Time for another voyage into Paradise! Even though this show has been going for eleventy million years, they’re still introducing new people.
This is just what life looks like now, I guess. There is no anything else. There is only Paradise.
…have I mentioned that four nights a week is way too many?
If you missed last night’s episode, I have a recap you could read. If you’re like, Ugh, TL;DR, why do you need to mention Roland Barthes in things, Jodi?, the basic gist is this: Thomas, a new, very attractive man from Canada was introduced, but he got voted off the island immediately in favour of these trash men (not you, Apollo, not you) for some completely inexplicable reason. Notably, Thomas was eliminated by Elora in favour of Eden, despite the fact that Eden played a particularly cruel prank on her by faking a love letter from designated island weird kid American Jared.
Oh, and Luke and Lisa left together (though they were not together for long) and Michael left alone (after finally having mastered shirts), and Elora and Simone continued to fight over the affections of Apollo (which is frankly an upgrade, considering the last dude that they fought over was apparently trashbag Courtney from my TV best friend Georgia Love’s season).
Although this show has been going for-fucking-ever, they’re still introducing new people. Welcome to the dramatis personae:
Sasha (Richie’s season): Sasha, who got eliminated fairly early on Richie’s season, is well-known for two things: 1) She is Russian. 2) She ate her rose on the first night. Like, she just up and started nibbling on it. There’s also 3) She called Richie a ‘ginger motherfucker’, but as that happened well after the season, I don’t think that counts as well-known.
And welcome also:
Rachael (Richie’s season): Rachael made it to hometowns with said ginger motherfucker, but no further. However, considering she has brown hair and basically everyone else in the top ten was blonde, this seems like something of an achievement. I always thought she was a bit underrated, because she had a hella giffable face that I thought people should have utilised more.
Also, Rachael has an attribute which instantly makes her one of my favourite people here. She recognises the Americans right away.
Be still my beating heart. Do you know how happy it makes me to finally see someone sensible enough to do their damn research?
American Jared’s eyes light up when she enters — possibly because she’s the first person to ever recognise him, and to know for sure that he once was the most popular boy in school instead of just the island weird kid. He starts taking off his shirt in preparation to make his approach —
…then, in a moment of unbelievably excellent television, he glances over at the already shirtless Apollo, and slowly puts his shirt back on again.
Rachael is clearly drawn immediately to Apollo. He tells her that he sings and does magic, and her eyes turn into hearts and she’s all, ‘oooooh, Apollo has so many qualities.’
Often, I think that I do a fairly decent job of translating what happens on the Bachie screen to these recaps. But I’m extremely conscious of the fact that the paragraph above is going to be read totally differently by those who have read the show and who haven’t. If you haven’t seen the show, it sounds nonsensical. But to those of us indoctrinated in the cult of Apollo, what Rachael said above makes total sense.
I just cannot adequately capture the Apollo factor on the page. Sorry.
Apollo, Rachael, and Simone all get involved in a volleyball game, in which Apollo somehow makes himself more adorable by being incredibly crap. Simone works herself into a snit and has to walk it off by going over to Tara and Sam, who are apparently now the island parents. And while they indulge her in her feelings-splosion, Mama Tara also dishes out some schooling: ‘Don’t say that,’ she warns Simone, when Simone’s anti-Rachael screed veers into fat-shaming.
Simone hatches a new plan, and it’s to find Rachael an alternative option. ‘American Jared is sweet and nice and you should date him and I will wrap him up and put a bow on his head for you if you want,’ she declares to Rachael. ‘Also if you so much as look at Apollo again I will cut you HAHA JOKES but seriously I will murder you in your sleep.’
‘Hmmm,’ Rachael says, aware — like no one else in the franchise here — that Jared actually has an enormous amount of social capital in the Bachieverse. ‘Intriguing.’
While all this is happening, Jarrod and Keira are elsewhere on their very first date, and frankly, I find it very upsetting. This is for two reasons:
- It involves children. Like, they crash a local kids’ touch footy game, and become captains of the two teams. And then Jarrod starts talking about how Keira would be a good mum, and I viscerally recoiled, because I find this show’s parenting-test dates grosser than just about anything else in the world.
- Jarrod and Keira kissed a LOT in the wine and cheese portion of the date, and Jarrod getting his mack on also makes me viscerally recoil.
Props to Keira, though. I relate embarrassingly hard to the way she overtly tries to compete with Jarrod during the date. Dating is something you win, right? Right?
Just as they get back to the beach, Osher sails in with a request. ‘Megan,’ he asks, ‘will you come with me?’
Megan does, and OMG WHERE HAS SHE GONE is the talk of the beach … for about two seconds, until everyone gets distracted.
(‘Maybe Tiffany’s here!’ is one of the suggestions floated. But alas, no — Megan’s ex Tiffany was off filming The Bachelor Winter Games, a truly remarkable international Bachie clusterfuck of an event. She did not find love there, but fellow Australian entrant — trashbag Courtney — did, with an ex-contestant from NZ Bachie. American Jared’s on-again-off-again kind-of-friends-with-benefits-but-without-the-benefits Ashley I also found love with a guy from Canadian Bachie, but they apparently broke up within a few months.)
The distraction comes in the form of Rachael. Simone’s plan has worked, and she’s become very intrigued by the possibility of American Jared. ‘Want to come for a walk with me before the sun sets?’ she asks.
The weird kid’s eyes light up, bless him.
They walk out knee deep into the sea, and Jared gets all Bachie-buzzword ‘vulnerable’. ‘All these Australian men are so big and strong,’ he says mournfully, clearly flashing back to the sight of Apollo’s abs. ‘I’m just some little American dude.’
‘Don’t sell yourself short,’ Rachael tells him.
I have to assume there’s a lot bunch of editing here, because you cannot tell me that someone who is a student of the US franchise, as Rachael explicitly is, would not have first asked Jared a million questions about what the hell his deal is with Ashley I. Not a chance.
This inspires some jealousy in Leah. When Jared and Rachael return, she pulls him aside to have an awkward feelings-chat with him by a bonfire. ‘We totally have a connection,’ she tells him.
‘Yeah, I guess,’ Jared replies, looking off into the middle distance. ‘Um, I don’t know where my head is at. I don’t know how I feel about Rachael. I’ve only known her for four hours. But…’
‘You’re cute,’ Leah insists, and tries to force-feed him a marshmallow, which he passive-aggressively refuses to eat.
Suffice it to say that even if American Jared does pick Leah over Rachael, they’re not long for this world. ‘It feels really good to be wanted,’ Jared says mournfully to the camera, thinking back fondly on the days when he backed speedily away from the Jarrod-like affection of Ashley I.
‘Everyone needs a fallback plan,’ Leah says, by contrast. ‘Jared’s my fallback.’
Some proper attraction might actually be developing elsewhere, however. Remember how Megan got whisked off by Osher?
Turns out Channel Ten didn’t really think it was worthwhile to fly Sexual Tongue Thomas out here from Canada to stick him in a milk bath with three other bros and then eliminate him after a day. ‘We know you were interested in Thomas,’ Osher tells Megan. ‘Here’s your chance.’
This is the most obvious producer-directed narrative in the history of producer-directed narratives, but if the producers are directing the narrative away from one wherein a fuckboy like Jake gets the things that he wants? Here for it.
Thomas and Megan go for teppanyaki and have a chat about … I don’t know, something. I was mostly looking at their hair, because both of them have such good hair. Like, such good hair.
Somewhere in there Megan utters the wistful phrase, ‘I would have loved to have had a milk bath with you.’ This is a phrase I have never uttered in my life, and I am right here, right now making a solemn vow never to utter it. If you ever hear me utter this phrase, know that the demons have taken over my body and get me exorcised immediately.
Megan and Thomas go for a walk on the beach, which turns into a sensual, pash-filled swim. Their hair continues to look great, but this becomes a bit of a problem.
During the promos of this show, these shots were shown a lot, but you could only see Thomas and his luscious head of long dark hair from the back. Over the top of it, Channel Ten played Megan’s exclamation of joy at the thought that Elora might want to take her on a date, and thus some pretty typical — and extremely manipulative — queer-baiting was born.
I feel like I shouldn’t even need to say this, but this was extreeeeeeeeeeemely uncool.
Setting this gross aspect of the shenanigans aside, however: Megan and Thomas seemed to have had a pretty enjoyable time getting their mack on in the water. ‘“I’ve created a complicated situation for myself,’ Megan says to camera, wincing. ‘Yep. Shit.’
This show is so deeply constructed and artificial, but every so often, the reactions are way too real.
When Megan and Thomas get back to Paradise, quite a kerfuffle arises. ‘Oh my god, Jake looks like he’s been slapped!’ Leah announces.
He looked more like he was about to fall asleep to me, but as I have not been trapped on an island with him for three weeks, I will defer to Leah’s superior judgment on this. Jake certainly does seem to be in a bit of a snit, because he storms off with some of his bros, despite Megan calling after him so they could talk.
‘Thomas didn’t get a rose!’ American Jared exclaims. ‘How the hell is he still in Paradise?’
I would like to point out that this guy has been on not one, but two seasons of Paradise where if one sister got a rose, both sisters got to stay, so methinks you should stop being such a rules lawyer, weird kid.
Tomorrow (the last episode for the week, thank god): the fallout from the return of Sexual Tongue Thomas continues. Until then, let us all dare to dream of a bright future where fuckboys like Jake leave Paradise unhappy and alone.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.