Warning: This article contains spoilers for episode 4 of The Challenge: All Stars 3.
Saying that there's a lot of ground to cover in this week's recap of The Challenge: All Stars 3 is a massive understatement. A new female replacement came in and she's one of the most controversial players in history, two legends went head-to-head in an elimination with a shocking result, and we've got ourselves a true enemies-to-lovers scenario happening that's a decade in the making. This episode is a wild ride from start to finish, so let's get into it!
Things start off relatively chill, as the Challengers enjoy a nice day off with games of pong by the pool — and side note, I don't know if you've ever tried to play beer pong in cocktail glasses (and not solo cups) like they're doing here, but it's actually extremely difficult. Shout out to Kailah for sinking that impressive shot! Everyone is relaxing and drinking and having a great time, but Brad is already thinking about how he's going to use his sabotage. Apparently during the '70s party, when Brad disagreed with MJ wanting Syrus as his elimination opponent, MJ told Brad that Brad's vote didn't even matter, so now Brad is considering sabotaging MJ for the second week in a row.
Meanwhile, in an answer to all of us who have been wondering where the hell Darrell has been in the edits for the first three episodes, he lets us in on a little secret… he hasn't been performing well enough to get in The Authority on purpose because he doesn't want to make any enemies. According to Darrell, this is all his strategy. I believe him, because he got burned last season by getting first place and immediately having to call out four people and he's clearly learning from that experience. Plus he's one of the best competitors here is so I don't think he's bluffing — he's good enough to make sure he performs well enough to stay out of last but also not get in the top three. But like … I want to see Darrell dominate! Ugh. It's a smart strategy, but super boring to watch on TV. You know what's not boring to watch, though? Darrell's worsening fear of heights. He's considering going to a "hypnotosisist" to help him get over that fear. Man, I love Darrell.
And then also in answer to many of us wondering what's been going on with Jordan and Nia (especially after they showed that kiss photo!), Nia says there's been a "playful sexual chemistry for years" between them but they "never really acted on it." "I don't know how much longer that's going to last so we'll see," she adds with a laugh. Okay! So that's definitely going to happen, right? That might be the most shocking Challenge hookup of all time if it does.
Outside, Kailah and Sylvia have a little meeting of the minds where they talk about how they don't want a strong duo like KellyAnne and Kendal in the game — but they can't really say that's their reason for targeting them since they are also a strong duo. I love how self-aware and smart these two are being this season. Meanwhile, over by the pool, KellyAnne helps Kendal understand why the MJ sabotage didn't help their alliance, and she's feeling all kinds of regret for how that played out. I have a feeling she hasn't seen the worst of the consequences for that move just yet.
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The Challenge: High Stakes
Wes calling out, "Hey, you sick f---," to TJ at the start of this challenge further proves that not censoring All Stars is maybe the greatest thing to happen to The Challenge. TJ's response of, "Hi!" just makes it even better. Kids, we're definitely not on MTV anymore!
Since we've lost two women to injuries and Jemmye had to leave for family reasons, it's time to bring in a replacement … so welcome back to All Stars, Beth Stolarczyk! Her entrance is perfectly scored as most of the players groan and roll their eyes, knowing the hurricane that's about to hit, but some people like Kendal are actually excited to see her because that could tip the scales back to the OG women taking control of the game. My bet is that she's going to cause some drama but not make a big impact in the actual game, because her M.O. has never really been to compete. But we shall see!
Before TJ explains what the challenge is, he tells everyone to make their own teams of three, and it's absolute chaos. MJ is sprinting to be with Jordan, Nehemiah grabs Wes and Brad, and Kailah and Sylvia grab KellyAnne to be their third to keep their enemy close. Good call on Kailah and Sylvia's part, bad move for KellyAnne, especially since it turns out these aren't teams at all but rather the heats they'll be competing in, so they just all picked their own opponents.
This challenge is, of course, a heights challenge, and the look on Darrell's face when he learns that is priceless. Hanging 150 ft. in the air are three planks with a simple math equation waiting at the end. The first to solve the equation in each heat will drop the other two players in whatever order they choose, and the fastest to drop out of all the heats goes straight into elimination. Whoever solves it the fastest out of all the heats wins. As Brad says, "Math has never been more exciting than this."
As for the sabotage, Kailah chooses Kendal and Brad chooses MJ, so that means Kendal and MJ will have a one-minute time penalty before they can start on the math problem. That's a pretty hefty sabotage. Jonna is not happy.
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The first heat is Derrick, Mark, and Yes, and both Mark and Derrick are freaking out about the heights and math equally, while Yes admits he'd pay $100 to do this for fun. But Mark actually gets the problem right first! He drops Yes first, then Derrick. The next heat is Kailah, Sylvia, and KellyAnne, and Sylvia starts panicking before she even gets on the plank. She's sitting on the ground crying, and KellyAnne thinks it's hilarious and irritating. She jokes that if Sylvia wants to DQ, she'll say her name first, and that gets a laugh out of Sylvia. KellyAnne's joke actually helps Sylvia more than Kailah's half-hearted attempts to comfort her ally which is hilarious. During the heat, Kailah calls for a check but is "way off," then another where she's "not even close," and she just keeps for calling for a check in the wild hopes that she guessed it right. Finally she actually gets it right and drops KellyAnne first and then Sylvia.
The next heat is MJ, Jordan, and Darrell, and Darrell is absolutely losing his mind. "There's no f---ing way," he says. "Hell no." For the first time ever, we see Darrell actually quit a heights challenge. He wasn't joking about his fear getting worse because he usually just white knuckles his way through, but this time, he doesn't even walk out onto the plank. He'd rather take his chances in an elimination, so he officially DQs. Now Jordan has one minute of uninterrupted time to figure out the equation with no competition while MJ has to wait because of the sabotage, but that didn't do anything for him. In his own words, his entire life he's been doing all kinds of sports and training physically, but math? Definitely not one of his strengths. When MJ finally gets to start on his math, he gets it immediately and drops Jordan. Great showing from MJ, less so for Jordan and Darrell.
Next up is Roni, Jonna, and Beth, and Beth starts crying and freaking out. She tells TJ she can't do it and immediately DQs. Not a great comeback for her! Jonna wins and drops Roni, and then immediately goes to check on Beth to see if she's okay. Anyone else get a chilly vibe from Beth's response? What is going on there?
The next heat is Nehemiah, Wes, and Brad, and Brad wins, sending Wes down first before Nehemiah. Nia, Veronica, and Kendal go next, and Nia starts freaking out. Kendal has to wait a full minute from the sabotage, and Veronica can barely reach her numbers, but she gets it right and drops Kendal and then Nia.
The winners of each round are Brad, MJ, Mark, Veronica, Jonna, and Kailah, forming The Authority, but the top two winners are Brad and Kailah for the second week in a row. MJ is already planning to veto any idea Brad has — "It's 100 percent an ego thing," he admits. While Wes and KellyAnne were the first to drop (thanks to Brad and Kailah), they're safe from elimination because Darrell and Beth DQed, so they'll be going into elimination instead.
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Back at the house, Beth is of course excited to see Nehemiah, her "Tenderoni," but Nehemiah plans to stay far away from her because he knows her reputation could take him down in this game. Kendal tells Beth about the Treehouse alliance, and so she immediately tries to get a bed in their room but Roni's shaking her head with wide eyes. Derrick tries to convince Beth to go somewhere else while she's testing out a top bunk, so she rooms with Darrell and Kendal instead. I'm actually bummed Beth didn't just stick it out and claim that Treehouse bunk for the awkward pettiness alone.
At the bar later that night, Nia is smartly thinking about how if all the non-Treehouse women banded together, they could take back control of the game, but they're not organized enough. If Nia can lead that charge, that would be incredible to see. Kendal is venting to Beth about how Kailah is her goddaughter's favorite Challenger but now that's her No. 1 enemy this season, which is actually hilarious. Meanwhile Mark tells Darrell his opponent is going to be either Wes or Jordan, and Darrell doesn't have a preference but he hopes for Jordan so he can take him out in an elimination rather than go up against him in a final. If we actually get a Darrell vs. Wes or Darrell vs. Jordan elimination, that is destined to go down in history as one of the most epic eliminations of all time.
But the real interesting conversation is happening between Beth and Veronica, where they try to bury the hatchet with each other after decades of tense rivalries. Veronica says that she never did anything that Beth should be hurt by, literally seconds after Beth says she was hurt by things that happened in the past. Veronica tries to politely say Beth liked to show off for the cameras and Beth throws it right back at her saying she wasn't having threesomes in a bath on camera like Veronica, so clearly Veronica was playing up for the cameras too. "That's the past, and we're different people now," Beth says, which is just hilariously ironic because they're still arguing about it. It's safe to say these two will never be friends, and this whole awkward exchange is TV gold.
Back at the house, Veronica is imitating Beth to the other Treehouse girls, but the real action is happening downstairs in Jordan's bed where he's under the covers with Nia. They actually hooked up and I cannot believe my eyes! If you would have told me, back during Battle of the Exes 2 or even during The Real World: Portland that this would happen a decade later, I'd never believe you! This is truly a wild turn of events. It's amazing to see how far they've both come on their own and together, but I did not see this coming.
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Mark wants to vote in Jordan because, during his elimination with Laterrian, he could clearly hear Jordan rooting against him. Solid reason! MJ and Kailah want Wes, and Veronica says the two people she would least likely see win this game are Wes and Jordan, and everyone laughs. Kailah tries to strong arm the group into voting either KellyAnne or Kendal for the women, and MJ is all about throwing in Kendal after that sabotage. Veronica wants to see Beth take out KellyAnne though.
The Authority ends up voting in Jordan (with only Jonna and MJ voting for Wes) and Jordan isn't shocked at all. He takes the news well, and Wes is ecstatic because he politicked hard for that. Meanwhile Jonna breaks the news to Kendal that she's going in, and it turns out that it was a unanimous vote. Kendal is also not shocked, but she's fed up with how everyone is acting like they're sorry about it.
Nia's upset that Jordan's going in, and she tearfully tells Yes it's shocking how emotionally invested she is in him, especially because of where their relationship started. She says half of her drive of being here this season is to make Jordan proud, which is really sweet. But my jaw is still on the floor. I love Darrell and I always root for him to finally get his fifth win, but if Jordan winning means we get to see more of this new relationship with Nia then I know who I want to see return from this elimination.
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Both of these matchups are going to be epic, but the men's elimination of four-time champ Darrell vs. three-time champ Jordan is the main event. These are two of the best guys to have ever won The Challenge, and we've never seen them go head-to-head before!
Elimination challenge: Steamroller. Players will push a steel barrel from the inside, trying to roll it to their opposite end of the course. Whoever moves the barrel to their end of the platform wins. This takes a lot of strength, but weight and size also factor in here in a major way.
For the women's round, I'm worried that this is not the elimination for Kendal just from her size alone compared to Beth. The horn blows and Kendal gets an early lead while Beth can't figure out her strategy of how to roll the barrel. Kendal gets it close to her end, but then Beth finally starts using her weight and undoes all of Kendal's work almost immediately. Once Beth gets going, there's no shot for Kendal to pull this one out, and Beth wins. Veronica's pissed because she thought Kendal was going to eliminate Hurricane Beth, but now the house is about to get turned upside down because Beth is back.
For the men's round, Darrell gets an early lead while it looks like Jordan's just trying to hold on. It does not look promising for Jordan at all. But then Jordan asks Darrell how much he weighs like they're having a normal conversation and not fighting for their lives, and when Darrell says, "150," Jordan responds, "You liar!" and TJ just laughs. Jordan can tell he doesn't have the weight advantage, so his new strategy is to just talk s--- at Darrell instead and hopefully wear him down.
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Jordan manages to keep Darrell from winning for over 34 minutes, which is even more impressive when you realize that Darrell has almost been to his end of the platform for that entire time. But Jordan refuses to give up, and forces Darrell to fight in a game of endurance instead, in which Jordan has the upper hand. Jordan actually keeps the barrel at a standstill less than a foot from Darrell's finish line, and I cannot stress enough how difficult that is. All of a sudden, Darrell starts shouting in pain as his leg muscles start to cramp up, and he actually gives up and exits the barrel. He falls on the sand, clutching his legs, and Jordan takes his chance to roll the barrel to his end. Wow. Jordan was supposed to lose that but by sheer force of will, he changed the elimination entirely to cater to his strengths and his opponent's weaknesses. That is a true Challenge GOAT move right there.
Jordan starts to celebrate his David vs. Goliath win, knowing that he slayed a giant, but as soon as he sees Darrell still on the ground, he stops and runs over to check on him. Darrell is clearly in so much pain, and he has to get taken out on a stretcher. He says he's getting too old for this, but promises that he's not done with The Challenge yet. He just needs to heal and work on his legs more. All Stars 3 was not Darrell's season at all. But it's definitely looking like it might be Jordan's.
Challenger of the week: For the second week in a row, I have to give it to Jordan. I mean, that elimination performance was the stuff of legend.
The Challenge: All Stars 3 debuts new episodes Wednesdays on Paramount+.
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