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Final Exam Finale

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When a work's finale serves as an encapsulated version of all the events that came before it. They may appear in a different context this time, but somehow or other, every single part of the succession of continuity nods moves the finale's story along in a way that's very much like a Plot Tailored to the Party. This can manifest itself in the form of Gondor Calls for Aid and the Combined Energy Attack during a Grand Finale, but it's not uncommon in shows that have a lower key setting than epic battles.

This one may have originated in Fairy Tales. The equivalent video game tropes are All the Worlds Are a Stage and Final-Exam Boss.


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     Anime and Manga 
  • The finale of High School Girls has every element that appeared in past episodes return during the School Festival in some form or another.
  • Maria†Holic, through a series of increasingly goofy circumstances, plays this out as Kanako attempts to get to the school pool.
  • Special A makes use of everything the Special A class can do in the finale, one after the other.
  • In Persona 4: The Animation, episode 12 (the mid season finale) has the entire team needing to work together, and Yu needs to unleash all the Arcana he's gathered over the past 11 episodes to take down Shadow Mitsuo.
  • In the Grand Finale of Digimon Adventure 02, the first part of the final battle takes place in an alternate dimension where wishes come true. The Digidestined used this to manifest every form their partner digimon had gained during the series to fight MaloMyotismon. And it was very impressive.
  • Holyland: The fight with King, while not technically the final fight, demands Yuu bring to bear everything he learned throughout the series.
  • Used in the first season finale for Aldnoah.Zero, in the form of Count Saazbaum and his Martian Kataphrakt, the Dioscuria. It utilizes the distinct weapons of the three previous Martian Kataphrakts seen in the show, carrying the void barrier of Trillram's Nilokeras, the plasma sword of Vlad's Argyre, and the rocket-propelled fists of Femieanne's Hellas.
  • The second term finals are literally this in Assassination Classroom, though they aren't the end of the series. But it's The Final Question that properly fits the definition of the trope for Karma and Gakushuu. Aside from having proper Final Boss cred for being an insanely difficult math problem (when the internet got a hold of a translation of the question, the general consensus was that it was college-level geometry), Karma's solution involves him thinking through much of his Character Development over the course of the series. And for Gakushuu, his approach betrays his lack of growth over the series, and he fails to find the answer in time.

     Fan Works 
  • For the climax of How Friendship Accidentally Saved Magical Britain, the main student characters pull out all the stops and throw literally everything they've learned and created over the course of the story at Voldemort, from invented hexes and prototype joke products, to Fred's newly discovered "casting through walls" technique and Tom's love of muggle firearms.

  • Avengers: Endgame: The survivors of Thanos's decimation reunite five years after the events of Infinity War to travel in time and gather the Infinity Stones in order to undo the disappearance of half the population in the universe. The time travel has them return to events and situations that happened in (or are related to in some other way) several of the previous films across the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Although it's a film, rather than a series, Kung Fu Panda uses this for its climax, with Po's fight with Big Bad Tai Lung involving everything he's learned throughout the film — both martial arts, and more... unusual skills for combat.
  • The big closing number of The Muppet Movie recreates Kermit's journey on an obvious movie set. Which then blows up, because this is the Muppets.
  • The big race at the end of Cars has Lightning using everything he has learned (Mater taught him how to drive backwards, Doc taught him how to drift, and The King's crash led him to recall Doc's own fate).


     Live Action TV 
  • FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman uses elements from previous challenges in the season finales, leading to a literal Final Exam Finale as the next-to-last challenge.
  • The Amazing Race: Several finales have involved a final puzzle that included remembering location and tasks from all the previous legs.
    • Season 3's finale included a totem pole that contained animal faces. The player had to correctly align up the five animals that had been featured in the different episodes.
    • Season 5's finale included a task where players needed to search a maze for 4 boxes containing pictures of different locations that they visited. After aligning them in the correct order, the teams could continue.
    • Season 8 contained an exam for the 2nd and 3rd place teams. They were able to complete a task where they received cards detailing tasks during the race and they had to place them in the correct order on a map for the lesser prize.
    • Season 9's finale had a Roadblock (a task only one player per team can complete) where he or she had to find 9 specific of 285 flags detailing the countries they visited. After that, the player had to arrange the flags in order by which country they visited. Seen here.
    • Season 12 had one of the most difficult tasks where the player had to select 10 items from 15 and place them on a stage. There were also two requirements that had to be met:
      • First, no two items could be from the same Leg (episode). While there were 15 items, there were only eleven Legs and therefore could create difficulty given how there were many different combinations.
      • Second, the items chosen needed to follow a checklist: Three animals and/or animal by-products, One item being from a U-Turn during the game, Three items located at or brought to the Pit Stops, Two items of transportation requiring wheels (one of these had to have been used at a Detour), and One item of transportation resembling a stick.
    • Season 13's challenge required players to reveal a sign from each of their 10 Legs (episodes). Each picture, being a Roadblock, Detour, Route Info, or Pit Stop. After knowing what they needed, the player would search 150 boxes for a picture of the related question. Once each picture was entered into the answer slot, a green light would prompt the next question.
    • Season 14 contained a Challenge near the final moments where the player needed to search 300 surfboards for boards depicting "a task, location, or person" from each of the episodes prior (two boards were from the "Double Leg" which spanned two episodes). Once all 11 boards were placed in order, the players could continue the race.
    • Season 16 required players to carry a trunk through downtown San Francisco to a bar, then place psychedelic posters of the teams in the order of elimination, including teams that had arrived last on non-elimination legs.
    • Season 17 required players to face a wall of all of the Race Pit Stop greeters from seasons 1 through 17 and place them in the order in which the racers saw them, identifying them by their hats.
    • Season 19 required one team member to use a rope while being hoisted in the air to trace the route they had taken. Because many teams in the past took extensive notes throughout the race, a rule was set in place in which the players could not use notes.
    • Season 21: Teams had to hoist flags in which the words Hello and Goodbye up by the countries' respective flags.
    • Season 22: Teams had to have one team member jump into a container of balloon globes and find specific globes marked with a country in which they had visited, while the other team member took the globes and placed them in the order in which they were visited.
    • Season 23: Required teams to assemble totem poles that had the names of the currencies of the countries that were visited and place them in order.
    • Season 25: One team member was required to navigate a maze of thousands of shipping containers while memorizing numbers in the order of the places they visited, all without taking notes, which wasn't allowed in the instructions.
    • Season 26: Teams have arrange their selfie pictures in the correct order of the places they've been.
    • Season 27 contains three memory challenges.
      • First, team members who performed the fire rescue Roadblock will arrange the firefighter helmets that displays the name of the capital cities of the countries they've been in the correct order. However, two of the firefighter helmets are not capital cities.
      • Second, teams must attach country flags on the rope in the correct chronological order.
      • Third, teams must build beach chairs and each chair contains a picture of a significant person, place, or thing that represents the places they've been. But in addition to arranging the chairs in the correct order, the chairs had to be built properly
    • Season 28: One racer from each team would have to use barrel lids in a winefield with letters on them to spell out hashtags used in their clues throughout the season.
    • Season 29: Teams would have to post their placements each leg on the scoreboard at Wrigley Stadium then use their placements from 3 legs to spell out the chair number their clue is hidden under.
    • Season 30: Racers would have to search through an aircraft carrier to find large pieces of a model plane each with 2 pictures of objects on legs. They would then have to assemble the model plane to find the correct combination of 6 pieces so that each leg has a picture on the plane.
    • Season 33: Teams had to answer questions related to the race before running to the finish line.
    • Season 34: Teams would play a giant piano whose keys when played displayed a picture, with some being things or places they saw during the race and they had to play the keys in the order they appeared. Appropriately enough, the correct sequence would play the show's theme song.
  • Done quite literally in The Mole — the finale of each season has a quiz on everything that has happened over the course of the season, particularly details from the various challenges that the contestants have faced, with the jackpot going to the player who answers the most questions correctly.
  • Whodunnit? (2013) had as its final challenge riddles that related to each of the murders committed, with a clue from the murder in question being a hint as to each riddle's correct answer.


     Video Games 
  • The final chapter in Celeste is divided into sections reminiscent of each of the previous chapters, with the unique gimmicks introduced in each getting some time in the spotlight.
  • The final level of Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time tests your use of all the Quantum Masks, with the final section seeing you rapidly switching between all four of them through a gauntlet of lasers, explosives and other deadly traps.
  • The Suicide Mission at the end of Mass Effect 2 is a final exam that tests how well the players have prepared for their most dangerous mission yet, as well as how well they've gotten to know their crew and the setting's lore. Your final "grade" is the number of squad members who survive until the end.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4 was basically about Ocelot harnessing the power of Continuity Porn to save the world.
  • Used as one of the few genuinely clever design ideas in Painkiller Overdose: The movie studio level includes movie sets themed after the previous levels in the game, featuring cardboard cut-out versions of the past levels' enemies.
  • While every Super Mario Bros. game has an extremely difficult final level, Super Mario Odyssey's Darker Side tests the player with every Cappy Capture mechanic in the game over a course of lengthy puzzles with no checkpoints.
  • Ultimate Custom Night serves as one for the entire Five Nights at Freddy's series, particularly if you have all 50 animatronics enabled; you'll have to deal with every mechanic the franchise has ever thrown at you all at once, plus a few new ones added in for good measure. Those who dare to take on the legendarily difficult 50/20 challenge are wished the best of luck.
  • ViViD has this on Day 10, with each Interface Screw coming back for one or more screen.
  • The finale of Bugsnax requires you to use all six of the game’s main traps and gadgets, all of which have been turned into weapons with which to fight off the advancing Bugsnak hordes as you and the residents of Snaxburg make your final escape from Snaktooth Island.

     Western Animation 
  • Aang had to use everything he has learned to defeat Big Bad Ozai in the finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender: water, earth, fire, air (without forgetting his newly acquired "energy bending" ability given by the Lion Turtle).
  • I ♡ Arlo: The Season 1 finale "The Uncondemning" serves as the end of Arlo's Character Development from the Pilot Movie, when he faces down the wicked Bog Lady and learns even though he lives in his birth home of New York now, his old home in the Louisiana swamp will always be part of where he's going. The destruction to Edmée's shack which in turn kills the Bog Lady serves as a sign he has finally moved on and the Bog Lady no longer has power over him, and officially accepts Seaside as a true home.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic does this often, usually in two-part finales.
    • "The Return of Harmony" has Twilight realize the importance of friendship through the reports sent to Celestia, which breaks her out of Discord's corruption and reunite her friends to defeat him.
    • "Twilight's Kingdom" incorporates every major aspect throughout the season toward unlocking the Crystal six-locked chest from the Tree of Harmony: Throughout the season, each of the mane characters get A Day in the Limelight where they face a Secret Test of Character according to their Element (Rarity, who wields the Element of Generosity, has to decide between winning fashion week or caring for her friends, Pinkie, the bearer of the Element of Laughter, has to decide between seeing Rainbow Dash happy on her birthday and trying to be a better party planner than Cheese Sandwich, and so forth). Each episode ends with her embracing her Element and inspiring somepony else to do the same, and she is presented a gift that gives off a rainbow shimmer — her key to the chest. Once all the girls have done this, they use their keys to unlock the chest and receive the Rainbow Power inside to defeat Tirek.
  • The Patrick Star Show: In "Klopnodian Heritage Festival", for the episode overall. At the finale of the festival, Patrick and Squidina are expected to perform all of the previous traditions they've learned, live on stage and with a huge audience watching. Notably, while the other traditions have made-up nonsense names, this one is just called "The Whole Shebang". Patrick and Squidina screw it up out of confusion and impulse decisions, but redeem themselves at the end when Cecil implores the audience to look away from Patrick, giving him the confidence to finally accomplish his last task.
  • The finale of Total Drama Action involved Beth and Duncan going through a challenge consisting of answering questions regarding the contestants that had been eliminated with a penalty involving the challenge they were eliminated during.

Alternative Title(s): Finale Exam