Ladies and gentlemen, your season 36 champions: CT and Amber B.
After last season, we proclaimed Johnny Bananas the Challenge GOAT when he won his seventh title. I’m not saying we have to 100% walk that back after CT’s fourth title, but it opens the conversation up again. CT was targeted from the get-go this season, yet fought off a bunch of hungry youngsters to claim another championship.
Amber B. completed arguably the greatest rookie season in Challenge history. She stood up for herself against Theresa, she pulled a risky but successful move by turning on the other Amber, then took her out in elimination. She took out Big T. She proved herself quite the damn runner. She earned her victory and share of the $900k prize for first place.
Even though the two were wire-to-wire leaders in the final, there were some bumps along the way. During a stage where teams had to kayak across a river, CT got particularly frustrated with Amber and called her “scatterbrained” in a confessional (he’s not 100% wrong), while loudly voicing his dissatisfaction with her rowing technique. After CT was the quickest to finish a checkpoint, he got the final choice to swap Amber out for Nany or Kam. He chose to keep the rookie. Right before the end, the two lost the trail, for what seemed like a good bit of time. It didn’t matter in the end, as they won fairly comfortably. CT was wise to keep the rookie, even telling her she was carrying the team during the final run.
But it was never really in doubt, the two ran the fastest, ate the nasty food, and solved every puzzled with a quickness. The legend and the rookie. The champions.
Leroy falls short
Unfortunately, there was no Hollywood ending for the sentimental favorite. Our boy Leroy didn’t ride off into the sunset as a champion, but he damn sure left everything he had out there. He just missed, too. Leroy actually finished before Cory and Kam, but Nany just couldn’t find that extra gear in the end, resulting in Cory/Kam taking second place and the $100k prize.
Leroy and friend Nany ended up with nothing of monetary value, but their friendship is the rare heart-warming tale in reality TV. Friends since their time as roommates on The Real World: Las Vegas, the two have stuck together through the years. A shame it didn’t have the perfect ending, but goodbyes in the Challenge world are kind of like goodbyes in the world of pro wrestling: not at all goodbyes.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to call Leroy the greatest Challenge player never to win a final.
Fessy the clown
Fessy is a clown. That’s really all that needs to be said. He’ll probably win one of these at some point, but until then he is Fess the clown. Props to Cory for his confessional slamming Fessy.
“You are sick. Don’t laugh at that.”
Nany’s quote to T.J. after the host explained the overnight challenge was perfect. Also, accurate. The challenge saw teams split, with one member enjoying some sleep, and the other holding onto a heavy pipe bomb looking thing. When the awake teammate was ready to switch, they had to walk over and slam their face into an ice water bath. This is when Nany gave her diagnosis. She’s not wrong, there’s got to be at least a little something wrong with the man. But hey, it’s entertaining as hell.
Also of note during the overnight, Leroy clued the rest of the finalists in on his plans to retire after this season. CT loudly proclaimed he knew it all along, suspecting the way Leroy played the game. Cory was in disbelief. Nany was happy to help her friend try to win on his way out. Amber was either asleep or in a state of delirium, can’t remember which.
Even The Challenge has post-credit scenes now
After the recap montage, T.J. entered a dark room with a laptop and spy-type shit. He opened the laptop and some graphics did some things and then the words “Challenge Activated” appeared on screen.
Is this some sort of tease for the reunion (which looks spicy by the way)? Is there going to be a Rivals 3/Final Reckoning twist where CT or Amber get the choice to keep the entire prize? Is it just a way of saying see you next season? Guess we’ll find out.
What a season. The only element to knock from Double Agents is the fact that eliminations and daily challenges were recycled with the producers even using the totem-pole puzzle again in the finals. The finals, though, were a lot of fun, if not sealed after last week, particularly the all-night b.s. sesh in the cave. It really was a shame that poor Kyle wasn’t there driving everyone crazy, but it was worth seeing everyone utterly exhausted. The only thing I’ve left to add is that I found it unbelievable that TJ didn’t ride Fessy harder than he did; instead, he questioned him in as one would do with a child, fitting enough in the end. Amber B is an instant legend and CT reigns supreme. As TD says above, it’s CT and Bananas and then the rest. Amber won me over this season, and I look forward to seeing where she goes from here.
This was a fantastic final. No suspect competitions, incredible cinematography, and perfect pacing from the editors, who took great joy in brutalizing Fessy with their music choices and confessional cuts. CT and Amber just flat out dominated. Give Kaycee a healthy knee and rerun the thing 10 times, the winners do not change. I suspect CT and Amber’s brief confusion on the trail had to be heightened in editing; they were in cruise control. The soccer fan in me loved the battle for second, akin to a battle for Premier League Top 4. Unfortunately, Leroy and Nany (West Ham?) just didn’t have that final gear, as TD noted. But all three teams (seeya, quitter Fessy) rose to the occasion, suffered together, and made it one of the best Finals in recent memory. Leroy sharing with the cast that it was his last season, in the midst of their shared all night exhaustion in that beautiful cave, was a great moment. The greatest non champ Challenger in the show’s history, no contest. And he got a well deserved montage. What about CT? As he said, he “ain’t going nowhere.”