The Challenge USA Episode 3 Recap — Winners & Losers

Brian Batty
9 min readJul 21, 2022


Welcome to a fresh edition of Winners & Losers! Love Island proved they’re more than just walking and talking Instagram stories and the race gets a little less amazing. Inside this week: Shan and Derek discuss Russian literature, Jenna’s cousin Brianna backs up Tyson’s proclamation, we re-litigate the 2017 Oscars, and so much more…..

Loser: Shannon

Tough break, Shannon. Go head back to your trailer and take a load off. We won’t be needing you much this week.

Winner: Pre-Workout

If you can think of a more thrilling possible future elimination round than Sarah vs. Brad going head-to-head in a staring contest, tweet us @fessyfitness and let us know.

Winner: Emy’s Manners

Somewhere in the back room of a music studio in Romania, where Emy is smoking a blunt with Romania’s top hip-hop producer and streaming this episode, she’s likely incredulous wondering why all these damn American’s refuse to use manners when addressing Teej.

It’s Mr. TJ. Show some respect.

Loser: Straw Men

First off, I’m a sucker for a good dose of alliteration, and Super Social Strategic Player is a spectacular superhero name.

Secondly, though, and most importantly…Who says that? Are people saying that to you? Everyone?

If I had to bet all of my Dogecoin, I’d bet that no one has ever said that to her in real life. Get off of social media for, like, twenty minutes.

Loser: Self-Snitching

Do you know who the type of people who say things like “I’m not really, like, deviously plotting anything” are?

The type of people who are, like, deviously plotting things.

Winner: Courtyard Chats

Let’s just stay here for a second.

Now I understand that I’m writing this recap under the pretense that I’m watching a completely manufactured version of a hyper-reality in which everyone’s worst qualities flourish and great qualities diminished while any words and visuals I see can and will be taken out of context.

I also understand that it’s entirely possible that just before this mere three-and-a-half-second interaction we saw, the two of them were discussing Russian literature from the 1800s and were balls-deep into a dialogue regarding the parallels between Pahom and Kendal Roy and how their stories have evolved to come to represent an even larger demerit on the shaky pillars of modernity being built upon a capitalist society before the cameras showed up…


Did Shan and Derek just kick off their partnership by having a conversation about how they’re totally not playing any games and totally here to make friends and totally not doing anything shady?

Good start.

Loser: Lying On Reality Television

This will never happen on The Challenge. But just once when two people who barely know each other are partnered together and have this exact generic conversation about how they’ll never give up and they’re a fighter and all that Challenge lingo you just sorta have to say, I want somebody to be like “Honestly, I might give up. Not a ton of fight in me, ya know? I’m kind of a wuss.”

Ah, a boy can dream I guess.

Winner: The Editors

Just when I think they lost me, they pull me right back in.

Loser: Angela’s Lack of Reverence (Again!)

For Pete’s sake, Angela, it’s called the God Damn Algorithm God dammit and you will respect the God damn Algorithm and refer to it by its God-given name, The God Damn Algorithm.

Do you understand how difficult it was for Aneesa to come up with the perfect equation to be able to ensure total randomness for partnerships?! Clearly, you don’t. Aneesa worked day and night since the day she left Spies, Lies & Allies to painstakingly work those numbers out so you could flaunt around Argentina not giving a hoo-ey what names you call what.

Do you want to see Aneesa cry? Because I sure don’t.

Loser: Me

So it’s safe to say, you could….survive….

I’m sorry. That’s enough of that. I couldn’t help myself. The immense effort it would have taken me to avoid making that joke greatly outweighs the energy it took to type it out.

Winner: The Woman On Wheel Of Fortune This Last Monday

Okay so this has nothing to do with anything, but on the episode of Wheel of Fortune that aired before The Bachelorette earlier this week, one of the women playing Wheel of Fortune was probably the most dominant force I’ve ever seen on a broadcast television game show.

She was like if CT, Amy from Jeopardy, and Lebron James combined themselves into one regular mom from Statesville, USA, and decided to take their talents to Wheel of Fortune to crush the game show hopes and dreams of other regular parents from Statesville, USA.

After kidnapping her opponents and putting Pat Sajak into the Gimp costume, she made her way into the final round, guessed all but like two of the letters, and got the answer correct (‘Vultures Circling’, I think, was the phrase, which I thought was fitting) and just so happened to also randomly choose the $100,000 envelope.

A truly transcendent Wheel of Fortune performance.


Winner: The Challenge

That’s true. Sometimes you need to be able to chew up live grasshoppers and spit the remains into a narrow tube while an ornery boa constrictor wraps itself around your partner’s neck.

Loser: Outsiders

I don’t watch Survivor.

I don’t get it.

I love inside jokes. I hope to be a part of one someday.

Winner: Having An Exit Strategy When The Conversation Stalls On A First Date

Winner: Danny’s Friends At Home

Winner: Danny’s Wife Kiki

Kiki Kount: 5

I’m starting to think that Danny needs to do a little less worrying about what everyone thinks about him. Especially those that he cares about most. Like his friends and his wife.

They’ll still love you after The Challenge, dude. I promise.

Loser: The Rapid Decline of Society

That word is a plague upon the English language. A beautifully imperfect dialect that can accomplish so much. And yet denoting emphasis, a principle of the art containing infinite possibilities of presentation within the boundaries of diction, has been relegated to the word “literally” and all of its derivatives.

Jesus wept.

Loser: Suggesting Arby’s For Lunch

Speaking of vibes…

Winner: Explanations, Not Excuses

Listen, ma’am, just because I’m a vibe and I’m cute and I’m funny doesn’t give you the right to just tell me my credit card was declined. With that being said, all twenty of those McNuggets are coming home with me, thanks.

Loser: Jobs

Oh Yeah? Well I’m an astronaut, but you don’t hear me bragging about it. Everybody’s got a job, my guy.

Loser: Thong Sandals

There’s just a lot of feet and toes and ankles and Achilles going on in this scene and it’s grossing me out just a smidge. Although I have to imagine that for some people out there watching, this was their favorite scene of the season so far.

Being inclusive is important. Remember that, kids.

Loser: Whichever Outfit Tyson Had Picked Out For The Third Elimination

That’s right Tyson. Sometimes you have to just dress like everybody else.

Winner: Ivan Pavlov

Loser: The 2017 Oscars

I mean, honestly, how did Get Out not win? Or even Lady Bird?

Do you know anyone in your life who’s actually sat down to watch The Shape of Water? I do not. And I don’t think that you do either. Not that my circle of friends is necessarily at the forefront of pop culture. I’d argue that most of us stunted our pop culture growth in like 2013.

But still, The Shape of Water winning Best Picture is all the evidence one needs to know that The Oscars are full of shit.

Loser: Domenick

Despite his relentless pursuit to obtain a plane ticket back to America, Cashay was able to find the gusto within her vibe to dig deep and snatch victory directly from the jaws of defeat.

Love Island lives to fight another day. Between being cute, walking around, being a vibe, being cute, and being funny, those girls have overcome so much in their short time on The Challenge. It warms my heart to know that despite all of society’s ills, a group of hot reality television people like them can persevere and thrive through it all.

Winner: James

He’s made it abundantly clear that he was a big fan of The Challenge before actually participating in it. So to know that a big fan of my favorite show in the world was not only able to be a contestant, but ended up being an active participant in the game. Maybe one day I, too, can reach my dreams of playing point guard for the Chicago Bulls.

Tons of people have come on this show, won nothing, played nothing, let the game wash over them until they drown in the seas of elimination and TJ tells them to take care.

But regardless if he’s ever seen again, he got to go home and at least be able to say he pushed his chips into the middle.

Thanks for reading! See you all soon! And until then, as always, Happy Challenge Watching!!!



Brian Batty

Writing about MTV’s The Challenge, one of America’s great institutions, from a fan’s perspective. Inquires: -Twitter: @TJsAirhorn