RECAP: The Bachelorette Australia – S4 E03

RECAP: The Bachelorette Australia – S4 E03
Dr Jodes presents: The Bachelorette Australia Season 4
Background photo via Canva

Ali is one hundred percent making all her decisions based entirely on thirst, and we’re here for it.

We’re well into the swing of things now! Welcome back to another week of Bachie-with-Jodi, as Ali comes to grips with exactly who it is she has in her harem of men.

…shitheads. So many shitheads. That’s who she has.

I don’t want to make big claims here, but … could Ali’s posse of bros be even worse than the ones they foisted on national treasure Sophie Monk? I mean, at least Sophie got Apollo.

This said, we begin with a bro who does not appear to be an active shithead, so maybe they’re not all bad. Tonight’s single date recipient is Robert, aka the dude that Ali pulled aside and made out with at the last cocktail party. Ali is one hundred percent making all her decisions based entirely on thirst, and I’m here for it.

(You know whose decisions are more in question? Bill’s. He, as we should remember, has the wild rose, which means he can steal whichever single date he likes, and he’s let both Charlie and Robert’s dates — aka the current frontrunners — go through to the keeper. What up?)

Ali meets Robert at the harbour. ‘Do you like extreme things?’ she asks him.

Despite the fact that this is a very vague question, Robert agrees that he does indeed like extreme things, and they go on a very fast boat ride through Sydney Harbour, while shouting WOOOO a lot.

It’s not terribly compelling television, and I’d half written the sentence OMG BACHIE EPIC TRANSPORTATION IS NOT THE SAME THING AS A DATE, but then I was pleasantly surprised, because they get to a date destination! It’s Cockatoo Island, where a bunch of large sheets of paper have been set up. ‘I thought we could write all the reasons our past relationships have failed on these, and then smash through them!’ Ali says.

Firstly, in terms of visualisation, this isn’t bad. Ali and Robert write down things like ‘falling in love too fast’, ‘naïve’, and ‘being manipulated,’ and then symbolically destroy them by smashing through them in a dune buggy. Cautious well done on this one, Bachie producers (although don’t ask me why a dune buggy was involved).

Secondly, this is a perfect illustration of what Francesca Cancian (1987) argues when she says that in the twentieth century, love and self-development came to be viewed as mutually reinforcing. This idea arose as a counter-discourse to the notion that women were being selfish by doing things like going to work instead of focusing on their families and communities (ie focusing on their self-development at the expense of romantic love). But if love and self-development are mutually reinforcing, then by working on yourself, you become better at love. The language of self-help becomes common in the romantic sphere: and you need to be actualised yourself before you can be good at love.

…so yeah, in case you were wondering, that’s the discursive underpinning of what is a date largely based on butchers paper.

Ali is super into actualising with Robert, and they’re making out well before they get to their Wine and Intimate Conversation. When we get there, they barely have two seconds for Ali to point out that she’s made a relish with the tomato sauce that Robert gave her on the first night and for him to eat a bite, before it is ON, pashes galore.

Ali is by far the horniest Bach we’ve ever had, male or female, and I’m into it. Get it, girl.

Next up, it’s a group date, where they’ve abandoned any notion that this is about romance. It’s a gladiator date, and there is absolutely zero that is romantic about slaves getting ripped apart by lions. (Although if toxic masculinity Paddy got ripped apart by lions … I might be willing to re-evaluate.)

However, what a gladiator date does mean is that basically all the bros have their pecs out, so well done tailoring this date to the interests of Ali Oetjen, Queen of Thirst, Team Bachie.

There are three stages to this date. (Well, ‘date’ — can you really call a tournament a date?)

  1. A chariot. The bros are divided into three teams. Each team has to pull Ali around on a chariot while she holds a chalice of water. The team who causes Ali to spill the most water loses. Not going to lie — this challenge might not technically be romantic, but I can definitely understand the appeal of having a bunch of shirtless dudes pull me around on a chariot while I decide their fate either by putting my thumb up or down.
  2. A tug o’ war. I’m not one hundred percent clear on how this works, because it’s simultaneously a group challenge and an individual challenge. The goal is to defeat the other team, but also individually grab a flag for yourself, guaranteeing you can move onto the next stage. The most notable thing that happens is that Charlie and Bill, while nominally on the same team, spend the whole time competing pettily. Bill eventually nabs the last flag, much to Charlie’s chagrin. I half expected Charlie to insist on finishing the challenge like Jarrod did in that tyre-changing challenge last year (Charlie is SUCH a Jarrod), but instead, he just flung himself sulkily on the ground.
  3. A choice. They’d really run out of ideas by this point. All that happened here was that Osher got Ali to pick someone to spend some alone time with out of all the dudes that grabbed the flags.

Ali picks Ivan, but once they get to their Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation, she quickly realises that she’s made a horrible mistake. ‘My dream is to be in a Step Up movie, or a Magic Mike movie!’ Ivan tells her.

‘…okay,’ quoth Ali.

‘I want five kids!’

‘OMG, five?!’

‘In five years.’

Ali pointedly crosses her legs.

‘There’s a new dance show filming in Atlanta — would you come with me?’ Ivan asks, oblivious.

If the prospect of spending five years pregnant wasn’t enough, this tips Ali over the edge. ‘I’VE ALREADY MOVED TO THE US FOR ONE BRO THIS YEAR,’ she exclaims to camera. ‘THERE IS NOTHING THERE WITH IVAN. NOTHING!!!’

…he’s not winning. Put it that way.

That doesn’t stop him pulling out all the stops at the cocktail party, though. He’s planned a whole pop-and-lock dance routine, which Ali seems to love (although can any dance routine compensate for the blithe assertion that ‘oh yeah, you will totally bear me five children in five years, and also parent them while I’m off being on a dance show, no big’? I think not).

But that’s not the real drama. The real drama comes from … (drumroll) … SCHEDULING.

The drama is this: Ali took Taite away for a chat at the cocktail party, and Taite was supposed to bring her back to the appointed place when they were done for the aforementioned pop-and-lock. But before he could, Bill jumped in and stole Ali away, which meant that Ivan’s dance routine is sliiiiiiiightly delayed.

According to Charlie, this is the worst slight that anyone has ever visited on anyone, ever. ‘It’s my opinion — and my opinion is right! — that you’ve disrespected all of us,’ he declares to Bill. ‘It’s clear that you’re only here for yourself.’

You know how there’s that stereotype that men are rational and women are emotional? No one who has ever watched the way men behave on The Bachelorette could ever possibly believe that.

Neither Bill nor Charlie are in any danger at the rose ceremony, though — and neither is Ivan, who gets his rose surprisingly early. Tonight’s victims are Wes and Damien, most notable for a manbun and trying to give toxic masculinity Paddy some real talk about respecting women on the first night respectively.

Tomorrow: the shitheadery continues! The advertising made it look like Ali was going to throw down with Nathan about him trash-talking her tonight, but I guess it’ll be tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Oh, and it looks like Charlie is the one who tells her what Nathan is doing, so … yep. He’s gone full Jarrod. Hold on to your potplants.

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 Lecturer in Writing and Literature at Deakin University. 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 series about smart girls and murder fairies is published by Penguin Teen Australia. One time, the first book, Valentine, was featured on Neighbours, and she nearly fainted with joy.

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