It’s night 2 of 4 of this week of Paradise (oh god that is so much Bachie. Why must you do this to me, Channel 10? I have only so much strength) and if you came here looking for a recap, you’re shit out of luck, because this is going to be at least 90% a screed about how much I hate Canadian Daniel.
Seriously, you guys. I hate this fucking guy so much.
I cannot even in good conscience put his moves into the Fuckboy Playbook, AKA the Chronicles of Jake. They’re so much worse. Even the universal shittiness that is toxic masculinity has levels, and Daniel is the actual living embodiment of The Worst.
Speaking of toxic masculinity, I have a fast-developing theory that there’s a spectrum of it. At one end, you have the human garbage fire that is Daniel. At the other, you have the intense she-said-hello-to-me-and-I’ve-already-named-our-first-seven-children-in-my-mind bullshit of Jarrod. Both are terrible, but they’re terrible in different ways. Toxic masculinity: it has nuance.
But more on that as we go along.
We begin tonight’s episode with Jarrod watching Keira give Daniel a massage and turning a hitherto unseen shade of vermilion while bitching about how all the American men ARE TURNING OVER ROCKS TO FIND AUSTRALIAN LADIES, like Australian women are funnelwebs or some shit instead of actual people with agency. ‘Oh my god, calm down,’ Megan snaps at him, fast cementing her place as one of the most relatable people on this show.
If you were wondering whether Daniel is being gross during this massage: yes he is. ‘I would have sex with you right now,’ he tells Keira helpfully, apropos of nothing.
But it turns out Jarrod’s face can turn an even more intense shade of red, because there is another American walking in! Add to our dramatis personae:
Jared (Kaitlyn’s season): Okay, buckle in, because this is going to be a long one.
Jared came fourth on his season of The Bachelorette, where he fell (or at least appeared to fall) deeply in love with his Bachie Kaitlyn. He was devo when she ditched him, but not so devo that he didn’t go to Paradise.
He was hot property there, but the most potent claim staked on him was by Ashley Iaconetti, most notable for a) being a virgin and never shutting up about it, and b) crying all the time. Like, ALL the time. Jared was vaguely interested in Ashley, but she fell head over heels, Potplant-Jarrod-style in love with him, which led to him vaguely backing away and being, Ummmm … I’m still too raw from the Kaitlyn thing, laters.
This might have seemed like he was letting her down easy BUT they then spent all the next year hanging out together in a kind of pseudo-relationship, and it was unclear whether they were friends or whether they were, like, courting. (They definitely weren’t friends with benefits. Ashley is always very specific about the state of her hymen.) They went to a wedding together (Jade and Tanner’s wedding, a Paradise couple), which seemed pretty couple-y. But then the next year, there they were in Paradise again, AKA nominally single. Ashley was all about Jared again, but he wanted to date another woman named Caila, and she got distracted by a dude named Wells, and … yeah.
Anyway, these two have achieved, like, mythic status in Bachelor Nation, and the story is not over yet. Jared and Ashley are innately intertwined…
…so for reals, don’t be surprised if she turns up and cries at him a lot.
One of the things about Jared is that whenever he’s gone to Paradise, it hasn’t just been Ashley all over him: there’s always a number of interested parties. Which makes it OH MY GOODNESS SO HILARIOUS that the woman he asks on a date here…?
Megan. And you have never seen someone more aggressively uninterested in someone in your life.
Paradise is clearly trying to impress American Jared, because they roll out a goddamn boat for this date. I mean, it’s not a super yacht, but considering the other dates have mostly involved a picnic blanket and two cushions, it’s pretty damn fancy. Jared and Megan sit there drinking champagne and having the most awkward conversation you have ever heard. Like, this is only slightly paraphrased:
JARED: *a million movie quotes*
MEGAN: I grew up without TV and have only seen like five movies in my life.
JARED: I — um — oh…
This is some kind of karmic comeuppance for Jared, I swear. After the way women on US Paradise fall at his feet, he deserves this.
When Megan gets back to the beach, she’s like, ‘um yeah, no sparks, I guess we can be friends.’ Jake looks predictably smug, but he has kind of faded into the fuckboy background, so it’s hard to muster much energy to dislike him.
One of the reasons that the Americans are coming across as such intense fuckboys — even the less offensive ones, like Grant and Jared — is because they don’t understand what show they’re on. Sex is the secret that only recently spoke its name in American Bachie (like, people have been boning in the fantasy suites for the whole franchise, but it only really vocally erupted into the discourse when Season 10 Bachelorette runner-up Nick Viall asked Bachelorette Andi Dorfman why she ‘made love to him’ when she wasn’t ‘in love with him’), but it is splashed all over the damn place.
Australian Bachie, by contrast, is comparatively chaste. Sex is almost entirely absent from the diegesis. To illustrate this: American Paradise has fantasy suites (AKA overnight sex dates) and people get engaged. In Australia … well, Nina is hoping to have her first kiss with someone on the show by the end.
No one has clued the Americans into the different erotic politics in play here, and they are playing way, way, way harder than the Australians, and this might be the most useful thing to ever happen in my research life, ever.
This is why you can expect one of the relationships formed on tonight’s episode to unravel realllllll fast. Ali, who has been at the epicentre of numerous love polygons, was determined to only kiss one man on this show, and tonight she chooses her pash-ee: Grant, the hot American fireman.
Is he willing to pash her? You bet.
Does he understand the gravity of a Paradise pash for Ali? I doubt it.
The one glimmer of hope I can see for a long-term relationship here is that Ali is not dissimilar to Grant’s American Paradise fiancée Lace. Both Ali and Lace were given the crazy-girl edit in their seasons, so maybe Grant has a type and they both fulfil some of those criteria.
But still. They think they’re on two different shows. Grant and Ali are going to crash and burn. Calling it.
Leah, who was getting her mack on with Grant last night, is predictably unimpressed. She is also unimpressed with Daniel — which, like, thank fuck someone can see it — but she’s not the target of his amorous attentions.
Daniel’s grossness is being targeted in three directions.
He seems to prefer Nina, and Laurina is kind of a backup for him (she’s over thirty, and he doesn’t ‘do’ that — god I hate him so much), but the real drama comes in the Keira-sphere. This is mostly because she’s also got Jarrod on the hook, and … yeah, you can imagine how well he reacts to this whole situation.
Daniel. Jarrod. Polar opposites, and yet both terrible. Toxic masculinity is a goddamn trip.
When Keira starts showing interest in Daniel, Jarrod basically threatens to rage-quit the franchise. (‘I don’t care,’ Daniel flatly replies when someone tells him, which is the closest he has ever come to the fringes of likeability.)
‘I don’t like being second. I’ve never been second-best!’ Jarrod declares, before bursting into tears under the same tree he burst into tears under when he came second in Sophie’s season of The Bachelorette.
He then launches into a monologue about his feeeeeeeeeeeeelings and how hard it is that women never fall for nice guys like him, which Channel Ten juxtaposes with Daniel saying, ‘They call me Geppetto, because I make women my puppets.’
This. Fucking. Guy.
Honestly, this show. I can’t stand Jarrod, and this show has made me vaguely take his side AGAIN.
Anyway, there’s a lot of shenanigans, but what it boils down to is that Keira kisses Jarrod, and then Keira kisses Daniel, and then Keira kind of breaks up with Jarrod but also kind of not, and then Jarrod starts bitching and moaning about how American men are stealing ‘our Australian women who are so innocent and genuine’ (legitimately, that’s a direct quote), and I started wondering just how many men it is possible for me to set on fire with the power of my mind alone.
…while simultaneously being grateful for the rich material for my research on nationally distinctive Bachie cultures. This season is a goddamn gift in that regard.
Oh, and Nina has a bit of a cry about the whole Daniel situation, given her entanglement with Eden. Eden, to address this drama, pulls Daniel aside, because man-to-man talks with obvious fuckheads are always going to work better than chatting to sensible women. Because of, I don’t know, penises or something.
(My favourite moment from the whole episode comes from Nina. When a producer asks her who she’s most afraid of hurting in her whole romantic entanglement, her response is immediately ‘ME.’ You go, lady! You keep on putting your feelings before those of these trash men! I support you all the way!)
Then it’s time for the rose ceremony. The women have the power tonight, and if I were one of them, I’d be very sincerely asking Osher whether it was okay for me to give my rose to him instead of one of these terrible dickheads, but … ugh.
We have the usual suspects.
- Lisa gives her rose to Luke (remember how they exist? Yeah, me neither).
- Tara gives her rose to Sam (how is it that Uncle Sam has become one of the better options in this godforsaken place?)
- Leah, who is kind of a free agent, gives her rose to Michael, which … eh, fair enough. He’s relatively inoffensive, if apparently not intelligent enough to figure out how shirts work.
- Ali gives her rose to Grant the hot fireman, because that relationship isn’t going to go up in a ball of flames (pun intended) any time soon, oh no no no.
Then it starts getting a bit more interesting.
- Megan gives her rose to Jake, recognising that he is trash but that they can at least have a conversation, unlike her and American Jared.
- Laurina, out of the blue, gives her rose to American Jared. She’s dumped Blake (good riddance), and in her talking head to camera, calls out Daniel for being terrible chauvinistic trash. IF ONLY YOU HAD DONE IT TO HIS FACE AND ON CAMERA, LAURINA (seriously, it could have been Dirty Street Pie: The Sequel).
- Nina gives her rose to… Eden, proving that sometimes dudes who own velour tracksuits can succeed romantically.
Then it’s the final rose, which belongs to Keira, she who has snogged both poles of the toxic masculinity spectrum in the space of 24 hours.
We know she’s not going to give it to Blake or Mack, who are as good as gone. There are only two options. Jarrod or Daniel.
And you know what? I nearly cheered. I hate Daniel so much that I nearly cheered at this ridiculously intense stalkery type getting romantic validation.
I need to go and have a good long hard look at myself in the mirror before night 3 of the Paradise marathon starts tomorrow.
P.S. If you were wondering whether Damn Daniel was gross in his exit interview? Of course he was. He called the women ‘stale’ and then smugly proclaimed that he’d had sex with ‘lots’ of beautiful women in his time. Like, soooooo many beautiful women.
This fucking guy.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.