This week promised to be new. Different. Spicy. Expectations soared when the clue to the first single date was revealed to be a blindfold. Our resident stalker Emma was selected for a glorious day of ‘heightened senses’… Sadly, as Matt is one of the most vanilla bachelors we’ve had since Richie, the blindfold is not for a little bit of the ol’ Christian Grey. Instead, the duo bond by spooning food into each other’s blindfolded faces, like mothers feeding particularly helpless babies. Also, they use a different blindfold to the one they showed in the mansion? Why?
Anyway, Emma momentarily confuses which show she’s on, thinking that the blindfold is setting her up for some kind of ‘survivor-esque’ challenge in which she will be forced to chow down on a living spider. Thankfully it’s just a truffle, but there is a certain sense of injustice when Matt gets to eschew the fungus for a fudgy slice of chocolate gateau. They both enjoy this way too much, and we are treated to a painfully long segment of Emma feeding Matt with the kind of adoration you would reserve for a newly-adopted puppy. After that weirdness is over, the producers – I mean Matt – surprise Emma with a woodcarving displaying the sound waves of the words “I love being in love”, and her reaction is about as overjoyed as you can imagine. Oh, Emma. Sweet, sweet Emma. Poor, sweet, easily pleased Emma.
Next, it’s group date o’clock, and there’s a new psychological torture in store for our lovely ladies. This time they are forced to order themselves according to the qualities Matt looks for in a partner. The aim is to be one of the last two standing, and the five self-reportedly most selfless ladies vote to eliminate one of the bottom two girls in each category. The dastardly Abbie foils all their plans by…um…moving more quickly? Being more tactical? What a bitch! The other girls have about had it with Abbie when it comes down to her and Brianna, another brunette whose existence has been barely registered by the cameras. The two girls vie it out by writing their hopes and dreams on a piece of paper and seeing which one Matt agrees with more. The evil genius Abbie once again proves herself light years ahead of us all (oh god, now I’m making space puns too), by simply repeating everything he had said earlier. Brianna, with the nation’s hopes on her shoulders, is no match with her statement that she wants “fun”. That’s it. Fun. Good lord, Brianna, the boy gave you the answers to the test before you started!
There’s no rose ceremony this time – we’ve upped the ante and Matt must now circulate through the cocktail party handing out roses like pamphlets during ANUSA voting. 24-year-old student Nikki (she could be any one of us!) manages to score a rose at the last minute by hurling some vulnerability in Matt’s general direction. But Brianna just can’t bring herself to pretend to care and is shafted out in the cold, dark limo to the real world.
The second episode starts with an even more thrilling single date as ‘China girl’ Kristen finally gets some solo time to prove she is not a paid PR representative of the Chinese nation. And she’s surprisingly likeable once that oriental music is switched off. Their generic kayak date gets jazzed up when the pair sensually rub some very disgusting-looking chocolate goo all over themselves while Matt perches in a ludicrously tiny bucket. Kristen tries her best to make it sexy, but all the making out in the world will not make Matt look any less like a cartoon giant. The group date is slightly less sadistic this time, as the girls meet Matt’s best friend Kate. But fear not! The girls get to show off their best friends as well, and the nation is blessed with Sogand’s BFF Max, who describes her as “passionate. Like an onion.” What a pal.
The girls all line up to be interrogated by Kate, and Cassandra lets slip that she might actually want to prioritise her career (the bitch!). Abbie’s magnificent web of lies starts to come undone. After Sogand ambushes Kate with a warning that Abbie is up to no good, even Matt’s best friend is convinced that she needs to go. Sadly, her warnings to Matt fall on deaf ears as he talks about their ‘connection’. In case you weren’t paying attention, that’s code for “she’s hot, leave me alone”.
The cocktail party swoops around, and we are dragged away from the Abbie-Sogand drama as Matt chases down Helena to give her the big fat smooch he couldn’t plant on their single date. Someone should really have told her to rethink the lipstick, because Matt emerges looking like a cheap knock-off of the Joker, except three times more terrifying. The girls pounce at each other’s throats with the maturity we’ve come to expect from them at this stage, and the bickering between Sogand and Abbie is so shrill that the producers helpfully provide us with subtitles. But it was worth it? Matt’s seen through Abbie’s villainy, right? Wrong! Our resident brunette-slayer axes the poor career-focused Cassandra, who marches off to advertise her jewellery company on Instagram, as though that wasn’t her plan all along. We do love a good businesswoman, but please, Cass, was it worth it?
Once again we have another week to wait before watching some allegedly self-respecting women claw each other to death for the love of a man so generic he would be difficult to pick out of a line-up. Be warned, brunettes of the mansion – you’re on shaky ground.