Who dominated the first part of the final in episode 18, "No Time to Die?"

By Sydney Bucksbaum
April 14, 2021 at 09:00 PM EDT

In last week's episode, The Challenge: Double Agents finally revealed which teams will be competing in the final. But as the players find out this week, not all of them are in the running for the grand prize. And the team expecting to win it all ends up looking like a big joke, but not because of a season-ending injury. You can always count on Fessy to be Fessy! Let's recap it all.

In the ultimate "act like you've been there before" move, while all the non-champion competitors run screaming through the house and jump on the couch to celebrate making the final, three-time winner CT swaggers his way through the door quietly and calmly. But just because he's won multiple times in the past doesn't mean he's a shoo-in to win this season. He actually might have the toughest path to winning since he's partnered with rookie Amber B. But at Club COVID, they have a mini team meeting where CT tells Amber B. he'll take care of all the puzzles and eating and everything, all she has to do is run and keep up — and since her strength is running and endurance, they've actually got a good shot at working well together. And since Amber B. is still feeling that sting of rejection from Fessy, she's got a fire lit in her to get revenge. I expect big things from this rookie's first final performance.

Meanwhile, Fessy is feeling extra pompous, telling Cory he's glad they got over the drama from earlier in the season. But Cory secretly has not forgotten what Fessy did to Nelson, and he's using that betrayal to fuel his fire in the final. Everyone just wants to see Fessy fail (including, let's be honest, this very recapper), so hopefully, Fessy will do exactly what he did last season and gases out completely. Kaycee has conveniently forgotten that both she and Fessy couldn't get it done last season but still thinks they're a lock to win this season? Make it make sense!

For now, we must bid adieu to Club COVID, where players were forced to pretend like they were having a fun night out because they couldn't leave for a real night out. May we never see your fake ice dome aesthetic ever again.

the challenge (screen grabs)
Credit: MTV

The Challenge: The Final Mission

At the start of the finale, TJ reveals that the team with the slowest time on day one won't make it to day two. Gotta love a purge in the final! Who wants to bet that Fessy and Kaycee, the "team to beat," get cut? I would love to see that karma play out in real-time! After day two concludes, the third-place team gets nothing but second place splits $100,000, with the winning team splitting $900,000. This really is for all the marbles, and Leroy's already tearing up thinking about how he wants this so bad for his final season. Let's see if he can do it. I'm worried all the buildup about this being his last chance is setting us all up for heartbreak, and I'm not sure I can handle that. Leroy is too pure for this world!

The first leg of the final is a three mile run to the first checkpoint, and TJ warns them bad weather is coming in. That should really amp up the difficulty level. The wind is freezing, the terrain is uneven and rocky, and the distance is long. Nany immediately falls behind, with Leroy and Fessy out in front, but the entire group basically stays together for the first leg. CT's plan is to say neck-and-neck with Fessy and Kaycee on the run because he knows the checkpoints are the equalizer, which is exactly where he excels. Eventually, CT and Amber B. take first place for the final mile and finish first, with Leroy and Nany bringing up the rear.

The first checkpoint is the same mission as the first episode of this season, with players running to grab a capsule from the top of a mound, studying the color order, and racing to replicate that order at their station. It'll be played in two heats (men vs. men, women vs. women) and whoever wins out of both heats will get some kind of "massive" advantage moving forward.

the challenge (screen grabs)
Credit: MTV

The men go first, and they wrestle on the ground for a while. CT is the first to go back to his station. On the second trip to the capsule, Fessy tries to wrestle CT one-on-one but only succeeds at annoying CT and doesn't get any good looks at the capsule. CT gets a good tackle in and does what he does best: win. He dominates the first checkpoint, winning for the men.

When the women line up for their heat, the winds start picking up, blowing dust and dirt in their faces. There's a lot less wrestling with the women, as they all focus on memorizing as quickly as they can. But Kam tackling Kaycee and Amber B. was pretty epic. Kaycee ends up calling for a check first but is incorrect. Amber B. calls for a check next, and is right — she did it even faster than CT. This means she's the top agent...

This also means she gets the choice to either keep CT as her partner or steal any other partner for the rest of the final. Whoa! Of course, Fessy immediately thinks she's going to steal him back (as if he didn't completely burn that bridge already). But she makes the right move and sticks with CT. I can't think of a better guy to have as your partner in this final. How Fessy could think after all this time that he'd still be considered a desirable partner is beyond me.

the challenge (screen grabs)
Credit: MTV

Onto the next leg! The order in which they arrived at the checkpoint is the order they'll leave in, so the running elements do factor into the overall time, which is good news. In the past, there have been some wonky finals where the person who deserved the win got cheated out of it because of dumb structuring, and there's nothing worse than that. This leg involves running two miles to obtain a key that will unlock the next checkpoint. During the run, Fessy pushes Kaycee to overtake CT and Amber B. for first place, but CT knows this is a marathon, not a sprint. It's useless to push the pedal to the metal this early on. This is why he's the three-time champ, people. But Fessy keeps pushing Kaycee, and she's obviously starting to gas out.

Nany and Leroy are still in last place after getting their key, and she's starting to worry they're going to be the team that's cut today. But Fessy keeps pushing Kaycee past her limits and she ends up stepping on a rock and feels her knee pop. She goes down hard, and CT/Amber B. and Kam/Cory overtake her while they scream for a medic. Eventually, Leroy and Nany pass them too while Fessy just sits on a rock looking disappointed and annoyed as Kaycee writhes in pain on the ground.

the challenge (screen grabs)
The Challenge
| Credit: MTV

But the game continues... with eating! CT and Amber B. unlock the second checkpoint first to see a whole plate of nasty food (ram testicles, sheep face, tongue, a liter of blood, etc.) that they have to finish. CT just starts housing everything. All three teams make solid headway on their plates before Kaycee gets her knee wrapped, determined to finish this on one leg. She gets up and continues on, and I've got to give it to her: I'm impressed.

I love eating challenges for so many reasons, but the main one is how different everyone's strategy is for it. CT and Amber B. are making a gigantic, disgusting mess. Blood is everywhere on the plates, dripping down their faces and bodies, while Kam and Cory are trying to take dainty bites and mentally willing it to be a gourmet meal. And the amount of puking is at an all-time high, even for a Challenge final. The montage of Cory puking after every bite? That's cinema. I could have gone the rest of my life without seeing the reverse shot of Amber B.'s vomit going back into her mouth, though. Turns out boomerangs aren't meant to capture puking!

the challenge (screen grabs)
Credit: MTV

Everyone pauses for a second when they see Fessy and Kaycee walking up the stony path to the checkpoint, with Kaycee's wrapped leg going out every other step. It's a sad sight but you've got to applaud Kaycee for not giving up despite the excruciating pain. She immediately starts digging into the food... while Fessy just stares, doing absolutely nothing to try and catch up to the other teams. The checkpoints are the great equalizer, my dude! Even if you're slower in the running portion, you can catch up and change the game here. But Fessy refuses to eat, blaming it on Kaycee not being able to run, which is just the ultimate cherry on top of all his BS this season. He stands around pouting while she keeps chowing down. He says he has "no motivation to eat" as his partner does everything she can to compete. I say this every week but once again: Fessy is trash.

Shout out to Leroy for calling out Fessy for just standing around and doing nothing at all. Kaycee probably just dislocated her entire knee and yet he's going to be the reason why their team DQs from a final. But watch, Fessy will *still* blame Kaycee. He's already doing it now! He's just full of excuses and complaining and idiocy. If I never see him again on a Challenge, I will be so happy. He adds nothing to the game, isn't fun to watch, and doesn't actually compete at the level of the other players. And yet he gets so much screentime. As a fan, it's infuriating to watch.

the challenge (screen grabs)
Credit: MTV

CT and Amber B. eventually dominate the checkpoint and finish eating first, winning both checkpoints so far. And Amber B. vomming up a whole lot of chunky red puke as TJ calls their win is truly a sight to behold. CT is laughing, TJ says, "That's disgusting," and if this isn't the most quintessential Challenge moment, I don't know what is. Keep on pouting, Fessy, because that's what losers do. Winners do whatever it takes.

TJ then reveals that CT and Amber B. get to sabotage any team with "some nice dessert," a.k.a. a plate of sheep organs and blood. We don't know if the sabotaged team has to wait to leave for the next checkpoint until they finish that plate, or if all the teams wait for them to finish. Either way, this is the cliffhanger we're left with until the final wraps up next week. If CT and Amber B. are smart, they'll sabotage Kam and Cory since that's the team currently behind them in second place. There's no way Fessy and Kaycee are going to win now (and I say that not because of Kaycee's injury but because of Fessy's poor attitude), and Leroy and Nany are the slowest runners. We'll have to wait until next week to find out what they choose, and if any team can catch up to their lead.

Challenger of the week: Amber B. for not only winning the first checkpoint (over her own partner!) but also for absolutely smashing the eating challenge. She was the female competitor no one wanted, and she's leaving everyone in her dust at each stage of the final. At this rate, she's on track to join the short, exclusive list of people who won their first season of The Challenge. Challenger of the week? More like rookie of the year!

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