The Bachelor Australia Recap: Are you Team Abbie or Team Dog C**t?
By Ellie Stephenson
We start episode 5 with captivating foreshadowing of drama. Following Abbie’s kiss with Matt at the cocktail party last week, the house is in turmoil. Monique has embarked on an anti-Matt mission, deeply offended that he has ‘disrespectfully’ decided to hook up with girls in the mansion. After all, once you have flown in a separate but nearby aircraft to someone, you have the absolute right to declare who they can and can’t kiss. She correctly and very not unhinged-ly claims that kissing on a dating show is clearly abnormal and wrong. Monique is truly Not Like Other Girls in her reason and fair mindedness.
Osher arrives to announce the bachelorettes will be taking a trip away from the mansion, which apparently will allow for relaxation, but we have seen the promos so we’re too wise to fall for this one. When the girls arrive at their allegedly-calm beach resort, the producers’ raw talent is laid bare, and Abbie, of course, gets a date card. Monique is unsurprisingly “livid”, wondering what is going through Matt’s mind. For those of us who aren’t blinded by rage, it’s pretty obvious: Abbie is hot and he wants to see her more.
Abbie arrives at a fairly nonsensical citrus-themed date. Bachie has burned through its budget by hiring aircraft for every date thus far, so Abbie is subjected to squishing oranges with her feet. She is understandably repulsed by this experience, which does not seem very enjoyable but does give rise to a solid minute of innuendos. Matt telling us “the slower it is the more enjoyable it is” as pulp oozes around his feet is… an experience.
Matt offers Abbie a spoonful of what has delightfully been termed “foot juice”, and she actually is willing to try it. Matt, unlike the viewer, is not disgusted by this, and is flattered at Abbie’s dedication to this bizarre date. The two finally manage to get a conversation in, with Abbie explaining that her dad left when she was young and it has made her who she is, a person who drinks foot juice. The crushed orange theme seeps into the date and she tells us she’s feeling “mushy”. Appealing.
Once Abbie has safely secured a rose, she reveals her master plan. She smiles serenely as she pretends to be reluctant to tell Matt about the post-cocktail night drama. She utters the fateful words we will be hearing a lot this episode: Monique called Matt a “dog c*nt disrespectful pig”. Matt is floored by this information. He is so confused. Matt is every Bachie viewer as he wonders why someone would go on a dating show without understanding the key premise of ‘sharing a boyfriend’.
To solve this very puzzling question, Matt organises a group date/Royal Commission where the less-dramatic women sit in a circle and answer milquetoast questions like ‘is sexual chemistry or intellect more important for you’ and ‘when do you prioritise a relationship over a career’. None of these questions reveals much at all, but Matt decides picks Chelsie for some one-on-one time.
This is a fairly cute date where Chelsie admits to being a huge nerd, to the extent that she’s brought a wastewater management textbook to the mansion. Whether she goes on midnight podcast binges is unanswered but she’s definitely close to fully-fledged nerd. She gets a rose but Matt is traumatised by the Monique drama and refrains from kissing her.
Then there’s a single date with Helena, whose accent Matt thinks is “intoxicating”. I think it sounds like she left South Africa in 1989 and then hung out with Lindsay Lohan, but each to their own. I feel vindicated, though, when she says she wants to get to know him without the “riff raff”. Somewhere, Helena’s grandparents are relaxing over tea at their colonial manse, dreaming of race science.
Given the producers are still out of money, this date also contains no aircraft. Matt and Helena are fertilising pearls. This is described as baby-making and gives birth to a plentitude of innuendoes: with several refrains of “is it in” and Matt’s instructions to “be a bit rough”. Matt may have just undergone IVF with Helena but he does so without giving her a kiss -- he clearly very much wants too, but he’s still disheartened by the Monique drama.
It’s the Monique drama which makes this episode truly shine. Matt, at the cocktail party, questions Monique about the accusations. Bemusingly, she totally denies ever even swearing. She says “I can’t imagine me saying it”, although it’s obviously more that she doesn’t have to. She insists that Matt can ask “half the girls” to back up her story, which is a funny way of putting “the other half the girls haven’t heard this much absurd lying since the Iraq War.”
As with every liar on the Bachelor, all this is deeply, deeply strange. There’s not exactly plausible deniability when you shit-talk to a film camera. Unsurprisingly, these bold lies stir comprehensive chaos. Abbie is dumbfounded at this unadulterated gaslighting. Matt is deeply confused and goes to ask the other girls, with Rachel getting dragged into the mess.
Rachel accidentally reveals Monique to be a liar, telling Matt that she did say those things, but only as a joke. All the other girls are awestruck at Monique’s act. They knew she was Not Like Other Girls, but they didn’t realise the difference was that Other Girls have moral compasses. They all tell Matt a version of “she definitely said these things in my hearing” but mysteriously he is still confused. He assembles the girls and chastises them, in the tone of a flustered substitute teacher, saying this has all been a “tremendous waste of time”. Maybe for you, Matt, but not for the viewer, and that’s what matters. This has all been delicious.
Now for the rose ceremony. CCP Kristen earns back some social credit by being the first picked. The first lot of roses pass by easily. On the last rose, a choice between Christian-youth-group-vibes Julia and pure evil Monique, Matt cracks. He leaves the room to get instructions from the producers. They tell absolutely not to kick out the star villain, they have ratings to worry about, thank you very much. Reassured, Matt mumbles some bullshit about earning second chances, and proceeds to give a highly unearned second chance to Monique. Poor Julia and her off-key ukulele are sent back to the church hall from whence they came.
Best line: Monique pejoratively pointing out Abbie is 22 many, many times. Her youth is still ringing in my ears.
Kristen’s social credit score: 951
Episode score: 9/10; spicy, but where. is. the. advertised. walkout.
Last night has set this episode up well. There’s lots of unresolved tension in the house after Matt kept Monique in the game, giving her a second chance because “we all make mistakes”. I’m not sure everyone’s mistakes are calling people dog c*nts and lying about it prolifically in the aftermath, but Matt’s optimism is impressive. Monique is unrepentant, continuing to note -- in case by some miracle we missed it last episode -- that Abbie is 23, which means she has yet to learn the three years of life lessons which let you casually gaslight both other women and your shared boyfriend.
This feud is exacerbated by Matt, who invites both girls on a group date. This is another of Bachie’s typically bizarre group date ideas, with the goal being to catch a bouquet which Matt slings towards them. Unless Matt is looking for hand-eye coordination in his future partner, this is not very revelatory. It does help him to distinguish Abbie and Monique, as the latter refuses to put in any effort at all, and gets knocked out in the first round.
The five girls who have caught the most bouquets go through to the second round. This is a compatibility test, which I will never trust after Jimmy got kicked off Sophie Monk’s season for being too organised. The twist is that the girls are wearing ill-fitting wedding dresses under arched garden trellises covered with bouquets, and each answer wrong will mean they lose a bouquet. If they get answers right they can cut off someone else’s bouquet. The first question for Abbie is ‘where do you see yourself in five years’, to which she says ‘married, with kids’. This is very obviously a lie, because she literally said to the camera about 5 minutes previously that she didn’t want to get married. Monique can’t have a monopoly on compulsive lies!! Unsurprisingly, the other girls don’t love Abbie’s deceit, and gang up on her, secateur-ing her bouquets off gleefully and en masse. Vakoo is the last woman standing and gets a date.
This date is sad. Vakoo is sweet and nervous. She spills red wine and giggles uncontrollably. We just want it to go well, but Matt is understandably worried about the age gap and unsure if they’re at the same life stage. Vakoo is relatable and lovely and very beautiful, but it’s painfully obvious that this is not going to work out. She doesn’t get a rose. The audience lets out a collective sigh of ‘oh babe, you were too good for him anyway.’
Matt turns up to the mansion to ask Chelsie on a single date. The girls, especially Abbie, are worried about this, because apparently Chelsie is really hot and they don’t want Matt to see her in swimmers. Part of me hopes the hetero nonsense of this show is going to be interrupted by an Abbie/Chelsie love affair, but then the date happens, and it goes well.
Matt and Chelsie drive to his bachelor pad to do some cooking. They are going to make banana bread, but neither of them seem to be able to crack eggs. Their general incompetence turns into an utterly gross food fight which makes us yearn for the days when production could afford planes, oysters, or even Gai Waterhouse. The couple seem to enjoy it, though, and it gives them an excuse to have a swim.
Back at the mansion, the girls speculate that Chelsie won’t get a kiss. She’s too quiet apparently, and the couple won’t have any chemistry. This is just so incorrect; Chelsie brought a chemistry textbook into the mansion, and her study pays off. Finally, after endless chat about intellectual stimulation, these two Scientists With Abs kiss (a lot) in the pool.
They get out to fresh banana bread, which is definitely thanks to the Bachie caterers. Chelsie expresses relief that the Bachelor is smart -- read: not Nick Cummins -- and Matt tells the camera that he couldn’t feel like the smartest in the room when Chelsie is present. I approve. They kiss some more.
Now to the cocktail party. Helena hopes that everyone can get along, which is definitely what her grandparents said about Afrikaners and the British. Matt decides to have a chat to Monique, whose Sunrise energy really comes out in an inane apology that sounds like an Australian TV host ‘apologising’ for being problematic. Matt attempts to discuss her lies, but Monique seems to believe she’s facing ICAC and cannot recall. She tells us she has a terrible memory and swears all the time anyway. Wait, didn’t she say she doesn’t swear last episode? Either she really does have a shocking memory or she doesn’t realise she’s on camera.
Matt is fed up. He has realised that a relationship formed on aerobatics adrenaline, shared mineral extraction, and deception is no relationship at all. Monique has comprehensively failed to earn her second chance and gets kicked off. She gets driven out of the mansion back to her life of investment properties and being One Of The Boys. She has a comprehensive bitch about Abbie in the car. In a final stroke of utter hypocrisy, she hopes Abbie “gets help” and “grows out of it”. Well, she might have a future on Sky News.
Osher breaks the news of her departure to the girls. They shocked, but it’s unclear why. Abbie asks herself if she’s happy now her arch-nemesis is gone. She can’t suppress her smile. She’s not happy, she’s gleeful. Sogand is confusingly devastated that Monique is gone and Abbie is still on the show. This is weird, because only one of those women called Matt a dog c*nt and that’s that.
Now for the rose ceremony. One girl is going home. The final two are Sogand and Vakoo. We all know how this is going to end. Poor Vakoo goes home, and all the girls are as sad as we are to see her go. Most of all, we hate that Vakoo is gone and Nikki the freaky-freak cheerleader remains.
Most consistent: Nikki’s insufferable surprised face when she gets a rose.
Kristen’s CCP score: 952 (for OK bouquet catching skills)
Episode score: 8/10 - a cute date with Chelsie, lots of entertaining lies, but Vakoo went home and the universe is unfair.