The Bachelor S06E11 Recap: Old Man River

Previously on The Bachelor: Nick and Jamie Lee learnt how to hit people with sticks and then Jamie Lee revealed her deepest secret: she doesn’t know how to talk; but Tenille went home because neither does she.

Tonight on The Bachelor: Nick and Cass ride the short bus.

It’s a bright sunny morning at the Bachelor Mansion, and apart from the increasingly rapid deterioration of the human race’s understanding of interpersonal relationships, all’s well with the world. TAFKAAG has emerged from the chest freezer in which he sleeps to have a chat with the bachelorettes about how well they’re all getting on with Nick. He tastefully leaves the words “except Jamie Lee” hanging unspoken in the air. Producing an envelope, he heads out for his daily rabbit-shooting expedition.

The envelope contains news of a single date. Cass and Emily are the only ones who haven’t had one yet, but Cass has one important edge over Emily: ads have been airing all week showing her going on a single date with Nick. And so it comes to pass that Cass got a single date with Nick. All the other girls are very happy for Cass, because when you’re trying to build a meaningful relationship with someone, nothing pleases you more than seeing someone else dating them.

Nick comes to pick Cass up in a small yellow bus. Why? Because he is the Honey Badger, and if he feels like riding in a bus, he will bloody well ride in a bus. Do not question him. Cass seems slightly nervous, applying chapstick with a tentative air. “I’ve never really gotten a straight answer from him on how he feels about me,” she says, amazingly still not getting the hint. Nick hoists Cass over his shoulder like the sack of turnips that he considers equally attractive, and off they go in Nick’s Weird Bus. Cass spends the trip stressing how relieved she is that Nick has finally invited her on a single date, just when she was thinking she was going to have to feign death in his bathtub.

Their destination: Wet ‘n Wild. Nick has had the whole park locked down, by which I mean Channel Ten has had the whole park locked down in return for the free advertising the show provides. Nick and Cass, who have learnt nothing about the dangers of abandoned amusement parks from Scooby Doo, enter for a day of moist fun.

Back at the mansion Brooke, Jamie Lee and Dasha have a conversation about Cass’s feelings for Nick. Much like those feelings, the conversation is extremely dull.

At Wet ‘n’ Wild, Cass rides on Nick’s back, Nick struggling under the weight in a visual metaphor for the way a relationship with Cass would feel to a man. The first ride they go on is the Skycoaster, which is 76 metres high. Both Nick and Cass are afraid of heights, so the logical course of action would be to avoid terrifyingly high theme park rides. But this is a Bachelor date, and Bachelor dates are all about unpleasant experiences. “It’s higher than Bob Marley,” says Nick. Too soon, Nick. Too soon.

Dangling from harnesses like two cows being carried on conveyor belts towards rotating knives, the awkward couple hurtle into the sky. “Holy shitballs!” cries Nick, his trademark catchphrase. They hang high in the air and Nick pulls the ripcord that’s supposed to cause them to swing downwards, but they just keep hanging in the air. The ripcord has malfunctioned, and they are dangling near death. Old Man McGillicuddy’s plan has worked to perfection and Mystery Inc is nowhere to be found.

As Nick and Cass yell in terror and Cass considers whether she should ask Nick to make love to her just once before they die, Nick reveals in a cutaway that he has planned the whole thing, arranging that only Cass’s cord would work. This seems like a pointlessly cruel way to behave, but I guess that’s a metaphor for what a relationship with Nick is like for a woman. Finally Cass does pull her cord and they swoop majestically through the air like twin ostriches being fired from a catapult. “I’m so glad we did that together,” she says afterwards, reflecting on the unmatchable romance of gravity.

Next it is time for some waterslide action, which means Cass yanking her bathers up her crack and gratuitously fondling Nick’s chest at every opportunity. It is, as the park promises, both wet and wild, although the ratio is a little off and it’s about 90% wetness to 10% wildness.

“I can see that our connection’s still there,” says Cass, “when we’re together we have so much fun.” She can tell they’re having fun because of the way they’ve been hysterically screeching at each other all day.

Moisture over, it’s time for the tedious depresssing part of the date: sitting next to a pool and talking vaguely about feelings. Cass tells Nick that she wants to see if their relationship can go to the next level. “I feel like I make you so happy,” she says, flashing the tickets on herself that she’s been stockpiling. But she wants to know how he feels about her. Nick laughs in a manly fashion at her touching naivete. “To be honest,” he says, and then there’s an ad break because the emotion is just far too much for us to take.

After the ads, Nick explains that he finds it difficult to show his emotions “in this environment”. It seems like he means the environment of a water park, but actually he means in the environment of a reality show. Cass, who hasn’t seen how easily he shows his emotions to every woman apart from her, seems to find this answer acceptable. Nick goes on to tell her what a beautiful, nice, honest, radiant, angelic, superpowered, fuel-injected, gold-plated, money-back-guaranteed, battery-operated girl she is, piling on as many compliments as he can so as to avoid telling her he doesn’t actually like her. It’s kind of painful to watch someone be this oblivious to something: it’s like watching the swimmer at the start of Jaws. Cass has no idea that lurking beneath her is Nick’s total absence of romantic feeling, ready to drag her under at second.

Next day the women are in cars, driving out into the countryside, where TAFKAAG has built one of his nests nearby. He introduces them to a woman called Emily, who is a “transformation coach”, which is someone who makes a living inflicting pain on people for no apparent reason. She is there to help the women achieve their goals and break down their barriers, which she will do by making them go through an obstacle course. The connection of this activity to the aim of forming a relationship with an ex-rugby player is not obvious at first, but fear not, pretty soon nothing will be made clear.

The hideous corporate team-building nonsense begins as Coach Emily makes everyone write down something they think holds them back in relationships. They then must carry very heavy backpacks. This symbolises their “emotional baggage”, which is the sort of thing people think is effective because they don’t understand what metaphors are. Jamie Lee straight away tells Coach Emily that she has hurt her foot and will be unable to engage in the day’s foot-intensive activities. Jamie Lee is upset that she will therefore be unable to bond closely with Nick, but on the upside, she won’t have to do the dumb obstacle course. Also, she wouldn’t be able to bond closely with Nick anyway because she’d have been too busy carrying a heavy backpack across a river.

Speaking of which, the women and Nick must now carry their heavy backpacks across a river. There is much squealing and giggling and Brittany gets stuck in the mud. “Jumping in the river is like jumping headfirst into a relationship,” Brittany reads carefully off the autocue. Then Brooke goes under the water. “I’m thinking I’m gonna drown,” she says in a to-camera interview conducted after it’s all over, which somewhat drains the tension of the moment.

“Jumping into a river is EXACTLY like jumping headfirst into a relationship,” Coach Emily shouts, which is what Brittany said – what a coincidence! Also, it’s not exactly like jumping headfirst into a relationship. When you start a relationship your shoes don’t fill with water and you don’t get tadpoles in your underpants. What kind of relationships Coach Emily has had in her life, only God knows.

They must now pair off to carry poles with bags hanging from them. Cass pairs up with Nick, and wonders whether the other women are jealous. The other women don’t give a shit, but Cass is pretty sure they must be jealous. She’s always pretty sure they’re jealous, because of how special her bond is. Meanwhile Nick mentally rehearses gentle ways to introduce a woman to the friend zone.

After the pole-carrying exercise Coach Emily explains that being in a relationship is exactly like carrying a pole, because in every relationship two people have to learn to work together and there’s a big piece of wood between them.

Lastly the participants must wade through mud, which is exactly like being in a relationship because there’s mud.

Meanwhile a horse is staring at Jamie Lee.

Back at the river, the women climb over a piece of wood, which is like being in a relationship, because sometimes your partner will turn into wood and stand in water and you have to climb over them to get to the fridge. Nick finds it difficult to climb over the wood, which surprises everyone because as a professional rugby player, climbing over wood in rivers was a big part of his life.

Back at the campfire, Jamie Lee welcomes back the mud-covered, exhausted idiots who weren’t smart enough to fake an injury to get out of this stupid crap. She feels bad she didn’t do the obstacle course, but also feels good that she didn’t do the obstacle course.

The women and Nick sit around a campfire. Sitting around a campfire is like sitting around a relationship. Coach Emily tells them to look at the emotional baggage they wrote down, and explain how carrying a bag and falling in water has cured all their problems. They admit that, yes, their deepseated neuroses have disappeared completely because they are muddy and tired. Coach Emily leaves them with the hope that they find fulfilment in their futures and a reminder that a good way to get rich is to make up a whole bunch of meaningless bullshit and then push people into rivers for money. Everyone nods, having found a deeper appreciation for the ways in which people with no actual skills can turn taking things literally like a person with a brain injury into a career.

Nick chooses to spend one-on-one time with Dasha because what the hell, why not, right? “Dasha is bangin’,” he says, “but when it comes to love, it’s gotta be more than that.” But with Dasha, it IS more than that: she’s also got a really hot accent. “You don’t have to be talking all the time with Dasha,” he says, appreciating the simple pleasures of sitting silently with a hot woman and feeling her up. However, although you don’t have to be talking ALL the time with Dasha, it helps to talk at least a little bit, and Nick is struggling a lot with this. For what feels like several hours, Nick and Dasha stare blankly at each other, as if suddenly realising that they have no interest in each other as human beings. This probably comes as quite a relief.

“Tonight’s rose ceremony will be the hardest one yet,” says Nick, because Sam the intern was sick today and nobody has removed the thorns from the stems.

Cass already has her pity rose from the water park, and there are only six other roses left, which means one unlucky woman’s life effectively ends tonight.

Jamie Lee is nervous because she didn’t get to bond with Nick over mud and backpacks, though judging by her single date last week, she’d only have made things worse. In fact, everyone is nervous, because it is finally sinking in that this show really is their only chance for happiness, and that Nick delights in the cruelty he doles out, like Satan himself.

Shannon gets a rose because she looks good in a river.

Brooke gets a rose because she is the winner of this year’s series of The Bachelor Australia.

Brittany gets a rose because Nick is going by height.

Sophie gets a rose because Nick can’t tell the difference between her and Shannon.

“I feel like we’ve got so much in common,” says Jamie Lee. No idea who she’s referring to. It can’t be Nick.

Dasha gets a rose because awkward silences or not, she IS bangin’.

Emily gets a rose because he DID promise her a single date at some point, remember?

That means Jamie Lee goes home, and reflects that maybe, when she had a whole day with Nick, she should’ve considered at some point saying something. Still, she’s the strong silent boring type and if a man can’t appreciate her for who she is…

Tune in tomorrow, when accidents will happen.

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Hey, if you’d like to get an even bigger dose of me, why not check out my books, Error Australis and Aussie Aussie Aussie, and see how these recaps would look if they were about Australian history.

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