Guess what, you guys. It’s time for all those scary relatives and fame-hungry “best friends” to return, checking in with our MAFS couples to see who is a total shitpile, and who has somewhat succeeded with love.

I love this bit, so I for one poured a large flute of bubbly and settled in.

Everyone is ensconced in their marital beds, wallowing like pigs in mud over their perfect relationships after a swathe of “leave” responses. Also, Ivan can’t eat muffins properly.

Oh my god THAT’S NOT HOW YOU DO IT

Obviously not EVERYONE is a little piglet pair in the mud of their love. Natasha and Mikey slept in separate beds, but first we visit Mishel and Steve, who fucking hate each other! Mishel says she wants to speak to Steve and have him actually listen to her, so they sit down for a chat.

Mishel whips out her essay again, which seems like a great start to a nice, civil conversation NOT. She explains that its eight pages long and as far as I can tell, wants Steve to sit quietly while she reads the entire thing to him. He agrees to do so, but as soon as she says her first point – ironically, “you often tell me to be quiet” – he interrupts her with “I’ll stop you right there” to disagree.

MY DUDE. THE ONE THING. SHE WANTED. WAS FOR YOU. TO SHUT THE FUCK UP.

i am going to dack you in a minute

Look, you all know I’ve been a big Steve Apologist through all this mess, but right now I’m Team Mishel. Every single (valid) point she has, he refutes. The best one is when she says he didn’t want to go to Bondi Beach with her, then 2 days later said he’d be going to Bondi Beach with family. His response? “I didn’t say that, I said Coogee.”

excuse me I said “gonna” not “going to”

In the end, they sort of decide to try this week. I say sort of, because Mishel looks like she’d rather yeet Steve into a rip at Coogee Beach than deal with him for 7 days. So we’ll see if these guys can even make it to the evening!

We’re told that today, all the couples will be meeting family for the first time since the weddings. Cue bitchy sisters and controlling brothers! Welcome, prying dads and scary mums!

Also can we just lament the fact that apparently, we’re NOT leaving the claustrophobic serviced apartments any time soon? FML.

hello claustrophobia my old friend

Meanwhile, Hayley and David are on the outs once again. This time, it’s all over a fight they had while watching a movie. David says Hayley talked the whole way through, Hayley says David got upset over nothing. She’s worried because their family is coming to meet them as a couple, so she does some stress cleaning of the apartment.

i know, i’ll boil the cutlery

Once they have a chat, the fundamental issue is clearly that Hayley tends to talk shit mid-argument like “do you want a tissue or a box?”, while David doesn’t like that kind of jabbing. He’s a bit sensitive, essentially – totally valid, but probably not the right person for Hayley to be with.

The other fundamental issue is his very rude fade.

which Just Cuts salon committed this crime

They just cannot get on the same page, and to be fair I feel like David’s truly trying to be patient. But Hayley is super stubborn. In the end they go into family day a fucking hot mess.

You know who else is having a real fucking time of it? JonEthEn and Connie. Basically, Connie made plans for them to go bowling, which sounds piss-boring. Jonnie went out for bevs with Da Boiz, then wanted to continue bevving and raincheck on bowling (raincheck = please god don’t make me). This is all well and good, except he waited until SIX PM, the time Connie set their date for, to let her know. As someone who’s ex has done this exact same bullshit, I one hundred percent back Connie for being livid as shit.

She sends the thumbs up emoji in response, which I thought even illiterate newborns knew meant you’re passively aggressively pissed off. Apparently not.

We revisit them in the morning for their post-fight chat. Of course, Jonnie is like “wa-wa-wa-whatttt did I dooooo?” and Connie’s like “I’ll fucken tell you, you lil prick”.

F I N I S H   H I M

She absolutely lays into him – saying it was immature (preach) that he should have cancelled earlier on (fucken AMEN) that he’s not even apologetic (haaaaail Mary!) and it’s just a beautiful moment where Jonnie is reduced to the size of a pea. And so he should be! The guy is acting like it’s NBD he cancelled so late. It’s not about him cancelling – it’s the rudeness of leaving Connie hanging until the literal minute they were meant to go out.

He says he thought the thumbs up emoji meant she was cool with the change of plans. Wot.

In classic dumb boy areas, he just stops discussing it and moves on to discussing their family visit? Saying maybe their family (!!!) can help them resolve this argument? I cannot think of anything worse than putting my relationship dirty laundry on the table for my folks and in-laws to dissect. NO THANK YOU!

Connie storms out. I will say that she’s being a *bit* dramatic about a relatively small incident, but I also love her right now and fully support this checkmate move.

Michael and Stacey have a very scripted chat about meeting the fam/friends. Michael – in uncharacteristically aware scenes – says he’s worried about meeting Stacey’s bestie Bianca because he knows women tell their friends the shit parts of their relationships, not the good stuff. Extremely correct. She has absolutely heard about your trip to the casino my friend.

The guests arrive. They’re served some sort of unidentifiable slop.

ok let’s unpack this. is it bacon/broccoli/chicken… mash? Casserole with bits of lettuce in it?

Immediately, Michael brings up his tiffs with Stacey. Broooo what are you doing? Just don’t discuss it and then no one else will! Bianca jumps in – she doesn’t see the light-hearted side of Michael choofing off with the boys all the time, then being a messy drunk bitch to Stacey. Even Michael’s mother is a bit like… yeah.

i’ll just be over here with my lettuce casserole

Everyone essentially tells Michael he needs to chill out with the partying, and he kind of agrees… I think? It sort of just turns into a big “yeah yeah I’ll do whatever you say” vague speech from him, and then turns into a DO YOU HAVE FEELINGS FOR MY SON interrogation.

In the end, everyone loves each other.

Over to Connie & Jonnie – Connie’s still fucked off to god know’s where, leaving Jonnie to make the lunch alone. POWER MOVE.

He’s still on his own when her scary mum and sister show up. I am deeply obsessed with Connie’s mum. The producers ask her if she has wanted to spend more time with Jonnie after meeting him at the wedding, and she goes “no, not at all”. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA outstanding.

just here for some lettuce casserole thanks

Actually, Jonnie’s made bottled pasta which is far more of a mood than whatever the shit Stacey and Michael ate.

Connie STILL HASN’T ROCKED UP when Jonnie’s mum and brother arrive. Eventually, everyone’s like where the fuck is she, so he has to awkwardly explain their argument. He tells everyone they had a little disagreement because they made plans and he cancelled them. His mum is like “shutupshutupshutup” and Connie’s mum looks like she’s about to unleash the wrath of Hades on the dude.

Jonnie’s mum = me when my sister tells a guy I’m dating about the time I weed in my roller skates

Connie’s sister kind of roasts her for her extreme love of bowling, saying it would have been the fact Jonnie cancelled her favouritest activity, not him going for bevs with Da Boiz. Jonnie keeps going ON and ON and ON explaining their dumb fight that no one cares about.

who cares give me pasta from a bottle
oh god i’d eat lettuce casserole ten times over if you get this guy to STFU

Boom! Connie walks in. She sits down and everyone gets into a big discussion over whether a thumbs up emoji is pass agg or literally means “all good”. Look – I will admit that it’s more mature to say “hey, we had plans mate” than send an emoji. But I also kiiiind of think everyone knows its pass agg? Jonnie’s mother reckons he would have legitimately thought it means all was well.

This moves on to Connie’s mum and sister dropping truth bombs. This is an experiment – not a real marriage. They both don’t know yet how to make each other happy. Is there emotional growth between them. DAMN! Particular shout out to Connie’s sister who just cuts the bullshit hardcore and straight up asks if there’s a point in them continuing right now.

why are we pretending this is a real relationship lol

Jonnie’s mum reckons there’s hope for the couple. Everyone is talking AROUND Connie and Jonnie. Also Jonnie’s brother looks like he would really, really like to be removed from this narrative, Taylor Swift style.

release me
R E L E A S E     M E

Connie’s mum, however, doesn’t give a shit about JonEthEn and point blank says “if you’re not happy Connie, let’s go. Get your bags.” oh shit!!!

We’re left hanging (boo) to go check on trainwreck Steve and Mishel.

damn i wish we didn’t spend so much on personalised room signs

They’ve patched things up – Mishel’s got her ring back on. One ring that’s not faring so well though is Steve’s bumoley. He’s got the runs real bad, and it’s weirdly a bonding moment for the couple. They laugh and laugh about it.

nothing bonds a couple like unbonded poo

Quick shout out to Mishel’s killer outfit:

A VIBE

We head back to Connie & Jonnie for a bit. Everything’s cooled down and Connie’s mum is sitting for a chat with her. She’s basically like, you guys work it out but also I don’t think he’s right for you and I think you’re super depressed and hate this.

I actually think Connie *might* be the only person in this experiment who is genuinely, 100% taking it seriously and not using it as a vehicle for Insta fame? She gets very emotional telling the producers how she wants to work things out with Jonnie, but doesn’t know how.

Back to Mishel and Steve, and Mishel’s Glen20ing for her life.

Glen20 is the bacterial equivalent of a sage stick, in this essay I

Steve gets quarantined into the corner with a piece of buttered toast, lol, before joining the table but sitting as far away as possible. The topic of the couple’s issues is raised, and Steve’s mates are like “he’s just passionate!” which Mishel’s daughter is like “you seem controlling and the worst!”

lol ok boomer

In the end, Mishel and Steve agree that things have gotten better since they started listening to each other. But Mishel’s daughter is still suss on Steve.

Before we get to see her nuke Steve, we visit Hayley and David. Oh boy. I do not have a good feeling about this. They’ve headed to the pub, with Hayley bringing her dad and bestie, David bringing his two mates.

Hayley’s bestie asks what’s going on, and David starts discussing where he’s at. Hayley legit doesn’t give a fuck and goes “do you mind if we start eating?” LOL.

grub over scrubs

Every single person at the table is like “Hayley, STFU” because she talks over David every two seconds. His head literally looks like it’s going to implode.

SHE GONNA BLOOOOOOW

Hayley’s friend – who is kinda more of a relationship expert than Mel and Horny Trisha – mediates the argument. She gets David to say nice stuff about Hayley, and it softens them both as David talks about Hayley’s heart and nurturing tendencies. My god, just pay this woman to fix these relationships.

There’s a new Esther Perel in town bitch

New Esther Perel smacks these two over the head with some truths, and they mend their bridge. Everyone laughs at a truly terrible joke about horse riding, happy days.

Over at Steve and Mishel’s place, Mishel’s daughter has locked Steve in the basement to interrogate him. She wells up when she starts talking about how her dad cheated on Mishel, and Steve comforts her. It’s pretty cute, but I also think Mishel’s daughter is like please get away from me, rando dude.

thanks but also don’t look at me

In the end, they seem on OK terms.

When Steve and Mishel get home, Steve is emotional. He talks about how his son was meant to come over, and couldn’t – the details are murky, but the point is he reveals all of this to Mishel and is in tears. She feels it’s an intimacy turning point for them and a positive thing.

Tomorrow night? More families! More yelling! Can’t get enough of it.

Melissa Mason is the Managing Editor (Sydney) at Pedestrian. She’s also the co-host of the All Aussie Mystery Hour podcast, and posts shit content on Instagram.