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At last! It’s over! Welcome to the final Treasure Hunters recap, and I can tell you right now, this isn’t going to be a long one. Why? Because the finale blew. That’s not an editorial comment on who won, it’s just a fact. The sound sucked, the host couldn’t keep control of the contestants, and they threw in a mini-challenge of people nobody’d ever heard of.

So if you didn’t watch it, that’s an hour of your life you spent being more productive, and now you can spend a scant few minutes reading about what you missed.

In A Parallel Universe, I’m Not Even Watching This Show

Last week’s episode was to be continued – completely unnecessarily – so we left our three teams in the Key Industries building. The Geniuses had gained access to a secret room but hadn’t got any further, while the Southies and Air Force were still looking for the secret room.

Clearly, the geniuses are beginning to get frustrated. They’ve been in the room for two hours and have no idea what clue it’s supposed to give them to open their cryptex. They can see that there’s another room off this one, but they can’t get into it. They’re frustrated because they know the answer is there in the room with them, and they know the other teams can’t be far behind.

And, in fact, here they come. The Southies find the hidden door to the spiral staircase that leads down to the room. They reach the bottom but scuffle around a bit wondering how to open the door.

Meanwhile, the geniuses have been staring off into space. Francis says that in a parallel universe, they had the money two hours ago. I don’t know what makes him think he and his boys would have a clue in a parallel universe. They might still be wandering around the harbor.

Anyway, Francis hears the Southies trying to get in and tells the others in a frantic whisper. A clearly stressed Charles replies, “So put your ear to the door and listen for voices, Einstein!” My, someone’s a whiny child when he’s tired, isn’t he?

The Air Force also finds the stairs, and soon arrive down at the locked door. The Geniuses are realizing that everyone else is outside and about to be inside with them, and Charles snippily tells Francis to keep his mouth shut. What, does he think the others will think they’re at the wrong door if they don’t hear anyone inside?

Genius Appears To Work Best …. Unconscious
Well, tough. The Southies and Air Force figure out how to get in, and … well, they come in. The geniuses despair in voice overs: “We had a two and a half hour lead,” Charles moans, and it’s all gone. Well, get your heads out of your butts and figure it out.

Brooke of the Air Force says the geniuses look like “they’ve been beaten by a stick.” She also says it’s really hot in that little room.

So, anyway, everyone’s locked in the room trying to figure out the clue. Sam appears to be asleep. Way to go – millions of dollars, potentially, on the line, and you take a nap?

Time is ticking away. The southies are hoping for a miracle. The Geniuses have been there for five hours. The Air Force tries to think of things in the room that there are only one of, like a star. They’ve got some theory about how the cryptex is maybe telling them about the room, instead of the room telling them about the cryptex.

It’s six hours. They’re all frustrated. Sam is still nodding off. And apparently so was Francis, when suddenly he rises up from the dead and grabs the cryptex from Charles. And …. Opens it! Finally! “I’m awake!” Sam declares. Great timing.

Everyone else is just staring at Francis. He explains (to the camera) that in his sleep, the letters “FSK” came to him. He thought, what if the “key” is Francis Scott Key? He put in “FSKey” and that was the correct answer. I’m pretty impressed, although clearly the answer was NOT in the room with them all. But your mind does funny things when you’re asleep. I once figured out a particularly thorny part of Super Mario while sleeping.

Anyway, inside the cryptex is a metallic arrow with symbols that match the stone tablets in the floor. The Geniuses lay it down on one, spin it, it points toward a star, and they go push the star on the wall. It pushes in, light glows, the other door in the room opens, and we cut to commercial with someone yelling, “Oh, snap!”

We come back to find the Geniuses running into a side-cave that contains a pile of gold pieces. Or fake gold pieces, more likely. They’re afraid it’s another challenge, but no, they’ve really won. Robohost calls to congratulate them. Francis says his parents are going to retire, and they all three are in jumping-around hysterics. Francis and Charles can pay for med school now. “It’s as if somebody just reached down and said, ‘here’s a bunch of your dreams’,” Charles says. He rambles on a bit more about how they’re brothers now and would take a bullet for each other. I somehow doubt he’d take a bullet for Sam if it really came down to it.

Outside, the two losing teams get their call from Robohost, who says the treasure “has slipped through your fingers.”

One of the Southies says it’s worse to come in second than tenth, because they were so close. But Matt from the Air Force says it would have been worse if the Geniuses got it right after the other teams arrived in the cave, because then they’d have felt like they could have gotten it if they’d just moved faster.

Downhill From Here

Ok, so that wraps up about the first 20 minutes of the show. We still don’t know how much money the Geniuses won, and now we’re cutting to the promised “live” portion of the show. Robohost is on a stage in a huge hall in Washington, D.C. Where the hell did they get all these audience members? Did they pull tourists off the Mall with promises of air-conditioning?

Anyway, all the losing teams are there, and Pat Hanlon does indeed still have his mullet, although it looks very soft and silky, almost as if he bathed it, or something. The Geniuses enter, and there’s so much hugging and back-slapping among the contestants that Robohost has to literally drag them away.

And thus begins a nearly useless live reunion show. Robohost, who was so cool and calm and collected on the phone, has trouble keeping the contestants in line. He messes up a few lines. The sound is wiggy. And for whatever reason, they’ve decided to include a mini-treasure hunt using 10 people who won an online challenge. They won $10,000 already and are competing in D.C. for $100,000.

I am not recapping that. I do not know those people, and I don’t care about them. This takes away from the reunion part of the show. I don’t care what Internet stranger won, I want to know if the Hanlons are suitably embarrassed by their performances and whether the Rev. Fogal has been run out of his church on a rail for cheating. (Someone named Scott won, and then he cried, and he called his wife. ‘Nuff said.)

So. Robohost reminds the Geniuses they came so close to losing several times, which I’m sure just makes them feel great. They laugh it off, though, and get sent back to their seats. Because it’s time for some updates! Or, well, one. Brooke from the Air Force is pregnant. “The robots are procreating,” she says. Well, yay.

Further Downhill, Featuring the Fogals

We then look back at clips from the season, which includes a lot of people freaking out (ok, mostly Katye Fogal), the Hanlons’ attitude with the Browns, the Southies fighting, etc.

Then we turn to the ex-CIA team, who were eliminated by the skin of their teeth. Todd says they were just in shock when they got the call that they were out. They made their cameramen review the tapes and check the time codes, and it turned out the Geniuses got the clue two seconds before they did. “We’re no longer taking your calls” he says to Robohost. I don’t think he’s kidding.

Some pretty girls that I don’t recognize talk about how hard the challenges were. *snooze* Don’t blame me, there were several teams I could never tell apart. Then Keith Brown talks about how he couldn’t swim and the ocean was scary.

At one point before this, Robohost had said we could all email questions to nbc.com. Apparently a few people managed to do this before he began using those questions. And luckily, the first was to the Fogals. Rev. Fogal was informed that “people on the Internet” – that’s us, folks! Hi, mom! *waves* -- thought he was a bad person for his ruthless gameplay when he was a minister.

Fogal says he thinks they played fair, although they’re sorry for ditching the Southies on the river, after the Southies had carried their canoe.

The Southie boys reminisce that they had never even been in a canoe before, and they’re doing the portage thing, and suddenly “we could hear someone screaming like a 2-year-old.” Oh, nice smackdown to Katye Fogal! The Fogals apologize for leaving the Southies on the river, which the Southies laugh off like they aren’t holding a grudge, but I’m sure they really are. I would.

And, Rock Bottom With the Hanlons

Robohost turns to Air Force, which not only was never Fogaled, they allied with the Fogals. The Air Forcers say they never felt it was a risky move; they even back up the Fogals’ claim that on the boat to Dover, the Fogals said they’d let the Air Force win if it came down to the two teams. I still don’t believe it. You don’t just take a competitive spirit and throw it overboard.

Finally we turn to the Hanlons, who were my all-time most entertaining team. Stupid as they were, the show was a lot less fun after the Mullet was eliminated. Asked if they’d been fogaled, they say, “We were too busy Fogaling ourselves.” Which is true – we see some hilarious clips of Pat scaring people at a truck stop while he’s trying to ask for directions. “Gawd, Pat,” says his brother. “You freak people out!”. And then we have some other scenes, still mostly of Pat, looking in ludicrous places for clues. And, of course, the Hanlons leaving a challenge to drive 40 miles for hamburgers. Ah yes, good times.

Robohost announces that the show changed the contestants’ lives, then turns only to team CIA. It seems the bald one came home, went back to work, and wanted to quit his job after being there an hour. The other two talked him into asking his wife first, but he still gave his notice and moved to Pensacola. Well, nice for him.

Team USA is asked if they think they gained respect for beauty queens. What, by piggybacking on half the challenges? They say they showed viewers that beauty queens aren’t just pretty faces. “It takes so much more to be successful in the pageant world,” one of them says. Um, ok. They also complain about how hard the physical challenges for little ol’ things like themselves, up against these big strong men. They might have said more, but I muted it at that point.

Finally, we review the last night of the challenge. Apparently it was 10 p.m. when the Geniuses even got into the secret room, and everyone else showed up at midnight. They were down there for more than 8 hours, which begs the question – where did they pee? I’m just sayin’. While the show itself had only shown Sam asleep, it appears that virtually everyone took naps at various points. The Southies said Francis, asleep, “looked like a dead porpoise in the middle of that chamber.”

And, finally, it’s time to reveal just how much the geniuses won. And it is …. Drumroll ….. $3 million! One for each of them. They’re very excited. We have to guess at their excitement by their jumping around with relatives, however, because the show cuts off right about now. That’s all, folks! Thanks for playing along. Now we just have to wait till The Amazing Race starts.