Air Date: 18th October 2012
Host: Bernard Curry
Beauties: Alin, Bre, Chontelle, Greta, Jessica, Kim, Kristy, Millie
Geeks: Chard, Cody, Dane, Jason, Nathan, Oliver, Rich, Yiran
Synopsis: A very entertaining episode sees the geeks do their best to become tough guys, whilst a joint challenge saw the record for longest hug broken. In the process, the secret millionaire is revealed. And of course, to end it all, eight couples become seven….
For me, this has easily been the best episode of the season to date, and also one of the better episodes when compared to the last three seasons as well. It started well with a geek challenge which seemed more genuinely targeted at getting them to leave their shells and gain confidence. The following challenge was a pair one, and though it appeared designed specifically to cause jealousy within the house, it somehow succeeded in revealing the true dynamics at work with each couple.
The episode had a brief aside, which is kind of worth watching on Plus7 alone, and then jumped straight into the challenges.
As mentioned above, the first challenge was specifically for the geeks, and it was a corker. The boys had to face up against “Knuckles”, giving the chance to tell a stereotypical bully type exactly what they wanted. Those that did best, I got the distinct impression that these were rehearsed speeches that they had long wanted to use, but never been brave enough to do so. In the safety of a Beauty and the Geek challenge, the opportunity was there, and I would not be surprised if they found it therapeutic.
Rich and Dane were selected as the two toughest geeks, and proceeded to the final of the challenge… eating wasabi and competing in an arm wrestle. It doesn’t matter what you are watching, seeing people in wasabi pain is always hilarious. Rich ended the eventual victor, giving Kim and himself immunity.
There was a further twist however, similar to Lachlan volunteering to get a tattoo last year. The geeks got to volunteer to get a nipple ring in return for immunity. Interestingly, a number of the geeks volunteered. Jason was fastest, though, giving immunity to both himself and Kristy safety for another week.
Normally, I am not a huge fan of couple challenges, as I feel that it prevents the half of the contestants that do not get an individual challenge the chance for personal development. My mind was changed on this challenge though, after some of the developments I saw watching it. Sure, getting the couples to go for a world record hug may have been designed to cause jealousy for the one couple in the house (successfully), it also addressed that constant issue brought up at eliminations, that being “this couple has not bonded as well as the others”. Rich, Kim, Jason and Kristy were out quickly, but I suspect that this was more due to the fact they all had immunity already, and as such the motivation to complete the challenge was not as high as it was for some others.
It was really interesting watching the other six couples, however. Oliver just decided he was done, and broke his embrace with Bre. Bre was visible upset, and that one moment made the dynamics in that pairing very clear. Though Oliver explained his choice away as being down to logic, Bre was clearly showing commitment to avoiding elimination, and Oliver, as such, was clearly the less committed of the too. This is one of those cases where the show really succeeds in breaking stereotypes, it was the timid geek who behaved poorly in this case, and not the beauty.
In the end, both Great and Yiran, and Dane and Alin succeeded in maintaining the hug for 25 hours and breaking the world record. The other couples that were less successful had more innocent reasons for breaking the embrace, such as by sheer accident or by fatigue.
One consequence of this challenge was also Nathan revealing his identity as the secret millionaire. Given this is the case, it is more difficult to tell whether this was him naturally just needing to let the cat out of the bag, or if there was a directive from the network to do so. It could easily be the former, so I shall put my cynic hat away this once and take that to be the case. As such, the only crime of the network was their continuous promotion of the fact that the secret millionaire was “finally” revealed. After three weeks, I was still only mildly curious. And despite my initial guess in my first episode post of Cody being wrong, my reaction was somewhat underwhelmed as I was far from surprised. He is a programmer for crying out loud. What interested me more was his reasons for being in the BATG mansion. He was not motivated for more money, but he claimed to felt trapped behind a computer not experiencing the real world. His plea seemed genuine, and as such my respect for him has increased greatly, and I hope his status as a millionaire does not prematurely end his time in the house.
The nominations in this case were interesting to say the least. Given two couples won the hugging challenge, they had to nominate by committee. With Jason and Kristy having earnt immunity, this left only four couples remaining that could be nominated. It was not surprising that Oliver and Bre were nominated first, for that classic reason that they have not bonded as well. At least this week, we as an audience got to observe that truly for ourselves.
Unfortunately, the committee of Greta, Alin, Yiran and Dane did vote for Nathan and Jessica. Though the money was not stated as a reason, and I don’t believe the nominating couples declared that as a reason,it is difficult to say whether wealth played a part. Given his earlier comments, he clearly has a good reason to stay in the mansion, and I would have hoped for more altruistic nominating strategies.
So it came down to the elimination round, with the geeks getting quizzed first and ending on one point each. Jessica managed to make some lucky guessed however, both her questions being a choice of three answers, and she took out the win for herself and Nathan. Those that have been paying any attention would realise that this was my preferred result, and given how little time up until now has been spent focussing on Oliver and Bre, it was kind of easy to know they were gone given the shows formula. I look forward to the latter half of the season when there are fewer couples to nominate, and the result of elimination is so much harder to guess.
I feel sorry for Bre, as she was making a genuine effort. Oliver proved to show less commitment however, and I do not regret seeing him go as a result. Nathan and Jess are deserving winners.