Week Eleven Recap: The Final Three
And then there were three: Curveball, Rosa Loteria, and Stuntman.
Only two weeks remain in the competition of a lifetime. Before preparing for their last challenges, the final three contestants took a break to visit their hometowns, and the cameras followed them to record reunions with friends and families.
Curveball took us to Portland, Oregon, the beautiful City of Roses. She visited Parkrose Middle School and the baseball diamond where her wild card turned during softball tryouts when she was thirteen. Her coach from those days gave a tour and told us, "I always knew Kate would go far." Her proud parents hosted a backyard barbeque for their ace daughter. Dozens of friends, teachers, teammates and relatives were on hand to toast Portland's favorite native.
We didn't have to travel far to check in on Rosa Loteria's neighborhood in East Los Angeles, where dozens of cousins, aunts, and uncles were on hand to cheer on their favorite ace. It was a real fiesta, with all the food, music, and dancing that could be packed into a city block. In honor of the occasion, Rosa ran a real loteria game for her friends and admirers.
Stuntman started out doing stunts for movies, and he introduced us to some of the people he's worked with. He took us to the Valley, to the site where he discovered his wild card after falling from a water tower as part of a student film project. "He's the real deal, a real upstanding guy," his colleagues, directors and actors, said of him again and again. Friends gathered in his favorite bar in his old Inglewood, California haunts to toast the ace finalist.
The vacation was short lived, and soon the three returned to face this week's challenge. This time, no teams stood with them. This time, they were on their own. At the end, one of them would be discarded as we move one step closer to deciding who will be the American Hero.
What better way to test the final three aces than to give them a challenge that incorporates everything they've done until now? Obstacle courses, puzzles, villains, daring rescues — and this time, they didn't have their teams backing them. They were on their own. The scenario: Each contestant had to enter a city block that has been overrun by terrorists. Once there, they must rescue a hostage and retrieve a "bomb" before the timer reaches zero.
First, they faced the gauntlet: a veritable army of foes whose only job was to keep them from entering the occupied territory and completing their tasks. Stuntman, immune to the blasts and bullets directed at him by the dozen of armed "terrorists," only had to put his head down and run. Taking hits and dodging enemies, he reached the doors to the warehouse, and escaped to the next phase of the challenge. Curveball kept her distance, throwing foam balls that stood in for more dangerous projectiles, and one by one took out all the combatants, leaving her free to continue on. Rosa Loteria had a little more trouble and took three tries to draw a card that could help her, El Valiente. This put her behind the others, and the clock ticked on.
Inside the warehouse, the three would-be heroes faced an obstacle course. They've traversed courses like this before, but this one had a twist: not all the obstacles were physical. In one phase of the course, the contestants faced three doors. Only one led to the hostage. A riddle written on each door gave the clue to the correct path.
Stuntman chose correctly--the middle door. Through the door, he had to traverse a maze, and at the end of the maze he found the hostage. Once freed, the hostage pointed him to the next part of the challenge. Curveball took a different approach: throwing marbles, she broke open the doors one after the other, hoping to find the hostage more quickly than she could by solving the riddle. Seeing the mazes on the other side, however, she returned to the riddles and eventually found the right passage, freed the hostage, and went on to the rest of the challenge. Once again, luck wasn't with Rosa: she chose the wrong door not once, but twice. Exploring two wrong mazes before finding the correct one took time that she couldn't spare.
A booby-trapped corridor led to the final step of the challenge. Trap doors, foam arrows, and hidden attackers waited to stop our heroes. As usual, Stuntman simply barreled through and weathered the beating, showing off his athletic ability by leaping trapdoors and dodging attacks. He reached the final room and bomb in record time, but even he was looking the worse for wear after so much abuse. Curveball didn't do nearly as well, nearly falling out of the race — literally — when she tripped a trap door. She caught herself in time, but had to haul herself back into the corridor while simultaneously fending off an attack from a stray terrorist. She almost didn't reach the end of the corridor at all, despite the impressive display of skill and determination, and unfortunately didn't reach the bomb in time. Though only a few seconds late, the spray of a paintball pellet told the story. If this had been a real scenario, the device would have exploded and destroyed this part of the city. Rosa handled the obstacle course without a problem — finally, the cards were on her side, and the Diablito card let her speed through and destroy most of the booby traps before they had a chance to catch her. However, the time she'd spent getting through the riddles at the doors and rescuing the hostage came back to haunt her. Like Curveball, she arrived a few seconds too late and was caught by the bomb.
Only two of the three would move on to the final week. But the judges announced a special procedure to choose who would continue on — and who would be leaving for good.
We haven't forgotten our Discards, the twenty-five aces who didn't make the final cut. As many have speculated, their time on the show hadn't come to an end. Those old alliances, rivalries, and team loyalties once again played a part in the game, because the final Discard vote, the final decision as to which of these three moved on to the very last challenge was made by the Discards themselves. Who better to determine who has what it takes to continue on? Who better to judge these three than the former contestants who lived with them and fought by their sides ? Old rivalries were rekindled and long-forgotten grudges returned with a vengeance as our three finalists faced down their fallen comrades.
The voting was close, and everyone had an opinion about who was most worthy to continue on in the competition, and who deserved to get the boot. Tiffani had this to say about Curveball: "Am I the only one who thinks she's kind of a bitch?"
As it turned out, her feelings may have been more common than she thought, because guess who the Discards voted to join them? Curveball. There you have it: next week, two aces face off for the million dollars and all the glory.
Rosa Loteria or Stuntman?
Who will be the American Hero?
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