The Bachelor Australia (Season 5) – Grand Finale: The Elephant in the Room

Well, thank you again, Daily Mail, NT News, New Idea, Woman’s Weekly, Nova FM and every other media outlet on the planet (at least on the Australia bit of the planet).  You have once again sucked the purpose out of investing in The Bachelor at all.  Just once I would like them to be wrong.  In fact, I’d be happy to have a designated runner-up appointed at the start of the next season (on the quiet of course), one who can be employed to turn up in the same places that the Bachelor frequents in the six months in between filming ends and the screening begins.  And now CBS has bought the network, maybe they can afford to do it…

It really does give me the shits.

Despite this, I incongruously found myself shedding a wee tear when the winner was announced, and my husband was a sobbing mess.  Oops!  I’m not allowed to say that.  So if you found yourself in the same place, read on…

The episode begins with Osher, who is in Thailand awaiting the arrival of Matty, his family and his girls.  It’s about time he earned his keep, but he is soon off on a mission to dismember orchids, since he no longer has any stupid games to plan.

Matty, meanwhile, is once again standing on the beach with his surfboard under his arm, staring at a waveless ocean, again thwarted in his efforts to prove that he can actually surf.  So he heads off to his Air Asia flight, where in the absences of first class, he has the entire plane to himself.

The girls meander through the airport reminiscing about their time with Matty.

“I can’t believe I’m here!” x 2

“I am so in love with Matty!” x 2

“I’m almost at the end of my journey!” x 2, except they’re not. It’s a nine and a half hour flight, an overnight bus ride and a three hour ferry…

Oh…the love journey.  Yeah.  Right.

Matty arrives first, and since it’s so long before he can check into his resort room, he takes his suitcase on a romantic walking tour of Koh Pha Ngan.

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Suitcase loved the pier, and wasn’t afraid to hold Matty’s hand in public
Matty’s family has arrived as well, at least his mum and three Lego-head brothers are there.  Sister Kate is not, as her womb is now bulging with the next anointed one, and it must be killing her not to be there to bully Matty into choosing the girl that she wants.  No worries, because Kate has worded Tommy in on all the questions she wants asked.

Elise is first up to face the Johnson tribunal.  She’s all smiles, as usual and wins them over on first appearances.  When does this girl ever stop smiling?  My cheeks have started to ache just watching her. I am reminded of that scene in The Crown where the Queen has to have relaxants injected into her face because she has been beaming at the plebeians for too long.

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Anyway, Matty’s mum loves Elise.

“I used to play hockey,” she says.  “I was never a hockeyroo though.  Instead I ascended to near martyrdom by being a single mother to five children.”

Then Tommy takes her away for an inquisition.

“How many lovers have you had?  Do you love Matty?  Is this a six month thing, or a year, or what?

In other words, I’m single, I’m desperate, I’m not attractive enough to go on The Bachelor, and I have no problem sweeping up my bro’s cast-offs.

She passes the Mum test as well.

“It’s genuine and effortless to connect with Elise,” she says, and it is not lost on her that she has three more single sons.

Next it’s Laura’s turn.  She’s nervous and she talks. And talks. And talks.

Tommy is getting anxious, because he knows that if he doesn’t ask Kate’s questions, he will have to face her when he gets home.  Finally, he gets his chance when Laura starts turning blue from not breathing.

“Have you any hobbies?” he asks.  Hard hitting.

Laura sits in stunned silence.  She’s suddenly regretting wearing such a short dress when she would be sitting on a couch opposite Matty’s three bros for five hours.

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“Um…um…I…um…spend all my time at the beach,” which makes her sound like anything from a long-term welfare cheat, to a sea-bird enthusiast, or a pervert.

She manages to recover long enough to say that she loves Matty, and cries in front of Mum.

But the jury is divided.  One brother is Team Laura, Tommy is Team Elise, and Mum thinks they would both be great.  None of this is apparently any help to Matty.  If only Kate, were there.  She would tell him what to do.

He has to get through a couple more single dates first.

The next day, Elise is strolling aimlessly along the beach when she is abducted by a Thai man with an inflatable dinghy.  They take off across the water for an interminable time.  Elise starts observing that the water is getting very deep and she is getting a bit green around the gills.

Just in the nick of time Matty arrives on a big orange boat.  He calls it a yacht, but it looks a bit like a passenger ferry.  Either way, Matty and Elise are the very first passengers and they are on very strict instructions to curb any flinging of their DNA.  So they get on a pair of kayaks and paddle across to a secluded beach, then Matty scoops her up and flings her into the ocean.

Elise’s poor little sea sick tummy must be ready to explode by now, but she just keeps on smiling and tells Matty how much fun she is having.

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Finally it is night time. Matty has set up yet another day bed with eleventy billion pillows and pours them both a glass of wine.  Elise’s smile drops for just a second, and things feel eerily silent.

“What are you thinking about?” asks Matty.

I wish I had been warned to dose up on Avomine before this date started.  I’ve just spent ten hours doing nothing but repress the urge to vomit,  pash you and talk about my feelings.  I’ve run out of things to say and my lips could do with a tube of Lucas’ Paw Paw Ointment…

“I’m falling in love with you.” Smile, smile, smile.

A new day dawns and Laura is wandering around in the Thai jungle when she stumbles upon a clearing where Matty is waiting next to a helicopter.

“Oh WOW!” squeals Laura.  “I’ve never been in a helicopter!”

“Really?” replies Matty puzzled.  He counts off on his fingers the number of helicopters and miscellaneous aircraft he has used this season and does a mental cross-reference of the bachelorettes he took in them, and for a split second, he thinks he may have accidentally eliminated Tara by accident at the last rose ceremony.

Oh well.  This girl will do.  Matty has spent all night memorising the Lonely Planet Guide to Thailand. Laura is impressed how much of Thailand they have been able to see in such a short amount of time, if seeing most of Koh Pha Ngan counts as all of Thailand.

What could possibly beat  a helicopter?  An elephant of course.

“Oh my God!” exclaims Laura, revealing her inner Hindu.

But this is not just any elephant, but one rescued from a circus. She’s the four-legged, pachyderm equivalent of Laura’s dog, Buster.

Conveniently this is a muddy elephant and that requires a bath, and that means Laura in a bikini. It also means having an elephant spit in your face for two hours.  Could there me anything more romantic?

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Put it away, Matty.  She hasn’t said yes yet.
Apparently there could.  Before you can say C̄hạn ca mī s̄xng p̄hæ̀n thịy, k̄hxbkhuṇ, they are aboard a Thai gondola; a long raft made of bamboo poles with a couple of scatter cushions, a floral arrangement and a Thai pole pusher. On cue, a tropical thunderstorm opens upon them.  Far from dampening their date, Laura thinks it is nurturing their love. They kiss.

Another sun sets.  Another day bed. Another flock of cushions. Matty asks if Laura would like a glass of wine, and they are the last words he speaks all night.  It’s like he’s poured two glasses of red, laced one with a Rohypnol tablet and then mixed the glasses up. Never mind, Laura has enough to say for the two of them.  She loves him, she never want this to end…blah, blah, blah.

A new day dawns and the girls are preparing for the final ceremony.  Can someone please tell channel 10 that 120% humidity, sparkly long dresses, make-up and nice hair are not a compatible mix?  The girls persevere, Laura looking glamorous in a Thai inspired two piece dress exposing her midriff; Elise trying to look glamorous in something that looks like it has been fashioned out of Scarlett O’Hara’s curtains, if Scarlett O’Hara was Thai, and she had bought the curtains from a Liberace garage sale.

Seasickness.  No elephant.  Hideous frock.  Heavy black eye-make-up, possibly not water-proof.  None of this is boding well for Little Miss Smiley.

Osher has been up early, spreading all his dismembered orchids along the paths and around the base of the ceramic elephants.  All of this manual labour, combined with the Thai heat, has worked up quite a sweat, so when he greets Matty with a man-hug, it is a very brief one, lest they melt into soggy mess.

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Osher sweating on ratings and a job 
Osher leaves Matty alone on his rug waiting for the girls to arrive.  Matty’s eyes are rolling back in his head.  He is huffing and puffing and looking less like a man in love and more like one about to pass out from heat stroke, even though he has AGAIN forgotten his socks, meaning his feet are well ventilated.

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Elise arrives by little boat and is yanked most unceremoniously from it and then sent marching up the path.  She arrives, shoes in hand, sweating under sequins, hair limp from the humidity.  A vision.

“You are so genuine,” says Matty.  “So honest.”

Oh-oh.

“You are so deserving of love…”

Gulp.

“…but not with me.”

It’s like he kicked a puppy.

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So to rephrase, he just said to Elise, “You do not deserve my love.”

WTG, Matty. Arsehole.

And if Elise couldn’t feel any worse, she will end up watching the whole thing on television and the producers have included this lingering, unflattering shot.

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So that means Laura has won.  Good on her, and the moment she cries and they lean into each other, holding hands, heads touching may just have been the moment that brought a tear to my eye, and a flood of them to Mr Friday Night (but shhhh…I never said a thing.)

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As Elise drives away in the limo, I can’t help but think how in this competition, more than any other, it really sucks to come second, because now it’s ALL about Matty and Laura.  THEY will be interviewed on The Project.  THEY will be guest quiz masters on Have You Been Paying Attention?  Elise is not mean enough to get a look in for I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, and there is already a petition for Tara to be The Bachelorette: 2018.

Oh, hang on.  That means a return to anonymity, while Laura and Matty will be under constant scrutiny; rumour fodder.

Now there’s something to smile about, Elise.  Just show us those pearly whites.

 

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