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King of the Nerds: season 2, episode 8 - Crowning the King

Pictures from the season finale.
Pictures from the season finale. TBS

Last night's episode picks up with Jack gloating over Zack's defeat in last week's episode. It's now just down to Jack (J), Xander (X), Kayla (K), and Brian (B). The first Nerd War features the Second Annual Season Finale Quiz Bowl, which will winnow the four contestants down to two. They are asked questions specific to nerd culture: gaming, fantasy, math & logic, memory, sci-fi, science, comic books, and video games. There are five levels of difficulty: easy peasy, a bit tricky, getting tough, ridiculously hard, brain melter. The first two to answer any five questions correctly earns a spot in the final Nerd Off.

Here's the questions, with the correct answer in bold

Comic Books (a bit tricky): Which of these characters was one of the original seven members of the Justice League?

  • Hawkgirl
  • Green Arrow (B) (J) (X)
  • Robin
  • Martian Manhunter (K)

Science (ridiculously hard): Which of these electromagnetic waves has the shortest wavelength?

  • Ultraviolet (B) (K)
  • Visible Light (X)
  • X-Ray (J)
  • Infrared

Memory (ridiculously hard): In the Battlehammer Nerd Off, what piece did Zack hit to win?

  • Pikeman (K)
  • Archer (B) (J) (X)
  • Knight
  • Dragon

Fantasy (getting tough): In which historical period is the book His Majesty's Dragon based?

  • World War I
  • World War II
  • The Crusades (B)
  • The Napoleonic Wars (J) (K) (X)

Comic Books (brain melter): In the graphic novel Watchmen, Rorschach is based on which current character from another series?

  • Dick Tracy (X)
  • The Question (B) (J) (K)
  • Gray Ghost
  • Batman

Science (easy peasy): If you were a plant going through photosynthesis, you would eat sunlight and fart what?

  • Carbon dioxide (B) (J) (K) (X) - with 4 points Jack moves into the winner circle
  • Oxygen
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Helium

Fantasy (a bit tricky): What was the nickname of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's favorite stake?

  • McKillsalot
  • Mr. Pointy (B) (X)
  • Death (K)
  • Woody

Math & Logic (brain melter): Assuming that Pac-Man is a four-foot wide sphere what is his surface area?

  • About 100 sq. ft.
  • About 50 sq. ft. (K) - Kayla moves into the winner circle vs. Jack
  • About 48 sq. ft. (B) (X)
  • About 24 sq. ft.

After bringing about the former nerds back (not for a popularity contest), the two final contestants are pitted in an epic gauntlet of eight mental games called the Nerd-liminator. The banished nerds choose which of the two contestants they will join.

Kayla

  • Brian
  • Chris
  • Katie
  • Nicole
  • Xander

Jack

  • Josh
  • Kelsey
  • Mary Kate
  • Zack

The puzzles include: pop-culture math, periodic-table puzzle, cipher, Sudoku, a logic puzzle, spatial problem solving, nerd words, and Pac Man. They have twenty minutes to complete the Nerd-liminator. The nerd with the most correct answers wins. For help, each contestant may call on three nerds for only one game each. This is an interesting approach, similar to Face Off -- however, the conclusion isn't something the audience can really play along. We can't solve the Sudoku puzzle or the word find, because it's not shared with the audience.

Jack brings Zack in for the cipher, Josh for Sudoku...and it turns out they're both terrible at Sudoku.

Brian helps Kayla with the word puzzle. Nicole's super secret chemical science powers finally give Kayla an advantage. Unfortunately Kayla sucks at Pac Man.

And the new King of the Nerds is...KAYLA, 5 points to 4. How the judges arrived at those points we have no idea.

Noted: the crown is ringed with polyhedral dice! Nice touch.

Overall, this season was ridiculously well-balanced. There wasn't a single lopsided match in which one winner was clearly in the lead over the other -- it was always a suspiciously-orchestrated, overly-even competition that made for some great television but was lacking in reality.

On the other hand, Kayla is a huge improvement over last year's winner, who basically won by being as generic as possible. Kayla's a well-rounded nerd and proud of it. She deserves it.

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