January 6, 2012 – The Final Episode of the Disney Channel Series Wizards of Waverly Place Premieres
“Remember, you promised each other not to let the competition come between you.”
On January 6, 2012, the final episode of the popular Disney Channel Original Series Wizards of Waverly Place, entitled “Who Will Be the Family Wizard?” aired. On its premiere, the finale averaged almost 10 million viewers, becoming the most-watched series finale in Disney Channel history; the final season was also awarded the Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Program at the 64th Primetime Emmys. The series was created by Todd J. Greenwald, and starred Selena Gomez as Alex Russo, David Henrie as Justin Russo, Jake T. Austin as Max Russo, David DeLuise as Jerry Russo, Maria Canals Barrera as Theresa Russo, and Ian Abercrombie as Professor Crumbs.
The episode begins with Alex cooking dinner for her family, when Professor Crumbs arrives. He informs them that since Alex performed a selfless act without using magic (making dinner), the family is then able to begin the Family Wizard Competition. The competition is set up in a game show format, with Alex, Justin, and Max competing to see which sibling will keep their magic powers, with the other two becoming mortal. Their father Jerry makes the siblings promise that they won’t let the competition get the best of them. Their mother Theresa thinks that Justin will win, but Jerry believes Alex will come out the winner.
The competition begins, with Justin showing a strong lead. He is further encouraged by the arrival of his girlfriend Juliet, as is Alex by the appearance of her boyfriend Mason. While watching the game from home, Alex and Justin’s friends Harper and Zeke are poking around the magical items in the home, when Zeke inhales something that makes him turn purple. The two appear at the game asking for help, when the griffin that Alex is trying to get a feather from breaks free and kidnaps Harper and Zeke. After being convinced by Alex, the three siblings use their time outs to go save their friends, but must return within 45 minutes, or be disqualified. They find Harper and Zeke in the griffin’s nest, but the griffin finds them and attacks. After defeating the griffin, they hurry back to the competition, only to find that they ran out of time and are all disqualified, and all three have lost their powers. Justin and Max are furious at Alex, blaming her for their disqualification and complete loss of their magical powers. Jerry tries to keep the family together, but comes to the conclusion that since the family is ruined, he will sell the family sandwich shop.
The kids decide to at least try to work together to save the sandwich store for their father, with Max and Alex able to work together, and Justin slowly beginning to forgive Alex. Jerry is surprised, but pleased, to see the family bond is as strong as ever. Just as they are ready to move on with their lives, they are drawn back to the competition, discovering that the loss of their powers was just round two of the test. Round three begins, with Alex finally making it on the board and winning the round. The final round puts the three siblings in a labyrinth, where they must use their powers to get through, with the first one to get out becoming the Russo Family Wizard. The first person out is Justin, and although he is excited to win, he suddenly claims he can’t accept it. He explains that when they were in the maze, he got caught in a tree root near the finish line, and while Alex was about to be the first to exit, she comes back to help her brother. He then tells Alex that she deserves it. After Alex is declared the Russo Family Wizard, Professor Crumb tells Justin that he will be retiring from Wiz-Tech, with Justin taking his place and becoming a full wizard. Max is then given the family sandwich shop, and the show ends with Alex stating that the family is finally happy all at the same time.