Paola (pronounced like pay-o-la) was up next. First she told a tragic story about her ferret killing her mother-in-law’s parrot. Not sure what parrots and ferrets have to do with a spinning car, but whatever. Maybe it was a hint about a future gross stunt? Paola freed herself from the first lock in less than 25 seconds. Soon she was free of the second lock and swimming into the backseat to grab the flag. Paola reached the surface buoy for a final time of 53.9 and a spot on day number two. Monique knew all she had to do was complete the stunt to advance. She said she would do it for her 4-year-old son Bradley watching at home. Good thing Bradley wasn’t old enough to be totally embarrassed by his mom prancing and posing in her pink bikini. Or by the fact that mommy quit after about 5 seconds in the car! She panicked and she was out.
“Cowboy Dave” (according to his personalized t-shirt) was next. Small, but mighty, that was Dave. He was unlocked and home free for a final time of 1:13.9. Anthony, the requisite tough-talker of the group, was up next. Once strapped into the car, he gave himself a little pep talk. He struggled a bit with the locks and appeared very wide-eyed at ever water-soaked turn. However, Anthony finally freed himself. Despite being disoriented he found the flag and the escape route out of the car. Anthony’s final time was 1:03.1. Last up for the guys was Ryan. Ryan was wearing a sweater on Fear Factor. A SWEATER! Not a sweatshirt. Not
a ribbed t-shirt. A sweater. Dude, that’s lame. Okay, maybe it was like a long-sleeve thermal shirt, but it had a Charlie Brown zigzag sweater pattern and it looked like a sweater. Anyway, Ryan stripped down to his bathing suit and soon learned that as the afternoon had worn on, the water temperature had dropped; it was freezing! Still, Ryan gave it go and had the locks off quickly. Actually, “quick” is an understatement. Ryan touched that buoy for a final time of 48 seconds – sending Cowboy Dave home and claiming the fastest time of the day!
A sushi restaurant set the scene for the delicacy dining. Joe pointed to a nearby board containing 6 beautiful wood planks with Japanese menu items written on them – in Japanese. Each player had to choose two sushi items from the menu, knowing they would be “Fear Factor” sushi – not the good, ordinary raw fish kind – but not knowing exactly what they were getting. Anthony was “lucky number one” and unknowingly chose the maggot/roach roll first. He chowed down like a trooper, despite Paola taunting him the entire time. She was a non-stop annoying chatterbox telling him to vomit it up. All the while Anthony stayed focused and finished. For dish number two, Anthony chose menu item number two. That turned out to be a maggot and rotten squid guts hand roll. Anthony gagged a little on the first chunk of squid guts, but kept going. Paola wasn’t as chatty this time around, perhaps because she knew she’d be up soon enough. Anthony, who had never had regular sushi, told Joe afterwards that this was his first and last sushi experience. Ryan chose dish #3 for his first entrée. He received a lovely cut roll filled with earthworms, red worms, super-worms and maggots, plus a couple of live roaches thrown in for good protein. Ryan, ever the polite one, kept saying “arrogato” to the sushi chef. Ryan took his time and worked through each piece. In the end, he only had 4 minutes left for his second dish. By choosing #6, Ryan received two “spider rolls” – in Fear Factor land that’s a literal spider roll. Two small lumps of rice were topped with two, whole tarantulas! Thankfully, the spiders weren’t alive. Ryan’s tactic was to eat the “crunchy parts” first, then the squishy spider bodies. The tactic worked and Ryan finished in time. Now it was big talking Paola’s turn to put her sushi where her mouth was! She was left with menu items 4 and 5. She chose to start with #5, which wound up being a stinkbug and beetle hand roll. Lots of little squirmy beetles and bugs were packed into the seaweed wrap with some tasty fish sauce. She crammed those little crunchy buggers in her mouth, while Anthony sat by silently. Where was the trash talk revenge?! Anthony missed a golden opportunity to settle the score! Paola finished by literally licking her plate and prepared for the next dish – which wasn’t a dish at all. No, the final Japanese treat was actually Fear Factor sake. It was a pungent blend of rotten fish sauce, blended squid guts and squid ink. Paola plugged her nose and focused on the task at hand. She sucked down that sake and made it to the finals!
The perilous rooftop stunt on day three required players to do a scary balancing act. A narrow beam thrust out from the rooftop perpendicular to a large Plexiglas wall rising up from its base. Players had to move back and forth along the beam to collect flags and place them on the Plexiglas wall. The wall, like something out of a Batman comic book, would be gradually moving towards them and the edge of the beam, ultimately sending them off the beam and plummeting towards the pavement below. Whoever could place the most flags in the fastest time before falling would be the newest Fear Factor champ. Anthony was randomly chosen to go first. He gave a shout-out to his daughter, and then got geared up for the task at hand. Anthony started at a quick pace, but the beam soon began shaking. He lost his balance, but caught himself in a crawl position. He tried to stand back up, meanwhile, the wall was moving towards him. He finally got into a good standing position and began transferring the flags. The wall came closer and closer, but he was able to plant all eight flags for a final time of 1:25.2.
Paola was up second and used a slow and deliberate pace to the edge of the beam. For the second flag, she used a side-step technique that seemed to work better. She planted all eight flags – but the timing was very close. Ultimately, it came down to 8/10 of a second! Paola’s time was 1:26 – meaning Anthony had narrowly edged her out. Ryan knew exactly what he had to do. He used a sideways “surfer” stance the entire way on the beam. As the wall moved closer, it seemed a bit easer because there was less beam to cross. Ryan moved quickly but was it quick enough? More than enough! Ryan’s final time was 1:14.7 and he was the newest Fear Factor champ!