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Hey everyone, RBW here with my first ever analysis blog. It's no secret that Total Drama All-Stars is easily the most hated Total Drama season. However, I saw another challenge review blog by Mughees J. Simpson and I decided to write one for TDAS, and maybe we can find something good about TDAS.

Summary

Heroes vs. Villains: 6/10

Best Performer: Jo
Worst Performer: Cameron

Evil Dread: 7/10

Best Performer: Manitoba Smith
Worst Performer: Cameron

Saving Private Leechball: 2/10

Best Performer: Gwen
Worst Performer: Courtney

Food Fright: 4/10

Best Performer: Alejandro
Worst Performer: Sierra

Moon Madness: 1/10

Best Performer: Gwen
Worst Performer: Cameron

No One Eggspects The Spanish Opposition: 7/10

Best Performer: Zoey
Worst Performer: Cameron

Suckers Punched: 8/10

Best Performer: Alejandro
Worst Performer: Zoey

You Regatta Be Kidding Me: 9/10

Best Performer: Alejandro
Worst Performer: Duncan

Zeek And Ye Shall Find: 8/10

Best Performer: Gwen
Worst Performer: Cameron

The Obsta-Kill Kourse: 7/10

Best Performer: Gwen
Worst Performer: Scott

Sundae Muddy Sundae: 8/10

Best Performer: Gwen
Worst Performer: Scott

The Bold and the Booty-ful: 3/10

Best Performer: Zoey
Worst Performer: Mal

The Final Wreck-ening: 7/10

Best Performer: Mal
Worst Performer: Cameron

Average: 6/10

Additional Statistics
Best Performers:

Gwen - 5
Alejandro - 3
Zoey - 2
Jo - 1
Mal - 1
Manitoba - 1

Worst Performers:

Cameron - 6
Scott - 2
Courtney - 1
Duncan - 1
Mal - 1
Sierra - 1
Zoey - 1

Heroes vs. Villains

Challenge Reference: Not So Happy Campers - Part 2 & Broadway, Baby!

Challenge explanation: Jump off the cliff into Lake Wawanakwa, which is filled with sharks. Retrieve a key from the bottom and have the baby carriage driver drive you to the McLean Spa Hotel. Use the key, and if the door opens then you win for your team.

Participating contestants: Alejandro, Cameron, Courtney, Duncan, Gwen, Heather, Jo, Lightning, Lindsay, Mike, Sam, Scott, Sierra and Zoey.

Winners: Villainous Vultures (Alejandro, Duncan, Gwen, Heather, Jo, Lightning, and Scott)
Challenge won by: Alejandro

Losers: Heroic Hamsters (Cameron, Courtney, Lindsay, Mike, Sam, Sierra and Zoey)
Eliminated: Lindsay

LindsayConfTDAS

"Well of course I'm gonna be tired, wouldn't you? Like, totally unfair!"

This challenge manages to kick off Total Drama All-Stars rather well. It was a good idea to keep it as a homage to the show's first ever challenge, and it's also ironic that the most controversial season's first challenge references a controversial episode. As for the challenge itself, it's not original by any means but the McLean Spa Hotel and the baby carriages do manage to breath some new life into this otherwise done challenge. This is yet another challenge that puts a certain contestant under more pressure than the rest; in this case, the baby carriage drivers Lindsay and Jo. If they don't perform well, then they're under instant threat of elimination. This is even more unfair in Lindsay's case, but that's irrelevant. This flaw in the challenge resembles some other unfair ones, such as one team member having to pull the sled in Anything Yukon Do, I Can Do Better while the rest relax.

JoAlejandroWin

"I may be OOC in this episode, but I can still win a challenge in style."

Continuing, the contestants don't seem to be as afraid this time. Some might say this is to be expected of Total Drama veterans, but what about the second generation cast? I can't say I won't miss seeing their diverse reactions. But that's just me. Although they do show Scott's reaction, so that was cool. The no-switch rule that Chris implemented on the baby carriages was a bad addition, since once again it let a contestant be singled out, but I guess I'm neutral on it since it was pretty much expected. Predictable? Yes. The sharks in the water provided a nice little thrill as the contestants scrambled around to find their keys. Also, this challenge had a very poor plot twist, but one I enjoyed watching anyway: Alejandro in the Drama Machine. I mean, we all knew he was in there, but I gotta say his debut onto the season was REALLY epic. He escapes from the Drama Machine, finds a key, is wheeled to the hotel and WINS for his team! That's why I was rooting for Alejandro from the start, especially after Lindsay's elimination.

Best Performer: While I would say Alejandro, he was missing throughout the challenge, until his epic scene in the end. So I gotta go with Jo, who had more energy than everyone else this time around.
Worst Performer: While both Scott and Cameron did not participate, I'm going with Cameron for worst performer since Scott had some involvement in the challenge.
Overall Rating: 6/10. A lackluster challenge made better by the addition of new elements. However, it loses points for singling out contestants.

Evil Dread

Challenge Reference: Can't Help Falling In Louvre

Challenge explanation: Dig up 3D puzzle pieces and use them to assemble an international landmark.

Participating contestants: Alejandro, Cameron, Courtney, Duncan, Gwen, Heather, Jo, Lightning, Mike, Sam, Scott, Sierra and Zoey.

Winners: Heroic Hamsters (Cameron, Courtney, Mike, Sam, Sierra, and Zoey)
Challenge won by: Zoey

Losers: Villainous Vultures (Alejandro, Duncan, Gwen, Heather, Jo, Lightning and Scott)
Eliminated: Lightning

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 11.58.30 PM

Yes, I laughed. So what? It was before this type of comedy got old. And...it's funny.

Now it's time for one of the generally well-liked All-Stars episodes. Is it liked because of the challenge, too? Let's find out! Upon first glance, the challenge seems to be rather underwhelming; dig up pieces for a 3-D puzzle. Seems like it could get old fast. But then there's the introduction of the traps. They're everywhere, and they make this episode hilarious before the pain comedy gets overused. I'm not going to complain about the sadism being used for laughs, because let's face it at this point it was still hilarious. Anyway, about the challenge ending up being boring – ain't gonna happen when you've got crazy characters like Sierra, Heather, Jo and Lightning. We get to see how each contestant tackles the challenge; most of them go with the basic digging, but some of the contestants spice things up. I love some of the ways that the pieces were found, including Heather accidentally finding one while asserting her leadership, Scott finding one for the other team, Manitoba winding his arms like a propeller blade, and of course the best one, even if it didn't find a piece, was Lightning digging in the lake. Also, this is another challenge that allows interactions to take place during the challenge, probably the biggest "interaction catalyst" in the entire season, which I LOVE, because the writers do actually take advantage of it.

Gwen charmed

"I know All-Stars is evil, but...oof! This challenge!"

As for the traps, some of them are hilarious, like Sam getting hit with the post, the random pieces of wood that come up and smack the contestants, the punching bags that knock them away, and some are less so; of course this is my opinion, but I didn't find the crabs to be all that funny. You can't really see them snapping at the contestants, you can only hear them. The minor traps are a mixed bag for me as well; some of them, like the bucket of sand that hit Duncan or Chef's dirty laundry being thrown everywhere, weren't that funny, but some were, like that spring that launched Cameron onto Scott. Another good touch was the Villainous Vultures receiving shovels while the Hamsters didn't. It's a minor detail, but I liked how the Heroic Hamsters really earned their victory without their shovels (until Zoey ruined it by godplaying). The finished pieces were also nice; along with the short scenes where the contestants tried to determine what the statues were. The fact that they were broken up reminded me of the time Chef Hatchet broke up the REAL priceless statues in the episode that this challenge is based off of. Anyway, overall this challenge is pretty solid but it could have done with a little something more exciting. It's a very relaxed challenge, which actually does work in it's favor, I will say that though. So, a good episode and a good challenge to boot.

Best Performer: Manitoba Smith, because he found the most pieces. This is also exactly the type of challenge Manitoba would excel at. And just because she won, does not make Zoey the best performer. She only benefitted the team once, when she godplayed at the end.
Worst Performer: Cameron, once again. While it seems like I should pick Sam, I'm not going to. Sam was brutally weakened by that mosquito from earlier and still did his best to win. Also, he soaked up a LOT of traps for his team. Cameron didn't do anything aside from give Manitoba his hat.
Overall Rating: Now, I know I praised the challenge quite a bit here, but it's not all great. The overdose of traps makes the challenge appear more underwhelming than it already is; it distracts us from the actual challenge. They were funny though, so I won't take too many points off for that. Other than that, we got interactions and equal opportunity for effort (unlike the previous challenge). All these factors give this challenge a 7/10.

Saving Private Leechball

Challenge Reference: Paintball Deer Hunter

Challenge explanation: Collect weapons in the forest and pick off members of the opposite team using leeches.

Participating contestants: Alejandro, Cameron, Courtney, Duncan, Gwen, Heather, Jo, Mike, Sam, Scott, Sierra and Zoey.

Winners: Heroic Hamsters (Cameron, Courtney, Mike, Sam, Sierra, and Zoey)
Challenge won by: Zoey

Losers: Villainous Vultures (Alejandro, Duncan, Gwen, Heather, Jo, and Scott)
Eliminated: Jo

Hidebehindsam

Doesn't fuel development. Doesn't look good. Doesn't do justice to the challenge that it's from.

Saving Private Leechball's challenge takes after a normal challenge from Total Drama Island and makes it overly dangerous and absolute overkill. The challenge is basically a carbon copy of the one from Paintball Deer Hunter, with two differences: there are no deer, and instead of paintballs, the contestants use leeches. Because that's SO funny, right? No. It's not. This challenge is yet another one that allows for interactions, but the episode hardly takes advantage of this. Since this is a challenge review blog, and the challenge did allow for interactions, I won't bash it for poor execution. Although there are things I can bash it for. My main point being, what's the point of using leeches? Just...why? It's a terrible concept and shouldn't be used. Chris states that one of the conditions of his parole is that he can't be near projectile items like paintballs, but aren't leeches WORSE? I don't even know what the writers were thinking when they used leeches of all things. What's next? Shark teeth? Guns? Cannons? Not to mention those leeches are so incredibly visually unappealing. They look disgusting. Also, a less minor point, but the contestants are given NOTHING to help defend themselves against the leeches, which actually suck your blood, making it unnecessarily sadistic, pointless, and fatal. Overall, a complete disappointment of a challenge with no insight put into it whatsoever.

Best Performer: Gwen. She's the one who finds a way for her team to get to the advanced weapons despite falling behind from the beginning. Furthermore, she spends the episode trying to get her team to work as a team. Although she almost lost the Best Performer due to helping Duncan during the challenge.
Worst Performer: Courtney, because she didn't do a thing aside from hiding behind Sam. And yes, I know this is to support her character development, but it doesn't take away the fact that she did nothing in the challenge.
Overall Rating: 2/10. It only got those two points because it allowed for interactions, even if they didn't take advantage of it.

Food Fright

Challenge Reference: Truth or Laser Shark

Challenge explanation: Eat a giant stack of pancakes and complete an obstacle course without vomiting.

Participating contestants: Alejandro, Cameron, Courtney, Duncan, Gwen, Heather, Mike, Sam, Scott, Sierra and Zoey.

Winners: Villainous Vultures (Alejandro, Courtney, Gwen, Heather, and Scott)
Challenge won by: Alejandro

Losers: Heroic Hamsters (Cameron, Duncan, Mike, Sam, Sierra, and Zoey)
Eliminated: Sam

Gwuncan-tdas4

I know why Gwen feels nauseous.

Like Evil Dread, Food Fright is another popular All-Stars episode. Aside from the challenge, it's also popular because of the characterization, interactions and humor (and who can forget "It was like eating the happiest day of my life"?). This challenge has five different parts; the pancake eating, the bouncy butts, the rolling pins, the Grand Crusher, and the Salad Spinner. The bouncy butts and rolling pins aren't given too much attention, though, and overall this challenge is shafted in favor of the interactions (and I'm not complaining one bit). So let's go step by step, then we'll go through the challenge as a whole. The pancakes are obviously the most notable part of the challenge, since it's a pancake eating challenge. I really could have gone without the booby traps in the pancakes; what's the point? It was pointless. If they wanted someone to puke, they could have just made them overeat or something. It's disgusting, and there are some VERY horrific results, particularly with Duncan getting that mousetrap on his lips. It's literally cringeworthy, I cannot watch it. Just...why.

4.38

For once, the challenge tests some aspect of the contestants' skill rather than how much pain they can take.

Moving on, the bouncy butts and rolling pins, as I said, aren't given much focus. There is that one scene with Alejandro doing well on them, though. Then there's the Grand Crusher. This part is completely used for laughs, and doesn't require any skill to complete. You just stand there. Like I said, just for laughs. And the only part I laughed at this was when Scott took it. Finally, there's the Salad Spinner. Admittedly, it looked kinda fun, like an amusement part ride, but not so much when you realize that the contestants are full on pancakes. However, it was a good test to see who pukes and who doesn't. Nice addition, thanks Scott ;). So onto the challenge as a whole; it's nothing we haven't seen before. Every season has an eating challenge, and this one is no exception. This one resembles The Chefshank Redemption and Chinese Fake-Out most closely, since if they puke then they lose. I want to say this is a great challenge in a great episode, but I can't because I honestly did not enjoy the weird visual effects from the pancake booby traps, and I think it's overdone and they were just milking the booby trap laughs. The only booby trap I enjoyed was Courtney and the "green jelly", since it showed that the writers still care about continuity (at least in this episode).

Best Performer: Alejandro. He really fought hard for it, except for that one "sexy cheek" moment. Chris even praised Alejandro's performance.
Worst Performer: Sierra, because I know she can do better. Remember how she was able to get to the final round all on her own in Chinese Fake-Out, as both Alejandro and Blaineley were cheating? That. Aside from Sierra, Scott filling up on gruel earlier was a bad move on his part, but in his defense he didn't know there was an eating challenge.
Overall Rating: 4/10. Most of the challenge was gross-out humor, but it wasn't entirely awful. It also didn't come off as very original to me, and most of the parts of the challenge weren't really focused on and were used as additional pain. Although, it did score some points for the Salad Spinner portion.

Moon Madness

Challenge Reference: The Treasure Island of Dr. McLean

Challenge explanation: Make it to the finish line during the Blue Harvest Moon.

Participating contestants: Alejandro, Cameron, Courtney, Duncan, Gwen, Heather, Mike, Scott, Sierra and Zoey.

Winners: Villainous Vultures (Alejandro, Courtney, Gwen, Heather, and Scott)
Challenge won by: Courtney and Gwen

Losers: Heroic Hamsters (Cameron, Duncan, Mike, Sierra, and Zoey)
Eliminated: None (Cameron switches to the Villainous Vultures)

HeatherNice

The only good thing about this challenge wasn't even caused by the challenge.

Moon Madness's challenge already rubs me the wrong way from the beginning; it's based off of The Treasure Island of Dr. McLean, which is generally agreed upon to be the worst episode of Total Drama: Revenge of the Island, and for good reasons. What's even weirder is that this challenge doesn't even resemble Treasure Island's challenge. How was it a nod to that episode? There was no buried treasure. It was just a footrace. Then there's not even that much to the challenge concerning obstacles aside from that suspension bridge. Next, there's the overall concept of the challenge. A "Blue Harvest Moon" which changes the entire island. The moon turns blue, as the name suggests, and the entire island is bathed in a soft blue light. Animals that are usually timid or weak turn into predators, and animals that are usually ferocious become quiet and weaker. Remember when Total Drama used to have some semblance of reality? Me too. Remember when Total Drama All-Stars had realistic challenges? Me neither. But this challenge just...overdoes it. It doesn't make sense and it contradicts so much. I cannot believe that an episode with such great interactions has such an awful challenge. Continuing on the actual obstacle of the challenge: the suspension bridge. It breaks. ...That's pretty much it. I guess we do get some creative ways to cross it, but it doesn't really redeem a challenge with nothing going for it.

Best Performer: Gwen, because she's the only one to realize that the suspension bridge will break, and even if it does take longer for her to cross, she's already there before her team and she doesn't risk her life.
Worst Performer: Cameron. Once again, he does absolutely nothing in the challenge.
Overall Rating: 1/10. No further comment.

No One Eggspects The Spanish Opposition

Challenge Reference: None

Challenge explanation: Collect six eggs from mutant animals in the Fun Zone.

Participating contestants: Alejandro, Cameron, Courtney, Duncan, Gwen, Heather, Mike, Scott, Sierra and Zoey.

Winners: Heroic Hamsters (Duncan, Mike, Sierra, and Zoey)
Challenge won by: Mike and Zoey

Losers: Villainous Vultures (Alejandro, Cameron, Courtney, Gwen, Heather, and Scott)
Eliminated: Heather

At the fun zone

An absolutely gorgeous and very creative location for the challenge.

No One Eggspects The Spanish Opposition's challenge continues this awful trentd of having weird and unrealistic challenges. However, this challenge is a pretty big improvement, at least there's no blue moons and rabid flesh-eating bunnies. Anyway, one should also consider the implications of having a challenge like this. Mainly, we get some closure on where all the mutants from season 4 went. Also, this entire challenge takes place in a new location, which makes for some fresh scenery. The art in the location of the challenge is pretty good, too. This challenge has several aspects to focus on; the involvement of the mutants, the concept of the challenge, and the suspense of the hidden McLean-Brand Chris Head. Basically, the contestants have to gather eggs from the mutants, which means we get to see the different mutants and how they react to having their eggs stolen. We already get a glimpse of how this works out when Chef Hatchet steals eggs from the mutant goats in Up, Up And Away In My Pitiful Balloon, so this promises to be exciting. One of the more exciting ones are the eggs stolen from Larry and from the mutant gophers (although that's mostly because Courtney and Scott have a pretty funny moment in that scene).

Cameron may go home

"Psst, Cameron. You suck at challenges."

This episode also scores more points for allowing interactions. As you all know by this point, interactions are very important to me in a challenge, since it allows for character development in different ways than the plot normally allows. Another feature comes into play when Chris reveals that the teams can actually steal each other's eggs, causing the teams to leave at least one contestant behind as a guard at their team's nest. Continuing, there's also a McLean-Brand Chris Head hidden somewhere in the Fun Zone. I want to revoke points for this, because it means the exiles are now useless. However, it did increase the suspense before Heather finds it. We also have the location of the challenge. It's nice to return to Boney Island after five straight episodes on Camp Wawanakwa. That too with something previously unseen; new scenery. The art they use of the challenge is different in every scene, which makes it interesting, unique and fresh. Aside from that, sadly, the challenge as I said earlier suffers from a severe lack of unrealism. One of the worst aspects of Total Drama: Revenge of the Island is the annoying mutant creatures, at least in my opinion. This episode not only returns them, but makes them a main focus. I won't bash this too much, because at least it gave closure on what happened to those mutants.

Best Performer: Zoey, because sadly there's no one who actually did better.
Worst Performer: Cameron. He didn't find any eggs and mostly hung around Gwen.
Overall Rating: 7/10. This challenge is a very mixed bag; every positive has a negative to back it up, but overall it does not come off as a bad challenge, unlike certain challenges with contradictory moons. Instead, it gives us a special, brand new location and many opportunities for interactions.

Suckers Punched

Challenge Reference: No Pain, No Game & Phobia Factor

Challenge explanation: A boxing free-for-all against one's worst fear.

Participating contestants: Alejandro, Cameron, Courtney, Duncan, Gwen, Mike, Scott, Sierra and Zoey.

Winners: Villainous Vultures (Alejandro, Cameron, Courtney, Gwen, and Scott)
Challenge won by: Alejandro, Courtney, and Gwen

Losers: Heroic Hamsters (Duncan, Mike, Sierra, and Zoey)
Eliminated: Sierra

Alejose

Ladies and gentlemen, a challenge that bestows character development on us.

One must admit that Suckers Punched is definitely in the better part of the TDAS episode spectrum. If the spectrum is "absolute trash" to "decent" to "amazing", this would fall in the last one And we all know which one I consider absolute trash. And there's one very big reason as to why I love this challenge: It's the only, I repeat, ONLY, challenge that makes genuine character development possible in the entire season. Total Drama Island was full of these kind of challenges! Not So Happy Campers - Part 2, The Sucky Outdoors, Phobia Factor, Who Can You Trust (especially this one), and the list continues. And let's face it – Island had the best features out of any season and definitely the best development for characters. When something reminds me of Total Drama Island, then that aspect of the show has succeeded in my opinion. Suckers Punched forces contestants to not only face their fear, but to also conquer it, fight it, defeat it. It gives a whole new layer to the classic "Conquer your fear" Phobia Factor challenge from season 1. For once, I think Chris trying to interfere with the game by rigging the Wheel of Misfortune was a VERY great idea, and it makes the episode very interesting (except for when Mal has to fight Izzy, that was lame).

Scourtney-TDAS7

Even the lamer battles provide development and interactions, which just shows how much effort the writers put.

I'm actually very impressed that a season like All-Stars has such a memorable and delightful challenge. The kind of effort that goes into thinking of these type of challenges is commendable and I won't take this credit away from the writers of Total Drama All-Stars. Of course, there was no real mystery behind how the contestants kept getting their worst fear but yeah it was pretty obvious. And the kind of choices they use are excellent too. Alejandro has to fight José, instead of Heather, so they used the challenge to introduce a new character and one of Alejandro's insecurities from World Tour. Courtney and Gwen becoming friends during their fight may have seem forced, but fighting actually does relieve stress and frustration (not that I condone fighting). While there were some that were used for cheap laughs like Scott fighting Fang and Cameron fighting Izzy, those are actually the more minor ones. The really important ones are the absolutely beautiful ones that Alejandro, Courtney and Gwen participate in. Whether you liked the execution or not, the fact that such a challenge was planned during the course of the season as opposed to a boring pain-related challenge is just brilliant. Good job writers.

Best Performer: Alejandro, who stood up to his brother, defeated him, and came out on top.
Worst Performer: Zoey. Just because she won last time doesn't give her an excuse not to participate this time lmfao.
Overall Rating: 9/10. I cut off one point for Chris not making Zoey fight.

You Regatta Be Kidding Me

Challenge Reference: None

Challenge explanation: Race around the island via boat.

Participating contestants: Alejandro, Cameron, Courtney, Duncan, Gwen, Mike, Scott, and Zoey.

Winner: Alejandro

Order of arrival:
1st: Alejandro
2nd: Courtney and Gwen
3rd: Mike and Zoey
4th: Cameron and Scott
Never finished: Duncan
Eliminated: Duncan

Gwentney

"Did you hear? TDAS finally made a great challenge!"
"OMG, no way!!"

Now we come to one of the most tame challenges in the entire season. You regatta love this one *gets shot*. Bad jokes aside, this challenge offers the opportunity to have contestants team up, and they make full use of this opportunity. Gwen and Courtney, for example, team up which shows that they're finally friends again. Alejandro goes solo, which is pretty much TDAS Alejandro in a nutshell anyway, especially after Heather's elimination. Guess her elimination took a real toll on the hot spaniard. Anyway, this isn't about Alejandro. We also get a team of Duncan, Scott, Cameron and Zoey, which is short-lived, since Zoey later teams up with Mike and Duncan leaves to go boom-boom (no, not that kind). The reason I'm reviewing the teams is because they have a large impact on the challenge and it's features and functions. They begin with a race to decide to gets the best boats; this is actually a really good option compared to the "Whoever won the last challenge gets an advantage in this one" that they kept doing in the pre-merge. This challenge actually takes better advantage of a footrace than the ACTUAL footrace challenge does. I guess Chris really wanted to reward the contestants for reaching the merge, because this challenge is much easier and relaxed compared to the other life-threatening ones.

8.26

The winner keeps changing, making the game unpredictable, and I love that.

The regatta itself has several different areas of Lake Wawanakwa that they need to cross. There's coconut alley, the dynamite area, an area with piranhas, and another with Fang, and finally the finish line. The main focus of the challenge is who manages to maintain the lead, so these extra additions aren't as relevant as they are in other challenges. They do play big roles for minor additions though, which I like. For example, Cameron manages to use Scott as an engine because of Fang, and Courtney and Gwen's engine gets busted because of that dynamite area. Something with Mike probably happens too but I don't care (basically me with all of TDAS though :P). The regatta itself is pretty exciting, you can hear the engines, the screaming, the mockery (that last one is mostly from Scott to Cameron and Alejandro to everyone), and the lead keeps switching from Alejandro, to Courtney and Gwen, to Mike, and the outcome becomes unpredictable, which is something this challenge does that TDAS does not do very well. All these factors create a generally great challenge.

Best Performer: Alejandro, obviously. He had his eye on the ball and was in the lead for most of the race.
Worst Performer: Duncan, since he left halfway because he received the Idiot Ball for that episode.
Overall Rating: 9/10, for being an incredibly refreshing change of pace from the usual pain endurance "funny" challenges for something more thrilling and unpredictable.

Zeek And Ye Shall Find

Challenge Reference: A Mine Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Challenge explanation: Rescue Chris from Ezekiel.

Participating contestants: Alejandro, Cameron, Courtney, Gwen, Mike, Scott, and Zoey.

Winner: Gwen

Order of capture:
1st: Zoey
2nd: Courtney and Scott
3rd: Alejandro
4th: Mal
Never captured: Cameron and Gwen
Eliminated: Cameron

Zekehowls

A horror episode with an unusual location, and surprise jumpscares. This challenge has a lot to offer.

Just gonna say this right off the bat: Don't hold any bias against me, but I have a thing for horror challenges. They have a lot of suspense and thrill, more than the average episode. And it's kinda fitting (for me at least) that the 100th episode of Total Drama is a horror episode, my favorite type of challenge. I could've gone without the writers using Ezekiel again, though. Also, this challenge is MILES better than the original one that Chris planned. The challenge, in a way, is split into three major parts: finding a way to enter the mine, navigating through the tunnels of it, and then confronting Ezekiel. We'll go through each one and how it affected the challenge overall. Let's start with the beginning, entering the mine. This is the part where the contestants split into mini-teams, which usually happens in these types of challenges (like in Rapa Phooey! and You Regatta Be Kidding Me for example). This part of the challenge sets the stage for the rest, providing the foundation for all the interactions and plots that are going to take place. It's one of the best parts of an episode, because when you watch it, the possibilities and potential is actually endless; anything could happen! Any combination of characters could be used.

TooInjuredToContinue

This is the challenge that finally makes Mr. Overstay-My-Welcome leave.

Then there's the actual navigation. The mine is bigger than I remember it being in A Mine Is a Terrible Thing to Waste, or maybe I've just seen this episode more (I really like this one). There's a lot of different parts available for exploration, from the narrow, dark parts where Gwen ends up, to the stream where she finds Cameron, to the chasm where Alejandro and Cameron meet, all the way to Ezekiel's lair. This makes it interesting, since there could be anything just around the corner. The darkness of the mine also raises tension since Ezekiel could do a jump-scare at any given moment (and this does happen a couple times). The contestants being in different locations, and the mine basically being able to collapse at any given time, makes it interesting when the contestants' groups come together due to, say, a pitfall here or an opening there. Finally, there's Ezekiel's lair. He keeps the contestants he captured there, and keeps Chris hanging above a vat of toxic waste. Did I mention how great it is that Chris suffers in this episode? Because it is. He deserves it, that sadist horrible thing. Overall, these three parts help construct a coherent storyline, which this season (as we all know) has trouble with. It supports the episode itself, which makes it a good challenge.

Best Performer: Is there any doubt? This is Gwen's best performance since Total Drama Island.
Worst Performer: You'd think, for once, that it's not going to be Cameron, and it might even be Zoey for getting captured first. But it's actually Cameron. He refused help from Alejandro when he could have died, which was literally a fatal mistake on his part had Gwen not found him. The only reason he got to the end was because he was with Gwen, anyway.
Overall Rating: 8/10, for interactions, separate parts of the challenge, great execution and giving Chris karma for all he did. I would have given it a 9, but it brought back Ezekiel. If you wanted me to revoke more points for this, I would like to remind you that Ezekiel was more humiliated in Heroes vs. Villains, and he didn't suffer too bad in this episode. In fact, this episode almost does Ezekiel some justice.

The Obsta-Kill Kourse

Challenge Reference: Basic Straining

Challenge explanation: Race through an extremely dangerous obstacle course and be the first one to cross the finish line.

Participating contestants: Alejandro, Courtney, Gwen, Mike, Scott, and Zoey.

Winner: Zoey

Order of arrival:
2nd/3rd: Courtney
2nd/3rd: Gwen
Never finished: Alejandro, Mike and Scott
Eliminated: Alejandro

OMGYURI

The four different ropes allow for different outcomes; usually pretty entertaining.

Fortunately for this challenge, there's five different parts to be rated. The first is the tire race, with several booby traps included, as is the norm for this season. The second is the rope climbing portion, the third is the snapping bars (ha-ha), the fouth is the "Duck and Cover", and the final one is the zipline to the finish line. This gives the challenge more leeway; if one part is lackluster, the other parts do back it up. We'll start with the tires. This is probably the worst part of the challenge; it's been done in Million Dollar Babies already, but this time it's more dangerous and given more focus. It's also arguably the most dangerous part of the Obstacle Course, with the fiery pillars and several other booby traps. I suppose Chris wanted to tire out the contestants before the more tame parts in the rest of the challenge. At least it's not constant sadism like Saving Private Leechball, Evil Dread or The Final Wreck-ening. Next, there's the rope climbing portion. There's four ropes to choose from; the licorice rope, the electric wire rope, the dog hair rope and the normal rope. We get some nice results from this variety of ropes; Mal eats the licorice rope, making it more difficult for the next guy. I would've done the same, but for different reasons :P We also get a cute interaction from Gwen and Zoey out of it, which this challenge manages to do. I love challenges that allow interactions.

Togetherwillpasshim

Admit it, it looks fun.

Moving onto the "Snapping Bars", they're named that because of the snapping turtles in the pond below the monkey bars. It's similar to one of the challenges in No Pain, No Game (the one that Duncan has to do). Very tame, and it judges the contestants based on their actual SKILL, rather than how much pain they can withstand. I like challenges that do so, it really lets you see who the true best contestant is, rather than who the writers choose to let withstand pain. Afterwards, there's a bit of a break when the contestants hide behind bushes to talk. This is a nice breather moment in between the action. Next part is the Duck and Cover, which brings back one of the worst aspects of the season; the use of leeches in challenges. It's so random and pointless. Chef is the one shooting, and fortunately this part is the shortest. Finally, there's the zipline. It's nice to know that the backpacks were actually used for something, as opposed to being another useless addition. I'll admit, I sometimes fantasize about participating in the Total Drama challenges, and this zipline part is one of them. The thrill is great, without being dangerous and life-threatening. I would've enjoyed a more dynamic victory, but I'll take what I can get.

Best Performer: The obvious choice should be Zoey, due to her winning the challenge. However, it's not Zoey. The best performer in this challenge is actually Gwen. She was the only one who was really focused on the challenge. Scott and Courtney were too focused on their drama, Alejandro spent the time trying to expose Mal, and Mal was trying to stop him. Meanwhile Zoey as usual was being an idiot. Gwen's line to Alejandro sums it up best: "Uh, kinda trying to stay alive here."
Worst Performer: Scott, for ditching his backpack and ignoring Chris's clear instructions. This actually costs him the challenge. Additionally, it's because of him that the contestants have to wear the packs in the first place. Although I will say he was hilarious in this challenge. "My foot is touching my face!", "My right buttcheek! My left buttcheek! Why is it always my butt :("
Overall Rating: There's five parts, and out of all of them, the rope climbing, the snapping bars and the zipline were good additions. The leech shooting challenge was the only one I didn't enjoy, and the tire challenge was okay at best. If each challenge counts for two points, this challenge gets a 7/10 overall.

Sundae Muddy Sundae

Challenge Reference: None

Challenge explanation: Make a sundae by collecting ingredients that can be found throughout the island, and feed it to interns (cancelled). Eat your own sundae.

Participating contestants: Courtney, Gwen, Mike, Scott, and Zoey.

Winners:
1st challenge: Courtney
2nd challenge: Zoey

Eliminated: Courtney

Eating sundae

Don't lie to me, you know those sundaes look good.

Ah, it's time to review the challenge of the most infamous and controversial Total Drama episode in existence: Sundae Muddy Sundae. Similar to The Obsta-Kill Kourse, this challenge has several parts to it, although unlike that episode, most of the parts are the same, but the location does change, keeping things fresh. There's a bunch of different places that the contestants have to explore, finally giving us a view of Camp Wawanakwa in total, instead of just the cabins and wherever the challenge is taking place. The places they go are the snowy hill, the swamp from The Treasure Island of Dr. McLean, the Mess Hall (FINALLY!), a clearing to one of those mutant fire-breathing plants, and finally to some random part of the island for the finish line. We're just going to ignore the derailment that Courtney suffered, okay? It's not relevant to the challenge (bar an inconsistency later on). So as far as the concept for the challenge goes, it's pretty original and it reminded me of the type of innocent challenge Total Drama Island would do; what's more summer-camp fun time than making sundaes? Of course, All-Stars puts it's own dangerous twist on the challenge. First up is the snow cliff, which Chris made like that specifically for this challenge. That makes for some fun gags, like Scott slipping all the way to the edge of the cliff. There's also time for the contestants to interact due to snowy terrain being harder to cross.

SheWasn'tAllBad

Well...this challenge wasn't all bad.

Moving on to the swamp portion, everyone has their own way of crossing, which makes for a unique watch. My personal favorite performance in this portion is from Courtney, not sure why. Also, yay! The Drama Machine makes a return after Alejandro "destroyed" it. That really spices things up when the contestants reach the Main Lodge to get nuts. Insert dirty joke about nuts here. I have to admit, the Drama Machine swinging that hammer around like a psycho made things a little more threatening when the characters got into danger from it. Knowing this show, they could have very well been hit, and hit very hard. Gwen manages to make a narrow escape from it, which really is one of those "edge of the seat" moments. Next, there's the chocolate sauce. Mal tampering with the fire breathing mutant plant is one of the few decent moves he's actually made as a villain. It really changes things up. That's a good thing about this challenge – there's a lot of different possible outcomes. The episode does display this; from Gwen's straightforward performance, to Mal causing chaos, to Courtney playing cutthroat and finally Scott being an idiot throughout the whole thing. Also, the finished sundaes look really tasty. When they reach the finish line, Chris doesn't let the interns eat the sundaes, and instead lets the contestants eat them. After my initial shock at the interns being starved more ends, it's actually quite pleasant to see the contestants enjoying themselves for once, especially with that cute dialogue between Gwen and Scott.

Best Performer: The performances in this challenge from Gwen, Mal and Zoey are pretty good, but it's definitely between Gwen and Mal. For once, Mal's interference actually affects the game, and Gwen as usual is more focused on the challenge than anyone else. For that reason, Gwen wins Best Performer again.
Worst Performer: I would have given it to Courtney for not even beginning to eat her sundae, but she actually won the first part of the challenge, so she's out. The obvious choice is Scott, who was incompetent throughout the entire episode and served only as comic relief (but don't get me wrong, it was enjoyable).
Overall Rating: 8/10. This challenge has many things going for it; there's the location changing every five minutes (one of the best parts of every individual episode of Total Drama World Tour in fact), diverse challenges that the contestants have to go through (climbing, fighting, dodging, risking and eating fast respectively), and in the end they create their own tangible reward, and it's actually satisfying to watch (if you weren't distracted by something else...). It's also semi-tame, since they focus more on interactions than danger in this challenge. A very solid challenge, ruined by an awful plot. Too bad.

The Bold and the Booty-ful

Challenge Reference: None

Challenge explanation: Collect "treasure" and return it to Chris undamaged.

Participating contestants: Gwen, Mike, Scott, and Zoey.

1st: Zoey
2nd: Gwen
Never finished: Mike's alternate personalities#Mal and Scott
Eliminated: Gwen and Scott

BoldAndBootyful

This pic says it all: Zoey's got it easy, Gwen gives it her all, Mal makes no effort, and Scott is up to his usual silliness.

This challenge can be split up into four different parts; one for each of the contestants. We'll go in alphabetical order. The "first" challenge is to go to the destroyed Playa Des Losers, and find an intact painting of Chris. The "second" challenge is to find a Gilded Chris Award somewhere on the island. The "third" challenge is to go to the pirate ship from Mutiny on the Soundstage and steal a diamond from Fang, and the "fourth" and final challenge is to bring Sasquatchanakwa from the forest. Without even carefully examining these challenges, one thing becomes pretty clear. Some of these challenges are way easier that others. It's obvious that Zoey's challenge of conflicting with Sasquatchanakwa's is much easier than Scott's of fighting his long-time enemy, biggest fear, and the reason he was mutilated last season, Fang. It's not even that; Fang is a MUTANT that Scott has to face in a small space, whereas Sasquatchanakwa is an animal that has shown, time and time again, to not be as harmful as he seems. Then there's Mal's challenge, which is the easiest of them all. He doesn't have to fight anything or wander into any kind of danger, he just has to walk around hidden spots until he finds the award. Out of all of the challenges, I'd say Gwen's is the most balanced.

Diamondishere

Apparently, Zoey and Scott's challenges are the same difficulty! Lmao no.

This challenge actually summarizes the contestants' performances pretty well; Scott does terribly, but never fails to entertain, Mal and Zoey are handed every little thing on a silver platter, and Gwen is left doing all the heavy lifting and earning things for herself (Just see how many times she's gotten Best Performer). And I'm not even saying this in a good way. This challenge is horribly unbalanced. So the beginning of the challenge has the usual horribly unfunny pain gags when the contestants open little chests to see what they have to do for their challenge. Let's start, once again, in alphabetical order. The fact that the writers acknowledge that Playa Des Losers (or should I say Chris's "cottage") still exists is nice, but shouldn't it be totally obliterated by now? Anyway, that's neither here nor there. Just btw, Gwen could have taken a painting that Chris stashed in the McLean Spa Hotel. Actually, wait, I suppose he would have seen it in the cameras. I should probably think it over before I write these reviews. Tyler. Where was I? I guess this was just Chris being an egomaniac and wanting one of his paintings back. I cannot believe this pathetic excuse of a final four challenge comes right after one of the greatest challenges of the season.

12.12

Same.

Next, there's Mike's challenge: Finding the Gilded Chris Award somewhere on the island. At first it seems challenging, but consider the fact that Mal doesn't have some dangerous creature to battle, or crumbling ruins to walk through. Most of the island is just open space, and finding a golden award really would not be that hard, especially with how much time he had. So, definitely one of the easiest ones. Then we have possibly the hardest challenge, Scott's challenge, to reclaim a diamond from Fang. And, of course, the diamond is in the mutant shark's teeth. Ironic, huh? This challenge doesn't even allow for as much open space as the other challenges – that ship isn't that big, really. This one is horribly unbalanced and is pretty much impossible. No one has ever defeated Fang in this show, except Zoey Sue (which means it doesn't count). So yeah, it's pretty much impossible to win. Finally, we have Zoey's challenge – bring Sasquatchanakwa to Chris. This is the only challenge that can be completed without even touching the object you're supposed to bring back. It's legitimately pathetic how easy this is, and it's not at all shocking that Zoey is the one who gets this one. The elimination is also carried out very poorly, with someone who actually brought their treasure back being eliminated.

Best Performer: It was a close tie between Gwen and Zoey, but in the end I decided to go with Zoey, but similar to her victory in No One Eggspects The Spanish Opposition, this one also felt very forced. Trust me guys, this is one where I wanted to give it to Gwen more than ever, but it wouldn't be fair since she put bear crap on her painting (even if it was technically an intact painting).
Worst Performer: Rejoice, Scott fans! For once, Scott actually shows effort in a challenge. This challenge's worst performer is actually Mal, since he didn't even bother to look for his treasure. Instead, he went directly to go sabotage the others (obviously not Zoey, because her incredible skills aren't a threat, right? Lmfao), which wasn't the objective of the challenge.
Overall Rating: 3/10, for being unbalanced and borderline rigged against Scott and Gwen, who were, obviously, eliminated.

The Final Wreck-ening

Challenge Reference: None

Challenge explanation: The Moats of Doom.

Participating contestants: Alejandro, Cameron, Gwen, Heather, Mike, and Zoey.

1st/2nd: Mike/Zoey
Never finished: Alejandro, Cameron, Gwen, Heather, Mike (In Zoey's ending), Zoey (In Mike's ending)

Balloonsflyaway

This scene alone revokes 3 points from the final score.

Here we go, the final challenge of the season. This challenge, the "Moats of Doom", has been specially designed to decide who is truly, without a doubt, the best contestant in Total Drama history. This challenge has roughly five parts to it. The balloons, the toxic waste moat, the lava moat, the swamp moat, and finally the Mad King's Kingdom. This episode is VERY widely hated, by almost the entire fandom. For good reasons, too. Let's take a look and see if the challenge contributes to that hatred. We'll begin with the balloons. Okay, who's idea was this? They should not only be fired but also put in some kind of therapy session, because this is VERY messed up and not okay. There is absolutely nothing good to say about this portion of the challenge. Even the weapon choice was terrible and just an excuse to give Mr. Coconut and Owen a cameo. Apparently the balloons are filled with farts, because that's so funny. Anyway, Chris doesn't TIE DOWN the balloons, and they float off into space. The last thing we hear from the contestants that are still in the balloons are their muffled screams. That's just...nightmare fuel. It's NOT cool. It's NOT funny. It's just...horrifying. I don't know why they would include such a thing.

MoatsOfDoomReaction

"The challenge is actually cool for once!!!"

Anyway, away from that abomination of a pre-challenge. Next is the first Moat, the toxic waste one. I don't know why, but the show just loves to bring back this aspect of the show, despite it only being in one small season and not even a popular feature. So then, the only things they have to cross are very long (and sturdy) sticks that dissolve when placed in the waste. I don't get it, WHY is it so deadly and near impossible to cross? Doesn't Chris realize that if one of them dies this early on, he won't even HAVE two finalists anymore? Or was his backup plan a sh**ty thing I'm going to bring up later involving the helpers? Then there's the second challenge, the lava. Okay, while I'm against brutal challenges like these, I should admit that the overall demeanor of the challenge is pretty epic. The moats are like literal stepping stones on the path to victory. The lava part isn't given much focus. I assume this part of the challenge comes from Hawaiian Punch, which already did a lot of lava-related stuff (coincidentally, the lava stuff they did involving Alejandro, Ezekiel, Heather and everyone else weren't that well-received). You remember when I said the challenge was epic? Yeah, subtract that by a bit. They have to cross using...no, not some sort of super-cool, high-tech machinery...they use a pogo stick...

13.6

Chef Hatchet has returned from the dead and finally plays a role in a challenge.

The penultimate moat is the swamp, which is probably a reference to Total Drama Island, not sure how, but it matches TDI most. Probably because it's the most normal moat. At least until they reveal that Fang is in it, because we all love seeing Fang repeatedly. THAT never gets old. I guess it does make sense to put Fang in there though, seeing as how it's supposed to be a "best of the best" challenge, and the best of the best should be able to defeat Fang, or at least avoid him until they reach the final moat. Also, it's obvious that Chris wanted the helpers to become contestants in the end anyway. It turned Heather and Alejandro against each other, which is exactly what he wanted. The final moat, I'm assuming, is a Total Drama All-Stars original. It's definitely the most tame of all the moats (which is ironic considering the nature of this season), with the most deadly thing being spaghetti. I'm actually really glad that Chef Hatchet is the Mad King, it's been so long since he's played a role and I enjoyed his screentime. The concept of having to pull out a sword is pretty good too. Something about it is so definitive, like this sword is the defining moment that shows you if you're good enough to be the true All-Star (which let's face it neither of the finalists were). It's a satisfying conclusion to an action-packed, albeit mixed bag, challenge.

Best Performer: Mal. He was the only one truly focused on the challenge (which is why Gwen has won Best Performer so much). Zoey was too busy with her "Mike or Mal" conflict, Gwen and Cameron were pretty much off doing their own thing, and Alejandro and Heather were too busy hindering each other. Had Mike not stopped Mal, Mal would've definitely won.
Worst Performer: I have to go with, as usual, Cameron on this one. He was pretty much just a liability to Zoey and Gwen the entire time.
Overall Rating: This challenge is a hard one to rate. On one hand, it's a pretty epic challenge, the moats reference previous seasons well, and the final moat is really good, with a role from Chef Hatchet to boot. Not to mention the sword thing was pretty cool. However on the other hand, we have an awful, in fact a trash, pre-challenge, and a poorly planned first moat. So one can easily say that the challenge gets better and better, due to being awful in the start. This challenge will receive a 7/10. I wanted to give it higher, simply because of how grand it was and the reasons I stated previously, but I couldn't because of the garbage pre-challenge.


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