Alex Casey power ranks the final week of Celebrity Treasure Island and, folks, we have a winner.
What an absolute doozy of a finale. With $100,000 on the line for their charities, the final three men went hundies to find the buried treasure chest that brought them all there. Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum, the climactic treasure hunt took us onboard a boat, then out to sea, then back to land. It gave us pirate phrases, gravestones and a timeless fire-building challenges. And in those final minutes, it truly felt like the prize could be anyone’s. The Wiz and Shane Cameron were bumping around like Dumb and Dumber, and Sam Wallace couldn’t find T. Penny’s hidden treasures.
But then, after a deep breath in and out, he did.
Before we get to that brazen grave-robbing caught on film, I’ll say this about Celebrity Treasure Island: they absolutely turned it out this week. Not a stupid straw-challenge in sight, no Arnott’s biscuits to be nose shuffled, no potatoes to be rolled into a hole. The semi-final challenges were equally hard out, dragging the competitors into the waves to untangle buoys, weaving them through bamboo mazes and making them stand holding coins in a Medieval torture frame that served Jeepers Creepers realness.
Also, here’s a pic of me clutching my last $3 before pay day.
Bree and Matt were also on form for their final act as hosts. We got a couple of “in the drinks” from Chizzy, which submerged us nostalgic Survivor NZ folk deep in the ice cold fizz of yesteryear. Neither of them could figure out how to divide 287 by 5, leading to a living maths woman equation meme. And, in a moment of solidarity with women everywhere, Bree threw down over the elimination of Shannon. In a nice moment of reflection, they sat in the waka with the finalists and looked back at the season that was.
Let us join in the reflection right now, beginning with the two biggest blows of the season.
ELIMINATED: Athena Angelou
What’s really cool and funny is how so many incredibly talented and interesting women on New Zealand reality television, celebrity or otherwise, end up getting absolutely shat on by the boys at the final hurdle. Extremely hilarious and I’m not crying at all, I’m actually just laughing from how funny and quaint I find it!! Athena ‘The Pocket Rocket’ was a true and pure underdog in this competition. She was a puzzle beast, made for an incredible interview and looked so completely flawless the whole time that I almost feel like doing my signature laugh cry again!!!
ELIMINATED: Shannon Ryan
Hahahahah speaking of phenomenal women, how absolutely groovy that Sam Wallace put Shannon Ryan up for her FOURTH elimination challenge in a ROW on Sunday night just because she gave him the squits (metaphorically and maybe literally). Love that for an ally. Shannon led Kahu with empathy and integrity – she grew her armpit hair out (so then I grew my armpit hair out), she amassed 40,000 treasure clues and knocked two Olympians out of the competition. My Queen.
Let the record show: Shannon Ryan was the spiritual winner of Celebrity Treasure island 2019.
Which leads me to the actual winner…
WINNER: Sam Wallace
Yes, he was an ultra-villain and had rank muddy sock-water, but you gotta give it up to Sam Wallace for his focus during those final challenges. If he wasn’t shrieking “WRONG POT” with the intensity of “TAINTED MEAT” in The Walking Dead, he was gently cooing “go you good thing” at every buoy, trinket and flame in his way. Then, when all the tombstone clues started to muddle in his head, he drew on the zen spirit of Shannon Ryan to bring it home. He inhaled, he exhaled, and he figured out where the treasure was buried. Shout out Shannon… and Sam I guess.
RUNNER-UP: Shane Cameron
I know I’m making a lot of mad calls in this power ranking, so here’s one more: Shane Cameron is a literal stand-up comedian and I fully respect his craft. I knew it from the first moment he ran around the camp chanting “Tim Tams” like a caveman, half self-aware and half just extremely-amped for Tim Tams. Who wouldn’t be?! “I might shock the country,” laughed Shane after being tasked with another daunting puzzle challenge, “it would be like a lunar eclipse.” A gentle giant like Shane is honestly just as rare.
Shane was also notoriously known as “the fire guy” of the island, just like Ryan with the charred pita, but it wasn’t quite enough to get him ahead of Sam Wallace in the fire challenge. Although he caught up, he got tripped on the tricky tombstone clues, and instead of looking for the riddle answer “tea” he went on a mad goose chase to find a… walnut? “I’ve never been so lost in my life, to be honest,” Shane told the camera.
I hope you find what you are looking for one day, Shane, and by god I hope it is a walnut.
RUNNER-UP: Gary ‘The Wiz’ Freeman
He may not have won Celebrity Treasure Island, but he certainly won my heart. Full respect to The Wiz for not only sharing with us his four business management steps for eternal success, but also attempting to do the worm after winning a challenge without having any precedent for having done the worm. This season would have been a sad, sad place without The Wiz and his giant, all-encompassing, humongous, black-hole-swallowing hat.
He loved to bellyflop into the water, which made me laugh every time. It really speaks to his zany, mystical character that in the fire building challenge, he decided to build his fire on the ground (?) before carrying in up to table in what looked like a giant smoking egg. The Wiz missed his pot with a slingshot about 100 times and ran straight past the graveyard where the treasure was buried.
He’s on his own journey, and he had the nation entirely under his spell.
Honourable mention: HEAD WEAT
Thanks to Celebrity Treasure Island for a great season and thank you all for reading. Now go and tend to your Head Weat by reading a goddamn book or something.