‘The Challenge: USA’ episode 11 recap: Who takes home $500,000 on season finale ‘Home of the Brave’? [UPDATING LIVE BLOG] – Gold Derby

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Tonight on “The Challenge: USA,” the remaining 11 CBS reality titans fight to secure a spot in the final battle. Only one will survive the brutal conditions and host T.J. Lavin’s twists and turns to win the $500,000 prize. Follow along tonight’s two-hour finale with our live blog of Season 1 Episode 11 beginning at 9pm ET/ 8pm CT on CBS.
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MTV’s original competition series “The Challenge” got a CBS-style facelift with more than two dozen former contestants from “Survivor,” “Big Brother,” “The Amazing Race” and “Love Island” competing against each other in a brand new reality TV show titled “The Challenge: USA.” T. J. Lavin hosts the grueling program, which will air every Wednesday night on CBS (and stream on Paramount Plus) throughout the summer. Click through our photo gallery of “The Challenge: USA” cast photos to see which 28 all-stars are competing.

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There are 11 players remaining in the game: Domenick Abbate, Tyson Apostol, Ben Driebergen, Sarah Lacina, Alyssa Lopez, Danny McCray, Justine Ndiba, Enzo Palumbo, Cayla Platt, Angela Rummons and Desi Williams.
9:00 p.m.Previously, on “The Challenge: USA”!  In “Code Crossing,” players went head-to-head on the back of a moving truck. Using pegs to get across the side of the truck, competitors raced across and the challenger that finished the fastest was named the winner. Angela was the only player to finish the challenge, winning for the women. Meanwhile, Ben won for the men, keeping himself safe from elimination and banking more money. David was the night’s big loser and was sent straight into the arena. After Angela and Ben argued over who should join David, they ultimately sent in Ben’s pal Enzo. Proving he has nine lives, the Meow Meow sent David packing after a tough game of “Balls In.” But enough about last week. It’s time to find out who wins “The Challenge: USA”!
9:02 p.m. — Just 10 players will race in T.J.’s final, so that means the six remaining women will compete to earn the last spot in the final challenge. Only the challengers who finish the final will keep what is in their bank accounts. The winning male and female will split the remaining money, earn the title of Challenge Champion and a chance to represent Team USA in “The Challenge: World Championship,” airing exclusively on Paramount+.

9:05 p.m. — Fresh off his victory in the arena, Enzo spouts off his frustration that the men are being completely controlled by Angela. Cayla agrees and says it is do or die that Angela or Alyssa lose this next challenge to guarantee one of them will at least face the arena. Meanwhile, Sarah doesn’t trust the guys and knows she must win the elimination challenge to avoid the arena. We get to see a Facetime call between Danny and the wife he constantly talks about, Kiki. I love how passionate he is about winning for her and their family. It’s impossible not to root for this guy. He’s a fierce competitor, an absolute sportsman, always has a smile on his face and loves his family. What more can you ask for?
9:10 p.m. — The players get thrown into the back of a truck in the dead of night. After a bumpy ride, they get out and T.J. welcomes them to their next challenge. In “Getting Tired,” players will start along the shore of a lake. On T.J.’s “Go!” they will jump in that lake and swim all the way across, 500 meters. Once they get across they will run until they find an abandoned town. The whole place is an old military complex. It’s spooky! They’ll see tires and tokens. Tokens are worth a single point, but the tires range in value. Players will gather as many points as they can and take as many trips as they want, but they can only take one item back at a time and it’s 1,000 meters to the drop zone. After two hours whoever has the most points wins.
9:13 p.m. — After winning the swim portion, Cayla gets stuck in the mud on shore and watches Angela pass her by. Sarah comes along and rams her hand up Cayla’s ass, giving her the boost she needs to escape the sink hole. This is what alliances are all about. Meanwhile, Tyson is first among the men followed by Ben. Both are now strategizing on how to best complete the task. For Domenick it seems easy, just go for the tires with the most points! Danny hates this challenge, calling it spooky and says, “This sucks.” But with a smile on his face and some relief in his voice he guarantees the audience, “With Enzo here, you know where I won’t be? Last place.” And he’s right, because Enzo is still swimming. Yikes!

9:18 p.m. — This challenge is in full swing and players are collecting points, running to the drop zone and returning for more points. Tyson and Alyssa have both chosen a difficult puzzle with 20-point tires attached to them. Tyson completes his, but Angela is struggling. She begins to worry if this will end up paying off. She has collected 0 points and the clock is ticking. She decides not to give up and assess her progress afterwards. Tyson moves on to the next puzzle and finishes almost instantly, earning another 10 points. He’s so good at this game! Tyson and Alyssa both tell Angela to keep going, if she gets 20 points she will be in the lead. One hour remains in the competition.
9:30 p.m. — Only a half hour is left in this competition and Angela is STILL on the first puzzle. She’s spent 90 minutes frustrated over this slide puzzle, but now there’s really no other choice but to finish it. Eventually she does, but there are only 15 minutes left for her to chase down more points. T.J. blows the horn and this challenge is over. He reveals that both Tyson and Domenick scored 52 points. There is no tie-breaker so they both win on the men’s side. The winning woman with 42 points is Sarah. It’s her first individual challenge win and she’s safe from elimination. The loser on the women’s side? Angela. The person who has dominated this game will go straight into the arena.
9:35 p.m. — Back at the compound, Tyson sits down with Angela. He tells her that Sarah will definitely want to throw Alyssa into the arena with her. He plans to sell Domenick on Cayla not being able to climb up the rope yesterday, hoping Domenick will realize it won’t benefit him to keep a weak player if they end up paired up in the final challenge. Next, Angela sits down with Tyson, Domenick and Sarah. She says her opinion is irrelevant at this point of the game, but she would prefer not to go against Alyssa or Desi, who she believes have both earned their spots in the final. Sarah and Domenick keep pressing Angela to call someone out she wants to compete against, but instead she just gets up and leaves. Tyson thinks it’s awesome. Sarah is livid, like she always is. As it stands, Tyson wants to throw Cayla in, Sarah wants to throw Alyssa in and Domenick is a swing vote.

9:45 p.m. — Angela gets an emotional call from her fiance, “Big Brother 22” player Tyler Crispen. It’s all the motivation she needs to crush the upcoming elimination challenge. But who will she face? It’s time to find out. The players arrive at the arena and T.J. introduces Angela as the night’s first competitor. Next, Tyson votes in Cayla, Sarah votes in Alyssa and Domenick votes in Alyssa. Ouch! Domenick delivers a gut bunch to Tyson and revels in it. In “Pole Wrestle,” players will push, pull and prod a pole away from their opponent by any means necessary. The first player to win twice will make the final. The loser will be eliminated.
9:50 p.m. — Angela might love Alyssa, but it doesn’t stop her from throwing her around like a rag doll. At this point Alyssa is playing defense and just hangs on for dear life. It doesn’t work and Angela takes an early lead 1-0. Round 2 is a little more competitive as Alyssa twists and turns to give herself some leverage. Still, Angela pounds her to the ground and yanks the pole away from her. Alyssa is going home and Angela will run in the final. Both of them are in tears and Angela feels terrible. Sarah has gotten her sweet revenge.
10:00 p.m. — Ben injured his shoulder in the last challenge, but he’s a marine. He’s tough. He still wants to take down Tyson in this final. The last 10 competitors pack their bags and head to the finale on a private jet. They arrive in Patagonia and T.J. informs Ben he’s medically unable to continue because of his shoulder injury. What a bummer! He was a threat to win.

10:05 p.m. — T.J. tells the remaining nine players that they’ll have to get to the top of a mountain to win this final. Everyone has money in their bank accounts, but to keep it they have to finish. A $500,000 bonus is waiting to be divided amongst the winners. Throughout this final there will be a series of checkpoints. They’ll run each check point in teams based on that wonderful algorithm we saw earlier this season. They will have a new teammate every single checkpoint. If your teammate quits, you are done also. With Ben being gone, each lady will run one checkpoint alone.
10:10 p.m. — The first teams are Danny & Cayla, Domenick & Angela, Tyson & Justine, Enzo & Desi and Sarah will be alone first. On the first stage everyone will swim 500 meters to the shoreline in freezing cold water. Enzo is already terrified. Poor Desi! Next they’ll have a puzzle. The order of how they finish will determine how many points they win. The player with the most points at the end of all of this will win “The Challenge: USA.”
10:15 p.m. — Everyone makes it to shore except Enzo & Desi at this point. Enzo starts calling for help and Desi is pleading with him not to quit. He doesn’t care. Enzo climbs on the boat and his game as well as Desi’s is over. I feel so bad for Desi. Why are people who can’t swim constantly on “The Challenge”? Desi is rightfully heartbroken. Their bank accounts are drained and both leave with nothing. Enzo should be permanently banned from anything related to this show for life. Meanwhile, Danny & Cayla have finished this leg first and take the early lead. Sarah is second followed by Tyson & Justine and then Domenick & Angela.

10:25 p.m. — The next checkpoint teams are Danny & Angela, Tyson & Sarah, Domenick & Justine and Cayla by herself. This leg consists of two very different stages. In the first part they must eat an entire onion and multiple garlic cloves. Angela is a vegan and sees this as no problem. She slices it up, covers it in lemon juice and goes to town. Eventually everyone starts puking. Danny & Angela finish the first stage first and move on to a riddle. They’re followed closely by Tyson & Sarah and Domenick & Justine. Cayla sits alone in last. Danny & Angela reach the end of the checkpoint and finish in first place. Danny is two-for-two in this final. Tyson & Sarah finish in second followed by Domenick & Justine. Cayla brings up the rear, but at least she has finished.
10:30 p.m. — The next checkpoint is Domenick & Cayla, Tyson & Angela, Danny & Sarah and Justine by herself. They have to memorize numbers and collect a decoder along the path. If they can’t remember the numbers they have to come back. Everyone else gets to split up their numbers, but Justine has to memorize all 10 herself. That’s a huge disadvantage. I’m now realizing how much of an advantage it was for Sarah to get the first leg alone — just swimming and a puzzle? Justine struggles along while refusing to give up. She has run out of time. Tyson & Angela finish in first followed by Danny & Sarah and Domenick & Cayla.
10:40 p.m. — It’s dark and cold now. The teams for the next checkpoint are Danny & Justine, Tyson & Cayla, Domenick & Sarah and Angela by herself. To start, they have to move a pile of dirt to a designated area. Angela thinks she will destroy her body doing this alone. She quits, decides to go to sleep and take the loss for this checkpoint. All the other players bash her while continuing to shovel dirt. Domenick & Sarah finish first followed by Tyson & Cayla and Danny & Justine. T.J. wakes everyone up at 7a.m. the next morning. It’s pouring rain. Angela is delivered the bad news that “opting out” has just cost her a pretty paycheck. She’s been disqualified from the game with nothing. In the Diary Room she cries saying, “I do not quit.”  Well, you actually did. So onward we go!

10:45 p.m. — It’s the last leg of the final and from here on out it’s an individual race. 10 treacherous miles all the way to the top of a mountain. There will be some checkpoints along the way, but all they have to do is get to the top first. This leg is worth double points. Heading into this last leg Sarah leads the women with 17 points followed by Cayla with 14 points and Justine with 11 points. Danny leads the men with 17 points followed by Tyson with 16 points and Domenick with 13 points.
10:50 p.m. — Tyson is confident he will “crush these peoples’ soul” and I don’t doubt it. This is an endurance challenge right in his wheelhouse. Danny’s entire body is cramping. Tyson is finished with the first checkpoint before Danny even gets there. Danny still manages to pass by Domenick at the puzzle, but the odds of him catching Tyson are small. On the women’s side, Justine goes from last to first at the puzzle. Meanwhile, Tyson continues to scale the mountain and he’s now in snow. He’s trucking up this thing while Danny looks like he’s on a leisurely walk. Then…it starts to snow. Danny actually arrives at the checkpoint while Tyson is still there. Down the hill in the rain, Sarah is in last place. Defeated and freezing, her body begins to shake.
10:55 p.m. — More players arrive at this sudoku puzzle and it’s obviously a difficult task. Tyson is still there along with Danny and Domenick. Justine arrives and begins to cry because even though she’s in first, she’s never done one of these puzzles in her entire life. At last, Danny calls for a check and he’s right! He races for the finish line. Everyone else is freezing, wet and their hands are shaking. Tyson, Justine and Domenick all quit. Wow! All three leave with nothing but bodies that shut down. Cayla is pumped and gets to work on her puzzle. After a while, she quits as well because she can’t feel her fingers. I’m shocked! There are literally only two players left who haven’t quit this final. At the bottom of the mountain still, Sarah says there is no quit in her and she gets back to work.

11:00 p.m. — Knowing she’s in last, Sarah is determined to complete this final and pushes forward. Meanwhile, Danny reaches the flag at the top of the mountain and claims first place! He did it! Sarah continues to brave the cold and finishes her sudoku. Even when it looked like Sarah would finish in dead last, she gets to the top of the mountain and wins! Because she’s alone, she thinks she finished in last place and feels defeated. Then she is met by Danny and T.J. and learns that she and Danny were the only two finishers. Danny and Sarah are the champions of “The Challenge: USA.” For the first time in “Challenge” history, everyone else quit. Danny and Sarah will split a half million dollars. Danny finishes with $245,500 while Sarah will take home $254,500. They also just punched their tickets to the first ever “Challenge World Championships.”
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