TV

Has Liam Cochrane from The Bachelorette had a personality transplant?

Can a leopard really change its spots?

It takes roughly 21 days for a caterpillar to transform from a chrysalis into a butterfly.
In front of our very eyes, The Bachelorette's Liam Cochrane has undergone a similar metamorphosis. Beginning as an amped up macho boast robot, Liam has evolved into a sensitive, self-aware, deep thinker in just 20 episodes of reality TV.
Back in January Liam burst onto our screens like the lovechild of The Hulk and Thor. A nordic looking, denim cut-off wearing, shirtless mass of writhing muscles and ego.
Before we could even open our mouths to say "oh lord, here we go" he was loudly bragging that, "People like to compare me to Chris Hemsworth, but I like to think I'm a bit better looking."
In fact Liam was so confident in his physical attributes that he declared victory before he'd met bachelorette Lesina or any of the other men vying for her affection.
"I back myself in this competition. I feel like I've already won to be honest," he boasted.
On Monday, the very hungry caterpillar ate through one apple.
While every man and their pooch said they'd be the alpha-dog of the house, Liam laid his claim early.
Immediately after his introduction to Lesina he told the group, "I feel like she saw me and she actually got nervous."
But when the time came for Liam to showcase the romantic prowess we'd heard so much about his performance left a lot to be desired.
Instead of a suave lothario, a bumbling Liam stood before Lesina, looking like he couldn't even pull a beer in a brewery.
When asked what he wanted in a partner he babbled, "You know, do fun things together and be happy.
"You're potentially looking for someone who's a little bit more dominant I guess, which is me," he decided, sparing Doctor Lesina the hassle of having to form her own opinions.
Look at her face.
What did Liam blame his piss poor performance on? That it's hard to talk and think at the same time.
"It's such a hard place to discuss real things. You're worried about your mannerisms, your movement," he explained.
But nevertheless he remained steadfastly conviced of his charm. In fact he was so sure of himself that when Lily McManus was revealed as the second bachelorette, Liam doubled down on his chances.
"Surely I'm gonna be the one that will leave with both of them!" he predicted.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, Liam insisted there was more to him than a killer centre part and an ego bigger than the bachelorette mansion.
"I'm a bit of a unique character I guess, because I can be quite arrogant and quite cocky but I can also be super caring and super attentive," the 28-year-old said.
And lo and behold, bit by bit Liam has made good on his word.
We got our first glimpse of caring Liam when he celebrated his birthday by initiating a 'gratitude circle' with the men, prompting an unexpectedly moving scene in which Tavita Karika broke down in tears talking about his mother's struggles with her mental health.
It was the most surprising circle-based bonding exercise we've seen since Meghan and Harry took part in an 'Anti Bad Vibe Circle' on Bondi Beach, but it opened our eyes to the possibility that maybe there was more to Liam than is first apparent.
And it seems Liam didn't see his transformation coming either, conceding, "I had no expectations and I kind of was here for a bit of a piss take initially."
While Liam was at pains to big-up himself around high achiever Lesina, Lily's relaxed demeanour seems to be a calming influence on the Perth-based surfer.
The more time he spends around her the more likeable he becomes.
"I had a bunch of walls up, I had a bunch of self-doubt, and speaking with Lily and telling her everything honestly and completely she helped me break it down and put it in perspective," Liam admitted.
How is this the same man who couldn't get full a sentence out during his first one-on-one with Lesina?
And Liam is just as philosophical about what he finds attractive in Lily.
"Not only is she beautiful, she's super mature, super holistic and she loves herself. That sits with me a lot," he gushed.
"She's gained my trust, she's gained my affection and I have a lot of respect for her."
The danger with breaking down walls of course is that sometimes they're structural, there to hold back a deluge of emotions and thoughts.
When Liam started engaging his brain he went from zero to 100, it all got too real and he wanted out.
"Truthfully I've been struggling the past couple of days with the idea of like, even if this was to work like how would it work?" he confided to Lily
"It prevents me from being 120 per cent my complete self around you, because I'm like I can't get overly invested because like in my mind I have this barrier of it's not going to work, because I live in this different part of the world."
Once again, Lily was there to save Liam from himself, reassuring him he was overthinking things.
"I'm not going to choose someone just because they live close to me. If you care about someone you will make something work for both of you," she encouraged.
"There is this side of Liam that he hasn't let anyone else in on. He's not sure if he can therefore he wants to tap out before he even goes there," Lily figured.
"He is so scared of being hurt and rejected."
After some introspection Liam agreed with Lily's diagnosis.
"It's so hard for me to open up because I don't even do it in a normal setting," he revealed, admitting he needed to allow himself to be vulnerable with feelings for Lily.
"My mindset has been changed and I'm good for her."
That's not to say Liam's a completely changed man.
He still arked up when he thought the culture of the house wasn't being respected. And the bravado is still there.
"I'm 100 per cent in this and I feel sorry for these boys because big dads here now," he told Lesina.
So what will become of 'big dad' Liam now that he's broken free from the chrysalis and his wings have dried?
In the Butterfly world they find a mate, lay eggs and the cycle starts all over again. Look out Lily!