RECAP: The Bachelor Australia – S5 E08

RECAP: The Bachelor Australia – S5 E08
The Bachelor Australia Season 5
Background photo via Canva

Welcome back to Bachie-with-Jodi! We’re moving into a stage of Bachie that we might call the ‘shit gets real’ stage, because it’s time for second dates!

…fingers crossed that now shit is indeed getting real, we can focus a bit more on the love and a lot less on the show’s worst aspects, all of which it managed to quite spectacularly showcase in last night’s episode.

The reason we know that shit is getting real is because we’ve moved into a new stage of Bachie’s ritual structure (for a quick overview of what that ritual structure looks like, check out my recap of episode 2). Up until now, single dates with Matty have been first dates, i.e. dates that we could safely locate in the ‘getting to know you’ space.

But now? Now we’ve come round to second dates, and so shit is getting real.

Let’s talk about second dates for a moment. Now, this is where I would normally put my Dr Love hat on and bring in some theory, but second dates, second kisses, etc are actually quite under-theorised, so I’ve been forced to turned to a more authoritative source: Dawson’s Creek.

(Or, as it is more properly called, Pacey’s Creek. I’m part of a marathon watchalong at the moment where we livetweet two episodes each week at 7:30pm on Tuesdays under the hashtag #paceyscreek. All welcome!)

Allow me to quote from Season 2, Episode 1, where Bessie Potter says this to her sister Joey:

…that first kiss? It’s the passionate one. It’s the one fuelled by desire and attraction and all that. Well, the second kiss is rational. You’ve got time to think about it, to worry and overanalyse. Most women, they prefer that first kiss… but I’m partial to the second one because it’s about something more. You’ll get that second kiss, Joey, and when you do, it’ll be great. It’ll be real. It’ll be meaningful.

Now, Bessie is giving Joey advice about her romantic relationship with Dawson here (AKA the worst person in the world), so we should be careful about taking her toooooooo literally. However, there’s a kernel of something quite true at the heart of this, imho, and it’s especially relevant given the communicative mode of romance that Matty prefers. One kiss – a first kiss – you can write off on passion, or circumstances. Once you get to two kisses – or, in this case, two dates – you’ve got a pattern forming. You’ve taken that first attraction, considered it, and decided it’s something you want to pursue. In other words: shit is getting real.

And in Bachie terms – if you make it to the stage when shit gets real and you haven’t had a first single date when ladies are going out on their second? You are not long for this competition, my friend. Not long at all. Soz m8.

So obviously, when Osher swans in with his date card and the OMG BOMBSHELL is dropped that Matty has invited Elora on a second date, the shit hits the fan. The ladies that haven’t had a single date yet are fuuuuuuuuurious.

And honestly, I’m not un-furious myself, because Matty + Elora does not exactly make for scintillating television. During their first date, Matty spent a lot of time enthusing about how ‘drawn’ he was to Elora, but I’m pretty sure he was using that as a polite way to say that he thinks she’s hot, because their conversation was so incredibly awkward.

And is Round 2 any better?

…no. No it’s not.

This is an action replay, and it’s only slightly paraphrased, I swear:

MATTY: Today we will go hiking through the mountains and down to a picturesque limpid pool!

ELORA: Okay.

*they walk to the picturesque limpid pool*

MATTY: This is nice.

ELORA: This is beautiful.

MATTY: You are beautiful.

ELORA: You are nice.

*awkies silence*

MATTY: Want to blow up this floatie?

*literally like ten minutes of them blowing up a floatie*

MATTY: Let’s float on the floatie in the limpid pool!

ELORA: Okay.

*they awkwardly float about, fall off, hug each other with all the ease and naturalness of two eight-year-olds being forced to hug in the school play, and get their mack on*

I think we’re supposed to read this as OVERWHELMING PASSION, OMG, but, like, I’m pretty sure a producer made them spend all that time blowing up that floatie because it was more interesting than their conversation.

This intense dullness continues into the traditional Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation time. Elora tells us that ‘it just flows’ whenever she and Matty are together, but there is absolutely no evidence that this is true. What there is is a lot of them mumbling sentence fragments and not making eye contact.

Matty gives her a rose, though, so idk, maybe they have heaps of scintillating conversations and they all got left on the cutting room floor. ‘So… we don’t have to go back to the mansion until tomorrow…’ he says.

GASP WAIT WHAT IS THIS SEX IN THE AUSTRALIAN BACHIE NARRATIVE WHAT IS HAPPENING

But no, Australian Bachie has not followed literally every other Bachie franchise down the fantasy suite path. It is very, very clear that Matty has one cabin, and Elora has another cabin. Probably with chaperones ripped straight from a Catholic high school. ‘Do you want to come in?’ Elora asks.

The camera lingers just long enough for there to be plausible deniability, but the next morning, Matty reassures us that no, he is a good boy and left with just a chaste kiss goodnight.

This chastity is the greatest point of national distinctiveness in Australian Bachie, by the way. In literally every other Bachie franchise – including Bachie NZ – sex is a distinct part of the diegesis via the fantasy suite dates for the final three. There’s basically mandatory banging. But not in Australia, no sirree. In Australia, PANTS STAY ON.

The other ladies are all pretty sure that pants stayed on for Elora and Matty as well as they drive up to the group date the next day, because they’ve seen Aus Bachie and they know it is the sweet romance to the sexy of every other Bachie franchise. Despite this, however, a lot of them are not exactly thrilled to see that Elora is sticking around for the group date.

Which, like, understandable. Even with a PANTS STAY ON guarantee, I wouldn’t want to turn up to a date to find out the lady my boyfriend had been dating the night before was hanging around.

That said, calling this a ‘date’ is a bit of a stretch.

‘Research says that two things are needed for romance to succeed: chemistry and compatibility!’ Osher proclaims, to a hearty CITATION NEEDED from your pal Dr Love over here. (Srsly, Bachie, all you need to do is call, and all your ‘research says’ claims will be based on actual research.) There appears to be a third C-word in this particular Bachie date: cardio. Because this isn’t a date, it’s a goddamn running race.

Just imagine what you would say if you turned up to a date and it was actually a running race. I have imagined, and it’s nothing, because I think my incandescent rage would have entirely burned the capacity for speech out of me.

Every so often in this TOTALLY A DATE NOT A RUNNING RACE, the ladies will come across a multiple choice compatibility question (eg. ‘How often should you see your inlaws? A) Constantly, B) Sometimes, C) Absolutely Never, Not Under Any Circumstances’). If they get it right, they get to run on, but if they don’t, then they have to stay put for a few minutes (there’s, like, an eggtimer involved).

After a few of these question pitstops, Elora and Florence are in the lead. Florence gets to the next question, gets the answer wrong, and then she does pretty much the best thing I’ve ever seen a participant in one of these stupid Bachie competitions do.

She cheats.

She just straight up cheats.

She runs on to the next question, gets it wrong, and then just cheats again. And again, and again, and again, until hurrah! she’s won! and all the other ladies are hurrahing too, because if they couldn’t win, they’re glad Elora didn’t.

Florence’s prize is, of course, some alone time on a Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation with Matty. ‘So it’s super great that you won!’ Matty says.

‘Yeah, I cheated,’ Florence says. ‘Like, aggressively.’

‘Um…’

‘Just say you’re impressed, please.’

I love Florence. I love her. I want her and Tara to team up and have a show where they travel around the country solving mysteries.

Matty makes a few noises about not condoning cheating, but once Florence reassures him that while she cheats hard and often at games but never on people, he’s happy, and he gives her a rose – and, with that distinctive left head tilt of his, kisses her. Florence is going to be around for a while, folks. (Which, like, GOOD.)

Then it’s time for the cocktail party. And because we’re now in the SHIT GETS REAL phase of Bachie, it’s time for a mid-season Red Wedding cocktail party, where the Rains of Castamere starts playing and a whole bunch of ladies get eliminated at once.

The first to go is Sharlene. After complaining at length to the other ladies that she’s only spent 27 minutes with Matty (which, really, a whole 27 minutes? I didn’t even realise she was on this show until last night – specifically, the promos for tonight’s episode), she finally gets up the guts to go and talk to him. ‘So we haven’t spent much time together,’ she tells him.

‘Yeah, that’s because I’m not into you,’ he says. ‘Bye.’

Okay, yes, he frames it much more diplomatically than that, but that’s the underlying message.

Understandably, Sharlene is a bit taken aback by this. It takes her a moment to gather her thoughts – and the show puts a hell of a serial killer violin scrape over the top of it, let me tell you – and then, ‘Thanks,’ she says.

And she keeps repeating it. ‘Um, thanks. Matty, thanks. Thanks.’

I have no idea who Sharlene is, but this is actually lowkey heartbreaking. Imagine going on national television to hopefully find love and then getting unceremoniously ditched like that. I’m pretty sure I’d lose most of my words too.

But Sharlene’s all right, she tells the cameras afterwards. Besides, her life revolves around pugs and musical theatre, and Matty doesn’t like either of those things!

BACK THE TRUCK UP. YOU DON’T LIKE PUGS, MATTHEW? WHAT KIND OF MONSTER ARE YOU?

The carnage isn’t over, because a further two girls go at the rose ceremony. One is Steph, which is unsurprising, because, like, who is that. The other – a little more surprisingly, but not that much, honestly – is Alix, she of last night’s aggressively ‘meh’ date. You know you’ve really entered the ‘shit gets real’ stage when the Bachie starts eliminating people who have been on single dates…

We’re down to ten ladies and it looks like next week, parents are involved, so buckle up, party people. Shit’s got real now, and we’re about to descend into feeeeeeeeeeeeelings.

The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.

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Jodi is a literary historian currently working as a lecturer at the University of Tasmania. Her research focuses on the history of love, sex, women, and popular culture, so reading romance novels is technically work for her. Shed a tear for Jodi. Jodi is also an author, and her debut YA paranormal novel Valentine is due out in February 2017. One time, she was invited on a special private tour of the set of The Bold and the Beautiful, and it was the single best hour of her life.

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