MAFS episode 11 recap: the second commitment ceremony sees two couples walk away from the experiment

We say goodbye to two couples, but how many more aren't too far behind them?
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We start this episode at the same place the last one left off – with questions around why Ottie wouldn’t ask Gareth that final question.

She thought it wouldn’t be fair to ask her husband something that he had only told her in private – something that she knew would make him “squirm.”

Gareth says he’s not sure there’s going to be anything for him and Ottie once this experiment ends.

Everyone starts getting ready for the final commitment ceremony and when Sam asks Tayler if he’s going to stay or leave, Tayler tells him he’s going to have to wait to find out.

After a pep talk from Ksenia, Wayne says “making the stay or leave decision today has probably been one of the easier ones.”

“Right now with me and Ksenia, she’ll definitely be in my future. In what capacity, whether it’s going to be in a relationship or not, I’m not 100% sure on that.”

Julia decides she’s going to ask the experts advice on the attraction thing, like somehow they’re going to be able to provide the magic bullet.

“I don’t know whether to wait it out or just leave now, you know, to prevent him from hurting,” Julia says.

“Either she feels it or she doesn’t,” Dave says, “so, if she doesn’t, that will be it.”

And then the Oscar goes to the most co-incidental gust of wind ever, when we cut to a blurred shot of Dave and Julia sitting on the couch as not one but three candles go out. The symbolism here is almost too much to handle. It’s almost like the producers planned it…

Us right now.

The guys and girls (and Sam) meet separately before the commitment ceremony.

“How’s everyone feeling about tonight?” Tayler asks, and all he gets is crickets so he answers his own question. “I’m feeling happy,” he says, showing his “pink socks” to prove it.

Dave says he’s “feeling really good,” and that he and Julia are on the same page. Julia, on the other hand, is “feeling really emotional.”

She says the elephant in the room is that they haven’t slept together and we’re pretty sure it’s not, Julia.

She’s struggling because people like that don’t walk into your life every day, so she seems to want to will it to work, but isn’t sure what to do about the lack of chemistry.

“I know he really likes me a lot and I want to feel the same way, more than anything… there’s just one thing that’s missing missing…I don’t know what more to do.” And then she walks off crying.

Ottie starts talking about her relationship with Gareth and how kids is a “deal-breaker.” She also says there’s no sexual attraction there. She thinks their morals don’t align and all they have in common is their personalities and their love of tattoos.

She wants to ask the experts why they matched them. “It’s like buying a Big Mac and it having no sauce.” We agree, a Big Mac without sauce is a travesty, but we’re not sure how that relates to her relationship with Gareth.

Ottie asks Gareth where the sauce is.

Fraser and Monique are first up and the food conversation continues when Fraser talks about needing more from Monique because he’s been the one making all of the effort.

Tony tells them they need to “take stock” and Stephanie chimes in, telling Fraser “you need a bit more of a carrot,” and we’re not sure if this is a recipe for a good marriage or a vegetable soup. Fraser and Monique seem to wholeheartedly agree with what they’re being told though, as they nod along and both agree to stay in the experiment.

Sam and Tayler are next in the hot seat and they turn the tables on the experts, asking the questions themselves and wanting to know why they were matched.

Sam says he’s the one who has been putting all the effort in and Tayler hasn’t been opening up enough for his liking. But then Tayler reveals just how much he’s been putting into the relationship, because after the home visits he went and talked to a therapist about the whole situation. It sounds like Sam constantly telling him he hadn’t been open enough caused him to question himself, and whether he was showing his true self.

They agree that they have some things to work on, but both are willing to put in the hard yards. They each decide to stay.

Wayne and Ksenia aren’t on the same page at all because after they spoke to the experts, Ksenia thinks their relationship got worse while Wayne thinks it got better. Turns out him not wanting to take photos of her at the park is a bigger issue than one could ever have imagined because she keeps bringing it up.

This park incident isn’t a moment we’ve been shown on camera and now we’re wishing we’d seen it because it turns out to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Ksenia chooses to leave and Wayne looks to be blindsided. Bit then she starts laughing and it’s clear Wayne is in on the joke because he, too, starts to laugh and reveals he’s leaving too.

Tony’s pretty pleased about it because he tells them they made the right call. Basically acknowledging they’d been terribly matched from the start.

Ksenia says she’s disappointed, but that they’re too different. Wayne is philosophical about the whole thing.

“Life does go on. I’m not going to let this define my life, but it’s been a great experience,” he says.

Gareth and Ottie are next and they go straight on the attack. Ottie says she never would have married someone who wanted children, knowing full well she doesn’t, and Gareth puts it to the experts, asking why they were matched knowing this was the case.

“I don’t think it’s fair to put us in that position,” he says. “I kind of feel like we’ve been kicked from the start.”

Tony responds by saying the experts are people too, and they can’t possibly predict how the matched couple is going to navigate these challenges.

Gareth is in a lose lose situation because even though he’s told her her he’d been OK without having kids, she’s experienced that in the past and she doesn’t want to feel like she has to compromise who she is for someone else, nor does she want Gareth to compromise for her.

Regardless of their challenges though, Gareth has decided to stay because he wants to see it out to the end. But Ottie has other ideas. She’s decided to leave.

Normally in this situation if one person decides to stay and one decides to leave, they’d be forced to stay in order to see if they can work things out. But this doesn’t happen here because, as Stephanie says, their differences are too big to overcome.

Farewell, Gareth and Ottie.

After all of that heavy talk we need something light. Enter Dan and Yuki.

It’s “going well,” and it’s “easy.” They’re worried about how they’re going to navigate a long distance relationship and ask the experts for advice. They’re both really committed to their jobs, and are concerned about how they’re going to keep focus on their relationship.

Really, their commitment to this has never been in question and they both decide to stay.

Now for Dave and Julia and Stephanie wastes no time, asking if there’s any “passion or spark there?”

“Not exactly,” is Julia’s response, and then she refers to that being the elephant in the room. Tony schools her on the fact that intimacy doesn’t necessarily mean sex. There’s a whole lot more to it than that and they’re actually displaying a lot of signs of intimacy already.

Julia shows she’s committed to seeing this experiment out by revealing she’s chosen to stay. And Dave decides to stay too, but that was hardly going to be a surprise. He pulls her in and gives her a sweet little kiss on the forehead and guys, that’s intimacy personified. We hope Julia can see that.

Now we’re into a new phase – something the experts are calling “total commitment dates.”

Fraser and Monique choose to spend theirs at the Rainbows End theme park. We hope they make it there though, because Monique is driving and Fraser is giving directions and everyone knows how bad women are at directions so we’re sure this is going to end in tears and sure enough, they squabble about whether “go right” means get in the right lane or make a right turn.

Fraser is having doubts. He tells the camera “I definitely came here to try and find love and the difficulty for me at the moment is that I don’t see that happening, and that’s really (expletive) tough.”

It then cuts to a roller coaster at the theme park and it’s the most symbolic thing we’ve seen since Dave and Julia’s candles blowing out.

After a long and in-depth discussion about their relationship, Fraser tells Monique that he’s realised that she’s committed to the experiment, but not to him. She tells him he’s hit the nail on the head and we’re so sad for them because we really wanted these two to make it.

And just when we think we couldn’t get any sadder, Fraser goes ahead and breaks our hearts.

“I feel like we’ve given this the best shot that we can and now it’s just going to be seeing if it can work out and I guess, leaving this experiment will be going….” and that’s when he starts to struggle through tears. He struggles and struggles, and finally gets his words out.

“I know that leaving this experiment, no matter what decision we make, that we’ll be united.”

“I see such potential here because I’ve just felt like we’ve been a team throughout this whole entire process and at no part…” (pause for more tears, his and ours). He doesn’t manage to finish that sentence.

“What I’m hoping is that when we go back to our normal lives, that we’re actually able to go back and realise that the other person has been what’s missing.”

We hope that too Fraser. More than anything.

The tears aren’t over then though, because it sounds like Julia has had some sort of epiphany. We say ‘sounds like’, because cameras weren’t actually there to pick up the conversation, we only have audio. Turns out Julia was looking at Dave and “something clicked” and she realised how much she cares about him.

He tells her “I love you so much,” and we’re not sure if he means romantic love, or the type of love you have for a friend who’s in tears in your arms, but either way it’s a sweet moment.

There could be hope for these two after all…

Just when we think there’s been enough drama for one episode, Sam decides to tell Tayler that he just doesn’t see the relationship working and that he thinks they should end the relationship today. He doesn’t want to go through the last commitment ceremony or the renewal of vows.

Tayler is blindsided and so are we. We’re going to have to wait until Sunday to see how it all pans out.

Married At First NZ airs on Sundays at 7pm and continues Mondays and Tuesdays at 7.30pm on THREE.

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