The Challenge: All Stars finale recap: And the winner is...
Which Challenge OG was crowned the winner in episode 9, "You're the Best Around?"
This may have been the shortest season ever of The Challenge, but it was definitely one of the most enjoyable — in a very, very long time. Thank you to Mark Long and the rest of the OGs for bringing some fun back to this franchise! Even the most serious moment of the season, a.k.a. the final, still had that same excitement and comedy that all the episodes have been serving en masse. I'm very sad The Challenge: All Stars is over already, but I couldn't be happier at the result. Let's recap the finale!
After the first half of the final, Darrell and KellyAnne are in first place, but Darrell is feeling the pain from eating those two Carolina Reaper peppers. KellyAnne forces him to push through the pain — even when he's calling for a medic with snot and puke coming out of him in buckets — and they manage to continue on without any medical attention. I'm glad Darrell didn't actually need a medic, but I hate those fake-out cliffhangers! I've got to say, though, KellyAnne is fierce for how she's pushing Darrell forward, and it's working. Everyone else keeps going on the trail in varying states of distress, but KellyAnne and Darrell finish in first, securing their five points each. It's wild to see Darrell go from carrying Ruthie on his back to being the one figuratively carried so quickly. Finals (and ghost peppers) are no joke!
Yes and Aneesa finish in second, Big Easy and Jonna come in third, Alton and Ruthie in fourth, and Mark and Jemmye are in last, finishing up checkpoint four. As of now, Darrell and Yes are tied in first place with 18 points each, Jonna is in second (!!!) with 15 points, and KellyAnne's in third with 13. I'd be shocked if the winner ends up being someone other than those four players. And I'll be so impressed if Jonna somehow manages to beat Darrell and Yes for her first Challenge win, but I just don't see it happening.
TJ has everyone pair up with the one remaining player they haven't worked with yet today — Darrell's with Aneesa, Jonna is with Alton, Yes is with Ruthie, Big Easy is with Jemmye, and Mark is with KellyAnne — and announces they're each other's partners for the night. Some are thrilled at this new development, while Jemmye is living out her worst nightmare being partnered with Big Easy for an entire night. But she doesn't have time to complain, because the next checkpoint is… eating!
But this isn't your regular campout cooking. The plates are full of unidentified, "gamey" meats that honestly don't even look edible. But most of the players don't even want to know what they're shoving down their throats. They just do it. These are All Stars for a reason! Fessy, eat your heart out, literally.
That's not to say they're doing it well. KellyAnne's got full-body contractions as she heaves up the huge chunks of meat she's trying to swallow, while Jemmye is staring at her plate in abject horror, not making any moves. Aneesa and Darrell are dancing it out while they chew. After a while, KellyAnne starts crying, but at least she doesn't stop housing the food. Somehow Alton is eating it like he's at a fancy steakhouse, sophisticated fork technique and all. They're all making progress… except for Jemmye and Big Easy.
Big Easy seems to be struggling with this the most, throwing up so loudly and violently that it's making it harder for the other players to eat. But at least he's trying, whereas Jemmye decides she can't do it. She calls TJ over, intending to quit, and Big Easy supports her even though she'll take him out of the game if she does. The look on TJ's face motivates Jemmye to start eating finally, and she doesn't take the easy way out. But Big Easy still tries to convince Jemmye to quit, and it soon becomes clear that he doesn't want to finish eating his own food. He also doesn't want to get DQed from yet another Challenge, though. If Jemmye DQs him, at least he'll have an excuse. Ugh. Good for her for continuing to eat!
Meanwhile, Yes finishes his plate first but has to wait for Ruthie to finish. Mark is getting a kick out of watching KellyAnne's physical breakdown, but he realizes the more she cries, the faster she eats. Eventually, she finishes her plate second and then asks for more! Talk about an impressive showing — it wasn't pretty, but it was effective. And then Mark finishes his plate, securing first place for him and KellyAnne.
Alton finishes his plate next, and Jonna does soon after, getting second place for them both. Ruthie finally finishes her plate, getting third place for her and Yes, which bumps him out of first place overall. And then the sun starts to set, time keeps ticking on, but Darrell and Aneesa and Big Easy and Jemmye are still eating. After two hours, Aneesa finally finishes, with Darrell just moments later, getting fourth place for the eating. Two and a half hours in, Big Easy finally finishes, and so does Jemmye, getting one point for last place but getting to continue on in the game. I am not impressed with the last-place team, to say the least.
It's finally time to sleep through the night, but no one's getting any real sleep since they have to take turns napping on weird teeter-totters where one player lays down and the other balances on a lever to keep them flat. But if the player falls off the lever, the partners have to swap places. Plus, it's freezing! Yes isn't bothered by the cold, and he lets Ruthie get a lot of sleep. So does Alton with Jonna, but he's getting more and more bothered by Yes and KellyAnne as the night goes on. But he knows that while he doesn't have a shot at winning anymore, Jonna does, so he's fighting for her at this point. That's honorable! Meanwhile, Big Easy is snoring loud, which pisses off Jemmye.
The sun finally rises, and TJ rides in on a horse dressed like a real gaucho to welcome the players to their final day. So I guess "the next couple days" only meant two? But now it's a fully individual game for the final race up a mountain, and this last leg is worth double points. So while it's really anyone's game now, knowing the athletic ability and endurance of the players, there's no way Yes or Darrell doesn't cross that finish line first.
The horn blows, and they all race off for the last leg. Darrell takes off quickly, while Yes deliberately sets a slower pace for himself. Mark is in fourth, with Jonna in fifth. Eventually, KellyAnne passes Ruthie and then Jemmye and then eventually Jonna. Aneesa and Big Easy stick together in last place, with both of them just wanting to finish a final rather than trying to win it overall.
Up in the front, Yes takes a quick break to shed some layers of clothing so he doesn't overheat and can work faster to overtake Darrell for first. Mark eventually catches up to Yes and passes him, but then Yes passes Mark again quickly after taking off his pants. Darrell feels confident that Yes can't catch him, but all of a sudden he hears Yes coming up behind him. As Yes passes Darrell, he's faced with a choice: be his normal, helpful, supportive self and say something positive? Or talk s---? Yeah, he talks s---! It's the ultimate power move and it's here that I start to realize Yes is absolutely winning this thing. He's exhausted beyond belief, but he's unstoppable.
Yes keeps talking to himself as he rises on the mountain, saying all the reasons why he's doing this. Darrell remains in second, Mark struggles in third, Alton in fourth, and KellyAnne slowly gains on Alton. As Darrell sees the finish line, he gives one final push to try and pass Yes. But ultimately, Yes crosses the finish line first, and he's got even more s--- talking to dish out, saying he's still got gas in the tank and he'll take on "all those punks from the other show too." I would very much like to see that!
Darrell eventually finishes in second place, and Mark in third. Alton finishes fourth, with KellyAnne in fifth, Jonna in sixth, Ruthie in seventh, Jemmye in eighth, and eventually Big Easy finishes ninth and Aneesa tenth. So how did all the points add up?
Third place is a tie with 24 points between Jonna and KellyAnne — an awesome performance from them both. Darrell is in second place with 29 points, which means… first place with 31 points, and the champion of All Stars, is Yes!
Having the first All Star winner be someone like Yes, who hasn't been seen on this franchise in decades, is amazing because that's the spirit of what this new spinoff is all about. As much as I would have loved seeing Darrell finally get his fifth win, this just feels right. Darrell literally came weeks after he was eliminated on Double Agents. Yes didn't have political relationships coming into this; he made them on the fly. He let his performance speak for itself. And he was hilarious to watch. I'm happy with how everything turned out this season — are you? Let me know your thoughts below before the reunion drops on Paramount+ next week!