Breaking all the rules, The Bachelor's Nick Cummins has turned his back on love by dumping both finalists on last night's finale, choosing to go home alone after wasting everyone's time.
He's double dumped. That phrase already sounds unfortunate. But the narrative behind its use for this story is even more unforgivable.
Brittany Hockley and Sophie Tieman are dumped next to a lap pool in New Caledonia after being led on for two months.
Both breakups are excruciating to watch, but Britt's is particularly painful. Mainly because she cops a three-part breakup. Nothing's more agonising than a breakup that's drawn out into a three-stage process.
It was teased as the series finale that would shock Australia. The only thing that could make it even more dramatic is if Nick dumped both Brittany and Sophie and then flew stalker Cass over to reject her on TV again.
"What a giant waste of time that was," Brittany says, identifying the exact sentiment of the nation.
"Are you f*cking kidding me?" Sophie shrieks when Brittany breaks finale protocol and storms into her villa to share the public humiliation lumped on them.
They're not hysterical emotional wrecks. And we're not completely infuriated. We're all just kinda irritated that we've hung around for nothing. Like when you go to the movies and the sales assistant waits until after you've lined up and bought the ticket to tell you the frozen coke machine is broken. It's the only reason we're here.
We've been saying it for weeks: Nick hates himself for signing up to this show and he doesn't want to choose anyone. Not because the girls aren't great — they're fabulous. But he's just not into anyone.
That part is OK. But it's the fact he had crapped on about how they're the perfect girls for him that seems a bit unfair. Adding to this is his decision to remove himself from the storm completely by pissing off this week to the Kokoda Trail without phone signal — leaving Brittany and Sophie to face the media in the wake of his humiliating decision.
Nick will be fine after all of this. He got $250,000 for the show, a bunch of lucrative endorsement deals and a book. But the girls have been left with nothing.
Look, it's all just a bit of a mess.
As with all Bachelor finales, no expense is spared with affordable luxury. We jet off to sunny New Caledonia where Nick wears a bunch of resort shirts. Wisely, he beats humidity at its own game by combing his curls out into a relaxed wave. Well played.
Nick's family has flown over to watch the circus collapse in on itself so we put on some linen pants and go chill with them in a cabana.
They're not really jazzed about the final two girls.
"What about Brooke?" they ask.
"I painfully let her go … Right now, it's the way it needs to be," he explains.
"Can we get her back?" they persist.
But the competition doesn't work like that. We're stuck with Britt and Sophie.
It's during this meeting with the family Nick begins to unravel. Certain outcomes are foreshadowed. Hints are dropped but not picked up.
Brittany's wheeled in to meet them. As Brittany laughs with the family, Nick makes a bold admission — the first step in his three-stage plan to dump Brittany.
"I didn't think at this point it'd be this hard … I thought I'd know," he stumbles.
Britt looks like she's about to explode. Her eyes glaze, her jaw clenches and she shoots him that look you give your partner when they're mortifying you in public and you want them to know you'll tear them to shreds in the car on the way home.
After meeting Sophie, Nick's family are firm in their stance that they'd prefer Brooke.
"I see both of these girls as right and wrong with Nick. I don't necessarily see that either one is the complete package," Nick's sister says.
Way harsh, Tai.
It's a sound observation and one we share. But, we're here for a finale and brash choices can't be made prematurely.
This brings us to stage two of Nick's three-point plan to dump Brittany.
"I am falling in love with you. Head over heels. I don't want that to stop," Brittany gushes after their final date.
Nick stares blankly. There's silence. A kiss. But then, he speaks.
"Hmmm, ah … Britt. Um," he begins. "I want all the same things you do, I do. And you are what I would see as the complete package. I just don't know if the timelines match. I spend hours at night thinking about it."
Brittany starts to panic. He's breaking up with her. Kinda. Maybe. He's doing that thing where you start breaking up with someone and you're waiting for the other person to pick up the hint and finish it off so you don't actually have to say "stop calling me". But she refuses to take the hint.
"You're over-thinking this," she pleads, immediately hating herself because she feels like Cass.
Nick doesn't know what else to say. She walks out. But they haven't broken up. Mainly because she doesn't accept his wish to not be with her.
As the sun rises over the coast on decision day, Britt decides there's only one thing to do: go full-blown Cass.
"I am falling in love with Nick. I want a future with him," she says while actually pulling on a white wedding dress.
It's Sophie who arrives first.
"I've said everything. I've done everything," she tells Osher. But it's not enough.
Within moments of Nick opening his mouth, we know where it's going.
"I like you a lot, Sophie. And when I say those three words, I want to mean it with all my heart … And we'd both then be happy. True happiness. I'm not able with all my conscious to wholeheartedly commit to you. Right no. At this point, our journey comes to an end."
She's teary. But not heartbroken.
"Britt is amazing, so yeah. I wish you both the best of luck," she says, being a totally classy dame.
But in the car, she's a little more blunt: "He didn't give me a reason why."
Next up, Brittany walks down the path in her wedding dress. And thus begins stage three of Nick's breakup. It's the final step in the process.
"When I say those three words, I want to really mean it," he says, recycling the line he used moments earlier with Sophie.
"I won't be entering any relationships if I can't give 100 per cent of me. I'm not looking for a girlfriend, I'm looking for a life partner. And … Right now I can't give 100 per cent of me to you. My head is very cloudy. Ah. Right now I'm a little bit lost. And, ah, and because of that I have to say this time has come to an end and let you go."
Brittany is gobsmacked. She doesn't know what to say. Like Sophie, she cries. But she's not hysterically heartbroken. Again, she's just bought a movie ticket only to find out the frozen Coke machine is broken.
It's at this point we realise both Sophie and Brittany probably think the other has won. After clamouring back into her sponsorship Hyundai, Britt begins to ask questions.
"He picked no one. Am I right? I'm confused. He didn't pick Sophie?" she asks a producer. Producers don't know how to answer. But she knows. We all knew it would end this way. She shakes her head and stares out the window.
"What a giant waste of time that was," she huffs. "I put my heart on the line to have it thrown in my face."
But it's not over. She's not going to go back to her dark villa alone. Breaking finale protocol, she demands the GPS be re-routed to Sophie's villa so she can break the news.
We storm into Sophie's villa unannounced and bust her ransacking the mini bar.
"It was almost laughable. He didn't pick me either," Brittany yells.
"Are you f*cking kidding me?" Sophie shrieks.
They crash into the kingsize bed and share an exorbitantly priced Toblerone from the mini bar. Paying $15 for a chocolate bar is the least Channel 10 can do for them.
Outside, Nick stares into the camera.
"I came here for a chance at love. And now I'm ah … I'm gonna have to start again. She's out there," he says, unsure of how Australia will now see him.
As he turns and begins to slow walk down a rather unsightly end of the beach covered in seaweed, he closes his eyes and fears the public reaction that awaits.
As the old saying goes: He's as scared as a Honey Badger in a room full of Casses.