Battle of the Seasons premiered in early 2002 and took place in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. In each episode, the cast competed in a challenge, and the top three Real World and top three Road Rules teams would become the "Inner Circle" and have the power to vote off teams. The "Inner Circle" was determined by a cumulative score that would be tallied on a leader board. The final six teams would compete for a final prize worth $300,000.
This season of the The Challenge features a new format. Separated into teams of Real World and Road Rules, each cast member is paired off with a cast mate from their original season. Each mission gave points based on finish. After each mission, the players with the most points cumulative from each team became the "Inner Circle" and voted off whichever pair they wanted. The individual winning pair of each challenge would earn an "additional prize." After five pairs from each team were voted off, the final three Real World teams and final three Road Rules teams would compete against each other in a series of challenges before the final race, which would earn the winning teams $300,000 for themselves, $50,000 per teammate.
Belou was judged for bringing her infant child along to live in the Challenge household, who in turn, excoriated her fellow Road Rulers for questioning her competence as a mother.
Jisela confronted Theo, Holly B., Piggy and Chadwick on their alliance in the Inner Circle.
A hurricane stopped production and the cast had to be relocated to a hotel where they threw the toga party. Many events had to be thrown together due to the logistical turmoil brought by the storm.
Veronica & Yes and Beth & Jon were the first people voted off their teams. The former team was voted off because the Inner Circle had decided to knock out stronger teams, while the latter team was out because everyone wanted to get rid of Beth.
Emily got into a confrontation with Chadwick, Holly B. & Piggy after she had told the other teams about the Inner Circle's alliance. While being confronted by Jisela, Chadwick denied all claims of an alliance and called Emily a liar. Even after being voted off, Chadwick sent Emily a nasty e-mail, blaming her for manipulating the game and having him sent home.
Although Holly B. and Chadwick had been advocates of the plan to vote off strong teams, when Chadwick and Piggy finished outside the Inner Circle, Holly suddenly decided that they should vote off the weakest team instead of the one that Chadwick (her husband) was on. The rest of the Inner Circle didn't like the hypocrisy and did end up voting out Chadwick and Piggy.
Coral got into an argument with Stephen on the first day.
Team Real World devised a contract stipulating that the teams would be voted off according to the point system that was given to them. They followed this contract, except in the case where the team decided to vote off Lindsay & Stephen, mostly because Stephen was driving everyone crazy with his hectoring personality.
Hookups during the challenge included: Mike M. and Tara, Timmy and Holly, and Theo and Coral.
The Real World teams and Road Rules teams all decided that whoever won the final challenge would split the money with the opposite team. The teams formulated contracts so each cast member would get a share of the prize money. Holly B. thought that this was stupid and thought that the Road Rules team was going to win, and indicated that she would not split her money with Coral. Consequently, when they lost Coral decided to keep her money and gloated over it.
This challenge would mark the last challenge that Real World ever won the final reward challenge and prizes.
This challenge also marked the end of the six versus six challenge theme.
Lori from Back to New York was Mike's original team mate but she dropped out at the last minute and was replaced by Coral. According to Mike's appearance on Bill Simmons' B.S. Report podcast, Lori dropped out due to fear of flying following the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Mission: Finale - Ultimate Teams (RW: Sean & Elka and Theo & Holly) must delegate tasks for each team members to accomplish. The finale is divided into a relay race collecting fish through three components: kayaking, deep-sea diving, a long-board paddling. Afterwards, the whole team uses the fish they collected to figure out a puzzle. Once completed, they must climb a ladder to the top of a cliff to cross the finish line.
PRIZE: $300,000 split among the group. The Ultimate Team will receive a 2002 Saturn Vue