#lowbar #lowerbar #lowestbar #barsolowithasdisintegratedinthemoltencoreoftheearth
We’re into the home stretch now! There’s only four episodes to go until the remaining contestants are finally released from the prison of Nightmare Man Island.
…I suppose that means human swarm of bees Bill will be back on his bullshit at the infamous dog park. Ugh.
A brief recap of where we are, if my previous recaps are TL;DR for you:
- All the men are monsters
- Like, all of them
- Especially Bill, Ivan, and Daniel, but none are without fault here
Oh, and in terms of plot, I suppose you need to know that a) Florence is on a date with Damn Daniel, but they’re about to send Davey back in, who she has expressed an attraction to, b) Tenille broke up with Ivan and now he says she’s BROKEN HIS HEART after their whole six days of acquaintance, and c) the women have the power at the next rose ceremony. But honestly, as long as you remember all the men are absolute fucking nightmares, you’re good.
We begin with some fairly benign drama. Caroline is pretty annoyed American Alex hasn’t kissed her yet, and we cut to some excellent footage of him working out.
This swiftly turns, however, to malignant drama. ‘Tenille breaking up with me is ridiculous,’ Ivan fumes. ‘She’s mine.’ He schemes to get her back by angrily shirtlessly working out and — in his own words, ‘glistening’ — and…ugh, I literally can’t even. None of the other dudes call him out on this poisonous bullshit, and fuck this, fuck him, fuck all of them, and fuck everything.
Ivan takes Alisha aside, because he wants to get some insight into why Tenille dumped him (because ‘it makes no sense’ — fuck yoooooouuuuuuuuu). Alisha lets slip that Nathan is interested in Tenille, and Ivan loses his entire mind in an incredibly frightening way. ‘A MATE WOULD NOT DO THAT TO ANOTHER MATE,’ he bellows. ‘NATHAN IS A DEAD MAN WALKING.’
Okay, this is not all right. This is not even a little bit all right. This is where the producers have a responsibility to pull him out. Honestly, they should have done it ages ago, but this is where they *have* to.
And there is no downside to them pulling him out. If they take him out, they have to explain to the other contestants why they did, and that’s drama — ie good television. Plus, they get to participate in conversations about appropriate behaviour in relationships, and that’s good press for them, and aaaaarrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhh I am so mad about this, because they’re actively putting their contestants in danger when they could be protecting them and getting a better story out of it at the same time.
Anyway: ‘DO YOU WANT TO EXPLORE A RELATIONSHIP WITH TENILLE?’ Ivan demands of Nathan.
‘…yes,’ Nathan mumbles.
‘MATES DON’T DO THAT TO MATES!’ Ivan yells. ‘THAT’S NOT OKAY! HOW DARE YOU?’
‘How do I put this?’ Nathan says to the camera. ‘In a way that will cause Ivan to…not kill me?’
If Nathan — who is a big, beefy dude — is scared Ivan is going to kill him: imagine how Tenille must feel.
At this point, a producer does intervene. ‘Ivan,’ she says, going over to the two of them. ‘This is a dating show. Doesn’t that mean everyone has the right to explore?’
Then she gets the fuck out of there, and it’s hard to blame her, because she’s a tiny woman, and Ivan is six foot five and looks like he’s ready to murder someone.
And then: they cut to another storyline like it’s nothing, without acknowledging the massive switch in tone at all.
For context: while all this has been happening, Florence and Daniel have been on a date. He was his typical horrific self, and she was not having it. ‘Last year he said he was going to make women his puppets,’ she says. ‘It’s safe to say that you could never do that, mate.’
I love you, Florence. Your taste in men is shocking, but at least you didn’t fall for this particular nightmare.
The one she did fall for, though, is back in Paradise. Davey has arrived, and when Flo sees him after she returns from her date, she is ecstatic. They go off together, and he asks her a question, and while she’s answering we get a voiceover of his internal monologue being all ‘OMG Flo is so hot, I’m so into her, KISS HER’.
…so basically we get a scene of him not listening to her at all when she speaks, which we all know is so incredibly romantic. Every woman loves to not be listened to, amirite?
This fucking show, you guys. Last year was a trainwreck, but this year is literally the ninth circle of hell.
Apparently this starcrossed romance between Flo and Davey has provoked some other couples into evaluating their own relationships. ‘I really like you,’ Caroline tells American Alex.
‘That’s nice,’ he replies. ‘I don’t like sharing my private life, but…I like you too.’
And they kiss, and Caroline is satisfied.
Elsewhere, Zoe finds a note on her dresser summoning her to the bar. It leads her to follow a series of clues, and she’s super psyched about how romantic it is, and how lovely it is that someone is interested in her, until she realises that Mack is the mastermind behind it.
Her face falls, and it’s such a mood, honestly.
‘I think there’d be a possibility of compatibility with you and I,’ Mack tells her.
Suffice it to say, that particular sweet nothing does not work on her; and also suffice it to say, he does not realise that it does not work.
Back at the beach, Alisha has decided — and rightly so — that Ivan’s behaviour is unacceptable, and that some of the dudes need to have a word with him to set him straight.
Great instinct! Huzzah! Except the dude she goes to is Bill, and what does he do?
After a few minutes of conversation with Ivan, during which he does nothing but reassure him that he’s ‘really there for him’, he fetches Tenille and makes her talk to Ivan.
‘He’s calm,’ Bill reassures Tenille.
Because the fact that if Ivan wasn’t calm, she’d presumably be in very real danger, is, like, NBD, you fucking swarm of locusts.
Tenille does have a chat with Ivan, during which he tells her that he wants her to stay away from Bill, Australian lady Alex, and — pointedly — Nathan. At that, she walks away. ‘How dare he try and act like he owns me?’ she exclaims. ‘I’m done.’
Also: props to Cass, who comes up and stands with Tenille when she’s clearly very uncomfortable in that conversation with Ivan. That is A+ quality friendship right there.
Caroline and Flo also have Tenille’s back, and give her some solid advice the next day. ‘If Ivan’s that uncomfortable with you seeing other people, he needs to leave,’ Caroline says.
‘Ivan’s being emotionally abusive,’ Florence says. Kudos to her for actually saying it.
Then, of course, because this show apparently enjoys putting its contestants in danger, Tenille gets a date card. She asks Nathan to go with her — much, of course, to the chagrin of Ivan. ‘This is shit,’ he snarls, looking like he wants to kill something.
Tenille and Nathan do have a very nice time on their date, and they make out a lot, and it’s really nice for them to get out of the toxic Ivan fog and just spend time together. Thing is, they could have done that anyway if production had done their job and pulled the man who is actively dangerous to their other contestants out (and it would have made it a stronger beat in a romantic arc as well, because sometimes ethical storytelling is also better storytelling).
While this is happening, Ivan is paddle-boarding his feelings out, which would be very funny if everything else about him wasn’t so frightening.
We switch then to some different drama. ‘So, the end of Paradise is coming up,’ Cass says to Richie. ‘We need to decide what we’re going to do.’
She presents him with a very sensible list of options — options which he knows, because they’re part of the narrative framework of the show. After Paradise, their options are:
- Getting engaged
- Becoming officially boyfriend and girlfriend
- Committing in the official ceremony to exploring what happens outside
- Leaving before the official ceremony but exploring what happens outside
- Breaking up
Richie — who has, as I mentioned last time, Bradburyed himself into being one of the more likeable men on the island — immediately panics, reminding us that just because he seems likeable by comparison he’s really still very frustrating. ‘I — uh — the fourth one maybe?’ he says. ‘We have to think about the distance, and –’
Suffice it to say that it’s very clear Richie came here for a few free drunk weeks on a beach and not much else.
Despite the fact that all you really get out of Paradise if you’re not in a couple is just that — a few free drunk weeks on a beach — at the pre-rose ceremony cocktail party, a few of the more unattached dudes are desperately shilling for roses. ‘I WANT TO EXPLORE A CONNECTION WITH YOU,’ Ivan says to Caroline.
‘Um…’ Caroline replies, looking over her shoulder and trying to work out when it’ll be socially acceptable for her to go back to American Alex again.
‘WOULD IT BE AWKWARD IF I KISSED YOU?’
‘…yes,’ she says. ‘Alex?!’
Damn Daniel and Mack are also making a play for roses, and they’ve got Zoe in their sights. She’s clearly not into either of them, and Mack especially comes on very strong (though maybe it only seems special because Daniel’s default mode is coming on strong), and…just…ugh, I don’t have the energy for this. It’s all very awkward, is what I’m saying.
The real drama, though, comes from Richie, who’s pacing around and sweating profusely. Eventually, he pulls Cass aside. ‘Look, you’re wonderful, and I like you a lot,’ he says. ‘But this isn’t going to work. You’re in Sydney, I’m in Perth, and…it’s not me, it’s not you, it’s the situation. I’m going to leave Paradise.’
In romance scholarship, we talk a lot about the barrier between the contestants — the reason they can’t be together (Regis 2003). This is usually very clear, but if Richie is to be believed, he apparently didn’t realise the fact that they lived on opposite sides of the country was a barrier until right at this second.
Cass, crying, sits down with Australian lady Alex (who is, in case you’ve forgotten, Richie’s ex). ‘It’s not you, it’s him,’ Alex tells her. ‘I went through the same thing with him. He’s a good person, but he’s scared of hurting you, and he has some growing to do within himself before he’s ready for commitment.’
It is such an indictment that ‘he has some growing to do’ is a thing that can feasibly be said about an adult man in his thirties (who is on his THIRD DATING SHOW) — and a bigger indictment that Richie still remains one of the more likeable men this season. #lowbar #lowerbar #lowestbar #barsolowithasdisintegratedinthemoltencoreoftheearth
Cass decides to leave as well, so the maths for the rose ceremony remains the same. Two men are leaving Paradise, and it basically all hinges on Zoe’s rose.
Everything else goes to plan. Florence gives her rose to Davey; Australian lady Alex gives hers to Bill; Alisha gives hers to Jules; Shannon gives hers to Connor; and Caroline gives hers to American man Alex (despite the worst efforts of Ivan).
The contentious roses are 1) Tenille’s, because all of Ivan’s nonsense. She gives her rose — obviously — to Nathan (who hugs Ivan before he goes to accept the rose, which WTF, my dude).
Then there’s 2) Zoe, who really has no good options (like there are any good options on this hell island). She eventually goes with Mack, because at least he isn’t a) a violent nightmare like Ivan, or b) a condom stuffed full of peanuts like Daniel (thanks for that turn of phrase, Australian lady Alex).
‘LOL bye,’ Daniel says, and leaves.
‘I don’t know where I went wrong,’ Ivan says, and starts crying as he walks out.
…just imagine my reaction. It’s not hard to predict.
PS. In more pleasant, actually romantic Bachie news: former Bachie Matty and his winner Laura just got engaged, and their first child is due in a few weeks. Congrats on making us believe that not everything in the Bachieverse is an absolute fucking nightmare, you two.
Just most things.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.