Despondent and shocked viewers are saying the 7th season finale of Tropika Island of Treasure broadcast Monday night on SABC3 is "rigged" after the team of Anga Makubalo (NaakMusiQ) and Bonginkosi Ndima unexpectedly won out over team Siv Ngesi and Khabonina Shabangu in an ugly-looking 12th episode that didn't deliver a pay-off on the narrative that was set out in the preceding 11 episodes.
While team Siv Ngesi and Khabonina Shabangu consistently showed the better team spirit, determination and bigger muscle and strategising brain power in the preceding 11 episodes, the finale of Clover's Tropika Island of Treasure turned the expected narrative on its head in the 12th episode on Monday night.
Team Siv suddenly floundered, looked defeatist and unsure and uncertain, while Team Anga cruise to a victory that from a viewer perspective just didn't feel right.
Team Anga never won a single challenge during the duration of the season, yet emerged as the winner in the final challenge.
Although the finale of Tropika Island of Treasure fell flat - spectacularly so - the latest 7th season of the series was dramatically better and better produced as a reality show that what's it ever looked before on e.tv and SABC1.
On social media viewers slammed the show after they didn't get the outcome they wanted and that they feel they - and Siv Ngesi and Khabonina Shabangu - deserved, saying the show "showed us that while some work so bloody hard to succeed others easily get it off the plate".
"What nonsense bull just happened in the finale with that puzzle ... Team Siv deserved to win", "#TIOT7 looks rigged to me! Typical reality show ... has to end with an underdog victory" are just some of the comments people made on social media who were not impressed with the Tropika Island of Treasure finale.
Even comedian Donovan Goliath weighed in saying "Hmmmm something feels off. Rigged perhaps."
"#TIOT7 was rigged," said I Am Jeffrey. "Wow. 'Reality' TV. That seemed authentic. TV makers love to stage an underdog story," said Angel Campey.
"Hello SABC3, how do I delete a rigged episode of your kak show #TIOT7? You wasted my damn time," asked Ayesha.
Miantha Padayachee, Tropika brand manager told TVwithThinus in response to a media enquiry that "there are hundreds of thousands of viewers all of which are entitled to their own opinions".
"We have built a loyal and passionate following during the 7th season. Favourite teams were selected by viewers and that was incredible to watch on social media every week. We are proud of season 7 and are looking forward to planning season 8."
There will be a Tropika Island of Treasure Reunion Special episode on Monday 19 June at 19:30 on SABC3.
The 7th season of Tropika Island of Treasure, although it had a very small audience following its flip from SABC1 to SABC3, was a ratings hit given the SABC3 demo, with episodes managing to rate high enough to secure spots on SABC3's most watched list in April and May.
This, together with the metric of strong social media engagement from viewers, makes an 8th season of Tropika Island of Treasure very likely.