Episode 10 of The Challenge USA is in the books. You probably have some thoughts, so let’s compare. Instead of giving a simple summary, I decided to focus on the 10 Biggest moments/takeaways from the 10th episode.
If you prefer audio/video, my podcast recap can be found above/below.
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10 Enzo is the House Jukebox
Enzo can’t swim, is afraid of heights, and has no significant physical or mental strengths that would put him at the top of the cast in any category. A lot of luck has led to Enzo remaining in this game. What Enzo is good at is playing the social element and being a personable guy. We’ve seen Ben, Dom, David, and Danny all mention Enzo as their best friend or one of the people they enjoy the most in the house. Enzo is a quirky dude who is there for a laugh or two, and it goes a long way where we saw Ben almost throw his Survivor alliance under the bus in part because Enzo has made the house a livable experience. There’s a reason this guy finished 2nd & 3rd on Big Brother!
9 Slow Start & Funky Daily Challenge
On paper, this was a fun and innovative daily challenge. Unfortunately, in execution, we had to deal with five straight heats of players failing to complete the challenge and looking aimless. As someone who live tweets the episodes, my only takeaway through the first 25 minutes was that Justine wore a cool colorful jacket in her confessional. Even though it was a nice jacket, the episode took a while to get going. If you had changed the channel, I wouldn’t have blamed you.
8 Luck of the Draw
The order in which players went during the daily challenge was random. David & Tyson went first and were the guinea pigs who failed in front of everyone and got put at a distinct disadvantage. Meanwhile, both Ben & Angela (the winners) competed in the last heats.
Luck plays a big factor on The Challenge at all times. David has been pretty solid in the dailies over the last month, and to watch him go down in part because he went first was a harsh outcome; had Tyson come in last, I think fans would have been irate and called the daily rigged. Hell, it still might be.
7 Angela Is On Another Level
Angela put on a masterclass performance in this week’s daily challenge. She had a great strategy on how to build a bridge based on watching other players’ failures, yet what must get noted is Angela was able to use that type of bridge because of her other physical characteristics & skills. Angela could move across her peg bridge easily because her legs are long, her sense of balance is off the charts as a former gymnast, and her core strength was good enough to hold her up even when she didn’t have proper footing. Add in the additional factors of Angela being completely fearless and calm under pressure, and it’s a recipe for one of the more dominant daily challenge performances I’ve ever seen.
Did Angela have a crazy good advantage going last? Absolutely. However, I truly believe Angela would have won this daily challenge even if she went in the first female heat because the way her sense of coordination and balance was so much better than every other player that I think she would have walked out on top. I don’t think Angela would have completed the course if she had gone first, but she would have won by advancing the farthest (like Ben did). Angela has that Laurel/CT factor where they see the challenges from a problem-solving standpoint and then also happen to be elite athletes.
6 David’s Self-Confidence is Off The Charts
David looked Ben & Angela in the eyes and said he’d want to face Tyson (or Dom) in elimination. Asking for Tyson with the Final on the line is bonkers. I need whatever self-confidence/self-help books David is reading because it’s such an outlandish thing to put on the table that I must commend the bravado. David is mostly a wallpaper player who thinks he is the main character — he is one of the most fascinating Reality TV case studies.
5 Ben vs. Angela
After meeting with David, Ben & Angela seriously debate over who should go in. When Angela took Tyson off the table, he huffily took Enzo off the table, meaning they’d have to go against their original deal they made two weeks earlier and throw in a Survivor guy.
Ben has performed excellently in the daily challenges this season and has been a phenomenally supportive partner to all the women. He is killing the game physically and socially. When it comes to actual political/strategic gameplay, Ben is crazy emotional and all over the place. Within this season, we have seen Ben want to throw Tyson because he is threatened by him (which makes sense), yet he also wants the valor of running a Final against Tyson. Ben is loyal to Angela/Alyssa and is *Survivor Strong* except once he has to throw in his body Enzo, he is willing to throw Dom under the bus. Watching the internal battle between Ben’s gut, heart, and brain is a bit fun and confusing.
Ultimately, Ben cooled down and realized that Enzo would be the safe play for the group’s sake, even if he didn’t like it.
4 Enzo & David Show
Enzo & David’s reactions to Ben & Angela pitting them in elimination against one another had me floored. I get that the two of them are friends, but their level of game awareness is non-existent. Enzo popped off about how he would come back for blood which nobody would even be afraid of because that would require Enzo to win a daily. David accusing Angela of playing Tyson/Survivor’s game as if it was some mic drop moment was hilarious as it’s been clear since Day 1 that Angela’s attached herself to the Survivor men. Sarah Lacina is huffing and puffing that Angela has taken her guys, yet David thinks Angela requires some loyalty to him & Enzo when the two of them have combined for four last place daily challenge finishes this season.
Angela said it perfectly: “We are playing a game here, and you can’t decide who you are going against. If you wanted to decide who you’re going against, why don’t you win a challenge?”
3 Slow Motion Headbanger
David vs. Enzo in Balls In was one of the weirdest headbanger eliminations I’ve ever seen. It was a 5 round elimination where they were both gassed out after the first offensive attempt in Round 1. I understand running on sand can be tricky, except we have seen players do it on The Challenge for a decade, and explosiveness and speed kill in an elimination like this. Instead, these two men walked at each other like mummies.
Enzo got pushed back to the starting line with ease in those first three rounds, and he talked about trying not to show that he’s gotten gassed out when it didn’t even look like he had the gas to get started. David should have won this elimination, and then he put up one of the most boneheaded performances I’ve ever seen to close out. In Rounds 4–5, he lost track of the ball against Enzo, and in his final attempt to score, he decided to take a half-court heave reminiscent of Carlton from Fresh Prince. It was a disaster of an elimination where Enzo pulled off the win, his third elimination win of the season. Enzo joins Brittany Baldassari from Exes 2 as players to win 3 eliminations in one season where I walk away thinking: “Boy, they kind of stink.” Congrats to Enzo for making it to finale night for his third straight reality show!
It’s a tough loss for David — he was the better player this season and the women were not happy to see him go out rather than Enzo.
2 Final Female Elimination
Next week we are getting a supersized finale. I think as long as Desi & Justine don’t come in last place in the daily, they will be going to the Final. Sarah & Cayla have a great shot of going into an elimination based on the fact they’ve both finished near the bottom or in last place in multiple dailies. They both have targets on them as well, Sarah via her personality and being a Final threat to the other women, and Cayla for being the weakest female player left (it’s a strong cast). Then you have Angela & Alyssa, where the Survivor men have their back; however, the rest of the ladies want them out. Alyssa is a bit more susceptible as she’s not as big of a power player.
Regardless, we are getting a quality elimination between whatever two females go in against each other next week.
1 Winning Odds
Tyson has to be the clear favorite to win. He is a former pro cyclist and collegiate swimmer with the endurance to crush a Final. On top of his physical prowess, Tyson has the mental aptitude for puzzles, mathematics, and memorization.
Ben has been the second-best guy in dailies all season and has been on Tyson’s tail the entire season. Danny has been solid across the board this season, though we haven’t seen him put it all together as an individual.
Dom & Enzo don’t have the conditioning or mental fortitude to win a Final. They are lucky to be here.
Angela is the clear favorite because she has been far and away the best overall performer this season, and there is no indication she would be weak in a Final.
Desi & Justine have been crushing challenges the entire season and possess both the physical/mental pedigree to win.
I’m not too fond of Sarah. Sadly, I cannot deny that her marathon experience makes her perfect for running a Final.
I have Sarah ranked below Angela & Desi because I believe there is a greater chance Sarah will get eliminated before the Final.
Alyssa is a very good player — I don’t find her to be as well-rounded as the girls ranked above her, so to expect her to beat all of them, let alone one or two, is crazy. The same goes for Cayla; she’s a good player, simply not on the level of the other five, though.