RECAP: The Bachelorette Australia – S3 E12 (Finale)

RECAP: The Bachelorette Australia – S3 E12 (Finale)
The Bachelorette Australia Season 3
Background photo via Canva

The time is finally here, my friends. We’ve journeyed through douchebags unknown and dickheads unnumbered to fight our way here to the tourist destination that put its hand up to do some Bachie product placement this year. It’s time for Sophie to choose which of the final two men she wants to be her One True Love.

…we all agree that no matter who she picks, we’ll all be groaning SOPHIE, NO, right? It’s not just me?

Honestly, the only possibility for a happy ending here is Sophie telling both the final two dudes they’re terrible and deciding that her true calling is opening a Gold Coast detective agency with Tara, but … I digress. Finales are always long episodes, and you came here to find out what happened, not to hear my TV pitches.

(Cough. Apollo as their Jonathan Creek sidekick. Cough.)

In case you’ve forgotten, here’s a brief overview of the two remaining men:

Stu: multi-gazillionaire, not quite as divorced as he originally led Sophie to believe, vasectomised, asked Sophie out a year ago and she stood him up because she thought he was, in her own words, ‘a douche’. Given that he literally laughed in her face last night when she asked him if he could see settling down with her, she might have been right. Tells us that he’s ‘absolutely never taken his shifting focus from Sophie,’ not realising that this phrase is inherently oxymoronic.

Jarrod: extremely, extremely intense about everything, to the extent where it’s a bit frightening. This includes potplants, but ESPECIALLY includes Sophie. Has hallooed his love for her to the reverberate hills, and done it so much and so loudly that even the reverberate hills have told him to shut up. On the plus side, he has a vineyard. Tells us that Sophie is ‘the love of his life’, which is, um, a totally fine thing to say about someone you’ve known for two months.

(I picked Jarrod to win way back in the very first episode. I then retracted that pick when I realised how terrifying he was, but considering Stu the intruder wasn’t around then, it’s nice to know my Dr Love instincts are still in working order.)

Just like the show overall, any given Bachie finale has a ritual structure, and it looks like this:

  • The final two contestants meet the Bachie’s family. The family then passes judgment on them (and are almost allllllllllways non-committal).
  • The Bachie takes the final two on one last ‘last chance’ date.
  • The Bachie waits in the designated declaration zone after a long montage of everyone putting on their finest formalwear.
  • The Bachie rejects the loser.
  • The Bachie declares their love to the winner.

If this your first Bachie rodeo, just know that this pattern is reproduced again and again and again across every finale ever, and feel free to use it as a roadmap to navigate the wilds of finaleville.

But before we begin the recap proper: you guys. There was a moment.

Right at the beginning of the episode, our host Osher does a whole recap-of-what’s-gone-before bit. I normally don’t bother recapping it, because I’d be recapping a recap, and then we’d be in the realms of meta-recap and things would start getting very strange. But I can’t not this time.

Osher gives his recap on a Fijian island (Fiji is the product placement tourist destination of choice this year). And as the camera zooms out, giving us a sense of the size and scale of the island, we see that someone has written HELP ME in the sand behind him.

Who wrote it? Was it Osher? Sophie? One of the dudes?

It has to have been Sophie, surely. If I had to choose between Jarrod and Stu on pain of contract violation, I’d be using every available avenue to get help as well.

Anyway, first up on the meet-the-family whirligig is Stu. He tells us that he’s ‘traditionally’ quite good with parents, but once he actually gets in front of Sophie’s family, he’s stammering and sweating and stumbling into awkward silences as bad as Apollo’s last night. And at least when Apollo did awkward silence, he balanced a bountiful cheese platter on his leg.

Sophie’s sister Lucy eventually took pity on Stu and whisked him aside to interrogate him one-on-one. She asked him about his reputation as a playboy, and – oh my god, you guys, he started talking about how when he separated from his wife, he ran through every chapter in the ‘playbook’, and literally every hair on the back of my neck stood on end.

Then he said some quite nice things about how he’s still amicable with his ex, but all I could think was GIRL, RUN.

I’m not exactly Team Jarrod, but he came across a lot better with the family, imo (in that he didn’t trigger a fight-or-flight response in me through the screen, anyway). He brought flowers for Sophie’s mother, and then, when she asked him how he felt about Sophie, he told her how much he loved and cared about her quite eloquently. Sure, the intensity of his feelings is a bit much – and I think his feelings are so intense he actually forgot Sophie’s name at one point, because he kept calling her ‘your daughter’ – but he didn’t actually physically make me recoil.

This is how low the bar is set this season. I prefer the one that does not physically repulse me at any given moment.

(Oh, and when Jarrod came in, Sophie’s mother was like ‘you’ve grown since the last time I saw you!’ A+ potplant-related trolling, Mama Monk.)

Predictably, Sophie’s family are non-committal about which dude she should pick, presumably because they recognise that neither of them are even close to being worthy of the glory that is their national treasure daughter/sister. So the choice is up to Sophie, after one last date with each dude.

First up is Jarrod, for whom Sophie has deployed the traditional Bachie chopper, conveniently forgetting until they’re up in the air that she’s shit-scared of heights. This leads to lots of opportunities for him to comfort her and put his arms around her and ‘protect’ her, because if this chopper does go down, he will protect her with the force of his mighty hug. ‘I love seeing Sophie outside of her comfort zone!’ he exclaims.

Folks, if you ever find yourself saying that you really enjoy seeing a person outside of their comfort zone, reeeeeeeeeeeally think about why that is.

They fly to a tiny private island (like TINY, it’s about the size of a netball court) where a private chef makes them lunch. (Maybe it was the chef who wrote HELP ME in the sand?) ‘Sophie, I really love you,’ Jarrod tells her. ‘I know you can’t say it back yet, but I really do.’

Then he utilises all the skills he’s ever learned from Cosmo to see if he can discern whether she really does liiiiiiiiiike him, and comes away quietly confident.

When they get to their final Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation, Sophie asks Jarrod what he wants from her out of a relationship, and he’s totally taken aback by the notion that he would want anything more than to serve her. ‘If you’re happy, I’m happy!’ he says. ‘My happiness is totally contingent on your happiness!’

Which, like, no pressure, mate. No wonder Sophie starts crying.

I do relate, though. Wouldn’t we all be happier if we knew Sophie Monk was happy?

While Jarrod and Sophie took to the air in their date, Stu and Sophie take to the sea, combining sea planes and yachts in a montage of Bachie’s Favourite Aquatic Transport methods. ‘I want to go deep with you today!’ Stu tells Sophie. I immediately started a petition for Stu never to be allowed to say the word ‘deep’ again.

They go diving and frolicking in the water, fulfilling their obligations as participants in a Bachie Boat Date. ‘Sophie and I were put on this earth to be with each other,’ Stu says to camera.

Imagine having the audacity to think you were the soulmate of a legitimate national treasure. Just imagine.

Stu has confessed his love for Sophie to the audience, but not to her. (This is a narrative technique called dramatic irony, if you read these recaps for the occasional fancy nerd words.) Before he can do so, he and she must spend a good five minutes working out how to sit together in a hammock.

Seriously. Two Grown Adults Cannot Work A Hammock is prime-time TV, Australia. Bless.

They finally manage it, and – look, I’m not going to lie, Stu gives me the heebie-jeebies, but as far as confessions of love go, this one is quite good. ‘I’ve been hesitant, because I’ve got kids out there and I didn’t want to embarrass them,’ he says, ‘but I’m in love with you, Sophie. You’re my best friend.’

I’m not sure I quiiiiiiiiiiiite understand the direct link he draws between ‘admitting emotion’ and ‘embarrassing his kids’ (although I’m sure it’s a link that takes a detour via toxic masculinity), but it’s not a bad confession overall, and judging by the amount of uncomfortable close-ups of pashing that ensue, Sophie seems to be into it.

Next is the traditional Dressing Up In Formalwear montage, ie. everyone girds their loins for battle, because love is a battlefield, etc, I’m going to stop this metaphor here before it gets totally away from me. ‘Sophie’s the love of my life!’ both final dudes (who met her two months ago) confidently declare.

Osher is waiting for Sophie at the designated declaration zone. ‘Are you in love?’ he asks her.

‘Yes,’ she replies. ‘I am.’

Imagine if you had to explain to a time-traveller from the early 2000s that Andrew G was helping Sophie from Bardot find love. Just imagine.

Just as in Matty’s Bachie finale, instead of the traditional limos, the two dudes approach the declaration zone in boats. The loser steps foot on the sand. And it is…

…Jarrod.

Oh dear. Poor guy is never going to be able to look at a potplant ever again.

‘I’d love to sail into the sunset with Sophie and never return!’ he tells us, which honestly sounds terrifying, but he’s not going to get the chance, because he and Sophie are donezo.

‘In my head, you’re everything I’ve been looking for,’ Sophie tells him. ‘I adore you, Jarrod, but my heart belongs to someone else.’

Jarrod cries, and honestly, I’m not a huge fan of his but it is quite sad (even if it didn’t pack anywhere the emotional punch of last year’s ‘See you Georgia Love’/‘See you Matty J’). ‘Thank you,’ he tells her. ‘Through this process, you’ve helped me become a better person.’

Academic sidenote: Jarrod is clearly an adherent to the modern model of romantic love in which for one to ‘develop their individual potential, they need a supportive, intimate relationship with their spouse or lover’ (Cancian 1987, 3). For him, romantic love and self-development are intrinsically tied together, and now that he doesn’t have Sophie he feels, as he tells us as he weeps underneath a palm tree, lost and bereft.

Alas for Jarrod, cast back upon the mercies of those bands of roving women seducing naïve men for their wineries. Godspeed.

This, of course, means that the winner is Stu. As predicted, we all groan SOPHIE, NO. But Sophie Monk is an honest lady, and she did tell us right at the beginning of the season she had bad taste in men.

(Apropos of nothing: This season was not exactly packed with winners – I have no idea how they’ll find next year’s Bachie in this crew – but if I had to pick one for her, it would have been James. He just seemed so nice.)

‘I noticed when you first came here you used humour to deflect a lot of emotional talk,’ Osher says to Stu after he steps off the boat. ‘Do you feel you’ve moved past that now?’

‘Yes,’ Stu replies. ‘Yesterday, in fact.’

Quite apart from the fact that yesterday is, you know, yesterday, I’m really interested by this idea that humour is somehow the opposite of and antithetical to emotion. I’ll have to mull on that in the gap between now and Bachelor in Paradise.

I so desperately want Our Sophie to be happy, but I have read a lot of romance novels, and if this was the HEA I was presented with in one, I would not be satisfied. ‘I misjudged you when I first met you,’ Sophie tells Stu. ‘And I’ve fallen in love with you.’

‘I love you too,’ he tells her. ‘You’ve fixed me. You’ve put me back together.’

Morally, I’m obviously opposed to version of romantic love based on Coldplay songs, but my dislike of this goes deeper than that. Damn it, this wasn’t supposed to be about the Great Healing of Stu’s Emotional Pain, which he has been expressing by playboy-ing around Sydney and throwing douchey parties on his yacht. This was supposed to be about Sophie. And now that she’s Coldplay’d Stu back together, this puts the onus on her to keep him together, and suddenly it’s all about Stu and not about Sophie.

Then he kisses her and it looks like he’s trying to eat her face or feed her like a mother bird feeds its young, and just … I wanted so much more for you, Sophie Monk.

And then it’s just … done. That’s it. Face-eating kiss. The end. And that only makes the ending feel more ominous, because if the happily ever after – something which is supposed to extend forward into time a long way, as implied by the phrase ‘ever after’ – lasts in actual screen time for about three seconds, it seems to suggest that something is not quite right here.

…but we have a whole media blitz coming up over the next few days that will let us know whether or not that’s true.

Thanks for sticking it out with me for the last fourteen weeks, Bachie-with-Jodi crew! I’ll be back with recaps of Bachelor in Paradise, whenever that airs, where maybe, MAYBE, my true dream will come true: this year’s two fan faves Apollo and Tara will meet, fall in love, and live a happily ever after that lasts at least until they can gloat about how sickeningly in love they are to the camera.

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

3 comments

  1. Ingrid McCarthy says:

    Thank you for your insights Jodie! That was in the end a very disappointing ending, as we knew it would be. The highlight was that Insta from Apollo and the best option over looked James! Bring on Bachie in Paradise

  2. Decadence says:

    I started to watch it on Freeview, but it just seemed like an overinvestment, so I read this partway through watching. At the beginning, it really looked like she was leaning heavily towards Jarrod, but then she had a point about whether or not she could make him happy. His happiness appeared to be too dependent on her. I still preferred him over Stu, though. In the ep where she meets their families, I thought he was a bit too sharp in the way he told her that she would not be meeting his kids.

    I don’t see this as being a forever thing, like the show sells it.

What do you think?