The Challenge: USA Season 1 Episode 2 Review: Oh Say

master mentalism tricks

OK. I’m convinced.

I didn’t think I could possibly enjoy the last-minute twist that utilized an algorithm to choose the players.

The Challenge: USA Season 1 Episode 2 showcased the full extent of the twist while filling in the blanks about the finer details of it, and ultimately, it really sets this spinoff apart from the other shows in the franchise.

Getting Dizzy? - The Challenge: USA

The name of the game on reality TV is to create drama and moments that get fans talking, and damn, there was so much to like about “Oh Say You Can See Tiffany.”

We’ll start with Justine.

Justine Ndiba for Challenge USA

Pairing her with Tyson was a stroke of genius because she could have easily targeted Tyson to avenge Cely and Javonny, but seeing her enemy become a coach worked wonders for Justine’s game.

Initially, she was dead set on revenge, but Tyson allowed her to understand that they had to work with one another to make some money and stay in the game.

Tyson was like a less snaky Wes Bergmann from the main series and All-Stars.

Tyson played Survivor, so he’s built for these challenges and knows how to play mental warfare on opponents, as evidenced by his impressive performance in back-to-back challenges.

Justine Ndiba Challenge Shot

He’s probably a huge target, but he’s now won every daily he’s been a part of. It makes him an almighty threat, but something tells me he won’t be impressed if he gets paired with someone he deems much weaker.

Angela and Justine were great and collaborative competitors who understood what was expected of them, so there’s that.

It was nice to see Justine get a much-needed win, especially after losing her best friend from the game.

Justine said when I interviewed her that many of the other contestants underestimated the Love Islanders because their show wasn’t exactly physical.

Tyson Hires - The Challenge: USA Season 1 Episode 1

Justine proved the naysayers wrong, and she’s one to watch as we delve deeper into the game.

The daily challenge was one of my favorite across the entire series. It had water, heights, logic, and dizziness for many players.

That’s no easy challenge to complete, but there were some big surprises along the way.

James and Cayla being paired together as an Amazing Race double combo by the pesky algorithm would have probably found them in the elimination anyway, even if they didn’t get zero words on the daily.

Tiffany Mitchell for Challenge USA - The Challenge: USA

They had to win that competition to secure any sort of power and influence in the house.

I would have been interested to find out who they would have targeted had they won, but that challenge just wasn’t theirs to win.

It happens on these shows. People excel at different things, but the pair handled going into the elimination like champs.

Tiffany being targeted so early on was a big shocker. She was such a great mastermind on Big Brother, and a part of me thinks she would have benefited from distancing herself from the Big Brother alums.

Xavier Prather on Challenge USA - The Challenge: USA

The big surprise is that Xavier knew all about the plan to throw Tiffany and Cashel into the elimination before it played out and shocked Tiffany to the core.

I believe Tiffany will feel betrayed, but this is a game with $500,000 up for grabs and had the other Big Brother alums not agreed about it being Tiffany, one of them could have ended up thrown in.

The elimination was fun, but I genuinely had no clue who would emerge with the coveted win to return to the house.

Both teams had a lot of energy, but there was always the risk that one of them would flame out and implode their partner’s game in the process.

Kyra and Cashell - The Challenge: USA Season 1 Episode 1

Unfortunately, Tiffany couldn’t get it done here, and I think it was the blindside of it all.

She probably thought Alyssa and Enzo were headed into the elimination, but little did she know, the entire house was scheming behind her back.

It was an epic blindside that highlighted there are many stakes on The Challenge.

If the series does return and we get veterans like the other shows, Tiffany would be a great contender to bring back, especially if some of the people that wronged her are on the cast.

Angela Cast Shot - The Challenge: USA Season 1 Episode 1

James and Cayla needed a win after their poor performance in the daily, so there was undoubtedly a lot riding on them winning.

The game is well and truly in full swing, and so much is happening at such a fast pace.

I wish the episodes were longer. With the team picks, the daily, and the elimination, there isn’t much room to give us the action from inside the house.

The narrative in the house was definitely constructed to derail Tiffany and Cashell, but it was fun to see Cashay and Cinco pushed together.

Cashay Proudfoot for Challenge USA

It’s moments like that that make me wonder whether producers can manipulate the algorithm or if these pairings are all dumb luck.

All things considered, The Challenge: USA is making a big case to be one of the hottest shows of the summer.

What are your thoughts on the downfall of Tiffany?

Would she have performed better in the elimination had she not been blindsided?

Cashay Confessional

What are your thoughts on Kyra not caring about Cashell being thrown in?

Did you like that Tyson helped coach Justine away from vengeance?

Hit the comments below.

I’ll be chatting with Cashell and Tiffany on Thursday morning, so let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to ask in the comments.

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

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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