This week Richie is heading across the country to meet the families of his final four girls. No wonder then that our episode begins with Richie doing a bit of man-scaping. Well a lot of man-scaping. By the time he is finished there is not a hair left on his chest, his back or his chinny chin chin.
Grooming complete, Richie’s off to the kitchen to whip himself up an activated almond and organic berry smoothie, and his goatee is back again. That’s what a healthy diet and a 100% manliness will do for you I guess.
The first home visit is with Alex. And for something completely different she is sooooo excited!
But not excited enough to introduce her inner man…I mean…little man to Richie. She’s not introducing Richie to the little man’s father either, and let’s face it we’d all be up for that. Imagine, Richie meets the Elijah-daddy, they hit it off, Richie dumps Alex and the two blokes head out for a beer. Sadly, we will just never know.
Instead, to warm things up, Alex has organised the worst picnic ever. She’s chucked a few strawberries in a bowl and thrown a rug down in the middle of a chilly, windy field.
Alex is from one of those families that names all their kids with the same letter. Richie will be meeting Alex’s mother, sister Abby, brother Adam, and her sister-in-law Simona.
So strawberries uneaten, it’s time to head off to the house. Mum Jo greets them at the door. When it comes to a mate for her daughter, she has quite the shopping list: down-to-earth, loyal, sense of humour, hard-working, trustworthy and honest. And she’d refer one that started with the letter A.
Adam soon takes control of the conversation and Adam has Richie’s number. He too is a FIFO and he knows the workings of sleazy FIFOs. Hmmmm. Sounds like Simone should be asking Adam a few questions herself.
Adam wonders whether Richie has chosen the right way to choose a bride, going on national tv and dating twenty-five women and all. Hello? And like Alex is all sound judgement and not at all delusional and desperate and lusting after her fifteen minutes of fame?
Soon Adam and Richie are out freezing their nuts off on the patio sipping on icy beers. The conversation is pretty icy as well, and Adam has clearly been able to get his hands on a copy of the Big Book of Bachelor Bullshit and is calling Richie out on all of it.
“He sounds too scripted,” says Alex, who clearly has spent no time at all rehearsing his probing questions.
Mum thinks Richie is quite nice, but says that Alex deserves to be treated like the Princess that she is. I assume she means some sort of Disney princess and not the Saudi Princess Misha’al who was executed with her lover for committing adultery. (I’m guessing there probably isn’t The Bachelor: Saudi Arabia)
Finally it’s time to go and Alex tells Richie that she is definitely probably falling for him, as if having her tongue wedged down his throat since the first episode wasn’t a dead-set hint.
Next Richie is off to Olympic Park in Sydney where Olena is practising her tennis. Who would have thunk it? A beautiful Ukrainian tennis player. She fires some backhands at Richie. Little does he know how handy practising deflections will come when he gets to meet dad, Andre.
“I’m shitting bricks,” Olena tells Richie. Apparently that’s Ukrainian for “I’m so glad to be bringing home a complete stranger to meet my over-protective father.”
I was expecting Olena’s father to be very unwelcoming, but in contrast he is very quick to pull out the Ukrainian chilli WODKA.
“Wow! That’s a hit to the back of the throat,” says Richie. Certainly it’s enough of a whack to loosen his tongue and Richie starts rabbiting on about motorbikes, how much he loves motorbikes, how the throbbing sensation of the engine between his thighs really turns him on….
“I hate the motorbikes,” growls Andre.
Richie either doesn’t hear or doesn’t understand and starts going on about how dangerous motorbikes are. Finally he catches the steely glint in Andre’s eye and changes subject to the raging bull photo of Andre with blood pouring down his face that really adds to the warm ambience of the living room.
That’s a cue to take Richie outside to use as a punching bag. Strike that. Show Richie how to use the punching bag. Richie thinks he’s doing a good job with his little jab-jabs, until Andre lands a blow that knocks the punching bag off its pole, sending it soaring into the air to land with a thud two streets away. In other words, Richie makes an utter fool of himself, but at least manages to avoid being smacked in his pretty-boy face.
The tension does not diminish at the dinner table where Andre’s eyes remain transfixed on Richie, his fist wrapped around his fork like he is ready to plunge it into Richie’s chest if he mentions the word motorbike one more time.
Andre has an even better bullshit detector than Adam, as revealed when he and Olena have a father-daughter chat.
“He not move to Sydney. You move there,” observes Andre and there is a fleeting look of relief on Olena’s face as the idea that she might get to move 3000 km away from her father flits through her mind. But she quickly recovers her senses; this seems like it will be a deal breaker.
Olena and Richie say their emotionless goodbyes, Richie on edge lest a stray right hook lunge at him from the shadows. There is a kiss, but it has about as much passion as a when Richie offered up the dead fish at the Sydney fish markets.
East coast commitments done, Richie is back to Western Australia to meet up with Rachel and do a bit of beach fishing. Or at least Richie stands on the sand spinning his reel a lot. He can’t have caught any beach though, because they end up on the balcony of Clancy’s Fish Bar where they don’t eat any of the oysters on the table in front of them.
Next it’s off to Rachel’s house to meet Rach’s fam, all 950 of them. Richie isn’t nervous. Well why would he be, freshly off the date from hell with Olena, and besides Rachel’s father appears to be mute and has his wrist in a cast. No boxing today.
The fifty-seven brothers don’t seem to be threatening either; half of them look like Cottesloe beach bums and the other half are lawyers. All Richie has to fear here is a scathing closing argument.
Rachel’s sister takes Richie outside to give him the usual third degree. Inside, Dad finds his tongue long enough to say he thinks that Richie is alright and with that glowing endorsement Rachel decides that she is truly in love and that Richie is the one and she has a little mini-meltdown to camera about how she really, really, really wants a rose and if she doesn’t get one she will be like really, really, really sad and that even thinking about not getting a rose makes her really, really…..
Enough already. I have to remind myself that this is a thirty-one-year-old woman.
Finally, Richie is off to meet Nikki in Northam. It’s off to the races where Nikki reveals that she is the face of WA Country Racing. Nikki has chosen a white rose fascinator which seems an odd choice in case it reminds him of Alex. It is, after all, in-your-face and difficult to ignore (and a little more beige than white).
After about five minutes at the races (not even enough time to place a boxed trifecta), it’s off to the family house. Almost immediately Richie is dragged outside by Nikki’s brother-in-law Snowy where he is forced to drink beer and watch Snowy cram half a cow carcass onto a Baby-Q.
Back inside everyone gathers around the table and chews the fat; Snowy literally.
Richie is, of course, a bit of a novelty, because Nikki has only ever brought home one other guy and that was the one she was six months away from marrying. Richie stumbles through the barrage of questions by calling on his entire repertoire of non-committal Bachelor clichés.
“I’m not gonna lie…there are still four women left…Nikki is very special to me…I CAN see a future with Nikki…I have a very important decision to make….”
A short time later, outside on the driveway, Nikki is giggles like a Year 9 girl and her upward inflections reach a pitch that only dogs and Bachelors can hear.
“I’m totally in love with you!” she gushes. And they share a kiss which is not under threat from motorbike-hating, vodka-swilling dads, or over-bearing FIFO brothers, or sisters with lawyer husbands who could sue you for breach of rose contract.
Home dates done, the girls are back at The Bachelor mansion and after a brief bit of solitary musing in separate rooms, the girls are assembled for the Rose Ceremony.
Nikki, who in her continued run of hideous cocktail frocks had opted for a neck to toe black appliqued monstrosity.
“Will you accept this rose?”
Olena. Never underestimate the power of a red frock that doubles as underwear.
“Will you accept this rose?”
Alex. Who looks like she is dressed like a 1920s flapper come poultry model.
“Will you accept this rose?”
Nooooo! Richie. Not Rachel. Rachel took you beach fishing. And she even came to the cocktail party dressed like a fish!
Richie takes Rachel outside.
“Rachel. You’re a great girl, but you’re just not blonde enough and your father wasn’t scary enough and you’re not the face of WA Count…”
“Just stop right there, Richie. You have to follow your heart. Blah, blah, blah…Go fuck yourself.”
And then there were three.