True or false: The more things change, the more they stay the same. The premiere of The Challenge: Total Madness certainly made a convincing argument. While the latest season’s first episode introduced new players, altered gameplay and offered delicious twists, it also included some classic Challenge totems that viewers can always count on from their favorite franchise.
Check out the seven most reliably familiar moments you can count on from the Total Madness premiere below, and tell us what you thought of the first look at the brand-new season.
$1 million is up for grabs
Following the trend of Final Reckoning and War of the Worlds, TJ informed the Total Madness cast that a cool million bucks was on the line for the game’s eventual champions, though he avoided getting specific about final mission proceedings.
There’s a spectacular gym in the house
Sure, most of this season’s housing looks like an underground bomb shelter, but at least the cast learned they could count on one familiar luxury: a gym that looked fit for Olympic training trials. A track?! Seriously?!
A new contender emerges
Jenny’s always looked like a solid athlete, but her performance came into question last season when Tori sent her packing after delivering one of the most punishing hits in Hall Brawl (or elimination round) history. Jenny totally redeemed herself in “Battle Lines,” Season 35’s first mission, though, when she destroyed the game’s women for a decisive first-place finish. Let’s remember that eventual legends Johnny Bananas, Evelyn and Cara Maria were each bounced first on their original seasons, and sometimes, it takes a minute for true competitors to come through.
Old friends reunite
It’s been awhile since Jenna has been on a show with her best buds, Nany and Kailah, and as soon as the father, son and holy spirit (their words, not ours) claimed their preferred beds in the game’s expansive underground lair, they made it clear that they were a united front and would fight tooth and nail to survive the game as a trio.
Exes find themselves at a crossroads
Dee absolutely lost her mind on War of the Worlds 2 when Rogan, whom she considered a genuine boyfriend, flipped the script and hatched a plan to oust her from the game (behind her back, no less!). The two seemed to reconcile at the reunion, but Dee — who never quite got her revenge — said she had no plans to stand by and let Rogan go after another girl on Total Madness. So she staked her claim, joining a long line of scorned Challenge exes.
An unlikely alliance takes shape
Beth and Wes? Cara and Johnny Bananas? Thirty-five seasons into the game, the formation of unlikely alliances has become almost as routine a part of the game as implicit treaties. So even though it was shocking that avowed enemies Wes and Bananas let go of their differences to form an alliance nearly 15 years after their first meeting, the fact that the game kicked off with a truce between former nemeses seemed imminent.
TJ reveals a super twist
As if the rest of the game didn’t sound intense enough, TJ shocked the house after Jay’s defeat of Asaf in Purgatory when he announced that — for the first time ever — players would only be eligible to compete in the grand finale if they first won at least one elimination round. Yup, while a twist, itself, is a curveball, the introduction of a twist has become as routine as rainfall in the Challenge universe.