The Duel 1 became the first Challenge were competitors competed “independently.” For the most part this was true, though there were some missions that utilized team and partner formats. The Duel 2, on the other hand, seldom has missions that were truly individual.
As a viewer of The Challenge, it seemed like The Duel 2 was MTV trolling its contestants. A lot of Challengers had waited for the second Duel, some stating that they’d only return for a Duel. So the cast showed up for a Duel, and (at least) half of the missions were partner-based. As a result, the show was a revolving door of Landon & Brittini or Mark & Rachel winning. Also, the voting was more predictable than the first season. The cast was able to predict who’d be in The Duel and manipulate the voting. Unlike The Duel 1 were, probably because the cast was so fresh, petty arguments could have a big impact on the selection for The Duel and there was no clear cut voting.
Still, the season wore The Duel name. Ultimately, the Duels were all fought individually. Partners were not assigned on any permanent basis and as far as we know people were free to switch partners as they desired. Even though people didn’t voluntarily switch, people did get new partners as a result of their “partner” losing The Duel.
Then there’s the final, where the cast was supposedly competing as individuals. However, there were check points where one person (the male) had to wait for a competitor of the opposite sex to advance. At this point, you were stuck with that person until the end of the final mission. As a result, Mark (who ended up with Aneesa) was miles behind the other two even though he made it to the check point just second after them.
In the end, did The Duel 2 live up to the “Duel” name, or was it an entirely different format?