The newest collection of Challenge victors enjoyed an especially apt crowning on Season 34’s finale: For the first time in the game, a non-American ensemble — Team U.K. — defied the odds after a disastrous season to claim ultimate victory on War of the Worlds 2, a win Rogan immediately dedicated to the Queen.
But after a grueling 16-mile race, a night spent in a pit of snakes and a tragic eleventh-hour elimination, which of the finalists proved to be the season’s true MVP?
First, Tori, no doubt the regular season’s most impressive standout, suffered one of the game’s great heartbreaks partway through the final’s second half. After holding her own through the race’s initial trek and fearlessly braving a night with no sleep (and snakes!), she was sadly left behind at the game’s penultimate station, a collection of individual puzzles.
TJ told teams U.K. and U.S. as they began the brain teaser that only the fastest four players from each team would advance to the final’s last leg, and after watching CT, Dee, Rogan and Jordan pass her by, Tori — frazzled by exhaustion — was forced to concede that her nearly perfect game was cut short.
“All the work I put in this season, to go home over a puzzle!” Tori lamented. “I’m so bummed. I really wanted to run this final and win it with Jordan…The season just wasn’t mine.”
For Dee, perhaps the game’s unlikeliest champion, the back half of the season was all about silencing doubt. After learning that members of her alliance — whom she considered friends — planned to throw her to the Proving Ground, unsure she could handle the rigor of a final mission, Dee began rising to the occasion and was the second Brit to finish the final’s Puzzle Purge and assume her spot on the team’s Final 4.
After Dee, Rogan, CT and Jordan completed a subsequent six-mile chain-gang race and struggled through a final puzzle, Dee felt like she had officially earned her keep as one of the season’s standouts. As she made her final kayak-sprint to the finish line aboard an anchored yacht, there was no calling her skill into question.
“This season, I’ve been a lot more open with my emotions — everyone thought I was a layup,” she said. “I don’t think anyone can ever consider me a layup anymore.”
And on the topic of redemption, there was no doubt that Rogan’s story was a come-from-behind success. After getting purged from Vendettas after the game’s very first mission, Rogan came back to War of the Worlds 2 determined to redeem himself.
The first player to cross the finish line, Rogan — the only Brit left in the game and the only Brit winner in franchise history — realized he’d done precisely that as he raised the British flag.
“I’m covered in scars, but I’m proud of every one,” he said. “At the end of the day, it was all worth it.”
But was the slog worth it for CT? The decorated champ found himself in an unusual spot at the beginning of the game. As a Reinforcement, he was eligible to be drafted by the first mission’s winner, and when Team U.S. decided to choose Turbo over CT, the Real World: Paris alum was forced to swallow a bitter pill: Maybe he wasn’t still the power player he once was.
Still, CT proved he could hang with the young bucks, and after a season serving as mentor to the mostly fresh-faced Brits, he came out alive, and he came out on top.
“There’s so many emotions — it hasn’t been easy for me,” CT said. “I feel like I was abandoned by the U.S. team, had to play the whole ‘pops’ role and play a game that I’m not typically used to playing. I wanted this one for me. And I earned it.”
That said, where earning your keep is concerned, nobody had to work for his share of a million bucks more than Jordan. The only defector from Cara’s Cult to win the game, Jordan was routinely considered expendable by the game’s gargantuan alliance and had to fight through two incredibly tough elimination rounds to get to the game’s end.
Still, when he finally got his reward, he knew fighting the good fight had been worth it.
(Oh, and let’s not forget he pulled off an epic proposal to the love of his life Tori partway through filming, which, you know, is a pretty monumental feat unto itself.)
“This season of The Challenge proves that you cannot take the easy path to get anything you want,” he said. “This season has been the toughest season I’ve ever done.”
And now that Season 34 is done, which of the finalists from the game’s winning team — Tori, Dee, Rogan, CT or Jordan — had the most memorable season, and which is MVP? Be sure to sound off in the poll below, and share your final thoughts on War of the Worlds 2 in the comments below!