Previously on The Bachelor: Cass read Nick a story that he really didn’t want to read, and Shannon outraged Cat by doing something nobody had ever done to Cat before: accurately describe her.
Tonight: It’s A Knockout.
We open on Nick wading through a river, possibly hunting for catfish. He has chosen this location for his single date with Dasha, as he has read that Russian women enjoy watersports. He describes the spot as “beautiful crystal-clear water”, a sad indication that Nick’s eyesight is failing badly, because this water is as brown as his silly hat.
Dasha walks through the woods on her way to the rendezvous, musing on whether Nick’s family values will live up to her expectations. For his part, Nick loves the fact that Dasha has a son – in fact his enthusiasm for Dasha’s offspring seems slightly suspicious. Remember in Jerry Maguire when Renee Zellweger has to dump Tom Cruise because she realises he’s more into her son than he is into her? Yeah, that. Anyway, Nick tells Dasha that they’re going to spend the day fly-fishing and Dasha is delighted because like all five-year-olds, her little boy loves fishing. Remember when you were five, and all you wanted to do was land a trout?
Back at the mansion, Cat and Romy are working hard to maintain their reputations as Australia’s most unpleasant people, by slagging off Vanessa Sunshine – who would have that reputation herself if Cat and Romy weren’t there – behind her back. Their Two Minute Hate session is interrupted by an envelope, although TAFKAAG himself doesn’t show up because he is in the toilet crying. The envelope contains the names of the women chosen for the next group date, and a cryptic message suggesting that the date will involve violence in some way. This excites Romy because it means Cat might get to physically injure Shannon, and Romy’s sexual preference is watching people get hurt. The envelope also causes Cass to go through her now-customary “oh my god what if I’m not picked I am going to slash my wrists” routine, but of course she is on the list, because who wouldn’t want to make Cass watch Nick enjoying time with other women?
Back in the delta, Nick has forced Dasha to put on waders, confusing her mightily, as she doesn’t know what “waders” means. It’s hard to see why she’s so baffled, because it’s just the word for the big pants she’s put on, but she continues to struggle. Luckily though, Dasha says that with Nick there, manipulating her arms while she stands waist-deep in muddy water, she feels “so safe and relaxed”. And that’s what giant pants will do for a girl. Meanwhile Nick is wearing that silly hat and no shirt under his waders, and looks like a stripper who’s adopted a Scoutmaster persona for a very disturbing birthday party.
Futile fishing expedition over, Nick and Dasha move on to a garden filled with superfluous lights, where they sit and drink wine and puzzle each other with their accents. Nick confesses that he didn’t think he and Dasha would connect as they come from different cultures and he was worried she would just want to make borscht and meddle in elections all the time. Dasha tells him that she wants a man of ambition who will take care of her and her own little Jonathan Lipnicki. She now knows that if she marries Nick, she and her son will never want for fresh fish, so it’s looking good for Dasha. Nick is impressed: “She is just powerfully who she is,” he says in awe, and you can tell this makes a welcome change from the other bachelorettes, most of whom are powerfully who someone else is. For example, Cat is powerfully Lucrezia Borgia, and Cass is powerfully Robert De Niro in The Fan.
Nick tells Dasha that she’s full of surprises. Dasha responds by mentioning the waders again, which seems to militate against Nick’s original thesis. Nick tells Dasha to look over there. Dasha looks over there. Nick pulls out a rose while she’s looking away. What a trickster! Then he asks her if she will accept the rose – in Russian! He learnt Russian just for her. What have YOU done for a woman today, you lazy bastards?
Next day, the bachelorettes arrive at Allianz Stadium, the setting for the group date, in which all the women must play and win one game of rugby league against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
No, but wouldn’t that be great? Actually they’re going to compete in an game of “arrow tag”, which is apparently a game where two teams run around like idiots shooting fake bows and arrows at each other. The captains will be Cat, who is eager to hurt people, and Shannon, who hates Cat because she is normal. Romy is extremely excited to see Cat attack Shannon: when Romy agreed to come on this show she didn’t even know there was dating involved, she just wanted to be on a show where women fight each other. “Of course I was targeting Shannon,” says Cat, who was extremely wounded by Shannon’s mild honesty and wishes to repay the insult in blood.
Nick gathers the red team and tells them that preparation prevents piss-poor performance, a message that none of the women understand. And then the game begins. Quickly Emily shoots Nick in the balls. He writhes in pain, as last night’s conversation with Dasha about having children is rendered utterly moot. He is also “in jail”, a stupid thing that happens in this stupid game. Brooke, however, frees her teammates from jail by doing the thing you need to do to do that, and on we go.
The game is not deserving of detailed description. It’s just a bunch of women in leggings shooting at each other, and occasionally running. Then it ends, but TAFKAAG has some tragic news: that was only the first round. They have to play again, with Nick swapping sides. He gathers the blue team together and tells them a story about mice in a bucket of cream, which seems to really move everyone deeply.
At this point it’s worth reflecting on exactly how this exercise is supposed to assist Nick in his quest to select a life partner. One has to assume that one of the qualities he prizes in a woman is the ability to hit a running target. Presumably life with the Honey Badger involves a lot of armed combat scenarios.
The second round sees Nick impressed with what a great team player Cat is, and also Cat shooting Shannon in the face. “Did she get hurt?” a mysterious disembodied voice asks her. “Don’t know, don’t care,” Cat replies, summing up her attitude to literally everything she has ever encountered in life. The blue team wins due to Brittany’s woeful ignorance of the rules, and Nick names Cat best-and-fairest,, devastating Cass, who will probably go back to the mansion and write a poem about it.
This means Cat will get one-on-one time with Nick. “I was over the moon when he picked Cat,” says Romy, who’s given up even pretending that she’s interested in winning this competition herself. Cat and Nick sit on a couch in the middle of the stadium and chat about what a great game Stupid Arrow Crap is. Cat is feeling a great deal of sexual chemistry, but it’s possible that’s just the strong passion she always feels for herself. She tells Nick about her business ambitions, hoping she can convince the producers to flash a 1-800 number on the bottom of the screen. They discuss whether it is appropriate for them to kiss at this point. Cat thinks that it is, since she plans to proceed to full penetration in the next fifteen minutes. Nick moves in and kisses her on the cheek. Cat is extremely disappointed, as this is neither romantic nor helpful for selling jewellery.
Back at the mansion – and I don’t want to shock you here – Cass is whining about how awful it is to be so in love with Nick. She just can’t understand why, after she went to the trouble of writing down some banal thoughts in a book and then reading them aloud, he hasn’t proposed yet.
But tonight’s cocktail party is all about Blair, who is sick of the rumour swirling around that she doesn’t exist. She comes out dressed for a PE class. “Let’s just say I’ve got a basketball and a whistle and I’m prepared to use them,” she says. This sounds absolutely filthy, but sadly all she means is that she has a basketball and a whistle. She forces Nick to bounce a ball with her, because that’s apparently how PE teachers flirt. Meanwhile Romy and Cat discuss what a stupid ugly bogan with stupid ugly bogan hair Blair is, before moving on to wondering why the other women don’t like her. Besides them sits Alisha, who has abandoned her commentary duties to assume the role of Kristen Schaal in Flight of the Conchords, laughing and applauding everything the mean girls say.
Romy takes Nick away for some private time between him, her and her cleavage. She’s hoping to suck a bit more blood from the wound on his neck, but her game is thrown off by the sight of Cass, staring at them from a distance while making plans to pine away in the highest tower of a castle.
As Cass nears breaking point, it’s time for a rose ceremony. Cass is certain that Nick is in love with her, and if she doesn’t get a rose it is entirely possible she will set the mansion on fire with her mind. TAFKAAG arrives to announce that two women will leave the mansion tonight, free from the Badger’s Curse.
“My heart’s beating,” says Cass, her medical training coming to the fore. “Nick is a dream,” she adds, making the situation quite clear: she’s actually been unconscious this whole time.
Rhiannon gets a rose because the world is a strange and unsettling place.
Tenille gets a rose because she has so little else in life.
Ashley gets a rose because she’s quite well-groomed.
Sophie gets a rose for effort.
Shannon gets a rose as a reward for all her work for the anti-Cat movement.
Throughout, by the way, Cass is continuing to monologue about the future she sees for Nick and herself, in a manner reminiscent of Mrs Lovett, the psychotic serial killer piemaker from Sweeney Todd.
Alisha gets a rose because how else will Regina and Gretchen know they’re the most popular girls in school?
“I don’t really know what’s going on,” says Cass. No kidding, babe.
Romy gets a rose because Nick wants someone with a bit of muscle around in case the shit hits the fan.
Brooke gets a rose because Nick is in love with her, duh.
Blair gets a rose for her dribbling skills.
We switch to Cat’s monologue. Cat can’t believe she hasn’t received a rose yet, because somehow, even at this late stage, contestants on The Bachelor think the order of rose-giving is determined by the man’s preference rather than calculated for maximum drama. Are they really that stupid? Probably.
Brittany gets a rose because, you know, she seems kind of nice.
Emily gets a rose because she can kill a man from forty feet away.
Cat gets a rose because come on, pay attention.
Vanessa Sunshine gets a rose because powerful mob figures demand it.
One rose left: will it be Cass, that other one, or whatshername?
Of course, it’s Cass, because nobody wants to leave a train wreck earlier than they have to.
And so the psychological torture of both a young woman and an innocent TV audience continues. Steph and Aleksandra must now say goodbye to Nick, which is more than they’ve got to say to him previously. It’s heartwarming to see just how little anyone cares about this development. “I can’t believe that I shaved my legs for this,” says Steph, which may have been a joke, or may have been some kind of movie reference, but one thing is for sure: nobody knows what the hell she’s on about.
Tune in next week, when bitches be cray.