Previously on The Bachelor: Nick became increasingly bored by every woman who isn’t Brooke and Sophie drew a weird picture of a tree.
Tonight on The Bachelor: Nick does something utterly unholy to his head.
The sun is shining on the sea, and Nick emerges from his underwater lair. With hometowns coming up, he has some big decisions to make. “With hometowns coming up, I’ve got some big decisions to make,” he says, confirming my hypothesis. This is why he has spent the last week in the ocean, getting advice from his merman family.
Today’s group date is bowling. Ten-pin, that is: Nick doesn’t have the balls to go full Crackerjack. Nick is busily waggling his pelvis all over the lanes when the women arrive. “Nick looks so hot,” says Sophie, basing this statement on the attractiveness of his arms in a bowling shirt, and not his bizarre grease hairdo, which is by any objective measure an affront to God. There is a reason why Fonzie didn’t get a perm before slicking his hair back, and this is it. Never has a former professional rugby player looked more like a cassowary.
The rules for the group date are simple: first of all, it’s the kind of group date that has rules, so it’s not much of a date at all. Secondly, getting a strike gets you private time with Nick, which will last until the next bachelorette gets a strike. The private time will take place in the back seat of a Cadillac, which as Hot Chocolate informed us, is where Heaven is located. These rules are explained by TAFKAAG, who then scuttles back into the pin collection mechanism where he has made his latest home.
The women are all dressed in Fifties-style clothes, for reasons which are non-existent. Brittany goes first and knocks over several pins. Brooke goes second and announces to everyone that she sucks at bowling and she is never getting in the Cadillac because she’s just awful and completely unco when it comes to this kind of thing. Then she immediately gets a strike, because she is BROOKE, goddammit, and if you think there’s a single thing on God’s green earth that she isn’t better at than you, you haven’t been paying attention.
Broke snuggles up with Nick in the Cadillac to discuss price points for wedding invitations, while Cass hurls her ball hilariously into the gutter. Then Sophie gets a strike, confirming her status as Vice-Brooke.
Nick is enjoying his time with Sophie, when Emily gets a strike and he is forced to endure her company yet again. Not for long, though, because Cass unexpectedly figures out that the gutter isn’t a target and she shoves Emily aside, only for Brittany to scatter the pins and kick Cass to the kerb. Just as Nick is about to ask Brittany to be his maid of honour, TAFKAAG shows up and tells them that the time for pleasure is over, and it is now time for the horrible part of the day. This means Dasha never made a strike at all, which is unusual for a Russian.
The task TAFKAAG has set for the women is to write a letter to themselves in 2028. Dasha starts to cry, which TAFKAAG is used to happening when he is around women, but it’s not actually because of him, it’s because she misses her son. But if there’s a better way to get a boyfriend than leaving your only child without his mother for months on end to film a reality TV show, I would like to hear it. A producer squats by Dasha and assures her that she is a “strong woman”, which I guess is supposed to be comforting – maybe she could ring her son up and let him know his mother is a strong woman, so he won’t feel the need for a parent anymore. It’s also a continuation of this season’s theme: producers shoving themselves onto the screen to milk moments of distress.
Nick is excited to see what the women write in their letters, because above all else he wants a woman who is comfortable performing pointless tasks without question. “The real power of this exercise comes when you share what you’ve written out loud,” says TAFKAAG, and the women react with some kind of vague approximation of surprise, being a little unrehearsed.
Cass goes first. Her letter is as well-written as that weird journal thing she wrote, which is to say she’s operating at a third-grade level at least. It is about the man of her dreams that she has been with “for ten years”. Sophie observes that it’s “pretty obvious” that it’s about Nick, as if this is a demonstration of her stunning perspicacity. No shit it’s obvious, Sophie: the woman is on The Bachelor, it’d be pretty bizarre if she wrote a letter about some other guy.
Dasha is just getting started on her letter when she suddenly kneels down. The others gasp in shock, afraid that her shoelace is untied, but it’s just that she’s thinking about her son again. She walks away in tears and Nick follows her to let her know that it’s OK that she misses her son, but she is contractually obliged to read her dumb letter aloud. Her letter is all about her son and not about Nick at all, which is frankly rude.
“Is it fair to be keeping Dasha away from little Leon?” Nick asks himself. It’s a fair question, but he has to remember: Dasha is bangin’.
When it comes to Brittany’s turn, she goes against the trend of tear-stained musings on the meaning of love, and instead reads out a sort of awkward stand-up comedy routine in which she refers to a broken nose, fantastic sex and a terrifying ever-expanding army of children, all of which are among Nick’s favourite things.
Having experienced how bad the bachelorettes are at both bowling and writing, Nick must select a woman for some one-on-one time sitting on a couch having awkward silences. He chooses Brittany, whose reference to mind-blowing sex was a masterstroke. His choice devastates Cass, who was hoping to have a serious talk about her family, because she has the uneasy feeling that Nick isn’t sick enough of her yet.
Brittany and Nick share a chocolate fondue and discuss hometowns, the time-honoured ritual in which ordinary Australians are forced to undergo public humiliation due to their daughter’s poor life choices. Brittany assures Nick that he will fit perfectly into her family, as they all look like porn stars too.
The crunch comes when Brittany asks, “How do you feel about me now?” Nick replies by telling her that she’s “a pretty good package”, the four little words that every woman yearns to hear. He tells her he enjoys watching her smile and laugh, so Brittany has high hopes of one day recording a Vine for Nick to watch. Then they kiss. Gross.
“I know we’ve got something pretty special, and pretty rare,” says Brittany, and she’s right: it is pretty rare to have a relationship with a man who is openly dating several other women and to feel pathetically grateful every time he grants you two minutes of his time.
It is time for Nick’s final single date, with Sophie. He is at Macquarie Ice Rink, one of the most popular ice rinks in the Macquarie area. Is he planning a good old-fashioned Zamboni-bang? Sophie is nervous as she approaches the rink: will her combination of bad drawing and bland conversation be enough to win Nick’s heart.
The joyous couple venture out onto the ice. Sophie slips as an excuse to get Nick to pick her up and haul her about a bit. “I’ve never had an ice skating rink to myself,” says Sophie. What a loser. They strap on the skates and awkwardly zoom about the rink and it’s just like that scene in Rocky except not romantic or endearing. At one point Nick holds his arms out sideways and Sophie explodes with laughter at the funniest damn thing she’s ever seen in her life.
Now it’s time for the serious, violent part of the date: hockey. Nick and Sophie don hockey uniforms and get ready for the biggest test any relationship can face: firing pucks at each other. “If I win, you’ve gotta give me a cheeky kiss in the net. If you win, I’ve got a little surprise for you,” says Nick, and Sophie doesn’t know whether she wants to lose so she can kiss him, or win so she can see his penis.
The scene switches from Rocky to The Mighty Duck as the pair furiously compete against each other for the title of Ultimate Bachelor Hockey Whatever Of 2018. In a cutaway Nick high-fives a disembodied hand that appears mysteriously from offscreen as he scores. It’s 2-2. The tension is so thick it’s almost present.
In the end Nick wins and Sophie must kiss him as per the sexual harassment clause in their previous agreement. “I’m pretty stoked to have lost,” Sophie says, as she and Nick crawl all over each other on the ice like a mating pair of Weddell seals. Nick gives Sophie a stuffed polar bear as a token of his passion for conservation. But she never gets to see his penis and she is crushed.
After the hockey, Nick and Sophie repair to the Bach Pad, so named because it is shaped like a feminine hygiene product. There they slip into the pool for some champagne and softcore pornography. But before the frottage, they discuss hometowns. Sophie is very nervous about them, but she doesn’t have much to worry about: while she’s no Brooke, she’s pretty much guaranteed a hometown visit because none of the other women have dry-humped Nick on ice. Which is not to be confused with humping on dry ice, a very dangerous practice.
“My family is everything to me,” says Sophie, which is what literally every contestant ever on The Bachelor has said, because they know it is sometimes a turn-off to tell a potential partner “I hate my family and with any luck when we go for hometowns we’ll find them all slaughtered in their beds”.
Then it’s time for Sophie to hitch her bikini bottoms up as far as they can go, sit on the edge of the pool and rub herself all over him. Her body has got so much Honey Badger on her, lizards will be fleeing from her in terror for weeks.
Back at the mansion, tension is high as the women wonder which of them will be deemed a worthwhile member of the human race and which of them will be condemned to a lifetime of loneliness and encroaching madness. Sophie comes home and shows everyone her polar bear, which makes her the alpha female and causes the other women to roll onto their backs and expose their bellies to her. Cass asks Nick to come with her for a chat, and reveals she has set up a weird little beach scene by the side of the pool, much like a crazed stalker might. They sit by the pool with leis around their necks and play ukuleles and sing badly and it’s the first time The Bachelor has genuinely seemed like the opening scene of a slasher movie.
Inside, Sophie laments the fact she got a bear and not a rose, while Dasha muses on the future and shows off her enormous gold snake earrings, which represent her love of injecting people with massive doses of neurotoxin. Nick, having convinced Cass to go warm up the car so they can elope, grabs Dasha for a private chat. Dasha shows Nick photos of her son in a last-ditch attempt to emotionally blackmail him into letting her win the show. Instead Nick is questioning whether it’s right to keep Dasha and her son apart
Rose ceremony time. “Tonight is make or break for every single girl,” says Sophie, not totally understanding how this show works. “I haven’t felt this way in a long time,” says Dasha, presumably referring to the massive strain on her earlobes. TAFKAAG arrives to bum everyone out for a minute or two, and then Nick enters, ready to ruin some innocent lives.
Brittany gets a rose because of that whole mindblowing sex thing.
Sophie gets a rose because she rubbed him raw earlier and a gentleman never sends a raw-rubber home straight away.
Cass gets a rose because she still has some vestige of her sanity left and the producers don’t want her leaving till it’s gone.
Brooke gets a rose because duh. I mean, DUH.
This means that both Emily and Dasha are going home: Dasha to the love and affection of her beautiful son, and Emily to a neverending world of beige. Nick simply couldn’t keep Dasha apart from her little boy, or Emily apart from her microwaved Lean Cuisines, any longer.
And so four survive, and Nick has to meet their families. Tune in tomorrow, when we find out why these women are like that.