The Challenge USA Episode 4 Recap — Winners & Losers

Brian Batty
16 min readJul 28, 2022


Welcome to a brand new edition of Winners & Losers! Episode 4 is in the book, and what an episode it was. The cookout got cooked. I think? Inside this week: We make fun of my high school offensive line coach, the Love Island girls and I skip out on a brunch bill, Ben’s ready for absolutely anything, and much, much more…

Winner: Aneesa’s Awesome Algorithm

When I first found out that they had trusted Aneesa to be the one to come up with “The Algorithm”, I was a bit skeptical about trusting Aneesa to meticulously hammer out the formula that would become this partner-picking-algorithm we know it as today.

And this is no shade on Aneesa. I love Aneesa. She’s the fifth longest running relationship I’ve had in my life. It’s just that I’ve never seen her do math beyond a rudimentary level.

But I gotta give her credit. The algorithm has worked so far. I’m super into the team switching, as it widens the power source a bit and essentially forces you to perform one way or another.

Who knew that just some random girl from Philly who was chosen to stop being polite over two decades ago would grow up to be such a math whiz.

Loser: Growing Up

I’m blessed enough to say that I’ve had the same best friend for 28 years now.

And I’m also blessed to say that we grew up pretty privileged, firmly as middle class as the middle class gets. We had everything we needed, but never got everything we wanted. Despite my incessant whining that everyone had a Nintendo 64 and all I got for Christmas was like six books (the shit my parents put me through, I swear) and a sweater or two. Looking back, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

But now the two of us are getting to the age where having kids to give everything they need, but not everything they want to, is not exactly imminent, but it’s at least a topic of conversation. And after a few dozen drinks the other weekend, we talked about how it’s important to use the exact words TJ used here when dealing with future offspring.

Too bad.

Two simple words, but couldn’t have been any more impactful for both of our lives. We heard it constantly growing up from both of our own parents. Sometimes from the other’s parents as well

Look at me. Gettin all sentimental.

The moral of the story is, if you had interest in taking parenting advice from a guy who had no kids, rents an apartment, no longer has either health insurance or an above-average yearly salary due to major life changes, and most likely has a stress tumor growing inside of a vital organ that will eventually cause him to implode like a dying star…well then you, my friend, came to the right blog post.

Loser: High School Football

My offensive line coach in High School played in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts at some point. Fast forward to him being an out-of-shape dickhead who yells at high school kids who mostly just want to be able to give a cute girl their jersey to wear to school on Friday, and mentally he never left that NFL practice field he swears he blocked for Peyton Manning on.

So we used to have to do all of these insane drills that I’m sure were taken from a “How To Turn Boys To Men 101” manual written in 1898, ya know, because there’s nothing in the world more important than being a high school offensive lineman.

Anywho, one drill we did is the same one that David (not my Dad) was shown doing here with a dumbbell on the treadmill. They were called Jesus Carries and we’d have to run a lap around the entire practice field holding a heavy bag (probably like 45ish pounds) over our head in that same way. Ya know, like Jesus with the cross. It was the absolute worst.

Look at me go again, getting all sentimental.

Winner: The Weight Room

Not to objectify the male body or anything, but good lord this man Cinco is a desk-drawer rubber-band ball of pure muscle. If Cinco stood on home plate and MLB Superstar Aaron Judge swung a steel beam at him, I feel the steel would bend around like a boomerang and knock the Yankee right fielder unconscious on the spot.

Loser: Eating Noodles On Camera

Unless you’re Nany or a cartoon dog on a date at an Italian restaurant, eating noodles on TV is a tough look.

It’s this type of shit that I just wouldn’t be able to handle. Having to crush an Argentinian brand Cup-O-Noodles while an enormous piece of equipment is that close to my face would be borderline impossible for me to deal with.

Loser: Whichever Member Of Production TJ Just Threw Under The Bus

If that were me, and my super sweet joke just got lambasted by some dude who rides bikes in a puffy orange jacket on broadcast television like that, let’s just say I’d be making things all sorts of awkward at the craft services table later on.

Winner: Direct Deposits

Keep getting them checks Teej.

Winner: Danny’s Wife Kiki

Kiki Kount: 6

Winner: Checking In On Your Friends

Okay, seriously, is Danny okay?

Last week he waxed poetic on how concerned he was regarding potentially letting down his loved ones back at home and the consequences that would arise from said let-down. And this week, he’s speaking on the encroachment of death and how his estate would be therefore distributed.

As the Facebook cliche goes, always check on those who seem the strongest. Danny Darko over here is really bringing down the mood.

Winner: Brunch

If I had a reservation for four on the patio of Argentina’s best brunch spot, here are the three people from this cast that I’m inviting for maximum fun potential. If you disagree, tweet all your hate mail @fessyfitness

Cashay, partially because it was her suggestion but mostly because after a few bloody’s I could see her being really funny

Domenick, so could order for all of us. For someone like me who used to run a 14-million-dollar-a-year restaurant, making none of the decisions while I’m out to eat is my favorite way to dine.

Shannon, the perfect third person to be slick enough to sneak away and leave Domenick with the bill. Plus if I were with Cashay and Shannon the party would continue for at least the rest of Sunday, possibly into Monday morning.

Loser: The Peso

Not only would I also have answered with ‘peso’ in that situation, but I would have no answers left to give.

I know Curren$y the rapper. He rules. I’m assuming Bitcoin wasn’t an acceptable answer, but I’ve read several books about it, so there’s another one. One time when I was a kid my parents went on a cruise and brought back some Bahamian money. Not sure what that’s called. But it’s still in my little box labeled “Brian’s Stuff” that I’ve carried with me my whole life, which is currently situated in my office. But for some reason, I doubt that TJ would’ve taken “money my parents brought back from vacation when I was eight” as an acceptable answer either.

I need to take an Econ class. Or at least pay attention this time because when I was 18 I certainly did not.

Loser: Great White Sharks

Here are my Top 5 Favorite Things That Happened during this exchange/Vaudeville comedy routine

5) Domenick incorrectly mansplaining the difference between a fish and an animal

4) Domenick saying a great white shark isn’t an animal

3) Domenick doubling down on saying a great white shark isn’t an animal

2) Domenick totally-not-on-purpose using “I have bigger fish to fry” during his confessional.

1) Domenick winning regardless because despite his best efforts at being the most wrong out of everyone, the other team was wrong as well, which is all that really mattered

Winner: Shannon

Well. When you put it that way…

Loser: Nerds Who Watch Nerdy Superhero Movies

You mean, who watches Batman?

That’s a good point. Not a ton of eyes on those movies.

While Derek was scoring chicks and crushing beers, you losers were watching lame-ass movies about dudes in tights. How bout them apples?

Loser: New Jersey

Tough look to not only be New Jersey, but also be the only N state this group of mini-Einstein’s forgot to say while being dangled over the side of a building.

I’ll be pro New Jersey for the rest of my life. I was in a car with friends and we broke down in the middle of the night leaving New York City and we ended up pulling off the highway in Parsippany, New Jersey.

We had to stay at a motel overnight, and while we dropped the car off at the closest body shop, we went to see 21 Jump Street. Good movie.

They could have charged us almost anything in the world, but despite their inability to find the right part to fix the only way this trio of slightly broke 23-year-old boys had to get home safe, they figured out a work around and told us that they “couldn’t guarantee we’d make it all the way back to Chicago, but we’d definitely get off the lot”. So we took the shot, and made it home safe and sound.

Also, Hello! Jersey Shore! Snooki! Ronnie! Duh!

Loser: PDA

Boys boys boys. Your flirting is making everyone else in the group uncomfortable. Tone it down a notch.

Winner: Being Ready To Attend A Dinner Party, Ride In A Rodeo, Run TJ’s Final, Or Do All Three At Once

Winner: Movies and TV

You should give them both a try. Movies and TV are dope. As far as movies go, I’d say you should check out Billy Madison. It’s the story of a young man aimlessly drifting through life who decides to go back to school, starting at kindergarten and going all the way through high school, to prove to his dad that he can run his incredibly successful chain of hotels. It’s quite fantastic.

As for TV, I’d recommend The Challenge. It’s about this guy named TJ Lavin who makes hot people do crazy things to each other. Equally as fantastic, just in a different way.

Loser: The Ice Cream Machine At McDonald’s Around 1 a.m.

“It’s not working, again? Get it together guys, that’s the fourth time already this week.”

Winner: Off-Broadway Shows

I now present “The Lonely Hand”, a play in three acts written by and starring David (Not my Dad) from Big Brother.

Winner: Seafood

I actually just had a delicious Kamehameha dish the last time I was in Florida. I usually don’t go for the fish while on vacation (you never know lolol!!), but the server talked me into it. The freshly caught kamehameha was battered and grilled and came with a special chimichurri sauce that was poured over the top table side.

I’m not exactly sure what anything Danny did there had to do with fresh caught seafood, but I seem to be on the outside of every reference this season. So as the great Canadian poet Aubrey Graham once said…Yolo.

Winner: Influencers In The Wild

Would you just look at the two of them? Out there in the world, influencing. It warms my heart how their influence is able to spread from one loud bar to the next. Just influencers influencing. That’s all.

Winner: TJ Lavin, BMX Superstar

Almost across the spectrum, life sucks right now. Just look around, nothing’s working. It’s all going to hell.

But if TJ can be this happy, on this rainy day in Argentina, well then shit, that’s good enough for me. While it’s possible I myself may never reach this level of joy again as the walls of life slowly crush my spirit inch by inch, the fact that TJ can is good enough for me.

Winner: CT on Spies, Lies & Allies

I understand that it’s still early in the game, and they’re most likely working together in a “hey, you’re good, I’m good, let’s leave each other alone” type of way. But if someone like Kyland is serious about winning this, then why isn’t Tyson on the table?

He has Cayla as a partner, and she’s gotta be towards the bottom as far as potential partners for him go. So why not take the shot? Get serious about this.

As it was with CT, (or Jordan on All-Stars 3 to a lesser extent) if Tyson’s around, then nothing else really matters. The Final may not be as extensive on this show as it tends to normally be (although, who knows), but it will almost certainly involve a whole bunch of endurance, something Tyson has shown he has in spades.

I know I’m sitting on my couch in three-day-old clothes, sort of stoned, with a Monday Night Football Sky Cam view of the situation, but eventually, the number of good chances they have to get Tyson the Boogeyman out of the house will dwindle to zero. And then you’re watching his skinny-ass holding up a novelty check on top of a mountain in Argentina, and you’re stuck wondering what the hell just happened.

But what do I know? I’m just a guy with a blog.

Loser: Me, Being Washed

In this scene, Kyland and Alyssa look like every hipster Soundcloud Rap duo that Spotify tries to get me to listen to every Friday. Which I almost always ignore because, well, I don’t have the brain capacity for new music anymore. I’ve reached the point I swore to myself throughout my entire life I would never reach. It’s worrying about stuff like this that’s causing that tumor implosion I was semi-joking about earlier.

Call me out of touch, call me washed, call me whatever you want. Just don’t call me late for dinner.

Winner: Self-Flagellation In The Editing Room

I mean, come on…If you don’t like this show you can just get the fuck out, tbh.

Winner: Cosplaying As Municipal Workers

These are by far the hottest garbage collectors I’ve ever seen.

Loser: Whichever PA Got Stuck Cleaning

Imagine having to clean shards of shattered glass out of a pit of sand!

Would there be something more impossible to do? That should be the next elimination round. Whichever team can pick the most shards of glass out of the sand without cutting themselves wins.

Also, while we’re here…

Loser: Glass

If Timmy Beggy was at home watching this, and I really hope he is, he definitely looked like the Leo pointing at the TV meme right around this point in the episode.

This is The Challenge, and danger is part of it. It’s not supposed to be easy, there’s a whole bunch of Benjamin’s on the line, so you’re body is bound to get beat up. As Cory once said, “we’re not out here playing patty-cake”.

But, I mean, we could probably do without glass, right?

Winner: Freaknik

Winner: The Mercenary Twist

Before this Challenge USA spin-off began, I was under the assumption that The Challenge Gods would play it pretty straight. Some minor twists here and there, sure. But I never thought they’d dig too deep into their bag of tricks. At least for this first one.

So when they brought this David guy on as a Mercenary four episodes in, it’s safe to say I was shocked. For context, Ashley and Hunter didn’t show up until the seventh episode. So the chicanery level isn’t quite as high. Still, though, I’m surprised they went there.

Next thing you know, we’re gonna find out there’s been a redemption house this entire time. Stay tuned.

Winner: The Challenge

One thing I’ve noticed about having an entire cast full of first-timers without any vet to shepherd them through the game is that almost every single one of them is working under the assumption that they have the game entirely figured out.

That whatever plan they believe they’re following is going to totally work out. They have everyone else exactly where they want them.

This is especially true for the eliminated teams so far (outside of Cely and Javonny who didn’t have any clue what the hell was going on), especially last night’s fallen soldiers.

Xavier and Shan may not have already been counting their money, but they most certainly sat on the bus towards the Arena, head occupied with what food they were planning on making once they got back to the house later.

But The Challenge has a funny way of getting you when you least expect it. Shout out to Kyland and Alyssa for clearly keeping their plan quiet enough that the blindside totally worked.

As for Xavier and Shan, I hear humble pie tastes delicious this time of year.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check back in a few days for a fresh batch of Power Rankings! And, 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