Until tonight, the upshot of Rivals III was this: If you make it to the final mission and complete each task, you’ll go home with at least $7,500 (third place is nothing to sneeze at!). But on tonight’s new episode, the guarantee was abruptly thrust off the table.
After jet-setting from Mexico to Argentina, the game’s final four teams learned they were each at risk for elimination in the game’s final Jungle. Instead of skulls, they drew corks, and after some lucky picks, Teams Cheyenne/Devin and Jenna/Vince sidestepped danger and earned guaranteed finale bids. Teams Bananas/Sarah and Dario/Nicole, on the other hand, learned they’d have to battle through one eleventh-hour mini-game to secure the third and final spot.
After “Don’t Wine For Me,” a mix of puzzles and heavy lifting, Sarah and Bananas validated their reputation as the game’s strongest team and bounced Dario and Nicole from Rivals III. Still, their excitement was short-lived, as TJ announced a first-of-its-kind twist.
In the final challenge, the three remaining two-man teams will still compete as such, but they’ll also compete against each other all the while. Players will tackle a series of checkpoints individually, and whichever teammate completes each checkpoint most successfully (this will usually mean most quickly, though time is not always the determinant) will earn a point. When the game’s over, the teammate with the most points will have the choice to keep the prize money for himself or herself, or split it halfway as per the game’s original design.
This means any player could potentially earn a first-place finish and still somehow go home with nothing.
“We’re all rivals for a reason, and greed is a powerful thing,” Vince observed.
And Bananas feared Sarah could very likely pull a fast one on him…again (Exes II, you are the perverse gift that keeps on giving).
“We could see history repeating itself,” he said. “My main focus is to do the best that I can and just not even give Sarah the opportunity to have that decision.”
So which Rivals III finalist is likeliest to let his or her greed shine through?
At the moment, nobody seems more in sync than Devin and Cheyenne. Technically the first team eliminated from the game, they’ve made the most of their second chance, and while they haven’t won a mission, they’ve never come in last place either. And, since arriving in Argentina, Devin’s been more adamant than ever about sticking up for his former Are You The One? nemesis, who’s been a repeat target of Bananas and Vince. Still, he and Cheyenne have a history of riling each other up, and Devin’s loud mouth or Cheyenne’s timid demeanor could provide motive for either contestant to take any eventual prize money and run.
Though Jenna and Vince won the game’s first mission, they’ve never socially been on the same page, and for all their success on the battlefield, they still seem like relative strangers otherwise. Perhaps the bad blood from Bloodlines is gone, but it’s possible that there’s so little connection between them, neither would feel any particular guilt about leaving the other empty-handed.
And while Bananas may have insisted after winning the final Jungle that “[Sarah and I] have exorcised our demons,” there’s suddenly a ballooning, mutual fear that one is striving to dupe the other. Bananas’ panic that Sarah could deceive him has suddenly manifested again, and Sarah seems concerned that Johnny might try to keep her from prize money as a method of revenge. “I know Bananas, and I don’t want to be the fool,” she said.
Could you see any of the remaining contestants keeping prize money for himself or herself? Who, and why? Share your thoughts, and see who’s crowned Rivals III champions on the season finale next Wednesday at 10/9c!