We’re so close to the end, my friends. Soon — soon — we’ll be free from the clutches of Nightmare Man Island, and we can put this terrifying chapter in the Bachie franchise behind us.
That said, even though it’s allegedly ‘finals week’, they’re still introducing new people, so fuck knows, really. Maybe this show will go forever. Maybe I’ll have to scream about how Bill is a human-shaped swarm of bees for the rest of eternity. Who can tell?
Brief recap: toxic garbage men Ivan and Daniel got sent home. Basically, everyone else is coupled up, with the exception of Zoe and Mack, because, as Alisha puts it, ‘Zoe is not macking on with Mack’.
Given this state of coupledom, we obviously need a new entry (though, oh god, can’t we just end this?). Meet:
Elora (Matty’s season): Elora is perhaps more well known for what she didn’t do than for what she did do. In last year’s Paradise, they heavily teased that Elora and Megan were going to kiss. However, it turned out to be some edited footage of Megan kissing a long-haired male contestant (Sexual Tongue Thomas), and there was outrage.
‘I’m here to play the game,’ Elora declares. ‘The Paradise game!’
‘What the hell is the game?’ Alisha grumbles. ‘This is about love! This isn’t Love Island.’
…I’m filing that one away for my ongoing project on different reality TV projects.
Anyway: the gist is this. Elora doesn’t care who you’re dating. She’s going to do what she wants — much to the chagrin of some of the other people there.
Elora obtains a date card. She has a chat to a bunch of the men, and then, ‘can we have a chat?’ she asks Australian lady Alex.
Eyebrows go up all over Paradise. ‘Is she bisexual now?’ Florence asks, in a tone that implies that she doesn’t really buy it. (Then she starts talking about ‘straight girls turning lesbian when they get bored’, which makes me think she is perhaps not the most trustworthy source on bisexuality out there.)
Bill’s hackles go up immediately. ‘I can deal with Brooke!’ he yells after the retreating Alex and Elora.
That’s verbatim, by the way. I’m not entirely sure what Bill means by this, but I am entirely sure that I wouldn’t like his intended meaning, whatever it is.
‘How solid are you and Bill?’ Elora asks Alex. ‘I’d like to clarify, though: I’m not interested in Bill.’
‘Um, pretty solid?’ Alex says. ‘But…follow your heart, lady.’
Alex goes and tells Bill about the conversation, and he is pretty salty about it. ‘This again,’ he mutters.
Coincidentally, this is what I say every time Bill says literally anything, so I guess — much to my horror — Bill and I have something in common.
Things only get worse when Elora finally does decide that Australian lady Alex is the one she wants to take on the date. ‘If they kiss on the date, I’m walking out of here,’ Bill says, like this is a threat and not a wonderful promise. ‘To me that’s cheating. I don’t really tolerate cheating.’
…I’m sorry. I had to go and scream into a pillow for fifteen minutes because Bill is such a FUCKING SWARM OF LOCUSTS.
The date is a Bachie classic: random boating adventures. ‘I’ve always had a crush on you,’ Elora says to Alex.
‘I’m super attracted to you,’ Alex replies. ‘And if you’d come in earlier, you and I would have hit it off. But…I’m with Bill now.’
Bill, this grinning nightmare of a man, has thwarted two — two! — of Alex’s relationships with cool women now. Like I couldn’t hate him any more than I already do.
Anyway, Elora and Australian lady Alex hug and agree that they’re friends, and it’s all very genial.
Back at the beach, though, it’s getting very carnal, as all the couples make out HARD. This makes Zoe sad because she is, in her own words, ‘the last pashless person in Paradise’.
‘You could pash Mack,’ Alisha suggests.
‘HAHAHAHAHAHA LOL NOPE,’ Zoe replies.
But not all the couples are happy pashers. ‘You never open up to me!’ Connor tells Shannon.
‘Um, I do?’ she says.
‘No, you don’t.’
‘Yes, I do.’
And on and on it goes, and it’s very hard to care, because Connor and Shannon have had zero screentime in weeks and there’s no backstory to this at all. In another universe, there’s a version of this where this argument is must-see television, the culmination of a reality TV love story. But in this one, it comes out of nowhere, because all we’ve done for the last ten episodes is listen to Bill lie and Ivan threaten people.
It’s wild to suggest there should be romance narratives in your romantic dating show, I know, but I’m wacky like that.
That said: when Australian lady Alex and Elora get back to the beach, Alex immediately reaffirms her commitment to Bill, and much as I want romance narratives, I don’t want that one. Is it so much to ask that your love stories involve zero people who are not in fact people but human-shaped swarms of poisonous insects?
Elora, meanwhile, needs a new partner, and sets her eyes on Nathan. He’s a little bit frightened of her and does his best to disappear into the earth to escape from the conversation, so…yeah. That’s going well.
Let’s return to the Shannon/Connor drama. The next morning, they have another chat. ‘I think we need to give each other space,’ Connor says.
‘…what?’ Shannon says.
‘At the end of this experience, we should go our separate ways,’ he tells her.
And then there’s some bullshit about how she needs to open up to him, but what he’s actually saying is this: ‘let’s milk this experience for all the free booze it’s worth and then never speak to each other again’.
Poor Shannon, though, takes it to heart. ‘Somehow it’s all my fault,’ she sobs. ‘Maybe I’m just not meant to fall in love.’
My friend, on this island, with these nightmare men: it is almost certainly — nay, definitely certainly — not your fault.
Another date card arrives. Mack is certain that this time, this time, it will be for him, but come on, dude, the show does not care about you. It’s for Jules and Alisha.
They end up having high tea at a table where their feet are dangling in the waves — something which could totally be read as an allegory for climate change and the futility of falling in love on a burning planet, but neither Jules and Alisha seem to subscribe to this interpretation and mostly just seem to think it’s nice. They kiss, and say some sweet things to each other, and unlike most other heterosexual interactions in this show in the last few weeks, I didn’t hate it.
Don’t worry, though, it gets terrible soon enough. ‘So how do you feel about me?’ Alisha asks. ‘How do you feel about this? Because right now we’re basically good friends who make out a lot, so where do you want this to go?’
‘I, uh, think it’s best if we move forward under an umbrella of ambiguity,’ Jules replies.
Umbrella of ambiguity. UMBRELLA OF AMBIGUITY. #romance
‘What I mean is, I think we need some more time,’ he clarifies.
And then they make out, which is very confusing, but Alisha assures us in no uncertain terms will she be leaving Paradise under any kind of umbrella of ambiguity.
Next up: it’s time for yet another rose ceremony. The men have the power, and there’s only really one rose in play. This — seemingly out of nowhere, until tonight’s episode — is Connor’s rose. He’s been committed to Shannon nearly this whole time, but then they had that fight, and now Elora is gunning hard for him.
Elora’s not subtle about it either. ‘I’m into you,’ she tells Connor bluntly. ‘What about you?’
‘I… uh…Shannon,’ he says. ‘I’m interested in pursuing her outside of here. Sorry.’
Is this resolution we see? ‘If I’ve been sketchy, it’s because of how strongly I feel about you,’ Shannon tells Connor.
‘I think we’re on the same page,’ he replies, and they kiss.
So it seems like we’re all set. All the couples will stay, and Elora will leave rose-less. She makes a play for Mack’s rose, but he’s like, ‘nope, sorry, I have an understanding with Zoe’, so it seems doubly certain that this is how it’ll go: so certain that Elora starts crying, because she finds the fact she’s going to get booted out of Paradise after a day quite embarrassing (which, like, understandable).
The ads teased that there would be a BIG TWIST, but there isn’t. Elora’s still out in the cold, but Connor asks Shannon to leave Paradise with him right then, rather than waiting right until the end, and she agrees. Osher smiles like a proud fairy godfather, and off they go into the night together.
You know it must be serious when you forgo a few extra days of an open bar on a beach because you care about each other so much. That’s true love, probably.
The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.