on the red carpet itself! They have to get out of the limousine, paparazzi, fangirls, and a guard. By the end of it, whoever has the best picture taken by the paparazzi wins. This challenge is a great test of how charismatic of a celebrity you can be. We see the pictures everywhere; these top celebrities always have these perfect pictures where they look gorgeous and, well, perfect in each one! Taking good pictures is an essential part of being a celebrity, because pictures are what everyone will see from you. Sure, there's your music, your acting, but first impressions and surface matter a lot in the world of Hollywood. There's a huge amount of entertainment to be gained from this too, since you have bad boys dealing with fangirls, divas getting their pictures taken, and Type-A girls dealing with that mess. The final challenge is to destroy a hotel room. There's not much to be said about this challenge aside from the fact that whoever destroys the most wins. I don't see much depth to it, but I guess it does show that celebrities can do whatever they want since they have fame and money. Along with that, watching the castmates destroy the set is incredibly entertaining.
Best Performer: I'd argue that Courtney, Duncan and Lindsay all tried very hard in this challenge, but the best performer award goes to Lindsay. Allow me to explain why. We can already rule out Duncan, because he didn't really care about the challenge. Duncan was basically cool enough to get by in the first challenge – I'll give him credit for that. Coolness is fundamental for celebrities. Courtney, on the other hand, cared a little too much. Think of her like the students that are perfectionists in school. They never step outside of the box. Their grades are good, but their work is never that fantastic. Lindsay, on the other hand, put her own personal charm into each challenge. Even though she only won a single challenge, that single win was filled with passion and heart from Lindsay, proving that she indeed tried her hardest and deserves to be considered the best performer in this episode.
Worst Performer: Beth. What did she do again?
Overall Rating: 9/10. This challenge is absolutely excellent. It shows off what celebrity life is like; the good and the bad! It has three very diverse challenges that are all very entertaining to watch, and filled with lots of different performances. I can barely think of anything wrong with it, in fact.