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Episode 2 of The Titan Games delivered an absolute must-watch moment

The first challenge reshaped what we can expect from this show.

Vivian Zink/NBC

The Titan Games showed its true potential with its second episode. The first challenge of the night featured two mothers who redefined what we can expect during this first season. Impressive athletic feats? Sure. Nerve-jangling challenges? Yup. But we weren’t emotionally ready for a clash of pure mettle and grit that felt like it should be a two-hour award winning movie.

The second episode demonstrated how this format can bring out the best and expose any weakness in these participants. The shift moves them from being well-muscled specimens on a blunt mission to be the strongest, to complex humans who are fallible at moments and true Titans the next.

Reigning Titans

  • Bridger Buckley fought his way back to full health after being struck by a car while riding his bike. In this episode, he had to fight his way through Uprising to face a tight battle on Mount Olympus.
  • Nika Sedghi recently lost her grandmother and carried her spirit with her through the climb up the Tower Drop. She fired off like a shot at the base of Mount Olympus and never let up on her lead.

Can’t miss moments

  • Lunar Impact

If you could breath during Lunar Impact, you did way better than us. We honestly think this will be remembered as a defining moment for the show. Christina Luna and Melissa Alcantara took the idea of determination to an entirely new level. These two women were completely unfamiliar with the concept of giving in, putting up a fight that made us a little teary eyed. In reality, they were locked into this challenge for over twenty minutes. When it was over, they collapsed. Then they collapsed into each other’s arms, overjoyed to truly know they both gave it their all. As soon as they could catch their breath, they started discussing how they’d be friends forever after sharing that experience.

The fact that Melissa wasn’t able to take her place on Mount Olympus only illustrates what was really happening up on that platform. Those women put everything out there, ignoring their screaming bodies to push for THAT moment, THAT goal that was in front of them.

It was a display of power, determination, heart, sportsmanship, and every other adjective you could possibly think off to describe a moment that brought the stadium to its feet.

You can read an interview with both of them here.

  • Hammering Ram

It’s worth noting that you can’t just barrel through these challenges. Bridger Buckley and Robbie Strauss learned this the hard way on Hammering Ram. While they both had the power to swing the ram, they didn’t understand the metrics of the momentum needed to get it to force the doors open. Robbie was all over the place, including his back and his knees. Dwayne went down to coach them through a bit. After some confused looks and rethinking, Bridger finally adjusted his tactics to take the win, with a clear understanding that strategy would be key to surviving these trials.

Full recap

You can find an explanation of the challenges at the bottom of this article.

Challenge one: Lunar Impact

The competitors

  • Christina Luna: 33 year old dental hygienist and single mom who fought for everything they have
  • Melissa Alcantara: 33 year old mom and personal trainer to celebrities like Kim Kardashian, who got fit after her daughter was born

Winner: Melissa Alcantara

Challenge two: Hammering Ram

The competitors:

  • Bridger Buckley: 22 year old former college footballer who started training for five hours a day after being hit by a car three years ago
  • Robbie Strauss: 34 year old dad and professional wrestler who goes by Robbie E.

Winner: Bridger Buckley

Challenge three: Tower Drop

The competitors:

  • Carla Miranda: 34 year old hotel executive, who, while being the smallest competitor at five foot even, can dead lift 255 lb
  • Nika Sedghi: 25 year old mechanical engineer competing in memory of her grandmother who recently passed

Winner: Nika Sedghi

Challenge four: Uprising

The competitors:

  • Steven Hoppe: 38 year old fire fighter from Arizona, who was back in the gym just seven days after he finished chemo for Stage Two Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Montez Blair: Business consultant from New Jersey who grew up in poverty and went on to be a track and field star at Cornell University

Winner: Steven Hoppe

Mount Olympus

Bridger Buckley vs Steven Hoppe

Bridger and Steven were neck and neck until the Torch Crank. Bridger pulled ahead and reached his tomb first. While both ended up hunting through the rubble for it at the same time, Bridger was able to claim a close win.

Titan: Bridger Buckley

On what you should learn from him:

“I want them to remember that it all starts from within. It doesn’t really matter what you’re physically capable of if your mind can overcome barriers. It’s the strongest tool that you have.”

What he’s going to do next:

“Relax and get my mind right. It’s physically hard but it mentally drains you a lot getting ready to go. I expect a lot from myself. I’m not going to be happy with second or anything. If I can keep winning and take the title home it would mean the world to me. I don’t like losing. Winning is the best feeling in the world and losing is the worst feeling.”

Nika Sedghi vs Christina Luna

Melissa Alcantara injured her knee during the brutal Lunar Impact and couldn’t complete on Mount Olympus. Her challenge partner, Christina Luna, took her place.

Nika was able to set a lead from the beginning and maintained it through the entirely of the race. She opened her tomb while Christina was back at the Tower Crank.

Titan: Nika Sedghi

On why she wanted to be a Titan:

“I really wanted to be a part of the Titan Games just to genuinely show people that an average person, a kid (the joke is my parents call me the kid), you can make it if you continually, consistently, never give up. That’s the biggest thing about being a Titan and the message that The Rock wants to put out there. I’m so proud to live that out.”

Next episode: Thursday, January 17 at 8/7c.