This season has shone a spotlight on the struggles that women have to go through on a daily basis, and how much they have to fight to overcome misogyny and sexism. At times, the truth has been ugly and uncomfortable to watch, but in some ways, more compelling and relevant than ever before. But enough about Survivor. Instead, here’s a review of the vapid dreck that was the Total Divas two-part season finale.
Season Finale – Part 1
The episode started off by recapping the WrestleMania main event, with Ronda Rousey breaking her hand early on. She, of course, lost the match to Becky “2 Belts”. After the match, all the girls celebrated the achievement of the main-eventers, and Ronda celebrated with Travis and his kids. She then went to the trainer’s office, and he confirmed it was a broken finger. Ronda has no regrets, saying that she was happy to have given her all for the match.
Nia, meanwhile, is emotionally drained after the show, as she knows that she’s going to have to go off the road for a while, until her knees are recovered. She threatens to come back, though, so we don’t have that to look forward to.
The girls head to the after-party in the hotel, except Nattie, who meets with her family for a small dinner. She also wants to talk about what they’re going to do with Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart’s ashes. She wants to spread them in various places in New York, but her sisters don’t necessarily agree. Their discussion, in which the word “daddy” is said about a dozen times in a two-minute segment, reminds me that I still have to publish my Total Divas drinking game at some point — maybe over the holidays.
Ronda’s not going to let her hand interfere with her baby-making plans, so she and Travis head to Vegas for some baby-making and a friend’s wedding. Hopefully not at the friend’s wedding, but with these two, who knows.
Nattie and family find a tree in New York that reminds them of Jim. They tearfully spread his ashes as a family.
The Bellas head to Hawaii to surprise the rest of the girls, who are down there for some post-Mania shenanigans. They actually get to the guest house first, and end up stealing the big room, because of course they do.
Travis and Ronda are trying to arrange a helicopter trip for his buddy’s wedding, since the original plans for a hot air balloon ceremony fell through. Ronda, meanwhile, wants to take gun-shooting lessons, so that she can snipe people from the helicopter like it’s ‘Nam or something.
In Hawaii, the Bellas head for brunch, and they set their squad goal as making sure Nattie has a fun time. Nikki is still smarting about the shade that she thinks Carmella threw her way about being a lousy wrestler — early this season, Nia lied and told Nikki that Carmella said this… which wouldn’t be wrong, because Nikki really is a lousy wrestler… but Carmella didn’t say so — so wants to confront Carmella while they’re there.
Nattie, Liv, Carmella, and Sonya all meet up at the airport in Hawaii — to everyone’s surprise, Sonya brought her girlfriend Arianna along, even though significant others were specifically not invited, since Nattie wanted the trip to be a celebration of — and winding down from — Mania.
They arrive at the guest house, and things get awkward, because the bartender didn’t make enough drinks, as nobody was expecting Arianna to be there. Worst, they find the house has an infestation of pests — specifically, the Bellas. Actually, they all seem to be happy that the Bellas are there. Except for Carmella, who feels awkward for the aforementioned drama that Nia’s lies caused. The girls start their celebration, and the journey towards Brie Mode begins.
Arianna is upset with Sonya about her not telling the others that she was coming, since Arianna now feels like a fifth wheel. They figure they’ll make the best of the situation — yeah, my heart bleeds for her, having to be on a Hawaiian vacation. #FirstWorldProblems #ForcedDramaForDumbRealityShow
Back in Vegas, Ronda and Travis are at the gun range, when Travis’ buddy calls them to talk about the plan for the wedding. Travis agrees to check out Red Rock Canyon as an alternative location, and he agrees, but Ronda’s not thrilled, since apparently shooting guns is like foreplay for her, and this has now v-blocked her plans.
In Hawaii, Carmella is worried about talking to Nikki, but Nikki is telling everyone that she really wants to talk to Carmella. But none of this matters, because they’re all in bikinis, so honestly they could be talking about anything and I wouldn’t care. They head into the pool, and Nikki threatens to come back to the ring. Nikki reveals that she has a cyst on her brain, which shocks everyone, since nobody even thought she had a brain. In a talking head segment, talking about their potential confrontation, Carmella says she has to “nip this in the butt,” which kind of indicates that Nikki’s brain damage is contagious. She finally does talk to Nikki, and explains that she wasn’t dissing her. Nikki understands that Nia is just a big liar, and all is well.
After cavorting in the pool, Nattie is bemoaning the fact that Trinity hasn’t come to Hawaii and didn’t give any explanation. She then starts talking about how she wants the new girls to have the opportunity to have big matches and title reigns, and Sonya points out that Nattie never mentions her when she lists out the potential world champions. #MoreFakeDramaToKillTime
The girls then have a hula dance lesson, because it’s a stereotypically Hawaiian thing to do. Sonya has no rhythm, so leaves in frustration, which ticks off Nattie who arranged the lesson. She speculates that Sonya is acting weird because she feels uncomfortable because she brought her girlfriend when nobody else did.
At dinner, Ronda — with her hand all bandaged up — and Travis go for dinner. They say “babe” during this conversation as much as Nattie’s family say “daddy”, so that’s annoying. They then talk about having sex at the restaurant table, as Ronda’s baby fever has really kicked in. But Travis’ buddy texts again — this guy is a regular bridezilla. Travis says that Ronda needs to chill out and they have to help his buddy because who are they to stand in the way of love.
At dinner, Nattie stooges to the girls that Ronda’s told her that her Mania match was her last one. The girls are surprised, but figure this now gives them a chance to step up and fill the void. Nattie again starts talking about all the possibilities for new, fresh champions, and again doesn’t mention Sonya. Sonya pulls her aside and asks her why she continues to exclude her, but Nattie didn’t even realize that she was doing it. She basically calls Sonya out as being super-sensitive and she doesn’t feel she needs to compliment everyone. And then she makes a snide comment about Sonya bringing Arianna without telling everyone, which is beside the point, but is the elephant in the room that didn’t get mentioned until the last few minutes of the episode because they still have another episode to fill for this season, so why not end on a dramatic cliffhanger. Nattie tells Sonya to calm down and have fun, and that nobody wants her here if she’s going to be a party pooper. Sonya takes offense, and she gets Arianna, planning on leaving and heading back to the mainland.
Carmella questions Sonya about what’s going on, and tells her to not let Nattie get under her skin.
Travis and Ronda go to the wedding — and it’s the original hot air balloon plan. So basically their whole plotline for this episode was meaningless, though that really describes this entire series, so why am I surprised. Fortunately, Ronda doesn’t bring her gun. Travis actually conducts the ceremony, and does a pretty good job, actually. That said, 20 bucks says the couple gets divorced within the year.
The next morning, Nattie has arranged for surfing lessons, but Sonya doesn’t want to go. Arianna does, and Nattie now likes her more than Sonya. The Bellas and Carmella stay with Sonya, and they use the opportunity to blabber on about something, but again, I’m blinded by bikinis. In a sexy montage, Nattie, Arianna, and Liv surf, while the Bellas and Carmella pole-dance at the house. It looks like Liv takes a hard wipe-out, and the episode ends with word that the surfers are heading to the hospital.
Season Finale – Part 2
The episode starts off with more shots of bikinis, with the girls who stayed at the house now taking topless pool photos (pixellated, you pervs, so don’t run towards the TV and bang your forehead on the screen like I did).
On the surfing front, Liv wipes out and when she comes out of the water, she’s shrieking in pain, after stomping on a sea urchin and getting a foot full of needles. Nattie has gotten stung as well, so both she and Liv have to be taken to the hospital.
Carmella tries to teach Sonya how to do a sexy topless photoshoot, and although Sonya is reluctant, the results are boi-oi-oi-oi-oing.
At the hospital, Nattie and Liv await their treatment.
Nikki calls her new boyfriend, who she misses. He’s no John Cena.
The doctor tells the girls that sea urchin stingers can’t be removed, but rather they dissolve into the body naturally, so they just need to wait. But that they’re going to feel pain for about a month while the body absorbs the stingers. Which suggests to me that they went to see some mystical Hawaiian island witch doctor like that one from Scooby Doo and not anyone with a legitimate medical degree.
Arianna takes this opportunity to thank Nattie for being so hospitable despite the awkwardness that her presence originally started. Nattie tells Arianna that she wants to clear the air with Sonya after their argument, and that she hopes everyone will just chill out.
Ronda heads into surgery for her broken hand. She goes to a real doctor, presumably, because he actually does something medical.
Everyone gets back to the house, and Carmella tries to get Nattie and Sonya to clear the air of any lingering bad blood. Nattie points out that Sonya has bailed on all of the activities that she’s arranged for the girls. Nattie then says that Sonya was drunk and got too emotional, but Sonya pointed out that Nattie was the one who started badmouthing her. Nattie then calls Sonya ungrateful for not enjoying the vacation that Nattie arranged for everyone, and they start jawing at one another until Nattie storms out – well, hobbles, given her urchin-pin-cushion feet.
Ronda’s surgery goes well, so look for her to be able to punch and shoot people again soon.
Most of the girls go for a walk on the beach. Liv reveals that she’s never been on vacation because of her family’s financial situation, and gets emotional about how her life has changed to the point that she has this opportunity.
All of this happens in bikinis, so I could have got some of that wrong, as I was only half listening.
The next morning, Brie pulls Sonya aside, and tells her that she shouldn’t feel pressure to not get into all the activities out of some misguided attempt to look cool in front of her girlfriend. She says that Sonya should embrace the fun and show Arianna what she’s really like in front of her workplace friends. Sonya confides in Brie, letting her know that she has never told Arianna that she loves her, and was planning on doing so on this trip, but she’s been feeling scared about taking that big step.
Later, Carmella tells the girls that she wants to move in with Corey Graves and have kids with him. Brie calls Liv’s mom, and invites her to Hawaii, as a surprise for Liv.
Nia is in surgery for her knees. She’s understandably nervous, first by the thought of surgery, and second because she’s not sure if she’ll come back to the ring as good as, or better than, she was. Really, that’s a pretty low bar, and there’s not really much room to get worse, so I think that one’s easy.
The girls have put away their bikinis (boooo!) and are all in fancy wear to head to a boat for a sunset cruise. Nattie’s ticked because Sonya isn’t there, and for some reason, she name-checks Michelle Obama. Carmella and Sonya get to the dock late, and the boat has already taken off. Sonya’s really upset, since she knows that Nattie will be even more mad at her. But, more so, she’s worried that Arianna will be mad at her for missing out on what could be a romantic highlight of the trip.
The captain sees them on the shore, and turns around to pick them up, so crisis averted. Arianna is pretty upset and gets pretty frosty. Sonya and Carmella apologize to Nattie, who lectures them for a bit, but ultimately forgives them. Nattie and Sonya hug it out, and all is well. Nattie says that she believes in Sonya and sees a great future for her career. With everyone back in Happyland, they all enjoy their cruise together and talk about how good life is as a Diva.
Nia’s out of surgery, and the doctor is pleased with the results, though questions remain as to how long her recovery will be. She is targeting for WrestleMania in 2020 (so my guess is she appears on RAW the next night as a surprise return).
Sonya takes Arianna to a romantic picnic spot on a mountain, where she presents her with one of her sexy photos from the topless shoot. Sonya tells Arianna that she loves her, and Arianna says it back. Sonya then tells her that she’s moving to Tampa so that they can live closer to one another, and gives Arianna a housekey. HLA presumably follows.
Back at the house, everyone’s cavorting in bikinis again — did I say this is the best episode ever?
Nia calls Nattie and lets her know that the surgery went well.
Trinity arrives at the house party — only several days late — and everyone’s happy to see her, because presumably they all thought she was kidnapped or something. They just chalk it up to Trinity being Trinity. But with her there, and the Bellas gone — they had to leave early to get back to the nothing that they do — this is a cue for everyone to get topless and run around in bikinis again. And what do I have to do to get Trinity to come to one of my parties?
Later, Nattie assembles all the girls for a rah-rah speech, but it’s really just a setup to surprise Liv with her mother’s arrival. Liv is blown away with emotion, and it’s actually kind of a sweet moment. This will be less sweet if Liv’s mom gets topless or into a bikini. By video greetings, the Bellas tell Liv that they set up this surprise for her, and everyone toasts them and Liv’s mom.
Between clips of the girls’ luau party, in a series of talking head segments, the girls recap their individual storylines from this past season, mainly: Nattie’s ups (her Mania moment with Beth Phoenix) and downs (her dad’s passing); Sonya shining a spotlight on LBGTQ issues; Carmella’s beef with Nia and her relationship with Corey and her elevated career. Because Ronda isn’t there, they decide to throw her a surprise party when they get back home.
Two weeks later, everyone’s there for Ronda’s surprise party. Ronda arrives, and she’s overwhelmed by the gesture, apparently the first time anyone has ever thrown her a party in her life. They show her a video of her WWE career highlights, interspersed with individual personal comments from each of them. Ronda then thanks them (her real-life promos are better than her in-ring promos), and thanks them all for their support professionally and personally. She says she’s not sure what the future holds, and that even though she’s retiring for now, “never say never” about a potential return.
As for these recaps, they’ll return when the next season begins. Hopefully you will too.
Bob Kapur wants a Total Divas calendar for Christmas. E-mail him one at email@example.com.