After Arissa's meltdown last week on The Challenge: All-Stars, Beth definitely thought she escaped her elimination fate. But fate always has a funny way of catching up to you in the end — thanks to TJ and his twists.
Arissa quitting the game has everyone laughing at the start of this week's episode, making jokes about Beth's "dominating" performance in the elimination. They're all in agreement that if Arissa didn't want to compete, it's good that she's not here anymore. But the line has clearly been drawn in the sand: diplomacy is out the window. And after Arissa was thrown into elimination without any warning, it's clear that if it could happen to her, it could happen to anyone. The tension is climbing.
And so is Derrick! He decides to scale the stone wall outside the house for fun but needs help getting down. So Alton shows him how it's done — and he doesn't need help at all. He's going to be one tough competitor to beat in any kind of elimination. Odds are good that he'll make it to the final, but does he have what it takes to win after all these years?
Juan Cruz Rabaglia PARAMOUNT+ 'The Challenge: All Stars'
The Challenge: Connect 'em All
It's time to find out how Alton and everyone else fares in a mini final with this week's challenge! These are my favorite episodes because they really separate the amateurs from the champion contenders. Played in teams of six at the beginning, they must complete checkpoints while racing the entire way. The teams must carry a heavy log in between puzzle checkpoints and will be divided in half after each checkpoint, meaning the teams will get smaller and smaller. By the end, players must finish the course as an individual, and the first man across the finish line is safe from elimination (since it's a male elimination week).
And here's a twist: the Lifesaver is now canceled! I guess the whole Arissa Lifesaver debacle was enough Lifesaver drama for one season? Either way, TJ is imploring everyone to win, which raises Jemmye's suspicions. Because whenever TJ gets vague, you know something is up.
The teams are randomly selected as: Copper (Big Easy, Katie, Ruthie, Darrell, Aneesa, Mark), Gold (Kendal, Derrick, Jisela, Laterrian, KellyAnne, Nehemiah), and Silver (Syrus, Yes, Jemmye, Jonna, Beth, Alton). Silver's chances are already not looking great, especially since Syrus tripped and hurt his ankle right before the challenge (and the cameras missed it!). But let's see how everyone fares in their first mini final.
Juan Cruz Rabaglia PARAMOUNT+
The first checkpoint is a bunch of math equations that end up spelling out a word phrase. Thanks to Big Easy, Copper gets their phrase quickly, securing a first-place lead immediately. But Gold is not far behind. Silver struggles with the first checkpoint, widening the lead between them and the first two teams. They eventually move on to the first log carry, but they've got a lot of time to make up.
On the climb up a massive hill, Jisela starts to struggle with her breathing, holding the Gold team back as they slow to help her out since teams have to stick together. Copper also has some team members struggling, but they refuse to take any breaks. And then, out of nowhere, Alton drops to his knees, forcing Silver to stop again. He's completely gassed out, surprising (and annoying) everyone on his team. Alton was supposed to be this wildly athletic physical competitor, but one little hike, and he's done? Maybe he isn't champion material anymore after all.
Eventually, Copper reaches the second checkpoint and divides into Mark/Ruthie, Aneesa/Darrell, and Big Easy/Katie for the next leg. Gold reaches checkpoint two and divides into Derrick/KellyAnne, Laterrian/Kendal, and Nehemiah/Jisela. And finally, Silver catches up and divides into Yes/Jemmye, Syrus/Beth, and Alton/Jonna. Some of these pairs are happy with how things are working out; others are not as enthused.
A lot of teams struggle with this checkpoint, which is just a simple memory color grid, possibly the easiest "puzzle" ever. But eventually, Kendal/Laterrian finish first and move on as individuals to the finish line. Derrick/KellyAnne finish next and pick up their new, smaller logs and race on. Jemmye/Yes, Aneesa/Darrell, Nehemiah/Jisela all finish, but Laterrian reaches the finish line first, securing his safety from this week's elimination (Derrick crosses the finish second, and Kendal third, but she's the first female).
Back at the last checkpoint, Alton/Jonna and Ruthie/Mark finally solve the puzzle and move on, leaving only two teams left: Beth/Syrus and Katie/Big Easy. Katie/Big Easy finally finish, cementing Syrus' fate as the last place male as he and Beth time out, meaning Syrus is going straight into elimination.
Back at the house, Syrus is icing his injured ankle and warning Alton he wants him for an elimination opponent, but Alton thinks Big Easy will be nominated instead of him. Things get tense as Alton gets defensive and angry, but everyone agrees to support Syrus' desire to have Alton as his opponent.
Mark kicks the conversation off by delivering Syrus' message that he wants to go against Alton in elimination, and Big Easy is happy to hear his name isn't on the chopping block. But Alton gets some support from other players like Jisela and Nehemiah. The votes come down to Big Easy and Alton (with Derrick and Nehemiah stupidly burning votes on each other), but Alton gets the majority and is sent into elimination, just as Syrus wanted. And walking back into the house, Alton refuses to shake Syrus' hand. Ouch!
But first, a night out! Jisela and Alton flirt a ton, and Mark fires up Syrus. But as Syrus goes to sleep with ice on his elevated ankle, Alton gets a calf rub from Jisela as they talk about their feelings for each other — and things progress into some suspicious movement under the covers! A late-night hookup the night before elimination could be the kind of fuel Alton needs to pull off a win, so Syrus better watch out. At least Syrus has Laterrian to pump him up in the morning with a fierce pep talk. I guess that's almost the same?
Juan Cruz Rabaglia PARAMOUNT+ The Challenge All Stars
Walking into The Arena, I'm excited to see that it's still set up the same way as it was for the Beth/Arissa showdown that never happened. At least we'll finally see how this elimination plays out.
But first, a twist! TJ announces that in exchange for the Lifesaver, every elimination moving forward will be a double elimination. Including tonight! That means Beth, as the last place female in this week's challenge, is also sent straight into elimination, and first place finisher Kendal is the only woman safe from being her opponent. I did not see this coming, and neither did Beth — she didn't even bring her tennis shoes. Thankfully production has her uniform and shoes all ready to go. How nice of them!
So here's how this works: Beth is Syrus' teammate for the elimination. Alton can choose any female except for Kendal to be his teammate. And whichever male loses the elimination, his teammate is also sent home with them. That's a new one! And Alton picks Aneesa, the elimination queen, as his teammate. Smart choice. I just hope it doesn't end up biting Aneesa in the butt.
Elimination challenge: Over and Under. Same rules apply from last week, but now since it's teams, one teammate has to go over each wall while the other has to go through each wall. This is not going to be easy on Syrus' injured ankle.
Alton and Aneesa take an early lead with the first wall, and each drop-down from a wall aggravates Syrus' hurt ankle while Alton moves along easily. Beth ends up having to go back to help Syrus go up, over, and back down each wall, and it slows them down immediately. But to his credit, Syrus doesn't quit and keeps going despite the pain. Aneesa and Alton end up lapping Beth and Syrus with seemingly no effort. Beth offers her back as a literal step-up for Syrus, but it's too late: Alton and Aneesa score their last point and win the elimination, sending both Syrus and Beth home in no time at all.
Syrus leaves The Arena fired up and already wanting revenge on Alton for next season, so can we please get both Syrus and Alton back for All Stars season 2? Also, can we please get All Stars season 2?! This season has already been entertaining, and we're only five episodes in. I'm having the best time watching all these OGs go head-to-head. It's such a refreshing change of pace from the anxiety-ridden regular seasons!
All Star of the week: Syrus for not letting his team down in the daily challenge even though he was in a ton of pain with his ankle. Syrus was practically dragging Alton up that hill, which made no sense at all. Does Alton just have no endurance? That doesn't bode well for him in the final.