The Challenge: USA 2, Episode 3 opened as Tori Deal returned to the house and celebrated her elimination win with the Blue Team.
Shortly after, Tori confronted Amanda Garcia in their room about how she’d hoped they could put things aside and work together. Amanda said she would never be one of Tori’s “fake friends” like other people from The Challenge.
Alyssa Lopez walked away from the room as they kept fighting. She met with her allies, Desi Williams, Chanelle Howell, Michele Fitzgerald, Tiffany Mitchell, and Michaela Bradshaw.
Chanelle called their room and the people in it the Secret Garden, their alliance attempting to plot against the MTV vets.
Johnny Bananas, Wes Bergmann, and Cory Wharton met to talk about working together after the wake-up call from the rookies going after them. Cory was skeptical, as he said in his confessional that those guys have never really had his back on any season.
Paulie Calafiore had a private conversation with Tori about how he’s worked on becoming a better version of himself. He spoke openly about embracing his bisexuality. Tori said she was proud of him.
In confessional, she said she was happy to see this new “calmer” side of Paulie and could use more allies in the game.
Teams compete in the Capsized water challenge
Host TJ Lavin introduced the Capsized challenge. Teams had to swim in the water to capsize a boat to memorize an answer key with flags. That key would tell them where to place the flags on the masts.
Each team member had to swim out to buoys to get flags to place on the mast. The team to get their flags set correctly the fastest would win.
Amazing Race’s Dusty Harris talked about being on a team with Bananas, a seven-time champion, which is what he wants to be. Tiffany admitted in her confessional she couldn’t do endurance, memory, or swimming challenges.
Red Team went first, followed by Blue, and then Green. Several individuals had issues with swimming, including Tiffany and Amanda. Others excelled, such as Sebastian Noel.
In the end, TJ revealed that Green had 19 flags, Blue had 20 flags, and Red had 20 flags. He said it came down to time, with Blue Team getting 36:12 and Red getting 43.
Voting strategies arrive as vets turn against vets
Back at the house, Cory made a deal with Alyssa to work together. In confessional, he talked about wanting to win the season for his family and to buy a new home. A photo of him with Taylor Selfridge and their kids appeared on the screen.
During their nomination meeting, Alyssa was able to sway most people to vote for a vet with Bananas despite Tori not liking that idea. Tori indicated that a direct shot was taken at her last elimination, and Alyssa suggested that “Maybe it’s not always about you” and that people wanted Jonna Mannion out.
Everyone voted, with some going for Monte Taylor, Desi, Amanda, and Michele. It came down to Cory, and he voted for Amanda and Bananas, who were the popular votes. Tori realized her vote meant nothing in her group.
Bananas was surprised that Cory voted against him. Later, he yelled at Cory in a bedroom about how to play the game. Bananas also called out Fessy for voting him in. Fessy told him he was just playing the game since his team won.
Other vets discussed a plan of voting another guy from the Red Team in against Bananas. Their choices were either Josh Martinez or Paulie. In a confessional, Bananas said he felt like a rookie playing the game this season after all his experience.
Who went home from Episode 3 elimination?
At The Arena, TJ revealed how the secret votes went. Josh had two votes, Tyler had three, and Chanelle had one. Paulie got three votes, and Monte got five votes.
TJ started up The Hopper and pulled out Paulie’s name for a rematch from Final Reckoning. Fire and Ice was the game, with each person standing on a block of ice. Their arm was connected to a giant bucket of fish guts. If they moved their arm, the bucket would dump the fish guts on them.
Each competitor also had bean bags next to them to throw at targets. If they hit the target, it would ignite a burner under their opponent’s ice and shut off the burner under their ice. Whichever competitor avoided dumping their bucket longest would win and stay in the game.
They remained evenly matched throughout the event as they hit the targets. Bananas threw his last one, and Paulie had one left but missed the mark. His burner stayed on, but Paulie kept staring at Bananas across The Arena as his ice melted.
After 38 minutes, Paulie’s arm finally moved, and his bucket spilled out. As they met in the middle, Bananas hugged him and called him a great competitor. TJ said he really hoped to see him again in the future.
Before his exit, Paulie hugged TJ and said he missed him too. In confessional, a teary-eyed Paulie said Bananas’ comments finally made him feel like a true Challenger.
The episode ended on a cliffhanger as Bananas was about to decide whether he’d return to the Red Team or defect to another squad.
The Challenge: USA 2 airs Thursdays at 10/9c and Sundays at 9/8c on CBS.