It has been a traumatic week for fans of the various Bachelor franchises. Mere weeks ago news broke of the end of Tara and Sam’s engagement. Then we learned that Jarred and Keira had split, and only yesterday the most devastating news of all: Meaghan who voluntary left on Richie’s season because she had found love with one of her female co-contestants, and after breaking up with her, ended up on the Bachelor in Paradise, has broken up with Jake.
This is a very bad omen which can only mean one thing – season two of BIP is in pre-production.
I swear that in the United States there are some contestants who have appeared on the Bachelor in Paradise so many times that school guidance counsellors are now proposing it as a legit career path.
And there are a pile of them on this season who seem hell-bent on getting their mugs on camera so that they can book a banana lounge in Fiji later in the year. But more about that later.
Our episode begins with Nick once again giving Osher the flick, which can only mean that the latter must be planning something BIG. Instead Nick has again organised the single date ALL-BY-HIMSELF, and he has picked Sophie.
Sophie has no idea what they might be doing on their date, but luckily she has come prepared with a industrial sized tub of Blistex, which she applies to her lips with all the subtlety of Donald Trump at beauty pageant. It’s all in vain, however, because when Nick sees her, he notices her outfit, her hair, her face in general, but not the uncracked nature of her lips.
It’s not long before Sophie realises the wisdom of having brought the Blistex when she realises that Nick has decided that they will be going out on a high-speed Hydrofoil. Essentially this is what a Hobie cat on steroids would be like if the afore-mentioned drugged up Hobie had taken another dose of steroids. Any last hope of lounging around on the deck of a yacht is dashed when Nick sends her off to get changed, and she comes back dressed like a member of SWAT team sent in to apprehend Osama Bin Laden.
Despite this, it’s not too long before she’s thankful for the lead-lined suit, because the hydrofoil shoots a tsunami of Sydney Harbour right up her dot and the suit is the only thing that protecs her from an unsolicited salt water enema.
Back at the house, Cassie is doing what Cassie does best – talking about how much she has feelings for Nick, and failing to complete her sentences.
“It’s important that Nick knows about the feelings I have for him and…yeah…”
And…yeah…we’ll never know.
Meanwhile, back on dry land, Sophie is off getting changed and Nick is putting the final touches on his cheese platter. He shows remarkable restraint in not woofing down the lot, because you know, he’s a big mountain of a man, and he hasn’t eaten anything since Brooke rocked up with the bacon and egg rolls two episodes ago. His hunger has put him in a pensive mood. He’s thinking back to that downward dogging they did last time they were on a date, and the Badger is worried that Sophie just isn’t vibing him.
On cue, Sophie emerges from the back room in a smoking hot navy lace dress. Someone is definitely vibing someone now.
She knows she was a dud date last time, and she tries to explain that there were strange forces at work: the uncomfortable yoga positions, the cold, the other elements – the “other elements” being Cat, Romy and Alesha whose very gaze turns the gazee to stone.
But there is no cold here. There’s candles, and cushions and cheese. Nick gazes into Sophie’s face. He gazes into her eyes. He finally notices her lips.
A stray spark from a candle has set her Blistex on fire.
Always the Honey Badger, he kisses her to douse the flames and save her life, then he pulls a perfectly pristine rose from behind the couch cushions and everything seems to be back on track.
The next day, the reason for Osher’s absence becomes clear. He’s been stocking up the eskies and making cucumber sangas like there’s no tomorrow. Someone important must be on their way. He calls all the girls to the garden.
“OMG. It’s so good to be OUTSIDE!” screams one of them, proving my theory that these girls spend twenty-three hours a day shackled to some sort of dungeon where they are forced to watch a single video on continuous loop: Gordon Bray and Bruce McAvaney Present: Ten Golden Honey Badger Rugby Moments with bonus DVD That Time Nick Cummins Reinvented Strine.
Soon Osher is enthusiastically introducing his guests – a whole colony of honey badgers – or more accurately about a third, given it’s only his dad and two siblings (Fun Fact: the collective noun for honey badgers is “cete”). Father Mark, sister Bernadette and brother Jacob (and that’s what happens when you leave out commas – all of a sudden it looks like they have visitors from the local monastery) are here with a mission (haha). They have to drink beer and listen to girls talk shit before picking one of the girls to join them for a Badger banquet back at Nick’s place.
Cassie is very excited by this. She lays eyes on Jacob and she starts hyper-ventilating:
“That’s Nick’s brother!” she gasps, clutching her hands to her face. “I’ve met him before!” Giggle.
And just like that, Cassie’s stalker status has escalated from Bunny Boiler to full Glenn-Close-Behind-The-Shower-Curtain. I’m not sure how many brothers Nick has, but it now seems like Cassie is working through all of them.
Romy understands the significance of this date, if not the ability to add in twos.
“They’re like Nick’s second, third and fourth eyes,” she observes.
The only maths that Romy understands is that at the end of the day the mansion will be minus one, and she intends to do anything in her power to make sure it’s not her.
So while Cassie and Jacob give us the most awkward moment since Apollo literally offered Sophie Monk his breadstick (“Just shut up about knowing, Nick. It will get you nowhere.”), Romy is busy pushing Cassie under bus:
“Oh, she’s immature, she’s only 23, she’s already in love with Nick because she knows him on the outside. She’s totally wrong for him,” she opines, totally oblivious to Bernatte’s lips pursing like she has just sucked on a lemon.
Unbeknownst to Romy, Blair has ambushed a sound engineer and stolen his boom mike and secreted herself in the curtains so that she can accidentally overhear Romy’s every word.
Blair’s having none of it. She knows exactly what to do. She tells Shannon and then Shannon tells Sophie and then Sophie tells Cassie that she need to talk to Blair.
Back with Bernadette, Brittany tries to push Cat under the bus by telling Bernadette that some girls are only in this thing to promote their jewellery labels.
It all fails, however. Bernadette does not like dibber-dobbers. She and Mark and Jacob proudly announce that their choice for Nick is Brooke. Nick is very pleased with their choice and all the Badgers sit down for a nice meal. (Fun fact: Honey Badgers have a mostly carnivorous diet of insect larvae, scorpions and rodents. Yum.)
Back at the house, Romy turns on Blair.
“How dare you eavesdrop on my conversations and deliberately lie about what I said!:
Translation: How dare you repeat, with 98.5% accuracy, verbatim what I said!
Finally it’s cocktail party time. Cassie has her hair in a pony tail, possible because she has been stress fiddling with those extensions so much over the past couple of weeks that she has developed a bald spot. Jacob’s advice about keeping her mouth shut about how she knows Nick has fallen on deaf ears. Instead she has morphed into some sort of human Wikipedia:
“…and then he played for the Western Force and then he played in Japan and then he played rugby sevens….and that’s what I play…rugby sevens…and…”
And while she’s spouting sporting facts, Nick chooses Tennille to have a chat, followed by Dasha, followed Rhiannon…you get the picture.
Cat even gets a look in. Nick asks her whether she is jst there to promote her jewellery line. She is affronted and mad. Someone has thrown her under the bus.
So many people are being thrown under the bus this episode, yet no-one is stepping back from the platform.
Cat is seething afeter her chat with Nick and holds court over her minions, plotting revenge.
And then the strangest thing happens; I gain a new respect for Vanessa Sunshine.
She observes the hypocrisy of Cat and Romy and Alesha. They are more than happy to dish the dirt on others, but heaven forbid the bus is reversed over them. Vanessa says the most sensible thing anyone has said so far this season:
“One of those girls has got to fuck off.”
Meanwhile, Cassie has finally plucked up the courage to talk to Nick. She tells him that she has strong feelings for him. But Honey Badger can’t have any of that. He identifies that she’s border line crazy, but tries to let her down by telling her that it’s unfair for him to have feelings for her because she is at an unfair advantage.
She refrains from the whole sobbing-to-a-producer-in-the-downstairs-dunny move, and for the first time all season, she keeps her mouth shut.
Alesha has watched all of this with interest:
“I don’t know how you can be so infatuated with the Bachelor before you have even met him!”
(Actually, Alesha. Please re-read your contract. Article XI clearly states: All bachelorettes must immediately be infatuated with the Bachelor, whether he be Tim Robards or the Elephant Man.)
Finally, it’s rose ceremony time. Tenille, Brittany and all the other brunettes get a rose, except one. Cat has steam coming out of her ears by the time it’s down to her and Blair.
“Cat. Will you accept this rose?”
“Yes,” she grimaces, already planning the ingredients for her next cauldron.
Blair is going home. So OK. She probably signed her death warrant when she tried that stupid ball game at the last cocktail party when she should have been sent home but Nick played the pity card.
But her demise tonight does remind us of one thing. Nobody likes dibber-dobber. One thing’s for sure: if you are a dibber-dobber, you will be thrown under a bus.
Don’t worry, Blair. Now your career as an HPE teacher is over, at least you have BIP.