If Bill is not, in fact, a giant swarm of bees in a human suit, he is 100% the human manifestation of Tinder.
We are so close to this being over, you guys! One week to go, and we’re free of the claws of Bachie until Paradise next year!
Last week, we said good riddance to Charlie, the scarlet king of toxic masculinity, so we’re down to three guys. Let’s revise, because surely at least two of these bros are definitely going to end up in Paradise, so we’re going to need to know this in a few months’ time.
Todd: a perfect angel, sculpted from marble in the image of a Greek deity probably by a Greek deity. Often quiet (an admirable trait in a man), except when he’s speaking up for Ali when the bros are being particularly toxically masculine. If he ends up in Paradise, I definitely ship him with Brooke.
Taite: mostly made of abs. Seems to have the best chemistry with Ali, but also seems — quite reasonably — frightened at the prospect of being engaged in the next five seconds, and so seems a little emotionally closed off.
Bill: permanently rictus-smiling, took Ali to meet his dog-park-ex instead of his family for hometowns, definitely a swarm of bees in human form.
In the States (as in many other Bachie franchises), when there are three contestants left, it’s time to bone down in the fantasy suite. However, we don’t do that in Australia, so the penultimate episode is made up simply of three final dates, rather than three days, three nights, and three mornings after.
‘Todd is practically perfect in every way, but I’m just concerned that our timelines might not match up,’ Ali says, making it sound like she and Todd exist in some kind of sci-fi time-slip alternative universe reality.
But she forgets all about these metaphysical troubles when she sees Todd, standing in the sun, sunlight shining down on his perfect face, his teeth sparkling and basically making that ding! sound. It’s relatable af, because who among us would not melt at the sight of such a beautiful soft boy?
Ali picks Todd up in a horse and carriage, and he’s delighted. ‘This is our fairy tale!’ he enthuses. ‘Remember how I was your Prince Charming on the first night?’
‘Of course I do, darling boy,’ Ali says, patting his hand.
Todd gets worried that she remembers a bit too well when it gets to the actual date. Turns out it’s a fencing date (although he gets a bit confused and calls it ‘jousting’). ‘I know I wore that suit of armour, but … Ali knows I can’t really do knight things, right?’ he asks the camera anxiously.
What is wrong with me that I find this charming? Is the bar really that low this season?
Then he worries about fencing damaging the ‘meat and two veg’ and exclaims ‘no damaging the babymaker!’, which I do not find charming. Don’t ruin it, Todd.
Ali and Todd fence each other, which is symbolically … interesting, should we say. Generally speaking, I’m not into the whole battle-of-the-sexes model of heteronormative romance, because it usually means that one (mostly the man) wins, and one (mostly the woman) loses and has to give up a bunch of stuff for the winner. However, given Todd and Ali’s competing priorities — ie he has some career milestones he wants to meet, she wants to get married and have babies immediately — mean that this fencing match takes on an additional symbological dimension. The winning isn’t important: it’s the conflict.
Todd wins the match, but the victory is really just an excuse for him and Ali to pash while the sun sets behind them.
The conflict doesn’t disappear, however. It’s raised later, in one of the most stunningly designed Couches of Wine and Intimate Conversation we’ve seen yet. (Seriously, there are lanterns everywhere, and a magical looking tree, and Ali is wearing this incredible ballgown, and … slow clap, set dressers, slow clap.) ‘I know you want to settle down straight away, but I might not be able to give you that for a few years,’ Todd tells Ali. ‘I wanted to be upfront so that you know that.’
‘Thank you,’ she replies. ‘If I were 26, I wouldn’t mind, but … I’m 32. I have a biological clock, babe.’
‘I know,’ he says. ‘But … you know one thing I love about love stories from the olden times and fairy tales? They face obstacles, but they always make it through in the end. And I believe we can do that, Ali. Because I love you.’
And Ali melts. She just dissolves into a puddle — which, fair enough, considering that just looking at Todd is like staring into the sun. ‘That makes me so happy,’ she says, and they kiss for approximately one thousand hours while the music swells around them.
I have made no secret about the fact that Todd is my favourite, but for bonus points, I would like to point out that that thing about love and obstacles he said is basically straight from Denis de Rougemont’s Love in the Western World (1939), one of the ur-texts in the scholarship of love. ‘Happy love has no history. Romance only comes into existence where love is fatal, frowned upon and doomed by life itself,’ de Rougemont claims (15). It’s not a love story unless you overcome some stuff, hey Todd?
…he’s not the brightest spark, but he has good instincts, y’know?
If we’re talking about instincts, it’s clear that this is where Ali’s are leading her. All she wants to do is make out with Taite all day long, and then all night long, and then all day, and then all night, etc etc, until the end of time.
But she’s cautious. ‘I have intense chemistry with Taite, but I just don’t know how he feels about me,’ she says. ‘I don’t want to be that needy girl, but I want to know.’
I’d like to point out how much better The Bachelorette is in Australia than The Bachelor at constructing love stories. In all of these final three stories, we have such clear narratives — something we totally lacked in the Honey Badgelor’s season.
I’d also like to point out how pernicious it is that the word ‘needy’ has negative connotations in the romantic sphere. It’s okay to have needs, and to want your partner to fulfil them.
One thing I love about this season is that a) Ali (well, ‘Ali’) has found a way to wear yoga pants as often as possible, and b) whenever Ali (well, ‘Ali’) is even slightly pissed off with one of the bros, she makes them do intense physical exercise. This is an obstacle course date, and it looks hardcore. Nominally, it’s about demonstrating how well Taite and Ali can cooperate to overcome obstacles, but realistically, it’s about her being annoyed and wanting his muscles to burn.
Also realistically, it’s about Taite and Ali making out. Seriously, they stop like every five seconds to get their mack on, and it’s a lot.
The making out continues into their Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation, which takes place in a Jacuzzi, ie the sexiest setting allowed in this relatively chaste Australian franchise. ‘So,’ Ali whispers against Taite’s lips after they’ve been kissing for approximately one thousand hours, ‘how do you feel about me? Could you see a future with me?’
Taite withdraws. ‘I… uh…’
What happens next is a display of pure emotion, but I can’t tell if it’s Ali’s or a producer’s, or a combination between the two. ‘Just say it!’ Ali says, throwing her head back and groaning.
‘It’s just hard with two other guys here,’ Taite mumbles. ‘I’m, like, on the edge of falling in love with you, I really am, but…’
‘Ugh, it’s like Charlie mk II,’ Ali moans to the camera. ‘It’s The Bachelorette! He knows what he signed up for!’
I’m not sure she’s quite right, though. They’re related, but they’re not quite the same thing. Charlie was red-flags-for-days dangerous, because his withholding of emotion was related to intense control and needing to have power over Ali. Taite might just be … well, a little bit of a fuckboi.
…although a fuckboi would probably just lie, given the circumstance, so maybe I’m not giving Taite enough credit.
‘On the one hand, Bill and I are really good on paper,’ Ali tells us. ‘On the other, he’s a swarm of bees in a human suit.’
Okay, fine, she doesn’t literally say that he’s a swarm of bees in a human suit, but the sentiment remains the same.
Also this ‘Bill is a swarm of bees in a human suit’ thing started as a joke, but I’m lowkey convinced that it’s actually true. If climate change kills off all the bees, Bill might be the key to saving humanity.
In addition, I would like to note that Ali expresses her emotions re Bill while kicking the absolute shit out of a punching bag, and I hope the person who edited this footage and that voiceover together wins a Logie.
Ali picks up Bill in a limo. He’s enthused, probably because he’s heard that normal human people are enthused by epic transpo, and they drink champagne. ‘Hey, how good did my hometown go?’ he says. ‘You fit in so well with my friends!’
‘Sure, I, uh, loved going to the house of the dad of that random girl from the dog park you hooked up with,’ Ali says. ‘Nothing in my life ever made me happier.’
Bill happily swills champers, oblivious to the fact that anything is wrong. Ali seriously considers barrel-rolling out of the car.
Either their actual date was edited out entirely — possibly because it revealed Bill’s true apian origins, and they didn’t want to alarm the public — or Bachie made that classic error of confusing epic transpo with a date, because their next stop is a Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation.
‘Okay, Bill, I need to ask you something,’ Ali says. ‘Your hometown: what was the deal?’
‘It was great!’ Bill says.
‘No, it wasn’t,’ Ali says. ‘What was up with Amy? The girl you dated?’
‘Oh, we didn’t date,’ Bill says blithely. ‘I mean, I’ve been with her, but we’ve never been boyfriend/girlfriend. So what’s playing on your mind?’
…if Bill is not, in fact, a giant swarm of bees in a human suit, he is 100% the human manifestation of Tinder.
‘This! This is playing on my mind!’
‘It’s, like, not even a thing. We never even dated! BTW, did I mention that I’m totally falling in love with you?’
Bill grins his rictus grin at Ali — but for perhaps the first time, she notices that bees are crawling out of his mouth.
‘For the first time, I’m absolutely sure of who I want to send home,’ Ali tells the camera, and we all thank the show for not insulting our intelligence and pretending it was remotely close.
Bill shows more emotion on his elimination than he has at any other point in the series — and it’s still not very much. Basically, he licks his lips a few times, and that’s it.
‘Is there any specific reason, or…?’ he asks Ali, as she’s farewelling him and packing him into the limo.
OH MY FUCKING GOD, BILL. How can you be this dense?
Tomorrow: it’s down to the final two, perfect baby angel Todd and potential fuckboi Taite! And finally, after fourteen weeks aboard this recap train, your girl Dr Jodes can finally rest.
(Also please remember that if you like these recaps — I write books! And you should read them! Please and thank you!)
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.