The beginning of the end has arrived on The Challenge: Ride or Dies, and the longest final in Challenge history is also proving to be the weirdest, because we're only one episode in and there's already been three freak accidents. One of those accidents was so bad it resulted in a heartbreaking medical DQ for one team. Let's recap the first 25 of the 100-hour final!
After Bananas and Nany won the final elimination in last week's episode, everyone is celebrating making it to the end, thinking about how they've all got something to prove. And when Nany points out that one of the four pairs left is going to walk away with a million dollars, Bananas adds helpfully that producers might give one partner the chance to steal it all for themselves... a twist with which he's intimately familiar. Nany playfully attacks Bananas, making him promise to never do that to her (he might!), but now everyone is going to worry about that Rivals twist coming back into play as they have to rely on their partners to get through what's sure to be the most grueling final yet. Fun!
The next morning, Bananas plays a calming tune on his guitar as players enjoy their morning coffees and workouts, unaware that TJ is tearing through Buenos Aires on a motorcycle to ruin their peace by announcing the final is 100 hours long. 100 hours! That's... a lot of days. Holy crap. Some of the OGs just laugh maniacally while rookies Olivia and Horacio are shocked and excited. They have no idea what's in store for them.
The final begins the moment every pair gets into a jeep to drive four hours to the official starting line. It's nightfall when they arrive, and all the camping gear they'll need for the next 96 hours is in a locked trunk. TJ reveals they have to ride 100 km on stationary bikes to get the code to unlock their supplies, so the first stage is an overnighter! Might as well start the sleep deprivation early.
As the night goes on, Bananas jokes that "anyone who does this for fun is a f---ing sicko," and Jordan's resulting s--- eating grin needs to be GIFed right away. He literally does this for fun when he's not filming, and if he wasn't partnered with Aneesa, this final would easily be his. No competition, hands down. I'm so disappointed we won't get to see Jordan go full beast on this final on his own, but instead have to pace himself for his partner. But at least that means this really could be anyone's game. And shout out to the producers for the incredibly pornographic slow-motion shots of all the sweaty shirtless men — but mainly Horacio — as they pedal through the night. That was pure art.
Since it's not a timed checkpoint, Devin and Tori decide to take the "slow and steady wins the race" approach and not exhaust themselves too early. They think that as long as they eventually hit 100 km, it doesn't matter how long it takes them. Meanwhile, Olivia and Horacio take the opposite approach, rushing to hit 100 km first and get to sleep faster. Nany gets pissed at Bananas for joking around and not taking this seriously as he pops wheelies on the stationary bike and tries to hit her with his shirt. He's already won seven times, so anything on top of that is just gravy for him, but Nany's been on a whole new level this season trying to get her first win. I feel like this is only the just the beginning of their fighting during this final as their attitudes clash.
Horacio and Olivia finish first, open their trunk, and get to work on setting up their tent by the fire. Jordan and Aneesa finish second, Bananas and Nany finish third (with Nany actually outpacing Bananas, showing just how serious she is), and Devin and Tori eventually finish fourth (with Tori outpacing Devin, to no one's surprise). After a rough night of sleep in tiny tents, TJ arrives in the morning while Bananas is pooping behind a tree to kick off day two: hour 19 begins with a race with multiple checkpoints along the way. He also vaguely warns that whoever wins today's race gets a big advantage for the next day, and that this is a partner final so both teammates need to finish. That will be important all too soon.
Right at the beginning of the run, Jordan takes Aneesa off the path for a shortcut to catch back up since they already are behind everyone. But she rolls her ankle immediately on a twig and starts limping, and blames Jordan for making her go off the road. They start fighting nonstop but at least Aneesa continues on and doesn't quit right there. Now she's got an excuse to walk the rest of the final.
Tori and Devin are the first to make it to the first checkpoint where each team must land 10 bolas on their station. For every two bolas landed, they can sabotage another team with a disgusting smoothie of unidentified ingredients. Tori and Devin sabotage Bananas and Nany first, and they immediately return the favor. Bananas and Nany then sabotage Olivia and Horacio with a smoothie, but Olivia somehow cuts her finger while throwing a bola and there's blood everywhere. She tries to ignore it but has to get cleaned up by medics, and tells Horacio to keep throwing bolas while she gets bandaged up because she refuses to quit. This rookie team just keeps impressing me, every step of the way.
Eventually Devin and Bananas agree to call a truce on sending the smoothies back and forth to each other, so they target Olivia and Horacio instead. When Aneesa and Jordan finally join the party, they're psyched to see that the other teams aren't sabotaging them with smoothies as much since they're not seen as real threats. That could be the break they need to actually catch up. Meanwhile Devin and Tori land their last bola and have to drink three smoothies before continuing on, and the projectile vomiting commences. But since Tori is vegan, Devin chokes down the fish smoothies on his own as she supports him from afar.
Horacio finishes landing the bolas next while Olivia continues to get bandaged, and they start drinking their six smoothies. Jordan and Aneesa finish third and only have three smoothies, and Bananas and Nany finish with six smoothies. As they all struggle to get down their smoothies (the montage of puking is a Challenge final classic!), Devin and Tori get to work on widening their lead as they run to the next checkpoint move 16 tires individually to their stations one kilometer away and arrange them in the order that all the previous players were eliminated this season.
Jordan and Aneesa finish their smoothies and move on, and Bananas and Nany finish next, but Olivia and Horacio fall behind. They eventually finish and move on, and Bananas figures out right away to pick up the tires in the right order before he even reads the instructions. Now that's a true Challenge legend move right there! Jordan continues to get more frustrated with Aneesa's refusal to do more than just walk the entire time. Some teams struggle with remembering the elimination order of the season more than others — Tori actually wrote it all down in her journal and looked at it a lot throughout filming, so she's confident and doesn't let Devin slow down to second-guess her, but he actually catches a mistake of hers early on. They're more of a balanced team than ever and are starting to look like the favorite to win this, even this early on.
Jordan tries to switch up his tactics with Aneesa and suggests a trick he does when he's injured: envision that your body is healing itself rather than focusing on the actual pain. But Aneesa refuses to try it and just focuses on how much pain she's in, once again highlighting the divide between not only her and her partner but also in what makes a champ vs. someone who's just satisfied with making it to a final. Just... so incredibly disappointing in this era of The Challenge.
At hour 24, Devin and Tori finish stacking their tires, call for a check, and they have it right. They move on to the next checkpoint, widening their lead even more. At the next station, they have to use a slingshot to launch golf balls and take out two targets, and whichever team finishes first can sabotage any other team. Since Devin Rain Manned the slingshot earlier this season, he steps up and hits the first target immediately, and coaches Tori so she hits the second one on her first try. That was incredibly impressive! They decide in the moment to continue honoring their truce with Bananas and Nany and sabotage Olivia and Horacio instead. That could be a million dollar mistake right there, because they could have argued that truce was only for smoothies. I'm shocked Devin doesn't go with that strategy, but they're counting on Bananas and Nany owing them one later in the final, and now Olivia and Horacio have to hit four targets whenever they arrive.
Devin and Tori move on to the next checkpoint, even impressing TJ with how fast they're moving through this course. Bananas and Nany finally finish their tires and make it to the slingshot but really struggle with hitting the targets. Horacio and Olivia finish their tires and move on, catching up to Bananas and Nany at the slingshot as they finally hit their first and second target in a row. Horacio hits their first two of four targets in a row, but Olivia has to hit two now... and she can barely pull the slingshot back with her injured finger. After a few tries, the slingshot accidentally rebounds and slams the golf ball right into her face. It immediately starts gushing blood and she panics, and Horacio doesn't know what to do. Is Olivia the second unluckiest Challenger ever after Nam?! I mean, this is getting ridiculous.
Jordan and Aneesa finally finish their tires in last place, and a medic comes to check out Olivia's new injury. They take her into the ambulance as Horacio repeats a steady stream of supportive comments to keep her calm, but when the camera cuts to her confessional, the extent of the damage to her face is finally revealed. And it's a legit jump scare. She's got two black eyes, a swollen nose, and she appears completely dejected, so I think we all know where this is heading.
As the ambulance takes her away, Horacio promises to try to finish for her if they'll let him, but TJ crushes his hopes and DQs him as he breaks down in tears. He desperately tries to bargain, saying he'll do double the work if they just let him continue on alone, but the producers gently yet firmly tell him it's over. This is a heartbreaking ending for one of the most promising rookies in Challenge history, but he'll definitely be back. Same with Olivia! These two killed it this season and they have a bright future ahead of them on this franchise. I just can't believe two separate freak accidents happened to Olivia in the same day of her first final. You truly can't make this up — reality is stranger than fiction.
By the end of the episode, Jordan and Aneesa finally make it to the slingshot checkpoint as Horacio is walking away hopelessly, and Jordan clocks it immediately that Horacio's alone. Aneesa tries to comfort Horacio but Jordan is full steam ahead, knowing that anything can happen in a final — just look at Olivia! — and they need to keep going. With that, we're only through the first quarter of the final, down one team, and monitoring another injury... and we still have two full episodes left. Whew.
The Challenge: Ride or Dies airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.