Takin' on 'The Challenge': Riders on the Storm

We have finally arrived at The Challenge final. We got part one this week, and said goodbye to Horacio & Olivia due to injury. It's a different kind of final than we're used to, but a fun watch nonetheless.

Question 1: How many contestants do you think needed a crash course in driving a stick shift? Can you drive a manual?

TD: They only showed Tori admitting she couldn't, but I'd bet there was at least one team where both didn't know how, and had to have the producers show them how. Must've been boring television. I know how to drive a stick in theory, but have never had the chance to actually drive a manual.

Blaine: My go-to line is that you'd really only want me driving a stick if the situation called for getting you to the hospital. I could do it, but it wouldn't be pretty. I've driven one many times as a young teen, but time is never kind when it comes to this ol' coot. And Tori had another admission: she's a vegan, apparently. Haven't we seen Nehemiah, who's vegetarian I believe, say as much yet continue with an eating competition? Maybe I'm wrong. I do know that we've seen CT compete solo in an eating challenge when he and Diem were paired. So I suppose it goes both ways. Devin was a trooper about it.

Question 2: Bananas & Nany and Aneesa & Jordan had a few blowups early on, were you surprised?

TD: Bananas/Nany seem to have such good chemistry that I was a bit surprised, but not really. Bananas is a shit-stirrer, and no one is immune. I was not at all surprised at Jordan berating Aneesa. We've seen him do this to multiple teammates over the years; and if they are playing up to his level -- which is extremely high -- then he tends to get obnoxious about it.

Blaine: I'm not surprised at all, which leads me to a prediction: Bananas isn't that interested in winning since it's not completely for him. It's almost as if he's covering his ass if he doesn't get another championship because he keeps reminding us that Nany's the important factor. It's not fully self sabotage, but I can't recall him being this flippant when he was in it during his last win, merely three seasons ago. Here, at times, it's like he's trying to provoke her to lose her shit, which isn't out of character for him. He's the first to admit it. Still, their balance seems way off than it was earlier in the season. Jordan and Aneesa don't have a shot. I'm sorry, but it's soul sucking to see a great being dragged by having to run with a partner. I don't see either of them winning. Whose vibes are clicking, though? Well, Olivia and Horacio's were, but alas. Devin and Tori are almost Zen. Look out!

Question 3: How bad do you feel for Olivia and Horacio?

TD: I mean, goddamn. The carabiner cut was a bit freaky, but also always a possibility when you handle metal. But, I must've rewound the slingshot incident five times to figure out how that ball came back and hit her face.

Blaine: That slingshot hit to the upper nose was so brutal and unexpected. When the trailer from last week showed us some blood, I thought it was covered with her finger and its needed stitches. An injury you can't play through always seems like a tough way to end a final, and even damn near unfair. But her injury, as random as it was and Horacio's ensuing reaction, was gut wrenching. All I gotta say is that production needs to have them back for as long as they want. They're beasts and a lot of fun to watch for rookies.

Blaine Duncan
Blaine Duncan
Editor-In-Chief, Host of Taking It Down
TD Wood
TD Wood
Editor and host of Takin' On Sports