No matter how bad an Outlander-themed date might get, it can always be saved by a handsome man in a kilt.
Once more, it’s time to go on an exploratory journey of the narrative-less wilderness that is this season of The Bachelor Australia. Welcome back to Bachie with Jodi, as Richie slowly eliminates every woman who has ever THOUGHT about being brunette.
I’m sure that no one will be surprised that tonight’s episode begins with the delivery of a date card to the ladies from Osher. We might not have much of a love story going on, but we do have our routines. The lucky lady selected out of the Sea of Blondes is — gasp! — Alex, who was once a Saintly Single Mother, but who is being edged ever sideways into the role of Desperado.
Desperate she may be, but not, in this instance, dateless.
Richie picks her up in a Ferrari, and they drive around for a while. It seems pretty boring, tbh — like, driving is not that interesting? — but Alex seems to enjoy it and enthuses about the engine’s sexy purr, and … yeah, I’m bringing some of my own baggage in here. I don’t get the car thing at all.
But then what is this? Part of a date that is actually well constructed and drawing on romantic tropes? BRING ME MY SMELLING SALTS.
It’s a chocolate date. The show has brought in a Lindt chocolatier, who is nominally there to instruct them on how to make a themed block of chocolate for each other, but is really there to scowl and very obviously think ‘fml’ as Richie and Alex have a fairly twee chocolate fight with each other.
There are a couple of reasons that chocolate and romance are linked, by the way. First of all, there’s the persistent notion, often attributed to the ancient Aztecs, that chocolate is an aphrodisiac. As Richie claims later on, it releases serotonin (although you would have to eat a LOT to get much of a measurable effect), sometimes called the ‘love drug’. But it’s also come to be a symbol of love more generally: a box of chocolates is a pretty safe gift to give to family or friends — it’s like a generic signifier of affection.
So, yes, chocolate and romance are tied. But you know what you should not do with chocolate? LITERALLY BATHE IN IT.
Cleopatra is reputed to have taken milk baths as part of her beauty regime. But just because chocolate might have that Cadbury glass-and-a-half guarantee does not mean it’s a good bathing substitute.
… yeah, Alex and Richie bathe in chocolate. It’s supposed to be OMG ROMANTIC but you could literally feel a million people recoiling from their TVs watching it.
Imagine how hard it would be to wash chocolate out of your hair. IMAGINE.
The most charming part of the date comes when Richie tries to give Alex a rose but drops it in their gross chocolate bath. Classic Richie.
Next up, it’s a group date. The producers have taken one look at their vaguely red-headed Bachie, another at his Scottish surname, put two and two together and gone all Outlander [ Amz | iT ] up in everyone’s business. It’s a Highland Games challenge, wherein everyone — including Richie — has to wear a kilt.
I may be pretty disenchanted with this season of Bachie , but I am always — ALWAYS — here for a goodlooking ginger boy in a kilt.
The girls are divided into two teams, with Richie becoming his own team of one. They have to compete in three events: the caber toss, the sheaf toss, and a haggis-eating contest.
Richie wins the caber toss, but gets all shirty when the girls defeat him in the sheaf toss. ‘Competitive’ is a personality trait we can work with, buddy!
But he’s not competitive enough to even want to win the haggis-eating competition. He looks intensely nauseated the whole time, managing only a few bites while gagging. The ladies, on the other hand, really get into it: Rachael in particular, like, devours her portion. It’s pretty epic. As is the nickname later bestowed on Alex, who also does well: ANDRE HAGASSI. You guys.
I feel like I don’t need to point out, though, that competitive haggis eating is not really a romantic trope. Nor is it generally a good idea on dates to do activities which will leave one or more parties clearly seconds from vomiting. (Although Kat does have that vomit list of romance novels… )
Because the highland games end up being a threeway tie, everyone merrily goes off to the afterparty. This is nominally a highland ceilidh, but feels more like a Year Seven bushdance with a few bagpipes thrown in. Still, though, points for trying: the Scottish highlands genuinely are tied up with romantic narratives!
One thing of note does happen: Richie takes Sarah the intruder aside for a little bit of a chat. ‘So what are your dealbreakers in a relationship?’ he asks her.
‘ … ’ she replies.
‘For example, I need a woman who’s comfortable in her own skin — who doesn’t always have to be wearing a full face of makeup. What about you?’
‘ … ’
Sarah, it seems, is not good at sentences. ‘You need to work on that,’ Kiki later tells her bluntly at the cocktail party.
Also worth noting that ‘comfortable in her own skin’ seems like such a normal phrase, but the undercurrent is ‘you need to be exquisitely beautiful without wearing makeup (or without me being able to tell you’re wearing makeup,’ which is obviously not exactly unproblematic.
The biggest drama at the cocktail party comes, surprisingly, from Olena, who’s been hanging back a little. And could Bachie be developing an actual story here? Our narrative trajectory is this: she is a bit of an ice queen who finds it hard to let down the walls around her heart, unlike some of the other ladies, who are very open about their Richie feels. So is she sabotaging herself by trying to protect herself from pain?
The ladies discuss it. Olena discusses it with Richie. You can probably imagine the conversations. It’s not exactly a new or nuanced narrative, but my goodness, ‘ice queen learns to love’ is a narrative. AT LAST.
Olena is worried that Richie will eliminate her (possibly for the crime of being interesting), but although her rose is near the bottom the pile, she does get one. This evening’s victim is Sarah, aka the lady who is bad at forming sentences.
Perhaps more notable about this is that she is blonde, and the last person to get a rose is Rachael (the closest to a brunette left that we have). RICHIE HAS PICKED A BRUNETTE LADY OVER A BLONDE ONE. THE WORLD HAS GONE TOPSY-TURVY.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.