National treasure Sophie Monk has hit the road, and she’s off to visit the homes and families of the four remaining dudes she’s supposed to have feelings for even though we’re all having a hard time believing that that’s true. It’s time for hometowns!
This is the point in the Bachie ritual structure that everyone is supposed to have such overwhelming feelings of lurrrrrrrrrrrrvvvvvve that the contestants can no longer stomach openly living in a harem, and so have to be separated to undertake monogamous relationships of plausible deniability with the Bachie. Given that the most chemistry demonstrated so far this season has been between Apollo and James, maybe it’s a good thing the latter was eliminated last night: they would have been separated anyway, and it would have been lowkey tragic.
I’ve written about the significance of hometown dates and what they mean in terms of romantic history before, so I’m not sure I need to go over this ground again, but if you need a quick summary: basically, it’s rooted in eighteenth/nineteenth century middle- and upper-class courtship practices where suitors would call on their beloved and their beloved’s family in their homes. This model of romance was essentially supplanted by dating, where the two lovers would go out into the world together sans family and do, like, activities instead of sitting on the couch and drinking tea while being chaperoned. Chronologically speaking, as we’ve moved from dating to home visits, we’re kind of going backwards in terms of model of romance, so look out for ye olde medieval tournament, coming soon to a Bachie episode near you.
Okay. Let’s flex our knuckles and get into these hometown dates.
Hometown #1: Jarrod
Remember right back at the beginning of the season, when we were all blinded by the fact that Jarrod manages a vineyard and we missed the fact that he’s actually a bit terrifying for a hot minute there? Tonight, we actually get to go to the vineyard.
I was worried that Jarrod was going to make Sophie, like, plant grapes and shit, given his track record (cough potplant cough), but I was pleasantly surprised. They sat around, looked at the vines, and drank some wine. As far as a date goes? That’s a solid 10/10 there.
Sophie asked Jarrod about his family, and he told her his mother was super protective, because she’s worried that people are going to use him. I’m endlessly tickled by the implication that there’s a group of women out there running around seducing naïve men for their vineyards. (Also, how do I join? Is there a Facebook group, or a hashtag, or some kind of initiation ritual, or…?)
Jarrod has a LOT of family: there are parents and step-parents and siblings and friends and babies and pretty much every kind of relative you can think of. His mum whisks him away immediately to be like, ‘um Jarrod, you have clearly gone in way too hard way too fast, slow your roll a bit,’ and their conversation gets so intense that I was worried for minute they had forgotten the epic trays of canapes they were in the middle of preparing.
But they don’t, and all the food looks amazing, and when Jarrod’s mum takes Sophie aside, she takes her aside to a wine cellar so beautiful that I think I actually blacked out for a moment there. No wonder all these ladies are trying to seduce Jarrod for his vineyard. My goodness.
There’s a template for all these relative-takes-Bachie-aside conversations that goes like:
RELATIVE: So do you love [contestant]?
BACHIE: I like [contestant]. Very much.
There is a whole lot of subtext about contractual obligations and the clash between reality and reality TV in these ten little words, but the script gets the job done, and Sophie and Jarrod’s mum follow it almost identically.
There’s also a script for what happens next, i.e. the traditional confession of feelings of contestant to Bachie. Usually, it goes like this:
CONTESTANT: We’ve come so far on this journey, and I’m falling in love with you.
Aaaaaaaaand Jarrod follows this almost exactly too, except he adds some stuff about how his feelings from Sophie have ‘grown’, because we’re never going to escape that fucking potplant.
Spoiler: Jarrod is the only contestant tonight who will follow the script.
Hometown #2: Apollo
Apollo is from the Gold Coast, which means a few things:
- He lives very close to Sophie.
- He lives very close to Tara.
- If this thing with Sophie doesn’t work out, then my fantasy Bachie relationship of Apollo + Tara can totally happen.
- Sophie and Tara can totally become BFFs, and possibly solve mysteries together, while Apollo helps with the magical elements in the mode of Jonathan Creek.
I have not spent too much time thinking about this. Shut up.
And you know how Apollo is basically a magical sunflower in human form? It gets better. Because he owns TINY HORSES. MULTIPLE TINY HORSES.
Their pre-family visit date is Apollo teaching Sophie to be a tiny horse whisperer, and I was torn between being glued to it with every atom of my being and frantically taking notes for that urban fantasy book about him being a vampire-on-Bachie that I’m totally going to write one day. ‘I hope Apollo’s human family likes me as much as his animal family!’ Sophie says, and I nearly smashed my keyboard with the ferocity with which I typed WHAT ABOUT HIS VAMPIRE FAMILY?!?!?!? into my notes.
Apollo also has a fairly decent-sized family, including a grandmother he describes fondly as a ‘shit-stirrer’. Sophie hopes she’ll like his family, but she’s not sure they can possibly be as wonderful as him, which, like, same, Soph.
Most of the conversation predictably revolves around the age difference between the two of them. Nominally, Sophie is older (she’s 37 and he’s 24), but she insists that Apollo’s more mature than many of the guys in the house, and sometimes even her. This is all adding fuel to the vampire theory, especially because all this grilling about the age difference could actually be Apollo’s family making sure Sophie is all right dating someone who is several centuries older than her. And Apollo’s shit-stirring grandma tells him to ‘be careful’ and not to rush into anything, which is OBVIOUSLY a coded warning for him not to turn Sophie into a vampire right away. You can’t fool me.
And … I’ve written numerous times about the almost aggressive lack of chemistry in this season. But when they leave, Apollo and Sophie stand there grinning at each other and then they kiss and honestly it’s just the loveliest thing in the world.
Hometown #3: Stu
‘When I first met Stu a year ago and he asked me out on his boat, I thought he was a big douche, so I stood him up,’ Sophie tells us, making us both love her more and be horribly sad that we might not ever get a Bachie like her ever again.
But there’s no dodging Stu and his aquatic activities today. In what might the first instance of a Bachie contestant BYO’ing their own boat, Stu takes Sophie out on a spin around Sydney Harbour.
He plies her with wine and seafood (which she says are her hobbies, because no one has ever been more relatable than Sophie Monk). And then, when he has her in a confined space in the middle of the harbour, with no available escape routes, Stu drops some truths.
‘So … I know you want kids. I have four already, as you know. So I had them … and then I had a vasectomy. I’ll get you more wine. Stay there!’
This is paraphrased, but only very slightly. He stammered for ages trying to spit out the word ‘vasectomy’, but as soon as he did, he was basically sprinting for the wine, leaving Sophie alone to mouth the word ‘shit’ directly at the camera.
And then there’s more! ‘So … I’m also still legally married,’ Stu tells her. Although at least he stays sitting down and isn’t like ‘let me get the wine that is on the other side of the boat’ this time.
Needless to say, for a date that involves them drinking nice wine on a boat in the middle of Sydney Harbour, I’m not entirely sure it goes that well. And when Sophie meets Stu’s actual family, I’m not sure that entirely goes that well either.
‘I don’t know much about Sophie Monk,’ one of his sisters remarks, which I’m pretty sure is a phrase listed next to ‘un-Australian’ in the dictionary. And then the same sister basically accuses Sophie of going after Stu for his money. She should expect at least half the nation to challenge her to a duel by tomorrow morning, because you cannot say such things about national treasure Sophie Monk.
When the day is over, Stu enthusiastically tells Sophie it was the ‘best day of [his] life’. But idk, mate … if the best day of your life involved your family accusing a national treasure of being a gold-digger and you telling her (a woman who wants to get married and have children) that you’re still married and can’t have more children, then the other days of your life must have been fucking TERRIBLE.
Hometown #4: Blake
Blake tells the camera that he is OMG so excited to be spending time with Sophie and that he is OMG falling in love with her, but he smirks at the end of every sentence that he intends to sound sincere and it’s such a classic douchebag tell.
He takes Sophie to an ice rink. It’s a pretty enormous structure, but Sophie totally misses what it is at first because she’s too busy looking for the bar (relatable af). They skate around, and then Blake claps his hands and someone turns a snow machine on. It’s very pretty, but Blake says it makes him feel ‘like MacGyver’, which makes me fairly confident he misunderstood the entire premise of that show.
On their way to see his family, Blake promises to protect Sophie if his family ask her any tough questions. And if you were wondering exactly what he did not do when his family tough questions, worry no more! If you were wondering what he did do, the answer is (drumroll) stare at his plate.
(Side note: what is it with families that dare to question the honour of national treasure Sophie Monk? Like, literally how dare you?!)
Sophie was clearly pretty annoyed that Blake wasn’t stepping in, but she handled herself well in quite a pointed interrogation. My personal favourite highlight was when Blake’s dad asked her if she’d cut back on work travel if she were in a relationship with Blake, and her answer was a succinct monosyllabic ‘no’.
After the date, Blake enthuses about how well it went and how he’s definitely the right dude for Sophie, but we all knew what was coming, because their goodbye kiss was the least convincing kiss I think I’ve ever seen in Bachie history. He’s eliminated at the rose ceremony, to the complete lack of surprise of everyone but him.
Sophie takes him aside and tells him why. ‘If you say you’re going to protect someone, you need to actually do it,’ she explains patiently.
Blake’s response, predictably, is that her answer is bullshit. Just in case you needed any further confirmation that he’s a garbage person.
Next week: the finale! Who will Sophie choose? Will it be any of them? And will Apollo reveal that he’s actually a vampire?
PS Of the four dudes, only Jarrod mentioned the word ‘love’ to Sophie: ie. he’s following the standard Bachie script and no one else is. I told you we skipped the shit-gets-real phase…
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.