OMG YOU GUYS WE MADE IT. Finally, through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, we have fought our way to the end of Paradise. Soon, we may rest again. Soon.
But first, we must make it through the last hurdle of Paradise: the commitment ceremony.
In case you missed last night, this is where our four couples stand:
Sam and Tara: Well, they say they’re all loved up, but Tara still doesn’t know how Sam’s hair works, so there could still be some doubt.
Grant and Ali: Are apparently so into each other they didn’t notice a horse chasing them.
Jarrod and Keira: Jarrod is so obsessed with her he giggles with childlike glee over the fact he’s given her pash rash. Keira is less intense, but still pretty keen.
Jake and Megan: Jake is so in love with her he’s, like, pretty sure he could be faithful to her for a few months while she’s travelling for work. Megan is looking frantically for the exits.
Let’s check in on where they’re at the morning after the Clayton’s fantasy suites:
Sam and Tara: Unbelievably loved up — although Tara keeps stroking Sam’s hair, so I have to believe she’s still desperately trying to penetrate its secrets on the off-chance he ditches her.
Grant and Ali: So into each other they’ve rewritten history. ‘The second I met you, everything just clicked!’ Grant exclaims, conveniently forgetting that the first thing he did in Paradise was take Leah on a date and kiss her face off.
Jarrod and Keira: ‘Hey Jarrod, is there anything you want to tell me?’ Keira asks. ‘Anything? About your feelings for me? A word that possibly starts with L?’
‘MWAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH,’ says Jarrod, smushing his ruby-red face against hers.
‘…that is not what I meant,’ Keira says to the camera later.
Jake and Megan: ‘So, um, do you really think this is a good idea?’ quoth Megan.
‘Yes!’ Jake replies. ‘I’m super into you!’
‘I, um, you’re … fine,’ Megan says. ‘But I worry that one of us — it could be me! it could totally be me! probably me, in fact, definitely not you, the huge fuckboy — wouldn’t be faithful!’
‘I want to be your boyfriend!’
‘This isn’t a good idea,’ Megan replies, finally giving up on getting Jake to pull the pin for her and doing it herself. ‘I don’t think we should do the commitment ceremony.’
‘…’ says Jake.
I think we’re supposed to find their pash goodbye very tragic, but when Megan leaves, Jake is weeping all alone, and honestly, this is the happy ending we all deserve.
And then there were three.
I mean, it’s three couples, so I guess it’s really ‘and then there were six’, but you take my meaning.
So let’s check in on how their commitment ceremonies go.
Jarrod and Keira
These two effuse about each other as they prepare to go to the ceremony. ‘Jarrod’s pretty great,’ Keira says.
‘KEIRA IS AMAZING,’ Jarrod declares. ‘THIS IS WHAT I HAVE BEEN TRAINING THIRTY-TWO YEARS FOR!’
I am very curious about where Jarrod’s been doing this training, because if some kind of romance bootcamp exists where you enrol from literally birth, I’ve been very lax in my professional duty for not knowing about it.
Jarrod continues to enthuse about Keira to Osher. ‘SHE’S LIKE A MUM TO EVERYONE ELSE, BUT SHE TREATS ME LIKE HER HUSBAND!’ he declares. ‘SHE’S ALWAYS YELLING “JARROD, THE BURGERS ARE READY!”’
Hashtag true love, I guess.
And then — ugh — Jarrod actually does charm me. ‘I hope there’s no wind for the ceremony,’ he says. ‘Keira hates it when it gets in her face and messes up her hair.’
NO NO NO I WILL NOT BE SUCKED IN. NO.
The romantic monologues Jarrod and Keira deliver to each other are pretty sweet, I guess — although they’d probably be more affecting if they weren’t so obviously rehearsed. Jarrod finally says ‘I love you’ to Keira, and she says it back, and this declaration forms the romantic climax that engagement typically does in the US version.
They do exchange rings, though: commitment rings. And interestingly, they both give and receive a ring. This is different to what happens in US Paradise (I think? I just hardcore doubted myself there for a moment, but I’m pretty sure I’m right). This is a solid change, imo.
Then Jarrod says that one day he hopes to exchange Keira’s commitment ring for an engagement ring, and part of me is like, Romantic rings are a DeBeers conspiracy! but a bigger part is like, What do you mean, exchange? Get her a fresh one! so I’m pretty disgusted with myself right now.
Grant and Ali
The narrative of this show has allowed us exactly no opportunities for getting invested in Grant and Ali’s romance, and so this segment is pretty un-engaging. The only hook is the possibility that they might get engaged, but the fact that this segment is coming second, and not at the end of the episode, seems to belie that possibility.
Grant’s wearing a pretty snappy pink suit. I guess that’s interesting.
‘What do you hope will happen today?’ Osher asks Ali.
‘I hope we commit to each other, and some kind of ring is exchanged!’ Ali says. ‘And I hope we can announce that commitment publicly!’
Clearly Ali did not read her contract very clearly. I know it’s been five years since you’ve been on The Bachelor, but … come on now, Ali. You know that’s not how it works.
Grant and Ali have been uninteresting throughout, and their declarations of love remain uninteresting. ‘I love you,’ Ali says. ‘Will you accept this commitment ring?’
‘Yep,’ Grant says. ‘I love you too. Will you accept this commitment ring?’
‘Yep,’ Ali says.
There is an awkward pause in the music when Grant announces it’s a commitment ring, and when the score picks back up it’s a bit more muted than before, but Grant and Ali assure us that they’re so, so happy. ‘I just want to take it slow and meet her family and stuff before I propose!’ Grant says.
Considering he’s not given any indication that he knows what city Ali lives in, this is probably a smart move.
Sam and Tara
I know lots of people are on board this ship now. This is the ship the show wants us to be invested in. But … I just can’t, you guys.
I had a lot of metaphorical money on Grant being the one to propose, because, you know, America. This is not what I was expecting, even though obviously there is nothing in the world I want more than the extreme happiness of Tara Pavlovic.
But look, I get it. I’m straight, but if the opportunity presented itself, I’d probably propose to Tara.
So I will not be a spoilsport about this … even though it is kind of concerning that Sam tells Osher he’s spent more time with Tara than any other woman he’s ever dated. Four weeks is the most time you’ve ever spent with a woman? Seriously?
But let us commit to the romance.
And it’s not hard, honestly, because this is extremely charming, and I’m a bit worried, because how did I ever find myself in a situation where I was being charmed by Uncle Sam?
I’m not going to insult Tara’s declaration of love by trying to paraphrase it, because it is incredibly lovely. It’s one of the best declarations of love I’ve ever heard on the show, and considering I just transcribed the declarations of love from the past five years of the franchise from four different territories, trust me when I say I know what I’m talking about.
The crux of it is this: Sam isn’t just her boyfriend, he’s her best friend. She loves that he doesn’t try to change her, that she can be herself with him, that they can grow together. And she wants to spend the rest of her life with him.
She gives him a commitment ring, which she has to wedge on his finger above his multiple other rings. In his kerfuffle over proposing, Uncle Sam didn’t think his ring sitch all the way through.
Then it’s Sam’s turn.
His declaration is also really great — seriously, I recommend watching this whole scene in full, because it’s so nice (how did this happen to me HOW send help).
But notably, it does include the line, ‘You make me want to shut up more. I want to be more quiet. Rather than waiting to talk, I want to hear what you’ve got to say,’ which is simultaneously lovely and horrifying. It fits right into one of my pet theories about romance being tied to notions of listening, and will definitely be going straight to my research file, but … seriously? You were never especially interested in listening to what other people had to say before? Come on, man.
But then he proposes, and I can’t make fun of this, because he’s crying and she’s crying, and it’s actually gorgeous.
(She says yes, obviously. In case that wasn’t clear.)
‘When I look at our future, I see fast food and theme parks… and love,’ Tara says. Bless her forever.
‘Mmmm, health,’ Sam says. ‘My heart. I’ll die first.’
…bless you too, Sam, I guess.
But that’s not the end! We get an update on where all our three couples are now.
Sam and Tara: super psyched to tell everyone they’re engaged!
Jarrod and Keira: still together! Keira is moving to Melbourne to be with Jarrod!
Grant and Ali: Ali moved to LA to be with Grant! But…
…it didn’t work out.
…and Ali is going to be the next Bachelorette.
UM, QUELLE ACTUAL SURPRISE.
Are you kidding me? You knew — you fucking knew! — when you were editing this together that Ali was going to be the next Bachelorette, and you made her narrative so aggressively uninteresting? Do you even want people to watch your show?
FFS, Channel Ten. You need me. Badly. Or if not me, you need to hire a bunch of people who know how romance narratives work as consultants (like, you need to partner up with the Romance Writers of Australia immeeeeeeeeediately). With so little narrative hook, you’re going to need someone to triage the hell out of this shit.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.