"Endgame (or 'The Winner
Loses')" - October 25
Last time, Dominic, sure of his demise, was taken
aback when he learned that he would be given a free pass
to the final round, leaving the other four to kill each
other with kindness in order to earn a spot alongside
him. Dominic returned from Mexico to find that only
Femia and Linda were waiting for him. What other
surprises are in store for the players? Well, one
thing's for sure, in one hour's time, "I am going to
give the winner $1 million."
First, though, Mark is
booking three flights. Yep. It's the traditional "trip
back home episode". Only this time, Mark will make one
more cut before the final two battle it out for the
million. How open and honest have the players been in
the house? The answer lies in the home setting with the
family and friends, of course.
First trip: Boston, to
visit Linda and her family. Mark recalls that Linda, one
of his favorites, said that she needed the money because
she comes from a poor part of Boston and a family
stricken with uphill battles. Meeting Mark for the first
time is Dan, Linda's fiancé. From there, they pick up
the mom (Teresa), whom Mark calls a spitfire with her
Velvet Elvis collection. Hmm.. Velvet Elvis... spitfire.
By the way, Teresa has only one leg, and Linda is said
to be playing the game for another leg.
Next stop, Linda & Dan's
house, out of the city, a contradiction of sorts... and
what a contradiction indeed. Instead of the gray
dankness that is Boston (well, it's in a sea of Red now,
baby, yeah!), we go to Portsmouth, where we find some of
the nicest houses that reality-based gaming has to
offer. Including Linda's. I said right. Linda's. Looking
at the house and its obvious affluence, you can't help
but wonder, as Mark did, did Linda KNOW about the home
visits before she made up the poverty story or after?
Mark's thoughts: "Linda
was playing the game. She tried to play me. She knew
she'd blown it." Wall-mounted high-definition. Yep,
that'll be the death knell right there. Hey, Linda, why
don't you sell the TV and get your mom a leg. In fact,
stay on the screen for a bit while the GSNN staffers get
you my address.
That night in the van,
it's "long-ass talk." One of Linda's friends just said
that "Linda was an internet geek." If you remember the
challenge to do something constructive with $1000, you
remember that Linda professed NO tech-savvy whatsoever.
Can you say "BUSTED"? Cuban life lesson #18 (or Chicoism
#1): If you're going to cheat, don't get caught.
No need to go see
Dominic and Femia, who are exactly what they said they
were, because Mark's mind is already made up, and we
have to compress three episodes worth of game into one.
So we're heading back to Dallas for the next cut. No
surprise, Linda's deception blows her shot at a million.
But you figure she was getting exactly what she
deserved. So we're now down to just two, Dominic the
rock star, and Femia the designer. Luck versus thought.
One final test. One last scene. And here it is: tomorrow
at the AA Center, Mark will ask the $1 million question
(no lifelines), "Why should I give you $1 million?" One
final minute, one final answer.
Femia hopes to let it
flow, and hopes Dominic doesn't win out of pity. Dominic
had a dream where he opened his mouth and nothing came
So now comes "Why should
I win the million in 60 seconds". Femia is first. After
Femia said that her biggest test would come at the hands
of situations that she couldn't control and adapting to
a competition with not only 15 others but also
herself... Mark informs her that she didn't win the
money. "I gave it my best shot. Didn't work out for me."
Dominic is next. After
saying that he rocked the house, rocked Mark, and just
plain rocked, hoping that he and Mark can stay in
touch.... Mark informs HIM that HE didn't win the money.
"That's it, dude. Game over."
But the game is never
over unless the Cuban decrees it so. You see, both
Dominic and Femia were told that they lost. In truth,
the decision will lie within two factors: a) an initial
response (which, judging from the answer, looks like
Femia's game to lose) and b) a mock interview with ABC
News correspondent. "It's the winner's to lose, and the
loser's to win."
Both are heartbroken
that they didn't "win", but it looked as if Dominic was
blaming it all on Femia's presence (he thinks her family
already has money). The final Cuban life lesson, #19:
"The most painful thing on the road to success is
losing. But you have to take failure and turn it into a
positive. At T-6 hours to the reveal, Both Dominic and
Femia head into a studio, but for Femia, there's a
slight detour to read a note that she had previously
forgotten. It was a card from her boyfriend Cedric,
reminding her that this is not an end.
After being called
losers and being forced to take loser shots (which up
until now we've never really seen on a series of this
nature), we're at the interviews with T-3 to go. The
final part of the test: ABC interviewer George
Pennacchio. He's an expert on getting the truth out of
people. Dominic tells him that the loss is hard to
swallow. He says he's made a couple of lifelong friends,
but Femia wasn't one of them. "She was quite
overbearing, quite controlling. She's the type of person
with whom if she can't speak with you, she'll speak over
you." But he offers some solace in the fact that with
every grey cloud there's a silver lining.
As for Femia, she thinks
she lost because "there's more in store for (her)." "The
winner, this was his." She thinks that Dominic, a
sincere person, needed help, while she was self-serving.
"I didn't win. I did everything that I knew how. It just
wasn't for me. This isn't over. I'll be back."
Mark's initial decision
stands. From there, both Dominic and Femia were driven
back to the house for what they believed was a reunion
show. There wasn't. And both may have lost, but we still
need a winner. Femia and Dominic begin to congratulate
each other on the win... but they're short-lived as each
other begins to tell how they lost. Wonder how long
it'll take for the light to come on... And there it is.
Y'all just got punk'd.
Mark enters with a
cheery grin... and the final decision. Dominic would
pass out if he found out he won. Femia would jump in the
pool. Before she gets wet, Mark lets her open the
envelope. He gives it over, and Femia opens the envelope
to find... HER OWN NAME. Femia just about hit the floor.
But before she can go find the nearest pool to jump in,
Mark stops her to inform her that she had just won $1
million. He was impressed with the way Femia answered
her question, and said that the mill was Femia's to
lose, that she played the game with her whole heart,
always coming through in the clutch. She had every
opportunity to go off on him, but she didn't, opting for
the high road.
Back to Mark: "The first
thing I wanted to do when I made my first million was to
share it with the people who were closest to me." With
that, Mark brings in Femia's family and Cedric, who in
essence saved her butt. Dominic, though, believes that
Femia won because she deserved it, and Mark believes
that he has won in meeting a new friend like Dominic.
"One thing I don't do is that I don't let my friends
down. Dominic is going to college. Dominic is going to
have some of those financial worries taken off his
plate." That would be Mark's FINAL final life lesson,
#20. Dominic to Mark: "You've opened my eyes to a lot of
things. YOU'RE the rock star."
And finally, to make it
official, Mark comes out with a check made to Femia in
the amount of $1,000,000. Congrats, Femia. NOW you can
jump in the pool.
Well, we hope that you
learned a lot about the hard road of success from this
series and these recaps. And more than that, we hope
that you can apply them to your lives, because if you do
take the high road, be proactive, and rely on ability,
knowledge, planning, following through, and a little bit
of luck, you'll win every time. Even when you lose.
Okay, nothing left to see here. Peace and blessings to
all... I'm OUTTA HERE!