The men are still monsters, Dr Jodes is still jetlagged, and we have an episode in which ‘aggressively unintresting’ might actually be considered a compliment.
It’s me again! Let’s not mess around, because I’m still very jetlagged and I don’t have that kind of energy. Full disclosure: I slept through this episode when it aired, and wrote this recap at 3am in a partially conscious state, so it might not be my most coherent work ever.
Brief recap: Bill is a monster. But we all already knew that already.
(Also, a lot of this recap is me calling the men monsters. Do not write this off on my jetlag. I mean every word of it.)
So last night, Flo spilled the beans to Australian lady Alex re Bill trying to bone her on their date. When Alex confronted Bill about it, he told her that Flo was a ‘fucking salty bitch’ and a ‘conniving piece of shit’.
What does he do the next morning? Gaslighting! ‘I never propositioned you on our date, and you know it — it’s bullshit!’ Bill declares to Florence, in front of Alex. ‘You’re being malicious and selfish!’
Question: how, exactly, does Bill think this is going to go? He’s on camera! All of this is recorded! Is he that incapable of seeing into the future that he thinks this is all somehow going to turn out okay for him in the long run?
Florence, understandably, is extremely upset over this. Australian lady Alex doesn’t know what to think — until Zoe pulls her aside. ‘Babe, you know Bill organised for Flo to get that rose last night, hey?’ she says. ‘It was a ploy to keep her in here so he could keep it going on with both of you.’
‘No no no, we kept her in here because we felt bad!’ Nathan — on behalf of Bill, because every monster has his monstrous sentinels — protests.
But the damage is done. ‘They’re all fucking liars,’ Australian lady Alex declares.
FINALLY EVERYONE IS STARTING TO REALISE THAT THIS ISLAND IS FULL OF MONSTERS.
Goddamn human-shaped swarm of bees Bill, though, is doing his best to work his sociopathic magic to make everyone believe his story. ‘Um, why would I want to pursue something with Florence?’ he says. ‘With a person like that? Gross.’
He reiterates this to Australian lady Alex. ‘I told Flo on our date about me and you,’ he tells her. ‘She knew I had someone back in Paradise.’
Snap cut to a flashback of Bill and Florence on their date, where he explicitly tells her that he has no one back in Paradise.
Then — and oh, fuck this — Zoe arrives with a date card for Bill and Alex, so they can get out of Paradise and sort out their shit.
I understand production wanting to create drama. I do. I understand how narrative works. But Bill is — and I’m not being hyperbolic here — AN ACTUAL MONSTER. You can’t be encouraging that kind of thing, not even a little bit. You can’t be inscribing him in a romantic narrative at all. The only thing to do is boot him out.
You know what might have been good? If they’d whisked Alex and Bill off, made them watch the footage of Bill and Flo’s date, and made Bill account for it. That, I would have accepted. Actually expose Bill as the pathological liar he is — and get your primetime television drama at the same time. Everybody wins, except the sociopath.
That’s not what they do, though. They sit on a beach, and Bill lies and lies and lies, and is all, ‘I can definitely see myself falling in love with you,’ and it fucking works on Alex, and OMG lady HE IS A LYING LIAR WHO LIES OF COURSE HE IS LYING ABOUT THIS TOO.
Then he says he wants to take her to the dog park, which just feels rude, honestly.
‘My guard is up,’ Alex says, but they kiss, and they’re back on, and uggggggghhhhhhhhh GIRL RUN.
Back on the island, there’s more benign drama going on. Cass and Richie have been a thing since the beginning of Paradise, but she’s bemoaning the fact that they haven’t kissed yet.
This is clear setup for some dramatic intervention. Enter:
Caroline (Arie’s season): Caroline is from the American franchise. She was lucky enough to get sent home early by nightmare Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr, and then left early in the most recent American Paradise as well, failing to attract the attention of Venmo John.
The resident Americans Connor and Alex already know Caroline, leading to possibly the first invocation of ‘Bachelor Nation’ in the Australian franchise. Caroline’s eyes immediately go to American man Alex (understandable, as he has eight hundred abs), but she’s decided she’s here for a ‘hot Aussie man’.
…good luck, babe. All we have here are the monsters.
(Related note: when I was in the US at PCA Romance last week, a group of us were talking about what makes quintessential American-ness, British-ness, etc. I asked what made quintessential Australian-ness, and the answer I got was ‘Tim-Tams and misogyny’, which…accurate, if this season of Paradise is anything to go by.)
The one that immediately catches her eye is Richie…which, fair enough, considering that while he’s not great, he doesn’t appear to be an actual sociopath. He wins her over with a story about how he once shat on himself, which should really tell you something about how low the bar is for men is here.
Caroline asks him on a date. ‘Yeah, nah, tricky one,’ he says, thinking of Cass, but then… ‘yeah, all right.’
This is one of the LEAST bad men in Paradise. Just saying.
(Also, sidenote: is Richie in some kind of competition with potplant Jarrod re sunburn? Because he is burned af. Use your sunscreen, kids.)
Richie and Caroline go paddling round on a boat. He has to explain the colloquialism ‘dodgy’ to her, and then uses the word ‘extemporaneous’ incorrectly. They frolic about in the surf. It’s aggressively uninteresting, much like Richie himself.
Then they go and chat on the Paradise version of the Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation, and Caroline is like, ‘I could literally talk to him forever!’ despite the fact that she just said a minute earlier that she can barely understand what he’s saying.
When Richie and Caroline get back, Cass is pisssssssed. She promptly pulls him away for a chat, and… ‘Oh well, there are other guys here,’ Caroline says, looking after them. ‘Girl’s gotta eat.’
Other drama is brewing elsewhere. Tenille is vaguely interested in Ivan, but Ivan is superrrrrrrrrrr into Tenille, and is following her around like a nervous puppy (if puppies were creepy instead of cute). Understandably, Tenille is finding this pretty overwhelming.
Add to this cocktail the fact that Jules is lowkey a little bit into Tenille, despite the fact that he and Alisha are probably the most established couple in Paradise, and we’ve got some problems. ‘Are you into me?’ Alisha asks him, point-blank.
‘Yes,’ Jules says. ‘But I’ve got some things in myself that I need to sort out, because I’m an idiot.’
At least he knows it. That’s something, I guess. #lowbar
Nathan also appears to be a bit interested in Tenille, much to the chagrin of Ivan, who then proceeds to talk about it non-stop for about nine hundred dull hours after Nathan and Tenille run off to have a chat. It only gets worse when Tenille starts chatting with American man Alex and his seven million abs, which Ivan says makes him ‘furious’.
American man Alex says that Ivan lacks ‘social awareness when it comes to dating’. ‘Ivan’s really not creepy — he’s anxious,’ Zoe protests, but…yeah, not from where I’m sitting.
How is every man here so terrible?! Surely, statistically, there needs to be at least one or two that aren’t actively sentient heaps of flaming garbage?!
American man Alex does note that Ivan is getting a little bit ‘scary’ and tries to talk him down, which is both more awareness than any of the other trash bros have shown, and more direct action to address the problem. I think he might be the best man there?
#lowbar #lowbar #lowbar
The wisdoms of American man Alex fall on unlistening ears, though, as Ivan leaves their conversation and immediately walks, uninvited and without knocking, into Tenille’s room. She’s in the bathroom, so when she comes out to find Ivan sitting on her bed, she screams — as she well might — in fright.
‘Any way I say it it’s going to sound bad, like he crept into my room,’ Tenille tells the camera.
‘Well, he did,’ the producer replies, which is…weirdly sensible.
Tenille, very gently, tries to tell Ivan that while she likes him, she’s open to seeing what’s out there with other people. Ivan promptly decides that he’s going to ‘fight for her’ and ‘protect their connection’.
Protip: this militaristic, martial language is a big red flag. Like, it’s a red flag, and then some more red flags. It’s as many red flags as might be behind a Liberal* party prime minister at a press conference.
*Kat’s note: The Liberal party in Australia is a conservative political party.
One of Tenille’s other options is, of course, Jules, who is having a crisis about his Tenille feels and his commitment to Alisha. ‘Jules, once again: do you even like me?’ Alisha demands.
‘…I just don’t know if I’m ready,’ Jules says.
Alisha, sensibly, walks away. ‘I’m so over this,’ she says, and starts contemplating whether she wants to leave Paradise.
Tenille walks up, and Jules takes the opportunity to shoot his shot. ‘I’m drawn to you on a fundamental level,’ he tells her. ‘There’s something in me that says that I’d be willing to commit to you without knowing you. But…I don’t want to hurt Ivan.’
UM MY DUDE WHAT ABOUT ALISHA?!
…also, poor Tenille. This poor woman has had A Day.
But she’s lowkey a bit into Jules, it seems? ‘I want to get to know you,’ she tells him. ‘Don’t worry about Ivan.’
‘OMG, I need to follow my heart!’ Jules exclaims. ‘And it’s telling me to follow Tenille!’
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.