RECAP: The Bachelor Australia – S4 E09

RECAP: The Bachelor Australia – S4 E09
The Bachelor Australia Season 4
Background photo: Robert Sheie (Flickr)

Who is the heroine of this story? Maybe a compatibility test will tell us!

It’s that time of the week again — Bachie with Jodi has returned! It’s our first episode in the grim post-Keira wasteland: basically, we’re left with Richie and a bunch of ladies whose personalities the show hasn’t bothered to highlight.

Well, no, that’s a lie. We know that Noni likes bacon, right? And that they’re gradually ramping up an OMG Alex Is So Desperate narrative? So, like, there’s that, I guess. What opportunity we have for true romance there.

In her book Becoming A Heroine: Reading About Women in Novels [ BT | Amz ], Rachel Brownstein, talking primarily about nineteenth century novels, says that, ‘The marriage plot most novels depend on is about finding validation of one’s uniqueness and importance by being singled out among all other women by a man.’

I don’t know if I’m quiiiiiiite 100% of the way with her on this one — I think there’s a bit more to the marriage plot than this! — but it’s quite a useful idea to look at when we’re thinking about Bachie and the way it constructs a story: or, as in this case, neglects to construct. If a romantic narrative is at least in part about celebrating, valorising, and validating the heroine’s uniqueness, then we need to know what about our heroine makes her unique! And Bachie, thus far, has really done poorly by its ladies in this regard.

… yeah, yeah, I’ve ranted this rant before. I’ll get on to the actual recap portion of this evening’s entertainment.

It starts off with the delivery of a date card. The recipient is Steph, and predictably there is MUCH DRAMA and MANY FEELINGS because she is an INTRUDER and she needs to WAIT HER TURN. ‘I don’t think she’s really Richie’s girl,’ Alex says. ‘She could be his mate, though. She’s like one of the boys.’

This idea that if you’re ‘one of the boys’ you’re not a viable romantic option is obviously dependent on quite a problematic binary, and ignores the whole existence of tomboy heroines and friends-to-lover romance. It is, I guess, slightly better than ‘not like other girls’? But let’s be real: neither is exactly my fave.

Steph’s date is on a super yacht, which Richie approaches on a jetski. She’s been pigeonholed as the girl who likes things that go vroom, so she’s pretty appreciative of this. She reflects on how awesomesauce the date is, an experience she hasn’t really come across before: ‘We don’t date in Ballarat!’ she announces.

Apparently Ballarat is like that Footloose town, but for dating instead of dancing. Good to know.

So they go on a jetski ride, and then Richie’s like, ‘I’ve planned something special, just for you!’ and it’s a picnic with wine, which he has NEVER EVER DONE BEFORE WITH ANY LADY EVER.

Steph tells him that she likes him, but she likes to analyse things and that she doesn’t fall in love right away. ‘You can’t rush feelings,’ Richie agrees sagely, and then gives her a rose to prove he wants to spend more time getting to know her.

Richie may not be a bright spark, but I am really interested in how thoroughly modern he is in his views of love: this is 100% modern love, which is based on intimacy and the idea that love is something you develop and grow, rather than something which just magically befalls you. But he’s also, weirdly, a little old school: he talks about how love for a partner is different from love for a family or children. This proves that, all on his own, he has worked out a few nuances of the classical model of love, which suggests there are four types of love: eros (sexual love), agape (love of a god), philia (friendship), and storge (familial love). Well done, sunflower boy.

Sunflower gif: Just chilling in the breeze by Helianthus Fan (Tumblr)
Source: Helianthus Fan, Tumblr

Then it is time for a group date. Present is a relationship expert, whom several of the ladies mistake as another intruder. But no: she is here to administer a compatibility test. This is a test in three stages, with ladies eliminated after each one.

1. A multiple choice quiz. That’s right, you can apparently find love through multiple choice! The relationship expert asks a bunch of questions. If the ladies have the same answer as Richie, they take a step forward; if not, they take a step back. The first five ladies to have answered the requisite number of questions the same as Richie progress to the next stage.

This is obviously predicated on the notion that you want to date someone like you, which is really not true. It’s certainly not the foundation on which many of our romantic narratives are based: opposites attract, anyone?

2. A tactile test. Basically, Richie is blindfolded and five ladies feel him up. Then he picks the two ladies he thought felt him up the best. THE STUFF OF HIGH ROMANCE, ladies and gentlemen. (The two champion feeler-upperers? Faith and Alex.)

4. An obstacle course. Richie is blindfolded, and each of the two ladies have to guide him through a domestically themed obstacle course as he drives a golf cart. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more romantic.

This is essentially a date about one’s ability to give directions: it’s framed as a task about trust, but what’s Richie going to do –not listen to the ladies and go hooning off all on his own? Alex’s directions are judged ‘stern’, but Faith, who has a ‘gentler’ approach, is proclaimed the winner.

Going on record here as Dr Love and saying that I don’t think a great deal of this compatibility test, tbh.

Anyway, so Faith wins, and she and Richie go off to have some quiet time after some dudes make some liquid nitrogen ice cream for them. And she and Richie are miraculously funny and engaging with each other? Kind of out of nowhere? Like, this is the most natural either of them has seemed all season? And I quite like Faith now?

Damn it, if Faith wins after I just spent all that time telling you that compatibility test was bullshit, I will be straight up humbled.

She gets a rose, in any case, but this is not the subject of cocktail party drama. Oh no, a new villain is emerging from the ashes of Keira — it’s just not quite clear who it is yet.

So the sitch is this: Rachael apparently told Alex that Richie is obviously into Nikki, and so Alex should go home to her son. Alex tearfully confesses this to Nikki while Rachael is off chatting with Richie, and Nikki is like, ‘um … if I’ve already won, no one’s told me?’

Steph is sitting between them giving truly magnificent side-eye, by the way. It’s actually glorious.

Angelina Jolie side-eye gif
Source: Girl Interrupted, Tumblr

In any case: is Rachael a villain? Or was Alex lying (the conversation, after all, was not caught on camera)? Look out for some DRAMZ.

… or for the show to forget all about it, because they are genuinely shit at constructing a story this season.

While Nikki and Alex are having their sobfest, Richie tells Rachael he likes her because she seems like a woman, not a girl, and that she’s always direct in her communication. ‘I’m a guy: we need direct!’ he tells her.

He obviously means this jokingly, but the idea that men have zero emotional intelligence and don’t understand anything except the most basic direct phrases is pretty pernicious, for obvious reasons.

Then it is time for the rose ceremony. This night’s victims are intruder Khalia (aka the brunette intruder) and Noni (aka the one remaining original brunette, aka bacon lady). A bunch of ladies burst into tears at the notion of Noni leaving, and it’s legit some of the most intense emotion we’ve seen so far. Philia, not just eros, is part of the Bachie process.

They’re not the only ones sad Noni is leaving. Farewell, bacon lady. You did you.

The show airs on Channel 10 on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.

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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.

One comment

  1. Yep. I’ve recently figured out yet another reason why this season is collapsing in on itself – I know nothing about Nikki. She’s the clear winner, and yet I don’t know why … other than, she’s nice? Snez and Sash got great arcs on their seasons with Sam and Sam – I was there with them from the start, and rooting for them to win all along. Nikki – I’ve found out more about her from the DailyMail than the show itself. When coupled with lack of back-story for why Richie is here, it’s just a whole lot of empty Tinder-dating IMO.

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