Yes! It's the Bachelor where all of us south of the Sea Sliff Bridge are wondering: will West Wollongong’s Laura win the chance to be the last one dumped? And who else will survive? Actually Laura is all we care about really. Parochialism rules so don’t expect too much coverage of those also-rans.
And before you protest out the front of the Mercury, sure, I acknowledge Stanwell Park and Coalcliff are north of the the bridge but part of Wollongong. But they are their own republic. Helensburgh is north too but let's face it that's a different world.
Enough of these lies about geography. Back to the show, where people pretend they’re from cities they’re not.
MORE RECAPS: Hometown visit a wild windmill fantasy
Go Laura! Will she make it to the finale in “Thailand”, which may have been filmed in Cambodia because it looks Thai-ish only cheaper?
Go Laura! Could she win the honour of being jilted at the altar, of being Most Hurt in this series?
Go Laura! Coming second seems to work out better on this show anyway. You’re not stuck with this himbo, reaping what you sewed as the heat of competition convinced you that you actually wanted him.
Second is the new first! A year ago Matty was the last one dumped by The Bachelorette Georgia Love, and he got his own show. What’s the name of the guy who won? I don’t know either.
Hang on, is that Jen from Albion Park thinking she might be the next Bachelorette? Poor thing, what they must have told her.
MORE RECAPS: Ding dong, Our Jen is gone
Matty and Laura meet up at Stanwell Park because while she once lived in a park in Rushcutter’s Bay, she's from Wollongong when it suits us for the scenery. No complaints; it’s gorgeous.
Matty the Dumper is on a surfboard but doesn’t catch a wave.
Looks like Laura is out the front of Joe Hockey’s batch. Matty is driving north across the Sea Cliff Bridge to meet her which means he's coming from Wollongong. Hmm where did he spend last night?
They talk about how much they love the drive. “Along the ocean road” says Laura which is almost what they call the one in Victoria. This is the Grand Pacific Drive but who would say that in real life.
They marvel at the coastline and the gorgeous Sea Cliff Bridge features so heavy it makes you wonder how much we all paid for this tourism promotion.
Sure it's beautiful. If Sydney people knew that why would they live in that traffic jam? ‘Cos it takes so long to get out of Sydney no-one really tries.
Laura and Matty go on a paraglide from Stanwell Tops, with different men grasping them in separate tandems. Intimate. Matty who's in marketing makes sure to drop the name of the company with whom they ride. Strangely the footage doesn’t feature the city council’s gorgeous “world class” $8 million toilet block welcome attraction that you can stand on top of.
Let’s cut to the chase. We know Laura's not getting kicked out tonight. She's way too alpha; she's the Big Love Affair.
Nor is Elise because she’s really agreeable and lets Matty take the lead and that's what he likes in a woman. Until he dumps her with no reasons given.
And besides, Tara has already been chosen by producers as good Bachelorette material because she's funny. And she needs to get dumped before she can get that job. Yes that's a spoiler but I wrote these paragraphs before I watched the show so we're even.
Back to the paraglide, which looks about as much fun as you can have in the arms of a stranger. Laura, who’s savvy, describes herself as “Girlfriend No.3” and they edit together a bunch of half-sentences from her about “excited” and “amazing” and “ohmygod”. The gliders land on the beach and do some touchy stuff for the camera. They make it through the whole day without Laura saying she grew up just down the road.
READ MORE: Bachelor fine for a feminist, says Laura
Laura wants to “talk properly” and tell him she's falling for him. It’s all fun and games particularly when someone gets their heart broken. And Matty's itching for a dumping. Wait, wait – you can't just dump the first one you see, producers tell him through his earpiece.
Off to some ads and there's a band-aid that doesn’t hurt coming off, a law firm that’s in it for you, and a tooth mob that wants to “share in your orthodontic journey”. Uh-huh. Plus a show where Jessica Marais pulls this face a lot:
Now they are somewhere else. Matty says he wants to push Laura, pull her, and that he doesn’t want to push her.
Laura lays her cards on the table. She's right into him.
Matty reminds her of the portrait he did of her on their first date. He'd made it so far without doing any negging but it couldn’t last.
And then: Matty pulls out a picture of her that he's done and it looks almost good. A bit like Elora perhaps but he wanted two-for-one value in case things turned out that way.
It's actually not bad. Matty admits he's had “some help” and of course he did. This is TV, what you think he does all the painting himself?
That must have taken some time. More evidence Laura is winning this show. If the other girls could see this they’d quit on the spot.
Laura's in full gush mode and that’s a sight to behold. She's got the Falling In Love moves. She tells him he’s “unexpected” by which she means he’s better than this reality TV fakery. But you can’t say that to Mr Reality TV Establishment, and anyway she suspects he’s actually not. But it’s a good line.
Laura lays it on thick and talks up her love-or-something-like-it which has a hold on her. “I would prefer to be hurt than to walk away from this with dignity intact but he doesn't know how I feel,” she says.
Right on. Wasn't it the poet Tennyson who said “Tis better to have loved and lost, and be humiliated publicly on television, than to have never loved at all”? Or was it John Laws, well-known lover, well-known loser?
Anyway Laura tells him she's falling in love with him and Matty responds by squibbing it. He leaves her hanging. Says nothing. They pash on.
More ads. Tramps will “help you find your unique look” just like all these guys. Then three or four ads are repeated. WIN, or is it Ten (in administration), who knows, is squeezing in all those bookings before it’s all over, hoping no-one’s watching.
Off to a date with Elise.
Matty is referring to segments of the show as if they are life events. There's “hometowns” which was last week, and “catch-up”, which apparently is this episode. We get the feeling – not for the first time – that the final cut of this show is rather different from how it was written and filmed. Ah well it's Warner Bros they’re just a green startup; they'll learn.
Anyway let's get this over with. Almost there. Elise has a date with Matty and he picks her up in a train. “No pressure” he says, actually walking past a steam engine. “No pun intended,” I say, like people do when they actually did mean to pun, but know it’s not very funny, so think saying “no pun intended” launders their dopiness.
Elise gushes as best she can. Matty's body language is that of a customer getting a tool demo in a hardware shop.
They ride on the train and kiss a lot, carrying empty wine glasses around in memory of Jen. Then it’s a campfire date which seems like a two-hour D&M. He drags the old “I am falling in love with you” out of her. Mission accomplished. He has her heart in his hands. It’s his to break. He gives her nothing back.
Time for a date with Tara who's not making it out of this show alive. There's a seaplane and multiple shots of the company name which involves a seaplane and a city not too far from Gosford. Tara says she loves how with Matty she can stop being silly and just be quiet. Whether that’s true or not we have not seen.
Matty tells her she has the most beautiful voice he's ever heard. No-one has ever said that to Tara before, nor will again. Laura, watching the show at home, commits to trying to talk more like Tara.
Matty lies that he liked Tara’s family. She buys it.
MORE RECAPS: Alix exits as Matty wreaks vengeance on womankind
His mission to Dump 21 Women is working out a treat. He's led three of them on, bringing them all to the point when they declare their love. In fact he’s kept only people who say that. Three out of three.
It's like Matty has learned nothing from what happened to him, when he got so hurt. It’s like he’s repeating the same mistake. Hang on that’s not …. BWAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
He’s got Tara on a yacht. Matty says it's so nice with nothing but the sound of a few birds. There’s about to be one less once he’s pushed her overboard. He goes in for the pash knowing he's about to knife her. Love is grand but the killing is what the Bachelor lives for.
Can he tell them straight? Nope the bastard needs a “rose ceremony” to shield him from reality. The girls love being forced to get dressed to the nines just so they can get dumped. Matty goes on about his “strong feelings towards” them which is spin and not something genuine people say. You don’t have love towards someone. You have love for them.
Matty does some solo poses about feeling sad. Everyone’s falling in love and vulnerable and it’s tough etc etc.
Tara has sensed her impending doom and has taken to wearing oversized cricifix earrings. She's finished and Matty says it’s so hard. You've just made it so memorable, he says. He’s trying sadness style for this breakup, to keep it fresh. Such is life as a Breakup Artist.
So Laura's off for a holiday in Cambodia for the finale. Will they ride an amphetamine-addict elephant? Clear some land mines? I can’t wait.
At the start of this episode we saw Tara’s dad (or maybe a drunk older brother) saying “You can find a girlfriend without having to go on a show like this.”
That may be true but you wouldn’t get to dump 21 women in a few months. If it’s revenge on womankind you want, only one “process” can let you spill that much blood. And, as Matty's taste in dumpings has moved from maximising quantity to maximising pain, he’s eyeing one more big one just around the corner. Working on his lines, practicing in the mirror, checking his earpiece, sharpening his teeth.
Maybe even two?
- The Bachelor Australia finale is on tonight, 7.30pm, WIN