We’re in the home stretch now! No new people are coming to Paradise, so we’ve arrived at the stage where people need to, in the immortal words of national treasure Osher Gunsberg, ‘pair up or pack up’.
Last night, two of Paradise’s resident singles flounced off into the sunset – Eden (douchily) and Leah (finally). This means that there are only three single people left in Paradise: Elora, Florence, and American Jared.
‘It’s a pity there’s no more dudes here, hey,’ Elora says to Florence.
‘Not a single one,’ Florence replies.
Everybody’s favourite weird kid dances around in the background trying to gain their attention, but neither of them acknowledge his presence.
I know I’ve said this a million times, but the fact that no one gives one single shit about American Jared is HYSTERICAL to me.
Things aren’t all sunshine and roses in the world of other couples. Apollo’s having some doubts about Simone, which makes Elora circle around him like a shark stalking its prey. And Rachael is not quite so sold on Sexual Tongue Thomas as she was originally.
‘So, like, what do you want?’ she asks him.
‘Do you want to keep hanging out after this?’
I think the diegesis is trying to make us think that Rachael is trying to define the relationship way too early and that she’s being a bit desperate, but the fact that ‘would you like to keep hanging out?’ is seen as OMG SO MUCH PRESSURE is so different from anything you would see in the US franchise it’s not even funny.
While they’re all chilling by the pool, Osher turns up and tells them that there’ll be a rose ceremony that night. Because there are currently more women than men, the men will be giving out the roses: which means that resident single ladies Elora and Florence need to start planning some plans.
(I know it’s super low stakes, but the fact that these people are willing to fight, FIGHT DAMN YOU, to stay near the free cocktails on the beach is way too relatable.)
Florence goes the easy route, and decides to acknowledge that American Jared exists. ‘You are handsome and smart,’ she tells him at the cocktail party.
‘What’s that cliché, about cows and milk and getting it for free that means you shouldn’t have sex on the first date?’ Jared replies.
This is a paraphrase, but it is an accurate representation of what a total non sequitur this is. Now he’s fallen into the role of the weird kid, Jared can’t get out again.
It’s also worth noting that Jared has left Paradise early on two occasions: once fleeing the intense affections of Ashley I, and once coupled up with Caila before the stage where he’d be obliged to propose (and also lowkey fleeing the intense affections of Ashley I). But this time, where no one likes him even a little bit? The weird kid is sticking this one out until the bitter end.
Elora, meanwhile, has decided to shoot her shot and have another crack at Apollo, even though Apollo is dating her frenemy Simone.
Elora strikes at the cocktail party, where Simone unwittingly says something very accurate by claiming that she ‘wants to spend time with Apollo, like every couple there’. Who among us does not want to spend some time with Apollo?
‘I have a surprise for you,’ Elora tells Apollo.
‘What is it?’ he replies.
‘Just come see!’
And look, I know the fact that Elora is trying to steal her friend’s boyf is not very cool, but I would like to award one million points to the Hogwarts house of the producer-who-dreamed-this-segment-up’s choice, because this is exactly the kind of content I am here for.
Elora takes Apollo fire-twirling. On the beach. For which Apollo needs to take off his shirt and lovingly rub oil into his own abs.
It’s… *Italian chef kissing fingers*
Seriously, even if you watch nothing else from this season, go check out the Apollo-twirling-fire footage. It’s … something.
Elora does her best to turn this into a romantical-type thing. When they’re done fire-twirling, they both have black stuff smeared all over their hands, which she makes sure to smear all over his face. This gives her the opportunity to delicately wipe his face clean with a towel.
The producers of this show might have no idea how to construct a love story, but Elora’s clearly seen some movies, because she’s pressing trope buttons HARD.
Not that Apollo really notices. When they’re done, he goes to find Simone, who’s been sobbing out of jealousy. ‘Elora’s obsessed with you!’ she weeps.
‘But I’m not obsessed with her,’ he replies. ‘I like you.’
‘But you’re so nice that you don’t see what she’s dooooooooooing!’ she wails.
Apollo isn’t quite sure how to deal with this.
Elora, observing this, is like, ‘shit, I don’t think I’ve successfully won Apollo over,’ and decides to hedge her bets. She pulls American Jared aside for a chat.
‘American Jared has never seen this much action in his life!’ Keira exclaims, proving that she sure as shit has not seen any of US Paradise, as this is extremely untrue.
At the rose ceremony, things progress exactly as you would think. Grant gives his rose to Ali, Jarrod to Keira, Sam to Tara, Jake to Megan. Thomas hesitates — or they edit it to make it look like he hesitates — for a second before he gives his rose to Rachael.
Then it’s American Jared’s turn.
‘I came to Paradise to find a connection,’ he announces. ‘I haven’t formed a connection strong enough to pursue outside Paradise, so I’ve decided not to give out my rose, and to leave.’
Trust the weird kid to leave like a total drama queen.
This means that two ladies will be going home instead of one, and there’s only one rose left up for grabs. That’s Apollo’s rose, which he gives to Simone.
Elora leaves, sad. Florence leaves, bummed out. ‘Well, this was a fucking disaster,’ she quips.
I really hope Florence gets a returning tour of Paradise next year. She’s such a good character.
Despite the fact that he gave her his rose, all is not well in the land of Apollo and Simone, and they sit down to have a serious chat. ‘I came here to find love,’ Apollo says to her. ‘I don’t really have the chance to meet people on the outside, and…’
LOL forever at the notion that Apollo needs a TV dating show to find a girlfriend. LOL. FOREVER.
Simone makes sympathetic noises, and together, they decide that they don’t need the pressure of Paradise: they want to leave together to see if they can make it in the outside world, where there will be no producers bellowing NOW KISS at each other.
‘I definitely didn’t find love here, but I did find something that could have potential in the outside world,’ Apollo says to Simone, and she smiles.
If you said this on US Bachie, there would be a massive backlash, but this is honestly quite refreshing. There’s a middle ground in Australian Bachie between I LOVE YOU FOREVER MARRY ME and WE ARE DONE AND I WILL NEVER SPEAK TO YOU AGAIN that doesn’t exist over there, and the availability of that romantic space in the Australian franchise is fascinating to me.
(I also wonder what the US fandom — ie Bachelor Nation — would make of the fact that none of the Australian Bachie couples are married yet, including the one that has procreated. I’m sure there would be some, ahem, commentary around that.)
Anyway, Apollo and Simone leave. Let us a) pause for a moment of silence to imagine what might have been if Apollo and Tara had entered at the same time, and b) start agitating for a royal commission into the fact that Apollo only featured in six of the sixteen episodes this season.
That means there are five couples left. Four are fairly established — Grant and Ali, Sam and Tara, Jake and Megan, Jarrod and Keira — with one left over: Thomas and Rachael.
‘No more rose ceremonies!’ Osher announces to them. ‘Today, you must all have serious chats about your futures! If you can’t see a future together, that’s cool, but you need to get out of here today.’
The four established couples promptly start making out, which makes Thomas and (especially) Rachael pretty uncomfortable.
(Sidebar: imagine you were chilling on a beach, drinking cocktails, and then someone came in and ordered you to have a serious feelingschat. How would you even get in that headspace? That sounds legit terrible.)
No one else needs to — the making out seemed to signify their consent to continuing — but Thomas and Rachael sit down to have a serious chat. ‘How do you feel about all of this?’ Rachael asks him.
‘Honestly, I don’t think we have a future outside of this,’ he tells her. ‘You’re nice, but since our date … well, we haven’t really progressed.’
This word ‘progression’ comes up a lot in the American franchise (and possibly the Canadian one as well, but I’ve only watched one Canadian season so I don’t really know), but not so much in Australia. I’m really interested by it. There’s this sense that relationships should have some kind of trajectory, that they should be ever moving forward, and it’s implied that there are certain milestones, but it’s never clear what they are.
If anyone has the Handy Guide to Relationship Progression, please let me know. It’s such a nebulous concept.
This ‘we haven’t progressed’ is Thomas letting Rachael down easy. ‘I have no romantic attraction towards her now at all,’ he tells the camera flatly. ‘After our date, her whole demeanour changed.’
I’m pretty sure this is him saying ‘she’s desperate’ without actually saying it, because that’s sure as hell the narrative the show is trying to construct around Rachael. While she accepts the breakup with good grace, afterwards, she goes and sobs on a producer’s shoulder. ‘Everyone tells me you have to wait for love, but I’ve heard that so many times, and I’m still waiting!’ she weeps. ‘I’m at the age where I feel like I should be married already!’
The music the show puts over this is ridiculous. Legit, it’s straight out of Platoon or some other war movie where soldiers run tragically towards their certain deaths in slow motion towards the camera.
Add Rachael to the list of people I hope gets a return tour of Paradise. She actually seems quite clever and funny, and the narrative the show is constructing around her is not doing her any favours. Send her in earlier next time. Give her a fighting chance.
Next time (which is next week, thank goodness, not tomorrow): the final four couples go on ‘fantasy dates’. The word ‘fantasy’ is code for sex in the US, so it will be very interesting to see if the Australian franchise — in which typically everyone’s clothes stay on — is venturing in that direction.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.