Night Four of our second Paradise marathon! Apparently next week we’re back to the requisite two episodes per week, something which makes me want to weep with happiness. Recapping is an endurance sport, not a sprint.
If you missed last night, here’s my recap. If you want the relevant highlights:
- Channel 10 queerbaited the shit out of everyone by making us think Megan was going to make out in the sea with Elora when really she made out with Canadian Thomas, he of the vampirically long luscious locks. The kiss was fine; the queerbaiting was aggressively not.
- Two new people entered, and one of them — Rachael — is out there making moves on the men and making some of the ladies territorial.
- American Jared is still the island weird kid, and this is still incredibly funny to me.
Tonight! We pick up exactly where we left off last night, with Megan and Sexual Tongue Thomas returning from their date and Jake storming off with his bros in a snit, despite Megan calling out after him.
Jake finally does deign to have a conversation with Megan, in which he utters a phrase which is possibly the distilled essence of fuckboy. He tells her that he’s jealous that she went on a date with Thomas, and then says, ‘I genuinely care [about you] … and that’s something new for me.’
Caring. About someone else. Is new for him.
This is the dude about whom there was a minor — to use Florence’s words — ‘manwhore’ scandal earlier in the season, and this is the first time he’s ever cared about a romantic partner?
And, like, on the scale of emotive words, ‘care’ is a lot lower than ‘love’. Like, if you put it into a sentiment analysis program (like SentiStrength, for instance), it rates a full point lower. ‘Caring’ about someone is a pretty low bar.
You know what I don’t care about? Jake and his feelings.
Actually, maybe I do care about them. In a schadenfreude way.
This conversation leaves Megan in tears. All the ladies flock around her, and it made me realise that although we’ve had quite a lot of time devoted to island bromances, the friendships between the ladies — which clearly exist! — have had comparatively little screentime, and that bums me out. Where’s their milk bath date?
The next morning, Thomas is pretty sure he’s got Megan all won over. ‘She and Jake don’t have deep conversations,’ he gloats to Apollo. ‘We have deep conversations.’
The most notable thing about this particular deep conversation is that while Apollo is the magician in the conversation, Thomas has the most aggressive case of David Copperfield hands I’ve ever seen. Literally, he gestures constantly, and every time it looks like he’s about to produce an animal from out of an item of clothing.
But sadly, Thomas has not been able to magic Megan away from Jake. Overnight, she’s had an epiphany, and that it’s that she wants to be with Jake. ‘Sorry,’ she tells Thomas.
‘But — deep conversations!’ he protests.
‘Yeah, but I always had to initiate them,’ she says. ‘Also we never laughed. Soz bro.’
They might have said other things, but I got caught up admiring their hair again. Seriously, these two have some wonderfully luscious locks.
Megan has to performatively confess to Jake that she kissed Thomas, and he’s all, GASP, WHAT ARE THESE FEELINGS, SO SUDDEN AND NEW?, but he ‘forgives’ her (because forgiveness from a fuckboy is such a valuable commodity), and they commit to each other for the foreseeable future.
It’s odd, really, that kissing someone else in Paradise is an enormous faux pas when, in the regular franchise, the Bachie is making out with, like, everyone.
And it’s also worth noting that the kissing thing is a much bigger deal in Australian Paradise than in the US. In the last season of US Paradise, one of the dudes asked a lady that he’d just gone on a date with and pashed if she saw a future with him, and she looked blankly at him and was like, ‘I just see you as an acquaintance.’
The American Bachie emotional spectrum really is 0 to 100, and we get an example of the other end of it on the beach. Ali notes that Grant is acting a bit distant, and he pulls her onto the beach to have a chat. ‘I wanted to say this for the first time,’ he tells her — her, this woman he’s been getting drunk with on a beach for two weeks. ‘I love you.’
To be fair — and not to be too reductive about the differences in the American vs Australian romantic spectrums — Ali not only says it back, but goes one step further. ‘I WOULD DIE FOR THIS PERSON,’ she tells the camera.
Also worth noting is that Grant is wearing white capri pants for this big emotional conversation. Throwing the challenge down to the numerous romance authors of my acquaintance: write me a hero declaring his love to his partner wearing white capri pants, and — unlike this declaration — make it believable.
Next: a date card arrives! The recipient is Rachael, and she barely takes a breath before she’s inviting American Jared to go with her (she, remember, has seen US Bachie, and thus is apparently the only person here who knows that he’s more than the weird kid). ‘We get to leave the house!’ she exclaims.
This is a fair enough exclamation in regular Bachie. (Actually, I talked to a pal of mine who was on a season of Bachie, and she told me that dates were a big deal purely because you got to leave the palace of boredom that was the house.) But in Paradise? Where you’re on a cruise-y beach with free cocktails on tap? It makes less sense.
Also expressing the extremely not relatable desire to leave this all-expenses-paid Fijian beach holiday is Leah, who is very grumpy that her backup plan American Jared has been whisked away from under her. She flip-flops between wanting to leave and not leave and leave and not leave until even Keira, Queen of Drama, is like, ‘ugh, she’s being way too dramatic’.
NB: The way the word ‘drama’ is used in this franchise is such a moving target. Mostly, it’s used as a synonym for ‘conflict’, but there are points at which someone doing literally anything is construed as ‘drama’. I’ve talked about semantic satiation in these recaps before, and ‘drama’ is another one of those words which has effectively been emptied out of meaning.
Back to the American Jared/Rachael date. They go and drink kava with a bunch of locals, and then they go and drink wine and eat cheese on their own, and it’s basically forgettable (apart from the disquiet one always gets when white people talk enthusiastically about ‘immersing themselves into culturrrrrrrre’ after spending five minutes in the presence of a non-white person). ‘There’s so much drama and conflict going on back at the beach,’ Rachael comments.
‘Well, it’s Paradise,’ Jared comments gloomily, with the dark look in his eyes of a man who has Seen Some Shit.
There’s no romantical shenanigans on this date — the weird kid remains unpashed in his tenure in Paradise — but when they return to the beach, there’s a very strong sense that Jared and Rachael are A Thing™now, which displeases Leah immensely.
‘I’m going to leave!’ she threatens like forty-five more times.
But instead of leaving, she starts some shit at the cocktail party before the rose ceremony. I’m not entirely sure what she does, but she instigates, like, some whisper network that’s all, ‘oooh, American Jared is going to give his rose to Leah and leave Rachael out in the cold!’
This filters back to Rachael, and when she talks to Jared about it, he’s like, ‘um, no, I want to give my rose to you,’ and she’s like, ‘that’s not what I’ve been told,’ and there’s a whole lot of passive voice in the conversation, and it’s an excellent object lesson on why passive voice is not a good communication technique, because it obscures what you mean.
‘Ugh, just go and talk to Leah about it,’ Keira orders American Jared.
So everybody’s favourite weird kid does. ‘I’m only going to accept a rose if you give it to me,’ Leah tells him.
‘I’m giving my rose to Rachael,’ Jared tells her. ‘You get that we have nothing romantic here, you and me, right?’
‘But… we could?’
‘We’ve been on this island together for like two weeks and nothing has happened.’
‘There’s still time.”
‘Are you telling people I’m not giving Rachael my rose?’
Leah says nothing.
American Jared is like, ‘Ugh, fine,’ and walks off.
Sure, he looks pissed off. But I can penetrate to the subtext beneath, and Jared is relieved, yo. Finally, something familiar! After all this time being the weird kid that no one was interested in, finally, FINALLY, he’s the apex of a love triangle again!
(Seriously, though, I can imagine them telling horror stories about Australian Paradise back in the States. ‘And then Jared Haibon entered Paradise,’ someone would say, holding a torch under their chin in a darkened room, ‘and no one was interested in him!’ Then everyone would scream.)
But there are still more twists and turns on this journey (drink) yet to come. It’s rose ceremony time.
It begins the way you would expect. Apollo gives his rose to Simone, Sam gives his rose to Tara, Grant gives his rose to Ali, Jarrod to Keira — normal stuff.
But then our newly-rejected mate Thomas, King of the Deep Conversation, steps up to the plate. They fished him out of the milk bath for something, and it turns out this is what it was.
‘Rachael,’ he says.
Rachael doesn’t know what to do — I suspect she’s not sure if she’s allowed to reject a rose or not — but she accepts it in the end.
This puts American Jared in a bit of a situation, which he stews over while Jake gives his rose to Megan and Eden gives his to Elora. ‘What do I do?’ he mutters to himself.
(Lowkey, this is the most performative shit I’ve ever seen, on a show which is full of it. This kid is a proper veteran.)
Jared’s situation is this. He can either give his rose to Sasha, who I’m fairly certain has not bothered speaking to a single one of the guys (solid decision imo), or he can give it to Leah, whom he hates now.
‘Leah,’ he says defeatedly.
‘BORING,’ Keira announces at the top of her lungs, bless her.
Leah accepts the rose, smiling coyly. ‘I was only ever going to accept the rose if it was from you,’ she says, as American Jared backs hastily away.
All the women shake their heads. ‘Bitch, if you say you’re leaving one more time, I’ll throw you out myself,’ Keira threatens Leah.
This means Sasha is eliminated, but she doesn’t seem terribly upset by the whole thing. ‘I have a limited amount of fucks to give, so I’m not sparing my fucks on this shit,’ she decrees (verbatim).
Very sensible, tbh.
Next time (not until Sunday, thank goodness): a mysterious contestant re-enters! I’m reasonably sure it’s going to be Florence, but if it’s fucking Damn Daniel, then I SWEAR TO GOD YOU GUYS.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.