We’re almost there! We’re in the fourteenth (!!!) and final week of Bachie season for 2017, and tonight is the penultimate step on national treasure Sophie Monk’s search for love among a cohort of men who cannot even begin to be worthy of her.
We’re down to the final three: Apollo (perfect cinnamon roll), Stu (I cannot think of one single thing he’s ever said I’ve even begun to care about), and Jarrod (terrifyingly intense about potplants). As I wrote when I talked about the final three episode of Matty’s season, this is the point in the diegesis where, if we were in basically any other national Bachie franchise, it would be all about sexytimes.
We don’t have a fantasy suite equivalent in Australia. This is a good call, imho, because watching those fantasy suite dates can be… uncomfortable, to say the least. But we also haven’t quite worked out what to do instead, what being in the final three means, exactly. Because of this, this penultimate episode always feels a little bit vague, caught between the milestones of hometowns and THE FINALE DUN DUN DUN.
First up on his Vague Final Three Date is Jarrod, who Sophie tells us is ‘sincere’. This is a word we don’t hear used a lot in Bachie – trust me, I’ve watched a lot of it – and I’m not quite sure why that is. It seems to have fallen by the wayside in favour of ‘genuine’, but ‘sincere’ is a much more emotionally specific word, imo. And in the case of Jarrod, it’s also accurate: anyone can tell that he is frighteningly sincere.
Sophie also tells us that she knows Jarrod feels a lot of ‘passion’ for her. This may sound good, but I’m not sure it counts in Jarrod’s favour. Passion isn’t a quality that’s typically valued in a lot of Australian romantic narratives: often, where it does exist, it’s imagined as destructive, tearing families and marital units apart (classic example: Meggie and Ralph in The Thorn Birds). But if anyone is going to run counter to dominant discourse, it’s Our Sophie.
For their date, they go to a… race track? I honestly don’t know whether the things they’re racing are cars or not. My 20+ years of formal education have included exactly nothing about automobiles. But anyway, there’s a track, and car-like things that they’re racing, and a wager. If Jarrod completes five laps before Sophie does two, she has to be his servant for the rest of the date. If Sophie wins, then Jarrod has to dance around the racetrack in his underwear.
Jarrod literally goes pale when underwear is invoked. ‘I’m wearing my stripy boxers!’ he tells the camera anxiously. ‘It’s not going to look good!’
Personally, I’m amazed that all Bachie contestants are not required by contract to wear white boxers with little red hearts on them, but that’s beside the point.
Sophie is the one that wins the wager, but seeing that the prospect of stripping down might actually make Jarrod faint, she takes pity on him, and tells him that instead of doing semi-naked choreography, he can be her servant for the rest of the date, for lo! she is a good Bachie, and does not make her boys do things they do not want to do. Jarrod gratefully accepts, and is like, ‘whatever you need! I will open any door you want!’
…a lot of Jarrod’s Romantic Talk™ revolves around doors, tbh.
Sophie, however, knows how to make men serve her in more important ways than door opening, and orders him to give her champagne and grapes (I love her. I LOVE HER.). They have quite a nice chat on their Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation. ‘I know that you like me for me,’ she tells him.
‘I do,’ he says. ‘I love you. So … um … how do you feel about me?’
She doesn’t respond, as is the wont of Bachies, who are contractually obliged not to divulge their feelings until the designated feeling-divulging-time. But she tears up, and Jarrod analyses her tears as intently as someone who lives and dies by the bible of Cosmo, and concludes that she’s into him.
Then there’s kissing, kissing, etc. And if you’re reading along purely because you’re entertained by the fact that since I read that one study about kissing laterality I can’t stop analysing dominant kiss head tilt directions: I think Jarrod might be a leftie.
Next up is Stu, and … I’m struggling, guys. We know he possesses kids, an almost-ex wife, a boat, and a vasectomy, but I’m not entirely convinced he possesses a personality.
This date doesn’t do much to convince me. They go to the aquarium and spend some time hanging out with a dugong, and the dugong is at least five thousand times for interesting than Stu. The most memorable moment of the date is Sophie having a revelation and realising that lettuce is actually a terrible pointless foodstuff, which is true, but not exactly high romance, if you know what I mean.
Then when they get to their Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation … yeah, I’m just not sure I really like the way Stu communicates. ‘Do you feel I’m happy?’ he asks Sophie. And, like, what kind of question is that? Why are you asking her about your feelings? Why would you ask that? Know first thyself, etc etc.
This asking of questions he should be answering is something that continues throughout the conversation. When Sophie asks if he’s ready for a relationship, Stu just mirrors the question back at her instead of answering. And when she asks whether she could be the one for him, he literally LAUGHS IN HER FACE.
Sure, sure, it’s meant to be one of those ‘wow, what a big question!’ laugh, not a ‘what a ludicrous suggestion!’ laughs, but still. He laughed. In her face.
HOW DARE YOU, STU.
But then he does pick it up a bit. He tells Sophie that he wants to be her best friend, but in that way that romantic partners are best friends. You know how I wrote above that we don’t especially value passion in Australian romantic discourse? We value the fuck out of friendship (I have this whole brewing theory that the cultural ideal of mateship permeates our successful romantic narratives pretty deeply), and so the discourse Stu is espousing here is, we might say, true blue.
And there’s kissing, and … I thought Stu was right-headed from watching previous episodes, but this time he goes left and THAT ONE STUDY I READ DID NOT TEACH ME HOW TO ACCOUNT FOR THIS.
The last Vague Final Three Date belongs to sweet baby angel Apollo. Sophie picks him up in a horse and carriage, and he’s like, ‘I’ve never been in one of these before!’ and we all laugh, because mate, the jig is up, we know you’re a centuries-old vampire, we’ve seen your Salvatore-style daylight ring, you don’t need to keep pretending.
The horse and carriage takes them to some sneaky opera, and Apollo also pretends that a) he’s never seen opera before, and b) he doesn’t know Turandot, like, off by heart. ‘Wicked!’ he exclaims, when the tenor finishes Nessun Dorma.
But this, alas, might be his undoing. Sophie, who loves opera, is not sure that he’s adequately emotional enough about it, or that they’re emotionally in the same place at all. And when they get to their Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation, Apollo just clams up and they sit in awkward silence.
(Well, he clams up after he casually mentions that he’s planning to do an escape from a straitjacket while dangling from his feet from a helicopter. Like, actually.)
(And also, all that silence meant that we as an audience could really appreciate the way he was using his muscular manly thigh as a table for their cheese platter, which was… not unenjoyable.)
But the writing is on the wall for the purest of cinnamon rolls. Apollo is the one who gets eliminated at the rose ceremony, which leaves Sophie to choose from Jarrod and Stu in the finale tomorrow. ‘I want to settle down, but I want you to take over the world,’ Sophie tells Apollo. ‘It would be selfish of me to hold you back.’
But it’s okay, guys. I’d like to revisit and elaborate on a pitch for a TV show that I made in the last episode, which I refuse to believe that everyone would not watch the shit out of.
Returning to the Gold Coast, Sophie encounters fellow local Tara, and immediately recognising a kindred spirit, they become fast friends. But oh no! a crime has been committed! and for important, sensible, plausible reasons, Sophie and Tara are the only ones that can solve it.
To do so, though, they need the skills of someone who knows magic, and so Sophie turns to the one Gold Coast magician she knows, even though he’s still broken-hearted over the fact that she rejected him on national TV: Apollo. He helps them, as Jonathan Creek helps the lady detectives with whom he is affiliated, and so begins the greatest Australian crime procedural since Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.
And, of course, there’s a romance plot too, because even though Apollo is still heartsore after losing Sophie, he can’t help but be drawn to the effervescent ray of sunshine that is Tara…
Tell me you wouldn’t tune in to watch that every single fucking week. I dare you.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.