The Challenge USA Season 2 Episode 8 Recap: 5 Biggest Takeaways

Allan Aguirre
7 min readSep 8, 2023

The 8th episode of The Challenge USA 2 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 5 biggest moments/takeaways from the eighth episode.

I didn’t have time to write a full 10 takeaway blog this week. But here’s some fun Real World Trivia Questions:

If you enjoy The Real World, Mario Kart 64, The Simpsons, and The Wedding Singer and wanna watch the full episode, here’s the link:

Onto the blog.

5 Individual Game

No more teams; we are now in an individual game. Some players should get hyped about this change, like Michaela. Michaela no longer has to worry about the ever-shifting team numbers, and she has a voting majority in terms of the female side of the game as there are still five Survivor women, four women from her Garden alliance left, and has two of the strongest players as allies (Desi & Chanelle).

Fessy continues to be in a good spot where he’s got an MTV alliance and a Big Brother alliance. Yet, he isn’t the biggest target in either, despite being a threat in the game, and he’s not someone people will want to face in the elimination arena.

The change to an individual format kills Josh Martinez in this game. Josh doesn’t stand a chance to win on a season unless he has a partner/teammate who can carry him in puzzles. And as we’ll likely see in the next couple of weeks and people have to fend for their lives, they will pick Josh as the “lay-up” opponent to beat in eliminations. It’s the same script that played out on Spies, Lies & Allies. I’m not a big fan of Michele’s chances in this individual game either for a similar reason; where’s it difficult envisioning her going toe-to-toe with Desi, Tori, Michaela, etc….

Bananas is playing the game well after his struggles at first. He went under the radar after his initial toddler tirade, and forming a relationship/alliance with Michaela could be crucial to victory for both of them.

4 Sink or Swim

The daily challenge took up most of the episode, and I didn’t mind it because I thought it was an excellent daily challenge. It had a high degree of difficulty that separated the strong swimmers from the bad. Players had to use their brains, and some tackled the challenge creatively.

We also got to see players show their cards in terms of alliances, and now they plan on playing the game.

Cassidy was competing against the Big Brother players and decided she would play for herself and took a big lead at first. She ended up losing her heat as the other three players colluded together. Bananas immediately got his first clue; he threw a hint to help the others, which looks good for him politically in terms of working with people in the long run, and then he crushed the daily as a whole.

Wes pitched for everyone in his heat to work together and then bailed on them the second he could win for himself. I thought it was an unnecessarily messy move for Wes, especially as he’s been pleading with people to let him play the game. Whereas Bananas has adapted well to this game, Wes is doing the opposite at every turn.

Then we saw Tori play for herself, even throwing her showmance Sebastian under the bus because she couldn’t risk putting a Vet in a bad spot if she helped him win! Tori killed this challenge and took the win along with Bananas.

3 Top Women

Tori has no female allies in this game who have her back. Her taking a temporary win and using it to broker a deal with Michaela, Desi, and Chanelle was genius. As I mentioned above with Michaela, they have a powerful, solid voting block. And since Tori would have been taking them on 3 v. 1 if she made a move against them, her creating a bond instead is for the better. I also think that if Tori had helped Sebastian win this challenge, she would not have been able to make this deal because they’re already aligned and figured he wouldn’t likely target them anyway. Tori made it so that they needed her and another vet’s help.

Even though they’re massive threats in the Final, Tori does have significantly more experience than they do. Not to mention, Tori’s thrown up a couple of goose eggs in eliminations before, and if it’s not purely physical, I could see her losing.

2 Nominations & Scheming

We saw Tori & Bananas make their deal with the Survivor and then nominate Tyler & Alyssa as the easy Big Brother votes.

Tyler then decided to take a bullet for his showmance as he asked for it to be a guy elimination. People heard that and said, “Okay, let’s get you and your best bud Monte in there.”

Alyssa then appropriately reacted. She and the Big Brother people began to scheme, and they launched a counterattack against Tori and put their votes in Sebastian.

Earlier this week, I posted a great blog, ranking The Top 10 Most Boring Showmances in Challenge History. It was a great blog; people were walking up to me on the street, high-fiving me — I was shaking hands, kissing babies, just being an all-around superstar. The blog was inspired by Alyssa & Tyler, as I thought they were boring. And I want to say if I had to write the blog again, they’d still make the list. However, I got to give them props for playing the game, showing emotion, and being Reality TV characters. I will edit/redo the blog if they show me more of this.

The votes went 6 to Sebastian, 5 to Monte, and 1 to Cassidy (from Wes). With a 5/12 chance, Monte gets picked by the Hopper.

1 Incredible Elimination

I don’t care for either Tyler & Monte. They don’t stir up much drama, haven’t shown out as competitors, and are not part of this game’s main plot. These two have existed to this point, and now they finally had to fight for their spots in the game.

That said, I thought this was one of the best eliminations I’ve watched in a long time. Credit goes to The Challenge production because this was a well-designed elimination. The elimination required patience, strategy, finesse, endurance, and mental fortitude. Seeing Tyler & Monte go out there for hours and their stacks fall over and over again was brutal. These types of eliminations earn the respect of other players and viewers.

I want to see production reuse this elimination in the future. It would be cool to see a CT or a Cara Maria compete in an elimination like this and see how their expertise and experience would translate while competing.

Tyler won the elimination, which is good as he has a storyline, and Monte doesn’t. As a whole, Monte was a dud this season, and I’m disappointed as I had high expectations for him. This episode was meh. Hoping next week is better.

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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.