The Challenge Season 38, Episode 1 recap: Ride or Dies premiere features Turbo drama and TJ twists

the challenge ride or dies host tj lavin at the zone
Host TJ Lavin kept the twists coming at The Zone in Ride or Dies premiere episode. Pic credit: MTV

The Challenge Season 38 kicked off as the initial cast members journeyed via small luxury boats to their accommodations for the upcoming season. Survivor star Michele Fitzgerald was back as the only rookie returning from Spies, Lies & Allies, and ready to get farther than last season.

Among the passengers on the boasts were Turabi “Turbo” Camkiran with teammate Tamara Alfonso, Devin Walker with friend Tori Deal, Kaycee Clark with her brother Kenny, Laurel Stucky with friend Jakk Maddox, and Kailah Casillas with her husband, Sam Bird.

As their boat journey continued on a beautiful day, dual confessional interviews appeared on screen featuring Ride or Dies teammates discussing their stories and motivations to win the season.

Things got turbulent during the boat trip after Laurel poured champagne into glasses for various castmates around her. Turbo said he’d been standing behind her and felt slighted when she didn’t pour him some.

He told Laurel he had asked her several times, and she indicated she had never heard him. However, Turbo wasn’t buying her response, and the two jawed at one another onboard the boat. Laurel said she felt she was “babysitting.”

It eventually led to Turbo getting frustrated and announcing he’d go into elimination on purpose to get rid of his castmates. In a confessional, Nelson Thomas said he would have no problem with that.

The cast arrived at The Challenge house at night, rushing in to check the luxurious place out. Later, they had drinks and food together, discussing their lives and the season ahead in various conversations.

Some footage revealed that Love Island star Johnny Middlebrooks was interested in Nelson’s teammate Nurys Mateo and castmates saw them making out. Johnny’s teammate Ravyn Rochelle spoke to Nelson outside about how things didn’t work out for her and Johnny. Ravyn admitted she thought she and her teammate would work on their friendship but now felt alone.

Fessy flirted with Colleen Schneider in a hot tub the next morning. She lied to him, saying she was on a version of Love Island in Germany. In confessional, she said she was on a show called The Mole, where someone manipulated the whole game and season.

Surprising first daily challenge winners for Season 38

Host TJ Lavin made his first appearance for the new season, walking to the spot where the cast members stood. He welcomed them to Ride or Dies and dropped the bombshell that Kaycee and her brother Kenny had to leave the game already. TJ didn’t give any reason for their early departure.

TJ said he brought in two new teams to replace them. One team featured Nam Vo and his teammate Emmy Russ. The other team was two rookies: Love Island’s Olivia Kaiser and Horacio Gutierrez.

The first daily challenge was Bolas for Blood. Over 100 Bolas, aka game balls, were buried in a mud pit.

The Ride or Dies cast members had to rush through the mud pit to get to their station, where they had questions about their teammates. After that, they had to find the Bolas in the mud pit that corresponded to the number answers and rush them back to the station.

According to TJ, the team to get all their Bolas with the correct answers to their station the fastest would win and receive major power.

competitors in the challenge ride or dies first daily challenge
Competitors search for the correct answers in a mud pit during The Challenge: Ride or Dies. Pic credit: MTV

Questions involved math equations, such as teammates combining their ages or adding the digits of the year they met.

In a surprising first daily challenge, rookies Ravyn and Johnny won, edging out Survivor stars Jay Starrett and Michele. It also turned out Nelson got his age wrong for one of the answers in the daily, costing him a win.

TJ told the winners to select four teams for deliberation to interrogate, and they’d later choose one of the pairs for elimination. TJ said he’d reveal how their opponents would be announced later.

Winners choose four potential elimination teams

Johnny and Raven selected Laurel and Jakk Maddox, Tori Deal and Devin, Kim Tranka and Colleen, and Kailah and Sam. Their names were later visible on a board outside The Challenge house for cast members to see, shocking some.

Later, the winners met with each of the four teams separately in a room to try to make deals and get intel. During interrogations, Tori and Devin said they’d keep Ravyn and Johnny safe if they won a future daily challenge.

Fellow rookies Kim and Colleen seemed ready to help out the winning rookies, but later Jakk revealed to Johnny and Ravyn that Colleen lied about her show and told them about The Mole.

The cast members enjoyed some time out at a nightclub, dancing and getting to know each other. In a confessional, Nelson confessed attraction to new castmate Olivia. Ravyn told Laurel and Jakk she wanted to sleep on the decision of who to put in elimination.

The next day, Jay spoke with allies Johnny and Raven and Amber Borzotra with her boyfriend, Chauncey Palmer. They spoke in a shared bedroom about “taking a shot” early. Jay said the rookies have numbers now and could change how the game typically goes.

Who went home in the first Ride or Dies elimination?

At night, TJ greeted the cast at the new elimination venue called The Zone. The four nominated teams came out to join TJ on the ground level. Ravyn and Johnny revealed they selected Kailah and Sam to “stir s**t up” early. TJ said they were one elimination team.

TJ then told the other three teams to join him at The Draw, a rock with three black daggers stuck into it. Devin made a joke about Turbo and the daggers, which caused Turbo to yell at him from the stands asking what he meant. Devin apologized for the joke.

The teams of Tori and Devin and Jakk with Laurel drew blank daggers, but Colleen and Kim drew one marked “Safe.” TJ told them they could choose one of the other two teams to keep safe with them. Those chose fellow rookie Jakk and his teammate Laurel, sending Devin and Tori into elimination.

You Move, I Move was the elimination event featuring two giant mazes with five balls inside of them. The teammates each stood on platforms and used their body weight. A person’s movement tilted the maze, moving a ball along the path. The first team to get all five balls out of the maze won, and the losers got eliminated.

the challenge 38 episode 1 elimination matchup
TJ watches the first elimination event of the Ride or Dies season, featuring giant maze puzzles. Pic credit: MTV

Despite getting one ball ahead of their opponents early, Sam and Kailah seemed to have some communication struggles. In confessional, Kailah also said Devin has a version of this maze game as his coffee table, suggesting he’s a master at it. That may have been true, as Devin and Tori won the event, sending Kailah and Sam home early.

After Tori and Devin rejoined the group, TJ introduced another twist. He brought out the first Heavy Hitters team for the season, Johnny Bananas and Nany Gonzalez, surprising the rest of the cast.

The Challenge: Ride or Dies airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on MTV.

Episodes of The Challenge are now streaming on Paramount+. Try it FREE!

The link above is an affiliate link. This means that for any qualifying purchase you make, we may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments