MTV’s The Challenge saw a slight uptick in ratings and viewership with the arrival of the fifth episode of its 38th season.
The latest installment in the Ride or Dies season brought drama amongst castmates, including new friends and veteran stars looking to make moves in the game.
The featured players in the episode were former winner Laurel Stucky, her teammate Jakk Maddox, and Survivor friends Michele Fitzgerald and Jay Starrett.
Returning competitors Darrell Taylor and Veronica Portillo also got some time to shine, with the latter looking to potentially shake things up with the veterans who had formed alliances.
A few showmances also received some of the spotlight, one of which was a quick tease involving cast member Johnny Bananas and one of his rookie castmates.
This report will contain spoilers from MTV’s The Challenge: Ride or Dies Episode 5.
Ratings revealed for The Challenge 38, Episode 5
The latest season of The Challenge is five episodes deep, and the viewership has remained mostly steady. The show’s Ride or Dies Episode 5 aired on Wednesday, November 9, in the 8 p.m. Eastern Time slot on MTV.
According to Showbuzz Daily, there was a slight increase in the ratings, as the episode had a 0.23 in the key 18-49 demographic. The episode also had 471,000 viewers watching to see the latest daily challenge, drama, showmances, and elimination.
By comparison, the previous episode of Ride or Dies had a 0.22 rating and 459,000 viewers.
The numbers remain historically low for The Challenge episodes, with fans tending to blame a variety of reasons, including the returning veteran cast members banding together to form an alliance and run the season.
Others have cited a weak rookie cast in recent seasons. Still, many fans have seemed to warm up to the rookies in Season 38, including Olivia Kaiser, Horacio Gutierrez, Colleen Schneider, Kim Tranka, and Nurys Mateo.
Ride or Dies Episode 5 brought increased drama
With the latest Ride or Dies installment, showmances were spotlighted early on. That included Horacio’s situation with Laurel and rookie Moriah Jadea having some interest in Bananas. Faysal “Fessy” Shafaat continued his pursuit of rookie Colleen.
Viewers saw Jay and Michele pick up an important win in a daily challenge called Royal Relay. The victory brought them an extra prize of $5,000 each, courtesy of Burger King. In addition, the entire cast got a BK feast back at The Challenge house.
That win also brought Jay and Michele some tough decisions, and they fumbled their chance to make some serious moves in eliminating veteran castmates.
The winners opted for Colleen and Kim, Aneesa Ferreira and Jordan Wisley, Veronica and Darrell, and Laurel and Jakk as their four choices for possible elimination.
Several of those teams questioned why Jay and Michele didn’t choose Bananas and Nany Gonzalez after that team put them into a potential elimination earlier in the season.
Jay’s emerging friendship with Jakk was featured during the early part of Episode 5, so it caused tension when Jakk found himself and Laurel among Jay’s choices.
It brought a tense interrogation conversation involving Laurel, Jakk, Jay, and Michele, which spilled over into later discussions.
A chat involving Michele and Laurel quickly went in a direction that Michele didn’t like as she tried to gauge where she stood with Laurel in the game. Laurel indicated that Michele should’ve come to her to talk about that before choosing them for elimination.
At The Zone, Jay and Michele opted to send Jakk and Laurel into the elimination, indicating they didn’t have much communication from them earlier, whereas other teams were more talkative.
Laurel and Jakk went on to face the rookies, Colleen and Kim, defeating them in a giant puzzle game involving teamwork to recreate the pattern on a giant wall onto a smaller puzzle board.
With the win, things may get volatile when Episode 6 arrives, as Laurel and Jakk will likely seek revenge against Jay and Michele.
The Challenge: Ride or Dies airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on MTV.