THE CHALLENGE: FINAL RECKONING – EPISODE 20 – FINALE BREAKDOWN & SCORING

To open the finale we are reminded that the winning team gets $1 million, and winner from the winning team can steal the money. Paulie tells us, “we all know how that went last time,” but of course MTV continues to waste time in a long, drawn-out season by showing Bananas choosing to take all of the prize money from Sarah.

The Challenge Final Reckoning – Paulie & Natalie in Copter Drop – Ep20 Finale

Season 32 – Episode 20

Title: Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

In the helicopter, coming into the first part of the final, T.J. gives each team a grenade to hold onto.

The final will be a series of tasks (checkpoints, challenges, whatever you want to call them). Whoever finishes in the least time wins.

The first part of the final is a “Copter Drop” where the teams climb down the ladder out of the helicopter as fast as possible. Unfortunately, MTV fails to explain the rules to this task, so when you watch and think “why not just drop?” There’s no clear answer. When Hunter falls, it is unclear if he gets a penalty or if it’s fine.

T.J. explains that the grenades can only be used once, so teams need to be strategic and use their power to hurt another team wisely.

The next checkpoint is a 4K run, which is not even 2.5 miles. Paulie takes off to ensure himself a good individual time and he completes the run first. Joss & Sylvia finish next, then Smashley, then Hunter. Cara Maria and Marie cross together, happy not to be last. Natalie is last because she went the wrong way. After she crosses the finish line of the run, she cries (10 points).

Next is the Final Stand. The teams have to stand at the top of a ladder thing on a tiny platform. The first team off gets a 10 minute penalty, second team off gets a 5 minute penalty and the third team off gets a 2.5 minute penalty. The grenade is weighted vests, and no one chooses to use it. Cara Mara complains that Marie is leaning on her too awkwardly. Marie falls. Cara Maria is mad, she throws her helmet (15 points for physical attack). They argue about their pitiful performance (10 points each).

The Challenge Final Reckoning – The Final Stand – Ep20 Finale

It starts to rain.

Cara Maria finds some wine in the cabin to drown her sorrows. Cara Maria and Marie end up sitting outside to heckle their opponents. It doesn’t really work. Cara Maria offers to change places with Natalie (so she can hug her man Paulie), which causes Marie to bring up Paulie’s girlfriend, suggest they use their grenade of Paulie, and that leads to another Cara Maria and Marie verbal fight (10 points each).

After five hours, Paulie & Natalie start negotiating with other teams. They promise they won’t throw their grenade if another team drops. Hunter & Smashley say they will step down right after Joss & Sylvia do. Joss & Sylvia ask others why they won’t go first, but the other teams assure them that Joss & Sylvia have the lead, so this hurts them the least. Upon some contemplation, Joss & Sylvia require that Paulie & Natalie swear on their family’s lives that they won’t use the grenade on them, and then they step down. Hunter & Smashley get off their platform right after that.

After a night of glamping, another checkpoint awaits. It’s Breakfast of Champions. There are 32 plates of grossness from all of the countries they’ve been on during this Challenge trilogy. The first team to eat all 32 plates wins this portion, and stops the clock. The other teams will each get one minute added to their cumulative time for every plate unfinished. Hunter & Smashley use their grenade to make Joss & Sylvia drink an amashi fish milkshake thing before eating. Sylvia can’t believe her friend would do that to her, and cries (10 points).

The Challenge Final Reckoning – Breakfast of Champions – Ep20 Finale

Natalie vomits (5 points), Marie vomits (5 points), Joss vomits (5 points). Live worms are on a plate, as is cow snout, chicken head, pig face, some sort of brains, and a variety of things that look like sausages and/or feces. Natalie vomits again and so does Joss (5 more points each). Two vomits max per episode, which means Natalie and Joss have reach their vomit point limit. Marie gets her second puke in (5 points) and Paulie vomits (5 points).

Hunter says he gags, but kinda blacks out and shoves it all down. Hunter & Smashley finish first. Joss & Sylvia get an 11-minute penalty, Paulie & Natalie aren’t too behind, as they get a 13-minute penalty. Cara Maria and Marie earn a 19-minute penalty.

The next stage is a Savannah Sprint. It’s a 3K race through the jungle to a cave. Joss & Sylvia get revenge and use their grenade on Smashley & Hunter, giving them a 10-minute penalty. This is an under two-mile run, so a 10-minute penalty is significant. Also, considering this is the second to last phase and Hunter & Smashley just won by a lot, it’s a bit surprising Paulie & Natalie and/or Cara Maria & Marie don’t use their grenades.

This time Paulie runs with Natalie. Smashley is alright to have the time to digest the grossness she just ate. Paulie & Natalie finish the run first, followed by Joss & Sylvia. Cara Maria & Marie are next, and, because it’s a short run and they had a 10-minute penalty, Hunter & Smashley arrive last to the cave.

The last stop of the final is called the Final Reckoning. It is a short walk through burning coals to T.J. The grenade will make it so that a team’s ankles tied together and they’ll have 32 keys that they need to go through to unlock themselves. Despite giving their word, Paulie & Natalie throw their grenade at Joss & Sylvia, because the Big Brother team thinks Joss & Sylvia are winning. Sylvia feels betrayed again and cries again (10 points). Joss cries in interview (10 points).

The Challenge Final Reckoning – The Final Reckoning – Ep20 Finale

Cara Maria and Marie fight over who they should throw their grenade at, because Cara Maria doesn’t want the grenade thrown at her man, Paulie (10 points each). Because they can’t agree, the grenade is dead.

The final scores are calculated. T.J. delivers the news. Cara Maria & Marie are last by a large margin (104 minutes). Paulie & Natalie come in 3rd place (71 minutes) (15 points each). The top two teams are separated by under a minute. Joss & Sylvia come in 2nd place (40 points each), making the winners Hunter & Smashley (120 points each).

Because the plates were not counted per team member to be part of the individual time, Smashley is the individual winner of the winning team by 31 seconds. Quickly, Smashley chooses to take the money, justifying her decision by stating that Hunter was an abusive partner who “slut-shamed” her and threatened her family. Cara Maria is not surprised. MTV gives Smashley a favorable edit, showing times during the season when Hunter was frustrated with his difficult partner and, in anger, said mean things about her.

Hunter walks back over and apologizes to the other cast members for not throwing the final, saying he knew Smashley would do this. Hunter cries (10 points). Hunter is upset, because of course he’s angry! He ate all of the gross organs to lead his team to victory and won $0. Smashley defends her decision and they fight (10 points each). Hunter’s anger continues as he yells for his tennis shoes when he’s trying to walk away. Eventually, Smashley sits down and Hunter continues to scream at her because, yeah, she just took all of the prize money (5 points for verbal attack). Like a good Southerner, Hunter concludes by stating the worst comment he can: telling her he’s going to pray for her.

The Challenge Final Reckoning – Hunter Gets His Tennis Shoes – Ep20

Sylvia cries (10 points).

Everyone is unhappy. There are seven losers and one winner who may or may not feel guilty about her decision. In her last shown interview, Smashley dedicates her win to anyone who has ever been pushed around and “slut-shamed.”

Stray Observations

  • Why wouldn’t Paulie & Natalie use their grenade on Hunter & Smashley, and then try to talk Cara Maria & Marie into using it on Joss & Sylvia? It’s dirty, but does not count as backstabbing points since it wasn’t a voting situation.
  • Seriously, Joss & Sylvia, why would you trust Team Big Brother? Also, I think Joss is like Ronnie from Jersey Shore: the neatness of his hair reflects how together he is keeping it.
  • MTV editing was awful this season. It was clear at the Final Stand that Joss & Sylvia’s negotiation would haunt them later. It was clear that Joss & Sylvia lost right when they got the grenade, because we see Joss cry in an interview and he would not have cried if they won. It was also predictable that Smashley would win and take the money, because they showed Hunter in an interview earlier saying he’d split the money, but they never showed Smashley saying what she would do. In general, most of the interview commentary during challenges this season was redundant. Viewers can see what is going on in the challenge. For example, we get how disgusting the food is without a talking head telling us that it’s disgusting.
  • This was one of the easiest finals we’ve seen in a while. Climbing down a ladder, a short run, standing on a tiny post, eating grossness, short run, and walking on coals? Not too bad. Even if the final did include a puzzle that was left on the cutting room floor.
  • It was very rewarding to see who won at the end of the episode, as opposed to suffering through the reunion to reveal the winners.
  • T.J. has great shirts.

Stuff on Twitter

Episode 20 scores:

The Challenge Final Reckoning – Ep20 Scores

A link to the excel score spreadsheet is here: The Challenge Final Reckoning – Ep20 Scores

Best player performance of the episode: Hunter (145 points)

Worst player performance of the episode: Paulie (20 points)

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