RECAP: The Bachelorette Australia – S4 E05

RECAP: The Bachelorette Australia – S4 E05
Dr Jodes presents: The Bachelorette Australia Season 4
Background photo via Canva

I don’t know about you, but, ‘Cook for me, boys, while I drink wine and then emotionally destroy (at least) one of you’ is what I would refer to as ‘the dream’.

It’s that time of the week again! We’re well into this season of The Bachelorette now, and tonight they’re pulling out something we haven’t seen at all this year: the two-on-one date.

This, for those of you uninitiated into this Bachie ritual, is the most fearsome of all the dates. Two men enter. One man leaves. It’s dating, Thunderdome-style.

The contenders entering the Thunderdome tonight are not nemeses, as contenders in Thunderdome dates often are, but they represent two different kinds of romantic option. First, there’s Ivan, who seems sweet but not too bright, and who (frighteningly) wants Ali to bear him five children in five years. And then there’s Bill, who Ali liked a lot initially (she gave him the wild rose, after all), but she’s definitely wising up to the fact that he might be a bit disingenuous, or possibly a swarm of wild bees wearing a flesh suit.

…if both those options make you want to scream GIRL, RUN!, know that I am screaming it with you.

But back to the form of this date. There are obvious reasons as to why the Thunderdome is so dramatic: the stakes are high, two bros are in direct competition, etc etc. But in the context of romance, there are some other reasons as well, rooted in that trope we all know and have a love/hate relationship with: the love triangle.

A lot of theorists of the love triangle agree that the apex — ie the one that is the locus of all the desire, and the one that is torn between two options — is kind of the least interesting part of the whole affair. The most interesting relationship is the one between the rivals. ‘The bond that links the two rivals is as intense and potent as the bond that links either of the rivals to the beloved … the bonds of ‘rivalry’ and ‘love,’ differently as they are experienced, are equally powerful and in many senses equivalent,’ Eve Sedgwick writes (1985, 21).

I think we can apply this to the whole house of bros, to tell the truth. Is there anyone out there who would argue that their relationships with each other — fraught, acrimonious, passionate — are not more intense than their relationships with Ali?

Oh, and one last thing before I actually dive into the recap proper: I’m regularly critical of the way Bachie sets up its dates, but this one is GREAT. We open on Ali sitting at a bar, wearing a fabulous cocktail dress, sipping wine, and thinking pensively about her love life (goals). And then the date itself is a cooking challenge: Bill has to make her dinner, and Ivan has to make her dessert.

I don’t know about you, but, ‘Cook for me, boys, while I drink wine and then emotionally destroy (at least) one of you’ is what I would refer to as ‘the dream’.

While Bill is cooking, Ali chats with Ivan. ‘So … this dancing career of yours,’ she says delicately. ‘I’m not exactly in the market for a travelling dancing boyfriend. I want to get married and have babies.’

‘Oh, me, too!’ he says. ‘This would only be a few months. But it’s my dream! My life! My everything!’

‘Um, okay!’

‘I WANT TO DANCE FOR YOU, ALI,’ he says, grabbing her hand very earnestly.

Look, there’s a version of this I’d be into. A sweet, not-too-bright guy who just wants to dance for you? I’ve read If Channing Tatum Were Your Boyfriend. I could be into that. But something about Ivan is just … no.

(Spoilers: by ‘something’, I mean that whole ‘YOU WILL BEAR ME FIVE CHILDREN IN FIVE YEARS’ bombshell he dropped last week.)

And also, when he went into the kitchen, he put two whole avocados — skin and all! — into a blender in an attempt to make mousse, and look, I’m a millennial. I can’t stand by while someone does that to innocent avocados. Why not just put a house in a blender and destroy it?

While Ivan is murdering avocados, Bill is saying a lot of words to Ali that mean functionally nothing. ‘I’m here for the right reasons,’ he tells her. ‘I want marriage. I want kids. I want you. I don’t know why anyone could ever have made you think that I want anything else. I feel our connection is good, and strong, and I could see myself falling in love with you.’

Despite the fact that he could explode into a swarm of bees at any moment, Ali is buying what Bill’s selling. ‘I’m sorry,’ she tells Ivan, when the three of them are back together, picking at his revolting avocado mousse. ‘I just don’t think I could see a future with you.’

Ivan is distraught. He tears up, exclaims ‘I WANTED TO DANCE FOR YOU!’ and storms off in a huff.

I was kind of hoping that Ali would pull a Georgia Love and eliminate Bill, too, but no such luck. ‘I’ve made the decision to trust you,’ she tells him, arms around his neck, after giving him a rose.

‘I won’t let you down,’ he replies, as bees fly out of his ears.

(Okay, fine, they don’t. But they might have, if the camera hadn’t cut away so fast.)

It’s always interesting looking at who wins in a love triangle, and what they represent. Ivan was honest — too honest, perhaps — and it got him eliminated. Bill is clearly running some lines, but it worked, because he said the things Ali wanted to hear — and the possibility that they were true was enough.

And then there’s the fact that she had zero physical chemistry with Ivan, and was pashing Bill on the first night. Ali is Australia’s thirstiest Bach, and she has a reputation to keep up.

Next up is a group date. One thing that was blessedly lacking during the Honey Badger’s season was the patented parenting date, but I should have known better than to assume that the franchise had dropped it altogether.

This isn’t the grossest version of the parenting date I’ve ever seen. There’s no carrying around fake babies or changing fake nappies or anything like that. Instead, each of the six bros is teamed up with a little kid, and together they have to fix a broken bike. But still … no, thank you, Bachie. No, thank you.

The winner of this is Charlie, who is quite sweet with the little girl he’s teamed up with (although he remains a terrifying reincarnation of Jarrod in every other aspect of his being). This means he scores some time with Ali on a Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation, although there is very little wine and less intimate conversation. I’ve barely had time to notice that Charlie is wearing a lilac blazer before he and Ali are snogging each other’s faces off.

Oh, and he gets a rose and goes home and is very smug to all the other bros about it.

Because Charlie has a rose, he feels like he’s on an even playing field with Bill, and they spend the first part of the cocktail party being quite jovial with each other and slapping each other on the back while saying OHOHO and doing all those things that bros do. ‘OMG, Bill and Charlie are totally fine with each other now!’ all the dudes exclaim.

They seem to be saying this without irony, which is pretty amazing. Have you never heard of passive aggression, lads?

The truce lasts 0.46847329487293 seconds. When Bill and Ali grab a bit of quiet time at the cocktail party, Charlie builds himself up in a classic Jarrod-y fume. ‘BILL IS A LIAR AND A MANIPULATOR,’ he proclaims to anyone who will listen. ‘I JUST WANT TO PROTECT AND SAVE ALI, BECAUSE HE’S A BAD GUY! A BAD GUY!!!!1!’

…what do you think would happen if Charlie and Jarrod were in Paradise together? Would they be best friends or would they instinctively hate each other?

Maybe time will tell.

Someone I would not be surprised at all to see in Paradise is tonight’s eliminee, Jules. He seemed to realise very early on that he wasn’t going to win, and so really focused in on an area in which he could shine: having the most giffable facial expressions. I’m not sure he’d excel in Paradise, but he’d certainly make for one or two interesting episodes, while Charlie and Jarrod were either bonding or feuding over who pissed in whose pot-plant.

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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