You know what it’s like when you don’t want to look at something, but you can’t look away? You do that weird thing with your hands where you cover your eyes, but then spread your fingers apart like you’re peering through a set of pink, fleshy Venetian blinds?
That’s how I feel as I approach this episode. If Jarrod loses, I don’t think I could stand watching him collapsing into the foetal position and gripping for dear life a terracotta pot of potting mix bearing the dry shrivelled remains of his love bush.
But at the same time, I don’t think I could cope with the fist pumping euphoria of his winning.
I don’t know how I’m going to write with my hands all over my face, but here we go…
Before any decision can be made, it’s time to introduce the boys to the family: parents Andy and Sandy and sister Lucy.
First up is Stu. I honestly thought that I had seen the most awkward moment in Bachelorette history last night when Apollo spent five minutes smearing a lump of Blue Castello onto the end of a Grissini stick (and that’s not even a metaphor for anything).
But Stu sitting in front of Sophie’s parents and admitting that he’s still married and has four “littles” (and tell me THAT isn’t weird) is right up there. Andy casts a glare like he’s thinking that he would like to reach across the table and rip Stu’s balls off, without even realising that half of the job as already been done for him.
It’s Lucy who breaks the stony silence by taking Stu away for the obligatory interrogation.
“I’m very widely read,” she suggests. “Woman’s Day reckons you’re a player.”
“Well yeah…no…well yeah I was…like…for two years after my divorce…but I’ve been going to all the PA (Players’ Anonymous) meetings since then and I’m into your sister.”
“That’s OK, then. You pass.”
The next day it’s Jarrod’s turn. He strolls down the beach cradling what seems to be a Fijian love plant like it’s a baby.
Sophie introduces him to her family and Jarrod offers up the love plant like some sort of sacrifice to the love gods.
This time Sandy takes Jarrod aside and he tells her twenty-seven times that he is in love with her daughter and because she has imbibed on some sort of kava laced cocktail, she gets all giggly and swoony and gives her stamp of approval.
Ultimately though, the family tell her that they are both decent blokes, but if she is going to rock home with four step-littles, that she had better give them some notice so that they can open an extra Christmas Club account.
It is about this time that, incredulously, I find my attitude to Jared changing. At first he was the crazy guy who turned up to the mansion with a barrel full of baby wines and asked a woman he had never met to stomp on them with him. Then came the first date on the high wire, and I was so impressed that he protected Sophie and what a good choice he would be for her, before he turned into the lunatic with the love plant, the crying clinger in the giraffe onesie and I couldn’t want him gone more. But now, since Sophie has ditched both James and Apollo and Jarrod is the last man standing against Stu, I kind of want him to do the Bradbury and win Sophie’s heart. He might be insane, but at least I reckon he is genuinely insane.
So I hope that the final date goes well.
It starts promisingly. Jarrod meets Sophie and is so enamoured by her beauty that he fails to notice that she is leaning against a helicopter.
It’s kind of like that first date where Sophie took Jarrod to real heights so he could protect her, except that they are in a helicopter and she doesn’t actually need protecting. But then the helicopter pilot flies next to a cliff and Sophie presses into Jarrod and she says that she’s sorry that she is making him uncomfortable.
But Jarrod says he’s fine with it really, except his face has gone even redder and his pants are beginning to feel tight.
Then Sophie points out a tiny little sand bar and says that it’s just for them. The helicopter lands and the rotors blow the sand bar to smithereens. Several hours later after a lone Fijian waiter/chef has managed to scoop all the sand back up into a rough sand bar shape, Sophie and Jarrod sit at a table and are served up food which the waiter has managed to produce in a magical pop-up kitchen.
They sit and tell each other how wonderful they are and they share a kiss. Jarrod feels like he and Sophie (and the Fijian waiter) are the only people on Earth, until the other person left on Earth – the helicopter pilot – comes in for a landing and there is nothing more romantic than a sandy microdermabrasion by rotor.
Then it’s night time and Sophie asks Jarrod what she can give him in the relationship and he says:
“Just you. I don’t want you to change for anything.”
But what he’s thinking is: “Are you kidding? I’d be the guy that f*cking bagged Sophie Monk. What else do I need?”
But Sophie is so touched and happy that she starts crying and to try to stop her crying he kisses her and the wind must have changed or something and they are frozen, Sophie’s hand only loosely gripping her champagne flute.
Or maybe Jarrod has slipped her some rohypnol.
I said I was STARTING to feel differently about Jarrod. Clearly I’m not quite there yet, so stop judging me.
The next day, Stuart arrives for his final date. For someone who hates heights, Sophie sure is a glutton for punishment, because this time she has brought in a sea plane. The rest of the date is all about snorkelling, because water has the same effect as Vaseline on a lens and it means that Stuart can take his shirt off and his Dad-bod looks a bit more formed.
But Apollo he ain’t.
The snorkelling is also all about how Sophie wants Stu to go deeper emotionally, but whether the subtlety of the metaphor is lost on Stu remains to be seen.
Anyway, if you want to foster deep conversation, I would not recommend a hammock built for two. After about six attempts, they both manage to find a position on the hammock, but it’s like they have been playing a game of Twister which they have both lost.
And then Stuart finds his voice and opens up and says that he is love with her…
…and they kiss…cautiously. If they move anything other than their lip muscles, the hammock will send them flying a-over-t, landing them unceremoniously on the beach with cracks full of sand and a couple of shattered coconuts.
It’s all very tense and emotional and they’re both crying and Sophie seems to have forgotten all about the four “littles’, and those other littles, like wives and vasectomies.
Sophie is up early the next day, because the ocean is particularly flat and she has a shitload of pondering to do.
Osher arrives for the final ceremony and he goes all Charles Dickens:
“Sophie. This is the best of days and the worst of days.”
And we realise that he hasn’t been around much because he’s been off reading the classics to find cool ideas for next season’s Bachelor games like the French Revolution Round Robin where the bachelorettes, dressed as Marie Antoinette, have to eat as much cake as they can and the last one to ingest their carbs gets sent to the guillotine.
But no time for idle chatter, because the boys are on their way.
If the boys weren’t already lovesick, the producers have decided to add seasickness to the mix, and now Jarrod is a combination of red and green. If this Bachelorette thing doesn’t work out, he might find a job as a mascot for the Sydney Rabbitohs.
And it only gets worse for Jarrod. He has arrived first.
Osher asks him how he is feeling and my fingers slam shut over my eyes and he starts going on about how much in love he is and I am imploring Osher…
MAKE HIM STOP TALKING!
NO REALLY, OSHER! SHUT HIM THE F*CK UP!
But Osher doesn’t and soon Jarrod is standing opposite Sophie, nervous, but so certain of their mutual love.
“Jarrod…,” begins Sophie. “You are loving and kind and you’ve had my back. When I came into this process, I was determined to think with my head, and my head tells me you are perfect for me.”
Jarrod’s chest has puffed out and he’s grown six inches taller and he’s limbering his lips ready for the kiss that will seal their commitment to each other.
“But in love, you have to think with your heart, and my heart loves….”
Baggage. That’s the word I think you are looking for.
Watching Jarrod in this moment is like watching a newborn giraffe which has struggled to find its feet, but having done so, boldly takes its first steps…when a hyena lunges out of the scrub, knocks the legs out from under the baby giraffe and rips its still beating heart from its chest.
I suddenly remember why I hate nature documentaries.
Jarrod wanders aimlessly around the island, blinded by his tears. Somehow, he staggers to the beach where he collapses into a dinghy. The tide comes in and Jarrod is set adrift, and our last vision of him is of his little boat, bobbing up and down on the wide, cold ocean.
Of course, this means that Stu has won.
“I have two important things to say to you,” says Sophie. “Firstly, I am sorry that I misjudged you.”
“And secondly…I love you!”
What should be a poignant moment, is shattered as my husband picks this very moment to plonk himself down on the other couch.
“Holy f*ck! He kisses like an arachnid!”
So, for all of you who have been losing sleep at night wondering what an arachnid looks like when it pashes, now you know.
And on that note, we close the book on another chapter of the annals of The Bachelorette. May Sophie and Stu live happily ever after, and may Apollo become the next Bachelor.
Now…when does The Real Housewives of Melbourne start?