Finally, at long last, we have fought our way here to the castle beyond the goblin city to this: the final episode of Bachie for 2016. Let’s not prevaricate: let’s find Queen Georgia Love some love already!
If this is, for some reason, your first encounter with The Bachelorette this season, here’s the situation. Georgia Love, who is the best Bachie Australia has ever had (in my opinion, anyway, but I have an actual PhD in love so I like to think my opinion carries some weight), began this journey (drink) with a whole bunch of men in her harem. She’s got rid of feuding models and paisley menaces and an actual romance novel fireman. Now here we are at last: with only two men left standing.
These men are…
Matty. Started off solidly midlist, but dark horse’d his way to the final. He and G Love bonded over their mutual love of trapeze, played croquet, and went dancing. And then, last night, he told her he loved her in a genuinely sexy pool scene. Rawr. But can their love survive outside the water?
Lee. Brought a donkey along on the first night purely so he could make a stupid dad joke. Approximately 85% of his personality revolves around dad jokes, as far as I can tell. But he also did the <strong>Dirty Dancing</strong> lift with G Love, has a sassy grandmother, and looks unbelieeeeeeeevably hot in glasses.
While I don’t think it’s a secret that if I were in our mother of dragons’ shoes I’d be going Lee all the way, she’s really got two great options here. No matter how it goes, Georgia Love is going to get a happy ending.
The way she sums up Lee and Matty, by the way, is ‘the man she was always looking for’ vs ‘the man she never knew she wanted’ respectively. What we have on our hands here is a battle of the archetypes, my friend. Which hero type will reign supreme?
Even though both options are great, we still want to know how it’s going to turn out, right? So let’s get into it.
We’re in Singapore for the finale. And it’s not just G Love and her boys who have been flown there in a gratuitous exercise in product placement: it’s her family as well. Georgia has met the families of her gentlemen: now it’s time for them to meet her family.
They’re not, however, meeting her whole family. Her mother — who, as we know from the first episode, is really sick — has had to stay home in Melbourne. But she sends G Love this gorgeous little video message about how much she wants for her to find love, and … sniff. It’s really touching, you guys.
The first potential boyfriend the family meet is Matty, and predictably he is charming as hell. He passes the first three rounds of Love family questioning with ease:
1. How old are you? (29)
2. Where in your family do you sit? (middle child)
3. Do you like cats? (Yes)
But he stumbles on question #4: where do you live? He is in Sydney, while Georgia Love is in Melbourne, and this is a big deal.
I am fascinated with how big a deal it is, actually. Usually, the mechanics and practicalities of romance are mentioned but largely swept under the carpet in Bachie: there’s a ‘true love will conquer all!’ idea in play. But that hasn’t been the case in this season at all, and I find it quite refreshing, really. It’s putting the real back into reality television.
To some extent, at least. Sadly, there are not quite so many champagne picnics in real life.
In short: Matty’s time with the fam goes well, but not perfectly. And so we bring Lee up to bat.
We learn two things about Lee in his time with G Love and her family:
1. He is a mechanical plumber. I did not know this.
2. While I generally love his fashion sense, he needs to not wear those hideous loafers ever again.
In short, though, I remain starry-eyed about the Sex King of Glasses. But you know who isn’t? Georgia’s sister Katie. ‘I just feel like you’re a bit smooth — like you know all the right things to say,’ she tells him. ‘How do you actually feel about Georgia?’
‘I — I’m falling for her,’ Lee says, a bit taken aback.
‘Have you told her?’
Katie’s eyebrow raise says it all.
I’m really interested, BTW, in the way that being ‘smooth’ and knowing what to say are positioned as bad things here. Like, there’s this inherent notion that there are languages of love, but you’re only genuinely in love if you either don’t know the language or are too overwhelmed to speak it appropriately. It’s fascinating, this idea that you have to be kind of flailing around in the dark, love-wise, to actually be in love. In short: love is not a learned skill.
After Lee has left, G Love pushes her family for a decision. ‘So, call it,’ she says. ‘Team Matty or Team Lee?’
They prevaricate for a while — like, quite a while — but then, oh no! the vote is split! G Love’s dad is Team Lee, but her sister is Team Matty!
And so Georgia Love, our intrepid heroine, must make this decision on her own.
Thus begin her final dates. DRAMA.
First up: Matty. And … yeah, look, I’ve been Team Lee from the start. We all know this. But Matty … man. Where did Matty COME from? He was nothing at the beginning and now … now he just might be everything.
They start their date by going to a temple and ringing the Bell of Happiness, which will apparently bring them eternal love forevermore, before writing their own love message on a bell and hanging it there. While, as aforementioned, Matty is everything now, I cannot help be a little sad that Rhys is not here, writing his amazing poetry on a bell and taking potshots at Sam.
Next, they go ziplining, flying high above the landscape. Dates in high places are a favourite in Bachie because of, as I’m pretty sure I’ve discussed before, a kind of ‘leap of faith’ idea, but at this point in the journey (drink) there’s some other stuff going on too. There’s a similar poetics going on to the poetics of water, which I discussed when I recapped Matty and G Love’s epic pool snog + love confession yesterday. When you’re flying, the normal rules — like gravity — don’t apply. Anything is possible. You can conquer anything.
So it makes sense, really, that the biggest obstacles to Matty and G Love’s love are practical: dull things like geography that don’t matter in the water or in the air but do matter when your feet are on the ground.
… but hell, I’m not sure if any of us ever want to come down. After the ziplining, they go to a butterfly enclosure, and if you told me that these butterflies braided Matty’s hair everyday like a Disney character, I would believe you, because he is charming and lovely as hell. He tells her he loves her and he wants to be with her. If she eliminates him it’s going to be like shooting Bambi.
But then there’s Lee. And he’s just … sigh. Lee.
On their date, Lee and G Love go for a boat ride around Singapore. They have a nice chat, and he brings up the fact that her sister thought he was smooth. ‘Yeah, she said that to me too,’ G Love says.
Lee looks vaguely nauseous. ‘I’m not smooth,’ he says to the camera. ‘I’m not confident. I’m just … confident about my feelings for her.’
To come back to that thing I was talking about re: love languages before: I wonder if this is another spin on it. Like, is there an idea that you’re bad at speaking the language of love until you find the right beloved? That you have to somehow find your conversational match? This resonates with me quite strongly, especially given all this work I do on the erotics of talk … which I won’t get sidetracked into talking about here, because this is all about Georgia Love, not me.
So: then there are fireworks! I feel like I don’t have to explain the symbolism of fireworks, considering we’ve all seen romantic comedies and know how they’re mobilised there, but … cough it’s orgasm symbolism cough.
The fireworks and all this talking about love — as well as that very pointed conversation G Love’s sister had with Lee — have led him to realise that there is something he needs to say to her. It’s not hard to guess what it is, if you’ve ever, like, ever read a love story at any time in your life.
Like Matty, Lee waits to pour his feelings out till they’re in the water. (Specifically, they’re in a swimming pool 57 stories up, which led me to wonder for a moment if Georgia was going to reject Lee in the most brutal Man O Man style ever.) Nose to nose, scantily clad, wrapped around each other, the lights of the city behind them, Lee tells Georgia Love that he’s in love with her.
AND YOU GUYS IT IS SO NICE.
I am not a big fan of love triangles, primarily because it almost always feels like there’s a central pair and then this extra one floating around: it’s never quite egalitarian. But is this what it feels like when the love triangle trope is done well? I know I’m going to be stoked whoever G Love picks. I also know I’m going to be heartbroken for the other one.
I guess, in the end, we’re all Team Georgia Love: and we have to trust that whatever decision she makes, she’ll be happy.
Sniff. My TV best friend is all grown up and picking which member of her man harem she wants to keep around. I’m so proud.
Of course, it’s all very tense as we lead up to the official reveal. Both men confess their love of Georgia Love to the camera as they dress (yes, there is some strategic shirtlessness, and it’s amazing). G Love herself tells Osher that she’s fallen in love, but it’s going to destroy her to let go of the boy she has to let go.
Then it is time for … THE REVEAL.
Oh Matty, you poor perfect cinnamon roll, too good, too pure for this world. I’M TECHNICALLY TEAM LEE AND I AM SOBBING, YOU BEAUTIFUL PEONY OF A MAN.
G Love does her best to let him down gently but when she’s like, ‘I came here to find love, and I did … but it’s with someone else,’ he bends down and starts breathing heavily like someone’s punched him in the gut and it is just so heartbreaking.
Like, actually. When we got to the decision stage in Richie’s season, I really had no emotional involvement. THEY SAVED ALL THE FEELS AND PUT THEM HERE.
He’s very gracious, even though he’s clearly destroyed emotionally (as are we all, Matty J). He tells her that Lee is lucky, that he hopes that she’s happy, and then he says…
‘See you, Georgia Love.’
‘See you, Matty J,’ she replies softly.
Just take my heart and stomp all over it, why don’t you.
But then you can put it back together again, because the HMAS G Lee Love is about to set sail. (!!!)
(I suppose I’d better stop gushing about how handsome Lee and his face are now that he’s dating my fantasy best friend, huh. But seriously. He is so pretty.)
— Rudi (@rudi_bee) October 27, 2016
And, while these final moments are always SO short and feel a bit anticlimactic, because BAM! you get all the feels, and then BAM! the show is over, this is just so lovely. ‘I’ve been looking for that unique story, and that unique someone, and not many guys bring a donkey when they first meet a girl,’ G Love tells him.
‘And no one ever will again,’ he says.
‘Ever since I met you, there’s been a spark,’ she tells him. ‘And from our first date … it just fell into place. It’s you, Lee: and I hope that I’m it for you too, because I’ve fallen madly in love with you.’
‘I love you so much!’ he says.
And they snog — and I mean, they really snog — and it’s 100% gorgeous.
‘This isn’t the end of anything –’ G Love says.
‘It’s just the beginning,’ he finishes. ‘Wow, we’re already finishing each other’s sentences!’
This instantly became the working title for one of my next scholarly articles on the way talk and conversation are eroticised and romanticised in Bachie. Cheers, Lee.
And that’s it! We’ve led another Bachie down the path to love, and I have to say: G Love has been my favourite Bachie so far by a long way. I know you have a boyfriend now, Georgia Love, but if you’re in the market for a best friend: I am at your disposal.
PS. I’ve been doing some occasional commentary on Bachie for ABC radio here in Hobart, and they were running love song dedications last night in celebration of the finale, and I dedicated this one to G Love on the occasion of her decision between her two princes. I hope you and Lee get your rockets, lady.
The show aired on Channel 10. You can catch up on previous episodes via TenPlay.