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The Challenge: All Stars 3, Episode 9 recap: Surprising twists arrive at The Arena before TJ’s final

tj lavin greets all stars 3 finalists at the final in episode 9
The Challenge: All Stars 3 host TJ Lavin greets the finalists. Pic credit: Paramount+

As The Challenge: All Stars 3 opened, Nehemiah Clark and Derrick Kosinski were battling it out in Light My Fire, a Pole Wrestle-style elimination event that started in the previous episode. Nehemiah gained the upper hand, with castmates Nia Moore and Wes Bergmann cheering him on.

After wearing Derrick down a bit, Nehemiah eventually yanked the pole free and brought it to his cauldron to light it on fire, winning the elimination. Wes screamed it was a “bank robbery” since Nehemiah stole Derrick’s stars.

“I’m the easy one!” Nehemiah yelled as he held the torch up.

In a post-elimination interview at The Arena, Derrick said he was upset that he failed and disappointed his family. He removed his All Stars shirt in frustration.

All Stars 3 women’s elimination featured surprise

Next, it was time for Kailah Casillas and KellyAnne Judd to battle in The Arena. Kailah said before the event that she had been envisioning Pole Wrestle all day, and KellyAnne would not take it from her. KellyAnne called herself the “underdog” and said she was excited to get in there and “get dirty.”

TJ had the two women place their hands on the pole and get ready. However, he stopped them before blowing the horn and said they’d already lost Veronica Portillo due to medical DQ, so they weren’t going to compete. Kailah was upset they didn’t get to go, but KellyAnne was happy not to have to compete.

kellyanne judd vs kailah casillas at the arena in the challenge all stars 3
KellyAnne Judd and Kailah Casillas prepare to battle at The Arena in The Challenge: All Stars 3. Pic credit: Paramount+

The cast said farewell to Derrick, with TJ calling him a “bada**” competitor that he hoped to see return. In his confessional, Derrick said, “Season 3 of All Stars was the one that got away,” leaving him heartbroken.

TJ calls down All Stars 3 remaining cast

Once Derrick left The Arena, TJ told the remaining OGs they’re all “bada**es” who know how to make finals. He called the competitors from the upper level to come down. Wes, Mark Long, Brad Fiorenza, Nia, and Jonna Mannion joined KellyAnne, Kailah, and Nehemiah on the ground level.

“I would like to congratulate you on making it to the next challenge,” TJ said in another swerve. “It starts right now.”

After Mark and Jonna changed into their Challenge gear, TJ revealed they were all playing Wall of Fame. He mentioned a wall in The Challenge house full of black and white photos featuring OGs on various seasons of The Challenge. He said he hoped they’d been studying it, which it seemed many hadn’t.

There was a wall on either side of The Arena floor with a list of 24 questions related to the photos. Competitors had to rush to a box featuring Challengers’ names on plaques which they had to place next to the question it corresponded with. TJ told them they did not want to be last for this one.

Who won and lost the Wall of Fame challenge?

Jonna was among the few who studied that wall. Wes also seemed to have done his homework since he finished it first. Nehemiah got it done second for the guys. The remaining competitors were struggling, but Mark finally got his right. Brad was last for the men.

For the women, Jonna finished first. Kailah finished second overall. KellyAnne was third, with Nia in last place. During the event, Nia noticed Kailah looking over at her board, possibly stealing answers.

mark long at all stars 3 episode 9 challenge
Mark Long celebrates winning third place in All Stars 3, Episode 9 challenge before the final. Pic credit: Paramount+

TJ told Nia and Brad they were “down, but not out” and then informed everyone they made it to the final. Their order of finish for the Wall of Fame would determine their “staggered start” at the final. So it would be Jonna and Wes going first, with Kailah and Nehemiah going second. KellyAnne and Mark would start third, with Nia and Brad starting last.

During a confessional, Nia said she knows Kailah cheated and robbed her of a third-place start for the final. Nehemiah was happy to reach his second-straight All Stars final and wondered what his having the most stars, five, would do for him.

In another confessional, Nia said she didn’t respect cheaters like Kailah and hoped she could cool off before they got back to the house.

OGs discuss cheating at The Arena

When they got back, Kailah and Nia discussed The Arena. Kailah said she glanced in her board’s direction and was in a panic. She told Nia she valued their friendship. Nia told her they were not friends, and she wouldn’t want a friend who cheats like that if they were.

Jonna tried to calm Nia down so she wouldn’t focus on what other people were doing. Nia told Jonna that Kailah’s fortunate she’s evolved as a person and competitor. She said she’d use her frustration as fuel for the final. Footage showed a flashback to Nia getting kicked off Battle of the Exes II.

KellyAnne was working on Mark’s upper back and shoulders. He spoke about making the final at 50 with all these younger competitors.

A day later, Wes and KellyAnne chatted about how great it was to be there 10 years after breaking up, and now they’re both running in the All Stars final. Wes’ last final was War of the Worlds, which he called “traumatizing” but said it gave him a lot of experience.

Jonna made a video call home to her husband to discuss being homesick. She said it’s hard to be away from her kids and husband. She thanked her hubby for hanging in there without her there.

Kailah talked about how empty it felt being in the Treehouse room alone. She spoke about having a wedding coming up and wanting to start a family soon, adding that she wanted to prove she deserves to be there as an All Star.

Nehemiah and Nia spoke while working out about the final. Nehemiah said he’d have Nia’s back and push her however needed.

The four women had a toast to celebrate making the final. Nia said in her mind that her toughest opponent was Kailah.

Wes walked into the room in his boxer briefs, eating a large piece of bread. He said his finals prep starts four days ahead, as he takes in as many carbs as possible.

TJ’s final gets started on a private island with points system

The finalists flew via plane to a private island outside of Panama City. TJ rode in on an ATV to greet them at the start of the final.

TJ said this is Nia’s redemption final and that Jonna has reached every All Stars final. He said this final race would take everything they have, with the winners claiming a share of a half-million dollars.

The final was a race featuring a series of checkpoints. Each started with male-female pairs running to the checkpoint where they’d be awarded points depending on their order of arrival.

First place was four points, with second worth two points, third worth three points, and fourth worth one point. They’d have a head-to-head battle at each checkpoint with another All Star. The winner of each checkpoint would receive five more points. Losers at the checkpoints got no points.

He revealed what the stars meant, saying that only the competitors with five stars got something. That was Jonna and Nehemiah, who would start the final with five points each.

cast members reach the challenge all stars 3 final
The eight finalists for The Challenge: All Stars 3 season meet up with host TJ Lavin. Pic credit: Paramount+

The starting pairs were Wes with Jonna, Kailah with Nehemiah, KellyAnne with Brad, and Nia with Brad. They had to race to the end of a runway to grab a key and bring it back to their first checkpoint.

Everyone got to the checkpoint in the order of the start. They had to stand by a color-coded pole that put them against another All Star. So it was Jonna vs. Nia, Wes vs. Brad, Kailah vs. KellyAnne, and Nehemiah vs. Mark.

The poles had planks chained together around them with a padlock. The OGs had to unlock the planks and use them to build a raft, then paddle out around a buoy in the water and back to shore as quickly as possible.

While paddling on the water, Nia got past Jonna somehow. The winners of the checkpoint were Nehemiah, Kailah, Nia, and Wes, so they each got five points. That created new pairs to race to the next checkpoint. They were Kailah with Wes, Nehemiah with Nia, KellyAnne with Brad, and Jonna with Mark.

Next checkpoints feature tandem bicycles, star patterns, and kayaks

The next checkpoint featured tandem bicycles, so they had to work together to pedal. Unfortunately for Brad, his quads were cramping up. KellyAnne helped him get the muscles going again. Wes and Kailah kept the lead. Mark and Jonna’s chain broke on their bike.

Once they got to the next checkpoint, it was Nia vs. KellyAnne, Jonna vs. Kailah, Wes vs. Mark, and Brad vs. Nehemiah. The boards behind them had a star sequence featuring four rows of nine colored stars, with one star in each row incorrect.

tj lavin and the challenge all stars 3 finalists at checkpoint
TJ Lavin fills in the All Stars 3 finalists on the next checkpoint objective. Pic credit: Paramount+

The objective was to race to an answer key to determine which star was incorrect in each row on their board. Those stars gave them four numbers for a combination lock to unlock a box. The first All Star to open their box would win the face-off and get five points.

The checkpoint winners were Wes, Nia, Jonna, and Brad, each receiving points. They revealed everyone’s scores before the episode ended.

Jonna had 15 points, followed by Nia with 13, Kailah with 12, and KellyAnne with five. For the men, it was Wes with 18 points, Nehemiah with 15, Brad with nine, and Mark with three points.

The pairings as the episode ended were Nehemiah with Kailah, Brad with Jonna, Wes with Nia, and Mark with KellyAnne Judd. They had to race to get tandem kayaks. A chaotic kayak race began as the episode concluded.

The Challenge: All Stars 3 episodes arrive Wednesdays on Paramount Plus.

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