GOOD EVENING and welcome to our last (!!!) nauseating ride ’round the carousel of broken dreams known as MAFS. It’s the bumper-edition reunion episode tonight, in which the contestants sit down together, along with the Experts of Judgement, to watch themselves act wrong as hell and have synchronised aneurysms of rage. It’s nothing short of chaos writ large, and I, much like my fourth expensive cider of the evening, am simply frothing for the drama. Let’s begin.

Okay so apparently it’s been three months since the start of “Australia’s greatest social experiment” (…okurrrr), and everyone is back in the same room and sitting next to their experiment-assigned partners in various states of discomfort. Beth has bangs! Ya look great babe!

námäste

Apparently they only had the final dinner part last night but I am not 100% sure I believe this considering the drastic makeovers some of the brides are sporting. Whatever. We’re treated to a montage of all the wedding ceremonies and a beautiful slideshow of the full range of facial expressions available to human beings.

Now the experts are going to talk to each of the couples individually, for some reason. Johnny and Kerry are first up, and Johnny is still criminally neglecting the designated roles of his buttons. But he’s also saying nice stuff about how both of these two went against the advice of their families (a huge deal for these gentle Mediterranean honeys) to come on the show, and it’s totally paid off!

one of my contractual agreements is a max of two buttons at any one time

Okay cut the treacle: Alessandra wants to know if they’re in love. Johnny’s like, Oh I said it too easily in my past relationships, so I’ve been too scared to say it now! Kerry’s like, “There are moments when he’s like, I’m deeply in…vested in you.”

But yes, he is “heavily in love” (gross) with Kerry. He’s never told her that before! Omg! He says it right there on the couch! Double omg! They want to have kids together! Lol who cares, Johnny’s like, What, we don’t get to see a video? Sorry! Human beings don’t get to see themselves on screen! No rewards for good behaviour!

Up next is one of the more “controversial” couples (complete with uneasy plucked string music cues). It’s Cameron and Samantha. She’s back in her customary white and sitting about as far away from her former husband as humanly possible. Coco looks physically revolted, probably because Cam is wearing white jeans, white socks, and brown Chelsea boots.


buddy…

We get to rehash the disintegration of Sam and Cam’s relationship, which (if you’ll recall) was precipitated by that god damn honesty box. Particularly Cam’s response that Sam was someone who he’d approach but not date. Yadda yadda, who cares – everyone is just hanging out to see the “connection” between Cameron and Coco, and boy are we ever gonna see it.

Cam looks as though he’d rather take a swan dive into the Terminator II lake of fire than rewatch this shit. Everyone else, though, is getting a taste of what it’s been like to watch MAFS unfolding: simultaneously totally nauseating and 100% thrilling.

do I want to puke or scream

Here’s all the footage of Coco and Cam engaging in out-and-out flirtation, and Cam being like, “I’ve got Rice Bubbles right now, and who knows, I could be having Coco Pops.” Ghastly stuff. The expressions in the room range from scandalised to gleeful to resigned to completely appalled.

Oh my god! They’re going to show the kiss! There it fucking is!!!

“You’re a dropkick, mate,” laughs Sam.

“Thanks, bud,” mutters Cam.

am I pensive or am I a fucking thumb

I am mostly just shocked that they dropped that particular bomb so early in the program. This bodes poorly. My body is simply not prepared to be at this elevated an adrenaline level for the next [checks watch] hour and forty-five minutes.

“Holy shit,” says Pat. “Holy shit! Jeez, you hid that well, guys.” Shut up, Patrick, we want to hear from Samantha.

“It’s just lack of morals, really, on both of their behalves,” she says. She points out that Cam’s been cheated on before and banged on about how he’d never do that, it’s the one thing he’d never do. Where are his morals!

Cam’s like, Well it was hard when there’s someone else who you would have matched really well with who you… weren’t matched with. Yes, buddy, you’re all victims of the diabolical cruelty of the experiment, but not everyone acts like quite as much of a pillock, so…

Coco’s position is that she thought that Cam and Samantha were broken up before she and Cam kissed. She regrets it all because of course she does. Daddy John wants to know if she thought it was cheating. She doesn’t think she was cheating on Pig Sam, which like, duh, they were never even a thing! But yes, she concedes she was deceitful to Samantha.

Cam thinks it was cheating on his part, yes. Booka, bless her, wants to know why Cam chose to stay. A very good question that he refuses to answer.

Daddy John’s here to hold them both accountable. The behaviour was boundary-crossing. It was an affair. They need to hear that. Apparently. “That is betrayal,” he says redundantly. “And people get hurt when that happens.” Inspiring stuff.

“I’m sorry,” says Coco.

They did catch up after the experiment, and yes, Coco confirms they slept together. “Was it worth it?” Alana asks.

“No,” says Coco decisively. I love her.

the face of a woman on the receiving end of some deeply mediocre dick

Meanwhile Samantha has nothing to say to her idiot thumb former husband, but she is happy she came on the experiment. She made real friends and had unforgettable experiences! It’s so nice that she manages to approach this nightmare with the same energy as visiting a water park with a new trivia group. Truly inspirational.

I’m also just so glad they’re really packing in the ad breaks ‘cos I need all the time I can possibly get to recover from these emotional pummellings. It’s really like… I dunno, staggering? Breathtaking? Otherwise physically visceral? In any case it’s deeply upsetting and also very bodily exciting to see this level of casual cruelty visited upon the long-suffering participants of MAFS. Man. I gotta go back to therapy.

Anyway next on the sofa of scrutiny is Alana and Jason. I’m predicting tears all round, including from me. The experts want to know why things haven’t worked out. Maybe because the lizard is a creature of habit? Eat flies, lie in sun, get pissy with Alana and give her the silent treatment, the usual. Alana reckons their downfall was a lack of communication. Whatever, let’s have a little video retrospective. Of their shagging. And arguing.

At least Jason has the good grace to look embarrassed about how he’s spoken to his nice teacher wife. They get to the footage of the final vows and yep, everyone’s having a cry. Not me! Just been standing in front of the sprinklers as I usually do on a Sunday night!

don’t cry princess!!!

Aww, everyone’s like That was beautiful! I’m not so sure. I kind of think that Jason is a congenital fuckwit and Alana keeps trying to curb his congenital fuckwittery and he keeps cracking the shits about it. Anyway he reckons that when they’re good, they’re amazing, and she agrees. Also the sex was good.

Alessandra wants to know if Alana has any regrets. She regrets betraying his trust. Expert Mel, meanwhile, has her best devil’s advocate outfit on and is saying that surely there’s a chance for them! Mel! Stop it! Let the nice teacher consciously uncouple from that D-grade bad-boy.

if ye would seek to set ye free, ye must solve these riddles three

THANK you, Alana, for saying that while she still likes him, it’s simply not going to work out. It’s really sad, but it is how it is. At least they learned a lot about each other, and themselves. They’re going to be friends! (NARRATOR: They are not going to be friends.)

Oooooookay it’s Liam and Georgia‘s turn now. “This might be a shit show,” says Jo perceptively. I for one am just waiting to see if the editors are going to allow for an actual conversation about That Fucking Video, which is reportedly why Liam actually blanked Georgia at that final dinner party. First, though, we have to do the prerequisite walk down memory lane. Liam says he really felt so good about Georgia right from the start, and she feels the same.

What about his bisexuality? Yeah, he wanted to be accepted, and he was. And Georgia says it was never a big deal. Liam tears up.

“You go through a lot to get where you are, he says. It’s not an easy process. Georgia never judged. There are other people out there who judge.”

we all know that Elle Woods is a lawyer, not a judge

That’s nice and all, but we’re not here to share nice feelings! We’re here to torture you with footage from your drunken escapades! We get to revisit that unhappy interaction from the dinner party before the final vows – and then we get to see the final vows again. From the bottom of my heart: yikes. It’s just as uncomfortable the second time around. At least we get to see Kerry at her most indignant.

*skeptical mouse noises*

Liam says it was really hard to watch the vows back, but that he still doesn’t think that he belittled her, humiliated her, etc. He says that he was in love but she wasn’t. She disagrees. Excuse me! Where is the discussion about that grotty fucking video?! I don’t care about this heartfelt debrief in which you both wish each other the best! You are leaving out the most important bit! FUCK ing HELL.

Okay no time to dwell on that, it’s Bryce and Melissa‘s turn on the couch of torment and I am absolutely hanging out for the moment in which Bec actually points at Bryce and yells J’ACCUSE!

Blah blah Bryce is like, I’m in love with her! I moved in with her! I got fired left my job to be with her! Who cares, it’s time to watch their video and everyone in the room is openly reaching for their popcorn.

We get to see the first honesty box disaster – remember when he was like, You’re not my type, but you’re not ugly! – and the reactions from the rest of the trauma-bonded gaggle are absolute gold.

is this brick for fucking real

Then there’s all the stuff with Pig Sam, and the ongoing rumours about the girlfriend… pleeeease tell me there is ACTUAL proof of this girl??? PLEASE. Please give me this one gift, MAFS! After all the time I’ve devoted to you!! PLEASE!!!

No, we just get to watch Melissa cry some more, and then the final vows. Yawn. This is specifically the opposite of what I asked! Blugh I can’t believe it. Also Melissa is still so brainwashed that she’s fixated on watching Bryce cry, and how that was the moment at which she knew she was in love with him. Dreadful.

crimes

Bryce is like, Looking back on it, I can see that the experiment brought out the worst in me. Everyone else is vigorously nodding. “I don’t always get along with everybody,” he says. Well in this situation you got along with virtually nobody, says John. Hahaaaa.

What about the rumours? We-ell, remember how Melissa talked to the so-called girlfriend? Apparently, this girl and Bryce had dated prior to the experiment and stayed in touch right up until the start of the experiment and that was it! OR WAS IT.

In the sweetest taste of justice I can ever remember savouring, there it is on the criminally small MAFS TV screen: the entire scene from Bryce and Liss’s awkward date with his “best friends” in Canberra, and the hot mic moment in which all three of those “best friends” confirm that the gift-buying thing? It’s totally true. The reactions in the room are the stuff of my wildest dreams.

J’ FUCKING ACCUSE

Shrieks. Squawks. Gasps. Uproar. Pandemonium.

“Come on, Compulsive,” says Pig Sam. “You can’t deny that.” Indeed he can not, and he looks probably the most uncomfortable/constipated I’ve ever seen someone look?

🙂 suffer 🙂

“Bryce, how do you explain what we just saw?” asks Alessandra. Don’t give him a chance to explain! He tries to say that his friends knew that they were being filmed. Alessandra is not having it.

“They were told to push an agenda,” says Bryce. Looking at Pig Sam is like looking in a mirror.

je suis le pig

Mel’s like, You’re saying that your friends were told to lie about you? You’re saying they were… acting?

He’s like, Yep!

….whet?

Does Melissa believe it?

“How that looks doesn’t reflect very well,” she says. “And looking at that, yeah, you apparently bought a gift for somebody.”

Mel wants to know if she thinks those friends were acting. No she does not, because she is not a huge fucking idiot, unlike her FUCKING DUMB IDIOT BOZO HUSBAND. Ah, but is she going to leave him? No, of course she is not. Christ on the cross. She reckons that if all that stuff about the gift and the girlfriend actually is true, they will just… work it out. Just put a fucking bullet in my head, Melissa. I don’t want to live on this planet any more.

Booka wants to know what the rest of them should do if they get contacted by other people tattling on Bryce – as she, Jake and Samantha all have. Does Liss want them to just not tell her?

“I’ve said it time and time again,” says Melissa. “I know that the evidence continues to pile up, but I’m in love with Bryce. This is my decision. I’m here. We’re happy. Just let it go.” Barf.

Absolutely diabolical. Seeing that smug piece of shit get away with gaslighting his gentle, malleable, deeply insecure bride is vomit-inducing. Daddy John tries to give him the opportunity to clear the air – by, for example, owning up to having a girl on the side – but he doesn’t. Instead, Bryce is like, We’re planning on adopting a dog and having kids! Would someone with a girlfriend do all that?

[John’s deepest sigh ever]

Uh, yeah, buddy. Yeah. Lots of people with side pieces do shit like that, as you would know if you consumed any culture, written, visual, oral storytelling, whatever, beyond the insides of your own idiot head. Fucking hell.

Now I’m supposed to try to concentrate on Bec and Jake? How??? I’m still apoplectic about Liss’s wilful ignorance, but I guess I can drag myself back to MAFS to pay attention to Bec dobbing on Jake again for kissing Booka at New Year’s.

what, so I’m supposed to keep all this sexy for just one girl?

Alessandra wants to know if it was romantic. No, according to Jake and Booka, and also to Beth, who was there at the time. Was Bec jealous to see that? “Yeah, I was definitely jealous,” she says unconvincingly.

“I started feeling like it was my fault and I should have been there,” she says. Mmhmm. Mel’s like, This is what always happens with you guys – you’re never quite connecting. As you can see from this deeply humiliating compilation of footage we’ve put together! Remember all those times Bec called Jake boring and old and made fun of his teeth? Do let’s revisit them! At least we get to see Jake’s beautiful face some more. That poor hottie did not deserve the intensity of cruelty visited upon him.

Who cares about how they feel though, because John has a tiny little weenie thing he just wants to clarify for one quick sec. Could we go have another look at the footage of Bec’s visit home to see her dog Oscar? “Does he have some tea?” murmurs Patrick, ever the saucy bitch.

At first it’s a lot of cute selfie video of Bec and her cavoodle, and we’re all like Aww, how nice – AND THEN!!!!!!!

Exhibit A

Some! Other! Guy!!!! Holy shit! They are kissing! They are murmuring! The dog is yelping in a very distressing manner! What! The fuck!!!

“Oopsie,” says Jason.

mafs booka and brett*gasps in moustache*

So, who was that? asks John.

“That… was my brother,” says Bec. Hahahahaha. WHAT.

“Can we watch it again?” says Jake. How magnanimous of the experts: of course he can watch it again.

Exhibit Fucking B

Ahhh, yeah, that’s not her fucking brother. “Okay, I’ll come clean,” says Bec. “My dog needed transporting and I reached out to an old burn, who actually took Oscar to the clinic for me. And when I see him – emotion kind of sparked with us. And we did – we shared a kiss.”

“That’s naughty,” breathes Russ, forever my one true love.

Jake is visibly devastated. He’s like, But we went right into final vows right after that!

“I should have been open and honest about it then,” says Bec.

“Yeah, you fucking should have,” says Jake, and then very adorably apologises for swearing. He’s like, It’s all adding up now. There’s never been any affection in this relationship, we’ve never had sex, and this is why!

John wants to know if Bec has feelings for this other guy. Uh, yeah. She does.

“You should have dumped me at the vows!” says Jake. “I’m a big boy, I could have handled that!” Bec’s like, I wanted to see what you were like outside of the experiment! Oh, cool, so you’re happy to just… cheat on both of these people then? My sympathy for the ice queen has evaporated like snow on the surface of the Sun.

“How are you feeling, Jake?” asks John

“I’m empty, mate,” says Jake. “I’m shattered.” My poor perfect himbo. He doesn’t deserve this! He never deserved any of this!

Pig Sam can clean that up for you no worries

I’m devvoed for him. He tells the camera that its so shattering because it doesn’t just ruin what happened between them, it invalidates everything that she said to others outside of their relationship – like all the shit she said to Bryce! And the fit she threw about his kiss with Booka!

“I told her at vows that I’d fallen love with her,” he says into his hands. “I’m a complete idiot. I’m embarrassed. I don’t want to see her, I don’t want to talk to her again. I can’t get the sound of the kissing out of my head.” It is fucking heartbreaking. I think these are the most genuine feelings I’ve ever felt watching this godforsaken show. It feels like my mouth is filling up with blood. And now we’re just supposed to… move on? To Patrick and Belinda?

I do not need a recap of these two! We know they’re meant for each other! We know Belinda has completely given in to her psychotic wardrobe fantasies!

mafs belinda and patrickno words for this one

Bel’s like, I told Pat I loved him! Yeah, yeah, whatever. We get the highlight reel. I know it’s intended to be a palate cleanser, and it is undeniably very cute, but I am simply too busy being upset for Jake to fully commit to this retrospective. Leave the Mathletes to their nerdy eroticisms and let me mourn my future husband’s broken innocence!

Fortunately I’ll have plenty of time for that now because that is THE END of the episode AND THE SEASON! I think we can all agree that the last eight weeks have been a gruelling exercise in Yikes, with a side stream of No Thanks and an extracurricular option of Wait, What?!! Thank you for joining me on this powerfully upsetting journey, and until we meet again: stay strong, and whatever you do, don’t date Bryce.

Sam George-Allen is an author and pop culture enthusiast. You can follow her on Instagram, where she only posts pictures of her chickens.