RECAP: The Bachelor Australia – S8 E05

Tremendous waste of time, absolutely done my head in

We’re back (Bach) again! I’m fairly sure that this episode is going to be all cocktail party! I’m a little bit worried both episodes this week are going to be one long extended cocktail party! And despite this extended length our giant oversized river boy is going to solve exactly zero mysteries about who called him a dogcunt!

(I would low-key love it if someone set Locky some kind of riddle to solve during a cocktail party, tbh. Our Space Bachie last year was obviously in possession of not just a Bachelor’s degree but a PhD, so he had some cerebral abilities in mystery-solving. I’d love to see our enormous himbo of a 2020 Bachelor’s approach to getting to the bottom of a she-said she-said situation. It’s not that I don’t think he would be good at it, but I feel like his approach would be to kind of… abseil at the problem, and I’d like to see how that works out.)

Another thing I’m fairly certain of is that we’re about to hit the Lockydown period of this season, where everything goes on Zoom, either this week or early next week. Therefore, I want to devote my nerdle tonight to something that I would probably have been talking about every single episode if we were in normal time, due to a) the nature of the franchise, and b) Locky’s favourite things to do. Let’s talk about why they always make them do dates on cliffs, near cliffs, scaling cliffs, jumping off cliffs, etc.

There’s an obvious metaphorical implication here when it comes to love, one which I’ve written about before. Falling in love is just that: a fall. It’s a leap of faith. You and your partner are faced with obstacles you need to scale and overcome. The symbolism is not subtle.

But there’s also psychological and physiological shit going on. When you’re in a dangerous situation, your body goes into a state of heightened response. As a result – as I mentioned briefly last week – what often occurs is a misattribution of arousal, where you either mistake that response or associate that reaction with a specific person (ie. probably the person you’re doing cliff stuff with).

This was tested in the 1970s by psychologists Donald Dutton and Arthur Aron in what’s become known as the Capilano Suspension Bridge Experiment. They wanted to test their hypothesis around misattribution of arousal: would people be more sexually attracted to someone if they were in a dangerous situation than they would be otherwise?

To do this, they hired a beautiful woman (how they got this through an ethics process and what their rubric was for determining beauty I have no idea – the 1970s were a wild time) to stand at the end of the very precarious-looking Capilano Suspension Bridge, which dangles high above the Capilano River in Vancouver. She asked men who had just crossed the bridge to do a Thematic Apperception Test, where they had to write a quick story about a picture she showed them (deliberately a non-sexual image). She also did the same thing to men at another much sturdier, less precarious bridge nearby.

But surprise! the Thematic Apperception Test wasn’t the real experiment! That came in a throwaway at the end, where she offered her phone number to the men in case they had any more questions. Dutton and Aron theorised that more men would call the woman after crossing the terrifying bridge rather than the non-terrifying bridge, because they would already be in a heightened state mimicking arousal (raised heart rate, adrenaline, etc).

And as their classic 1974 paper ‘Sexual Attraction Under Conditions Of High Anxiety’ shows, they were right. Dutton and Aron also found much more sexual content in the stories written by the men who’d crossed the terrifying bridge, even though the image they’d been shown wasn’t sexy. But when the men who crossed either bridge were approached by a man instead of a hot lady? No change.

Now, this isn’t a perfect study by any means – I mean, it’s clearly very heteronormative, for one – but it’s been tested and replicated in different circumstances (think roller coasters, for instance), and the results generally tend to play out the same way. If you’re in a high stakes situation with someone, you’re much more likely to become attracted to them than if you were, say, having tea in the park.

Does that make it a great foundation for a relationship? Not necessarily, no. The wise and noble sage Keanu Reeves was not wrong when he said in the movie Speed that ‘I’ve heard relationships based on intense experiences never work’. But does it explain why the Bachie franchise insists on throwing their participants off cliffs year after year, even when the Bach is not a Bali adventure tour guide like Locky? One hundred percent it does.

…so it’s going to be very entertaining to see if Locky can actually make the women like him when he isn’t allowed to throw them off cliffs and only has Zoom instead. Let’s dive into the recap and see how he’s going.

We begin, of course, at the cocktail party. We live our lives at cocktail parties now. We can never escape from them.

If you remember back to last week, Locky had some one-on-time with Roxi and gave her a rose. Then he had the third spoke of his triple threat date with Nicole and gave her a rose, and she was holding it when they walked into the cocktail party, and this was what passed as a cliffhanger.

This is where we pick up. And look, I don’t want to say they needed to spend more time at this cocktail party – they did not! they absolutely did not! – but there are some leaps of logic here which go entirely unexplained.

Roxi, for some reason, gets it into her head that Juliette (she who sent the letter, and who broke up and made up with Areeba last week) is scheming against her. There seems to be no evidence to support this – this is another Rights For Redheads situation – but still: she thinks it.

This gets around the house, and gets into the ear of Laura the snob, who sits Juliette down. ‘What are you scheming?’ she demands.

‘Um… nothing?’ Juliette replies.

‘I don’t buy it!’ Laura snaps. ‘What are you scheming?’

Areeba whisks Juliette away before she can either a) give away any scheme (we know if there is one, Areeba is the mastermind), or b) throw a drink in Laura’s face.

Later that night, Areeba gets some time with Locky – after cutting in on Laura, which you know has to be deliberate. But they’ve barely sat down for two seconds when Locky, um… hears something?

(Seriously, I am not clear on how he heard this. It seemed to be happening in an entire other room.)

What he’s heard is Roxi crying. ‘Wait here for a sec,’ he tells Areeba. ‘I’ll be right back.’

He leaves Areeba and goes to Roxi. For what seems like rather a long time, he hugs her and dries her tears.

‘Go away!’ Areeba hisses at her friends when they come up. ‘I’m waiting for Locky!’

‘Babe,’ Juliette and Kristina tell her, ‘he’s with Roxi.’

And Areeba sees red. ‘Right,’ she says from between gritted teeth, and marches off.

I have owned already in great detail that I have a strong pro-Areeba bias. But even if I didn’t: her reaction here is kind of fair enough. Locky straight up abandoned her! he told her he was going to come back and he didn’t! and Roxi already has a rose! It was really pretty rude.

(Still not entire episode-worthy, tho. Dogcunt or GTFO.)

They cut to ad break on a dramatic shot of Areeba walking in on Locky and Roxi. An actual cliffhanger! And then –

…when we get back, it’s the rose ceremony. Narrative milestones? Timing? I don’t know them, sorry.

Seriously. I know COVID messed with their production schedule and they couldn’t have known how much they’d need to milk out of this cocktail party, but they’re showing so much footage and telling so little story. The interesting parts are missing! Even if the actual footage wasn’t usable for some reason – do voxies! Get them to relate what happened in talking heads! Don’t just skip over it!

Sigh. Anyway, the rose ceremony happens, we say goodbye to Clare (who?) and Rights For Redheads Zoe-Clare. I’m a bit surprised they let Locky get rid of the latter when this was, for all they knew, the episode three elimination, but… here we are.

The next day, all the women are gathered in the yard. ‘I’m so ashamed of how I behaved last night,’ Roxi says, sighing. ‘But also, Juliette, I know you’re totally out to get me, and you need to stop.’

I have to believe there’s a particularly pernicious producer whispering things in people’s ears this season. You cannot convince me that this apparently out-of-the-blue string of accusations against Juliette and the birth of the Rights For Redheads movement can occur in the same set of episodes by coincidence.

Juliette rolls her eyes, but thankfully Osher turns up with a date card and a mysterious box. ‘Whoever’s on this date card will need to wear this!’ he announces, setting the box down. ‘Later, friends!’

(The date card reads, by the way, ‘I want a relationship like a vintage wine’. And it was apparently authored by a man who admitted a few episodes ago that he’d never taken the cork out of a champagne bottle. Seems legit.)

The recipient of the date is Irena. The outfit?

With most other Bachies, you’d expect it was some kind of fancy princess ballgown. But Locky? I’m sure you won’t be surprised when I tell you it’s a fencing outfit – ie. yet another activity where the Suspension Bridge Effect is clearly in play, in addition to being an activity where they can make a lot of thinly veiled penis jokes.

This date gets basically no time spent on it: and I have no idea why, because it’s an absolute fucking joy! Irena turns out to be amazing at fencing! She destroys Locky and he has no idea what to do about it! Why would Channel Ten think I want forty-five minutes of confusing cocktail party when they could just play Irena demolishing Locky with a sword on a loop?!

But no. We can’t have nice things. All we can have is more time back at the mansion where Roxi talks about how Juliette is out to get her, and Juliette is like, ‘um… what?’

We cut back to the date fairly quickly, though. It’s night, which means it’s time for Locky and Irena’s Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation.

A few things to note:

1. The only food on this table is strawberries. YOU MADE THE WOMAN DO SPORTS, BACHIE. GET HER SOME FUCKING CHEESE.

2. Why are you getting a man who admitted five seconds ago he’s never opened a champagne bottle to open one with a sabre?!

Thankfully, Irena takes charge of the sabre. But perhaps this is not so thankful, because:

3. We get a gratuitous shot of Locky helping (‘helping’) Irena shake the champagne bottle in a very distinctive jerk-off motion, which I personally did not need.

And, because of my own personal interests, I need to also note:

4. That champagne bottle has no label. I’m pretty sure it’s just sparkling water.

But sober or drunk, Irena and Locky tell each other they’re falling for each other. ‘Let’s just run away!’ Irena joking-not-joking suggests, and ‘yes!’ Locky replies, definitely joking-not-joking.

They pash, she gets a rose, they pash some more. And I might have cared about it if the date was the centrepiece of the episode rather than that very confusing and poorly structured cocktail party mess.

To quote Dr Matt Agnew, from the greatest Bachie cocktail party of all time: ‘Tonight has been a tremendous waste of time. Absolutely done my head in.’

Sneaky end-of-recap reminder: not only do I write about rose ceremonies, but I’ve written a book with a rose on the cover! If you like my writing (which, if you made it to the end of this monstrously long recap, I assume you do), don’t forget to check out my YA Valentine series, and you can always check in on me at my website:

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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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