The Challenge: USA recap: Who is the weakest team?

·9 min read

After Tyson made the biggest move yet on The Challenge: USA and it failed in last week's episode, we were promised a Survivor civil war. But revenge was put on pause this week while a bunch of teams battled it out to see who was actually the weakest of them all. It was kind of a letdown after all the buildup to the fallout from Sarah's elimination blindside, but that anger is still simmering. You know she and Ben can't let it go. We just have to wait a little longer to see it play out. This week? It's a race to the bottom, baby! Let's recap, shall we?

First of all ... let's see what the Algorithm has to say. The new pairings are: Tyson and Kyra; Ben and Sarah; David and Desi; Leo and Cayla; Danny and Alyssa; Derek and Shannon; Kyland and Cashay; Domenick and Angela; and Enzo and Justine. There are some interesting things to note about some of these teams. First of all, Ben and Sarah are now together, and they're both gunning for Tyson, so if they win the daily challenge, there's no doubt he's screwed. That timing could not have worked out better for them. Also, Dom and Angela have been paired up together already, but they're back together now because it's mathematically impossible for everyone to continue getting new partners. We're officially too far into the season to avoid repeats!

Back at the house, things are tense. Sarah is already complaining about Tyson's "disrespect," Ben is stewing alone in the bunk room, and Tyson is holding court in the kitchen talking about how he wouldn't take it personally if someone put him in elimination because he understands it's all a game. According to him, if you take it personally, you shouldn't be playing any of these reality show games. And people from Big Brother like David are just thrilled to see the Survivor alliance starting to crumble. We're teed up for a big showdown.

The next morning, Cashay tries to smooth things over with Sarah and cries while "revealing" that Tyson said Sarah gets close to people only to take them out. I'm not sure if Cashay really believes in what she's saying or doing right now or if she's just trying to save herself, but those tears seemed over the top. Is this providing Sarah with more ammo to take out Tyson?

In the kitchen, Enzo and David are talking about how they need to start winning things and just survive another week. I honestly forgot Enzo was still here, and that's exactly what he's hoping everyone else will do, too. Both he and David want to lay low and make it to the end. All they have to do is not get mixed up in the drama... and not come in last place. Let's see if they can make that happen.

THE CHALLENGE: USA
THE CHALLENGE: USA

Jonne Roriz/CBS

The Challenge: Containment

Before TJ announces what this daily is, Kyra reveals to viewers that the night before, she started puking her brains out. But she's kept it hidden from the other players and Tyson, because she doesn't want it to affect her game. Regardless, she's down bad right now. And that couldn't come at a worse time because this week's challenge looks brutal.

There are four large shipping containers dangling 25 feet above the water. Players begin on the shore, run and jump into the water, swim to the ladders hanging from the containers, and climb up onto the course. Players must then count all the different colored symbols painted on top and inside the containers, swing onto a platform, grab their key, drop down into the water, and swim back to shore. Once they're back at their station, they'll use the key to unlock a value card that creates a math problem using the numbers they got by counting all the symbols. Whoever solves their math problem correctly the fastest wins.

Angela and Dom go first, and she has to wait a while for him to join her on the middle platform and back on shore. But he more than makes up for it in the math portion, speeding through the equation, and they get it right on their first try. Ben and Sarah go next, and they end up having to try twice after getting the math portion wrong.

Kyland and Cashay go next, and they shout "Spring Break!" as they jump in the water. Then we smash cut to a montage of a ton of other teams running the course so we know at this point, none of them did better or worse than the first two teams. Shannon somehow pulls a muscle during the run and announces it to everyone, which Cayla points out is Challenge 101: Never reveal an injury.

THE CHALLENGE: USA
THE CHALLENGE: USA

Jonne Roriz/CBS

During Tyson and Kyra's run, Kyra can tell how much she's struggling because of her health. She totally eats it on the rope swing and falls into the water, and she says she can't make the climb back up so they have to DQ. This is worst case scenario for Tyson, because that means as of now, they're going straight into elimination. How the tables have turned: if an ally of Ben and Sarah's wins this, that means Tyson now has a good shot of going home, which would eliminate any possible civil war that he started. Now Tyson, Ben, and Sarah all find themselves at the bottom of the pack.

Enzo and Justine go next, and neither of them can make the rope swing. Because they choose to DQ before either of them were able to get on the platform, they are now officially in last place. Desi and David go next, and their time is apparently super fast, so they're in the running for first place. Leo and Cayla go next, and Leo can barely even jump into the water to start the course. But to everyone's surprise — even TJ's — he completes the entire thing, and he and Cayla get their math right on the first try. I did not see that coming!

After everyone goes, TJ announces that Enzo and Justine are officially going straight into elimination. Less than a minute separated the top three teams, but Desi and David were the fastest.

THE CHALLENGE: USA
THE CHALLENGE: USA

Jonne Roriz/CBS

Desi and David are excited to finally have some power in the game, because they've been feeling left out of all the strategizing so far. During their meeting with Enzo and Justine, no one throws out any real names, so Desi and David later tell each other they want to go for "easy" people to send in, like Cayla/Leo or Derek/Shannon. David also says he would consider throwing in Kyland/Cashay or Tyson/Kyra to actually take a real shot at eliminating a threat. But will they go through with it or will they take the easy path?

Over in the bunks, Justine is whispering tips to Kyra on how to puke without anyone else noticing how sick she is. Unfortunately, people have noticed, so while Tyson is campaigning for Cayla and Leo to be thrown in, he's still at risk himself. Meanwhile Derek and Shannon are scheming to make everyone think she's not injured after she announced to everyone she pulled a muscle. I cannot stop laughing at how all of these teams are trying to sneakily prove they're not the weakest right now. It's like a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances for so many of them.

THE CHALLENGE: USA
THE CHALLENGE: USA

Jonne Roriz/CBS

Elimination

Instead of making a big move like they were teasing, Desi and David ultimately pick Derek and Shannon. David says that he's worried that Shannon's injury means she'll be a bad partner moving forward, which, sure, that is totally a solid reason. But I'm super disappointed that they didn't use their short-lived power to shake up the game like they claimed they wanted to do. So much for being excited to finally have some power in the game. Desi says she doesn't want to be the first one to take a shot at a "winner," a.k.a. someone who's qualified for the final, and it's clear they've got an unspoken alliance among winners so far. That's good strategy but it also makes for boring gameplay. Ugh.

Elimination challenge: Spelling Eeb (that's "bee" spelled backwards). Teams must transfer 60 tires, one at a time, from one platform from another. But the first phase requires them to spell words backwards — and if they get it wrong, five tires will be taken off the opposing team's stack.

Shannon and Derek end up getting five tires taken off their stack thanks to Justine's misspelling of the word "cynical," launching the tire portion of the elimination.

THE CHALLENGE: USA
THE CHALLENGE: USA

Jonne Roriz/CBS

Each team takes a different strategy when it comes to stacking the tires. Enzo and Justine make sure to keep all their stacks low and wide, while Derek and Shannon make really tall, skinny towers that could fall over... and they do. Deep into the elimination, Shannon's injury starts to hurt even worse, and then another one of their stacks falls, but they only have one tire left while Enzo and Justine have a few more to go.

Eventually, Derek and Shannon have to re-stack the tires that fell over while Enzo and Justine make a final push to finish getting their last tires, and it comes down to seconds. Derek and Shannon are re-stacking while even more of their tires fall, and Enzo and Justine get their last two tires before the other team can finish fixing their platform. So Enzo and Justine win, sending Derek and Shannon home.

Derek tears up while saying goodbye to Alyssa, but he's satisfied that he at least got to get revenge on the Cookout before his exit because that was his goal coming into this season. That's something, at least! And Enzo is relieved that he was able to prove himself after his poor performance during the challenge.

Challenger of the week: This week was all about seeing who was the weakest rather than who was the strongest, so I can't in good conscience give anyone this honor. Even Desi and David made a weak decision instead of a big game move after winning the challenge! When it's a race to the bottom, no one wins. Let's hope next week is more exciting.

The Challenge: USA airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on CBS.

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