The last semi-final of the season was yet another nail-biting display of strength, mental fortitude and the frankly bonkers things we can convince our bodies and family members to do when we push hard enough.
This week's teams were the Lallys from Dublin, coached by Donncha O'Callaghan, the Finnegan Hogans from Cork coached by Anna Geary and the McDonalds from Laois coached by Davy Fitzgerald.
The challenges at hand were Swamp Trek, a nominated race where two people from each family would race across a treacherous course. Next, the Devil's Mud Run, where families are pushed even further towards their limits on a mucking track. The families with the highest combined total from the two events go straight to the final, while the remaining two teams face the Eliminator.
Last night's episode was particularly tense as Davy struggled under pressure to secure one spot in the final for his last family. "They say the most dangerous type of animal is a wounded animal, and worse again is a wounded Davy Fitz", said Anna. "He is going to be all out today."
And she wasn't wrong. From the first whistle, Davy exerted almost as much effort as the McDonalds in coaching them, running part of the course with them and practically shouting himself hoarse with fierce encouragements.
The first two challenges saw two families struggle from early on, with the Finnegan Hogans lagging behind for much of the the race and the Lallys hitting mental roadblocks later on. In the end, the McDonalds went straight through to the final, leaving the others to battle it out on the Eliminator track.
Next up was Devil's Run, where Susan Lally worried an injury would slow them down, and although David's shoulder complaint seemed to improve, by the end of the race his shoulder had become dislocated. They finish up with a time of 4:48. The Finnegan Hogans were up next, putting in a speedy performance and finishing up with a time of 4:20, but not without an injury of their own as Louise hurt her ankle.
Finally, Davy lets his trainer expertise shine as he drove on the McDonalds, who despite struggling on the beams initially finished with a time of 4:32, the second-fastest finish and secured for the final.
A hellish battle across the Eliminator included a freezing cold ice bath, six walls ranging in heights from 1.5 and 3 meters high and a cargo net climb and crawl. The Lallys struggled from early on, stalling at the first wall while the Finnegan Hogans pushed ahead. In the end, it was the Lallys who were eliminated, after a grueling but awe-inspiring show of strength, endurance and cooperation.
As always, Twitter was ablaze with hot takes, vented frustrations and uproarious encouragement for the families and was almost as entertaining as the show itself...
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These families are incredible, what am I doing with my life... ???? #IrelandsFittestFamily— Emma H (@emmabear88) December 9, 2018
Do you even lift?