And here we are at last, friends – our last episode of Bachie, and consequently our last recap, of 2021!
It will come to no surprise to any of you who read these recaps regularly that a) IMO, the last few seasons have sucked, but b) this season has fucking ruled. Obviously it hasn’t been perfect, but overall, it’s way more than I’ve come to expect of this franchise.
The fact that Brooke is our first Indigenous and first queer Bachie is definitely a big part of that, but it’s not the only reason. This season could have fallen apart very easily, and the reason it didn’t is because they truly went back to basics on storytelling.
I talked about this a little last night when I talked about the stories of the final three. In the cases of Darvid, Jamie-Lee, and Holly (and also Konrad, who went at hometowns), we understand both the attraction for Brooke and the reasons why they might not work out. We have an understanding of the obstacles – or, as Brooke likes to put it, the roadblocks between them – and we have a sense of if/how they might overcome them.
Some of this is due to how the story has been put together. But an enormous part comes down to Brooke herself, who has been an absolutely outstanding Bachie.
Put simply: Brooke feels like a person. We know who Brooke is. We know what she prioritises. We know what she wants. We have a sense of her as a person with a life and a history beyond this franchise, not just as a cardboard cutout of a pretty person who has been cast to make out with other pretty people.
Without the show getting into gratuitous or exploitative detail, we understand that Brooke had a really rough childhood and grew up without a lot of constants. We also understand that that has driven what she’s looking for now: security, certainty, and unconditional love. She wants someone who will prioritise her, because she’s never had that. She wants someone to stay, because that’s something she’s been missing.
Compare this to our Bachelorettes last year, Elly and Becky Miles. I wrote about this extensively in my recaps at the beginning of their season, but it was just as true at the end. All we ever found out about them was a) that they were from the country and b) that they were sisters. As a result, we had absolutely no way of investing in their narratives, because we had no fucking clue who they were.
(And also because most of the men on their season were aggressively mediocre. That’s another thing this season has done well – quite apart from the very lovely women, there have been several men who seem like… genuinely nice people?!?!)
We care about Brooke and what happens to her and whether she finds love and who she finds it with because they gave us a person to cheer for. Cardboard cutouts might be nice to look at, but you can’t get emotionally invested in a cardboard cutout. If there is one single lesson I hope the franchise takes away from this season, I hope it’s this: if you make your lead feel like an actual human being, then people will care about what happens to them.
I care a lot about Brooke, so I’m not going to make you all read my nerdling any longer. Let’s get into the recap and cross our fingers that she gets her happily ever after.
Normally in the finale, the final two contestants meet the Bach’s family. However, Brooke’s family is all in WA, which means that just can’t happen. She gets a beautiful video message from Pete, a paternal figure in her life, but Darvid and Jamie-Lee aren’t going to be meeting him. Instead, they’re going to meet two of Brooke’s friends: Abbie and Amy.
Abbie Chatfield will be no stranger to regular Bachieverse viewers (TL;DR she pivoted from getting a villain edit as the Space Bachie’s runner-up to being a feminist media icon and is now dating beautiful Konrad, which we love for both of them). Amy Thunig, though, is a new figure in the Bachieverse. She’s a brilliant academic and writer, and is a proud Gomeroi woman.
Darvid meets the friends
Both Abbie and Amy can see immediately that Brooke and Darvid are very into each other. “She’s obsessed with him,” Abbie tells the camera. “It’s quite confronting.”
But the meaty stuff really comes in question time.
First, Amy takes Darvid aside. “If I asked you whose country you live on, would you be able to tell me?” she asks.
“…no,” Darvid replies sheepishly.
“So it would take dating an Aboriginal woman for you to think about the fact that you live on Aboriginal land?”
This season has called itself historic many times, but this truly feels like the most radical thing that’s happened so far. A question like this being asked on primetime Australian TV is so big, so important.
Darvid responds that he’s embarrassed and ashamed that he’s not as across Indigenous history as he should be, and expresses a strong intention to learn, which Amy appreciates. Then she moves on to her next excellent question: “Brooke is a pansexual Blak woman. If you identify as straight [NB: Darvid does], then have you thought that through?”
“Yes,” Darvid replies. “And it’s not an issue for me at all. Brooke is exactly who she is, and I love that about her.”
When Darvid sits down with Abbie, the line of questioning is a little different. “Do you love her?” Abbie asks. “Have you told her yet?”
“Yes,” Darvid says, “and no.”
“Ugh, I don’t like that,” Abbie says. “Don’t dangle it like a carrot. Just be vulnerable and tell her! I did with Matt, and even though it hurt when I got eliminated, at least I had no regrets. Grow up.”
…this is all so good, friends.
Amy and Abbie did not pull their punches with Darvid, but they were overall quite impressed with how he rolled with them. Ultimately, they conclude that they like him for Brooke. That’s a tick on Darvid.
Jamie-Lee meets the friends
Oh, Jamie-Lee. So eager to impress – perhaps too eager.
This starts really well when the four of them sit down together. Brooke mentions that she once asked Abbie on a date, and Abbie is like, “I would have said yes! But it was peak covid!” and it all ends up in some banter where Brooke is like, “Abbie, stop trying to make my girlfriend jealous!” and Jamie-Lee is like, “yes, Abbie, that’s done, she’s with me now.”
She also navigates Abbie’s questions very well. Abbie asks why, if she’s known Brooke for three years, Jamie-Lee waited until now to shoot her shot. Jamie-Lee responds that she genuinely thought Brooke was going to end up with the Honey Badger, and after that, the timing just wasn’t right – until now, when she realised it might be her last chance.
Abbie also asks how she’ll react if she doesn’t get picked. “I’d have to step away from the friendship, I think,” Jamie-Lee says. “I don’t know how to go from being in love with someone to being friends with them.”
…oh god, this is going to hurt.
Which is kind of what happens when Jamie-Lee sits down with Amy. “So how across your Indigenous culture would you say you are?” Amy asks.
“Pretty across it,” Jamie-Lee replies. “As across it as I can be.”
“So if I asked you whose land you lived on, would you know?”
“No,” Jamie-Lee replies.
“Do you know whose mob Brooke is?”
“…no,” Jamie-Lee replies.
This is another moment which feels genuinely radical for primetime TV, because I can’t remember seeing anything like it before: Jamie-Lee learning very uncomfortably that intention isn’t magic. “I want to say the right thing,” she says in her talking head interview, “but I just keep getting it wrong.”
(This seems indicative of a broader trend with Jamie-Lee, TBH. It’s not unrelated to the scrapbooks and whatnot – she’s desperate to do the right thing to show Brooke she loves her, to make Brooke love her, to make Brooke’s friends like her.)
Amy raises this later when she sits down with Brooke and Abbie. “She said she was across her Indigenous culture, but she couldn’t answer these pretty basic questions,” she says. “She’s known you for three years, Brooke, and she says she’s in love with you. But she doesn’t know these basic things about you?”
“Hmmm,” Brooke says. “Maybe she’s in love with the idea of me, rather than actually me. I really thought she knew me.”
It ends with Amy and Abbie affirming that both her final two are lovely and that whoever Brooke chooses will be a good choice, but we don’t quite have the same tick with Jamie-Lee as we did with Darvid.
Jamie-Lee’s final date
For obvious reasons, Brooke and Jamie-Lee both come into this date with anxieties.
…so the show sends them on a date where they basically can’t talk about them. They start in a chopper and then switch over to some kind of electric bike situation.
They have been so good about this in this season, but friends:
It isn’t until their Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation time that they really get a chance to talk. “Do you have any reservations about me?” Jamie-Lee asks.
“Well… there’s one,” Brooke says. “You’ve known me for three years, but it’s a bit concerning that you don’t know something as basic about me as my mob.”
“I know,” Jamie-Lee says. “And I’m sorry.”
“It’s important to me.”
“Then it’s important to me,” Jamie-Lee says firmly. “I don’t know the things I should know, but I’ll learn. I love you, and I want to learn everything about you.”
Then they make out, and it’s very cute, but we’re still left with a sense of unease. Jamie-Lee has spent this whole episode casting around for the right words to say to make things all right, but she’s swiftly learning that there aren’t magic words…
Darvid’s final date
I was worried that this was going to be another transpo date when Brooke picks Darvid up in a muscle car, but at least the car takes them somewhere.
That somewhere is tantric yoga.
Jamie-Lee gets dinky little electric bikes, Darvid gets tantric yoga. Subtlety is something that happens to other people.
Darvid and Brooke spend a lot of time laughing during their yoga session, due in large part to the fact that the teacher seems committed to saying the word “ejaculation” as many times as she possibly can. But they also have some genuinely close, intimate moments.
This only escalates when they get to their Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation. “I’m all in,” Darvid tells Brooke (a phrase which he’s said several times, and which has acted as a nice motif for their love story). “I’ve told you I’m falling for you, but… you’re my person, Brooke. I love you.”
They make out. Brooke is crying. He might be crying too. It’s genuinely extremely romantic.
What it isn’t is suspenseful. “I never believed in soulmates or any of that,” Brooke tells the camera. “But it’s smacked me right in the fucking face. I love him. And I want to tell him.”
It all ends
“I know what I want,” Brooke says to Osher. “It’s going to be hard, but I need to do what I need to do today, to get what I want and I deserve.”
Look. There’s no real suspense here. We all know she’s about to smash Jamie-Lee’s heart with a hammer. But even as someone who has shipped Brooke + Jamie-Lee all season, it’s hard not to be happy for Brooke in this moment. This is our heroine, in her final triumphant moments, claiming what she has earned.
And it works because we care about her as a person. Take note, Channel Ten.
They don’t try and fool us with limo trickery. There’s no point. Even if Darvid had stepped out of the limo first, we all knew Jamie-Lee was the one going home.
Even Jamie-Lee knew it, I think, the second she laid eyes on Brooke. “It’s okay,” she whispers to Brooke. “You’re okay.”
“It’s been so wonderful getting the chance to explore this with you,” Brooke says, tears rolling down her cheeks. “What a relationship might look like… it’s something we’ve both wondered for three years now. But I’ve found love, and unfortunately…”
“It’s okay,” Jamie-Lee says. “I understand.”
She saves most of her crying for the limo. “God, this hurts,” she sobs. “But at least I have closure now. I can move on to the next chapter of my life.”
Most of the time, I think that Bachie breakups are the fantasy of a breakup. It’s a clean cut, and because you really haven’t spent that much time together, that clean break gives you the chance to move on fairly easily. But I think this one is going to sting for both Jamie-Lee and Brooke for a while.
I suspect that if Holly’s narrative hadn’t fallen apart last night, Brooke might have sent Jamie-Lee home and spared them both from this. This looked like it hurt.
It all begins
This is going to be a very short recap of the final declaration of love, because Brooke is crying so hard she can barely get the words out. It’s a bit rough on old mate Darvid – she’s sobbing, he’s comforting her, and I’m pretty sure he thought he was getting dumped.
But when Brooke finally asks him if he’ll make her the happiest girl in the world, he lights up. “You know I will,” he says.
She smiles. He smiles. It’s so lovely.
“I’ve known since the first night I met you that this was going to be the start of something special,” he whispers to her.
Brooke pulls out a ring. “I want to give this to you,” she tells him. “To show you that I love you so much.”
Interestingly, he also gives her a ring, which I don’t think we’ve seen in the Bachieverse before. In the Aus version, it’s always the Bach doling out rings, and in the US, it’s the man (because it’s nearly always an engagement ring, and we all know that ladies can’t propose, that would be a scandal).
But perhaps this is a nice visual representation of this season. It’s a new kind of show, a new kind of relationship, moving into a new kind of future.
So! We have come to the end of our Bachie-ing for 2021! Thank you for reading these recaps, if you’ve made it all the way to the end. I hope you’ve found them interesting and entertaining and maybe even a tiny bit educational.
…and (sorry, it’s gratuitous advertisement time, you can stop reading now if all you cared about was the recaps) if you like these, you’ll definitely like my rom-coms out next year with Simon & Schuster, set on Marry Me Juliet, a show not unlike this one. In Here For The Right Reasons, the lead falls for a contestant he eliminated on the first night (not unlike the situation with Bachelorette Katie Thurston and her new boyf John in the US). And in Can I Steal You For A Second?, two frontrunner contestants on that same season find themselves falling for each other instead of the lead (not dissimilar to what has apparently happened with Holly and Millie!).
And of course, I’ll see you again for more recaps in 2022. JMcA. x