RECAP: The Bachelorette Australia – S5 E11

RECAP: The Bachelorette Australia – S5 E11
Dr Jodes recaps: The Bachelorette S5
Background photo via Canva

In which the ultimate sin might actually be punished?!

It’s our penultimate episode, party people! One more week, and then finally I can hang up my pen – at least until all these people meet again in Paradise and spend weeks and weeks getting drunk on a beach.

Paradise is all about personalities meeting and clashing and hopefully falling in love. Given that this show is now as much a pathway to Paradise as it is to potential true love with the Bach, I want to spend a little time nerdling about personality, and why it’s so important in a romance narrative.

In Angie’s final three, we have one huge personality in Timm. Whether we can actually find the words to quantify this personality – beyond ‘munted philosopher king’, anyway – is another matter, but it’s clear that he has one. Timm has a perspective on events and a way of seeing the world which he is not shy about communicating to Angie or to us, which is why he’s been such a good narrator this season.

Then we have our other two lads, Carlin and Ryan, who are not what we would describe as overflowing with personality.

I’ll start with Carlin, because he’s the least bad offender of the two in this regard. Carlin doesn’t have a lot of distinguishing features, personality-wise. He seems nice. He has kind eyes. He is very handsome, and he likes the gym, and maybe he slightly problematically wants an acting career. His handsomeness lets him get away with a lot – he has oodles of what we might describe as ‘hot privilege’ – but beyond that, there’s not much we can really say about Carlin.

Actually, maybe that’s a tiny bit unfair. We have some idea of how he might react in certain situations: eg. he stood up to Jess when he was being a gross disgusting shit and drew it to Angie’s attention; he stood up (physically) to Jamie when Jamie was spreading shit about him; and when Angie confronted him about his acting career, he stood up for himself, albeit in a slightly ‘well, you might also be in it for fame!’ way. Carlin clearly has a spine hidden behind the veneer of extreme handsomeness – but much of a personality…?

However, we know enough about Carlin to position him as an archetype. Interestingly enough, for someone who has vehemently denied wanting to be the next Bachie, it’s one that male Bachies often embody: nice, handsome, with obvious desirable characteristics and enough of a spine not to fall apart, and not so interesting that they overwhelm the contestants (cf. all Bachies named Matt). While I don’t think Carlin will be the next Bachie, he has that cipher quality that sometimes you want in one. We’re able to parse and understand Carlin as a certain kind of character in a romance narrative. He’s been a frontrunner this whole time because we all – and Angie too! – immediately understood him as ‘leading man’.

And then we come to Ryan. This is a tricky one, and a fascinating failure of characterisation, because we don’t even know enough about Ryan to understand him as a type, let alone a person.

Surely Ryan has a personality. Surely, under all those dog tattoos, he has some defining characteristics. But let me list you all the things we know about Ryan as a person, as told to us by this show:

  1. Likes dogs
  2. Sweaty hands
  3. Pees in the shower

That’s it.

Part of me has to think this is deliberate, because Ryan has been the locus of drama this whole time. All the other dudes have been down on him and talking shit about him, but the whole lie over the Ali situation aside, it’s never been 100% clear why. These are situations in which his personality should be coming through, but it’s like he’s a vacuum for it.

And I have to wonder: is this because they want to establish him as an epic romantic contender for Angie’s heart? Have they edited around the bad stuff to give us a chance to believe in him as a romantic hero? Because if so, it did not work as planned. You can’t invest in someone you can’t get any kind of handle on.

But let us muse on this no longer in isolation. To the recap!

We’re at the final three, so each bro gets a date alone with Angie. In the US/most other countries, this is the moment where sex enters the narrative as they all go on ‘fantasy suite’ dates. In Australia, however, sex hasn’t been invented or something, so these are just ‘fantasy’ dates.

Timm’s date

It’s snuck up on me, but I think I genuinely ship Angie and Timm, you guys. This date is genuinely so sweet.

This date starts with Angie presenting Timm with a sunflower. ‘Because I gave you a whole bunch of them!’ he exclaims, delighted, and his delight delights her, and if that mutual delight isn’t what you want out of love, I don’t know what is.

Their whole date is sunflower-themed (albeit loosely). They go for a ride on a sunflower-yellow trike, but it’s so short that I barely got a chance to yell EPIC TRANSPO IS NOT A DATE before they arrived at their destination. It’s a park where a big canvas has been set up, and Angie tells Timm that they’re going to be painting sunflowers with their hands.

And look: there’s not much I can say about this that’s interesting in print. They piss around and smear each other with paint. You know the drill when some lovers and some paint are involved. But they just seem to enjoy each other’s company so much, and it’s so sweet.

‘I’m frothing her,’ Timm replies, when asked in a vox pop how he’s feeling about Angie. ‘It’s loose. It’s hectic.’

Even if Angie doesn’t want Timm, he’s a gift to me, because I absolutely want to write a paper on his language of love.

Their Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation is quite revealing – and very lovely to be honest. ‘Look, Timm, I knew when I met you that you were a turd,’ Angie says (like, she literally uses the word ‘turd’, bless her). ‘I thought you were going to be one of those characters, you know? But then you make me laugh so much. I have three really great guys left, and you’re the biggest gamble – but you’re also the one I’m most drawn to.’

‘Angie, when I think about sacrificing for someone, and making decisions for two, I just think about you,’ Timm says. ‘I know I’m a loose cannon. I might always be a loose cannon. But I’m falling for you. Take the gamble.’

I agree, Angie. TAKE THE GAMBLE. At least you won’t be bored.

Ryan’s date

Speaking of bored…

I’m honestly not sure to what extent this is Ryan’s fault and to what extent it’s the edit, but whenever he appears on screen I just start hearing, like, white noise and sad trombones in my brain. I’m not unconvinced that he is in fact a cardboard cutout animated by an evil magician.

They go on a whale-watching date on a boat. This is despite the fact that Angie gets desperately sea-sick, and by her own admission wants to vom every four minutes.

HIRE ME BACHIE I PROMISE I CAN PLAN YOU DATES THAT WON’T MAKE YOUR BACHIE WANT TO LITERALLY VOMIT.

Anyway, Ryan and Angie see one whale in the distance, and they’re very excited… but then it never appears again. If that isn’t a metaphor for their whole underwhelming romance I don’t know what is. I guess they seem some dolphins, though, so… um, there’s that? IDK.

Their Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation is equally dull. ‘I’m falling in love with you,’ Ryan says.

‘It feels like destiny that you’re here,’ Angie replies. ‘We just make sense as a couple.’

I don’t know. If you spent a year sliding into each other’s DMs and couldn’t be fucked to make anything happen, I’m not sure you make that much sense as a couple.

Carlin’s date

While Carlin is, as discussed above, also not terribly interesting, this is the most fraught of the three dates. ‘I just want to get to the bottom of Carlin’s acting career,’ Angie says. ‘Why couldn’t he share his passions with me?’

She picks him up in some kind of – I don’t know, ute? I know nothing about cars – and he tries to explain. ‘I just feel like modelling and acting are dirty words,’ he says. ‘I thought that maybe you’d think I wasn’t here for the right reasons if I told you.’

Full disclosure: I tuned out some of this conversation. There was a guy wandering around in the rearview mirror of their car who looked very sketchy, and I was worried that their date might suddenly turn into, like, Wolf Creek.

The potential serial killer doesn’t emerge, though, and they end up curling up on their Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation in the bed of their… ute thing.

Carlin elaborates on the acting thing. ‘Look, I haven’t done anything since 2016,’ he says. ‘A few commercials to make money, but that’s it.’

‘I don’t take you for a liar,’ Angie says. ‘And you’d have to be a great actor to be lying to me now.’

‘I can tell you now I’m not,’ Carlin says. ‘I’m pretty shit.’

‘I figured,’ Angie says. ‘Otherwise you’d be in America.’

I love this corner she’s backed him into, honestly. If he did come on here wanting to be an actor, he’s now been forced to admit loudly that he’s bad at it. What a great flex, Angie. I love you.

You know who else loves Angie? Carlin. ‘I’m falling in love with you,’ he tells Angie.

‘We met, we liked each other, we had a fight, we kind of broke up, and now we’re back together,’ Angie tells the camera, after they’ve smooched mightily. ‘If Carlin and I end up together, it’ll be like I’m the heroine of my own romantic comedy.’

What is this? A heroine that understands the beats of a romance narrative? I have no choice but to stan.

The decision

I was genuinely bemused going into this rose ceremony. I’ve been fairly sure all along that Ryan is the winner, despite the fact that he is potentially the most boring person in the history of the universe, but as to who of Timm or Carlin would be the first victim? No clue.

Carlin (much to my surprise, TBH, but not necessarily chagrin) gets the first rose. And then Angie promptly bursts into tears and has to leave the room before she can give out the second rose. ‘This is hectic,’ Timm groans. ‘I feel sick.’

Given the edit, I was fairly convinced that our beloved munted philosopher king was getting the chop, but would you believe it? When Angie comes back in, who does she cut?

BORING RYAN.

I was so excited I literally shrieked, guys. Normally, I love being right, but the thought of Angie being trapped with this dull man for years made me so sad. I was thrilled that she cut him.

Angie, however, was deeply cut up, and wept and wept and wept and motherfucking wept through their goodbye. And the weeping did not stop! ‘That was the wrong decision,’ she moans to her producer. ‘Why did I do that?’

…I’m not convinced we’re out of the woods, pals. This might be a situation like the one which occurred in American Bachelor this year, where Bachelor Colton Underwood pursued – and ultimately ended up winning the heart of, inasmuch as they’re still dating – his third-place getter Cassie Randolph, after ditching both of his top two.

If that’s what happens, I’ll be pissed – and not least because Carlin and Timm are both considerably better choices than Ryan. Can you imagine having a whole pool of eliminated contestants to go after and choosing Ryan instead of our sweet prince Ciarran, boyfriend of the internet?

End-of-recap reminder, although I know you know this by now: go read my books. All details on my website: http://jodimcalister.com.au/

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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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