Power plays, pashing, and pouty boys — Ali, the thirstiest Bach, takes it all in stride.
We’ve passed the middle, and now we’re into the part of Bachie where shit is supposed to get real. In the Honey Badgelor’s season, it felt like we never got to this place — probably because, as we found out later, he was so emotionally unavailable. Here, with Ali, the thirstiest Bach, we have the opposite problem: the feels are flying.
It makes for much more interesting television, because we can have actual milestones in the relationships. We had one such last week, when Ali realised — with the help of her friends — that hey, Robert, who initially seemed like a lovely boy what with the bringing her his nonno’s tomato sauce and all, is a mansplaining shithead.
She didn’t eliminate him, but it was a close call. Robert obviously realised that shit was afoot, because we begin tonight’s episode in quite an unconventional way: he asks to see her in the morning.
‘So, ah, I’m a bit concerned that you think I’m a shithead,’ he says to her.
‘Fair,’ Ali replies.
‘I’m not. I promise.’
Ali looks very unconvinced.
Robert sighs. ‘It’s just … I’m at the mercy of the gods here, you know?’
‘You’re at the mercy of me,’ Ali replies.
I have never liked her more.
They have a bit more of a conversation, and he appears to placate some of her concerns, because she snogs him. But then they go back inside.
‘Yeah, I was considering leaving, but Ali just told me I’m King Shit,’ Robert announces to the rest of the bros.
‘Um, WTF?’ Ali says to camera. ‘That is total bullshit!’
What she doesn’t say, but what is clear subtext, is that Robert is trying to seize the power in the relationship. He’s trying to put himself in the position where he makes the decisions, where Ali is pursuing him, not the other way around. And she does not like it at all.
Finish him, Ali. There’s no having with any of this nonsense.
(Also, this attempt by Robert to seize the upper hand in the relationship is a very interesting object lesson for anyone watching about healthy relationships. Making points such as this would go directly into the national benefit section of any Australian Research Council funding proposal I wrote for my research into romance. But given current trends, even if I made it through all the stringent stages of peer review, it’d get vetoed by the minister for not passing some pub test based on the title.)
I really wanted Ali to eliminate Robert on the spot, but considering a) the group date is next, and b) it involves choreographed dancing, maybe she wanted to humiliate him first, which … fair enough, I respect that.
The bros are going to be filming a music video for something called The Rhythms of Love. ‘I’m going to rule at this!’ Paddy declares. ‘I’m going to be a cross between Channing Tatum and Jesus!’
I did not know Jesus was renowned for his dancing, but perhaps Paddy is a little more doctrinally versed than I am.
Also, let us take a little moment of silence for Ivan, who must be weeping into his Step Up DVDs over getting eliminated before this dancing date.
There are three discrete dance routines, so the bros are split into three groups to learn them. And … wow.
I think I’ve made it clear in these recaps that whoever plans the dates in The Bachelorette is lightyears better than whoever does it for The Bachelor. And the whole dance concept for this date — I don’t hate it! All the bros are dancing with Ali, and there is obviously a whole long history of dance and romance intersecting.
But they managed to pick three of the most horrifying themes possible for their three ‘rhythms of love’. I can only assume that this is a cry for help at this point — so call me, Bachie. I can help.
Dance 1: School –I initially thought this was a teacher/student routine, but thankfully it was just fetishising schoolgirls as sexy (which is so much better, eyeroll). Here, Ali is a schoolgirl, while Paddy, Charlie, and Robert play schoolboys who are basically sexually harassing her. Hawt.
Of note: Paddy has the leading male role in this routine, so of course Charlie gets jealous, which mystifyingly leads him to attempt to breakdance.
‘I don’t know where that came from, but I nailed it!’ Charlie tells the camera breathlessly.
Reader, he did not.
Meanwhile, Robert reads in the corner and ignores the whole thing.
Dance 2: The 1950s — Sure, the 1950s had some nice skirts, but you know what it also had? Conservatism. Bucketloads of it. And historically speaking, that has not been terribly good for women. They’re clearly going for a Grease thing here, but … the 1950s-via-the-1970s is not the same thing, you guys. And also did you miss the part where Sandy had to literally change everything about her entire personality and sew herself into her leather pants in order for her romance to succeed?
Basically, Dan, Bill, and Todd dress up like members of Danny Zuko’s T-Birds. During the dance routine, Todd looks so handsome I’m pretty sure his face was carved from marble by an angel, and Dan elbows Ali in the eye.
Dance 3: Colonialism –You guys. YOU GUYS. Did you not think through this one at all? This is eleventy kinds of problematic.
Here, Taite plays Tarzan, Ali plays Jane, and Daniel plays a colonial explorer, pith helmet and all. The dance routine is mostly an excuse for Ali to rub her hands all over Taite’s pecs, so Daniel, lacking things to do, pretends to fuck a prop crocodile.
I’m not making that up. That happened.
And also, mysteriously, his fake-crocodile-fucking ways are enough to get him the post-date Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation time with Ali.
This is how it goes:
ALI: …so you’ve never talked much in group dates.
ALI: Have you actually been here the whole time?
DANIEL: I HAVE SWEATY HANDS BUT MY SISTER’S ARE SWEATIER.
Ali gives him a rose, because she says she can tell he’s a genuine person, but it’s hard not to read it as a pity rose.
…I mean, the crocodile thing. What was up with that?
The next day, it’s time for a single date, and you guys, this made me so happy. It was Silent Todd’s turn to go out with Ali, and I was so worried that speaking would ruin him … but it didn’t.
Seriously, this boy is a delight (comparatively, anyway). Ali picks him up in a fast car, and he is delighted. Ali takes him to see a nice view, and he is delighted. Ali tells him that they’re going to see a fashion designer to design their outfits for the cocktail party that night, and he is so delighted he basically turns into the heart eyes emoji. ‘I love fashion!’ he exclaims. ‘And I love this designer!’
While the designer measures them, they both have to strip down. Silent Todd clad in nothing but underwear is a sight and a half to behold — and you can bet that Ali, the thirstiest Bach, very much enjoys beholding it.
Todd knows his fashion. Granted, everything I know about fashion I learned from watching The Bold and the Beautiful, but he talks dress design with the designer like a cherubic baby Ridge Forrester — and manages to layer in some quality compliments about how beautiful Ali is along the way.
He continues being charming when they make it to their Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation. ‘What do you look for in a girl?’ Ali asks him.
‘Someone who’d be a good mother,’ Todd replies. ‘And that’s what I see in you. That warmth.’
NB: if someone said to me that they liked me because they thought my parenting abilities were satisfactory, I would be out of there. But Ali — who tells us that she wants to be loved not because she’s pretty, but because of who she is — just about melts into a puddle on the spot. ‘You’re delightful,’ she tells him. ‘Please, take this rose.’
Ali doesn’t half-arse any of her pashing on this show, but this one gets hot and heavy pretty quick. And all I can say is … get it, girl.
Oh, and I can say that Todd is a half-decent fashion designer, because they both look very snappy when they walk into the cocktail party. ‘How was the date?’ Charlie asks Todd, having just spent like twenty minutes trashing him for being ‘placid’ and saying that that wasn’t what Ali needed. (I don’t know why he thinks that – ‘placid’ sounds like a pretty appealing quality to me, a decidedly non-placid person.)
‘It was great!’ Todd enthused, and proceeded to talk about how delightful it was while having a perfect face and hair.
This pisses Charlie right off. ‘Ali’s not doing this right!’ he explodes. ‘She needs to be narrowing down who she wants to be with! She needs to be forming proper connections, not going on dates with beautiful boys who might actually be angels sent from heaven! I’m concerned that she’s not going to find love — cough with me cough! THIS IS HER LAST CHANCE AT LOVE!’
‘This is her last chance at love on this show,’ Todd points out sensibly.
(Seriously, does Charlie know that Bachies who don’t stay with their chosen partners don’t get gruesomely executed? What did he think happened to the Honey Badger?)
Charlie snarls and stomps off. ‘Wow, Charlie is hella entitled,’ Todd tells the camera. ‘He’s behaving like a jealous boyfriend, and it’s really concerning. He doesn’t trust Ali at all.’
Todd, bless your heart and your perfect face. I was so worried, but I think I like you even more now that you talk.
You know who I do not like? Charlie. He is the worst.
He snarls and stomps all the way over to Ali. ‘YOU ARE BEING THE BACH WRONG,’ he tells her. ‘YOU SHOULD BE TAKING PEOPLE ON SECOND DATES. AND BY PEOPLE I MEAN ME. I KNOW HOW TO DO THIS BETTER THAN YOU DO, DESPITE THE FACT THIS IS YOUR THIRD BACHIE SHOW AND MY FIRST.’
‘Charlie,’ Ali says, ‘I’ve got this.’
‘BUT DO YOU REALLY?’
And it looks like it’s not just me (and, you know, the nation) who is not keen on Charlie. ‘Wow, Charlie is being kind of lecture-y and mansplainy,’ Ali says to the camera. ‘I don’t like it.’
She symbolically punishes him for his transgression by giving him the last rose at the rose ceremony, but he stays. Tonight’s eliminee is Robert: who, let’s face it, was never hanging around after that stunt he pulled earlier in the episode.
I am really here for how little Ali is here for bros lecturing her. I was not at all optimistic about this season, but Ali is a) making some very sensible choices, while being b) thirsty af. It may not be getting the ratings, but I’d take this over the Honey Badger in a heartbeat.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.