Previously, on The Bachelor: Cass obsessed, Cat sniped, Romy tried to suck Nick’s brain out of his head, and none of it mattered much because he’s already in love with Brooke. Tonight on The Bachelor: chicks, man.
We begin at the mansion, with the kind of epic music on the soundtrack that would be more appropriate accompanying a helicopter circling Jurassic Park. Down to our own pack of velociraptors, TAFKAAG enters to say a series of extremely unwanted words before finally producing an envelope that the women have to hold themselves back from mugging him for. Inside the envelope is a clue: “Our paths have crossed before, but that was a lifetime ago. Let’s reminisce on the golf course”. Everyone assume this means Nick’s old girlfriend Cass will be getting a single date, not even contemplating the possibility, based on the phrase “reminisce on the golf course”, that Nick believes Vanessa Sunshine to be the reincarnation of Norman von Nida.
Anyway, they’re all wrong, because actually the single date goes to Brittany, who was born in the same hospital as Nick: the Animal Rescue Centre in Wagga. Brittany shows up to the marina for her date, wearing the hat her grandmother died in. Nick shows up on “his” boat, wearing a pair of shorts he stole from a six-year-old and Marlon Brando’s hat from The Wild One.
Brittany might be excited that she gets to spend a romantic day on a boat, but Nick quickly reveals that the reality is something much more disappointing: she has to play golf. Hopping off the boat and onto a golf cart – AKA the yacht of the green – Nick takes her to a course and drops the next bombshell: it’s not golf, it’s “foot golf”. Foot golf is a sport made famous by the fact it’s not actually a sport.
Brittany is a competitive soul and starts kicking the hell out of the ball. Nick declares his kick to have landed fairly near the hole. “Nick’s sense of humour is a big part of the attraction,” says Brittany, inexplicably. She claims that she and the Bachelor are constantly laughing together, which is less a sign of well-aligned senses of humour than of two people stricken by the same gas leak.
As the day goes on, both Bachelor and bachelorette enjoying the timeless dance of seduction – kick, walk, gratuitously grope – Brittany begins to long for some quality time when she and Nick can sit down, talk about their feelings, and lick the insides of each other’s cheeks. For his part, Nick is unnaturally excited by the sight of Brittany playing kick golf, but is really fanging to get liquored up. And so the pair move off the course and into a premium candle manufacturer’s showroom, to drink heavily and flout fire safety procedures.
Brittany pulls a classic romantic move by producing written questions for Nick to answer, while Nick pulls a face like a goanna and stares blankly at her. Having told her a weird story about watching her sleep, he asks her why she’s ready for love. She says that she’s ready for love mainly because she feels that in terms of love, she thinks she is fairly ready. He nods. He tells her that even though she seems really old, she looks really young. She takes this as a compliment. Seeing his chance, Nick demands Brittany strip off and wrap a couple of torn sheets around herself. And so the date ends with the slippery lovers frolicking in the pool, which comes close to overflowing from the massive amounts of drool they’re both emitting.
“I feel like Britt challenges me,” says Nick, presumably referring to hours of footage that has been deleted from the aired program because there has been literally no evidence of Nick being challenged by Britt at anything but foot golf. Then he gives her a rose and plants one on her lips. “It was the first time I felt no one else was around and it was just he and I,” says Brittany, a dangerous thing to let yourself believe when there’s a camera crew present. She confides in the viewer that it’s been years since she’s felt the way she feels about Nick – the last Wallaby winger she had such strong feelings for was Rob Egerton.
Back at the mansion, nobody has remembered to bring a book, so they have nothing better to do than sit around twirling their hair thinking hateful thoughts about Brittany. She arrives back carrying a rose, which Romy finds, like, so lame, you know. Meanwhile Cass just knows that Brittany kissed Nick, and is “devastated”, as she sees her dream of living in Nick’s bins and digging a tunnel under his wardrobe slipping away from her.
Suddenly, a startling revelation is made: there’s still more than an hour of this episode to go.
Next day it is a group date, and all the bachelorettes are invited, to make the experience especially meaningless. Unfortunately, TAFKAAG is also present, to guard against the women being overwhelmed by manliness. Cass is extremely excited, breathlessly telling the camera that she goes all gooey inside whenever she sees Nick and can barely restrain herself from setting fire to his car.
TAFKAAG announces that the first part of the group date will be a handshake test, a process by which the bachelorettes pair off and squeeze a stick with a ball on it to prove…something. I don’t know, it’s pretty dumb even by Bachelor standards, but the upshot is that the five pairs who are bad at holding hands are eliminated from the quest to finish the day with one-on-one time with Nick. “I reckon it’s going to get competitive AF,” says Cat, still using the term “AF” because the producers have been utterly derelict in their moral duty.
Ten women having been kicked out of the contest, and therefore sitting down to get blind drunk for the rest of the day, we move on to the next challenge, pausing only to let Cayla deliver an unnerving monologue about how much she wants to touch Nick. The second challenge involves the women pressing up against Nick and waltzing across a log – the best way to determine compatibility. As the others stiffly shuffle down the log, Cass watches, her bloodlust rising. Finally it is her turn, and her feelings for Nick are so powerful she starts moving in slow motion. This costs her dearly, because under the terms of whatever this weird game is, the fastest log-waltzers win. Cass isn’t among the top four, so she’s out, and is crushed. Her eyes turn inky black as storm clouds mass in the distance.
Cat is severely unimpressed by Cass’s “cringeworthy” attitude. “Such a desperado,” she sneers, which is a pretty big call from someone who at the age of 24 is so bereft of options that she’s going on The Bachelor. I’m not saying Cat projects her own insecurities onto others in an attempt to stave off a reckoning with her own self-loathing, but if I did say that, I’d say it pretty confidently.
Cat, Vanessa Sunshine, and two other women who only showed up this morning are in the last round of the competition. Cat and Vanessa Sunshine hate each other – Cat hates Vanessa Sunshine because she’s here for the wrong reasons, while Vanessa Sunshine hates Cat because she is technically a human. The last round involves TAFKAAG asking stupid questions about Nick, the women answering them, and the ones who answer correctly smashing fake hearts in front of the ones who answer incorrectly. It’s a lot like Survivor, but without any element of physical exertion. Someone called “Alex” is eliminated first, because the show can’t afford to pay her for a speaking role. Cat is knocked out next, and takes it with all the grace and good sportsmanship of a hyena whose lunch has just been stolen by a lizard.
In the end, Vanessa Sunshine wins the dullest quiz show ever staged, and gets to spend an evening alone with Nick, which is basically her worst nightmare. Nick sits down with Vanessa Sunshine and asks her some deep and meaningful questions, while Vanessa Sunshine tries her best to convey the message that she wishes Nick would drown himself in a vat of horse manure without saying it outright. At one point he asks her about brunch and she reacts like she just mentioned her multiple drug convictions.
In the history of awkward dates, Nick’s time with Vanessa Sunshine ranks somewhere between the first Kennedy-Nixon debate, and the ritual cow slaughter from Apocalypse Now. Nick makes a heroic effort to get to know Vanessa Sunshine, deploying the twin tactics of personal questions and horrible jokes, but Vanessa’s default setting is to give as short an answer as possible while giving him the kind of look you give a diseased dog that just vomited on your activewear, and she is not planning to change that setting for this so-called “man”.
The next morning dawns bright and…I don’t know really, it’s hard to see. Brooke has decided to use her magical Bachelor key, and pops over to the Bachelor pad with a basket of egg and bacon rolls to ruin Nick’s quiet time. Even though she has that key, she knocks on the door, which makes the whole exercise pointless. Nick is stunned by her arrival, answering the door in nothing but shorts – Brooke seems to have interrupted him putting honey on his badger, if you know what I mean.
Brooke and Nick sit on the bed and eat breakfast and discuss how lame all the other women are and how funny it is that any of them think they have a chance. Brooke tells Nick sad stories about the underprivileged youth she works with, making sure that if he ever sends her home he will feel like a complete bastard.
“At this time of your life do you feel like you’re looking for a bloke?” Nick asks, in case Brooke’s decision to fill out the application form to appear on The Bachelor was a false flag operation. She confirms that she is, so thank God that’s cleared up.
Brooke pulls out a rugby ball and demands Nick play her in a game of one on one. “Nick is really good – surprisingly fast,” says Brooke, stunned that the strapping muscular professional international rugby star might have a physical advantage over the tiny amateur woman. There are high hopes for some real brutal collisions, but sadly, as soon as Brooke tackles him, they just roll around on the ground kissing like perverts. It’s not a serious game of rugby at all. Rubbish.
After the lawn canoodling, Nick demands to know why Brooke is so Brooke-ish. Brooke explains she’s been through some stuff. The soundtrack gets emotional. Nick is blown away by Brooke’s unique energy. Now that he knows about Brooke’s tough past and many personal tragedies, there’s no getting around it: he will be a HUGE bastard.
They hold hands and we go to the ad break knowing that if Brooke is not the winner of this year’s The Bachelor, someone’s going to have to look into Russian interference. But more about Dasha later.
Back at the mansion, it’s time for the cocktail party, as large swathes of western Sydney suffer blackouts due to power being diverted to Bachelor fairy lights. Brooke comes back with a rose, causing Cass to look around desperately for an ocean to walk into. Cass has taken the news that the show involves other women harder than most, and she just doesn’t know how to convince Nick that, out of all the bachelorettes, she’s the only one who is willing to bite a weasel in half to prove her love.
Some of the women sit on a couch that is too small to fit them all on, to listen to Cat and Romy elaborate on their philosophy of hating all other women. They ask Vanessa Sunshine how her date with Nick went. Vanessa Sunshine thinks it went pretty well, as it’s the first date she’s been on in her life that didn’t end with involuntary organ donation. They ask Vanessa Sunshine whether she’s attracted to Nick. Vanessa Sunshine does not understand the question, as she has yet to read the “attraction” chapter in her How To Fool The Humans manual.
Luckily, before Vanessa Sunshine pulls a gun or Cat and Romy have strokes from an oversupply of smugness, Nick shows up to ask if he can sit on the grass with Dasha for a while. When they are alone, Nick confides that even though he considers himself married to Brooke, he would really love to get into Dasha’s pants. Dasha tells Nick that she has a son. “I think that’s great,” says Nick, thankful that his years of rugby training have made him adept at running away from people.
And now we return to the Adventures of Cass. Our favourite human elbow nerve has written down her feelings in a book and has made the momentous decision to tell Nick just what they are. A risky move, sure, but if Nick is not into needy unhinged weirdos, best to find out now.
Nick and Cass sit down. “Talk to me,” says Nick, a glutton for punishment. Cass tells him she’s written some things down but she’s too scared to read it out. Nick tells her to stop coming the raw prawn. Cass agrees to do what she intended to do all along, and so she reads out a long, inarticulate spiel about feelings and butterflies and how every time she looks at Nick she basically does a big wee all over the place.
Nick thanks Cass for telling him all this, and ruefully mutters about having “bitten off more than I can chew”. Cass is ecstatic to hear that Nick has bitten her off, and misinterprets his stated wish to not hurt anyone as meaning he doesn’t want to hurt the other women by choosing her, whereas in reality he’s worried he might hurt Cass when he fakes his own death to get away from her.
Back in the main bitching room, Shannon is calling Cat out on her habit of being the nastiest person on earth. Cat objects that actually she’s just saying what everyone else is too scared to say. The resident commentator, whose name is: a) Alisha, and b) unimportant, is outraged, saying that the other women are just intimidated by Cat. “Everyone in this competition SHOULD be intimidated,” she says. Luckily, she herself is not in this competition: she’s just here to act as Cat’s PA. Shannon will pay a high price for stating the bleeding obvious: Romy, Cat and Alisha will now ban her for life from their treehouse.
TAFKAAG, under the bizarre impression that this show is a competition to win over a man rather than a test to see who can drive another woman to self-harm the quickest, enters to introduce the rose ceremony. Three women will leave the mansion tonight, and live the rest of their lives alone and unworthy of love.
Dasha gets a rose because Nick wants a piece of that real bad.
Sophie gets a rose because she looks a bit like that woman from McLeod’s Daughters.
Ashley gets a rose because it would not be fair to send her home the first time she’s actually been on camera.
Vanessa Sunshine gets a rose because Nick is determined to find out her views on brunch one way or another.
Emily gets a rose because she’s pretty tall.
Romy gets a rose because she’s played by Asher Keddie.
Cass gets a rose because everyone wants to see the epic meltdown when she’s one of the last two and gets knocked back.
Rhiannon gets a rose because rumour is she’s a witch.
Ray “Alisha” Hadley gets a rose because who else is going to clean Cat’s toilet every night?
Cat gets a rose because the producers know what ratings are.
Tenille gets a rose on captain’s orders.
Blair gets a rose out of sympathy because Mrs Garrett died recently.
Shannon gets a rose because we can’t wait for her and Cat to punch on.
Steph gets a rose because…nup, you got me.
Aleksandra gets a rose mainly because it’s pretty funny to see how angry Cayla is she didn’t get a rose.
This means that both Cayla and Kayla are going home, which will make things a lot less confusing. Also, someone called “Christina” is going home. Nobody knows who she is.
Cayla asks to speak to Nick outside before she leaves. Despite understandable fears that she is going to try to sell him a dreamcatcher, he agrees, and she makes an impassioned plea to him to not trust Cat and Romy. This is a wise warning, but it’s a shame it didn’t come from someone…you know…sane. Nick is unlikely to take Cayla seriously, because he is a person. Cayla drives off into the night hoping Nick will see reason and that the spells she cast before leaving will protect him. Kayla, on the other hand, drives off into the night wondering which one she was.
Tune in tomorrow, when the show will inexplicably become It’s A Knockout.