Welcome back to another trip ’round the hell-pit, MAFS fiends! Tonight is something called “final dates”, which sounds an awful lot like one of those A Walk To Remember situations – are the producers going to kill everyone at the end of the season?! Wouldn’t put it past them. Let’s get stuck in!

Everyone is doing the customary post-commitment ceremony breakfast debrief, surrounded by various product placements. Stop trying to get me to drink [squints] Sienna & Joms, MAFS!

ah, delicious tsuJ thgiR

Bel and Pat are closer than ever, because of course they are! I truly love that MAFS definitely cast them as comic relief (a la Beth and Russ) but despite the odds they have forged a real connection. Sea witch and Mathlete: a match made in mean-spirited reality TV heaven.

Melissa, meanwhile, is still visibly elated after Bryce told the room last night that he was “falling in love” with her. I am very deeply skeptical about this but I also want our lost intergalactic empress to be happy so I will say, from between clenched teeth… good for her.

bleurgh

Resident emotionally-turbulent root rats Alana and Jason both decided to stay last night, but are still sleeping in separate rooms. They’re taking things slowly while the lizard tries to rebuild his trust in Hot Teacher. I simply cannot blame them for this and despite all my reservations wish them nothing but happiness.

Anyway who cares, apparently the number one MAFS gossip item is Bec totally blindsiding Jake last night by writing LEAVE. How many times do I have to say this!!! She is an elemental being made of ice and disdain who cares not for the pleasures of the flesh or the joys of emotional closeness! All she wants is to say mean things and look hot while doing so and us mere mortals should not stand between her and her chilly desires!!!

restore me to my throne of frost or perish

What’s this though? Something has touched the icy royal heart? Aww no! Bec’s dog is sick! She has to go home to take care of him! Awwww no don’t make me actually sad you guys!!! Don’t bring real dog lives into this!!!!

Bec needs to leave because she’s a good dog mum, and Jake is 100% supportive because he’s a good human being. It’s bad timing, but what can you do? She reckons she might not even come back. Take your chance for freedom, Your Majesty! Grab the dog and run!!!

no bullshit experiment is gonna come between the ice queen and her puppy

For everyone else on the MAFS set, it’s their last chance to convince their partner that they’re worth all this time, effort and humiliation: FINAL DATES. God it’s ominous. Not helped by Expert Mel doing her best Satan’s minion impression.

if Hell had a head of HR

Pat is wrapping an obscure something that’s intended to demonstrate his romantic feelings towards Belinda. The secrecy and his total ineptitude with gift-wrapping combines to imbue this activity with a very threatening aura.

cursed

Meanwhile, Johnny is doing cute stuff for Kerry, like leaving her a bunch of her favourite flowers. Obviously they’re sunflowers, because the gal is nothing if not uncomplicated. He’s taking her on a date to (where else) the theatre!!!

Back in Mathlete HQ, Bel has discovered her inexpertly-wrapped gift. The note accompanying it confirms my greatest fears: it is a garment. Or garments. If this is lingerie I’m going to throw myself under a truck.

Thank CHRIST I get to live another day: it’s a t-shirt!!!

“Middle Aged Football School”?

It says her name on it. It’s adorable. My relief is overwhelming. Off she goes in the MAFS limo to… some big fucken sports field. The producers drag her into the middle of the oval, and here comes Pat, sneaking up behind her with – what’s this? A MARCHING BAND!?! King of the Nerds!! KING!!!

if euphoniums be the food of love, play on

Ohhh my god this is enormous 80s teen movie shit and I am HERE FOR IT. Surprise cheerleaders? Patrick with silver pom-poms? A bad cartwheel? Fucking slay me, you magnificent dorks!

you may not like it but this is what peak male performance looks like

And a bunch of roses to the producer who greenlit this psychotic display. Belinda is so into it. She’s seen movies! She knows what love looks like!! If Pat doesn’t get laid after this, I’ll banish the sea witch back to her watery kingdom myself.

who’s the Toddlers and Tiaras champ now, huh?

Back in the hotel tower of torment, Jake is cementing his Perfect Man status by doing a bit of stress-cleaning to deal with Bec’s sudden departure.

that’s right, mummy likes a clean boy

Blah blah, he’s still hopeful that they’ll work things out, he wants her to miss him – she’s gone! Let her go! Come over immediately so I can console you! GOD.

Meanwhile Bryce’s surprise last date is to take Melissa back to his hometown of Canberra so she can meet his friends. Dreadful. I hate it. She’s obviously absolutely thrilled at the prospect of being further isolated from her own support network.

As the voiceover lady intones, though, this is also a chance for Liss to see if Bryce actually DOES have this secret Canberra girlfriend that was the subject of all those rumours a couple weeks ago. Yes! Give me the SCOOP!!!

“Canberra’s in the middle of bloody nowhere,” says Liss, not even trying to disguise her extraterrestrial origins any more.

Canberra: the fuck-off city

Bryce wants to take Liss to lunch to meet his good friends Jason, Elly and Michaela. He says Jason is “the gay best mate you have to have”. Charming. They sit down in a deserted high rise for a totally-not-staged interrogation. Jason in particular needs to know what’s been going down in the experiment.

Liss is like, Uh, well, Bryce has been involved in a lot of… confrontations. She tells them about the water-chucking incident, and then reveals that there was a rumour about a girlfriend outside of the experiment. There’s a lot of queasy music and sideways glances from Elly and Michaela. Jason’s like… how did this start? Bryce’s complexion begins its rapid calibration with the colour of his shirt again. Why does he keep wearing red?

because he is a fucking clot, that’s why

Liss says she obviously believes Bryce, and then the brick in question conveniently goes to “get drinks” (from whom? There is definitely no-one else here). Everyone immediately leans forward and is like, But how are you really.

She says she’s “rapt” with Bryce. Gross. And also: if she really were rapt, why is she asking his three closest friends to tell her if there’s actually any truth to the girlfriend rumour? Not the actions of a woman/alien who implicitly trusts her idiot partner!

*judges you in minor celebrity*

We’re kept salivating for a little longer on this front, though, ‘cos back in Sydney Johnny is treating Kerry to some extremely musical theatre bullshit.

the PHAAAAAAAANTOM of the opera is heeeeeeere

I mean, sure, it’s just a rug and some pillows under a spotlight in the middle of an empty theatre but it’s about the VISION, darling, the DRAMA, the THEATRICALITY of it all! SHOW BUSINESS, ahahaha!

Johnny talks for what feels like forever about how much he likes Kerry. She feels the same. We know! How many times must we be subjected to images of this balanced, respectful, deeply boring relationship. Get these two charming hotties out of my sight and into the real world.

Wow okay Channel 9 is really pushing the boat out this season: Johnny’s gift to Kerry is a Louis Vuitton keyholder with her initials embossed on it and a KEY TO HIS HOUSE.

la dee fucken da

Back in the wasteland of Canberra’s finest upstairs dining establishment, Liss is trying to draw out the details from the three sphinxes in front of her. She says that Bryce’s version of events was that he was seeing someone from Tinder for a little bit before the experiment, and then he broke it off. Come on, you cagey Canberrian motherfuckers! SPILL!!!

One of the women makes this weird, tight-lipped little speech that includes a lot of words but tells us absolutely nothing. Meanwhile Jason tells the camera that uh, yeah, Bryce definitely was seeing a girl on the outside – and he can only assume that it ended when he went on the show but he hasn’t actually confirmed that with him. The man looks like he’s got a gun pointed at him and I feel an unexpected surge of sympathy.

blink twice if you need help

Bryce and Liss head off into the bustling heart of our nation’s thriving capital, and Jason, Elly and Michaela pull the rookie move of forgetting that their mics are still hot and everything that comes out of their mouths belongs to MAFS now and in perpetuity.

“Do you think he’s lied to her?” says Jason. They all agree that he probably has. With friends like these, etc.! Oh my god, and apparently the gift thing is TRUE.

pro tip: camera men are not soundproof

Wow. I mean I do love that Melissa appears to immediately elicit a protective response from literally everyone, including complete strangers/friends of her “husband”, but YIKES. Liss tells the camera that the friends’ response to her questioning was “a little unnerving”. Trust your gut, babe! Get out of there! Just wait until he slows at one of Canberra’s many roundabouts and tuck and roll!

now, Liss! now!!!

Back in Sydney, Pat has taken Belinda to some kind of forced-perspective theme park attraction. No, sorry, it’s a penthouse apartment. Boring.

heh heh i’m tiny

He’s got her a slinky black dress and some gaudy bauble fit for the new human form of an oceanic being born out of pure kelp-driven witchcraft. She is fucken stoked.

Ugh gross but now we have to go look at Liss and Bryce have a packaging-heavy picnic in one of Canberra’s many urban green spaces.

enough trash on your picnic blanket, Betty Draper?

Liss remains confused by Bryce’s friends’ cagey reaction to her questions about the girlfriend rumour. Why didn’t they just say No, absolutely no girlfriend?

“I don’t know,” lies Bryce. It’s really like some vengeful god collated all the worst qualities for a human man to have, slapped a maroon shirt on it, and punted it down here to ruin the lives of every woman watching.

“I just don’t want to be thinking about this anymore,” says Liss. “So we can move forward – there’s absolutely nothing that you need to tell me?”

“No, I’ve been so open and honest with you the whole way through the experiment,” he says, while I grope around on the carpet for the eyeballs that just fell out of my head from rolling them too hard. “Sometimes it’s been my downfall. I don’t know how to prove to you that it’s just not true.”

She says she wants reassurance, and he spouts that shit about how he’s starting to fall in love with her again. Fortunately the shine seems to be starting to wear off this particular phrase.

you earth men are all the same

He reckons he brought her to Our Nation’s Capital because he wants her to come home with him and start a family together. Revolting. Unacceptable. Grounds for dismissal, imprisonment, death, drawing and quartering. Liss is still hesitant.

“If I found out five months down the track that any of these rumours were true, I would just be completely and utterly humiliated,” she tells the camera. Golly, I wonder how that’s going to pan out for her!

Back in the theme park, Belinda and Pat have relocated to the wind tunnel and are impressing each other with their fancy clothes and ability to make themselves understood over the 100 knot gale.

I SAID YOUR OUTFIT HAS BLOWN ME AWAY

Back inside, a slightly windswept Belinda says that she’s finally getting butterflies around Patrick. The sea witch’s transformation into a human woman is almost complete! A thousand congratulations for our favourite Knight of the Times Tables.

Does this mean there’s going to be some long-awaited nerd-on-nerd action tonight? “Can I kiss you on the lipstick?” says Patrick. Well… alright.

let me steal the breath from your body real quick

Bel feels really good about her relationship. She might even be falling in love. God speed, you gorgeous dorks.

Georgia and Liam are going on their final date in an extremely schmick and similarly deserted restaurant. He’s wearing a bowtie and she’s looking the most Elle Woods she’s ever looked and I am frothing on it all, quite honestly.

the bend and snap!!!

She has a dainty little cry at the idea that Liam got all fancied up for her, because even though he’s a simply country farm boy he knows she likes fancy! The bar for men truly is on the ground but it’s nice to see my favourite flirty dad clear it.

Georgia does want to address the question of how they’re going to adjust to being a couple out in the real world. They’re both a bit nervous about it, and who wouldn’t be? This is a relationship entirely predicated on trauma-bonding via suffering through the MAFS emotional gauntlet together. Also, Liam is still worried that Georgia could have reservations about his sexuality.

“You know from the start, you being bi is not an issue, it doesn’t affect me one bit, I’m not worried about it,” she says. “But I am also aware that like, I can’t give you everything that you need – or might need, I dunno! But I don’t know that we can define that, because that’s up to you, because it depends how much – I don’t know how to put this eloquently – it depends how much you need dick in your life.”

I have spat my gin & Diet Coke all the way across the room. A crumb of this woman’s transparency and confidence, please! A molecule of Liam’s grace and generosity! Leave some good character traits for the rest of us plebs!!!

ha ha no

Liam reassures her that he doesn’t believe in cheating. There will be an adjustment, mostly because he’s been single for the last six years and being in a monogamous relationship is a big change! But once he’s committed, he’s with that person. He’s invested in Georgia. It might be a struggle, but he’ll never cheat on her and he won’t ask her for an open relationship either. A crown for the king, please!

“I think we are unconventional, we are different, that’s what makes us work,” he says. I couldn’t agree more.

it’s noice, it’s different, it’s unusual

Back in the penthouse suite, Patrick and Belinda are in the bath, both wearing a lot of each other’s lipstick.

the sea witch likes a pretty boy, yes she does

Ah the bath: the site of so much of this pair’s trauma. Seems like this time around it’s a helluva lot more comfy than their initial honeymoon tub sesh (remember the feet clapping? Would that I could forget!). In fact, Belinda is open to “going all the way” tonight. Congratulations! Can we cease our surveillance of these guys’ sex life now?

With the slam of the bathroom door, that is the end of this high-budget but surprisingly low-drama episode. Tomorrow, though, we’ve got the return of all the original contestants, Coco in a ravishing white jumpsuit, Bryce getting his ugly ass handed to him by Pig Sam yet again, and Samantha swanning in with a secret that Melissa is not going to like. Fuck. Yes. See you then, gremlins!!!