Episode 14 was the last episode before the Final. I am guessing you watched the episode as you care enough to read this article. Therefore, you witnessed Paulie and DaVonne being Purged from the game and narrowly missing out on a final they both earned based on their performances this season.
Paulie’s loss was managed to simultaneously be both sad and hilarious. His declarative statement that everyone should be afraid of him posting the fastest time and that he’s the best player in the game, followed by him failing and gifting the others a spot in the final was quite ironic. My human side felt bad for Paulie. He dominated this season and truly cares about winning and competing. The sadist in me loved watching him cry after losing. I mean, he did not have to jump head first into the water. He did not gauge the jump well at all. A jump from that high is not supposed to be full speed head first. It was a Jordan Wiseley circa-Free Agents type move, and for Paulie, he fucked around too much when it mattered most.
Sometimes the Challenge doles out karma in unique ways. Last season, Paulie was sent to Redemption three times and played an awfully messy social game by feuding with Kyle, Brad, Zach, etc. Yet, he still made the final. This season he played incredibly well, winning multiple tribunals, playing a good political game, and eliminating Killa Kam. What does he get? A ticket home with no finals appearance.
Paulie will be back and hopefully he learns from this like Jordan did from Free Agents. Hell, Jordan went on to win back to back seasons in his appearances after Free Agents.
My hat is off to Da’Vonne, she won three eliminations this season and proved she is an above average competitor at the least. When I saw what the Purge was, I kinda knew going in that she’d perform the worst as a poor swimmer who has a fear of heights. I hope she comes back next season, I’m not sure if she would do as well, though I know a lot of other fans want to see her return too.
With regards to Dee, she also played a great game this season. I think she would have lost the Purge had she won the elimination anyway. The elimination itself was a bit weird, although having more rope on your side in the end was a positive, all it really came down to was who was less tired once there was no more slack. Dee probably won the rope pull portion, but she was so gassed out by the time there was no more rope to pull that DaVonne won easily. The elimination just seemed off.
Now that we’re done commemorating the fallen angels, let’s talk about our finalists!
Wes, Hunter, and Cara Maria are the three veterans in the final. Wes and Hunter entered this game with a pre-game alliance. Considering the Bananas/Zach/Kyle/Leroy/CT grouping which usually sticks together, it is quite shocking that they made it to the final. Hunter helping Wes win the second daily challenge of the season seemed such a small move in Challenge history, but along with Zach tossing Wes a ball, had such a dramatic turn-out. Wes got rid of Bananas and completely altered the dichotomy of the game. Instead of it being Bananas and his group against everyone like it is most seasons, it evolved into something else entirely.
Cara was the best female veteran on the cast and had a great partner. She completely deserves this final. It’s wild to consider that if the puzzle to begin the season with decided who the veterans were partnered with, Hunter and Cara would have been slumped with Josh and either Shaleen/Zahida.
Ironically, these three veterans might be some of the worst Champions when it comes to running a final. Wes won the Duel 1, but he needed a penalty shoot-out to beat Brad, he croaked endurance wise during his exile on Fresh Meat 2 and broke down during the Rivals 1 final. He finished third on both Champs vs Stars finals he has appeared on as well. Wes is savvy, but puzzles, eating, and heat exhaustion (he’s so damn white) can all take him out of the winning fast. Cara has lost five finals before, and if she loses this one, will have the most final losses ever. If we get Dirty 30 Cara running this final, she might not even be one of the top two girls in it, but if we get Vendettas Cara, then she has a shot.
Hunter was out run by Ashley on Final Reckoning, doesn’t have someone do his puzzles this time around, and his endurance seemingly got worse. The veteran most likely to win is probably Wes and honestly, part of the reason may be because this could be his last chance to ever win a Challenge. Becoming a three time Challenge Champion, having wins thirteen years apart would be kind of incredible. However, if I had to pick a veteran or a rookie, I kind of like the Rookies.
I want to say Mattie is a strong competitor who could have a great impact on future seasons. However, I do not think she is quite ready to be a Champion as her endurance, puzzle ability, and eating are probably not yet where it needs to be. She could be in the future, but as of this moment she is not there.
Now, Ninja and Georgia on the other-hand, they could win this. Georgia is a great runner and if they have equalizers in this final similar to Vendettas, she could pull it out at the end. Ninja has solid endurance, is strong with puzzles, and if it’s an obstacle course, she should demolish it.
From the men’s side, it’s hard to argue why Turbo can’t win. There is no English essay portion of the final. He is good at puzzles, great at problem solving, has good endurance, and now he does not have to face Paulie in this final. Turbo is a great competitor, the only thing stopping him from winning this final is a potential injury, which I could totally see happening because this man might push himself too far.
Theo’s shot at winning this final is predicated on being able to keep up with Turbo and Wes. He has the athletic ability, it’s whether he paces himself properly and is able to solve the puzzles.