Once more unto the Bach, dear friends! For – I think – the third last time? Who can tell? The three Bachies each have three contestants left, but… who knows what the fuck that means??
I want to pick up on something I touched on briefly in last night’s recap and tease it out a bit. I talked a little bit about how we’ve seen some character development for Felix over the course over that season, but I want to dig into it some more.
I also want to be clear that I think this man is terrible. If anything, his “growth” might have made him more terrible. It’s forward narrative momentum and development, but he still suuuuuuuuuuuucks.
So: the starting point with Felix has been that he is a root rat who has never been in a relationship, but now he’s ready to change and settle down. We saw immediately that the second half of this was not true – he did not seem remotely ready to change and settle down, as evidenced by the fact that he simply could not stop sticking his tongue down Tilly’s throat at that first cocktail party, despite the fact that his ten other girlfriends were watching and it was the most obvious dick move in the history of dick moves.
In short, the Felix we were introduced to was a man used to getting his own way, guided only by Little Felix.
Now, is this man still guided solely by Little Felix? There’s an argument to be made for that – see, for instance, the fact that he’s kept Jessica around, despite the fact that he’s clearly not interested in the kind of relationship she wants, because he wants to a) sleep with her, and b) defeat her boyfriend Damien (a symbolic, if not necessarily literal, dick-measuring contest).
However, he – and the show – want us to believe that Felix is growing and changing, becoming the kind of man who is ready to propose to someone and settle down. They made that subtext text last night – like, they literally had him say the words – but there are other relationships they’ve narratively set up as emblematic of this new kind of space Felix is moving into: see, for instance, what they did with Abigail the other night.
But Tilly, through pretty much no fault of her own, has become the textual emblem of the old Felix – and thus she had to be cast aside.
There is a lot of misogyny underpinning this narrative framing. Like, a lot. There’s an implicit assumption that you cannot both have a sexual and an emotional connection with a woman: they’ve set it up as an either/or, not a both/and. Felix, this big stupid man, cannot both be properly hot for someone and have a proper conversation with them.
And so Tilly became a sacrifice to his character growth. Notably, this happened after the show implied that they might have had sex (whomst among us can forget the upsettingly horny pool incident?), which reinforces this sacrificial, disposable position they’ve put her in. Felix has had his fun – and now he can move on with someone serious.
In short: yuck. Yuck yuck yuck.
I like that we’ve had forward narrative momentum. I like that we’ve had character growth. I like that these narrative concerns are things they’re thinking about, which they’ve totally forgotten about in some past seasons. But if they could figure out a way to do it next time that isn’t, you know, completely fucked – that would be great.
(cough I can help cough call me cough)
Will things be slightly less fucked tonight? Let’s dive into the episode and see what we can see.
You might remember from last night that one of the solemn promises of the surprise rose ceremony dinner party was that each Bachie only had one single date left. We open tonight with said dates.
Let’s go in order of best to worst.
The best: Jed takes Angela. They zoom about on dirt bikes and then they go on a boat. Yes, I am aware that both of these are transportation, and TRANSPORTATION IS NOT A DATE, I will say this until the day I die, but these two really are quite sweet together.
Angela, who is a fairly withdrawn person, tells Jed that she’s falling in love with him, and Jed reacts to it in quite a nice, genuine way (as opposed to the pained way that most Bachies do, tormented by the fact they’re forbidden from saying anything back).
There are moments when I think I might like Jed. I think it’s mostly because the other two are so terrible, but he seems reasonably nice.
The medium: amazingly, Felix is not on the bottom! Despite possibly having the worst personality of all time! He takes Jessica on some segways, because they’ve spent so much time having serious conversations about her open relationship situation and he just wants to have some fun.
I will say this for Felix: he doesn’t get too in his head about looking foolish. He falls off a lot, but he laughs about it. Nothing is resolved about the open relationship situation, but Jessica does say that she could see herself falling in love with him, and his eyes light up.
(Specifically, she says “sometimes – especially when you’re standing in the distance – I can see myself falling in love with you”. That caveat about him being most attractive to her when he’s standing far away is so incredibly funny to me.)
The worst: Thomas. This dirtbag.
He takes Kiki on his date, which is mostly just sitting and talking. He wants to know whether she – a 38yo woman with two children – would be willing to have more children with him, because he wants a family of his own.
And then he DOESN’T ASK HER THAT QUESTION. He just asks her vague shit about the future! And then blames her for not giving him the answer he wants!
This fucking guy.
At least they shot over his non-illuminati tattoo shoulder this time. That’s something. Growth, perhaps?
And at least someone is going to get that question out of him. In what is, in my opinion, a great idea for a group date at this stage, the show has brought in sexologist Dr Juliet Allen to do couples counselling with our three dipshits and their assorted girlfriends.
We’ve got a few major therapy goals. These are:
- Thomas wants answers re Kiki’s reproductive plans.
- Felix wants to finally be able to articulate that he absolutely, definitely not want to be in a polyamorous relationship
even if he is dying to sleep with Jessica.
- Jed wants a little reassurance re how Alésia feels about him.
To begin with Jed and Alésia: this goes fine, I think! Alésia is a bit wary of the therapy setting – she doesn’t feel comfortable saying personal shit to someone she’s just met, which probably goes double when it’s on TV – but she’s brave enough to articulate what could potentially be a fairly spicy opinion: she wants to be with Jed, but she’s not sure about getting engaged right off the bat.
If we were in US Bachie, this would be deeply controversial; but here, I think it just shows what a bad idea the engagement rings are in the Australian context. It’s putting way too much pressure on a relationship which is basically just a newborn deer starting to walk.
…although I guess that also creates some narrative possibilities. There’s a sense of jeopardy around the proposals here that don’t exist in the US version: the women might genuinely say no.
Moving over to Thomas… ugh, ugh, ugh, I loathe this man. He enthuses about how nice it might be to “do life” with Kiki (a phrase I have a possibly irrational hatred of, but which I HATE), before he gets into the reproductive question.
(Specifically, he talks about his desire to “create life from scratch”, which… come on, man. Come on. Must you find the most skin-crawling way to describe things?)
To her credit, Kiki doesn’t prevaricate. “If you want marriage, and you want kids, that’s great,” she says, “but while I like you so much, that’s not a guarantee with me.”
We end with Felix and Jessica. “I want to be in a monogamous relationship,” Felix finally says. “I don’t want Jessica to also be in a relationship with Damien.”
“Jessica, is that all right with you?” the therapist asks. “Would you be prepared to end things with Damien?”
“Yes,” Jessica says. “I’m falling in love with Felix.”
I will note here that a lot of footage in this scene does not show Jessica’s face – ie. we don’t see her lips moving in time with the words she’s saying – which is usually a tell that audio has been stitched together. I would not be surprised if a great deal of material in this scene has been Frankenbitten, and perhaps Jessica’s answer was actually not quite as clear as the one we’re presented.
The same is true in the next scene. There’s a cocktail party, and Abigail (who is also dating Felix) sits Jessica down and asks her whether she actually is prepared to break up with Damien.
“…that’s not my ideal situation,” Jessica replies. “If I’m with Felix, we’ll be doing long distance. I would really like to be able to maintain my sexual relationship with Damien.”
(Like I said, the editing is tricksy here. I suspect we’re seeing a lot of corners getting sanded off, if nothing else.)
Abigail is not particularly happy about this, and she shares her concerns with Krystal, the other remaining dater-of-Felix. “No!” Krystal says. “Absolutely not! She can’t date Felix and sleep with Damien on the side!”
But they do not do what I imagine the producers would have urged them to do, and gone to Felix to tell him what the situation is. Instead, we head into the rose ceremony with Felix blithely unaware.
Actually, before we get to the rose ceremony, Courtney sits Jed down. “I like you, and I’ve had a good time,” she tells him, “but I can tell that what you have with Alésia and Angela is much stronger than what you have with me.”
So Jed, Alésia and Angela are actually sitting on the couch while this rose ceremony goes down. Angela spills the tea to Jed about what Jessica said – but does he get up and interrupt the ceremony? No! He does not!
At first, I wondered whether the producers were sleeping on the job. But then I saw the promo for tomorrow – spoilers, Damien’s back – and I wondered whether they shied away from drama in the short term in order to generate drama in the… well, it’s next episode. Medium term?
Obviously, Felix keeps Jessica. His other rose goes to Abigail, which means sadly, we farewell Krystal. I say sadly, but obviously this is actually joyous. She is approximately 3694739849324923879874397329 times too good for Felix.
And I think you can predict what Thomas does too. He keeps Leah and Lauren, and sends Kiki away. At least her children are safe from whatever Flowers in the Attic situation he was dreaming up for them.
(In terms of locking them in some attic and pretending they don’t exist. Not the incest. I just want to be perfectly clear.)
You know, maybe I do want to do some producer criticising here. This show was shot, like, nine months ago. You have known that Lauren would be in Thomas’ final two for all this time. You couldn’t edit in a bit more of her in the earlier episodes? We literally didn’t learn about this woman’s existence until Episode 7, and even then it was only because she and Thomas were the unfortunate witnesses to Felix and Tilly’s, ahem, “steamy pool session”.
(Producer Murray would never. He is very, very good at his job. Read my books.)
The promo for tomorrow also shows Thomas declaring “I’m done” and storming out. Dare we dream?
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