Who was sent home in episode 9, "Nevertheless, She Persisted?"
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Did you think Sarah's comments last week about how Angela "hasn't proven herself" despite winning three times so far on The Challenge: USA were delusional? You haven't seen anything yet. Her ego grew to exponential proportions this week — as did her delusional perspective of her spot in the game. Let's recap!

Last week was the first one-one-one elimination of the season, and saw Enzo destroying Leo in an extremely one-sided Hall Brawl (and turns out Leo didn't refuse to come back into the Arena after his loss — he was actually on his way to the hospital with a concussion!). That means this week is guaranteed to be a female elimination, which has Cashay nervous. She's fully qualified for the final, but she's arguably the weakest woman left, so she might not even make it to the final. That's not stopping her from "live, laugh, love"-ing on a boat during the cast's day off, though.

She's also feeling a bit more protected than normal because she, Sarah, Justine, Cayla, and Desi have dubbed themselves the "Fab Five," excluding Angela and Alyssa from their clique. But Angela isn't sweating it at all because Sarah is the only woman who doesn't have enough money to qualify for the final and hasn't won a single challenge, so Angela doesn't think Sarah can factually call herself "fabulous." And Angela's totally right: Sarah keeps talking about how she's badass and fierce and no one should want to go against her in anything, but her bark is definitely worse than her bite. She still has a lot to prove but she's talking like she's the clear favorite to win. Maybe qualify for the final first before you go around talking a bunch of smack?

Back at the house, even Ben admits he has no idea what Sarah's doing right now. Sarah says she doesn't really trust Ben right now because he's been "attached at the hip" to Angela the past week (ever since he made his new deal with her). And Angela and Alyssa point out how the Fab Five group is ignoring the guys — the Fab Five is only five of seven women left, whereas Angela and Alyssa are now working with the four Survivor guys. The Fab Five's safety isn't as guaranteed as they may think.

Meanwhile, Danny is the only guy left without enough money to qualify for the final, and since it's not a male elimination week, he's planning to go "balls to the wall" and take all the risks in this week's challenge to do anything it takes to win. Since the challenge is taking place in a football stadium, the former NFL player feels right at home. But will that home field advantage be enough to finally get him that win?

THE CHALLENGE: USA
Credit: Jonne Roriz/CBS

The Challenge: Collect Four

Players race through the seats of the stadium, searching for their colored tokens and bringing them down one at a time to their individual boards. The goal is to place four in a row on the board, and the first man and woman to get four in a row wins. But there's a twist: the back side of every token is black, and players can choose to use that side to block anyone on their boards, just like in Connect Four. The last woman to get four in a row (or who can't make another move due to being blocked) is going straight into elimination.

The question becomes: is it worth it to risk another trip up into the seats, running all those stairs, to block someone else from getting the win, instead of placing a token on your own board? With the element of sabotage, this game can and will get messy. Cayla immediately tries to lock eyes with the Fab Five to work together to sabotage Angela and Alyssa, but she gets worried that no one else seems to be paying attention to the fact that, with the numbers on their side, they should be able to easily block Angela and Alyssa from winning.

The race begins and everyone starts placing tokens on their own boards, but Domenick is the first to block someone else's — he puts his first on David's board. Then Angela tells Alyssa to "black out" Sarah's board, and they place both of their first tokens on her board. Sarah tries to get help from Justine, but she's focusing on her own board. Sarah then tries to rope Dom into helping her by putting black tokens on their boards, and everyone she passes, she tries to enlist to help her out. She literally won't shut up about it, complaining to everyone while they're trying to focus on their own game. It's equal parts hilarious seeing how desperate she is and annoying hearing her complain over and over and over again. Desi completely ignores her and keeps putting her tokens on her own board, because she knows this is not an "everyone helps Sarah win" challenge.

And Desi isn't alone — literally no one is listening to Sarah. Enzo laughs as he pretends to agree with her only to put his tokens on his own board, Dom keeps blocking David's board because he'd rather help Danny get his win, and this is just so satisfying to watch. Cayla is the only one who listens to Sarah and puts a black token on Angela's board — likely because Sarah was literally next to her when she arrived with a token and she couldn't ignore Sarah to her face (although Cayla did mention she wanted to work with the Fab Five to sabotage Angela earlier). Even Cashay is like "nope" when Sarah tries to get her to use a token on Angela's board, because she sees that Angela isn't even close to winning and it doesn't make sense for her to waste her efforts when she could be going for the win herself.

David finally realizes that Dom keeps sabotaging him, and he's only one away from winning but he's too slow — Danny places his fourth token and finally gets his first win. Then Desi hustles over with her fourth token and wins for the women. Love to see this Survivor domination! Especially for two Survivor players who are genuinely good people and play with integrity.

After Desi wins, Sarah keeps shouting at Cashay to do black tokens only, but Cashay needs to make sure she's not last, not protect Sarah from being last! David is the second to finish for the men, Ben is third, Enzo is fourth, and Tyson is fifth. Tyson is a little frustrated that Danny's win means all the men are qualified for the final, and that means no one will be forced to go into elimination to get more money, which means he's even more at risk moving forward. But he's also not worried about Danny's threat level in the finals. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to run against Danny in a final! He's a former pro-athlete, and he just proved he's got endurance to beat Tyson in this race.

THE CHALLENGE: USA
Credit: Jonne Roriz/CBS

On the women's side, Cayla's doesn't understand why Angela and Alyssa are trying to get one of the "strongest" women in the house in an elimination when they could be going against her, but Angela and Alyssa are absolutely pulling off an impressive move here. Justine finally realizes that the Fab Five had the advantage to do the same move on Angela first, but they didn't realize it in time and she's already regretting it. Finally, Angela places the last black token on Sarah's, officially making it so she can't get four in a row anywhere, and TJ blows the horn.

Sarah is pissed, but she's confident that Danny and Desi will give her who she wants, a.k.a. Angela, as her elimination opponent. She even brags to everyone after the challenge ends about how "this is the best" and how Desi has her back and she's going to get who she wants. She's smiling big, but Angela and Alyssa can't help but make faces while she's saying this and everyone else is super uncomfortable. Danny is like, calm down, there's two winners making this decision — and Sarah doesn't know about the Survivor guys/Big Brother girls alliance. Plus, does she really think she can take out Angela, who has won a bunch of challenges this season and has proven herself to be the best female there? It's getting more and more entertaining to see how un-self-aware she is.

Back at the house, Sarah tells Danny and Desi she wants Angela as her opponent, but she'd also be fine with Alyssa — "but it's really not about the money though." Danny tells her to put her emotions aside and pick someone that ensures that she'll come back. Desi says point blank that she'll do whatever Sarah wants, but for Danny, "Cashay is the only option." He throws that out there and Sarah doesn't even let him explain — she immediately interrupts him to say why that doesn't work for her. And this clearly shows the flaw in Sarah's gameplay, because her ego overpowers her logic. Cashay is the best option for Sarah to win against, and yet she won't even consider it.

After Sarah leaves the room, Danny clues Desi in to the new world order, but he adds in a little lie on top to sweeten the deal: he says the Survivor girls, Survivor guys, and Big Brother girls are all working together now. It's a smart lie because it's basically a mix between the "keep Survivor strong" alliance and the new Survivor guys/Big Brother girls alliance. He explains that's why they have to put Cashay in, but Desi is shocked that this deal was made without her.

Now Danny has to do damage control to protect his lie from being exposed. He goes to Dom and admits he told Desi about the plan. Meanwhile, Desi promises Sarah she's on her side, "100 percent." But Desi also knows that "Sarah's a wild card," so now she has to decide what's best for her game — not Sarah's.

THE CHALLENGE: USA
Credit: Jonne Roriz/CBS

Let's add alcohol to the mix! The cast goes out to bar and Alyssa tries to pull Sarah aside to make sure she understands it's all game and nothing personal, but Sarah just makes it super awkward because she's still confident either Alyssa or Angela will be her elimination opponent. She also makes a super immature face at Alyssa after she turns her back. Seriously? Sarah, come on. This is not a good look.

Dom tries to convince Desi she shouldn't fear Angela in a final and should accept this new alliance so that she's guaranteed to make it to the end, but Desi isn't buying what he's selling. So Danny tells Alyssa that she and Angela need to persuade Desi to accept the new deal, while Sarah tries to rile up Desi and the rest of the Fab Five to take control of the game from the men, instead of trying to work with the men. Not sure that's the smartest way to play this, but okay. I will admit that Sarah's not wrong in that putting Angela into elimination against her is the smartest move for the rest of the women because it ensures a strong player is going home, but the way she's going about making that happen is wrong — and it's not the smartest move for her, since Angela is likely going to beat her based on this season's performances so far.

The next day, Cashay tries to make her case to Danny to not send her, and Desi lets Sarah know that Danny won't even consider putting Angela in, so they have to pick someone else. The rest of the Fab Five decide they need to convince Sarah to start talking about how she wants to go against Alyssa instead — and make it clear that she'll beat her. So she walks up to Desi and Danny and just tells them to put Alyssa in, fist bumps them, and then walks away immediately. It's such a horrible display of political and social gameplay that I literally laughed out loud. Danny isn't even considering Alyssa because he knows that would blow up his game, so he starts to wonder what the rules would be if he and Desi don't agree on a choice. He even brainstorms with Dom on what the consequences could be an hour before they leave for the Arena. This is getting down to the wire!

THE CHALLENGE: USA
Credit: Jonne Roriz/CBS

Elimination

Sarah's smirking when she gets to The Arena thinking that she's about to go head-to-head with Alyssa, but Danny votes for Cashay ... and then Desi agrees with him, making it official. Sarah is no longer smirking, but I certainly am.

Elimination challenge: In a Roll. Players run in a giant steel hamster wheel, pulling a 300 ft. rope until it causes a ball to fall. The first one to make the ball fall twice wins. This requires some strength but this is mostly speed and endurance, so I'm going to have to bet on Sarah here. I wish we could have seen Angela absolutely demolish Sarah in this, because there's no question that Angela would beat her and finally shut her up about who deserves to be there, but oh well.

The horn blows and Sarah gets off to a running start, while Cashay can't even get her wheel to move. Cashay may be a fast runner, but she just doesn't have the strength necessary to get her wheel going. After a while, she finally gets it moving, but Sarah's already got a massive lead on her and gets the first point. In the second round, Cashay gets her wheel moving right away so it's actually a real battle, but Sarah's clearly moving faster. She gets the second point and wins, sending Cashay home. Of course, Sarah can't win with grace — she immediately starts bragging about how she got her first individual win and everyone is "going to be scared s---less" of her, but like... this was not an intimidating performance. At all. Even Danny's like, "Sarah, you're welcome: $7,500 easily taken from Cash and you're still in the game."

But now everyone left in the game is qualified to run the final, and there's no telling how these last few episodes are going to go. The alliance messiness is at an all-time high, and I'm loving every second of it.

Challenger of the week: Danny for not only getting his first win and qualifying for the final, but also successfully convincing Desi to vote his way despite the fact that it was not the right move for her own game.

The Challenge: USA airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

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