As The Challenge: USA, Episode 3 opened, the Algorithm randomly chose new pairs for the next day’s challenge. Some new teams included Kyland Young with Angela Rummans, Xavier Prather with Cayla Lee Platt, Sarah Lacina with Cinco Holland, and Tyson Apostol with Alyssa Lopez.
After everyone got paired up, TJ Lavin sent them back to the house with encouragement, saying he hadn’t “seen a group this heavy in heart in a long time.”
The three Amazing Race stars met and discussed needing to stick together and stay under the radar. James Wallington got teamed up with Survivor’s Tasha Fox, who promised she’ll work hard as his partner.
Derek Xiao’s new partner was Shantel Smith. Derek talked in his confessional about Shan previously betraying a castmate on Survivor and having a “Shanthem” theme song for it.
Cashay Proudfoot talked to Sarah about her situation with Cinco. Cashay started to get emotional while discussing their relationship. Cashay’s new teammate, Domenick Abbate, didn’t want her to have any distractions.
Angela and Tyson spoke about strategy going forward. Tyson said they have to eliminate the weakest people now so they won’t be partners with them. He told her that they’re “the two top dogs.”
In a confessional, Shan mentioned that she noticed them talking so much.
Competitors play human game of Hangman
TJ welcomed The Challengers to their latest daily challenge called Hang On Man, a human version of the game Hangman. The two teammates would race across a parking lot to grab a stair and bring it back to a container. They’d continue to grab stairs and use them to build a staircase on the side of that container.
Once they could get to the top, one teammate had to balance on a narrow plank while holding a rod on their shoulders. That pole had two ropes hanging from it. Their teammate had to take letters and rush them over to a giant puzzle board with a phrase they had to solve.
The object was to get as many correct letters as possible so they could guess the phrase. However, every time they guessed an incorrect letter, it added a 10-pound sandbag to their partner’s pole. A team was out of the game if their partner fell off the plank or dropped the weight.
Whichever team solved their phrase first would become the daily challenge winners. The worst-performing team would go straight into the elimination.
James and Tasha were the first team to lose, as Tasha dropped her weight to the ground after James added it to her pole. Other competitors struggled to stay balanced, including Alyssa, Justine Ndiba, and Cashay.
It came down to a race between Kyland and Ben after they solved their puzzles first. However, Kyland got his weight back to the container first, giving him and Angela the win.
With the victory, Kyland boosted his bank account to $7,000 to qualify for the final. Angela was already qualified and pushed her total to $11,000.
Who went home from the elimination at The Arena?
James spoke with Domenick about who he wanted to face in elimination. He said he’d prefer to take on Justine and Leo Temory. Even though Leo was from his show Amazing Race, Justine had already won enough money to qualify for a final. So defeating their team would give James and Tasha money.
Kyland and Angela met with James Wallington and Tasha to see who they wanted to face. They brought up Dom and Cashay, but also Leo and Justine. Outside of the meeting, Dom wanted to go into elimination, but Cashay told him that wasn’t a good strategy.
When everyone got to The Arena, Kyland and Angela sent in Domenick and Cashay Proudfoot. An earlier scene showed Angela talking with Kyland privately about wanting to compete against the best of the best in the final.
At The Arena, TJ revealed they were competing in Plug and Play. It involved the teammates starting on top of a platform. One teammate had to jump into a tank full of water and work to release chained blocks from inside the tank. Their teammate had to collect all 14 blocks and stack them up before their opponent.
As they were competing, the tanks’ water flowed out through a drain pipe. Competitors inside the water tank could plug the pipe to slow the flow if they wanted to buy their partner time for stacking blocks.
Dom seemed to make a critical error by not doing that as their water was flowing out fast. However, Cashay cautiously stacked her blocks up, and they won the event.
Kyland said in confessional that even though Dom and Cash were coming back, he still saw them as a weak team. TJ and the rest of the cast said goodbye to Tasha and James. Tasha said she would love to come back and compete again. James said he felt “so bada**” putting on The Challenge uniform after watching the show for many years.
With the victory, Dom and Cash split $3,000 into their bank accounts, putting them closer to qualifying for TJ’s final. At the show’s close, TJ opened up the Algorithm door and let it start deciding new teams.
The Challenge: USA airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on CBS.