It's the second half of the season finale, and the moments of truth for our cosplayers! Who will emerge victorious…or Victoria? Let's find out.
The night before the group competition in Kansas City, Yaya waits on Riki and Monika to arrive so they can run through their Alice the Madness Continues piece. Yaya is still really excited to return to skit competition for the first time in four years, and obsessively listing all the costume work she has left to do, so that nap Riki wanted to take isn't happening. Yaya describes her rad Red Queen crown that attaches to her wig via magnets, allowing Yaya to transfer it to Riki's wig during their skit -- if Riki remembers to hold Yaya's wig down while pulling the crown off. The fact that she's telling us this makes me think that plan isn't going to work out. In the meantime, the Atlanta contingent keeps working on their costumes and sets…
…and Holly and Jessica cram giant cardboard boxes into Becky's room. As Holly tries on the foam dragon boat they've crafted for their How To Train Your Dragon skit, Becky waxes confident about their innovations.
"Team Atlanta" isn't as high on their material. Riki's starting to come down with something, and as Yaya complains that the group's timing is off, Riki interviews that she feels like crap -- but she'll have to push through, because she can't be the one who lets Yaya down.
As Jessica clowns around with packing materials, she and Holly note that comparing their skit with Team Atlanta's is like comparing apples and, uh, dragons. Team Dragon still has a ton of work to do, but the mood is positive even though almost nothing is complete except the dragon boat.
But everyone's got time for a cocktail before the competition the next day. Becky hasn't talked to Monika since Monika hurt her feelings at Anime Matsuri -- is it going to be awkward? Chloe breaks the ice by modeling her championship belt from her costume win.
But Holly's seething about Monika's comments to Becky, and tells Monika she was rude. Monika's defense: when she called Becky "the last person she'd ever think of" to pair with, she meant that she teams up with people she's close with, which is believable (but still tactless). Yaya, who's just now hearing about the dust-up, cocks an eyebrow while Jessica notes that "to tear each other down internally" isn't good for the cosplay community's image. Riki is staring resolutely at her martini olive and trying to disappear as Holly adds that Monika shouldn't be an elitist. Monika is too annoyed at getting called out "in front of Yaya" to listen, and storms out. Now Yaya worries that Monika is going to rage-bail and ruin their skit.
Monika is sobbing to Chloe in the bathroom that she doesn't want to come off as the "rookie bad guy." Chloe advises her to watch her tongue a bit more. Monika didn't mean to make Becky feel bad (but didn't try not to, either, let's remember), and wishes Becky had come to her directly instead of embarrassing her in front of her friends (which, let's also remember, Becky didn't do; Holly did). Monika emerges from the bathroom in mirrored sunglasses while Yaya conspiracy-theories that maybe Becky "plotted" to have Jessica and Holly "white-knight" her in the situation, since they're known as inclusive cosplayers. We don't think Becky's that organized, but anyway, Yaya just wants to focus on tomorrow's competition.
The next morning, Yaya's up early, putting on make-up before pre-judging. She's really nervous about what's at stake for her brand. At least she can see; Becky slept with her contacts in, and she's in enough pain that Jessica thinks she should go to the doctor. So should Riki, who's throwing up (and is comforted very sweetly by Monika), and Yaya is wondering if Riki's dress is making her sick or if it's a legit virus. We're wondering why cosplayers keep at it if their attire is going to cause these reactions (remember Jessica puking thanks to her wool allergy?), but Riki's determined to forge ahead.
Becky heads to emergency and Jessica and Holly start doing "damage control" -- should they compete without her? How? They decide to finish the entire costume and try to get through pre-judging without Becky, in the hopes that she'll get back in time for the competition proper.
Monika and Yaya get geared up; Riki swoons in a chair, watching, then rushes into the bathroom to get sick. Yaya, near tears, doesn't "want to make her do this." Should they withdraw from the competition? Riki hobbles out of the bathroom, and insists that it's a go; she's getting it out of her system, and she'd rather do a meh job than nothing at all. Hugs all around, and now that everyone else is coated in her germs, it's time for Riki to get dressed.
Holly and Jessica have started dressing for pre-judging when Becky returns; she's okay, but photo-sensitivity is an issue, and she's even more concerned that they haven't had a chance to rehearse. Holly and Jessica get her into her costume as Team Atlanta also heads to the convention floor. At pre-judging, Riki tries not to barf while Yaya offers to show the judges her seams about a dozen times, then complains that none of them inspected her dress up close.
Holly is bound so tightly across the chest in order to cosplay as a boy that she can barely breathe. Jessica wants to take the binding off; Holly argues they don't have time; Becky chews her cuticles. Finally, Holly is freed from her boob tape, and they head into the judging room to explain their costume as Becky tries to keep her hurting eyes closed. Holly's pleased with how it went…
…but now it's time for the skits. Backstage, Yaya is still obsessing over the pre-judging portion, and how she herself never stays behind the table when she's a judge, while Team Dragon is figuring out their skit with just moments to go. As a group reimagines Dr. Who with a female cast, Monika looks concerned…but that's nothing compared to the beef started by an audience member, who yells, "Go home, out-of-towners!" That inspires the Dr. Who group to complain that the Los Angeles contingent is a bunch of "fakers" who didn't make their costumes; Holly interviews that that's against every welcoming, non-judgmental thing cosplay is supposed to be about, and as Becky weeps, the tallest "Doctor" looks smugly at the camera, pleased that she got herself the screen time she's obviously jealous of the Angelenos for.
As assistants set up the Team Atlanta backdrops, Riki turns green some more and Yaya talks again about staking her reputation on this competition. It's hard to tell how well the skit is going since we're not familiar with the material, but the sound design is amazing, and it looks like it's going okay…until Yaya's crown falls off. Holly and Jessica cringe. Audience members laugh. Yaya plows ahead, reattaching the crown as Riki wrenches off her Alice dress to reveal the meat dress beneath. The skit ends with no further crown mishaps, and Riki doesn't puke onstage.
It's Team Dragon's turn. Becky's compromised eyesight could send them all tumbling off the stage thanks to the low lights and smoky effects they're using -- but the dragon's smoke breath looks fantastic (Monika and Lance both love it) and Becky is twirling her giant axe like a pro.
The judges discuss what we've just seen. Do we have a winner? The mean lady Drs. Who win Best Craftsmanship, and then it's down to the grand prize. Team Dragon doesn't make the cut, but Team Atlanta still has a shot -- and wins Best In Show. Team Dragon is fine with it; Yaya feels validated; and the curtain goes down on the Heroes of Cosplay.
With minutes left before sign-up, Team Atlanta is still trying to pull Katie's costume together.
The two part season finale reaches its conclusion! The heroes must participate in a group skit competition, while Yaya creates the most difficult costume of her career.
Check out the best costumes from episode 12 of Heroes of Cosplay.