Our episode opens with the Honey Badger, shirtless, and meandering through a swamp. He looks like a Canadian Mountie who has been mugged for his uniform, had his horse stolen and is wandering around in his skivvies thinking about how he will explain this to his boss.
He is waiting in the wilderness for Dasha, who has been dumped in the bush by producers and has to bash her way through the scrub in search of water. She eventually emerges from the grass to face a trial by fire – running across the boiling sand in a dash to the river where she immerses her blistering feet in the water and steam rises in clouds. Producers please note, this is just another reason to word the girls in about sensible footwear.
Nick, of course, is enamoured with Dasha. He loves her flowery dress, but she soon has to get rid of it because today’s activity is fly fishing and that means donning particular attire:
“These are waders,” explains Nick.
“Like Darth Wader?” she replies.
And just like that, the Honey Badger is smitten, because nothing appeals more to him than a really bad dad joke, and the fact that she is smoking hot in a barely-there bikini top doesn’t hurt either. The rubber pants pale into insignificance really.
Back at the house, still Osher-less, a group date card has arrived.
“Cupid is the Roman god of love,” it reads and the girls are smart enough to figure out that this means that it’s all about archery, and NOT gluing wings to babies. There may have been a couple of them that thought this, but at least they didn’t say it.
One-by-one the names are read out. Vanessa reacts to her inclusion with all the enthusiasm of Germaine Greer at a Wiggles concert.
Of course the usual suspects are there and all the ground work is set for a stand-off between Cat and her new worstie, Shannon, because Shannon dared to call Cat and her minions out on their mean girl behaviour at the last cocktail party.
Back at the single date, Nick and Dasha have enjoyed a full day of fly fishing and karate chopping imaginary crocodiles and night has fallen. There is real chemistry: they look into each other’s eyes when they speak, their legs intertwine, she eats a grape in front of him.
Then Nick utters the line he has spent six hours practising:
“Dasha,bы принимаете эту розу?”
She is impressed and she accepts and he is thankful he only had to learn to say it and not write it. They share a passionate kiss and this is very lovely.
The next day, the reason for Osher’s conspicuous absence is revealed. He has been stuck at Optus Oval blowing up inflatable stuff and applying Blistex from an industrial sized tub to his chapped lips. “Welcome to the inaugural Bachelor Arrow Tag tournament!” he explains proudly.
Oh how I shudder at that word inaugural, because it suggests it might be repeated. We can only hope that this one goes the same way as the Inaugural Medieval Pig Wrangling tournament, the Inaugural Bachelorette Spelling Bee and Inaugural Aerial Trapeze Challenge.
This thing is designed for one purpose – to get the girls in gym gear. But Osher tries to sell it as a test of physical skills. He promptly names Shannon and Cat as opposing captains (surprise!) and they set about picking teams in that dreadful way that always leaves someone as the last choice.
There are some convoluted rules, but essentially it is a last girl standing affair where everyone is trying to shoot each other with arrows that have a giant marshmallow on the end. Thankfully this safety measure has been employed, because within the first couple of minutes Emily nails Nick right in one of HIS marshmallows and the poor bloke is writhing around in pain. Despite this, and Vanessa Sunshine’s only display of physical skill being cowering behind a giant inflatable cube, Shannon’s red team wins the first round. Nick then swaps teams, leads them all in a pep talk involving mice drowning in dairy products and they take to the field.
Cat, ever shrew shrewd knows that there is a best and fairest prize on the line and that she is crap at marshmallow archery. She changes tack and instead runs around collecting arrows for her team, and the Honey Badger is suitably impressed.
Meanwhile, Cassie does everything shy of dislocating her shoulder pulling the bow back in order to gain Nick’s attention.
Cassie, Cassie, Cassie. You are just too needy, needy, needy.
Needless to say, Cat’s ploy works. Nick is impressed by how much of a team player Cat is and she gets to go on a single date with him. They retreat to the day bed and drink some wine and Nick sits on the same day bed as her so Cat says that there is sexual chemistry. She leans in closer, lining up for the kiss… …but Nick has seen Alien, and he is expecting that second head to lunge out of Cat’s mouth any second. Plus, somewhere floating around the stadium is the ghost of Cayla…
“Cat’s all about her fashion line…” it whispers in Nick’s ear, and just like his earlier date with Romy, Nick diverts to the cheek.
Then all in a rush it’s cocktail party time.
It’s come up so quickly that Blair has forgotten to put her dress on. She tries to cover with some sort of ruse about she’s the teacher and Nick’s been naughty and has to be punished by dribbling a basketball. It’s about as erotic…dribbling a basketball.
The cynic in me would suggest that – her credibility as a PE teacher now in ruins – Blair is trying to maximise her air time in hope of a gig on Bachelor in Paradise or building her “celebrity” status so she can get a run in the jungle.
Nick then talks to a string of women, but Cassie isn’t one of them. She is becoming increasingly neurotic, and the carp in the pond had better watch themselves because there are no bunnies in the house to boil. She’s in love, but having used up all her words in her glitter book last cocktail party, Cassie has no way to express herself other than to hide behind bushes and gaze longingly on Nick while he chats to the other girls.
In short order Osher arrives to announce that there are sixteen girls remaining and only fourteen roses.
Cassie is worried – even she must have noticed by now that he has culled a few blondes (we brunettes of the word rejoice), but the viewing audience knows that she is probably safe because there are still a couple of odd looking ones that were only ever there to make up numbers. One-by-one, Nick rattles off names and hands out blooms. Cat is starting to get a bit angsty as well. Eleven roses are handed out before she gets hers, and she is not well pleased. Doesn’t Nick know that she is the Queen Bee? What’s he doing giving out roses to Alisha and Romy before her (what’s he doing giving roses to those two at all)? Thankfully, Cassie receives the last rose which stops her vomiting all over herself.
This means Aleksannndryarrrh and Steph are going home. The former leaves gracefully, but Steph lines Nick up and stares him straight in the eyes:
“I can’t believe I shaved my legs for this.”
Woah. What the absolute fuck?
Emily may have hit you in the Jatz Cracker with an arrow, Nick, but I’m pretty sure you just dodged a bullet.