Sunday, October 04, 2020

Battle of the Sexes 2 Reunion: Secrets From Elimination Hill

Let's just end this already. My final Challenge recap for Reality News Online. I'll talk about how I didn't know this would be the last one after the recap.

 

Episode Aired: January 31, 2005

Recap Posted: February 5, 2005 

 

After yet another dismal season, we get the usual reunion. Learn more about the Challengers, as well as never-before-seen clips, most of which are better than the stuff we saw.

It's time to put another mediocre season to bed. The good news: this reunion does illuminate what has been a dismal edition of the Challenge. The bad news? We're starting over in a month. More on that later.

 

Montage of clips and studio segments. Coral: "I talk to people the way I want! You're not God here!" Dan play-slaps Brad, then Brad goes into a decent Chris Farley routine. Eric: "I don't want to know who did it or nothing. Just return it." Brad: "The real bitches in the end were these four right here." Ayanna goes ballistic on Elimination Hill. I cannot believe I picked her to make the final team. Theo: "I'm not busting in your bedroom, am I?" Brad taunts the camera. Coral feels the reunion is stressful. Aneesa rubs her butt in bed, laughing that the editors can't use the footage. Three girls fall out as the bench their sitting on snaps.

 

After the credits, we go to MTV Studios. Our host is Lala. Complain if you must, but I'm taking her over Jonny Moseley. Heck, I'd take Jesse Camp over Jonny at this point. We have Mark, Brad, Steven, Tonya, Eric, Arissa, Theo, Coral, Dan, Veronica, Mike, Sophia and Tina. Wardrobe of note: Veronica is wearing a t-shirt with a cartoon cat, proclaiming "I [heart] my pussy." Eric has a "Get Tiny" t-shirt. Oh, and the jump rope is around his neck. On the flip side, Mike is dressed real snazzy. Almost makes me forget that he was the seventh guy voted out and wouldn't have been here unless he was "The Miz."

 

Lala starts with the guys winning thirteen out of sixteen missions and the $180,000. She asks Coral what happened. Coral replies that the "Battle of the Sexes" concept was dumb. "I can't outrun Eric Nies," she adds, "with or without the jump rope." She adds that it was almost impossible to create physically fair missions. It's funny how she wanted to do BOTS during the Inferno reunion. Mark brings up Cast a Spell, which was a mental mission. Tonya curses him out, then flips two birds. Classy! Coral tells Mark to get over it. Lala asks Dan why the men dominated. He thinks that the girls bitched too much. Coral: "Steven slapped someone on your team!" Dan continues that the girls would go halfway through a mission before getting "self-combusted."


Lala tells us that this Challenge wasn't about guys versus girls so much as veterans versus newcomers. Clip montage! Rachel talks to Veronica about the "young bitches" and how they can't let them win. Coral brings up people thinking she's in an alliance with other veterans. Sophia thinks the veterans are running the show. Cut to Rachel getting axed, which she didn't see coming. On the guys' side, newcomer Adam is ticked off that he got bounced, and Brad agrees with him. Coral complains to Mike about him, Abram and Rachel getting eliminated.


Lala asks Veronica if she felt threatened when Rachel got booted. Veronica answers that the Inner Circle took out the one girl that intimidated the guys. She added that the guys would tell the girls which ones had to go. Dan questions that insinuation, insisting that he didn't vote off women. Tina accuses the guys of putting ideas into the women's heads, which caused fights. Eric starts with Tonya, accusing her of stealing his rope, and he wanted payback over that. Sophia says that the young kids got affected about the veterans. Coral thinks the younger players didn't know how to play the game. Tina: "Just perform and you'll be straight."


Coral figures that Rachel left because "a bunch of bitches" tried to break the alliance. "My alliance was with the other girls who could me some cash," she continues. "It could have been Angela, who I hated. It could have been anybody else. If Trishelle's dumb ass was on the show, it would have been with her, too. I want the sixty grand, and I don't give a [bleep] who helps me win it." What makes the rant even funnier is Theo trying to look down Coral's top.


Veronica adds that she and Coral have done a lot of Challenges, and they know each other better than, say, Angela. Coral: "Angela was a little bitch!" Tonya says that she wanted to shove a rock in Angela's mouth the next time she sees her. Yeah, I can see Angela getting that type of reaction. Tina tells Tonya that she was the only person who put rocks in her mouth during Melt With You. Tina adds, "You amaze me what you put in your mouth!" There's a collective "Oh, snap!" moment for the audience and cast members.


Lala tells Arissa that she's been quiet. Arissa thinks the arguing is BS since her team lost. Lala brings up Arissa getting involved with the veterans. Arissa doesn't think she aligned with anybody specifically, and she didn't want drama. Lala moves on to the Sophia/Ruthie alliance. Cut to footage of Ruthie wanting Sophia to take out either Arissa or Tonya, followed by Coral and Arissa giving Sophia flak for wanting to keep Ruthie. Back at the studio, Sophia tells us that she was friends with Ruthie before the Challenge (presumably on the gay & lesbian talk circuit), and they had each other's backs. Some of the other women jump in, saying that's an alliance. Sophia states that the only ones who didn't lead three times were Tonya and Arissa. Tonya reveals she was going after Sophia. After all the Inner Circles where Sophia wasn't even an option for elimination, this is news to me. Sophia says that Tonya didn't want to vote for Katie because they were best friends. Tonya defines Katie as a "good friend." Sophia retorts that Katie had told her about this. Scandal! She adds that she and Ruthie played things fair to the end, and that Ruthie got a raw deal.


Coral says that she told it like it was. She adds that she had talked to Arissa about her not deserving to be in the final three. Arissa nods, as Coral adds that Arissa won the last mission because the guys "played our asses."


We cut to Vertigo, where the guys threw the mission in order to keep Arissa in the game. Mark interviews that the girls didn't catch on. The audience breaks out in mild applause, as if kicking a team when they're down is a good thing. Lala asks what Arissa thinks. Arissa had known she wouldn't get to the end on her physical prowess, since she weighed 107 pounds and was afraid of heights. Sophia adds that it was blatant how Dan threw the mission. Coral says it was blatant after they saw it. Sophia does a decent impression of Dan flopping off the beam.


After commercials, Lala brings up the guys' shady business. We flash back to Car-Go, where Brad got passed over to lead the guys. After he was voted off, he lamented to Coral that he should have fought harder. Eric interviewed that they're not playing an honest game, and he's not going to feel bad about it.


Back to the reunion, Lala asks Brad about getting the "short end of the alliance stick." Brad claims that he didn't put it all together until the car ride back home. He talks about how the guys made fun of the women for acting like bitches. "It was interesting to find out," he adds, "that the real bitches in the end were these four right here." That's the quote of the night. I would've stormed the stage and high-fived Brad for five minutes. He then gives the women respect for putting their stuff on the table. He adds, "If you're gonna play like a man, put your balls on the table and be a man about what you're talking about." Brad concludes that he didn't want to blow up, but he doesn't want friends who will stab him in the back.


Lala turns to the guys, asking them to justify their actions. Eric says that nobody knew Brad before the Challenge, they had to watch each other's backs, and that Mike was in the same situation. Steven adds that the alliance had one or two of their own in the leader positions, and Mark sent Abram home because he wanted to keep Mike. Eric notes that they tried to hang onto Mike, but their system couldn't allow him to stay on, for fear of raising a red flag.


Lala notices that Mike's been quiet so far. Mike laughs, remembering that he got more prizes in his tenure that the women did during the whole season. You want to know something funny? I jotted down the price values, and it turns out that the women's three prizes were worth more per person than the guys' prizes, at least going into the final mission. Lala asks why they couldn't split the big money five ways. Several cast members pipe up, saying that it was illegal. Mark jokes that he'll take contributions. Shut it, "Cruiser." He adds that he apologized to Brad, and that he can only apologize for making deals with his friends.


Lala figures that there's no such thing as "Battle of the Sexes" without "sex." Wow, that was deep. We get clips of the Mark/Robin romance, the Abram/Coral affair (including Coral saying that if she had but one friend, it would be him), and Tonya going wild with Theo. After the applause (yay, promiscuity!), Lala tells Tonya that this is a 180-degree turn from her time on RW: Chicago. Tonya says she was just playing with Theo. Theo: "Playing, pissing, whatever you want to call it." Tonya flips him off, while Veronica shouts, "Rub it down!" Is that what I think it means? Coral says that people only remember certain stuff. "Tonya also told good jokes," she continues, getting some laughter. "She was also a great swimmer."


Lala asks Theo about the situation. Theo: "I'm not busting in your bedroom, am I?" Lala reminds them they decided to be on the show. "All we were doing was just doing a little thumb wrestling," Theo informs us. "With all our thumbs!" He adds that he's just friends with Tonya.


Lala asks Mark about Robin moving to Los Angeles to be with him. He says that they tried the boyfriend/girlfriend thing, but it got messed up. However, they're trying it again. I think she was better off with Mike the Marine. Or Randy. What happened with you and Randy, girl? Lala moves on to Coral. She says that she was on a bus tour with Abram prior to the Challenge, and everybody who comes up to her asks about her and Abram. Turns out they're just friends now. Thank goodness for that.


Lala decides to go after Steven and the Slap Heard 'Round Santa Fe upon Shane. Steven thinks Shane is a great guy, but he admits to having a bit of a temper. Shane had grabbed his arm, and that was enough to warrant the smack. Mark remembers that Steven's stuff was gone by the time they returned to the lounge. Coral adds that Steven had flipped off the producers. Steven lays down the exposition: during Cast a Spell, they weren't allowed to talk. Steven had mimed a writing motion, trying to tell his team a way around the rules, when the producers informed him that it would result in a disqualification. Sure enough, we see a clip of him flipping dual birds. "It's not good to flip off the person," he concludes, "who had the power to kick you off the show."


Now we turn to Tina. Flash back to her cursing out Tonya. Tina thinks it's easy to pick on Tonya, and she was in a bad mood at the time. Coral: "It was the third day we were there, dude." Tonya replies that if she cared, she would have defended herself, so she settled on laughing at Tina. Tina: "Tonya, you got punked out on TV!" Tonya: "And, I laughed at you." Guess what? They're going to be on the same team in the next Challenge!


After commercials, Lala goes to her favorite part of the reunion: the never-before-seen clips. First, we have Mark, Mike, Eric, and Ace admiring the horizon with their shorts pulled down. Ace dismantles a toilet seat and runs away. Tina tries to flush a toilet, then contemplates killing the guys. We see Adam, Mike, and Ace getting interviewed. Mike is holding a rifle for some reason, while Ace grabs onto a giant teddy bear. Adam tells us that they stole all the toilet paper and TP'd outside of the Women's Lounge (shot of Sophia cleaning up). Then they TP'd the inside (shot of Kina collecting the paper). Ace boasts that they grabbed their bear. Cut to Coral bent over in a car, talking out of her butt. Seriously, she's talking out of her butt to Tina about alliances.


Now we go to Elimination Hill, where Eric is telling the others that something was taken from him and he wants it back. Cut to Coral making fun of Eric to the other girls. We go to the Junk Boat mission. Coral and Robin work the cell phone, asking for advice on how to build a boat. Eric asks if the girls are allowed to call out. Outside a club, a cameraman nails Brad and Veronica together. Arissa interviews that she had gotten married to a guy who worked in the Palms, the club where she worked during RW: Las Vegas. We see her dancing with Brad, followed by a shot of them sleeping in the same bed. Six months ago, I would've been repulsed. Today? They'd make for a cute couple.


Back at the studio, Brad laughs, while Arissa smiles. Lala thinks everybody is laughing because Arissa is married. Arissa reveals she's no longer married, and it wasn't because of what happened during the Challenge. Theo whoops it up, probably because his tryst with her cardboard cutout is officially a little less dirty. Lala turns to Brad, in regards to rumors about him and Veronica. Brad says that he got a little flirty with her, but they're (say it with me) just friends. Lala thinks everybody gets loose. "Loose is not the term we use," Veronica demurs. "'Friendly' and 'flirty' is much better, Lala!"


Lala moves on to the pranking. Mike declares that the guys started it. It turns out Ace, Adam, and Nick joined him in stealing toilet paper and TPing the girls' place. Tina reveals that the guys went Numbers One and Two in the toilets, then shut off the water supply. So that explains the commercials with Tina going on about "Nasty Duke." Lala brings up the jump rope. Eric claims that he's partaking in a fight against teen obesity, which I don't buy for a second. Veronica says that everybody was sick of his jump rope. It's always unnerving when I'm on the same side as her. It turns out that Kina had swiped the rope. Coral: "She wanted to return it to him in pieces every day." Dammit, why did the women take Kina out so soon? Lala asks Theo if he took part in the pranks. He denies it, saying that it was childish.


We move on to Junk Boat. Mike says that the girls cheated, since they called other guys to make their boat. Coral doesn't feel like defending one of their three wins. Tina adds that they just wanted to get an opinion of how to build. Coral: "I don't know how to build [bleep]. I called a dude because dudes build!"


Lala tells us that there's a new Challenge coming soon. From what I understand, the players left a few days after the reunion was filmed. She asks the players to raise their hands to indicate participation. Veronica (huge shock), Mike (ditto), Tina, Brad, and Tonya raise their hands. Coral says that Tonya will be happy to know that she's not going. Dum dum DUUMMMM! This bit of news surprises Tina and Tonya. Corals feels that she needs to chill out, and she might end up slitting somebody's throat. Once again, this was recorded weeks ago, before we saw Karamo contemplating doing that to Landon. Coral notes that even the reunion is stressful, and that prospective players call each other to make plans to knock Coral off. "I got bitches plotting against me," she adds, "and they don't even know if I'm there or not." Tonya feels it's time for somebody else. Yeah, this comes from a woman who will be doing her fourth Challenge. Coral: "Don't come up to my face and say nice things to me if you're plotting against me like a 12-year-old. Who plots?" Tonya claims that Coral is cool as far as Real World is concerned. Lala notes that Mike might be superstitious, since he didn't hook up in Santa Fe. Mike agrees, and Veronica teases him.


Lala wraps the show up, thanking the guests for coming over, and telling us that Return to the Inferno starts up on March 7. In fact, once I got online and looked on MTV.com, the new page was already up. All I know is that I’ll have my work cut out for me. The girls might not have had Ayanna’s back, but I got yours. I’ll be focusing on other stuff in the next few weeks, including hoping that Kris & Jon plow through the competition on The Amazing Race. If you’re coming to TARCon this Tuesday, you might run into me. But I’ll be ready by the end of the month, because these people are not going to snark on themselves.

 

Imagine my surprise when I found my recap, only to find the last paragraph cut after two sentences. It came out, "Lala wraps the show up, thanking the guests for coming over, and telling us that Return to the Inferno starts up on March 7. In fact, the new page is already up on MTV.com." Here's a link to the printable recap via Archive.org if you wish to compare. Soon after, I was told by the website's founder that I was essentially fired, and I was subsequently banned from the site's Yahoo group. Oh, and I was the bad guy for expressing opinions on that group. Even when I went overboard (I can't say "if"), I felt like it would be a good sounding board. It turns out I was wrong.

 

I'll go over the aftermath of my dismissal  . . . maybe. Given how I don't post here often, it might be some time as to when I'd write a proper denouement to my "career" at Reality News Online.

 

Oh, and Kina was the one that swiped Eric's stupid jump rope. I think. Or maybe it was Veronica. Given that she had at least one thieving experience on her very first BMP tour of duty (Road Rules: Semester at Sea), I wouldn't be THAT shocked. 

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Battle of the Sexes 2 Episode 17: It’s Over

I would probably grouse some more about this season, my bitter feelings then and now, and how I felt like an outcast. But given the epic amount of shit that's been going on recently? Fuck that.

This is the last episode I recapped for Reality News Online. Well, this and the Reunion that aired the following week. There would be no miracle finish, no comeuppance for general shittiness. But all of this feels so quaint compared to June 2020. Even Eric Nies.

Episode Aired: January 24, 2005
Recap Posted: January 30, 2005

“Knock knock.” “Who’s there?” “Anti.” “Anti who?” “Anticlimax.” Exactly.

In the week leading to the finale, I tried to psyche myself up. I really did. I imagined implausible scenarios, most of which involved Eric tripping on his jump rope. I drew a parallel to Mark’s “sacrifice” along with the time he didn’t take the hit on Extreme Dodgeball. In the other three Challenges I recapped, there were exciting finales. For a hardcore cynic, I sure do get my hopes up.

Previously on Battle of the Sexes 2: Thirty-six former cast members from Real World and Road Rules waged a war of gender supremacy. In real life, the United Nations would have stepped in months ago. Last week, Mark gave himself up in order to ensure that Arissa – a weak player – would remain on the girls’ team. The ladies sent Tina home, which was yet another questionable decision on their part. But since it was Sophia who was staying, I didn’t mind that much. The final mission is nigh, with $180,000 on the line. Dan figures his side has a solid chance to win. Arissa feels she has the mental strength, Coral has the physical strength, and Sophia has the brain power. Alrighty, then.

Over at the Men’s Lounge, Dan and Theo cram for a possible test, going over who left after each mission. Dan figures that running would be better for them. Theo adds that Arissa would shut down from fatigue. “Who knows?” Theo drawls. “Maybe Coral might get bit by a spider. Maybe Coral will get bitten by Arissa.” Dan laughs, as we cut to Arissa munching on a sandwich. “How crazy would that be? Arissa’s really a spider!” Am I the only one who doesn’t get a kick hearing jokes about Coral almost dying? Theo interviews that as far as he’s concerned, the money is his to win, and the women will have to work to take it.

At the Women’s Lounge, Sophia announces that her parents are excited for her. Aw ... remember how scared she was to come out to them during her original season? Coral applies some makeup, wondering what they’ll be doing in the final mission. Sophia figures they’ll run between stations. Coral interviews that her team has lost all but three missions, but they’ll pull it together in the end. “Anything that can be done will be done,” she continues. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to pull a win when in counts.”

Back at the Men’s Lounge, Theo reads the sponsor clue: final dinner is at 8 p.m., dress formal. Eric: “I don’t even have a corsage.” He then rocks in the rocking chair. Sometimes, he makes the snarking too easy.

It’s dinner time! Eric has totally misheard the “formal” part of the clue, opting for a tank top. On the bright side, he’s wearing the rope around his neck like a tie. I hate him. I hate Mark for keeping him here. Anyway, Old Man Real World makes a toast, saying that he and Coral have had their differences, but they can hug at the end and squash their problems. Dan tells Sophia that he sees an “incredible heart” within her, and he loves that. Were Sophia to swap preferences, may Dan be on her short list. He praises Theo’s “unparalleled mind” and calls him his best friend. I’m not sure if Dan means in Santa Fe or overall. Coral says that she’s blessed to have spent five weeks with Arissa, because she doesn’t have many friends. No way!

The kids clink their glasses. Naturally, this is an opportune moment for Jonny to burst through a door, with a goon squad in tow. How I wish to be making this up, but I’m not. Jonny is dressed in black, as is his posse. “It’s those six!” he shouts. “Right there!” The goons waste little time in busting up the table and sending the silverware flying. Coral interviews that she was about to bite into steak, and now she has no clue what’s going on. The camera zooms in on the debris and a half-eaten steak.

The goons yell at the kids some more, getting their hands on the pool table, on their knees with their heads down. Dan: “Looks like the mission started a little early.” Either that, or Jonny is doing this just for kicks. One goon sasses out the players and chews on some leftover steak. Whatever.

After commercials, the goons yell for the players to get up, but not to look up. By the way, it’s 10:17 p.m. The kids march single file outside. Goon: “Welcome to hell.” Dude, have you tried recapping the same crap week in and week out? You haven’t? Well, shut up, then.

Night Vision! The kids are now in a dark room. Jonny declares that the final mission has begun. The players will remain in the room until he talks to them again. Everybody is under surveillance; any attempts to escape will result in disqualification. Time: 11:43 p.m. Sophia interviews that they have mats, cots and glow sticks. She adds, “What the hell? I thought we may it to the end. We’re supposed to be rewarded, not punished!” By the way, night vision lens plus Coral wearing just a bra equals a cheap thrill for the fans. Dan sorts through some clothes. Arissa tells us that they have crackers, water, and “ugly-ass army clothes.” Eric and Dan figure that Jonny will come back in the morning. Cut to 3:18 a.m., and the kids trying to get some sleep.

It’s 6 a.m. Jonny pops in to blow his air horn, and the goons scream for the players to get up. Impressively, Dan just pops right up in attention. Everybody is herded out of the room and up the stairs. Coral interviews that she looks foul, having gotten little sleep. The kids get sent into some big-wheeled vehicles.

En route to their final mission, they receive information from Jonny on Escape From Santa Fe. Seriously, if you’re on the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce, would you allow this? Secondly, Jonny is laying out the rules on computer screen, while a sponsor video game plays behind him. At this point, the International Olympic Committee should be swooping in to swipe Jonny’s 1998 gold medal on general principle. It seems that Jonny is the new Roadmaster. For anybody who never watched RR: Maximum Velocity Tour, that’s not a compliment. Anyway, the players will be transported by plane to the drop zone. When they get there, they must retrieve a locator and use it to navigate through a three-mile course through the desert, towards the next rendezvous point. Along the way, they must collect three keys. The mission will end with a mental challenge. The first team that completes the mission will not only get that sweet $180,000 (not referred to as a “Handsome Reward,” I’m afraid), but also receives a trip for two around the round, valued at $45,000. Total prize package: $225,000.
We go to the Santa Fe Jet Center. As the players walk up to the plane, Arissa interviews that she’s not only never jumped from a plane before, she’s barely seen it done on television. “And the times that I have,” she adds, “it’s always because something has gone horribly wrong.” Theo interviews about how Arissa’s fear of heights is a good thing. The players get strapped into their gear and instructions. Coral lets us know that it’s not fun to jump out of a plane in the middle of a desert and run three miles. That is negative, but probably true.

The plane takes off. Theo interviews that they’re going 10,000 feet up. The guys will jump first, then the women. For some reason, Eric has tubes up his nose. Looks like Old Man Real World needs his precious oxygen. He tells us that they’ll be tandem jumping with instructors. Theo: “Skydiving’s a little bit scary. It’s blatantly weird. Jumping out of a plane, attached to some man that you just met ... not really cool.” As much as I can dislike Theo, I’m going to miss him on the quotes alone.

Theo jumps, followed by Eric and Dan. All three men land safely in the drop zone. Coral interviews that the guys are on a different course than the gals. “I want to know what’s on the damn ground,” she adds, “and how far my ass is gonna have to run.” Coral jumps. Arissa interviews that she knows that she has to do it, but every fiber in her body tells her that she can’t. She ends up jumping, followed by Sophia. She interviews that it feels good flying in the air, and she knows that she’s setting the tone for the mission. By the way, Sophia looks cute smiling in the air. The ladies land in their drop zone. Meanwhile, Theo and Dan are still enthused over their jump.

Both teams hustle to pick up their locators. Time: 8:05 a.m. On the walkie-talkie, Jonny tells both teams to start the mission. Dan interviews that he’s not even thinking about the women, that he’s focused on doing the mission as fast as he can. Both squads run through the desert.

After commercials, Eric lays out the exposition: the mission has three tasks, and the keys are used to open lockboxes and retrieve dogtags. The guys arrive at the barb wire portion of the mission. Dan interviews that they have to crawl under the wire and retrieve the key, which is under a cowpie. Both sides crawl around. Coral: “Okay, so when it sticks to your skin, you bleed like real people.” More searching. Sophia: “Needle in a haystack.” Oh, if you only knew. Dan gets the key, and the guys get the dogtag to move on. Sophia grabs the key, and the women move out. Dan uses the locator to find the next task. Eric interviews that the heat is getting to him, and the adrenaline isn’t helping.

Both teams get to the second task: untie knots on a rope and slide the key off. Sophia figures that if one knot is undone, the others will follow. Dan has problems. Eric helps out by yelling at his teammates. Sophia and Arissa work the rope, while the guys get hung up on theirs. The girls get their key, going up 2-1 on the guys. Anybody else believe that no editing was involved? Coral interviews that Arissa is exceeding her expectations. The guys untie the knots. Theo interviews that he’s worried the girls are getting ahead, and it makes the guys go harder. He grabs a dogtag, evening the score at 2-2.

Dan figures out where to go. Elsewhere, Sophia wanders the desert, trying to figure out the direction. The guys run towards their task. Sophia continues to have difficulty. Coral flashes Arissa a look. Third task: find a key in hay bales. Let’s take a moment of silence for Lena &; Kristy. [2020: Lena & Kristy Jensen were sisters that competed on the sixth season of The Amazing Race. In the third leg, Lena got stuck on a Roadblock, as she unrolled hay bales to find a clue. She was out there for over eight hours before host Phil Keoghan informed the pair that they had been eliminated] The guys get the key right away, getting their third dogtag. Elsewhere, the girls walk to the task. The guys run to the end of the course.

Cut to an above-ground shot of what looks like the J.W. Eaves Ranch, site of High Noon. Anybody else feels that this shot rips off the finale of any season of The Amazing Race? Heck, we even got a shot of Jonny waiting for a team, just like Phil Keoghan. The guys run in. Dan interviews that the guys haven’t arrived, but they have to compose themselves. Theo yells for Eric to hurry up. Old Man Real World just walks in. Meanwhile, the women are barely poking through the hay.

Jonny lays out the exposition on the final task: it’s a memory game. All 36 players are represented on cards. The guys have to flip the cards over two and a time in order to match pairs. Once all the cards are matched up, they must be lined up according to season order.

We get a split-screen of the guys playing and the girls going through hay. While they’re going through their actions, I have to ask: is anybody else ticked that this mission comes down to a game of Concentration? How lame is this? And people get paid to think this stuff up? You have to be kidding me. Look, I know this is a second-rate reality show, but would it kill these people to make things a little more challenging? This is a “Challenge,” right?

Blah blah blah, guys work on the cards, girls go through the hay. Eventually, Arissa finds the key, while the guys get down to six cards. The girls get their final dogtag. Coral tells us it took “seventeen years” to find the key, and they don’t know if they’re behind.

The guys match up the cards, and now they get to put them in order. The girls enter the town. Sophia: “I know that the guys have passed us at this point. I’m hoping, I’m praying for some small miracle, that they’re having a hard time.” Just like me, Sophia is grasping for straws. The guys try to figure out how the order of the Miami and Boston seasons. The girls continue to run. Eric says that the guys are done. Jonny informs them that the order is wrong. Dan figures that it’s Miami, then Boston. Theo interviews that even though the girls are in sight and the guys seem to be doing well, there is still a sense of urgency. Pardon me if I don’t hang on the edge of my seat.

The girls are still walking into town. Sophia: “You know, a lot of luck has been on their side, and that frustrates me and that makes me mad.” The guys are still puzzled, until Jonny informs them that they have it right. He orders them to ring a bell. As they run, Jonny yells they once they’ve run the bell, they win the game. I GOT THAT, JONNY! The fellas grab the rope and ring the bell. Game over, so much for my happy ending. Seriously, this has got to be the worst finale for a Challenge ever.

After the celebration, the guys walk alongside the downcast girls, who didn’t even make it to the puzzle. If you’re a Coral-hater, you must be in heaven right about now. Sophia: “The first thing I see is Eric and that freakin’ jump rope.” It’s going to take years for me to sandblast that rope from my memory. Coral: “Losing sucks, every single time.” At least she didn’t go to the hospital this season. After a gratuitous sponsor drink shot, Arissa interviews that if they made it to the puzzle in time, they would have won.

Time to tag and bag this turkey. Jonny announces that both teams were the “cream of the crop.” Of course, he says this with a straight face. Blah blah blah, $180,000 and the trips go to the guys. On a side note, Jonny says that the money can “be spilt up anyway they want to.” I fantasize Dan and Theo knocking Eric out and taking home $90,000 apiece. Some people speculate that this means Eric can share his check with Mark. Wow ... so that’s what my bile tastes like. After Battle of the Seasons and all the sharing contracts, I thought Bunim-Murray shut down any thoughts of collusion. For Mark to not only not get his comeuppance, but also get paid for it? Makes me ill.

Getting back to the show, the guys pick up their big checks. Dan interviews that his whole body is “one big chill.” Theo: “I think some people came here hoping to win. I came here with just the distinct goal of success, just because I like the way it feels to be a champion.” Eric interviews that he’s thankful to do things he could never have dreamt of. Like pimp jump ropes on cable television?

It’s flashback time. We go from a random skydiver to Eric throwing the mission. Nice job, editors. Like the women haven’t been kicked in the teeth often enough. We go to Bombs Away, as Cynthia and Sophia chow on garlic cloves and onions. Snake Pit Poker: what was that about? Coral: “You get more than five women in a room at the same time ... if it’s not an orgy, then it’s a big fight.” I’m gonna miss her. Cut to Ayanna and Aneesa snapping at each other. Cut to the Shredder mission. The guys compete in Semi-Cross. Arissa on the bike in Pop Culture Bike Jump. Arissa: “Every single thing that you overcome, every hurdle, every obstacle, will change your life.” Cut to Steven smacking Shane upside his head, and Jonny kicking Steven out. Watching Moseley try to be an authority figure is hysterical. Nick and Shane dance. Abram and Coral spend their last moments together.

Eric: “As soon as you come into an environment like this, the testosterone is flying, and the girls are getting lonely.” Is there such a thing as jump rope groupies? Anyway, Theo and Tonya smooch. The guys win Pole Position. Dan interviews that it was all about teamwork, and his team won twelve prizes and the final mission. He adds, “This trip couldn’t have been any better.” Sophia feels that her team did all that they could do. We see the ladies celebrate during Dangle Drop. “Nobody is leaving this mission upset,” Sophia interviews, “because we all knew we worked hard. We all knew we did our best, and we all knew that we almost won.” Theo interviews that all of the other guys who played had a piece of the puzzle along the way. Cut to Eric whipping his rope around. Theo: “We were just fortunate enough to be the ones that got to complete it.” He runs after Eric, spraying two bottles. The End.

Man, this season bit the big one. Once again: the “Battle of the Sexes” format never works, no matter what show it’s on. Watching the guys whup on the girls week after week was painful. You think the next season will get better? Well, it’s filming right now. The tentative title: Angels vs. Demons: Return to the Inferno. Oh, and there’s no Coral, but we have Beth, Shavonda, Veronica and Julie. Super.

There’s no teaser for next week’s reunion, but there are commercials airing on MTV. Tune in on Monday to watch everybody ridicule Eric and Brad calling out the guys for taking him out. Should be fun!

Angels vs. Demons? THAT was what Inferno II was originally called? Man, the stuff you find out when you're deep-diving.

There's not much else for me to add. Dan never popped up on a BMP show again. That was a shame, since he was normal and cool, and he probably would never had made the cut in today's Challenge. Theo did one more season (Fresh Meat) before he and partner Chanda were eliminated by Tina & Kenny in an Exile. He would go on to a career in stand-up comedy. Eric? He buggered off to Hawaii. Sometimes, I get his Facebook profile as a Friend suggestion. Two words: "hard pass."

Sophia basically vanished into the ether. Arissa would not return to The Challenge, but she was part of the "reunion" edition of The Real World: Las Vegas. Coral never did get her second win. She returned three seasons later in Fresh Meat, where she teamed with Evan and wound up running the game. But he suffered a hernia rupture and she got a broken kneecap. They were knocked out of that season. Her final season was Gauntlet III. Basically, she was part of a Veterans team that was big on "trimming the fat," which basically meant female players. She managed to defeat Beth in the Gauntlet, but when faced with a potential battle with Evelyn, she wound up quitting the game altogether. In the end, the Veterans won the final mission, but were disqualified after Eric "Big Easy" Banks had to drop out from exhaustion. Eric was a big guy. In other words, they didn't trim the literal fat. I'd like to think Coral laughed herself sick when she found out.

One more recap to go.