It's been several years since most of The Challenge: All Stars cast have competed, and while The Challenge: All Stars Season 1 Episode 1 brought some fan-favorites back into the mix, it was abundantly clear that many of the cast are out of their element.
In recent years, reality TV has largely cast younger faces who are primarily interested in getting followers for the 'Gram, so it's nice to check back in with all of these people who helped shape what reality TV is today.
"Legends Never Die" was the perfect way to reintroduce us to these big players as they returned to compete for the $500,000 prize.
Aside from Jemmye and Derrick, the rest of the cast have been away from the series for decades, and then these two have not given up the training due to being a part of the action.
If Aneesa and Darrell work together, they could steamroll the entire competition, and it could make for one of the most predictable seasons in the history of the franchise.
If you watch The Challenge online, you know Aneesa has struggled in recent seasons finding people who want to go with her to a final, but I suspect everyone will want to work with her going forward.
Out of the rest of the returning Challengers, Jisela emerged as a force to be reckoned with. While many people bailed on the initial competition, Jisela knew there was $500,000 at stake, and she didn't want to leave her fate in question.
The best part of Jisela's game is that she failed to say anything about Ace calling her dead weight all those years ago in person. Reserving those comments for the confessionals is the best foot forward to solidify herself further into the game.
That aside, Ace was treated horribly. His excitement about returning to the series was ruined because everyone gunned for him at the nominations meeting.
It was unfortunate how Ace was thrown to the wolves, but Laterrian knew he stood a better chance at winning against him than more prominent players like Mark and Darrell.
From a strategic standpoint, it was a good move, especially given that Laterrian dominated the elimination. Ace was put in a difficult situation, and there was no easy path out of it.
I hope it hasn't put him off participating in future seasons. He was once a tremendous competitor, and we barely scratched the surface with his abilities in this day and age.
But Ace understood the writing was on the wall. As soon as your name is mentioned once, you're a target, and I appreciated how he called everyone monsters for turning on him.
It was one of the funniest scenes in years, but it showed that he wasn't there to be fake like some other players. He was there to compete and not hide behind an alliance.
My immediate concern with the series is that many of the competitors crumbled during the first challenge. Typically the opening challenge is tough, but there are tougher down the line.
The super-tease at the end of the premiere certainly suggested a bunch of Challengers quitting, eliciting a wild response from TJ, but many of them are simply not cut out for the show these days.
The series has evolved, and the competitions are more challenging than ever, leading me to believe that the people who have been in the show in more recent years will have the easiest time of it.
Mark has not been around for years, but he's maintained his physique and is probably in the best shape of his life. It's impressive that he was campaigning a year ago for a season featuring older players, and here we are.
I hope that the series doesn't stop focusing on the dailies as much to give some of the cast members a more leisurely ride. The 90s party was a hoot, but the series can only thrive on nostalgia for so long before it becomes cumbersome.
The Life Saver's return was welcome. With all of these connections in the house, it will be fun to see how the cookie crumbles, but people obviously have their allies, and they'll step up to the plate to save each other when they're able to.
"Legends Never Die" was the back-to-basics reset I've wanted for a while now. The regular series is hurling in multiple twists, and it's becoming tiresome.
An excellent old battle for a lot of money with old rules should help keep fans of the earlier seasons happy, but there's a lot at stake here.
If purge-style eliminations return, then many of the fan-favorites will probably go. It's sad, but it's true, but some people are simply not going to be able to compete as well as they used to.
What are your thoughts on all of the throwbacks? Do you think Ace deserved to go home, or should the others have thrown in a bigger target?
Who is your early pick for the winner? Who do you think would be sent home if the next challenge was a purge?
Hit the comments below.
Catch new episodes of The Challenge: All Stars Thursdays on Paramount+.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.