We begin the final episode with the resolution to last week’s cliffhanger. Who will be the last male’s team to make it to the finals? The douchey duo or the underdogs? Surprising no one, Johnny and Frank make it to the end. The newbies are sent back home, leaving CT and Wes as the only hopes of knocking the smug off their faces.

The teams are taken from Dream Island, where the puzzle was located, to Nightmare Island, where the real difficult challenge would begin.

Over the past few challenges, the final competition is a physical test that is exhausting to even watch. The challengers prepare for years to be the fastest runner, swimmer, and hiker. It’s usually all about endurance.

However, this year’s final is an actual challenge for some of these meatheads. Instead of needing to be the fastest or strongest, the final calls for more mental fortitude than physical strength. The first stop is a puzzle. The second is math. Seriously. Math. Was anybody shocked that none of these teams are good at math. One team completely guesses, two teams copy another, and one team (Emily and Paula) actually take the time to figure out the geometry. It’s enough to make anybody feel like a genius.

The third challenge is the old Eating Gross Things staple. Cooke and Cara Maria, who were previously in the lead, struggle holding down the fish soup and bugs that they’re forced to eat. Meanwhile Paula is a secret weapon for eating challenges, gulping down everything like it’s chocolate milk. Johnny and Frank also suffer, letting their negativity slow their eating process down.

The fourth stop is morbid to say the least. The challengers have to move twenty heavy body bags from one side of the field to another. Really, who came up with this? I know it’s a physical challenge but why do they have to be body bags and not, say, bricks? Very weird. This is the stop that sends Cooke and CM over the edge. CM complains about the heat and the heaviness of the bags, while Cooke yells in frustration. The team that was doing so well and were the underdogs to root for fall apart in an instant. It’s disappointing as someone who has rooted for them the whole time.

The problem with this final is how anticlimactic it is. Although I take personal pleasure in watching people be bad at puzzle, it’s not really what the whole show was leading up to with some of the most demanding physical challenges throughout this season. Getting to the finish line is all about a lone boat ride. It’s probably the least fun final ever.

After nine seasons and five finals, CT finally wins one. Emily and Paula shock no one by winning after killing almost every challenge leading to the end. It’s also Emily’s first win, since she has come in third every time she’s played.

This season was fun, filled with everything you could want from The Challenge, including fights, dumb hookups, and cool competitions. However, the ending was a major disappointment. Here’s hoping for a better final next year.

Other Musings:

  • It’s nice to see them all get along before the final challenge really begins. They respect each other as competitors.
  • They start again with swimming which is CM’s weakness, as demonstrated last week.
  • Frank and Johnny have another puzzle to stop them up, since neither is as smart as they think.
  • The person in first, as Wes describes, is going to have a more difficult time because they have to cut open a fence to get to the next puzzle.
  • CT meets his greatest foe: math.
  • Wes: “Worst restaurant ever.”
  • It was great to see a flashback of the Johnny Backpack scene when CT forever destroyed Johnny’s self esteem. However, it set them up as rivals for next time, which I would not enjoy.
  • Wes “It’s been a solid six years since I last won.”