|The Home Stretch|
|Season 2, Episode 14|
|Aired||February 14, 2004|
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Revisiting the season's high points before the final battle for Endurance.
The episode begins with a recap of the first six days; with Grey & Red now eliminated respectively, only six teams remain at the start of this episode.
The recap opens with On the Ropes, wherein Blue feels immense pressure to win after being targetted in Tide Pull, and getting a 10-second delay from the Samadhi, but Scooter is bent on winning and attempting to break the Green-Yellow-Brown alliance. The mission didn't focus on strength or stamina, but solely on lung power from the sidelines— although Brown had a significant lead, Blue was undeterred, and Scooter got physical with Max on the penultimate hole; this proved futile, as Max inserted his rope through the final pole at the last moment, securing victory for Brown. Needless to say, their two main threats on Purple and Blue were sent to the Temple of Fate, with both teams vowing vengeance on Brown if they returned. On the Sea of Cortéz, Blue wins the first round, only to have Purple shut them out in the next two, eliminating Christa & Scooter; however, almost nobody was satisfied at their return, with Keetin believing that this happened so Green could win it all.
Day 8 opens with Blue's puzzling choice to award their two pieces to Purple, making their lead tremendous at five total— in the mission Face to Face, both players had to hold onto handles as they were gradually lifted higher from a truss; Green accidentally fell after 10 seconds, with Yellow and Orange following suit almost a minute later, leaving Brown to vie against Purple. Whichever team lost would get the Samadhi from the other, so all that mattered was who wanted it the most— control of the game shifted as Purple won, now holding an insurmountable lead of 6 pieces and control of the Samadhi, which was obviously given to Brown; the handicap was 2 extra feet, but Max was unfazed, and determined to counterattack.
Day 9 had the fourth elimination looming, and everyone having the urge to win to feel safe; in the mission Cherry Picker, each team had to put a ball in a cup and add two more segments so the ball could easily be planted in their tower— three balls were required to win the challenge. Yellow took a significant lead, but Purple was hot on their trail, and Jeff and Annie ultimately defeated them by a nanosecond; Purple proceeded to send Yellow and Brown to Temple, with Annie saying that despite her friendship with them, she had to focus solely on the grand prize. While a storm brewed that night, Max and Jenna had avoided the Temple for eight days of competition, but now they had to return to the one place they couldn't overcome in E1; Yellow won the first round, but lost to Brown in the next two rounds, which devastated Calley.
Day 10 now had the final four— with Yellow gone, Orange was the only team who had never won a mission, but their luck was about to change course for the better; in the mission Aqueduct, the teams had to construct a pipeline so the water from the barrel could safely flow to the landing pad. Orange finally won their first challenge, awarding them the Samadhi, but who would get it was hard for Tyler and Michelle to decide on— it was either Purple with the most pieces, Brown with the underhanded tactics, or Green who they were closest to. In the end, Tyler asked to remove the Samadhi to avoid any retaliation, which created a level playing field for the next Temple Mission; Mike deemed this to be a move to keep Orange under the radar, and didn't think it would end well.
Day 11 was now a game of numbers— three days were left, two teams would go to Temple, and one would be the fifth team eliminated; with the Samadhi out, each team had a fair shot at victory. In the mission Plank Maze, each team had to align beams on barrels into a path, collecting ten tiles along the way; at the end, the tiles would spell out "leadership", and the first team to accomplish this won a spot in the final three. In their first victory since the fifth day, Green won, and chose championship over friendship by sending Brown and Purple to Temple; Max stated that the two strongest teams of the season would still control the beach, even as one would go home that night. At Temple, Brown shut out Purple in two rounds, forcing E2's powerhouse team to exit the game, with hopes that Brown would win it all.
Day 12 opens with Purple's absence changing the game for good; Orange was surprisingly granted all 6 of their pieces, despite them having only one mission to their name, but if they wanted to be basically unbeatable in the finale, they would need to win Pathfinder. In that mission, each team had to configure a five-color puzzle with separate linear paths in order to win a spot in the finals— Brown managed to win the challenge, automatically sending Green and Orange to the last Temple. Green won the first round, with Orange's chance of surviving their third trip resting on the second round; unfortunately, Green swept both rounds, making Michelle and Tyler the last team eliminated this season, leaving Mike and Keetin to compete against their former allies on the final day.