Well, it’s tough times for those of us who tuned in to this show to watch people fall in love, given it’s not something Channel Ten is the least bit interested in doing. What have Eden and Nina or Luke and Lisa bonded over? Are they talking about futures outside the show? Who would know. It’s only a good time for lovers of…
Most of the drama is focused on love triangles. Of course, the show is set up entirely to create them. A bunch of hot, drunk people on an island, with a perpetual gender imbalance? Yeah.
We exorcised ourselves of the Jake/Flo/Davey triangle last week, only for poor old Flo to find herself dumped in another one this week. And then there was the love quadrilateral that emerged later in the week, but we’ll get to that…
First up, Keira has a date card. Sam obnoxiously announces that ‘She’s not taking me, I already know! We had a chat’ and yeah Sam, we know no-one wants to take you and your bizarre birdsnest hair for a date. Keira has the hots for Michael, and she’s taking him. No-one in the world has been more pointedly and vehemently not butthurt than Tara: ‘I haven’t even kissed him’.
She then does something that mortifies me. She starts hanging out with Sam. They are jokingly ‘distraught’ but agree to be one another’s rebounds. There’s nothing explicitly romantic, but I don’t want my wonderful queen being sucked in to his vortex.
Keira is mega socially-awkward on their date, and not just because they have to wear stackhats covered in leaves to ride horses on their beach. She keeps making weird comments about how romantic the situation is etc even when Michael seems to spend half their date talking about how beautiful Tara is. In fact, her complete inability to read his signals means she could be the perfect match for….Jarrod!
He turns up while Michael and Keira are still on their date, and the entire island flips their whole shit. Like so:
Not necessarily a glowing endorsement, perhaps summarised by Florence’s to-camera ‘Is that….Pot Plant Jarrod? Fuck me’. Her hopes of someone to come and sweep her off her feet are dashed (Florence ended up giving Jarrod some brutal honesty on After Paradise, and tells him she thought he was creepy!). Blake, of course, picks up a pot plant to greet him with, hopefully un-pissed-in, while Leah calls ‘Did you bring us some wine?’, surely something Jarrod hears wherever he goes. Sam and Tara flirt (about his balls????) and I cover my face in revulsion.
Promptly following Jarrod is Season One Ali, someone who established herself as a bit of a keen bean by trying to pash Tim on the first night. She is happy to be the stage-five clinger of the series, but she’ll have some bloody stiff competition from Jarrod, who forms an instantaneous and overwhelming crush on her. So much for taking it easy and mingling, mate. Flo is not exactly kind when Ali turns up and Jake gives her the eye, saying of course he likes her because ‘she looks like someone from the Gold Coast’ and accuses her of looking like a Malibu Barbie: ‘her face doesn’t move’. None of this is kind, but it is also quite true. A tanned blonde with bolt-ons, big pouty lips and saucer eyes? It’s enough to make any gal a bit insecure. And indeed Flo seems a bit intimidated in other aspects, namely that Ali is gunning for a husband and kids, while Flo seems to be quite happy having fun (and not husband-hunting in the worst environment possible!). Somehow Jarrod has heard Ali has ‘the most beautiful soul…inside’, and I’m not sure where else she would keep it (nor…who has been saying that?).
ALSO joining, with a very purposeful stride which I admire, is Megan from Richie’s season. Megan’s a little infamous with the Daily Mails of the world as after she left (refusing a proffered rose), she went on to conduct a very Instagram-friendly relationship with fellow contestant Tiffany. Megan’s pretty clearly not a big fan of labels (which is something I empathise with) but is clear that she’s interested in both guys and girls, and is open to getting to know anyone on the show – in particular Jake, who she’s met before, and Elora, who she just presumably thinks is hot (spoiler alert for this episode AND next – we already know Megan and Elora get to know each other from the salacious promos). The next part is a bit vague but basically Megan gets a date straight away before she enters the resort – but doesn’t explicitly get to choose. Instead she chooses from a ‘menu’ of personality traits, and then the person who ostensibly best matches them is picked. I don’t actually believe this…at all, because Jake is whisked away for the date, and he doesn’t actually have any good personality traits.
Ali is being swept up in a sea of thirst. Unluckily for Jarrod, the 5-10 minutes of Sophie’s season that she watched were the ones where he got dumped, but they bond over their families being in the wine biz. Old mate Mack jumps in for the cockblock, inspiring some jealous noises from Leah about Ali’s husband-hunting. Mack and Leah both need to sort themselves the fuck out to be honest, but that’s a story for later. Mack is overwhelmed by the simple fact that Ali is asking him questions about himself (not exactly a glowing endorsement of Leah, who he’s usually shown speaking to) and asks one of the most annoying questions on earth: ‘Why the hell are you single?’
(I’m pretty sure the only way to answer that question is to take a leaf out of Bridget Jones’s Diary and reply that underneath your clothes, your entire body is covered in scales)
The Keenest Bean Who Ever Lived is pounced on by Keira when she returns from her date (Tara hissing: ‘Jarrod’s here, Jarrod’s) – they’ve had some interactions on Instagram (ah, modern romance). She is very blatantly checking him out, and starts complimenting him as soon as he starts talking about Ali.
Because this show will never release us, there’s more:
Michael returns eager to talk to Tara, not really picking up on the vibe well at all. When Ali asks Michael what he looks for in a woman, he openly gestures to Tara. Finally he takes her aside. While she initially just seems standoffish, making a point of what a great time she had with Sam, as she sits there in his ridiculous horseriding stackhat it is clear that she is incredibly drunk, and this could not be a worse time to have a meaningful conversation. Michael feels like he’s come back to a different woman – and he kinda has. He’s comes back to Very Drunk, Very Annoyed Tara. She is definitely passive aggressive, but he certainly should have picked up the hint earlier and left it to the next day. Ah well. Tara and Michael are looking cancelled….leaving her wide open for Sam.
Megan and Jake’s date closes out the episode. She’s appropriately cynical about him – presuming he’s already got himself in the drama – but the mutual attraction is obvious. Having met when she was in a relationship, they’ve stayed in contact. By which I mean talked on the phone. WHO DOES THAT? Before entering the resort, they have a proper damn pash. Uh-oh.
Oh mate. Flo is on rampage. Ali is no longer on her radar, now Megan is here: ‘ ‘I don’t know much about Megan, I thought she was a lesbian’ (there’s a whole spectrum out there, Flo dear). And would she like to chat to Jake? ‘Why the fuck would I chat with him? What would I have to chat about?’. Anyway, she goes and chats with him. She says that she enjoys talking to him, although there is absolutely no evidence of this. It is incredibly tense and passive-aggressive. She notices Megan’s makeup on his shirt, and he tells her ‘It was a hug mark. We’re mates’. That’s the key part of this convo.
Various parts of the gang are breaking it all down. Keira and Ali know that they both have a little somethin’ going on with Jarrod. And the man himself, sporting a fedora because of course, tells the boys that while he had an instant connection with Keira, he doesn’t want to get locked on to the first person. Considering the first of the two he chatted to was Ali, I daresay he’s gonna fail badly here.
The interminable Flo/Jake nonsense continues. Eden dobs Flo in to Jake, sharing that she’s been saying he’s two-faced. Meanwhile, Nina relays to Flo that Megan is being quite open about the fact that she and Jake kissed. You can see the steam come out of Flo’s ears here, and it’s not just the humidity. He must think she has an IQ below 100 to not find out about this business, she says. She starts resigning herself to going home.
Florence is feeling ‘single af’ as Lisa and Keira go through the list of couples out loud. This cuts to a shot I nearly shrieked at, of Laurina and Blake cozied up in bed.
And now we enter love quadrilateral or pentagon or whatever territory. It starts with Mack and Leah, who have an odd vibe happen. Well, it’s not that odd. Mack is thirsty for her, and she’s entertaining herself with him until someone better comes along – but is neither so detached to not get butthurt if he pays attention to anyone else, nor so open about it that he feels he can do so without hurting some ‘loyalty’ he owes her. I don’t think it’s a game, which is he way Mack frames it. A game implies he has some chance of winning. She just likes the attention and doesn’t want to lose it. Anyway. Mack is part of the Ali Thirst Crew.
The centre of the Thirst Vortex is feeling Michael – she says he’s a ‘sweet soul’. Michael would like to talk to her thanks to their mutual background in property, which we all know really makes the panties drop. Ali thinks Jarrod is sweet, genuine, caring – a nice guy, but she feels no romantic connection, and he’s not her physical type. Good thing he’s got a date card and is about to ask her out, then.
The come upon some Fijian folks doing some traditional song and dance, which Jarrod compares to the Lion King, an intriguing choice there given the location of the Lion King in fucking Africa. They get roped in to dancing, and Jarrod is extremely Dad-like. Ali: ‘Jarrod’s dancing…I dunno. But he was definitely trying’. The date is essentially a cavalcade of Jarrod being way, way more in to Ali than she is to him, which is part of the reason I think he and Keira might be a perfect match. Despite him essentially implying her entry was heralded by angels, the best compliment she can muster is that he’s very genuine. He really does put it all out there. He continues to lay it on extra thick while she holds back, saying she wants to take her time and not kiss multiple men on the show (i.e YOU JARROD). Jarrod also doesn’t want to go around kissing guys or girls….’except for you, at some point, if it does continue down…’. Yeah very subtle bud. In the post-date interview, you can almost here the producers high-five each other over Jarrod’s soundbite ‘If we’ve started out well now, who knows what could happen down the track. Nothing can destroy us’. Chillllllll.
Next up, it’s time to cancel Mack. Leah is finally being honest – she would take Michael on a date if she had the opportunity. Mack responds to this very normally and not at all gross and possessively: ‘If anyone is going to take you on a date, it’s going to be me taking you. If anyone’s going to kiss you first, it’s going to be me… You can’t go off with Mikey after I’ve been like…about 5 or 6 six days’. When Leah tries to tell him that their hanging out doesn’t necessarily have to be that fucking deep, and it’s Paradise, where they’re encouraged to test the waters and she doesn’t want to regret her experience, he graciously tells her ‘You can still talk to every person here’.
Sam breaks it to Florence, who is chatting with Tara, ‘I just had a chat with Jake. He’s happy to continue having really good chats with you’
Flo: ‘ Don’t I feel honoured?’
Flo thinks he is malicious enough to tell everyone else he’s going to give her a rose so no-one else does. It’s not exactly a wild theory, he is a garbage person. Wais the bartender tells her she is living with the consequences of her actions. I would add that she is also living with the consequences of her terrible taste in men, because Davey was not a prize peach and everyone needs to stop pretending he was.
Megan and Jake discuss their sexual chemistry while sitting several feet away from each other. She empathises with how difficult it can be to date women. I promise it is harder to date Jake, please run away from this loser Megan.
It all goes off again. Michael sits down with Megan and Flo and asks Megan what Jake had said about other girls. Megan says Jake was open about the fact that he had taken out Florence, ‘but it was very much friendship’. Flo is floored and starts ranting about how he couldn’t stop kissing her and telling her how much he likes her. She then storms off to confront him in his bungalow, which unfortunately happens off-screen but with sound on. Things get heated ,with him denying Megan’s comment, her calling him narcissistic and then things get a little unclear, because I don’t know if production added in the sound effect of a smashing glass. Florence either threw the contents of her champagne glass at him, or the whole damn glass.
And look, the former is mostly a dream for any soap lover and a hilarious gif (provided the receiver is an asshole):
But if it was the latter….if you’re going to go around accusing someone of being emotionally abusive (which Flo had), you probably don’t want to follow that up with being physically abusive yourself. Just a thought.
On Jarrod and Ali’s return from their date, Megan pays out Ali and Jarrod out for giggling, Sam obnoxiously (redundant) screams ‘Jarrod I want a download! How’d it go’, Mack is jealous and Ali somewhat shows her hand by going straight to Michael. But before things can get interesting, our boy Osher turns up to announce the rose ceremony that evening. While I think that’s extremely good news because it means this godforsaken episode is coming to an end, Leah tells him ‘Can you just give us some good news? Just casually. That’d be fantastic’.
Keira brings it a bit out a left field and starts pressuring Mack to keep her. A somewhat unlikely scenario – Mack’s life is fucking complicated enough.
Unlike the girls last week, the boys split up to discuss who will get roses. Turns out to be a tactical producer move. Jake is talking to Jarrod, Eden and Blake, while Michael is talking to Sam, Mack and Luke. Jarrod says Keira will hate him, but he plans to give his rose to Ali. Michael also has Ali in his sights for his rose. But he knows there’s a thing with Jarrod, and he knows Jarrod won’t react well if he gets in first with the rose.
Meanwhile in ladychats, Lisa thinks Jake will stay loyal to Flo. She thinks Jake loved getting a drink thrown at him. Which is a pretty hilarious interpretation, but the truth is, there’s not a lot of tension here with Jake’s rose, as we know very well from the promos that Megan stays.
Flo waltzes in to the cocktail party and Jake asks if she wants a drink.
Sam: ‘Maybe some champagne?’
Look, that’s probably the only thing I’m going to give Sam credit for in the course of the whole show.
Flo and Jake go for a chat and make nicey so the show can make us think he picks her.
Ali enters the party in a ~*~*dress*~*~ and half the men in the place flip shit. Jarrod abandons a conversation just to run over and tell her how good she looks (I REMEMBER THIS NONSENSE WITH SOPHIE). Ali chats with Michael, a grown man in capri pants, and they confirm their mutual interest. Mack corners her and freaks her out by telling her he’s thought about her a bunch over the last 24 hours. He insists he could talk to her all night, while she gently pushes to go back to the group. He feels like a comedian around her because she has a well-established awkwardness-coping mechanism of just laughing, which she did with Jarrod as well. Oh my god just let the poor girl have a cocktail in peace. The men are supposed to have the power this weak but they’re all ensnared by one girl.
Jarrod attempts to gently break it to Keira that he plans to give Ali his rose, which is pretty thoughtful. She’s immediately defensive, and when he talks about their connection growing she says ‘If I’m still around’ a bit sarcastically, and I wasn’t really buying her ‘I appreciate it’ when he says he wanted to explain it to her. Anyway, Keira goes off to have a massive teary about being loved for her, etc. You’ve seen the promos. That was this. Over Jarrod, of all people.
It’s almost rose ceremony time. Jake opines ‘this is a situation I didn’t want to be in’ even though he put himself in it, thoroughly. And Michael refers to the ‘love triangle’ where he, Jarrod and Mack are boning on for Ali. Not a triangle, mate.
Rose ceremony time! It is quite dramatic as far as these things go. Excellent work from the producers, putting Mack up first. He sends them all in to a tailspin by choosing Ali. Apart from Michael and Jarrod’s peevishness, Leah is there wondering what’s wrong with her? Is it because Ali reeks desperation? (probably not, hey).
Jarrod’s up next and gives a pining look to Ali before choosing Keira. She knows she’s he’s second choice, so one can pretty easily forgive her ‘Never thought you’d ask’ response, and the ‘…take what I can get at this stage’ thrown over her shoulder as she returns to the group.
Michael is stressing out because he doesn’t know what to do, while Jake (next to him), VERY unsubtly pressures him to choose Flo. Says he HAS to choose Flo. He lays it on so hard even though this is clearly not Michael’s decision to make, nor does Michael feel good about it.
Meanwhile, Eden chooses Nina and Luke chooses Lisa, we are never allowed to know anything about them or become invested.
Blake, Garbage Person, calls Laurina ‘Lenora’ during the rose ceremony. All the girls crack up but Laurina is done with him. Who the fuck is going to pick you now, dickhead? Get off my show.
Michael chooses Leah, which should please her. If he could just be a bit more rugged and manly (capri pants not included), he’d be just her type.
Once again, no tension because we know Megan stays, but oh god Jake does this in a fuckboyish manner, mournfully muttering ‘Willyouacceptthisrose’ without eye contact. To be fair, Megan was probably muttering ‘PleaseletEloraturnupsoon’ to herself.
As you can imagine, Flo takes this very graciously, and definitely doesn’t accuse him of being soulless, fake, and cold-hearted. Let’s hope this ends her fuckboy addiction for good.
Next week, Channel Ten goes full-on psychopathic with four episodes, Sunday-Wednesday. Once again, I have a real actual job, and I didn’t sign up to fucking recap the equivalent of the Return of the King: Extended Edition every week (plus I am interstate at the end of the week), so we’ll just have to see how we go.