Pirate Master: Finale

By the end of last week’s episode, the winner of Pirate Master had already been decided. This week’s finale was a mere formality.

When Jay decided to keep Ben instead of Louie, he doomed both himself and Christa. There was no way either of them could beat Ben in a challenge that demanded physical strength and stamina, as every challenge had to this point. The final challenge was no different, so it was no surprise when Ben became Pirate Master.

At the beginning of the two-hour finale (well, 80 minutes since it aired without commercial breaks), Jay, Ben, and Christa learned that the race for the $500,000 treasure was only a two person affair. That meant that one more challenge would determine which one of them would get a free pass and which two would wind up with Black Spots.

Christa lagged behind the guys on the run through the jungle — just far enough so that Ben could cut down a rope bridge and effectively put her out of the race. Ben then outran Jay, who’s more than a decade Ben’s senior, to the penultimate treasure.

With Ben’s spot in the final treasure hunt secured, it was time to decide who would race against him. To make that decision, the "ghost crew" of all of the previously eliminated pirates was brought back.

To quote Jay: "Frick. I’m history."

Time had not healed the ghosts’ wounds, and several of them championed their own moral superiority for not having stooped to the devious levels Ben, Christa, and Jay had (although that "nice guy" mentality probably explained why they didn’t last as long in the competition as the final three did).

Particularly disturbing was a rant by Cheryl about how she didn’t respect any of the people left in the game. It was difficult to see the bitterness she had about the game at that point, knowing that mere months after the filming, she would kill herself, expressing frustration with Pirate Master until the time of her death.

Kendra, on the other hand, used her bitter feelings to make an hilarious jab at Christa. Rolling her eyes as stay-at-home mom Christa said for the umpteenth time, "I’m doing this for my daughter," Kendra retorted, "You drag your daughter out every two minutes. Well, set an example for her: get a job!"

The ghost pirates voted, and Jay, who’d acknowledged playing a part in the elimination of all of them, lost: 12-1 (I’m guessing the "1" was Kendra). If the producers really wanted to do something bold — and true to the pirate’s code of ethics — the 12 votes would’ve earned Jay a pass into the final race for inspiring such contempt in his crewmates.

But Christa got the spot in the finale, and Jay was not cut adrift, forced instead to hang out on the ship with the all of the crew members who’d just told him they hated him.

The following day, Christa and Ben were told to choose three teammates from the ghost crew to help them on the final treasure hunt. Both Ben and Christa offered up the money they’d earned until that point as a reward for the three crew members, should their team win. (To see who needed the money most, Wikipedia has a breakdown of how much booty each pirate earned while on the show.)

As the ghosts made their cases for why they’d like to play on the final task, some of them offered their services only to Christa, including Nessa and scientist/exotic dancer John. Jay made the same offer, but warned Christa that he probably wasn’t in the best physical shape after their grueling jungle run the previous day.

Still, when asked to vote for the three crew members she’d like, Christa submitted the names of Jay, Nessa, and scientist/exotic dancer John. Ben made his submissions: Cheryl, Azmyth, and Nessa.

That prompted a bidding war for Nessa. Ben promised her $10,000, regardless of if his team won. Christa promised the same guaranteed $10,000, plus the entire amount she’d won to that point — around $70,000 — if their team won (she got Jay’s and scientist/exotic dancer John’s permission, first).

Nessa went with Christa, and Ben chose Jupiter. The remaining ghost pirates were then cut adrift again.

Finally, it was time for the big race, which wasn’t any different than the previous treasure hunts. Row to shore, run through the jungle, carry something heavy, run some more, carry something heavy back to the boat, row back to the Picton Castle.

Turns out, all along, the $500,000 prize was hidden in the Chest of Zanzibar, right under the crews’ noses. Who’d’ve ever thunk it?

Once back on board the Picton Castle, Ben and Christa had to work alone to solve a puzzle that revealed the combination to the last lock on the chest. Ben had a sizable lead on Christa, giving him enough time to solve the puzzle first. He won the loot, just like we knew he would, as soon as Jay voted to get rid of Louie.