The most dramatic thing about the conclusion to this season of The Bachelorette was not seen by viewers of the finale broadcast on Thursday.
Rather, it was the secret courtroom battle between Channel Ten and website The Daily Mail which unfolded in the hours before the last episode went to air on Channel 10.
While the episode didn’t air until 7.30pm on Thursday night, the real action kicked off in the afternoon with the publication of a series of images of Sam Frost and eventual winner Sasha Mielczarek in a hotel hours before screening time.
The story was taken down later in the evening after Ten sought an injunction with a judge in the Supreme Court of NSW, according to Mumbrella.
Despite the quick action from Ten, fans were outraged that the story didn’t carry a spoiler warning and many felt the final result was ruined.
After all, it doesn’t take an expert to know that the best reality television elicits shock and awe and the debut season of The Bachelorette has fallen pretty short on this promise.
While The Daily Mail might have been the outlet to officially spill the beans, Network Ten has been dropping a trail of breadcrumbs towards the final result so large it could trip you up and send you flying into a heap of artfully-scattered rose petals.
So Sam chose Sasha, the 30-year-old construction manager from New South Wales. To quote every rom-com ever: of course it was Sasha. It was always Sasha. And we knew that even before the Daily Mail ruined it with those leaked photos.
As for those other guys? They were just a sideshow. Particularly that ridiculous model who pouted and spouted such idiocy one can only hope he was paid a sum as handsome as his face for the public charade.
— #BacheloretteAU (@BacheloretteAU) October 22, 2015
Ten’s frequent championing of Sasha and Sam’s obvious chemistry has had a couple of outcomes.
Glass-half-full viewers would have taken it as evidence that love does exist after all, and temptation is no match for pure instant attraction.
But those who came for a good show probably found themselves tuning out each rose ceremony because the contestants’ fate was set the minute Sam and Sasha locked eyes.
Here’s why runner-up Michael Turnbull didn’t stand a chance.
Their first meeting
While Sam was nonchalant and chilled out with the other men, Sasha’s arrival sent her into a veritable tizzy.
Tongue-tied, blushing and flustered, she bumbled her way through while he looked on, visibly chuffed by the effect he was having.
Their tango date
The sheer nerves emanating out of Sam’s every pore should have been enough to clue us in that the rest of the blokes were dead in the water.
No one is that terrified on a first date unless they’re already picking kids’ names in their head.
Their first kiss
The bizarre charm of Sasha and Sam’s first kiss should have been a tip-off that they could parlay that special brand of chemistry into a long-term relationship.
“I really want to kiss you right now,” Sasha said.
“You should,” Sam commanded, indicating a level of desire and comfort that eclipsed basic niceties.
What followed was something that should definitely have carried a PG-13 rating.
Their painting date
Who knew overalls and finger-painting could be so sexy? But that was entirely the point, wasn’t it? These two were so enamoured with each other even banality was somehow steamy.
It also got sentimental when Sasha and Sam bonded over their stepdads and Sasha revealed he was “falling” for Sam.
When he jumped out of a plane for her
Despite a crippling fear of heights, Sasha pulled it together and hurled himself out of a moving plane – something most sane people wouldn’t even do for their partners of 15 years.
What more do you need?