The winners of Channel 7’s extreme reality show SAS Australia are decided on Wednesday in a finale that involves the celebrity contestants recording “death videos” — an appropriate task given we’ll probably never see them in the spotlight again.
After 10 days, only four stars remain on the military-style course. Olympian Matthew Mitcham, footy commentator Abbey Holmes, Thai cave rescue diver Craig Challen and celebrity chiropractor Tim Robards all fight to the death to pass the final challenge. But not everyone succeeds.
One is culled halfway through. Another is rejected at the finish line and forced to walk down a mountain alone while everyone else flies away in a helicopter. It’s feel-good TV at its finest.
JAMES WEIR RECAPS:Read all SAS recaps here
It has been a brutal time on the course. Away from creature comforts, the celebrities have had to adapt – pushing themselves mentally and physically to make it this far. The hardest part?
“I just realised I went nine days without moisturising,” Matthew Mitcham gasps.
It’s inspiring to see this kind of courage and resilience from our country’s greatest athletes.
The soldiers only have a few hours left to make good on their promise to physically and psychologically break the celebrities. They devise a three-stage plan.
Under the cover of darkness, they storm the sleeping quarters and fire stun grenades. Then they capture the celebrities and lock them in a concrete cell — leaving them bound and hooded for hours.
“When you get captured … it’s a horrible, disgusting feeling,” head soldier Ant Middleton says.
What a great way to end a TV series — with a finale of horrible, disgusting feelings. And that’s not all, folks!
“Each recruit will now be forced to suffer the most confronting experience any SAS soldier will ever face: a death message to their loved ones,” the voiceover guy gleefully informs us.
Ant chains the celebrities to a chair one-by-one and whispers menacingly.
“This could potentially be your last video message that your family ever sees,” he sneers. “Look into the camera and give a message to whoever you want.”
First up is Abbey. She’s told to deliver a clear message without getting emotional. The hood is ripped off her head and she immediately spirals into hysterics.
“I love you, I love you guys so much, you know who you are, each and every one of you!” she sobs through huffs and puffs, tears streaming down her face.
She carries on like this until Ant whacks the hood back over her head. Finally, some peace and quiet. Then Matthew’s de-hooded and we’re treated to more hysterical wailing. His hood is promptly reapplied.
Tim and Craig show zero emotion in their death videos. It’s understandable. After all, Craig has had to suppress emotion through harrowing life-and-death scenarios like the Thai cave rescue. And, just as harrowing, Tim bravely endured a string of elimination ceremonies on The Bachelor.
Then it’s on to Stage Two: a five kilometre run followed by a cliff climb. Tim and Matthew breeze ahead while Craig lags behind. Struggling through exhaustion and a fear of heights, Abbey comes dead last. She’s promptly culled from the competition in the middle of the desert. At least she has a death video to take home as a fun souvenir?
Stage Three involves more physical activity. This is the bad thing about the SAS Australia finales. It’s usually just the boring celebrities who are left and there are no more scandals or dirty secrets to milk out of them.
Tim, Matthew and Craig successfully perform a hostage rescue and make it to the finish line. But here’s the catch: finishing the course doesn’t mean you pass the course.
While Tim and Matthew are accepted, Craig Challen — who at the age of 57 just scaled a mountain to complete what’s touted as the hardest military test in the world — is rejected.
Adding insult to injury, Tim and Matthew are invited into the helicopter with the rest of the soldiers and they all fly away, leaving Craig to walk down the mountain alone.
It serves as a reminder to all celebrities who are currently being approached by producers for next year’s season of SAS Australia: Just do Anh’s Brush With Fame instead.