The Challenge Ride or Dies Episode 16 Recap — Winners & Losers

Brian Batty
17 min readJan 26, 2023

Welcome to The Challenge Ride or Dies Episode 16 Recap!!! To say we had some winners and losers would be an understatement. The finish line is in sight. It’s been a long journey together so far. So without further adieu, let’s get to the cow dick. Inside this week: I’m still not sure which brand of mustard to buy, Wes has a dog named Penny, Nany helps me stand up to grade school bullies everywhere, and much much more…

Winner: Johnny Bananas

He should have never even gotten this far.

Use all the qualifiers you want, Johnny, and take credit for playing an under the radar game. But regardless of how true that may be, you getting this far is on them.

The most obvious time to throw him in was right when he and Nany arrived late. Any reason is a good reason to be voted into elimination, and being late is one of the most well-worn reason there is. But then he and Nany grabbed a win. And then he was on the team that mostly won every time. So it wasn’t like he dangled like a street sign above them waiting to be shot at with a paintball gun all season. But still, there were chances, ample opportunities some would say (cough jayandmicheleandnelsonandnurys cough), to vote him and end his run for number eight before it even got started.

For most of Johnny’s time on this show after he took the money and ran on Rivals 3 he was dodging projectiles and accumulating enemies. He was the Sun which the rest of the house gravitated around. And guess what? The group collectively took enough shots and he caught more than a few strays, leading to a growing list of champions that weren’t him.

Jemmye is an amazing talker. Partly because she speaks like she’s tweeting, but also partly because she’s incredibly accurate and astute at knowing what people want to hear.

Her idea that stealing Sarah’s money cast some sort of curse on Johnny (oh look, another curse) was cute. Really all the “curse” was was the house smartening up and taking shots at him whenever they could.

Yet here we are, on the precipice of the Final, Johnny’s still in street clothes.

Winner: Legs

Is anybody else as obsessed with Jordan’s hamstrings as I am?

Also brb, I’m printing that screenshot out and framing it for my office. Just a couple’a Hall of Famers cuttin it up. Sportin lounge-wear still soaking in the stink of their fallen enemies.

Loser: Getting Old

I can’t imagine how sore their bodies are right now. I sleep with my arm extended five degrees the wrong direction and my shoulder is out of commission for 48 hours. Sit in a strange position for too long? I’m pacing around my apartment for like twenty minutes before it’s back to normal.

Aneesa has got to be hurting right now. She just did a Knot So Fast, got tossed around in a city bus, then had to drag a 130 pound anchor with arms and legs floppin all over the place around a sand pit in the cold all within the last 48–72 hours.

Them knees is burninnnnnnn. Tell you what.

Loser: Hope, The Most Dangerous Game Of Them All

I’m not a big sit in one place for too long kinda guy. I’m pretty fidgety with my hands. I don’t bake, I cook. Ya know?

By now they’ve been stuck in that house for so long by this point the walls gotta be damn near closing in on them. How difficult would it be for you to have to sit in the backyard and see a car that close to you? A car represents freedom. A freedom that they contractually do not have at the moment.

I feel like I would spend a majority of the day, every day, staring at that car and daydreaming about about snatching the keys from security, firin’ that puppy up and just driving away. Cruise Argentina for hours. Wind in my hair and TJ Lavin furiously pedaling his bike trying to chase me down in my rear view mirror. Just me, the open road, and a strange land.

Seeing that shiny silver symbol of freedom taunting me from behind the gym would be too much to handle. That’s how I’d break, the little things. Like hope. The most intoxicating and dangerous drug available to them.

Winner: Compliments

Giving a compliment to Bananas was easily the most personally difficult task Fessy managed to accomplish at this point of the season.

Winner: The Mystifying Elements of This Game

But why? Why is that? I’ve written over 150 posts on this blog mostly trying to determine the answer to that question.

Why do the more mystical elements of this game happen?

I can’t answer it, I really can’t. I’ve never played this game, I never want to play this game, I can never truly know what I’m talking about. In fact, I’d bet anyone on the cast who’s read my recaps thinks I’m the biggest moron in the world and have been wrong about almost everything I’ve ever said.

But can someone at least explain it to me then? Jordan and Fessy are right there, they’re asking all the right questions, there’s just no exploration of the answers.

Maybe they did, and the editors just cut it out. But again, that comes back to that whole “I don’t know anything” part where I only see so much. Tell us why Johnny is able to skate. Tell us why CT was a ghost last season. Tell us why this exact thing happens to the exact same people consistently across decades of this show’s existence.

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.

Loser: Asaf, Bayleigh, Chris, & Jenn

The four of them only got to experience this show while living in the worst conditions possible. If I had to endure that stale, smelly bunker and had to shit outside like they did on Total Madness, I’d probably be out on this show too.

But what will always be funny to me is imagining them sitting at home watching Tori and Devin give each other facials, drink wine out of stemmed glassware, and eat oranges with cucumber slices over their eyes. They have to be so mad about it. I totally would be. Like, are you fucking kidding me? Jenn had to brush her teeth while Wes’s piss ran past her foot. Devin’s worried about pesticides on his eyes, while Asaf now has to live with four different kinds of tuberculosis.

Loser: Broken Sarcasm Detectors

I don’t know who you are. I don’t know where you are. I don’t know what you do. But to the guy out there that took this seriously and started firing off angry tweets claiming that Devin’s wrong…you’re an idiot.

Winner: The Challenge

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

Winner: Ensuring Your Shoes Stay Close(?)

Uh…Why are those boots taped together?

Winner: Florida

Does she mean that since there’s no state tax in Florida that they’re going to technically make more money if they win than anyone else?

Any state tax law experts out there, feel free to chime in by tweeting us @fessyfitness.

Winner: Sicily

Everything in my life clicked when I realized that Jordan’s just taking Portia as his style inspo this season. Everything makes total sense now. I am finally zen within myself and have achieved all of my hopes and dreams. I’m 6'8" and Class President. Free Pepsi for everyone and every single class is recess.

I am one with all and all are one with me.

Winner: No Free Ads

It’s a good thing they covered up the label on that mustard bottle. Wouldn’t want Heinz to get some free pub on MTV’s tab. I now still have no clue which mustard I am going to purchase.

Loser: Not Knowing What She’s Saying

I don’t. Care to elaborate?

Winner: Humble Brags

Lmao, why?

Winner: When The Character Says The Title of The Movie

Hell yeah.

Winner: Learning From The Past

For what it’s worth, on The Challenge: Australia they did this exact daily challenge towards the end of the season. Most of the pairs did what Horacio and Olivia did, where they sat in the ice bucket facing the same way. But the pairs also rotated each episode, so maybe the lines of communication were just stronger this time around.

The point is, the winners of their version of this ended up being the champion for the men and the runner-up for the women.

What does that mean for Tori and Devin? Everything? Nothing? Probably a little of Column A and a little of Column B. Just something to stick in your back pocket for later.

Winner: Great Ideas

On All-Stars 3, we got Wes FaceTiming Johnny, and now we’ve come full circle on the opposite sides of the iPad.

What was a great idea then, continues to be a great idea now.

This needs to be a staple of every season moving forward. Everyone gets a Challenge legend lifeline, if you will, to be able to call at some point during the season to talk strategy.

In fact, fuck a lifeline, just keep Wes on retainer for this exact thing. What, is he gonna say no? No chance! Even if said Challenger doesn’t have a true relationship with Wes, in a way, that would make it even better.

The next chapter in Wes’s Challenge career if he’s not going to do the show (which would obviously be my first choice) should be to exist as sort of a Challenge shaman that they can call upon for advice on big game decisions.

How great would it have been to see Devin call Wes and ask which team he should put in? Who would have a better insight and be able to articulate the intricacies without even being there better than Wes?

When you birth an amazing addition to the show, you have to nurture it. This right here, this phone-a-Challenge-friend idea, is one of those.

Winner: Ranking Wes’s Titles

And last but not least…

Winner: Olivia’s Life Advice

This could be applied to almost every aspect of life. Thank you, Olivia. I was lost but now I’m found.

Loser: Almost Getting There

Last night while watching this live, my initial reaction to this scene was “hell yeah, Fessy, preach”. But that was because I wasn’t totally hearing Jimi on this one. I was listening.

To listen to Fessy in this scene is to think he’s right. To think that, while totally self-serving in this moment, Fessy’s finally speaking truth to power. It’s now or never to get rid of the seven time champion.

But then I re-watched this scene to write this recap, and I finally heard Jimi.

If Fessy truly thinks that Johnny has won this game seven times because he “goes to the final everytime then turns it on” then I’m starting to wonder if Fessy will ever actually win one of these.

There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding in his head of what it really takes to win in this specific atmosphere. Your physical gifts and your smarts can really only take you so far. Fessy’s strong enough, fast enough, smart enough, good enough to win this show. All the boxes are checked. But this game is about so much more than “going to the final then turning it on”.

I don’t know, this might be one of those times I mentioned earlier where I sound moronic to those who actually do this in real life. But I can’t shake the way he presented why Johnny wins in this deliberation. I’m also probably playing the result here, and if the elimination later on in this episode were to have one another way, I might be all the way back around to my initial observation of “hell yeah, Fess, tell em”.

Yeah, that’s a good point ladies. Moving on.

Winner: Puckering Up

Hey Johnny, quick Q, how does Devin’s ass taste?

Winner: Embracing Your Blind Spots

Did he just seriously say out loud that if he were to win it would also be good for Devin?

I gotta be honest, I admire Fessy so much for being the type of person to say out loud to his opponent that if he were to win it would be for the good for both of them, and be totally sincere about it! He’s not even attempting to manipulate Devin right now. He is pleading his truth in the best way he knows how.

How would you winning be good for Devin? How? What would that accomplish? In what way would his life improve if you were to win? Imagine saying to a co-worker “you know, if I got that raise instead of you, it would actually be great for you”

This show is the best.

Loser: Burying The Lede

Well, you’ve also been on like a thousand episodes of this show. But yeah, totally, high school sports is the reason.

Winner: Breaching Security

What would happen if Nany actually refused to leave. Like she lost this elimination than just stood there in the sand and didn’t move. And if security threw her out she just stayed around and disrupted filming and never left. Would they call the police? They’d have to right? What’s the punishment for trespassing in Argentina?

Anywho, that was fun. Back to you in the studio, Al.

Winner: Big Time Players Make Big Time Plays in Big Time Games

A year above me in grade school were these twins known as the Ramos Brothers. They were bigger than everyone, they were stronger than everyone, and most important of all they were total bullies.

And I was one one of their main targets.

They made fun of me, they went after me playing football at recess, all that fun grade school bully stuff.

One day during a random dodge ball game during a random gym class on a random day of school, I found myself on the opposite team of both of the Ramos Brothers. I knew deep in my beaten and bruised fourth grade heart that they were going to come right for me. And as the whistle blew and the game began, what do ya know, the two biggest, fastest, and strongest kids in the school outran everyone and each scooped up a ball.

I retreated towards the back wall, eyes locked on the Ramos Brothers. They decided not to play with their food and stuck their fork right in. They made their way towards me and fired away.

My reflexes kicked in and I caught the first one, fired near my head, with both hands. Then, before I could even celebrate, and I still to this day don’t know how I did it, I looked down at my feet and there was the ball slung by the second Ramos Brother lodged in between my ankles.

I triumphantly stared down my bullies. They were aghast, unsure of how that just happened. I’m pretty sure I started singing How We Do by Ja Rule right there in the gymnasium, taunting their failures to eliminate me that day.

I have no idea what either of the Ramos Brothers are doing now. But I know one thing’s for sure, they’re not telling that story on their Challenge blog today. When they watched Nany make one of the greatest plays in Challenge history last night, all they saw was the ghost of that dorky, chubby kid they picked on in grade school finally getting one over on them.

You’re God damn right.

Winner: Johnny Bananas

Come at the King, best not miss.

Fessy said it best, this is exactly the type of stupid shit Johnny would be good at. And he is. And last night, he was.

Many times over the course of this marathon season, the rest of the house had the opportunity to put him in this position, and they only took the chance once. He slithered out, and now he’s soon to be standing at the starting line of a Final Challenge he has won seven times before.

Winner: The End Of The Day

Pressures on now. Nany has made it to her third Final in a row, and has her best opportunity to finally sip the sweet nectar of victory.

I’ve been speculating all season that this is her Last Dance (at least until that All Stars appearance check reaches the right number) victory or not. And I believe that more so now than ever.

I’m basking in the final moments of my celebrity crush existing on my television screen. Even if you’re not quite as biased as me, take these last few episodes and appreciate all Nany has given us over the years. Because at the end of the day (shout out Nany), we’re gonna miss her when she’s gone.

Winner: Faysal

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. This season he came in hungry for the win. He played a great game and still came up short. Best case scenario, this loss humbles him.

Fessy is a beast. As far as competition goes, as an opponent, he’s scary. A hungry Fessy is even scarier. A hungry and humbled Fessy?

If he takes the right life lessons from this loss, the rest of these dudes better watch out. A hungry and humbled Fessy is coming for all the hardware. Me and the rest of the haterz can bask in this loss tonight and through the off-season. But he’s coming back, and this might be our last time. As a Challenge fan first and foremost, I can’t wait to see it.

Loser: The End

Welp. Here we are. We made it. After sixteen weeks, we’re at the Final.

It was a fun season. A thousand times better than Spies, Lie, & Allies and definitely better than Double Agents. Outside of the rules being set-up in a way that penalized winning, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. We laughed. We cried. Livin’ La Vida Loca played. It was a blast.

And now we’re to the boring part. The politics and the lies and the scheming are out the window. Time to eat some cow dick.

My prediction? You wanted my prediction? Well since you asked so nicely…

4th — Aneesa/Jordan

3rd — Olivia/Horacio

2nd — Devin/Tori

1st — Johnny/Nany

How boring. I went total chalk, but I’m nothing if not basic. I shop at Kohl’s and I eat spaghetti. But I’d love to be wrong. I’d be happy with any of the four teams winning. I could find solace through the rest of the winter months with any of them.

Favorites win this show more times than not. But trends are made to be broken, so I guess we’ll find out soon enough!

Thanks for reading!!! Check back soon for….what’s that?….We have a bonus winner?…

Well, what are you waiting for?

Dramatic effect?

Alright, that’s enough.

Bonus Winner: Dr. Evil

Lmao, one hundred hours? What even is that? 100 hours? That’s insane.

I mean, I love it. Fuck, make it 100 days. I don’t give a shit. There’s just no turning back now though, right? It’s like when they started the overnight Final on Rivals. Imagine if they went back to the Gauntlet 3 two and a half mile run again. They just couldn’t, it would seem stupid.

Are all Finals going to be 100 hours now? I have so many questions, and it looks like I got like three weeks of my life to explore the answers. Lucky us.

Viva la Fessy Fitness!!!

Thanks for reading! See you back here soon for the final Power Rankings of the season. And until then, as always, Happy Challenge Watching!!!

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Brian Batty

Writing about MTV’s The Challenge, one of America’s great institutions