The Challenge: World Championship recap: Jordan finds a loophole in his bad deal
It's almost time for the final to begin on The Challenge: World Championship. But before we can get to the grueling race, we need to see the last challenge and elimination play out. Let's recap!
After last week saw Darrell and Kiki sent home, the stakes have never been higher. Everyone knows the clock is ticking down until the final, and there are only five teams left now. Emily and Yes aren't happy that Troy and Kaycee are back in the game, and they know the target is now on their own backs. They're partially relieved knowing they have a deal with Jordan and Kaz, where Jordan and Kaz agreed to throw this last challenge. Emily is confident that she and Yes are making the final — but that deal doesn't actually ensure her safety. Something tells me Emily's overconfidence is going to cost her dearly.
Meanwhile, Kaz confronts Jordan and tells him she feels undervalued by him as a partner. Good on her for voicing how he's treating her, being condescending and not treating her like an equal. He listens and apologizes for how his competitive nature comes out, and admits that he's still working on that part of him. They have a tearful hug, and hopefully this helps them bond as a team even more.
Sarah videochats with her husband and son back home, and struggles with being away from her family. Danny empathizes with her but talks her down from her low moment of feeling homesick. Because honestly, if you make it this far, you shouldn't be talking about how you'd rather be at home. There are tons of eliminated players who would much rather still be in the game!
The Challenge: Downfall
The last challenge of the season involves some sabotage, so feelings are definitely about to get hurt. When the horn blows, players jump into the water, swim over to hanging ladders, and climb up to untie a bunch of knots, freeing a giant Challenge symbol. The team that finishes first gets to eliminate another team right away, sending them straight into elimination. This will continue for a few more rounds, until teams that avoided getting dropped solve the puzzle at the top. The team that solves the puzzle first wins the whole thing.
We love a challenge with sabotage, especially right before the final! Jordan is the first to reach the ladders, with Troy right behind him. Emily and Yes are the first to start untying their knots, though. They release the symbol and choose to drop Kaycee and Troy, eliminating them immediately. But Jordan and Kaz release their symbol next and choose to drop Emily and Yes — so much for their deal! Turns out Emily and Yes needed to read the fine print on their deal, because Jordan and Kaz only agreed to not win this challenge. They never said they wouldn't sabotage them. Brilliant move by Jordan and Kaz.
Jordan tells Kaz to stop climbing at this point, allowing the other teams to pull ahead of them. Theo and Sarah release their symbol next, and choose to drop Danny and Tori. Jordan then tells Sarah to keep climbing and solve the puzzle because he's tired of just hanging around on the ladder, and Theo gets confused as to why Jordan's letting them win. On the sidelines, everyone else is confused too when Jordan starts helping Theo and Sarah solve the puzzle. Ultimately, thanks to Jordan and Kaz, Theo and Sarah eventually solve it (although it still takes them a very long time) and win the challenge, punching their ticket to the final.
But then TJ drops a bomb on the teams: The remaining teams are only going to vote to nominate one team, not two. That means Sarah and Theo don't get to decide who competes against Kaycee and Troy — it's every other team that gets that power. This changes everything.
Back at the house, Yes tries to smooth things over with Troy, but I love how Troy doesn't give him an inch. Troy just pushes back and doesn't let Yes' lackluster apology land. Meanwhile, upstairs, Jordan explains the deal he made with Yes and Emily to Tori and Theo , and he says they should just stalemate the nominations vote. Tori, however, thinks that's a stupid plan — she and Danny have been working with Jordan and Kaz all season, so why wouldn't they just vote for Emily and Yes? Use this power to actually make a move!
Jordan kicks things off by proposing a stalemate, and casts his vote for his own team. Kaz agrees to the plan because she's sure that her ex Theo wouldn't send her into elimination, so she feels safe. Emily and Yes also vote for themselves, because Emily is sure that Sarah wouldn't send her into elimination either, and they're at the bottom of the other two teams that are voting. Then Danny and Tori also vote for themselves, which is extremely disappointing to see. Tori didn't want to do it, but Danny is sure that Sarah wouldn't send him into elimination either.
Someone is about to feel really betrayed, because Sarah has to send someone into elimination. Theo won't say Kaz's name, so Sarah has to pick one of her own allies to send in. Sarah tells Danny she doesn't have a decision yet, which shocks him. He immediately regrets agreeing to the stalemate because he gave up any power he had to save himself. He's pissed that Sarah didn't give him a heads-up before the vote, and Tori doesn't feel safe at all.
After stressing about it all day, Sarah pulls Emily into a bathroom to have a whispered conversation. She says this is a lose-lose situation for her, but it boils down to the fact that she came into this game working with Danny, and Danny is like her Grant (referencing how Emily's No. 1 ally was Grant before his medical DQ). What goes unspoken is how that means she's going to send Emily and Yes into elimination. Emily breaks down in tears, saying that Grant left the game and Sarah became her No. 1, and now she has no one. Sarah just says, "I know," and love these two or hate them, you have to admit this entire scene is incredible to witness through a closed door. Thank you, production team, for making sure their mics were still on!
Walking into the Arena, everyone sees a long, narrow hallway in the sand. You know what that means: Hall Brawl! The last elimination of the season is a good old-fashioned headbanger. You absolutely love to see it.
As for who's playing, it turns out Theo and Sarah don't get to vote at all. TJ's pissed that everyone chose to stalemate again, so he says that since Theo and Sarah are basically already at the starting line of the final, they don't get a say here. The only team that hasn't voted yet? That would be Kaycee and Troy. They get to decide who their opponents are going to be, and to no one's surprise, they finally get their revenge on Emily and Yes. Hilariously, that was going to be Sarah and Theo's vote anyway, but I love how Kaycee and Troy fearlessly get to call them out instead.
We all know the rules of Hall Brawl, so let's just get right into the action, shall we? The guys go first, and Troy falls down after their initial collision but ends up taking Yes right down with him in a glorious move. Troy is able to get up and run to his bell faster, so he wins the first round. In the second round, Emily ends up on the ground but holds Kaycee's leg down with her, giving her the extra time she needs to make it to the bell first. Since Emily tied it up in the second round, it goes to one final tiebreaker round. TJ flips a coin to decide who plays, and it's going to be the women who decide the outcome.
In the tiebreaker round, Kaycee and Emily collide in the center, and Kaycee overpowers Emily, throwing her around and pushing her toward her side. Emily tries to drag Kaycee back by her leg again, but it ultimately doesn't stop Kaycee from getting to her bell first, winning the whole thing.
Now Kaycee and Troy have won yet another elimination, solidifying their reputations as the king and queen of eliminations this season. And they finally get their revenge against Emily and Yes after getting to call them out themselves. This victory has to feel really good.
Meanwhile, Emily breaks down in tears in the sand, knowing she still has never made a final after two seasons. But now everyone left in the game has competed in a final in the past, and that just feels right for the World Championship. Everyone except Theo is a champ too, meaning this is maybe the most formidable competition we've ever seen in a final. And it's starting… right now. We still have to wait a week to actually see it begin, but the players follow TJ out of the Arena to head to the starting line immediately.
The Challenge: World Championship debuts new episodes Wednesdays on Paramount+.
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