Hello friends! I will not bother asking if you had time to miss me, because I know you did not! You have not had time! I was here just last night!
…thank god this show is only airing for three weeks. This breakneck pace is ruining me.
Tonight, in this little pre-nerdle recap, I’m going to have a slightly spicy take. You know how they’ve spent about $8.50 on the dates this season? Turns out I like it, actually.
First, I want to mitigate my spicy take before anyone gets mad (although this is the internet, what are the dangers of someone getting mad about a very low-stakes opinion? surely that would never happen). I really, really miss the Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation. I’m craving the maximalist visual language of Bachie years gone by. I want my fairy lights. I want my candles. I want my fucking outdoor chandelier. I WANT MY CHEESEBOARD.
But the most important word in Couch of Wine and Intimate Conversation is “intimate”, and that’s the aspect of the dates that they’ve kept, even though they’ve stripped their set dressing budget to the bones.
This is the most important aspect of any date – including, but not limited to, Bachie dates – because this is the bit where people talk and get to know each other. It’s also the bit that the show aggressively forgot about in past years, because they got so wrapped up in the portion of the date that came beforehand: the activity portion.
If you’ve read these recaps for a while, you know that one of my most frequent refrains is TRANSPORTATION IS NOT A DATE. I don’t care if it’s a car or a plane or a speedboat: transportation is how you get to a date, not the date itself. But if you think about some of the most iconic Bachie dates, they’re all transpo-based – people flying around in helicopters or going out on yachts or zooming around in luxury cars.
The reason I’m so firm on transportation not being a date is a) what I said before, it’s how you get to the date; but also b) there is a limited amount you can learn about two people and their relationship by hearing them talk about their transportation and/or marvel at the view. You can learn about the transpo. You can look at the nice view. But it does not give you anything you can use to build a love story.
Now, transportation was not the only activity we saw on Bachie dates. Sometimes the activity was actually good and interesting! But for the most part, when there was an activity, the activity – rather than the relationship – became the focus.
Then, to redouble the effect of this, the activity portion would kind of be considered the storytelling portion; and the intimacy portion the expository portion. I got endlessly frustrated in the last few years with how disciplinary couch time seemed to be: “how do you feel about me? do you love me? are you falling in love with me? could you see yourself falling in love with me? how about now? how about now?”
Slashing the date budget and cutting the activities altogether might have cost me my beloved cheeseboard, but it’s also allowed for a refocusing of the dates. When your entire date is something like going to the park and sitting on a swing, you need the conversation to be interesting. It has to become the building block of narrative – and thus we get a much better insight into these people, who they are, and what their relationship might look like.
Here endeth my spicy take. Agree? Disagree? I am open to being @-ed, within reason.
For now, though, let’s get into the episode.
We kick off with a) single dates, and b) a bombshell.
That bombshell is Thomas blithely announcing he is in love with multiple women.
I’m sorry, sir? You’re just jumping all the way to Full Locky on the “I could see myself falling for you” scale of Bachie Love? Just fully all the way? To three women, no less?
One of these women is allegedly Lauren. They go on a date to a vineyard where Thomas fails at making margaritas (don’t think I, a wine bitch, don’t have thoughts about making cocktails at a wine venue!!), and then they talk about their feelings. It’s not very interesting. The end.
Felix’s date is slightly more interesting. He’s feeling pretty envious of Thomas being in love with literally everyone, so he’s taken Tilly to drive bumper cars, reasoning that if they’re both wearing helmets, then they can’t make out, and he might actually get a sense of what they’d be like as a couple beyond the physical aspect.
The way this man discusses making out feels like a cartoon character mourning the inevitability of stepping on a rake. It’s really something.
Anyway, his helmet ploy works! He does not kiss Tilly! And now – lo! – he has doubts!
They go back to the Bach Pad. “So, um, I really feel a physical connection with you, but… I’m suddenly learning emotions exist?” Felix says to Tilly.
“I – um – uh –“ Tilly replies.
I really like that this story has a narrative arc. But the fact that Felix is only discovering the existence of emotions at the age of 27 is really something… and you know what? I would sacrifice that narrative arc if it meant I could scrub Felix saying “playtime” in reference to Tilly in the pool the other night from my mind.
The other single date is Jed and Alésia. They do some kind of skywalk date, and Jed absolutely hates it. He’s scared of heights, and he spends the whole time screaming while Alésia laughs gently at him.
- As we’ve discussed before, the high places date is rooted in the Capilano Suspension Bridge Experiment (and its replications), which proved a phenomenon called misattribution of arousal: people confuse fear for horniness.
- Jed and Alésia are really quite sweet together and this date almost made me feel an entire emotion. An entire positive emotion.
The next day, after a piece of ridiculous staged nonsense involving the telescopes – a truly cursed piece of set decoration, they will be the first thing to go once Dr Jodi rolls in to consult – the three Bachies and their remaining contestants have a dinner party.
On the surface, this feels very Married at First Sight (much as the Bula Banquets in Bachelor in Paradise were a knockoff of the MAFS dinner parties). However, they swiftly launch into a game of Never Have I Ever, and I realised what this actually was: a knockoff of some classic Love Island firepit games. Never let it be said that this show is not an equal opportunities plagiarist.
The only vaguely interesting thing this reveals is Felix saying, in response to the provocation “never have I ever considered doing a Honey Badger”, that for a while at the beginning of the process he didn’t think he was ready for a relationship, but now he is – proving that men will literally go on The Bachelors rather than going to therapy.
There’s also some more chat about Jessica and her open relationship situation. She provides a little more clarification about what she wants: which is one monogamous romantic partner, but the possibility of exploring other sexual (as opposed to romantic) relationships if she wants.
Felix tries hard to sound cool with this. He really does.
He’s not, though.
But before we can get into that too much more – Osher walks in! He’s gone full Love Island host, walking in to be the bearer of bad news. The three Bachies only have one single date left before the finale: and on top of that, this dinner party is also a rose ceremony, and each of them has to eliminate one of their four remaining ladies.
I’m amazed he didn’t say they had to dump them from the Villa, to be honest. This whole thing is really copying Love Island’s homework.
I feel like when they conceived of this SURPRISE! DINNER IS NOW A ROSE CEREMONY! they envisioned chaos, but what results is really just strange and bitsy. We get a bit more narration of the Bachies’ thought processes, but we also lose some of the sense of ritual.
At least you can get eliminated while sitting on the couch having a wine, rather than the usual way. That seems slightly more pleasant.
Jed is the one who outwardly seems to find this the hardest, but he makes his decision the fastest. He gives roses to Alésia, Angela and Courtney – leaving Bella out in the cold. Considering what went down on last night’s episode, this is hardly a surprise (but I will say that their goodbye is quite touching, when we grade on a curve).
Thomas gives roses to Lauren and Leah… and then leaves his remaining two women, Kiki and Jasmine, hanging for a long time. Given his strongly expressed preferences, I assume this is a way of symbolically punishing Kiki for having children – but eventually he gives her the rose, and we farewell Jasmine (the first and maybe only Bachie-swapper in history).
And then we have Felix.
He also hands out his first two roses fairly quickly, giving them to Jessica and Abigail. That leaves Krystal and Tilly to choose from, and he is torn.
He has a calm, chill conversation with Krystal. “Whatever happens, it’s okay,” she tells him. “You’ll do the right thing.”
Then he has a tearful conversation with Tilly. “I don’t want to lose you!” she says. “We can set that physical intimacy aside! I can open up emotionally.”
Felix stands up. He paces a bit.
And then he gives the rose to Krystal. “In the past, I would have gone just for that physical connection, like I have with Tilly,” he tells the camera, “but I’m looking for something different now.”
I will say this for Felix. He is repellent on just about every level, but they have managed to build a narrative arc around him, and imbue him with character growth – which is more than I can say for a lot of the Bachies we have encountered in the past.
If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this recap – thank you! I assume that means you enjoy my writing, so don’t forget that I’m the author of a couple of reality TV rom-coms. Here For The Right Reasons (which is about a Bachelor-esque lead falling for a contestant he eliminates on the first night) is out now; while Can I Steal You For A Second? (which is about two contestants falling in love with each other instead of their Bachelor-esque lead) will be out in April and is available for pre-order.
You can also catch me on my website: jodimcalister.com.au