The Challenge: Ride or Dies recap: The last elimination before the final knocks out a major team

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The final is almost here on The Challenge: Ride or Dies, and one team takes a risky shot at the perfect time to make sure one of the biggest teams doesn't make it out alive in this week's episode. Let's recap one of the best installments of the season!

There are now only five teams left and the final is closer than ever — and somehow Johnny Bananas still hasn't been targeted. That's honestly why this might be his most impressive season yet. He's lessened his threat level so much so that Jordan's actually become the biggest target instead. But all the guys are really starting to notice, and Fessy, Jordan, and Devin come together to vent over how Johnny's avoided every elimination so far. Johnny even tells Nany it's weird that he's the only person in the house who hasn't seen an elimination this season, and he's trying to keep it that way. He and Nany laugh about it because they think no one else has noticed... but they definitely have. His time of feeling safe is almost up.

Devin and Tori have a mini spa day together in the house and he tells her that he's ready to win a challenge and throw Bananas and Nany directly into elimination. It's right before the final, so it's the perfect time to enact this plan. They just have to win to make it happen... but the only problem is every other pair also knows they have to win the next challenge at all costs, so the stakes have never been higher.

Even TJ calls this week's challenge "the most important challenge of the season." In "Frozen Senseless," every player races to dig and crawl under their own individual barrier to make it to the opposite end of the course from their teammate. One partner has to blindly feel the shapes on three boxes and communicate what they felt to their partner who has to assemble the shapes correctly on their end of the course. But the only place they can talk to each other is submerged in a bucket of ice water. The pair to get it done first wins.

The Challenge on paramount + credit mtv
The Challenge on paramount + credit mtv


Bananas is the first to get under the barrier, with Horacio not far behind. Meanwhile Nany and Moriah are the first to get to the key, with Tori right behind. Bananas and Nany and Devin and Tori are the first pairs to get in the ice baths, and Nany is already getting worried that what Bananas tells her isn't what she saw at the answer key. Moriah tells Fessy he's giving her too much information at once. But Devin and Tori and Horacio and Olivia keep calm while the other teams get heated with each other, arguing about what the shapes and orientation of each one.

Tori eventually calls for a check and everything is right, so she and Devin win while the other teams weren't even halfway done. It was a complete blowout for their first win of the season, and now they're the only pair safe from elimination... and the only pair "100 percent ... one step closer to the final," TJ tells them with a laugh, playing with their emotions once more. Everyone else is starting to sweat, but Bananas hopes that his new alliance with Devin this season could keep him safe. He also knows he's never been able to trust Devin in the past, so he's not sure what to think.

Then we get a surprise cameo from another one of Bananas' former enemies turned allies... Wes Bergmann! Bananas video calls Wes fresh off his All Stars 3 win to reveal he's been working with Wes' BFF Devin for the first time ever. He asks for advice on what to expect from Devin for what's likely the last elimination of the season, and Wes gives it to him straight: Devin's probably playing both sides, so expect all possibilities.

The Challenge on paramount + credit mtv
The Challenge on paramount + credit mtv


During Interrogations, Tori tells Devin she's ready to be irresponsible and take a big shot with their power. Aneesa and Jordan are "untouchable," and they want to make sure Horacio and Olivia are safe, too, so we get a Bananas/Nany vs. Fessy/Moriah matchup in the sand. And Olivia and Horacio tell Devin and Tori they would save Aneesa and Jordan in the Draw, which is exactly what they want to hear.

Now they just need to figure out who the main vote is going to be. Tori wants to make Fessy/Moriah the direct vote, while Devin's leaning towards Bananas/Nany. Jordan points out that Bananas hasn't targeted Devin at all this season, and they've bonded so much as roommates in the house that making him the direct vote could backfire. But putting Bananas/Nany in the Draw gives them the chance to draw the safe dagger, so either way, it's a risk. Tori and Devin both don't want to ruin their relationships with Bananas and Nany or Fessy and Moriah, but they also know the final is almost here and their best shot at winning is taking out their biggest competition when they have the chance.

That night at the bar, Devin tells Tori they need to play to win with this move, while Olivia and Aneesa solidify their new alliance going into the Draw. Fessy tries to convince Devin to make Bananas the direct vote, while Bananas confesses to Nany he's worried he's been played by Devin this whole season. Tensions are skyrocketing, and I love it so much. This is already shaping up to be the best episode of the season. The last few weeks have been top notch drama and action, making up for a somewhat lackluster mid-game.

At the elimination, Tori and Devin make Fessy and Moriah the direct vote — they ultimately decided that they were the stronger overall team who they don't want to see make it to the final. In the Draw, Bananas and Nany pick first but come up short, and Olivia and Horacio pick the safe dagger next. While Horacio makes it seem like they're sending Aneesa and Jordan in at first, they honor their deal and save them, sending Bananas and Nany into elimination against Fessy and Moriah.

This is a matchup fans have been dying to see for years, ever since Fessy debuted on The Challenge and started talking so much crap about taking out the legends like CT and Bananas. It's time to put your money where your mouth is, Fessy! Plus, Bananas and Moriah are now in a romantic relationship, so this elimination is messy any way you slice it.

The Challenge on paramount + credit mtv
The Challenge on paramount + credit mtv


The elimination, "Bridge It," requires every player to put in equal work, which is exactly what an elimination should be, especially this late in the game. Using only three rungs, each partner has to make it to the top of a tower via a rope bridge. The pair to make it to the top first wins. It will take strength, endurance, and coordination, and with the experience and skills shared between Bananas and Nany, they absolutely have the advantage here. I just don't see Fessy doing well in this at all, despite his claims that he has the best balance out of everyone.

The elimination begins, and the teams on the sidelines immediately realize just how difficult this is going to be. Fessy is the first to fall off after only placing his third rung, which is not a great omen for how the rest of this is going to go, and in his confessional, he once again talks smack about Bananas: "Bananas isn't the greatest at a lot of things, but it's the stupidest s--- that he excels in, and this is a prime example of some s--- that Bananas would be good at." That's just straight up wrong — Bananas is not naturally good at any of this; he is great at most things on The Challenge because he's learned how to adapt to literally anything that he faces. Once again, Fessy proves how he doesn't have even a basic understanding of what it takes to win The Challenge, and he keeps making up excuses of why he isn't doing well. Is anyone shocked?

Meanwhile, Bananas and Nany are slowly but steadily making progress up the ropes, gaining a small but important lead on Fessy and Moriah. Fessy keeps falling at the beginning, and clearly is getting frustrated to the point where Moriah has to yell at him to keep calm and basically just copy Bananas. Eventually Bananas and Nany both fall and have to start over too, multiple times, as does Moriah, and this becomes an endurance challenge. But while Bananas, Nany, and Moriah all get high on the ropes on each attempt, Fessy can barely pass the first rung each time before he falls.

Eventually Bananas makes it to the top to the tower and has to wait for Nany. He tries to give her tips and support but she's in the zone and tells him to shut up. But when she reaches the second to the last spot at the top, one of her rungs falls to the ground. She has to start back at the bottom all over again. It's a tough blow this late in the elimination but she has the strategy down and quickly passes Moriah again. She almost loses a rung at the top again but literally catches it with her toes, impressing everyone, including TJ. She finally makes it to the top and hits the button, winning with Bananas and sending Fessy and Moriah home. Whew, that was stressful!

Finally Fessy gets a real taste of what it's like to lose with his first official elimination loss of his Challenge career. It took longer than it should have to see Fessy in an elimination that didn't give him a size or strength advantage, and he really s--- the bed when it mattered most, showing just how much he still has to learn and train to do well in this game. Also, LOL at Fessy saying in his final confessional that at least he stuck by his ride or die Moriah's side... did we watch the same season?!

Also Nany says in her confessional this is the third elimination she's won this season... but she's only been in two. Right? The first was her against Moriah, and now this one. So... that's weird? But absolutely loving Nany's newfound confidence here. If anyone can explain where her third elimination win of the season came from, hit me up on Twitter at @SydneyBucksbaum.

And to cap off this week's amazing episode, TJ finally announces that it's time to start the final! That means Tori and Devin, Bananas and Nany, Aneesa and Jordan, and Olivia and Horacio have all officially made it. And that also means for the first time ever, a final is going to span three entire episodes. Let's not forget episodes are now supersized at 90 minutes, so the sheer length of this final alone is the biggest in Challenge history. That's... so ominous. And in the trailer for next week's episode, TJ reveals it's going to be 100 hours long. We see shots of Bananas, Jordan, and Devin projectile vomiting, someone's bleeding profusely from their hand, Aneesa might sprain another ankle, Horacio's crying, Nany and Bananas are fighting... this looks brutal. And I cannot wait. Let's get it started!

The Challenge: Ride or Dies airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.

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