© Married At First SightMarried At First Sight therapists shocked by Dean and Davina's 'betrayal'
?As Dean and Davina plot an illicit affair on Married At First Sight, the show's "relationship experts" pass judgment from an adjacent room.
"I can't believe this!" cries John, staring in theatrical disbelief at the TV monitor. "I mean, it's a betrayal."
His fellow experts, Mel and Trisha, concur. All three profess to be shocked - shocked! - at what they're witnessing.
This raises a troubling question: if you can't trust contestants on a trashy dating show, who can you trust? (I don't know about you, dear reader, but I demand nothing short of moral instruction from reality TV.)
A reminder: Dean is faux-married to Tracey, while Davina's insta-husband is Ryan. (In the Australian version of this show, the couplings begin with a commitment ceremony, not a legal marriage.)
© Married At First Sight/TwitterMarried At First Sight therapists shocked by Dean and Davina's 'betrayal'
Clearly, Channel Nine intends to string out the "will Dean and Davina seal the deal?" storyline over several episodes. And they're aided and abetted by Dean and Davina themselves, who are all too happy to provide hours of scandalising footage.
Wednesday's instalment begins with Ashley demanding Troy cut off all his hair, thus proving he loves her. Makes sense.
Of course, Troy would rather lose a limb than his luscious locks. Ashley spends the rest of the episode in a deep sulk, batting away his attempts at affection with passive aggressive jabs. "They're not on the same team," says one of the experts, reading straight from The Big Book Of Reality TV Cliches.
Back to Dean and Davina, whose antics all but ensure minimal screen time for their fellow contestants.
"All I wanted from this experiment was fireworks," Davina says, demonstrating an excellent grasp of the complexities of long-term relationships.
Later, we see Davina and Ryan preparing for the group dinner. Ryan frets over the fact his socks are different lengths; Davina couldn't appear more disinterested if she were dead.
I feel a surge of sympathy for Ryan - which evaporates the moment he puts his shoe-clad feet on the bed.
What the hell is wrong with you, man? You might as well take a bath in the toilet.
Meanwhile, Tracey is trying to convince herself that everything's peachy between her and Dean. "I feel really strong about our relationship," she says. It's unclear if this is a statement or a question.
As Ryan shows off the tattoo he got in honour of Davina, she tells Ashley - sotto voce - she's finished with him.
"Ryan might as well not be there," John observes, superfluously ramming home the point.
It's not long before Dean and Davina steal a quiet moment.
Dean: "I'm into you."
Davina: "Do you want to pursue this?"
Dean: "100 per cent."
Later, Tracey tells Dean the other contestants doubt their relationship, giving him the perfect chance to come clean. Instead, he gaslights her by insisting everything's fine.
A class act, all the way.
In fairness to Dean, he justifies his duplicity on the grounds Tracey will get "p----d off" if she discovers the truth. At which point she will presumably become hysterical, and foist all her irrational lady emotions on him.
After Dean sneaks outside with Davina, he attempts to woo her by throwing his wife under the bus. "No offence to Tracey," he says, "but her looks are not her best quality."
If there's one thing I know about women, it's this: they cannot resist a guy who prefaces offensive comments about his partner with the phrase, "No offence."
Sounding as though he's being fed lines from Nine's promo department, John declares: "I think the commitment ceremony on Sunday night is going to be explosive!"
But the last word goes to Charlene, who inadvertently sums up the raison d'être for this entire program.
"It's quite funny," she says, "how other people's misfortunes make you feel better."
Pictures: Married at First Sight 2018: Meet the contestants
'Married at First Sight' 2018: Meet the contestants