Channel Ten’s Week of Torture – i.e four episodes in one week – got off to quite the start on Sunday, with tears, triangles, and more than one accusation of dogging (not that kind).
The episodes begins with a tiny recap of what’s happened recently. Nina actually gets some screentime for once and tells us while things have been cruising along with Eden, she’s not really feeling like he’s putting a lot of effort in to woo her. Mack has somehow acquired the nickname of Mack and Cheese since he threw everyone for a loop and gave Ali his rose when Jarrod (and to a lesser extent Michael) had already done a wee on her and marked their territory. Jarrod is ‘disappointed and peed off’ that someone went right ahead and exercised their free will, and has now decided to focus his attention on Keira. Funny that. Now that the girls have the Power of Roses.
Osher is greeted by an incredibly handsome American by the name of Grant. He was on Jojo’s season in Bachie US, which means nothing to me, and actually got engaged to someone he met in Paradise US. For some reason he has come back because he ‘trusts the process’, which I suspect is code for ‘I trust the amount of money they were willing to pay for me to appear and make all these Aussie blokes feel insecure about their abs’. I quite liked Grant upon first appearance because he was very polite to everyone including Osher, but as the episode went on I started getting a bit suspect of how damn smooth he is.
Anyway. He starts a small frenzy when he walks in, date card in hand. Just imagine this, but en masse.
The only one of the ladies who’s not feeling it is Ali, who finds him very ‘American’ and showy. Yeah the hot firefighter (yes, really) is a real problem, Ali. Anyway. Her love life is more than complicated enough, I think she can afford to leave Grant to the others.
Grant chats to the fellas first and it is a veritable parade of male insecurity. Michael does charming things like vowing to “fight for their Australian women”, which isn’t a creepy and loaded sort of thing to say at all. Grant then spends a bit of time chatting to a bunch of the ladies, trying to work out who to take on a date. Leah’s getting impatient. She is HOT FOR THE BOD and she doesn’t give a fuck. As he goes to talk to Keira she straight up intervenes (Keira is only a bit bothered: ‘As long as he takes his shirt off later to make up for it’). It’s not a bad move – Grant is the kind of guy who appreciates her confidence. He ends up asking her on the date after about 30 seconds of her making the fuck eyes at him.
Mack and Ali decide go for a swim in the rain, and by swim I mean walk in the water to their knees. Mack talks about how the conversation just ‘flows’ with Ali, and I must call this out as delusional bullshit. They clearly have no chemistry, only able to muster up conversation about how the nice the water is at first. Apparently the conversation ‘flowing’ amounts to him doing 90% of the talking (reeks of the old study done by Dale Spencer about perception of female dominance in conversation…) and her paying him one compliment. As the group scream ‘kiss!’ at them from shore (once again…Schoolies), Ali finds this an appropriate moment to mention that she is not planning to kiss a lot of frogs on her Paradise journey. In fact, she’d like to only kiss one frog. The implication that this will not be Mack is mostly lost on him, although there is a small glimmer of self awareness: ‘I’m not sure if she’s falling for me the same way I’m falling for her’. She’s not bro.
Keira and Jarrod are chatting and it is clear she is seeing entirely through his utter bullshit – ‘I’m so intrigued that you and Ali aren’t even interested in each other anymore’. Well, we never had any confirmation at all that Ali was interested in Jarrod, but he sure was a keen bean for her. Apparently, he just woke up thinking of Keira, and this was some sort of epiphany for him. She very pointedly mentions that she feels like men only talk to her when they want a rose, and that he should not feel safe – if someone comes in that grabs her eye, she won’t hesitate to pursue it. I think I like Keira now?
Maybe I just hate fuckboys, and Jarrod truly is the worst kind. He deeply seems to believe his own bullshit.
Leah and Grant go on their date and they are a couple of thirsty birds for each other. They ‘decide’ to go for a snorkel in the rain (were they in Fiji in the off-season?) and Leah straight up rips off his shirt, with all the female viewers secretly sneaking her a high five. He compliments how she looks in her bikini and yes, thirsty thirsty thirsty. Leah is basically feeling on top of the world as they go for a chat after their swim – she feels very relaxed around him (seems obvious from the shirt-removal). And I start to think maybe he’s a bit of a slippery bugger as he effortlessly dodges her first question about what happens if he genuinely meets a girl he wants to be with on the show – it’s a long way from the US to Australia. Spoken like someone who’s truly never considered the fucking soul-crushing difficulty of a long-distance relationship – particularly between people who don’t know each other particularly well – he thinks if two people want it to work, it’ll work. However, he says he’s not just here for fun and that is enough for her to have an almighty couch pash with him. She has a schoolgirl crush (and a thirst for days).
Michael’s big romantic gesture to Ali (after a decade of angst about being roommates with Mack) is to force her to walk through the rain to have some winey cheesey time. Last week these two didn’t get much time together, but did confirm their mutual interest. Ali mentions that she is holding back a bit because it is ‘not finished’ with Mack. As they leave to go back to the party, Michael gives her a lingering hug, and Ali seems to be struggling with her ‘rule’ about pashing, because she’s worried that she might go back to the party and get talking to Mack, and want to kiss him! It is clear to literally everyone that she has no chemistry with Mack and will never want to kiss him, so I don’t know if this is some convenient get-out-of-awkward-situations free card, or what.
Mack ruins any chance of any woman ever wanting to kiss him by being deeply passive-aggressive on their return. Michael pushes Ali and Mack to chat because he thinks she might finally let him down, and Mack launches in to some creepy nonsense (after essentially shaming her for talking to Michael) about how he could introduce her to his family. Everyone at home is screaming SHE’S NOT INTERESTED but before she’s forced to be direct with someone for once in her life, there’s a new arrival.
Canadian Daniel is here. I saw Canadian Daniel on the last season of Bachelor in Paradise, where he basically pretended to have feelings for Lacey to get her to sleep with him towards the end of the season, and then ditched her after the show. He’s done other garbage, misogynistic things that I have not witnessed in other seasons (he has been in both Bachie franchise shows and at least one other dating show). He is not a legitimate contender for anyone’s heart and he makes it clear in his first to-camera, where he essentially says he’s here because the Canadian women are in hibernation for winter. Personally I would go in to hibernation in 40 degree heat if Daniel decided to approach me. No doubt the man has formed himself in to some sort of Greek god in the gym (Jarrod refers to him as a ‘unit’), but honestly it’s grotesque and lumpy, like a statue made by someone who’s never actually seen a man with their clothes off. The arrival of Daniel kind of ends their conversation, or is it Mack bitterly muttering ‘He’s probably going to like you as well’?
Golly we’re not even halfway done with this episode. And I’m reluctant to spend a lot of time on Daniel, because on top of being a huge arsehole who refers to the women like objects (referring to Lisa, he says to Luke ‘Is this yours?’), he also refers to himself as a wolf and I’m also pretty sure he doesn’t understand consent and I just don’t like wasting a lot of typing energy on that. Anyway. He makes an impression on Keira, and slimes all over all the other girls while winding up the boys about ‘stealing their women’, and ends up approaching Nina for a date. She accepts, presumably to put the wind up Eden’s arse because such a sensible-seeming girl cannot actually be interested in such a skeeze. I honestly thought she was trying to purposefully bore him when she told him she plays competitive netball 3-5 times a week, but the man has seen an opportunity here.
Megan and Jake have a pash but she’s pretty convinced it’s lust, not love. Just hanging out for Elora, I’m sure. Jake may get a stay of execution at the rose ceremony depending on who comes in next – Megan doesn’t seem to have bonded with anyone else.
It’s bucketing down for Eden and Nina’s date and after making a gross comment about taking a hike to claim her ‘hot spring virginity’, he then attempts to murder them both by crossing a flooded river. Rather than actually just having any sort of OH&S in place (and Osher is so clear about their duty of care on Twitter!), some local bloke has to intervene and tell them they’re being huge fucking idiots. They end up at some slightly more civilised hotel hot tub and Daniel leers down Nina’s sensible swimming costume. However, given she hasn’t even kissed Eden yet (how?), it’s safe to say she is not going to pash old Rapeface over here. He’s disappointed because he ‘likes to go from zero to one hundred real quick’, like a sensible romantic prospect we should definitely put on our dating show, over and over again.
It’s slaughterhouse time. First, Ali has to dump Mack. She fucking flim-flams around it for an eon, talking about wanting to feel a spark. Mack has definitely felt a spark, in his pants region at least, but the most Ali can muster for him is a ‘sparkle’. Because he cannot get the fucking point he asks what it would take for that spark to happen. Mack….
She has a gigantic teary on his shoulder because she doesn’t like hurting people, while he just stares off like he’s dead inside. Maybe if you’d just put any effort in to reading signals you could have been spared this pain. Again.
She then goes off to chat with Michael and hurrah, it is on! Michael is looking forward to getting a rose from her! No. No it is not on. She mentions again that she’s looking for that spark, and when he leadingly asks if he has that with her, she must respond that no, she’s not feeling it. Bit unexpected. Time to break out the capris and woo a new girl, I suppose.
Laurina explains that she would not feel a tiny bit bad about dumping Blake because he called her by the wrong name in the last rose ceremony. I would also consider an extremely valid reason to be that Blake has started doing his hair like this, while implying that Daniel is a dickhead:
She pulls him aside for a chat. While she feels that they have affection, they haven’t got much of a connection, and that if there was one it would have emerged by now. And in this environment of honesty, she wouldn’t feel right giving him a rose.
His response: ‘So….okay’.
He thinks that he’s a very loving person, but shows this more physically than with words. You know. When he’s not criminally assaulting people.
He’s taken by surprise and takes Tara and Sam off for a chat. And now it’s my turn for a surprise, because Sam is actually way better at this than Tara. Sam tells him ‘Acknowledge it for a second, and then move actively forward’, while Tara just wants to know who Laurina will give her rose too. Maybe not the time, love.
Oh, and now Sam is taking Tara on a date. Tara says ‘Sam and I have been getting along really well as friends’ and they have only hugged so far, but speculates that maybe they will kiss. I am horrified at this but also kind of horrified that somehow, Sam is one of the better options on the island. Tara, like myself, thought he came off like a bit of a dickhead on the telly, and I will go so far and say he seemed a lot like a dickhead, loudly announcing that he was staring down Sophie’s dress and then trying to educate her on the music industry. And I am not going to start forgiving him for that, however, when the other options include Daniel and Jake, I can see how this might come about. I just hope Apollo arrives before it goes to far.
And he is appropriately swoon-y over Tara, telling us he thinks she looks like a supermodel at 9am in the morning. So I must give the man credit for admiring my queen, who is severely under-appreciated on this island. Their date is to make drinks for each other based on their personalities – he thinks she is fun, fresh and fruity, while she thinks he is an acquired taste (understatement). Turns out they’re both pretty crap at it, him plying her with booze while she’s a little bit deluded on this one: ‘I think I’ll be great at making cocktails. I make drinks for myself ALL THE TIME’. There’s some people playing romantic music and I think we work out why Tara would possibly not make a great Bachelorette: she’s bloody allergic to romance. Sam tries to cajole her in to a slow dance but is refused, much preferring to make awkward, self-conscious banter and over-planning their kiss. They make about 30 minutes of fuck-eyes at each other before they smooch, and I think this feeling inside me is not so much joy but sheer relief that these two people got out of their heads for five seconds.
I don’t want them to fall in love.
Because this show doesn’t actually care about romance, we do not end the episode on this. We go back to the boys, sitting around the campfire. Everything’s changing in the camp, and Mack doesn’t think it’s because of the two Americans making everyone feel narky and insecure, but because of the ‘dynamics changing’. But really, the issue here is Mack and Jarrod. Keeping in mind Jarrod is apparently not even thinking about Ali anymore and focusing on Keira (although presumably this conversation happens after he’s heard Ali has ditched both Mack and Michael), he would really like to have it out with Mack over ‘dogging’ everyone by choosing Ali first last week. He doesn’t have a leg to stand on, including his argument that Mack has somehow made a bad impression on the girls by using the rose ceremony exactly as it was intended – to choose the person you think you are most likely to have a romantic future with, as delusional as it may be – and after about 30 seconds of arguing, everyone just leaves. Send’em both home, tbh.
BRING. ON. APOLLO.