The Challenge: Ride or Dies Episode 14 Recap — Winners & Losers

Brian Batty
18 min readJan 12, 2023

Welcome to Winners & Losers for The Challenge Ride or Dies Episode 13! We welcomed basically everyone besides Nelson and Nurys back into the game this week, including saying goodbye to a Challenge legend like fifteen seconds before welcoming him back. And of course, I’m talking about Kaycee’s brother Keith. Inside this week: Chauncey and Beth have cocktails and cheese together, Jordan channels Elaine Benes, I get all sappy and saccharin about The Challenge, and much much more…

Winner: Olivia

Ugh, just once, just one freakin’ time, I want a handsome Latino man to hand me flowers and call me senorita. Is that too much to ask? I mean, I cook and clean, ya know?

A boy can dream, I guess.

Winner: Grocery Store Runs

Okay, so this is something I’ve always wondered, how do the mechanics of this work? Does Horacio just say to some field producer, “hey can you guys get me flowers for Olivia’s birthday?” Or does Horacio get to go with them to make the flower run? How much leniency do they get? I’ve always wondered this with food, but like what if someone runs out of shampoo? Or deodorant? Or what if nobody in the house has any Advil or whatever? Do they make a list? In wrestling video games on N64 you used to just press a button and they’d reach into the 2D crowd and discover something like a chair or a bouquet of roses, (Shout out No Mercy and the countless hours of my childhood you stole) do the Challenge Gods have something like that hidden somewhere in Argentina?

So many questions. So few answers.

Loser: The World According To True Crime Podcasts

Over Christmas I drove from Chicago to Nashville to Charlotte and back to Chicago over a weeks span. This was roughly 27 cumulative hours in the car. My biggest mistake? Spending most of that time crushing true crime podcasts. I’m now the most un-trusting person in the entire world.

I see Horacio give his partner flowers on her birthday and immediately for no reason at all I think he’s up to no good. That this is the exact type of guy those podcasts told me to look out for. In the sense that he’s a guy and he’s doing things. From what I’ve learned, those are the most untrustworthy ones. I don’t trust anyone anymore. Crime Junkies broke my brain. Thanks Ashley and Brit.

All I’m saying is that someone should check the shed behind Horacio’s house. There is likely multiple body parts stacked in a corner somewhere.

Winner: Oasis

All I can hear when I see this screenshot are the girls in my dorm hall freshman year of college screaming “OMYGOD U PLAY GUITAR? CAN U PLAY WONDERWALL?!”

And then I’d play Wonderwall, they’d sing along, and then I’d end up making out with none of them and ordering shitty pizza with my dining hall card and throw up in the middle of recruiting for my NCAA Football 09 Wisconsin Badger dynasty. Oh to be 18 again.

Winner: Cowboy Love Stories

What was that movie about the cowboys who were in love and had to hide it from their wives again? The one with Heath Ledger and the fidgety guy from Zodiac.

Toy Story 2?

Winner: Aneesa

No

No

Yeah

No

Mmhmmm

Aneesa’s so tired of Tori asking her about Jordan that her ability to muster up a second syllable has evaded her completely. You know you’re in deep when being monosyllabic is your final defense mechanism. Simply spectacular stuff. I’d listen to an entire podcast of Tori spiraling and Aneesa responding with various grunts and sounds.

Winner: Rooftop Bars

The most fun I ever had at a rooftop club was the last time I was in Vegas. At house parties my friends and I like to bust out the fake Double Dutch, where two people mime spinning two jump ropes and then people jump in the middle and pretend to do a Double Dutch jump. Like a dance circle almost. Except with fake jump ropes. It rocks the party every single time I highly recommend it.

Anywho, last time das broskianos and I were in Vegas, we were at a rooftop club that looked eerily similar to this one. One vodka lemonade led to another and suddenly we busted out the Double Dutch. And we had the whole damn club earning their participation trophies that night. Shit was a ball. Rando strangers just jumping into our Double Dutch circle. It ended up extending through the entire dance floor. The DJ even noticed and got involved.

What’s that?

Nobody cares, and I should move on to recapping the show instead of re-living my glory days that nobody cares about or wants to hear about?

Heard chef.

Winner: Fessy

Winner: Fessy (Again!)

Loser: Insecurities

On the front end, I am under no circumstances knocking Fessy for having insecurities. That’s just an unfortunate variable within the human existence. We all have them. Mine are abundant.

Facts, as Chauncey would say: Fessy is, by far, one of the best to ever play this game from a purely physical aspect. He’s dominant. He’s never really even been touched when it comes to that part. But everything I’m saying here is so obvious that it escapes me why he always feels the need to always bring that up.

In a way, if Fessy were to win this season, after the initial frenzy died down (and boy what a frenzy that would be) I think it would be a net positive for the Challenge world as a whole. He has the capabilities, surely, and if you replaced Devin with Fessy in last season’s Final, we might not even need to be having this conversation.

With a win under his belt, he will have climbed the final rung of the Challenge ladder. These weird moments of feeling like having to prove he has “the best balance here” will, ideally, evaporate. Nobody cares who has the best balance there besides Fessy (okay, maybe Jordan too), but with a win, in his mind, maybe that will be all that needs to be said.

The character he plays on this show can take it’s fullest form, and instead of being the Goliath constantly losing to David, he can become the highest level of foil possible. Being a champion strikes a level of fear in the rest of the house, regardless of who’s wielding the card.

Think about Amber. Whatever it is about her, and whatever her peers feel, those feelings are cranked up louder because she’s a champ. Honestly, if she weren’t to have won Double Agents, rather than stir up weird animosity towards her, it would likely just be apathy. Which in this game, is a thousand times worse.

Fessy surely doesn’t stir up apathy, far from it. In a way, in the future following that win he so desperately craves, these annoying ticks that rub the fan base a certain way (beyond the “ugh Fessy sux” idiots that don’t count) completely disappearing would calcify him into a fantastic villain. A totem for the rest of the house to punch-up at. Take away his built-in support system, give him the crown, and see what happens. Now that’s a story.

Until he wins though, we’re stuck with Fessy celebrating Fessy loud enough for everyone to hear.

Winner: Chauncey

I’m with you. Fuck this one. Gravity is undefeated. Me, you, Darrell, Beth, Katie. Sipping cocktail. On the ground. While the other idiots are all the way up there. Talkin’ shit.

That’s all I want in the entire world.

Loser: Semantics

Lmao, nice try tho Teej.

Winner: Coming Attractions

This new Michael B. Jordan movie looks dope.

Winner: Keeping Your Mouth Shut

Big shout out to Aneesa for not saying anything encouraging to Chauncey simply because she didn’t wanna do it either.

She’s like “hell yeah, be afraid, these things break all the time. You remember Bryan? Of course you don’t remember Bryan. Nobody remembers Bryan. That season never aired. He did a challenge like this, young kid too just like you, and the bungee suddenly snapped and then seconds later…splat. All over the concrete. Blood everywhere. They destroyed the tapes and put a judge appointed gag order on everyone there. It was wild shit. But I mean, that probably won’t happen to you. It might though.”

Winner: Getting What You Ask For

You got it Freaking Twinkle Toes. Don’t gotta tell me twice.

Loser: Competency

Yeah, a little too well done if you ask me.

Not one person fell? Not one fall? Not one high pitched scream? Not one camera shot of an American reality television person dangling like a ham at a butcher shop in front of someone’s high-rise condo?

I’d say I’m just glad they had fun out there, but that would be a lie.

Loser: The Word ‘Good’

Totally.

Winner: Seinfeld References So Obvious They’re Hard To Even Think Of A Punchline About

Winner: These Two, Again

Since they arrived, the daily challenge dominance from Fessy and Freaking Twinkle Toes has been astonishing. The lack of urgency during daily challenges throughout the season has neutered their run of success a bit, this one though was full-go on everyone’s part. Except for Chauncey, I guess.

So it’s no surprise that Fessy and Freaking Twinkly Toes were able to pull out the fastest time during that incredibly boring and entirely useless daily challenge. A perfect example from every angle of their particular brand of droning excellence. Poetry is sometimes reality.

Winner: The Challenge

Only on this show can the words “I feel like you blew up my shit last time you were in power, calling me a terrorist. You never even apologized for that.” be spoken and make total sense. Not only make total sense, but carry meaning that extends over a five year timeline. Not only make sense and carry meaning that extends over half a decade, but also be part of a conversation that ultimately could be worth one million dollars.

Don’t ever tell me this isn’t the greatest show in the world.

Winner: This Show

LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Winner: All Of Us

How can you not be romantic about The Challenge?

Winner: Day Dreaming

Oh, hey, look, Tori and Jordan are arguing again. What are your thoughts, team?

The constant barrage of stimuli we fill our lives with has one drawback that I feel is lost in the weeds when that idea springs into conversation. And that is that loss of day dreaming.

Some of the greatest creativity stemmed from bored humans laying on the floor of their room in complete silence. Just getting lost in their minds. This, I truly believe, is one of the greatest issues facing modern story-telling. The lack of just shutting it all off. Just floating into nothing. Letting the mind wander.

The amount of thinking one can do when zoning out from reality, detached from the shackles of modernity, is infinite. The rest of the group in the room has gotten plenty of thinking done lately. I wonder what great ideas will stem from Johnny, Olivia, Freaking Twinkle Toes, Chauncey, and Fessy from just this month’s long argument alone.

Loser: All Other Poets

Somebody should write a song about that.

No. Dammit. Johnny. Put your guitar away.

I SAID MAAYBBBAAYYYYYYYYY

Winner: Finally, A Challenger Listened To Me

Looks like Johnny’s a big fan of my recaps.

Last week I wrote a whole section dedicated to recommending Johnny go see an optometrist due to his intense squinting through Nany and Moriah’s entire elimination round.

And here’s four-eyes this week, lookin like a total nerd. But most importantly, a total nerd that can now see clearly.

Thanks for reading, Johnny.

Winner: Challenge Fans, Finally

It’s been hard being a Challenge fan lately.

We’ve had to endure a brand new episode of our favorite show basically every single week since All Stars 3 premiered on May 11th, 2022. Like, just take a moment to think about what pordukshin has put us through. What a croc of shit. Enough is enough. All I see online are fans praising the cast and the producers for blessing us with this uninterrupted string of Challenge. And I’m sick of it. We should be doing so much more complaining about it.

But then Devin pulled that SAFE dagger, setting up a Jordan v. Horacio elimination round. A match-up so perfect it was first discovered painted on the cave walls of La Pasiega 64,000 years ago.

After taking months of L’s, it feels good to finally get something in return for our fandom.

Winner: Getting What You Ask For (Part 2)

You want it, you got it, Young Dagger.

Winner: Veteran Savvy

Nothin’ like going up against a legend and immediately getting hit right in the mouth.

Jordan knew exactly where that elbow was going, you cannot tell me any different. And I effing love it. As Jordan said in his confessional, hit him first and see if he backs down.

I wish every elimination was as intense from the moment the match-up was announced like this one. I haven’t felt this way since the Ambers did a Hall Brawl on Double Agents.

Winner: Chris Berman

WHOOP!

WHOOP!

WHOOP!

HORACI-OH-NO-THERE-HE-GOES TO THE HOUSE FOR THE TOUCHDOWN AND THE RAAYYYYYYYYDAHS ARE UP TWELVE!

Winner: Setting The Story Straight

I’m glad she said that. Just like Fessy helped me realize who had the best balance in the house earlier, thanks to Nany I now know that Jordan’s not easy to fake out. Which is contrary to the popular belief that Jordan is easy to fake out, something that fans go back and forth about all the time.

We can finally lay that debate to rest.

Winner: Coach Gordon Bombay

Horacio just waited him out and it became clear that Jordan has never seen The Mighty Ducks.

MAKE HIM MAKE THE FIST MOVE, CONWAY!

Should’ve paid more attention at hockey practice.

Winner: Peanut Tillman

Horacio had to hit him with the Peanut Tillman for round three.

For all my Bears fans out there, if you know, you know. That dude was a menace to society on the football field.

What a legend.

Winner: That Elimination Round

My expectations may have been sky high, and I don’t think they quite got there (this should have been first to 100 or something insane like that) but at least they didn’t fuck it up and make this a puzzle.

Thank you, Challenge Gods.

Winner: Jordan

Pick that beautiful, mulleted head up. You’re gonna be back in the game in like fifteen minutes this season on The Challenge: Nihilism.

Winner: Horacio

5–0, in one season, is no joke.

Parse all the details you want…He got help from the crowd, Olivia carried him in the Hall Brawl, he went up against Kenny…it’s all true, and it’s all real.

But five wins in one season is, regardless of the nuance, no joke.

But it also means you found yourself deemed expendable by the rest of the house five different times. Which can’t be super awesome to experience. Let’s look at how the other two found themselves facing a plane ride home five different times, and conquered them all.

Sarah’s greatest sin on The Gauntlet was not being one of the cool kids. She was meek where they were strong. She was quiet where they were boisterous. But mostly she just wasn’t in the popular crowd. Her sometimes dreadful daily challenge performances didn’t bolster her case either. Still though, being unliked is an easy way to get voted in.

Speaking of unliked…

The next duo who went 5 for 5 in one season was Wes and Casey. They were equally as unpopular, or should I say Wes was equally as unpopular as Sarah, only it was for entirely different reasons.

Young Wes was…..arrogant, to say the least. His first order of business upon arrival on his first ever Challenge season was to ask if people could move out of a room they already set their stuff in so that he and the other couples from Real World Austin could canoodle together in one space. If it seems endearing on paper, it was even more so coming from a rookie with a red mohawk.

Which brings us back to Horacio, who is both well-liked and popular. He has committed none of the sins of this predecessors. The only mistake he’s made has been being a rookie. Something totally out of his control.

You could tell by his reaction that this bludgeoning of sand he’s received on his rookie season is wearing on him. He barely even celebrated, which says alot because his celebrations have been fairly muted already. Going in five times, sending home two champions, defeating a hall-of-famer, slamming the door shut on his rookie-of-the-year counterpart, and most impressively beating Kenny, Horacio has put his name into the Challenge record books.

And his hair has remained perfect the entire time.

Ay dios mio, papi.

Winner: Veteran Insight

Astute. Very astute.

Winner: Youthful Exuberance

Even after 21 seasons, Johnny can still get excited about something like TJ showing up at the house unannounced. That little giggle he let out was adorable.

Loser: Emphasis

No it isn't.

Loser: Rich Guys

One time a friend of a friend’s rich uncle paid me 400 bucks to bartend for a few hours at his enormous lake house in Michigan for a party he was throwing one weekend. It was the easiest money I ever made everybody only drank beer from the coolers I essentially existed to pour shots for people and take them. And they all tipped for nothing so I doubled my money by the end of the night.

Anywho, this was that type of rich asshole who loves to show off all his cool rich guy shit. Expensive booze. Sports collectibles. Those are both the worst types of people and the easiest to deal with. You just gotta tell them how cool they are. Tickle their prostate a bit. If you do it right, and come off genuine, they’ll give you whatever you want the rest of the night.

So after doing shots of the 1942 he was so excited to show me he had, he was absolutely shit-bombed by like 6:45. He hopped on the karaoke microphone, the first and only person to do so that night, and sang, what else, My House by Flo Rida.

The only words he knew were ‘welcome to my house’ he just sort of drunk mumbled through all the other parts.

I turn it on sometimes when I’m sad still able to perfectly visualize that idiot making everyone at his party uncomfortable.

What were we talking about again?

Loser: TJ, Lying To Everyone

No you’re not.

Loser: Kenny, No Longer Chillin’ At The DoubleTree

Lmao, so does he I bet.

No one is more upset about all of this than he is.

Winner: Fessy (Again!) (Again!)

Winner: The Editors, Earning Their Paycheck

Shout out to the editing team hard at work to make this seem like the outcome was at any point in doubt.

I’m not entirely sure, due to the epilepsy inducing editing job, but I’m pretty sure that Fessy and Moriah won that in sixty seconds. The minimum amount of time. Like winning Connect Four in four moves.

You tell em, kid.

Winner: Football Practice

I, too, look forward to the day when Fessy plays an elimination game that doesn’t resemble a football practice drill.

Still, if I’m going to fellate Horacio over his 5–0, I can’t just dismiss Fessy either. Regardless of how many years of practice he’s gotten for said elimination rounds, almost five seasons deep, the man remains undefeated.

But as the great Brad Pitt acting as Billy Beane once said…

Nobody understands that better than him.

VIVA LA REAL WORLD!!!

Thanks for reading! See you this weekend for my first batch of Power Rankings in a few weeks. Looking forward to it! And, as always, Happy Challenge Watching!!!

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Brian Batty

Writing about MTV’s The Challenge, one of America’s great institutions, from a fan’s perspective.