Holy shit is this thing on AGAIN? Ah crap. Why did I say I’d do this?
Well let’s plow in then.
We begin with the obligatory “what just happened” montage followed by a “what’s about to happen montage”. And the even more obligatory TORSO shot (don’t forget your bingo card, punters) as Arthur puts a shirt on while in voiceover he explains that each week he’ll get to go on a date with one of the laydees and “spend some time with them, do something fun aaaand… maybe have some romance” but in my head he said “handjobs”. As per usual Arthur has the best-lit abdomen in the biz.
Then we are back to Oestrogen Mansion where host Mike is also in a shirt, having “pre-dressed” (still no Fantasy Island white suit though? Come ON). He explains to Arthur’s hareem, who all seem to be in coordinated attire of neutrals and blues like a bloody Abercromie & Fitch shoot, that Art’s been busy organising some “spectacular” dates with them. As if Arthur would actually be organising this himself. The man isn’t even organised enough to have a shirt on before cameras turn up at his house of a morning. Let’s just assume that various production assistants were responsible for the logistics, yeah?
Mike leaves them with a “date card” which is duly opened but with a really weird, corny “knife blade” sound effect added. What the fuck? Can you imagine if they did that at the Oscars? So classy.
The card reads “no man is an island” and Poppy’s name is on the card and she looks like she might be tearing up slightly at being the first girl to get a solo date with Arthur. Alysha looks particularly gutted. Chrystal claims she didn’t want to go first.
We get a short run down on Poppy who in case you’d forgotten is a yoga instructor. She’s a bit beachy, a bit hippy and also a bit traditional. Used to be a competitive gymnast and so we see shots of her doing handstands and cartwheels and being “goofy” on a bike. Apparently it’s important to her that her dad approves of her love-match because… I have no idea. Apparently that’s still a thing. In the 21st century. So I guess we know what she meant by “traditional”.
Arthur meets Poppy at the harbour standing next to a seaplane and Poppy actually says “oh, my giddy aunt” where most people would have said “fuckin’ A!”. I can’t decide if that’s charming or incredibly twee.
In the seaplane it becomes evident that Poppy does not know the geography of the Auckland isthmus at all well and gets things wrong which means Art gets to correct her. He says in his piece to camera that he likes that she isn’t “fake” and admits to being a bit dumb about geography. Because girls who get stuff wrong are CUTE.
They land at a gorgeous beach on some island that Poppy has probably never heard of and it’s a quick change into “swimmers” as Poppy calls them and we find out that they each think each other is spunky. Specifically Poppy thinks Arthur’s bod is like a Spinal Tap amp. It goes up to ELEVEN. So we know there’s nothing wrong with her eyesight. Which is good because they are going to be sea-kayaking soon.
Poppy wants to know how he knew she’d enjoy kayaking. Arthur (or the producers) have a sixth sense about these things. “She looks like a girl who’d like a good kayak“, he says. But everyone watching inserts a completely different word at the end of the sentence.
Meanwhile, back at Oestrogen Mansion the girls are doing their nails and speculating on what the dating pair are doing on their date. Has there been snogging? If there were snogging would Poppy tell them so? Amanda reckons she “would of” snogged him on the first date. So it’s not just Dani who doesn’t know the goddamn difference between an auxiliary of the modal verb and a motherfucking preposition. *Grammar rant over*
Poppy is a seafood-eating vegetarian so “Arthur” has “organised” a nice seafood platter for her. Honestly, every single time he takes credit for the stuff on these dates I like him a little bit less. They chat and Poppy shares that both her parents have married three times (yikes) and that she is a bit of a hippy to the extent that she has one hidden dreadlock at the back under the rest of her hair, like some vestigial appendage. It’s quite odd but Arthur’s okay with it, seemingly. Poppy tries not to look too excited when Arthur tells her his mum is a bit of a hippy too and that she reminds him of his mother.
Because we all know that being a bit like someone’s mum is a massive awkward oedipal turn-on THAT WE MUST NEVER SPEAK OF.
After nosh it’s time for a walk along the beach and skimming stones across the water and exploring rock pools. No kite-flying yet but we can but hope.
Back at the mansion, the girls have retired to the drawing room and are playing cards whilst moping about not being able to hang out one-on-one with Art. Also Danielle L would like to see him with his shirt off. Considering how much we viewers have seen him with his shirt off this seems fair enough.
Yet again Arthur has organised more food, this time a picnic under a pohutukawa. From now on I will be looking out for Oompa Loompas because somebody must be responsible for laying out the throw cushions.
Then QUELLE DISASTEUR, Poppy lets out a little squeak of a fart. Except Arthur doesn’t seem that bothered by it and farts are universally hilarious. I once knew a guy who felt that the woman of his dreams would never fart in front of him. Guess what? Still single. And Arthur doesn’t want to be single so at least he’s past that mental/olfactory hurdle.
Related Fact: The average human being passes half a litre of gas a day and farts fourteen times.
To camera, Poppy says she doesn’t want to kiss Arthur until she’s at least top five because she doesn’t want to share (saliva) with 10+ other girls. Because euwwh. But four other girls is maybe okay, I guess? But Arthur doesn’t know this yet and he pulls a rose out of the picnic basket to give her. So Poppy is one step closer to getting to lip-locking level. Cheev!
Back at the mansion Poppy arrives with rose in hand and everyone wants the goss. Where did they go? What’s he look like with his shirt off? DID YOU SNOG HIM, YOU DIRTY BITCH?
So basically the girl half of that song from Grease.
To Poppy’s credit she’s not getting into details.
Later (or the next day, it’s hard to tell) Matilda turns up with another envelope this time containing details about a “group date” with Arthur. Attending with be Kristie, both Danielles, Natalie, Shivani, Dani, Matilda, Lisa and Chrystal.
Sad faces for everyone else. Boo.
Yay! Jetboating for everyone! Especially people wearing large sunhats! But it’s all aboard and there’s a lot of screaming and yellow lifejackets (though sadly no dogs in lifejackets). They pull up alongside a big cruise ship and I can’t help it. I’m singing “I’m on a boat” in my head.
Arthur’s TORSO arrives and it’s all anyone can do to keep their tongues from lolling about all over. Cheese graters are mentioned. There is “woo-hooing”. To be fair, I’ve already become desensitised to the TORSO so their reactions are probably quite normal, for all I know.
There follows a scinitillating game of quoits (not really) and Shivani mentions that she’s not really into showing her bod off all over the place which is fair enough really. But Quoitus Interruptus! Arthur wants to get into some watersports (not that kind).
Danielle L and Chrystal get picked out to go on a…donut? Far out, the only donut I want to know about on a date with a boy is the kind covered in powdered sugar, thanks. But they seem very entrepid and dive on in. Continuing on the “everyone is intimidated by Chrystal” narrative, Danielle says she’s not keen on lining up side by side with Chrystal in a bikini. So, there’s just bad body image hoodoo all OVER this damn thing.
Sidebar: If you watch the episode online as I am, and scroll down to the bottom of the page it shows you thumbnails of this episode’s “Exit interview” videos. So I now know who’s outsky. Nice one, TV3 digital.
But back to the donut which is a big raft-like thing that doesn’t even look like a donut. And then Danielle calls it a “biscuit” and I’m like, “damn, stop making me so hungry”. Anyway, this is towed behind a jetboat like waterskis but more cushy and sitty-downy. Chrystal and Danielle both plant a peck on the side of Arthur’s head as they cruise off. If you take away the overly competitive flirting that thing does look really fun… until it flips over dumping everyone into the ocean.
In the aftermath of the biscuit flip, Danielle emerges as the confident, unflappable one whereas Chrystal was a touch more shaken by it, prompting Arthur to characterise her as “a bit of a princess”. Because there’s only two options here, you’re either tough or a woosy widdle girl, and being flipped at high speed into the sea IS JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS, CHRYSTAL, SUCK IT UP. Hmmmm.
Cut back to the mansion for the obligatory insecure speculations. Blah.
Dani, who has an intriguing looking tattoo that I’d like to know more about, is invited for a ride with Arthur on a jetski. And off they zoom. Dani takes a turn in the driver’s seat and seems to be pretty into going fast. On the way back, having complained of being cold, Arthur warms her by peeing gallantly onto her back… but actually he just gives her a cuddle.
Meanwhile every single instance of physical contact is being dissected and catalogued by the other girls. This reminds me dreadfully of a third form disco I once went to.
Cocktail hour on the boat and some people are talking shit. Specifically Chrystal whose strategy of keeping schtum from the first episode has dropped away as she holds forth on gender differences in a very, um, un-nuanced kind of way. Danielle L calls it “ignorant”. She might actually have a point but there’s clearly no love lost between these two.
Kristie, in an attempt to get a bit of attention, stridently brings her empty vessel to Arthur’s attention and demands a refill. So now everyone hates her. HOW VERY DARE SHE? That is not how a classy lady on a reality TV show competing with sixteen other women for the chance to go out with one guy acts, thank you very much.
Arthur takes Dani off to an upper deck for a quiet chat as the sun sets behind them (sunsets ARE romance, ladies) and to camera admits he’s “quite fond of her”. Like he’s known her for aaaaaaaages.
“I feel like I want to give her a rose”
Why is it I want to stick other words in where “rose” is, like “jolly good seeing to”? Probably because “I feel like I want to give her a rose” is a really bloody weird thing to say.
He excuses himself and comes back bearing floral tribute.
The gang is all back together at the mansion for more cocktails (hurrah!) and these women must have massive amounts of luggage because they are currently having multiple wardrobe changes each day. I’m guessing the credit cards took a hammering before they came on the show.
The party is in full swing but Brigette hasn’t made an appearance and is apparently “in the ladies” so Arthur goes to find her.
Brigette has been crying in the loo, it seems (BINGO). What’s it all about? Brigette claims she “had a female moment”? Which immediately makes me think “PERIOD” but might just be her way of saying “woosy, girly emotions”. Who the hell knows?
Much like primitive people trying to divine the will of the gods via the entrails of goats, the ladies have taken to madly guessing a) the “strategies” of their competitors and b) the gameplan of the showrunners. Everything sounds equally plausible and they are talking themselves into knots.
Alysha backs herself and sidles in on Brigette and Arthur just as Brigette teases Arthur about his name (treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen, eh B?). Apparently his friends favour “Art” or “Artie”. Art then suggests they rejoin the party and Alysha is a tad crestfallen that she hasn’t been able to capitalise on her move.
Cristy then gets whisked away for a chat with Artie. We’ve barely seen anything of her so far in the show. Cristy looks on the brink of tears explaining that she’s finding this environment really hard to cope with (and call me a cynic but I feel like Art might be being fed questions by the producers – or, everything is very selectively edited. Or both) when Natalie rocks up. And it’s pretty much the worst timing ever. Cristy makes her departure but not before Arthur’s seen her distress and offered a hug while Natasha stands to the side looking and feeling like a right pillock.
So Natalie gets her one on one but Arthur’s “no, it was good to chat to you too” as they head back to the others was delivered with a distinct lack of feeling that no soaring romantic scoring can mask, though points for trying, guys.
As the Rose Ceremony approaches everyone expresses nervousness about whether they’ll get a rose or not…except for Chrystal who is confident she will.
Mike arrives and it’s time for the awfulness of the Rose Ceremony. Poppy and Dani already have one each and there are thirteen more to be handed out, so that’s two ladies who will be going home. For some reason it’s really bothering me how everyone refers to being “safe” if they get a rose, meaning they can stay for another week. Like they’re going to be blown up by a grenade as soon as they leave the mansion. I suppose it amps up the tension and that’s the whole point of it but still. Blergh.
Voiceovers of various women being nervous, confident, insecure, etc etc.
The first rose goes to Brigette The Female. Next is Kristie followed by Matilda, and the voiceovers are already becoming more panicky. CAN YOU STAND THE INTENSE SUSPENSE?
Next are Amanda, Lisa and Chrystal, who forgets to give Arthur a peck on the cheek when accepting the rose and this is apparently obligatory so everyone is shocked when she turns away without planting one on him including Arthur who is all “my face is right here, lady” with his expression. She duly returns to pledge her fealty to her lord in the prescribed manner. “Geez, what is up with this uppity madam?”, is the general feeling. YOU HAVE TO KISS HIM, HE’S THE CENTRE OF YOUR MOTHERFUCKING UNIVERSE AND DON’T YOU FORGET IT, MISSY.
More voiceover angst. Yadda yadda.
Natalie gets a rose. She seems stoked. Next is Hayley, then Carissa, and Shivani. Danielle B is called with a nice longish pause before the B. Alysha is next.
That leaves one rose which goes to Danielle L. Which means that Natasha and Cristy are goneburger.
Next time on The Bachelor: Bungy jumping off the harbour bridge! Rally driving! And Chrystal gets territorial at the cocktail party!
How do we feel this is progressing? Aren’t these rose ceremonies the worst?