The Challenge USA Episode 8 Recap: 10 Biggest Takeaways

Allan Aguirre
8 min readAug 25, 2022

Episode 8 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 8th episode.

If you prefer audio/video, my podcast recap can be found above/below.

10 Flying Solo

The algorithm is out the window, and the players are now competing as individuals. It’s a twist I think we have all been expecting, and it changes the game’s dynamic. Tyson is someone who was able to sit pretty most weeks, knowing most of the women wouldn’t ever throw him into elimination because they wanted him as a future partner. Now, Tyson has to look over his shoulder each week with men breathing down his neck as they don’t want to face him in the Final.

I would probably call Cayla & Alyssa the two biggest losers of the game becoming an individual format. They’ve both been solid players the entire game where with the right partners, the two would have skills complementary to win a season. In an individual game, I don’t know whether they are well-rounded enough to go toe-to-toe with Angela/Justine/Desi in all facets of the game to come out on top.

9 Watered Down Daily

They brought back a terrible daily challenge from War of the Worlds 2, except this time they didn’t even have players meet in the middle for potential contact/wrestling. From a visual standpoint, this was a terrible daily challenge — all we did was watch players fast-walk across a platform repeatedly. It wasn’t fun in any form, and you could only tell how well a competitor was doing relative to their competition. The game switched from partners to individuals, yet, the daily challenges remain on a tedious path.

The hardest part about this challenge was the dismount from the boat to the platform. We saw Desi/Cayla fail to make it on, and Enzo cut up his knee (requiring 2–3 stitches).

8 Sarah vs. Angela

Kudos to Sarah for finally finishing Top 3 in a daily challenge this season. Still, she came up short of the daily challenge win she’s been chasing all game as Angela took home her third win and first as a solo competitor. The best part of this episode was seeing Angela and Sarah’s distaste for one another in their confessionals.

Sarah had a confessional where she said Angela hasn’t shown to be the competitor every hypes her up as. A wild statement as Angela’s consistently been a top player throughout the season, elevating her partners and always being in the top half of performers aside from last week with Enzo. You can’t even say Angela was carried only by good partners because the moment the game goes individual, she continues to win. Meanwhile, Angela showed in her confessionals that she does not care for Sarah and doesn’t fear her because Angela has repeatedly proven that she is a top player herself throughout the season.

7 Ben’s Story

Ben not being able to sleep because it was the anniversary of his best friend’s death was extremely heavy. Ben taking that energy and channeling it towards winning the daily challenge for himself and his friend was even more powerful. On the main show, you get used to watching Nelson deal with the dilemma of switching between Ashley and Bertha’s beds in the middle of the night or Nany drunkenly consume or toss around noodles that when we get a scene like we did with Ben this week, it forces you to sit up and take some perspective. The tears in Ben’s eyes after he won tugged at my heartstrings.

6 Angela’s Failed Alliance Pitch

Angela took a heavy-handed approach in pitching an alliance/deal between herself & Alyssa and the Survivor men. On paper, Angela & Alyssa are two great players to align with as they’ve been crushing the challenges. The problem is that the pitch was to Ben, who is deathly loyal to Sarah, and the other Survivor men are also looking out for Desi. To ask for safety for two people outside the Survivor bubble is a lot, and Ben is the worst person to ask in this scenario as he’s always going to have Sarah in mind.

5 Leo’s 4th Cat: Angela Temory

The fact Leo couldn’t offer Angela the namesake of his future 3rd cat as he had already promised it to Alyssa had me dying laughing. How many cats do you think Leo needs to get down to before I get one named after me?

4 Sarah Was Never Going Into Elimination

I want to open this by saying that I genuinely believe Sarah could beat Enzo in many different eliminations. What I didn’t like was her pretending like she would get the shot to go into elimination to face Enzo when that was never on the table. It was a male elimination day and thus an opportunity for some of the men in the game to earn some money — you can’t just step in and fuck up the numbers of the entire game because you want to show off. The same would go vice versa if a man tried to go into a women’s elimination, even if it was just a puzzle.

What Sarah reminded me of was when Paulie asked TJ if he could face Kyle 1-on-1 in the handcuffs/Pole Wrestle elimination on WOTW 1 after TJ had already announced it would be a 3-way elimination. It was unnecessary peacocking by both Sarah & Paulie because they both knew they weren’t going down. Sidenote: not only has a woman taken down a man in elimination multiple times but the literal first elimination in Challenge history was also Sarah Greyson beating David Broom on The Gauntlet 1.

3 Small Brawl

I’ve been begging CBS to give us a headbanger elimination for over a month, and when we do get one, it’s a Hall Brawl between Leo & Enzo. Life is a cruel joke sometimes. It was one of the worst Hall Brawls I’ve ever seen; both men didn’t know how to tackle, and all it came down to was Enzo being bigger.

Neither Enzo nor Leo came out of this looking spectacular. Leo pulled off a couple of gutsy elimination wins where he showed a ton of heart. Leo going out as a sore loser and calling his fellow competitors scared rats showed a real lack of self-awareness. While Enzo owns two elimination wins, he hasn’t looked great in either and is currently on a streak with three straight Bottom 2 performances in dailies.

2 Top 5 Worst Players To Win 2+ Eliminations In One Season

There are Challenge legends who have not won multiple eliminations in one season, and now both Enzo & Leo have, and I don’t think either is a “good” player. I decided to make a quick ranking of the worst players to win more than one elimination in a single season; for reference, this is only in the context of the season they played.

  1. Jozea Flores on Final Reckoning
  2. Casey Cooper on Fresh Meat (5)
  3. Brittany Baldasarri on Exes 2 (3)
  4. Enzo or Leo
  5. Britni Thornton on Dirty 30

1 The Season is Dragging

The twist to make the game individual felt like a move to guarantee six more episodes/eliminations before the Final (three men and three women) to keep in sync with Big Brother. I understand the choice from a TV scheduling standpoint. However, there isn’t enough material going on in this show for another 5–7 weeks of television. The Challenge USA should be a 9–10 episode season, and it looks like we will be getting 14–15 instead. If the episodes continue down the current trend, I expect viewership to dry up by Finale night.

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Allan Aguirre

27 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.