Right, here's the deal. I have to catch a plane to Queensland in approximately 14 hours where I intend to lie on a beach for one whole week straight and drink lots of champagne and quite probably some margaritas and also not touch a computer at all, which basically means I need to get this recap done fast, right now.
Sadly, this episode of The Bachelorette is a stupid extra long one, because it's the one where Sam goes to all the bachelors' home towns to meet their families, and also the gods of TV are trying to kill me or something.
And so this time, for one recap only* (*NB: promise is not binding), I'm foregoing my usual considered, literary style for something I hope will be quicker and dirtier:
* First stop is Michael's home town of Brisbane, where we see him playing soccer with all of his friends:
* "You may wonder why we're in the middle of nowhere," says Michael as Sam runs up to greet him.
* Michael announces he's going to teach Sam how to play soccer. She immediately sinks a series of goals and beats him.
* WOOP! WOOP!
* Nek minit:
* WOOP! WOOP!
* Then either the sound guy accidentally dropped the boom off the side of the boat, or Michael lost his mic in the toilet, because the next two minutes of audio sound like they were recorded by a toddler holding an iPhone under Niagara Falls, so let's just make it up:
* Time to meet Michael's parents, with whom he is very close. Literally. Like, he lives across the street from them.
* Michael's dad is so excited to meet Sam he opens his mouth and lets every thought he's ever had come tumbling out of it.
"I've seen pictures of you a thousand pictures but in real life you're absolutely beautiful I love your eyes I know I'm talking physically but they say the eyes are the windows to the soul and would you like to see Southbank?"
* Imagine going to a stranger's family get together, and being forced to listen to their conversations. That's exactly how the next 10 minutes goes.
* Meanwhile, Michael's dad may be more in love with Sam than Michael is.
* "Thanks for a beautiful dinner and for being a beautiful family and I had a beautiful time," says Sam.
* They have dinner, it's boring, Sam touches Michael a lot, he's probably going to win in the end.
* "I do have one more message for you," says Michael as he walks her out.
* WOOP! WOOP!
* Moving on to Avoca Beach, New South Wales, where Alex is busy practising his entry for the upcoming 2015 Surfboard Impression Championships:
* BREAKING NEWS:
* They go surfing. No one gets attacked by a shark.
* Later, Alex shows his disdain for shirt buttons.
* "It's nice to spend time with you without the pressure of meeting family," Sam says, safe in the knowledge that Alex's relatives are all in the UK.
* "Would you like a champagne or a wine?" Alex asks.
"I'll have a water actually," says sister.
* "So how has the experience of The Bachelorette been?" sister asks Sam.
"I apologise, I didn't watch any of The Bachelor so it's a bit of an alien concept for me for someone to want to go ahead and do something like this."
* "Would you move overseas? Do you want children? Does your age difference concern you? Do you support euthanasia? What are your feelings on abortion? Who's right, Palestine or Israel?"
* "Do you think this whole Bachelorette process has given you an opportunity to find out about Alex, like what makes him happy, what frustrates him and whether you'd actually be an awesome couple together?" asks sister.
* "So did you guys get on well together?" Alex asks as he's seeing Sam out.
* "I had a really great date with you, you're a really great girl and I just love being with you," says Alex.
* Moving over to Western Australia, where Richie greets Sam with open arms saying "Welcome to Perth!"
* "I thought I'd, er... get you out and see the beautiful, beautiful Perth, ha ha," says Richie, who may or may not be suffering the effects of hypothermia from his ridiculous shorts and hoodie combo.
Fortunately the producers have packed some equally daggy jeans for him to change into.
* Richie continues his bang-on impression of your Year 9 boyfriend by stammering and stuttering his way through a totally nonsensical speech about walls and shells and hearts being on the line.
* "I've got a massive Richie crush, I'm not going to lie," says Sam.
"The feeling's mutual," says Richie, staring lovingly into the lake's reflective surface.
* Even with the cold and the hoodie and the bumfluff and Perth's totally boring skyline Sam still somehow manages to feel romantic, so WOOP! WOOP!
* But then it's time to meet Richie's family and friends, so they both put on their best ripped designer jeans (aka "cocktail wear" in Perth) and head to his place.
* Meanwhile, it seems the producers only got as far as bunging in a few bamboo torches from Bunnings before they gave up on trying to make Richie's Stratco fence look good:
* "I've got reservations," says Kieren Perkins.
* Crossing back over the country now to Bowral in rural New South Wales, where Sasha is treating Sam to a Bachelor specialty: a weird picnic in the middle of nowhere.
* Just in case that's not awkward enough, Sasha unlocks a trunk and unleashes a busker he kidnapped several weeks earlier from the local mall, who immediately sits down at a Casio and starts howling at them.
* "I am falling in love with you," says Sasha.
"Pardon?" says Sam, who can't hear a thing over the howling and pleas for mercy etc.
* WOOP! WOOP!
* It's time to meet the family, so they lock the busker back in the trunk (Sam throws in her uneaten cheese platter as an act of mercy) and they head off to Sasha's family home, where the entire nation watching is overjoyed to discover this photo in the hallway:
* Sam meets Sasha's family. They are nice. They have dinner. Everyone gets along. Nothing happens. LITERALLY NOTHING HAPPENS FOR 10 MINUTES.
* I am so bored.
* With home visits done it's almost time for the rose ceremony, but not before Sam finishes the cover shoot for her upcoming album release:
* Meanwhile, the lads are hanging around the Shag Mansion doing their best impressions of "men with things on their mind":
IT'S ROSE TIME!* Always eager to show how relaxed and comfortable she is, Sam has come tonight dressed as a Chesterfield lounge:
* "Four men, three roses, etc," says Osher, who is possibly the only person more bored than me at this point.
* Michael gets a rose.
* Sasha gets a rose
* And we're down to two: Richie who does something undefinable with ropes and actually chooses to wear a hoodie and shorts in public and may in fact be 15, and Alex the sexy British finance consultant who is completely perfect in every way.
"Richie," says Sam.
* "If anything, you've proven to me that there are great girls like you out there," says Alex, holding back the tears, as he walks off to the limo of doom.
UM YEAH HI ALEX, YOU CAN FIND ME ON TWITTER @PETSTARR.
Right. That's it. I'm done, and I'm off to Queensland. See y'all in a week when I recap the final a week late, after everyone else has totally lost interest in it.
Doobly doo music, wavy lines... and here it is! Go on and READ EPISODE NINE! Or go back and READ EPISODE SEVEN again.