The Island of Misfit Challenger’s (The Challenge: Rivals II Finale and Reunion Show Recap)

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The end of another season of the challenge is upon us.  Last night’s finale featured the worst projectile vomiting I’ve ever seen, followed by the most uncomfortable reunion show in series history, so let’s get started.

This week’s we pick up right where we left off, with Johnny and Frank racing Jordan and Marlon for the last spot in the second day of the final.  Johnny and Frank manage to pull off the victory, helped in part by the fact that Marlon and Jordan tip their kayak in their rush to be the first ones on the yacht.  With the final four teams safely on board it’s time for a surprisingly leisurely night of chatting and champagne sipping before the gang heads out to tackle “nightmare island” in the morning.

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This years final consists of the teams racing to five check points, at each check point they will have to complete a task to receive an idol.  The first men’s and women’s teams to collect all the idols are the winners.  The first check point consists of a stick puzzle where the goal is to jump various pieces until only one stick is remaining in your game board.  Surprisingly CT and Wes zip through this puzzle just like the one on the first day of the final.  Who would have predicted that CT would be great at puzzles? (apparently this puzzle was just like one he likes to do when he is out to his favorite breakfast restaurant working off a hangover).  Cooke and Cara Maria also finish the puzzle fairly quickly and move ahead of Emily and Paula despite the fact that Emily and Paula headed into the puzzle with a sizable lead.  This marks the second day in a row that the underdogs are leaving the favorites in the dust to start the final.

The second check point in this years final features some very difficult junior high math.  The teams have to use the Pythagorean theorem to solve for the missing side of a triangle.  After determining the correct answer the teams cuts a corresponding colored rope, if the team gets the answer incorrect they have to cut all five colored ropes before moving on.  (the tool they are giving to cut with seems to be about as sharp as a butter knife, so it’s no easy task).  I guess the show decided to make up for the lack of a spelling bee this season by having teams do math that no adult can do without a calculator.  CT tries to blame his inferior math skills on the fact that he has fat fingers and can’t write well in the sand. (I doubt this is actually the problem, but it’s a nice try).  CT and Wes ultimately decide to just use the same method I used on the math portion of the SAT’s they guessed, and unlike me, they get the right answer.  Then after CT and Wes move ahead on pure luck, Cooke, like a savvy veteran, looks at their answer and tells Cara which rope to cut.  Emily is the only person who manages to actually do the math and get the correct answer, which she then gives to Frank and Johnny.  The portion of the challenge has taught all its young viewers that cheating and guessing beat hard work, good job MTV.

Check point number three features another challenge favorite, eating gross stuff.  In this challenge the teams have to consume chili peppers, pickled fish soup, bugs and dried squid before moving on to the next check point.  This portion of the challenge features more projectile vomiting then any other event in the history of mankind.  I can honestly say I think I may puke if I ever even saw the words ‘pickled fish soup’ on a menu after watching this show.  Paula really steps up during this portion of the challenge, and shows her true veteran status by powering this food down while Cooke and Cara Maria cry and puke in the corner.

The next check point consists of moving 20 body bags with a stretcher, an added bonus for this challenge is that the stretcher’s handles are black and burning hot from the sun.  (I wonder if this was intentional or just an oversight by the production crew).  Paula and Emily use this portion of the challenge to really build up the lead they took from Cooke and Cara during the eating portion of the challenge.  CT and Wes on the other hand lose a little of their lead over Frank and Johnny, as Wes starts to show some signs of weakening from the heat.  This picture of Cooke and Cara as Emily and Paula run out of check point four with the lead is a good summary of their chances for the rest of this challenge.

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The final check point definitely appears to be the easiest one of the day.  The teams have to dig in the sand until they reach a trap door, then climb through an underground tunnel, and up through a bamboo structure to retrieve the final idol.  Both leading teams (Emily and Paula and CT and Wes) move through this final check point fairly quickly, and then it’s all over but for a little jog down the beach and a final smoke bomb to signal victory (and a surprisingly long canoe paddle out to the yacht to receive the victory check).

I just want to give some final thoughts on this season of the challenge before moving on to the reunion show.  While I don’t think this is the greatest season ever of the challenge, this is the happiest I’ve ever been with the final result.  It was nice to see two very deserving teams take home the victory, and nice to see CT finally move out of the Dan Marino category.  This challenge also featured a clearly weakened Johnny Banana’s who had trouble keeping up with Frank during the final.  This makes me wonder if Johnny is moving into the Derek Jeter category, but I guess only time and the next season of the challenge will tell.  I think with that I’m ready to move on to the reunion show, aka the last live reunion MTV will ever do.

The Reunion

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Before we really get into this reunion I just want to say that I’ve never been a big fan of Johnny Moseley’s hosting abilities, but I thought he’d been doing a pretty solid job this season, until this show.  Johnny kind of loses control of the show in several moments, and is just awkward in others.  I would have much rather seen Coral hosting this show, but maybe she still has too much bad blood with some of these people.

This show starts out fairly tame in the beginning with the only really exciting development being that we learn the smell is in fact Jemmye’s issue with ketchup, but things turn ugly when Johnny Moseley brings Knight and Frank to the couch to discuss social media beefs.

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Things start out calm enough but then Knight decides to tell Frank that he doesn’t consider him a man, and that if he had heard what Frank said about Jemmye during the show he would have kicked his ass.  Knight then gets in one nice hit to the side of Frank’s face before cast members pull him off and we head to commercial.  This is the last we see of Knight during this show, and more disappointingly we never get to hear about the Twitter fight between Emily and Cara.  This is also the point in the show where things start getting a little tense.

The tension continues in the next segment where they decide to discuss Diem’s fight with the other girls in the house, and deal with the issue of whether or not Diem is fake.  They open this segment by showing a montage of Diem’s “worst moments” from the season, and Diem responds by saying that a lot of her issues on the show were caused by the amount of medication she was taking as a result of being only two weeks out of chemo therapy.  In her blog post with People magazine last week Diem discussed the issue of how she was unhappy with the edit producer’s gave her, as she felt it was unfair when they knew her medical situation.  Diem was in fact so unhappy that at this point she say’s she doesn’t plan to do anymore challenges, but only time will tell.  Despite having this information, and all of the cast clearly being on “team Diem,” Johnny Moseley presses forward, questioning Jemmye about if she thinks Diem is fake.  Jemmye responds by saying she doesn’t think Diem is fake in real life, but that at some points in the game she acted “fake.”  Johnny finally decides this horse is dead, and moves on to the much happier topic of the rap about Nany and whether or not Diem wrote it.  Diem claims to not remember, but no one is buying it and it seems that Diem actually is a rapper.

In the next segment Frank is back and we learn that he and Jemmye have apparently squashed whatever beef was between them on the show.  I think this is interesting since Frank just called Jemmye “crusty” on an after show a few weeks ago, but maybe it was a very recent make up.

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The next segment is supposed to be about CT and Diem’s relationship, but it basically turns into a battle between CT and Johnny Moseley where Diem can’t get a word in edge wise and no new info is really gained.

Mercifully this reunion show finally ends with a discussion of the most “WTF” moments of the season.  The only real knowledge we gain here is that Jordan, like everyone else, has/had a crush on Emily, and that she was his actual first choice of the girls in the house.  Emily doesn’t really return the feelings, but does say they are going on a motorcycle ride together.  Emily doesn’t seem too inclined to settle down, it’s also unclear whether or not she’s a lesbian, I’m not even sure if she knows if she is or not, so I don’t see any real romance between these two in the future.

Well, that’s it, another season of The Challenge in the books.  We’re also headed into a little Real World break before the San Francisco season kicks off, but I plan to fill that time on this blog by writing about the new season of Survivor, and by eventually giving my feelings on the Dexter finale, whenever I get them under control.  Thanks for reading, I’ll see you next week for a Survivor recap, and let me know if there is anything else you’d like to see on this blog.

If you missed this week’s episode and want to watch online, here’s the link.

Thoughts/Questions/Comments – You can reach me via email – SHMcG223@gmail.com or on Twitter – @NoOneGoesToClev

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