The Challenge Ride or Dies Episode 1 Premiere Recap: 10 Biggest Takeaways

The premiere of The Challenge Ride or Dies is in the books. You probably have some thoughts, so let’s compare. Instead of giving a simple summary, I decided to focus on the 10 Biggest moments/takeaways from the first episode.

If you prefer audio/video, my podcast recap can be found above/below.

10 Old Buck, Nelly T

I’ve been covering The Challenge since Invasion (this is my 10th MTV season), and when I started, Nelson was going into his second season as a relative unknown. Fast-forward to today, Nelson is the person in the house with the most seasons under his belt and is getting asked to make the opening toast. Boy, do I feel old.

Nelson giving the house toast was something I didn’t expect; it didn’t look like he expected it, either. Hell, I don’t know if Nelson even knows how to use a toaster. His toast was not good; however, considering his ability to form sentences, a good toast from Nelson would have felt more bizarre.

9 Turbo Stinks

The scenes in this episode where Turbo fought/got mad at Laurel & Devin for being normal people were brutal and weird.

I’ve always thought Turbo is someone who believes they are a superhero and feels that they deserve to get treated as such, with everyone at his feet adoring him. Don’t get me wrong, the guy is a great competitor, but at the end of the day, he’s just an arrogant man with some anger issues. After getting kicked off WOTW 2 and being put on the “banned” list for a few years, you would have thought Turbo would come in more level-headed and show some growth/self-reflection. Nope, instead, Turbo wants everyone to treat him as a king, and he’s ready to pounce on anyone who doesn’t.

The craziest part is nobody is actively trying to get into Turbo’s head; he’s jumping on them as if they are attempting to murder him.

8 Eight Obscure Observations

  • Colleen & Kim lying about their original show was hysterical and clever.
  • Jakk looking up Colleen’s original show on the plane ride/quarantine was even better.
  • Kailah promising sexual favors to her husband so that he doesn’t blow up their political game? Neat.
  • Fessy going after another blonde woman who breathes? Classic.
  • It’s great to have Laurel back.
  • Olivia & Horacio look physically stacked and stunning.
  • Jay & Michele have a real presence to them.
  • This episode’s music was excellent and showed what The Challenge USA lacked.

7 Showmances Are Brewing

I’ve always hated the concept of an allies theme because I thought it wasn’t messy enough. Then I saw the Nurys/Johnny showmance where Ravyn is clearly bothered/a bit jealous to see her Ride or Die not 100% focused on her. I completely forgot how messy and petty friendships can be. Going on The Challenge is like going on vacation together; Ravyn had dreams of laying on the beach and snorkeling with Johnny; instead, he’s diving into Nurys as she has to watch him have fun. The showmances will be messy.

They also teased Nelson/Olivia and Fessy/Colleen in this episode. I have a suspicion that Amber & Chauncey might be banging.

6 What’s Worse, Forgetting Your Age or How To Spell Your Girlfriend’s Name?

Shout-out to Brian Batty & myself for making enough noise about Nelson’s daily challenge losing streak that now production and cast members acknowledge the record. Nelson extended the record this week as he and Nurys couldn’t add their ages properly because he forgot he’s 33 years old and not 32! You can’t make this shit up.

Then you had Chauncey physically counting out the letters on Amber’s jersey to figure out how many were there. Maybe he thought her full name was Amber B?

5 Johnny & Ravyn Come In Hot

The premiere episode’s daily was built for the trailer so that they could have a majority of the cast looking epic while covered in mud. The daily didn’t have the highest degree of difficulty, although it was cute to see which pairs knew the most about their partners and had basic counting.

Johnny & Ravyn pulled off the win, and I always love seeing rookies win the opening daily because it immediately establishes them as characters. The first impression always matters.

4 Bold Nominations, Yet, Not Bold Enough?

After the way the Vets steamrolled the Rookies last season, I absolutely loved watching Johnny & Ravyn go guns blazing by nominating Devin/Tori, Kailah/Sam, and Laurel/Jakk. They stacked the deck with power players. What I thought was hysterical was their thinking they could throw people off the scent of a rookie vs. vet divide by nominating Colleen/Kim. If you fill 75% of your dad’s bottle of vodka with water, they will know you drank their vodka.

I think Johnny & Ravyn made a miscalculation when deciding between Kailah/Sam & Devin/Tori as to who they should throw in. Devin & Tori are the stronger pair and have loads of allies. If you want to go big, you go for them. Even though Kailah has the main character aura, I don’t think she actively had many alliances going. The difference came in the interrogation, where Devin & Tori were much better at schmoozing.

3 Rookies vs. Vets

We saw the formation of a rookie alliance to combat the vets and what was fascinating is we saw Jay & Amber B as two of the people spearheading this group (alongside Johnny). Despite it being Jay & Amber’s third season, they don’t feel like Vets because they know they are clearly on the outside of the vacationers clubs. Amber knows Fessy and others will likely target her at some point. Jay knows that his friendships in the past didn’t stop from him getting chewed up by Rogan & Leroy in elimination. So they’re now trying to take control of their fate by leading a rookie alliance.

2 Elimination Twist & Tori/Devin vs. Kailah/Sam

Having to nominate four teams for elimination when you know three are coming back is insanely messy, and I’m here for it. The dynamic of watching allies turn against one another is going to be so fun. Jakk & Laurel won’t forget that Kim & Colleen saved them, and Devin & Tori have an easy decision on who to nominate going forward.

Let’s talk about the actual elimination. In terms of design, I enjoyed that it required legitimate teamwork. From a viewer’s experience, it just wasn’t much fun to watch. Tori & Devin blew this elimination out of the water as they ebbed and flowed perfectly. Devin is now 6–2 in eliminations; Tori is 5–3. Kailah & Sam stunk up this elimination as they showed no chemistry as teammates. In all honesty, facing Devin & Tori might have been better as they lost to a good team because, the way they performed, I think Kim & Colleen probably could have beat them. At least Kailah & Sam can take their appearance checks and go on an actual honeymoon now!

1 Bananas & Nany Twist

I was incredibly shocked to see Bananas & Nany show up at the end of the episode. It’s not like I saw them in any of the trailers. It’s not like I saw them in the press announcements about this season’s cast. It’s not like Johnny Bananas has been doing loads of press and interviews. They knocked my socks off with that twist.

We shouldn’t expect any other crazy surprises in the future. Don’t expect Veronica & Darrell or Jordan & Aneesa to pop up. Nope, that can’t be possible at all.

All-in-all, decent episode. 8.3 out of 10.

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Allan Aguirre

26 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.