Devastated bachelorette tells Nick Cummins, 'You should've just kissed me'

We're only a couple of weeks out from the finale of The Bachelor 2018, so it's around about now that the hearts of discarded bachelorettes start becoming collateral damage in Nick "Honey Badger" Cummins' quest for true love.

After the elimination of intruder Jamie-Lee Dayz in Wednesday's episode, we're left with just seven women – all of whom have been here from day dot, and, therefore, are now emotionally invested in a big way.

The person Cummins seems the most genuinely invested in at this point is 23-year-old West Australian Brooke, who's a long-rumoured chance to win. Makes sense, then, that the group date Cummins arranges for Thursday's episode aaalmost seems set up in Brooke's favour.

With the bachelorettes split into teams of two – one team led by Brooke, the other by Brittany, as assigned by host Osher Günsberg – they each have to race Segways around a track (fun) and then correctly answer a question about Cummins (not so fun), before their teammates' turns.

When it's over, Cummins has to pick one woman from the winning team to spend extra time with.

To even up the teams, he jumps into Brittany's group and has his own go around the track. When it's his turn, he seems… to go… really… slow… and lo and behold, Brooke's team winds up winning. Guess who Cummins then picks for alone time?

Ding, ding, ding: Brooke, obviously. The other women aren't stoked about it.

Nick Cummins can't get enough of Brooke Blurton on The Bachelor.

Nick Cummins can’t get enough of Brooke Blurton on The Bachelor.

Brooke and Badgie head off for their cute litte date and yes, they are still adorable together. He seems smitten with her and vice versa – they giggle and cuddle and stare into each other's eyes, and he's certainly giving her more reassurance than he gave loved-up Cass on their date this week.

It looks like Brooke's got this in the bag, but of course, Network Ten wouldn't make it so obvious if that was really case. Or would they?

After the group date, and a sneaky rose-and-pash exchange with Brooke, it's a new day – and Cummins finally makes good on the promise of a single date that he made to Emily a couple of weeks ago.

Brooke and the Bachelor have definitely... connected.

Brooke and the Bachelor have definitely… connected.

For Emily, it's a dream date. For us, it's so uneventful it almost doesn't bear repeating – but we will, for the sake of posterity.

Emily and the Bachelor head backstage at the Sydney Opera House to watch two of the Australian Ballet's principal dancers rehearse for an upcoming production, before getting a private lesson of their own. It's a beautiful, thoughtful date and Emily, a professional dancer, is in seventh heaven.

(Unnecessary but urgent question: anyone else detect a tiny hint of an accent when Emily speaks?)

They get all kitted up – Cummins' outfit makes the whole episode worth it – and then they jeté and plié their way to love… in theory. In reality, there's no spark. Not even a tiny little one.

Emily and Cummins practice their ballet steps.

Emily and Cummins practice their ballet steps.

When Emily and Cummins struggle to make small talk towards the end of their date, it becomes clear as day that this romance is going nowhere fast. They end the date without a kiss and without a rose, which immediately signals to poor Emily that things didn't go so well.

Imagine if all dates ended this way. Life would be so much simpler.

Later, at the cocktail party, Osher makes a surprise appearance. His presence generally puts the fear of god into the bachelorettes because it usually means one of them has been unceremoniously dumped during the party.

This time though, he's just there to remind them that they only have a tiny amount of time left and urgently need to impress Cummins in order to receive the last single date of the season.

No pressure.

Osher's presence at cocktail parties is generally not a good thing.

Osher’s presence at cocktail parties is generally not a good thing.

The bachelorettes go into game-plan mode, and for the next few minutes we're privy to the intense conversations they force on Cummins in order to remind him that they're there, they're keen, and they're playing to win.

Sophie – who just might be the dark horse in this race – takes it one step further and uses a whiteboard to draw out her feelings for Cummins.

She's said a number of times that she struggles with verbally expressing her emotions, so she draws butterflies, fire and a heart for Cummins and he just eats it all up. He absolutely loves it. So much so, she scores the single date, which will take place next week.

Sophie got tactical during the cocktail party.

Sophie got tactical during the cocktail party.

Sophie's win is fellow bachelorette Shannon's loss, probably more so than anyone else in the mansion. The 25-year-old Victorian got the first date of the season back in August, but she's had next to no interaction with Cummins since.

When he gives Sophie the last date, Shannon becomes upset, bursting into tears and telling Brooke she really likes Cummins, and that she'd thought their conversation went really well.

Seems Cummins didn't feel the same way though, and just a few minutes later, Shannon is brutally eliminated in the rose ceremony.

Cummins walks Shannon outside for a consolation hug, and he tries to explain his decision.

The writing was on the wall for bachelorette Shannon Baff.

The writing was on the wall for bachelorette Shannon Baff.

"Shaz, this environment… it is hard," he says.

"You haven't got to know me," she replies, crying. "I was hanging onto sh-t, man. You should have given it another day. We would have made a great couple."

Cut to the bachelorettes inside the rose ceremony room, and almost all of them are crying, and Dasha, sitting on the floor, looks bereft.

"I'm obviously not the one," Shannon continues, "but I can assure you a girl in there is going to fulfill every little nook and cranny that you need."

Bidding him a somewhat ~wobbly~ farewell, she has some last words for Cummins, who seems to have temporarily lost the power of speech.

One last hug for Shannon and Cummins.

One last hug for Shannon and Cummins.

"You should have just kissed me," she tells him.

"The first date, I didn't know where I was. I didn't know where I was," Cummins says, looking mighty uncomfortable.

"Honey, I regret that myself," Shannon tells him, closing the door on her getaway car.

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