NBC’s The Titan Games Episode 4 Recap: The Brothers’ Battle

The search for the best of the West Region begins!

Last week saw Dani Speegle and Matt Chan rise to the top of Mount Olympus and stand victorious in the Central Region championships.

Speegle, who was the defending Titan, held her ground and beat out Jamie Seeman. Matt Chan sought redemption against Joe Thomas after losing to him in the premiere. He found success on Mount Olympus after a shocking 5-3 win against Caleb “Doc Thor” Redden in the “Resistance” challenge. Chan and Speegle will be the Titans from the Central Region at the Titan Championships.

Episode four began the quest to find the best in the West Region. Any of the competitors able to beat their competition and make it to Mount Olympus would gain the opportunity to challenge the reigning Titans:


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In the women’s division, fitness coach Natalie Talbert was set to take on fire fighter Kelly Valdez. Both woman were in their late twenties — 29 and 28 years old, respectively — and had powerlifting training backgrounds.

In the men’s division, it was a brotherly feud. Army LTC Eric Palicia took on his baby brother, Air Force Captain Noah Palicia. Noah is ten years younger than Eric. They nicknamed themselves the “Palicia Militia”, but at the Titan Games, it’s every man for himself.

First athlete in each division to win best two out of three events earned a chance to run the obstacle course on Mount Olympus against their respective Titan.

The brothers would battle in the first event of the night: “Chain Linked”.

Chain Linked — Men’s Division

Chain Linked required both athletes to traverse four sheets of 10-foot tall chain link fence suspended in the air to reach a platform. From there, they have to turn a crank to close the gap between themselves and two more sheets of chain link fence. From there, they had to climb across the fence to reach the Victory Chain. First man to pull the Victory Chain wins.

The sibling rivalry kicked off with Eric out to an early lead. Noah caught back up at the platform but Eric maintained his lead to pull the Victory Chain first and take a one event lead over his younger brother.

Launch Pad — Women’s Division

The goal of the event is to knock down four 250lb slabs suspended in the air by swinging from a gymnastic ring. The athletes had their grip strength and balance put to the test.

Talbert opened the event with a huge hit on the first platform and toppling it in one go. Valdez didn’t succumb to the pressure and gained back the ground with back-to-back hits that toppled two platforms to take a 2-1 lead. She then furthered it to a 3-1 lead.

Talbert tried to make a move to catch back up, but Valdez’s superior technique won the day, winning the event by a score of 4-1.


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Kick Out — Men’s Division

On a large vertical panel, five gigantic pistons poke through both sides. Each athlete must grab onto the beam atop the panel and kick the pistons through to the opposing side. The winner is whomever kicks out the center piston after kicking out the two initial pistons on their side.

Noah employed a short but rapid kicking pattern to kick out the first piston. He further leveraged his lead by leaping to the beam of the center piston rather than dropping down and climbing back up. The risk paid off as it gave him a head start on the center piston, but Eric was joined him shortly thereafter.

Notably, it was the first time this season that both competitors were able to make it to the center piston.

Ultimately, it came down to a war of attrition — whose grip would give out first? Eric struggled to generate the same power as Noah and ultimately let his hands slip, paving the way for Noah to force a tie-breaking third event.

Over the Edge — Women’s Division

“Over the Edge” is a unique take on the classic tug-of-war. Both athletes stand atop opposing platforms and pull on a 75 foot heavy chain attached a 75 foot rope. The rope is connected to the same giant block in between them. Once athletes have a hold of the rope and it is taught, they must pull the block until it knocks over a Titan Relic latch on their side. Whomever knocks over their relic first wins.

Valdez was faster on the chain, retrieved the rope, and got a huge pull on the block. It appeared as though it was going to be a quick event for Valdez, but Talbert held at the last possible moment. Talbert managed to pull them back to parity before Valdez changed to an over-the-shoulder position to drive the block to her side rather than pull.

The strategy paid off as Valdez won the event and advanced to Mount Olympus.

Herculean Pull — Men’s Division

Sticking out of a giant triangular pillar are five long poles — four silver and one gold. Each competitor has to pull out two silver poles before attempting to pull out the gold pole. First athlete to pull out the gold pole wins.

Eric gained the upper hand and took first crack at the gold pole. Noah caught him with less than a third of the pole remaining. After applying a lot of pressure on his quads to halt his older brother, Noah pressed hard to make up a lot of lost ground and torqued Eric into an extremely awkward position on the pole.

Eric not to be outdone, changed to a more vertical position for leverage that seemed like it could carry him to a win. But in another stunning twist of events, Eric’s grip gave out just as it had in “Kick Out”!

Noah thrusted the pole out of harms way and it was clear as Eric attempted to scale the pillar that his grip just had nothing left. Noah took the win is tremendous fashion and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson agreed:

“That was the best Herculean Pull we’ve ever had on this show.”

Noah Palicia advanced to Mount Olympus.

Mount Olympus

The course on Mt. Olympus consists of ten obstacles:

  • Starting Gates — weaving over and under thick triangular hurdles.
  • Box Flip — flipping a humungous box three times.
  • Iron Ascent — using only their hands, athletes pull themselves up using a lever system.
  • Log Lift — hauling a large log up a long flight of stairs. Note: entirely different from a strongman log lift.
  • Sky Bridge — lifting two 120lb weights on a gear that is then spun to lower a bridge.
  • Crank Down — turning a heavy crank to lower a pillar that is then climbed.
  • Cage Crawl — a series of narrow crawl spaces built atop each other that must be crawled through.
  • Drop Zone — a mounting series of large panels that hinge when the athlete places their weight at the edge.
  • Ball & Chain — an spherical stone is dragged via chain across the arena.
  • Titan Tomb — competitors smash a stone block to retrieve the Titan Relic (a metal relic shaped into The Titan Games logo).

Women’s Division

Jessie Graff vs. Kelly Valdez

It was clear from the start that Graff was the more agile of the two athletes and it propelled her to an early lead in the “Starting Gates”.

Conversely it was clear that Valdez was the stronger of the two athletes and it enabled her to overtake Graff in the “Log Lift”. Her lead extended to the “Cage Crawl” where an unusual first happened. Graff mistook which cage she was meant to crawl into so both athletes crawled through the same cage.

Graff’s blunder didn’t hinder her time too much as her superior agility darted her back to be almost neck-and-neck with Valdez as they headed for the “Drop Zone”.

Both women were winded during the sprint to the “Ball & Chain” — an event that favored Valdez’s strength. Graff, who was the smaller of the two competitors, seemed stunned at the weight of the 200lb ball and gave up a lot of ground in the process and ultimately the title of Titan.

Kelly Valdez is the new Titan of the West Region.

Men’s Division

Victor Cruz vs. Noah Palicia

Palicia was unfazed running against the Super Bowl champion and kept pace before actually taking the lead in the “Log Lift”. Cruz’s inexperience on the course shone through as he got tangled up trying to hook the log into its final position. He was very clearly winded afterwards.

Palicia made his way all the way to the “Ball & Chain” before Cruz was able to make it through the “Sky Bridge”.

It was ended being an absolute blowout. Palicia locked in the Titan Relic and replaced Cruz as the Titan of the West Region.

Palicia and Valdez will return next week to defend their spots as Titans on Mount Olympus.

Feature image from Noah Palicia’s Instagram page: @palicia_militia