Here it is. After weeks of anticipation, The Duel finally entered its last phase: the big, super-dooper Final Challenge! Of course, it wasn’t that exciting for us because a) it wasn’t that interesting of a challenge; b) some douchebag already gave spoilers in the comments section; and c) even if we didn’t know who won, there was very little reason to care because honestly, we tune in for the petty arguments, not the fantastic degree of competition. Nevertheless, this season finale was engaging enough, I suppose. The final dash to the finish, however, ranked as probably the most anticlimactic showdown in the history of The Challenge. It’s never a good sign when the audience is left thinking, “Oh. That’s it? Huh.” Seriously, I just bumped into a filing cabinet, and that was more thrilling than the climax of this episode.The big season finale started off with the final four sitting around a table and basking in their own douchebaggery. Brad announced that he was really happy with the four people remaining, and hey, if Brad’s happy, I’m happy. Jodi then told us that if she won, she’d donate some of the money to charities — specifically, the “My Name Is Jodi And I Have No Career Path” Charity. Wes, meanwhile, told the group that he didn’t care which girl won. He just wanted to win his prize and use it to start a family with Johanna. Seed money, if you will.
After these four babbled on about what they’d do with the money, we finally headed off to the final mission. A helicopter swooped down from the heavens, scooped up the kids, and whisked them off to scenic Rio De Janeiro. “I can’t wait to be old, drinking beers with Brad, talking about this crazy thing we’re about to do,” Wes said, sadly assuming that anyone would want to be friends with him for more than six weeks straight.
Anyway, the helicopter eventually deposited the kids on the beaches of Rio, where TJ presented them with the final challenge, annoyingly titled “”The Rio Deal.” Basically, everyone had to race though a park, encountering challenges along the way until they reached a flag that would grant them access to the finish line. Yes, it was Exile all over again, minus those annoying bags of weight.
There was a twist. Albeit a dumb twist, but a twist. One guy and one girl would have the opportunity to earn a two-minute head start by kicking soccer penalty shots against their opponent. Whoever earned the most goals on five shots would win the head start.
First to kick were the girls, with Svetty kicking and Jodi defending. Surprisingly, Svetlana actually scored a goal. But nothing more. The girls then switched places, and I just assumed that Jodi would absolutely obliterate Svetty. Not so much. She could barely even hit the goal. However, after three failed attempts, Jodi finally connected. Now she just needed one more to win. Could she do it? Yup. Advantage, Jodester.
“Congratulations to Jodi,” TJ said, adding, “You killed it!” Um, not really. She only landed one more goal — and just barely.
Next were Brad and Wes, with our freckly friend stepping up as goalie first. I thought Brad would be pretty good, but he was terrible — all over the map. “What can I do to get this ball past him?” he asked us. Here’s a starter: aim for the goal.
Anyway, Brad somehow earned one goal, which meant Wes wouldn’t need much to win. Sure enough, Wes relied on his varsity soccer skills and effortlessly scored two back-to-back goals, the ball flying in like a heat-seeking missile. Fantastic. Now, can we just start this thing already?
We then went to commercial break, and when we came back, Wes and Jodi went off and running into the park. They talked about how the trail was steep, how the terrain was rocky and dangerous, how the shrubbery was prickly. All that boring stuff. The two then encountered “Stage 1,” which involved transporting four large boxes from one area to another. Of course, by the time the kids had reached this area, they were already exhausted, and the prospect of lugging these boxes around was anything but appetizing.
Soon enough, Brad and Svetlana caught up with their rivals, and then we were treated to an ever-so-fascinating sequence as all four competitors slaved back and forth with their boxes. Again, there were the typical complaints — pain, exhaustion, numbness. Whatever. Wes and Jodi soon had all their boxes transported, and now they had to arrange them so that they were all aligned with rows of colors showing and — blah blah blah. Who cares about the rules? Point was that at the end of thirty minutes, if these morons couldn’t figure out the puzzle, they could then move on.
Well, here’s a shocker. Wes struggled with the puzzle. Even worse for him, Brad soon caught up with him and the two were now neck and neck. Wes complained, “My advantage that I worked so hard to get is slowly but surely getting trampled on.” Ahem, you didn’t work hard for your advantage. If anything, you clucked about how easy it was for you to win that headstart. Let’s not get too victimized.
Anyhoo, Wes did manage to complete the puzzle, but about two seconds later, Brad finished his as well. It looked like it might be a fight to the finish. One problem though: “I’m nauseated!” Brad told us. Dunh dunh DUNH! HE’S NAUSEATED!!!!
Still, queasiness aside, Brad pushed through and even took a small lead to Wes… for the moment. Meanwhile, back at the puzzle, Jodi continued to struggle with this brainteaser. “I don’t know what the fuck to do!!” she exclaimed, her brain teased entirely too much. Incidentally, this is the same reaction she usually has to word scrambles.
After the commercial break, we returned to the ladies, who both were incapable of arranging their boxes. Time ran out for them, and they both trotted off, with Jodi having a decent lead on Svetty. “I’m not going to give up,” Svetlana then told us. “I’m not going to just hand it to Jodi.” Yeah, um, you probably will.
Meanwhile, Brad and Wes had reached Stage 2, which involved using rocks to counterbalance their weights on a see-saw. Wes managed to complete the task first, with Brad not too far behind.
They both ran up a staircase, and suddenly, Wes grabbed a flag and then… it was over. Wes had won the men’s prize. That was it? Seriously? Poor Brad. Felled by a see-saw.
The enthusiasm is palpable!
Brad told us he was bummed because that two minute advantage could have earned him the reward. Probably not. Who knows how his performance would have been changed if he’d had the lead. He might have been slower. Besides, Brad had plenty of chances to overtake Wes. It’s his own fault, not the head start’s. That being said, I felt really badly for him. I wanted Brad to win. He’s one of my favorites, and he definitely deserved to take home the big prize. Luckily, he had that sweet BMW bike to take home; so not all was lost.
As for the girls, Jodi managed to balance the see-saw, or teetor-totter, and with that, she ran off. Svetlana also conquered stage two, but we knew she was way too far behind to catch up. Sure enough, Jodi tearfully grabbed the flag, thus bringing an end to the women’s race. Congratulations… I guess. Not even Svetlana could sound particularly dramatic as she casually noted, “Oh. I lost.”
And with that, Wes and Jodi went hang gliding off the cliff. Huh? Where did that come from. It was mildly random. While they drifted across the winds of Rio, the producers then stuffed a bunch of grainy flashbacks down our throats in a boring attempt to kill time. JUST END THE SHOW. Well, Wes and Jodi soon landed on a beach where they encountered TJ and an oversized novelty check. There were hugs all around, and a crying Jodi informed us that this would change her life. That’s right. Her life would be newly enriched by the experience of giving so much to charity, right? That’s clearly what she meant. What? You don’t think she’s actually going to keep all that dough for herself, do you?
Wes, meanwhile, began to sob as he realized he’d be able to bring a whole lot of money back to his beloved Johanna. Time for some bourgeois fantasies to come true! Yay!
What did you think of this finale? And how about the season? Were you happy with the results?