Hey Paulie, how ya doing there, bud?
Last week, The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 gave us all the most beautiful depiction of karma that I’ve ever seen play out in real-time when, after manipulating this entire season to make sure most of the strong players went home in favor of keeping weaker allies around, Paulie straight up gassed out in the final. He didn’t even make it to the end of stage 1 without his body completely giving out. Plus, Cara Maria had a meltdown over a simple math equation. How the “mighty” have fallen!
The first part of this season’s final ended on a cliffhanger as Paulie passed out on the ground, whispering to himself that he needed to get back up. I hope he stays down, both for the sake of this game as well as his own personal health. The dude looked this close to death, and if he can’t handle this first chunk of an extremely long and brutal final, there’s no way he’ll be able to finish all the other battles to come. Will he get eliminated due to medical concerns? Let’s find out!
Part 2 of the finale picks up with Team U.S. literally leaving Paulie lying on the ground, alone in the jungle, whispering “get up” to himself, and dear readers, I’m absolutely giddy at the justice of how this is all playing out. But lo and behold, Paulie actually picks himself up and continues on. I may have screamed when he actually got up and started walking. This guy really can’t be killed, huh? At least Team U.K. has such an enormous lead that at this point that I’m hoping Paulie’s determination to keep going doesn’t mean that he’ll end up with the cash prize at the end. Team U.S. has screwed itself over so many times that I really don’t want them to win just on principle. And since you never know what’s going to happen in these finals, I’m not calling it yet. But Leroy is absolutely right when he says that Paulie, who is only on his third season, is ruining the best chance that Leroy, who is on his 11th season, has ever had to win. In any other case, I’d be rooting for Leroy to win but he sided with the devil and now he’s getting the horns. I don’t make the rules!
Team U.K. keeps on trucking, never stopping to rest because they’re not sure how close Team U.S. is on their tail (they’re not close at all, because they end up waiting for Paulie to catch up). They make it to the final checkpoint, which is a pyramid puzzle. They’re struggling with it, and the more time it takes the more anxious they get about Team U.S. catching up. But Team U.S. is falling apart, just like their gurney (and Paulie’s body/reputation). Zach is screaming at his female teammates (shocker!). And they’re all carrying their sandbags, which is a direct violation of the rules. Team U.K. ends up timing out of their puzzle, so they hope that Team U.S. can’t solve it either to maintain their lead. But somehow, of all people, Paulie ends up taking the lead on the puzzle when Team U.S. finally gets to the fourth checkpoint and he actually solves it?! How did that happen?! We don’t know how fast or slow he was though, so there’s no telling how much they gained on Team U.K. Hilariously, they also put Paulie back on the gurney to carry it for the final miles, which seems like not a smart move considering this dude has been on the verge of death for so long now, but oh well! Let’s watch him die some more!
Team U.S. continues to break the rules by having more than four people carry the gurney, and now I’m wondering how many time penalties they’re going to get. Maybe Paulie’s puzzle-solving won’t matter in the long run if they’ve accrued more penalties than the amount of time they gained at that checkpoint? All I know is Cara is screaming at a camera person for getting the camera too close to her face, which is officially the lowest a reality star can get. Doesn’t she know not to bite the hand that feeds her? Now all her edits this season make sense. Never piss off the camera crew, honey. Meanwhile, I am impressed with how Kam is stepping up to lead the team as they all fall apart. I don’t know how much good it’s doing but it’s cool to see her keeping a calm, level head in a sea of psychopaths. This Kam is the best Kam and I hope to see more of her in future seasons.
Meanwhile, Team U.K. finishes their final lap with their gurney and drop it for the last time. They race to their team boat on the pier where they find a final feast (i.e. energy gel packets, granola bars, and bananas) waiting for them … with swim caps, goggles, and life jackets. Time to get ready for a swim!
The Challenge (screen grab)CR: MTV
Team U.S. finally gets to TJ and he tacks only 10 minutes on to their time for breaking the rules. Shouldn’t they get a lot more for breaking more rules than Team U.K.? They broke their gurney, switched players out before they got to checkpoints, had more than four players carrying the gurney at one time, and carried their sandbags individually for most of the run. Meanwhile, Team U.K. only pushed Team U.S.’ gurney into a bush while passing, and yet they get the same time penalty? That seems wildly unfair. While Team U.S. takes their boat to the next stage, Paulie’s muscles start seizing, and his teammates try to massage his cramps out while he screams and flails on the floor of the boat. It’s not a pretty sight.
Team U.K. swims from the boat, wades onto the shore, and discovers that their home for the night is a bed… that’s right in the middle of a pit filled with giant snakes. But wait, there’s more! As a team, they have to have someone standing on the stairs at all times throughout the entire night. Only one person from each team can sleep in the snake pit beds at a time while everyone else remains awake, standing, and miserable. Team U.S. finally gets to the Challenge hotel, reuniting with Team U.K. for the first time in a long time, and Tori and the rest of Team U.K. are shocked to see just how terrible Paulie looks after doing the exact same final they completed. Girl, same.
As team members take turns napping, the sun sets, and the snakes get more and more active, some even slithering up to the bed to snap at the sleeping players. Yikes. But what’s more entertaining is watching Cara and Paulie whisper to each other about how they think they can still win. I mean… really, guys?! Paulie literally starts to vomit and Cara tries to tell a producer that he’s only “making himself vomit” but Zach calls her out immediately and tells them to get a medic. If I were Jordan and Tori I would be cheering and gloating so hard right now, but they’re actually keeping quiet and being pretty respectful about how much Paulie is struggling. Major props to these two. I would not be that classy after the s–t Paulie put them through all season, but hey — I’m not a Challenge champ!
The sun finally rises and TJ returns to face the battered, beaten, and bruised players for day 2 of the final. He immediately tells Paulie that he’s “on thin ice,” adding, “I got my eye on you, bro.” I cannot believe they’re letting Paulie stay in the game right now. It’s dangerous, but if he’s refusing to quit and he’s still conscious and on his feet (most of the time), they can’t take him out of the game against his wishes. Even if he’s vomiting up the last of his strength and dignity.
The next stage of the game is where things get really interesting, as they all race down to the beach and each get their own individual puzzle to solve for the purge. They then race across the island and swim back to their team boat. The first four players on each team to get to the boat continue on in the final, while everyone else is cut from the game. To make it this far only to get cut right before the end of the final would be absolutely brutal — especially for the one person on Team U.K. who won’t make it compared to the multiple people on Team U.S.
Shocking me like I’ve never been shocked before, Ninja is the first one to finish her puzzle! That pisses Zach off to no end. CT is the first one on Team U.K. to solve his, and he’s off and running. Dee is the next to solve, which I did not see coming, and now I’m worried that either Jordan or Tori are going to get cut, so Rogan has to fail his puzzle or else I’m going to be really upset. Of course, Rogan is the next one to solve his puzzle. UGH. Cara is the next one to solve her puzzle, and then it’s Paulie.
CT is the first to make it to the boat, securing his spot in the final, and then Ninja makes it to the Team U.S. boat. Zach solves his puzzle, and then Jordan solves his. Ashley is next to solve hers. Cara is the second to make it to the boat for Team U.S. while Dee and then Rogan get the second and third Team U.K. spots. Back at the puzzles, TJ sounds the horn, timing out Tori, Leroy, and Kam, cutting them from the final (along with Ashley, who didn’t beat Zach in swimming). These are people who absolutely deserved to make it to the end, but as I’ve said time and time again, you don’t deserve anything in this game. It’s just such a shame to see that after all the work they’ve put in, they’re cut so close to the end. Others benefitted from their hard work, especially in the first stage of the final, but they don’t get rewarded for it. That’s savage.
Paulie gets the third Team U.S. spot and Zach gets the fourth while Jordan gets the final Team U.K. spot. Watching Leroy break down in the talking head interview, which was obviously filmed long after the season ended, is gut-wrenching. He calls it his “worst loss ever” and it’s heartbreaking. If I had my way, the final would have been Jordan, Tori, CT, and Dee for Team U.K. and then Leroy, Zach, Kam, and Ashley for Team U.S. based on their effort and performance all season long.
But I must get over it and move on because it’s time for stage 2. The teams must run six miles around the island while chained together at the ankles. They must then solve a puzzle and kayak out to a yacht. The first team to get all four players on the yacht wins this season, taking home $1 million. Wait… so the timing of the first day doesn’t mean anything other than Team U.K. gets a five-minute head start in stage 2?! That is extremely f—ed up! Are you kidding me?! The timing of stage 1 and stage 2 should be added up to determine a winner like in previous seasons! Wow, I am not happy about this revelation. This essentially evens out the playing field so much that it retroactively makes all that hard work in stage 1 useless. If I were playing and still in at this point, I would have thrown a tantrum.
During the run, Dee struggles to keep up with the three guys on her team because her legs are shorter. Meanwhile, Paulie gets his second wind and motivates Team U.S. to run faster. I’m not liking how this is turning out, you guys! I am getting nervous, especially when Team U.S. catches up to Team U.K. Team U.K. gets to the puzzle first, and it’s a nine-piece tangram. Cara starts to freak out and yell at her teammates, and Paulie counters by telling her he’s “so sick of [her] flipping out all the f—ing time.” So much for this season’s self-proclaimed “it couple,” huh?
Team U.K. times out on their puzzle and makes a run for their kayak with a small lead. But Team U.S. times out shortly after, so now it’s a kayak race to the finish. So who ends up winning?
Time to pop some bottles, because it’s — thankfully! — Team U.K.! Rogan reaches the yacht first, Jordan is second, Dee is third, and CT is fourth, cementing Team U.K.’s win. I am ecstatic (and relieved) that Paulie/Cara didn’t win (and that edit that cuts right to her cry face as Team U.K. pops a bottle of champagne is epic — that’s what you get for wigging out on a camera person), but it’s bittersweet because Tori should be on that yacht with the rest of Team U.K. I also feel for Ninja, who, for the second season in a row, finishes a brutal final but gets no money or title.
So after all that, on a season that started out as a sure thing for a Team U.S. full of Challenge champs and vets, it’s actually Team U.K. — with two Americans, one Australian, and the Brit who couldn’t even finish the first daily challenge last season — that went on to win the whole thing after losing almost every daily challenge. Wow. You literally cannot write this stuff!
And while this season may be over, the drama is only just getting started. Next week is the reunion show, and of course they’re bringing back all the champs eliminated in the first few weeks. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Bananas and Laurel, and I’m so ready to see what everyone has to say about Paulie’s epic defeat.
- The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 recap: Paulie digs his own grave in the final
- The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 recap: Better late than never
- The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 recap: Karma’s a bitch!