I bring you a special edition of The Bachelorette recap because things are getting down to the wire and there's too much going on that we need to discuss.
In tonight's episode, the boys met the parents, there was a dramatic exit and too many awkward fishing moments to count.
Firstly, we need to talk about the man of the hour, Joe. The one who tore his ligament and was forced to hobble on crutches while his best mate Hamish stole his dream date away from him. Joe, who had the first date of the season with Lexie. Joe, who is feeling very conflicted about his time with Lexie. Joe, who had to watch Hamish swoop in and steal the show.
He could sense something was up on the last episode, so Joe did what he wanted to do all season: interrogate Lexie about her true intentions.
It had been bubbling on the surface since the speed date, and now he decided not to take any prisoners and just say what he wanted to. What's the point of a rose ceremony when you can dip out before you're pushed?
When we left off last week, she shed some tears as she tried to be honest with him about how she felt.
"Are you excited to carry on or are you ready to give up?" he asks her.
And that's when Lexie let out her most unfortunate metaphor of the season yet, comparing her time with Joe to a rollercoaster ride. Dr Ashley Bloomfield is quaking in his boots - just last week he compared the Covid-19 pandemic to a rollercoaster ride we didn't actually buy a ticket for.
I don't think Lexie wants her relationship to be anything like the Rainbows End Corkscrew.
A damning comparison, and with that his voluntary exit was sealed. Only one lad from Whangārei remains, and there's no telling if Joe and Hamish's friendship will survive this.
We're at the point in the season where the rose ceremony is pointless. Everyone is so attached to Lexie and afraid of rejection (I don't blame them, to be honest, this seems like a terrible time but at least they have free beer) that they're willing to sacrifice themselves before having to face Lexie letting them down gently. On one hand, they're making her life easier, but on the other, they're taking the control away from Lexie.
The Bachelorette has some incredibly difficult decisions to make right now, and if I was in her shoes, I would have whipped out the pros and cons spreadsheet long ago.
Poor Paul was still sent home despite the additional exit because there's no way Art Green's missing out on his chance for a dramatic pause and a comforting smile for the fallen man.
If only Lexie's words were comforting for our favourite chef: "Really hard to send Paul home, he is such a dude. I hope we can be friends after this, I really do." #JusticeForPaul.
Meanwhile, our favourite Aussie Todd was shocked he made the cut. "I'm confused, happy and sad at the same time," he said, whipping out his favourite Taylor Swift lyric to truly describe his deepest feelings.
The reality show has now turned into a Bledisloe Cup match, and frankly, I'm very much here for the transtasman rivalry.
And so the battle began, on Lexie's home turf in Whakatane. We were introduced to the real stars of the show: Lexie's grandparents and her Dad, proving the best bits of the reality show like this are the awkward family introductions.
Lexie's Nan and Pop are, to put things simply, absolute legends. Pop with his All Blacks cap drew a solid line in the sandy beach for Todd, who impressed with his fishing skills but let himself down immensely with his admission he is a Wallabies supporter. Todd, listen up: all men must make sacrifices in the name of love, and if that means burning your Aussie rugby team scarf then so be it.
This entire trip played perfectly into Hamish's strengths: fishing and banter. The giggly lad pulled out all the stops: reeling in some fish on his day off and finding the best raw fish recipe he could find. But did he forget the only person he actually needs to catch is Lexie herself?
Both men absolutely nailed their family visits - even though it looked like Todd was about to have a nervous breakdown at the family barbecue. However, it was Hamish who emerged with the most glowing reviews. I was convinced he had it in the bag when Lexie introduced him to her mother first, and even more so when his blasphemous "coffee" order of a hot chocolate was glossed over with this quick aside from 'Mish: "I'm too hyper as it is, so I'll have a hot chocolate all I want." Need I mention Lexie's Mum admitting she "loves" Hamish?
But there was a tougher nut to crack on this episode: Lexie's father. And in my mind, he is firmly team Hamish, because he asked him if he was "keen to give it a go". "It" being a relationship with his daughter. This was Kiwi bloke speak for "I give my blessing."
"Any man that brings food to the table is a good man," he tells Lexie.
Who is the frontrunner?
There were two key moments in the episodes that gave us the biggest clue about where Lexie's heart lies: the first being Todd and Hamish's conversations with Sarah the mole, who reprises her role excellently in this episode with some interrogations. The second is the gifts Lexie gave them.
She talked with Todd about his personality and the reason he flew so under the radar in the beginning, and Todd asks Sarah why Lexie has been single. And her chat with Hamish drew on her undercover car conversations with him at the beginning of the show, when he admitted he liked to take things slow. It's hard to say who was the winner of these conversations, but Sarah seemed to prefer Todd in my opinion.
The gift she gave to Todd: a box of Kiwiana goodies. A farewell gift if I ever saw one, to be quite honest. Hamish got a framed photo of their heli-boarding date, because Lexie is all set for that photo to hang on his wall forever. Which gift screams relationship to you? My bet is firmly on the photo.
By this point I wanted to let Lexie send Todd home and crown Hamish the winner, just to save us the emotional turmoil of next week's episode. But then Lexie's conversation with Sarah threw everything I thought I knew about her feelings out the window.
"Just because you're great with my family doesn't mean you're right for me," Lexie says. So, what's the truth Lexie?!
Next week, the competition is all over. Lexie goes on fantasy dates with Todd and Hamish, and in a beautiful looking black gown she hands out her final rose. Tune in next week to see who she mourns, and who catches her heart.
Can't get enough of The Bachelorette NZ on TVNZ 2?
Catch up with ZM's Carwen Jones and Celia Whitley as they break it all down in the official podcast, Can I Steal You For A Second? After each episode airs, join the girls as they do a recap and dissect what's going on. They're the binge-watching friends you never knew you needed.
• The Bachelorette NZ finale screens next Monday on TVNZ 2.