Too far: Bach’s distraught runaway
PUSHED to breaking point, a Bachelor contestant has busted through the good latticework fencing of the mansion on Wednesday night and escaped the grounds in tears.
Where is she running? Not even she knows.
The siren sounds. Plain-clothed producers swarm the surrounding hectares and begin forensically combing through the guinea grass. Helicopters fire up and search lights cut through the pine trees.
In a matter of moments, she has gone from contestant to fugitive.
Our demons are the only thing standing between what we want and what we have - the voices that start as a whisper but tear through us like a chainsaw. The only way to fight is to get reckless.
Tonight, Romy is the demon. Well, every night she's the demon, but tonight particularly. And she forces one girl to go berserk.
Wednesday ends the way it begins - with mass hysteria. It's intruder night. Happens every year. And every year, the contestants act as if intruders are a brand new invention that have been unfairly dumped on them without warning.
To be fair, it seems producers this year have played dirty. They've assembled a trio of intruders that exhibit the same divisive quality. A quality so shocking it offends the original girls.
"They are all brunettes!" one girl shrieks, covering her mouth.
"There's three brunettes!" another yells, losing her balance and falling backwards over a sculpted hedge.
"There are three brunettes," Cass whispers. She spent so much money buying her blonde internet hair extensions on the internet before coming on this show because she thought Nick likes blondes. But does he? Producers seem to think otherwise. Why else would they introduce THREE BRUNETTES? She starts running around aimlessly trying to locate a L'Oreal home hair dye kit.
The new gals even have groovy intruder names: Deanna, Brittney and Jamie-Lee. The bitter, original girls all accuse Jamie-Lee of using a fake name which is just rude because nothing about Jamie-Lee screams "fake".
As for the other girls, none of us know how to spell or pronounce Deanna's name and Brittney is one of those girls who woohoos a lot and yells "drop it likes it's hawt!" as if she's still on a 2004 Contiki Tour.
With the dynamics of the group now thrown into chaos, we head off on a group date where Osher makes us play another made up game. Usually we'd skim over it, but the crapfest is saved when the girl with the fake name breaks her ankle and gets put in a moon boot.
Nick washes his hands of this OH&S issue and whirls Tenille away for a date.
"I know we definitely get along like a house on fire and we have good banter," Tenille insists, even though we've never seen her before in the mansion and definitely haven't witnessed her conversing with Nick and I actually had to go on the show's official website to check how to spell her name.
The idea of kissing Nick on this date - particularly after he's kissed all the other girls - makes Tenille feel weird. And we get it. Nobody wants a cold sore.
But she soon finds herself grappling with an even bigger decision: spit or swallow?
Once you're faced with a situation like this on a first date, a kiss doesn't seem so confronting. So when Nick lurches in, she leans closer. Cold sores be damned. "I'll just buy Zovirax!" she tells herself. Suddenly, they're spitting and swallowing all over each other.
Tenille knows she has just backflipped on her rule to not kiss Nick. But in the moment, she realises she doesn't care if he's kissed all the other girls. For these few intimate minutes, he has chosen her.
After all, what's one kiss? It doesn't mean anything. Indeed, one anonymous 2am pash at the Coogee Pavilion means nothing. But this isn't the Coogee Pav. It's the Bachelor mansion - where kisses screw with your mind and end in chaos.
On the patio at the cocktail party, Tenille holds court as she recounts the finer details of the kiss.
The holy trinity of means girls are annoyed. Cat, Romy and Alisha assemble to talk about Tenille's backflip on first date kisses. They say she imitated the moans that happened during the kiss. We didn't hear any moans but we'll take their word for it because moans are funny.
They're so irritated they run back to the patio where they accuse Tenille of saying she thought the Honey Badger would be gross to kiss.
"Oi Tenille!" Romy screeches, but in a really classy way because her dress has elaborate feathered shoulder pads. "Were you saying it was gross kissing Nick?"
Tenille remains calm. But these are expert mean girls. They know how to put words in your mouth and talk you around in circles to the point where you're agreeing with them.
"You said he's gross," Romy berates further, inventing more dialogue Tenille didn't say.
Tenille replies calmly. But it doesn't matter how softly you talk to a mean girl. They'll spin your reply into an "attack". You're being defensive, they'll claim.
"You called him yuck and gross," Romy continues like the older sibling you just can't beat.
"Stop putting words in my mouth Romy!" she pleads. She can feel her chest tighten. She wants to cry. Just not in front of these girls.
Tenille stands up and squeezes between the patio chairs. She needs to get out but this mansion is so elaborate and fancy there's no clear escape routes. In a haste, she bursts through the good latticework. And like that, she's set free.
She stumbles down a grassy knoll where two producers are caught by surprise. Her stilettos crunch along the gravel driveway.
"Can you please un-mic me?" she begs.
They refuse. Tenille begins clawing at her skin, trying to scrape off the recording equipment. She storms through a vacant lot and stops at a stationary Tarago. A female produce catches up as she fidgets with her shoe strap.
"Hey babe, what's going on?" the producer asks breezily, attempting to be gal pals.
"I have copped nothing but shit from those girls. I have been nothing but f**king nice to them every single time they've gone on one (a date)," Tenille sobs before setting off again, running barefoot down a dirt track.
She doesn't stop until she reaches another property. The location is unclear, a wrecking yard of some kind - lots of trucks and demountable sheds and harsh flood lights.
"I can't handle it," Tenille breaks down.
The sight of cameras sets her off again. She makes another dash, this time into dense bushland.
"We can't go further! It's actually dangerous!" the producer begs.
But Tenille doesn't care. Right now, being in the mansion around those girls feels more dangerous than the wilderness. It's too dark for the cameras to capture anything. Everything is black. The sounds of tree branches scraping the lens is all we can gather.
"Tenille, you can't run away!" the producer warns. But she can. Running away from life and responsibility is how she ended up on this show in the first place. The Bachelor isn't the end of the line. There's always Love Island.
Back at the mansion, all the producers are scattered around the grounds as they try to locate the missing girl. It's in these rogue moments every producer on a reality show wishes they dressed better. Producers ask Romy what happened. "She suddenly went crazy," she says, surprised. It's cold and convincing. Like something out of Big Little Lies.
Kilometres away, Tenille has been located. Barefoot and wrapped in an alfoil fire blanket, she's walked back up to the mansion.
"Do you want my shoes?" the producer asks her. "No," Tenille replies. She wouldn't be caught dead in Vans.
At the rose ceremony, Tenille pulls herself together. As the rest of the girls line up to meet their fate, she stands on the opposite side of the room - clutching the rose Nick gave her on their date. She's confident, together.
To cause such a scene but still return to face Australia and the man you love requires maximum courage and minimal self awareness.
Jamie-Lee - who now has to wear a moon boot - gets the first rose. She lurches over to Nick, her moon boot scraping along the timber floor behind her.
Thud, draaaaag. Thud, draaaaag.
We all giggle but that's where the humour for tonight begins and ends.
In a matter of moments, Nick welcomes all three intruders into the mansion - and kicks out two of the OGs.
Cat reacts in a very measured and appropriate way.
"I'm furious. This is a sick joke. I'm coming for them," she declares.
Rhiannon - the girl made famous with last week's humiliating kiss - and some other chick are no longer in the fold.
Both leave solemnly through the Tenille-shaped hole in the lattice.
For more observations on lattice and Vans, follow me on Twitter: @hellojamesweir