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episode 7
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thursday, july 24th
8:00 pm
8:30 pm
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10:00 pm
Outback Jack - Episode 7
Outback Jack - Episode 7

We've reached the penultimate (as in, "next to last") episode of Outback Jack. Can you feel the tension building? After last episode's twists and turns, we're down to just three ladies for Jack to choose between: Maria, Natalie, and the always controversial Marissa. Who will we say goodbye to at the end of this episode?

The remaining ladies are on horseback as episode seven begins, trotting to their next camp. The girls are each very confident about their chances with Jack--none more than Marissa, who guarantees that she'll be the last girl standing. It seems that our pampered princesses have undergone some drastic changes since coming to The Land Down Under. Not only are they acting more aggressive and confident when it comes to Jack, but their inherent fear of the Outback seems to be subsiding, as well. While on horseback, Jack comments on the change. "When these girls first started, it would've taken a lot of wrangling to get them to cross a croc-infested stream," he says. "Now they'll do it in a heartbeat."

As the girls get closer to camp, Natalie states that being on the show has changed her life. "It's taught me I can do things I never thought I could," she admits. She soon gets a chance to prove herself wrong when Jack stops the group for a little "pick-me-up." There's a huge tree off to the side of the trail, with a green ant nest on it. "They're good. They're protein" Jack says as he grabs a few ants and chomps down on them. "Eat the green part, that's the ass," Jack adds, as the girls pull down their own to chew on. Maria's the first to try an ant, and she finds it surprisingly tasty. "I didn't know any ass could be as sweet as that ant's ass was." Marissa also digs in, leaving only precious Natalie. But Natalie proves that she's a much different person than she was at the start of the series, not only eating some ants of her own, but laughing about it. (video)

After the ant snack attack, the group picks up the pace and heads to a place that Jack calls his "favorite vacation spot in the Outback," to meet the "top sheila" in his life...his mom. "Mumsy," as he calls her, gets very emotional upon seeing Jack, but manages to put on a smile for the girls. "Hello girls," she calls out, "I'm Mrs. Jack." The ladies can see immediately that Jack and his mom share a close bond. This makes her acceptance even more important to them, which means the pressure's on. Jack agrees: "If these girls want to win over my heart," he states, "they're gonna have to win over my mum." Marissa's not worried. "Moms love me," she says, confidently. (video)

Jack's mom leads the girls on a tour of the homestead. It's a palacial estate on the edge of the river, with a beautiful pool, and a balcony view to die for. Each of the girls gets her own room, with luxurious beds, flushing toilets...and air-conditioning. As you can imagine, after weeks of sleeping on hard cots while insects crawled all over them, the girls have reached their own nirvana.

While the ladies explore their living arrangements, Jack's mom talks about their relationship. She relates a story about being in a serious accident and being on life-support. Jack never left her side during her six-month recovery. "He was my life-support," she says. "I just don't think I would have made it without him."

Soon, it's time for Jack's mom to really get to know the last three ladies. They meet by the pool, with Jack not invited. The questions start immediately. "What do you think is your worst quality?" Mumsy asks the ladies. In true interview fashion, the girls spit out some candy-coated answers. "Sometimes I don't take time to stop and take care of me," Marissa volunteers. Right, Marissa. You're so focused on helping others. Maria's look of shock is priceless, as are her rolling eyes when Marissa once again brings up her heatstroke.

Next, it's Maria's turn. "If you couldn't pick yourself for Jack," his mother asks, "which one of the others would you choose?" The answer is obvious, especially since Maria threatened last week to kick Jack's ass if he ended up with Marissa. "I would pick Natalie, because she has a sweet heart and she's always herself." Natalie is flattered, and returns the favor, saying "I love my Maria." Marissa doesn't answer the question in the group setting, but says to the camera, "Honestly, I wouldn't pick either of these girls for Jack."

Jack's mom brings out the big guns with the next question: "How would you feel about sex before marriage?" The girls all flounder, but Marissa is the first to answer. "I wouldn't say yes or no," she says. "That's between the two people." It seems like a fair answer, but Jack's mom is skeptical. "Marissa seemed a little stiff, she's a bit nervous handling my questions," she states. Natalie takes the high road, stating that she'd prefer to wait until marriage, so it would be a little more "special." Maria tries to dodge the question. "I think the idea of a white dress and virgin bride is amazing," she says. ("White dress?" Marissa asks. "Maybe off-white.")

Mrs. Jack's next question is even more interesting. "Do you think he's falling in love with any of you?" While the other girls look at their shoes, Marissa jumps all over this one. "I definitely feel that we're both falling." Maria doesn't see it. But when Mumsy asks if any of the ladies can see themselves married to Jack, Maria perks up. "I can, and I'm not afraid to say it." The dirty looks fly non-stop between Maria and Marissa during the question-and-answer session. (video)

Jack's mom sums up her thoughts on the girls: "I think Maria's beautiful," she says. "I think Natalie is funny and cute. And I think Marissa is fairly intense and intelligent. So if you could blend the three together, we'd have the ideal girl."

When JD returns with Jack, it's time for a little one-on-one time between our hero and the lovely ladies. Jack takes off with Natalie first, and the two smooch and giggle like a couple of high schoolers. "When Natalie and I kissed," Jack says, "I felt safe. For me, it was electric." Later, when Natalie comments on how the two complement each other, Jack makes a point of how "opposites attract." (Could Marissa have more competition than she thinks from the sillier blonde of the group?) Jack takes things even further, telling Natalie that he wants a girl who isn't one-hundred percent independent. He wants someone who will pamper him and who needs taking care of occasionally. If we had to bet money based on the show so far, we might put it on Natalie. But there are two more solo dates to go. (video)

Maria gets the next date with Jack, and she's stoked about it. "Time together brings you together," she claims. Unfortunately, Maria starts her date by venturing into taboo territory. "I just don't know what you think of the other girls," she whispers, pushing Jack to state how he feels. "Natalie, I trust," he says. "I'm a bit suspicious of Marissa and her intentions." Maria grabs onto that last piece of info and runs with it. "When Jack said he had his doubts about Marissa," she confesses, "I about jumped up and yelled hooray. I really didn't think that he knew." There's some more kissing on the date, but unlike Jack's date with Natalie, this flirtation is less high school and more adult rated. "Are you always this forward?" Jack asks. "I need to know that you'd be monogamous to me." Maria bristles at the question, and that Jack may not believe that she's being real. When Jack wonders if she may be hiding something, she admits she is: "The fact that I farted about five minutes ago." Is this a dealbreaker? (video)

Finally, Jack meets Marissa down by the water. "This could be her last chance to prove she's here for me and not just to beat these girls in some game," Jack says as the date begins. At first, there's some awkward silence. Marissa's confidence appears to be shaken. "At this point, I'm a little nervous. I feel like he's pulling away from me," she confesses. She opens the floor for questions, and even suggests that Jack ask his mom what she thought about the ladies. "I'll listen to what she has to say," Jack replies. "But it's not her decision to make." Jack is taking the whole thing very serious, and his time with Marissa almost seems more like a job interview than a date. "This isn't a game to me," he says. Luckily, he decides to break the tension with a kiss. "I need to learn to trust you," he whispers to her. "That's what's holding me back. I'm being honest, I'm struggling." Surprisingly (at least to us), Marissa tells Jack that he has to pick the one his heart tells him matter who it is. (video)

After the dates, Natalie and Maria are dishing on Marissa. "She just has the wrong intentions. You can find a sugar daddy in your own hometown," Maria says. "She must be an extremely good actress," Natalie adds. Of course, during this whole time, Marissa is standing in the doorway, listening. IN THE FREAKING DOORWAY. To her credit, Marissa doesn't jump on the girls and hack them to pieces...but she definitely hears what they're saying, and isn't happy about it. She walks quietly away, with Natalie and Maria never knowing she was there.

The next day, JD makes another appearance. In his hands, he's holding videos containing "some very embarrassing moments" that he wants Jack's mom to see. Apparently, the producers got some footage from the people that know the girls best--their families. The girls are both nervous and excited to see the tapes. First up is Maria's mom, who tells all about her daughter's irrational fear of spiders. Then, Maria's fourteen-year-old sister talks about Maria's goofy nature and her lack of math skills. Finally, Maria's dad comes on. He only has sweet things to say about his daughter. Maria's tape ends, with nothing negative coming out in the wash. (Unless Jack was hoping she'd have a future in accounting or spider-handling.)

Marissa's tape is next. Her lovely mom comes on first, and shares some info about her daughter. "She's a very independent-minded girl," she begins. A great compliment, but almost the exact opposite of what Jack told Natalie he wanted in a woman! Marissa's mom also confesses Marissa's obsession with her blankie when she was a kid. Not exactly boiling bunnies. Her younger sister then comes on, and also only has nice things to say, calling Marissa smart and beautiful--both of which are apparent to all that have viewed the show. Another tape is over, with no more "embarrassing secrets" than the first one.

The last tape features Natalie's mom, who is obviously young-at-heart and a good friend to her daughter. She does admit that Natalie is very loud, but adds that it's part of her great sense of humor and fun-loving nature. Her mom then shows Jack one of Natalie's closets, and it looks bigger than some department stores. Natalie definitely has a thing for clothing and purses. Finally, she says some parting words, and the tape session is over. Her mom's statements have made Natalie cry, but it's not because there's anything bad being said. All three girls have made it through the videotapes without anything negative coming out.

JD asks Jack and his mom to huddle and share their thoughts on the girls. Soon, there will be another elimination, as the final two are chosen to move on. When Jack asks his mom for her input, Mumsy says that her first instinct was that Maria was beautiful, Natalie wasn't Jack's type at all, and Marissa was "aristocratic" (but still not as beautiful as Maria). Jack confesses that Natalie has somehow grown on him more than the other girls. He even repeats his mantra: "Opposites attract." He also adds that he feels Maria has been genuine since day one, but that he has reservations about Marissa's motives. "Who can you see me with?" He asks his mom. "I think maybe Marissa," she states. "But look, they're all lovely girls."

Jack's mom advises him to go with his gut and his heart, "but maybe leave the head aside a little." Jack's tormented over the upcoming decision. "I think tomorrow's decision is going to be heartwrenching," he confesses. "I'm feeling a little sick just thinking about it. I don't know what I'm going to do." Jack's time with his mother is interrupted by JD, who steals him away for a final meeting with each girl. It's obvious that Jack needs more time to make a decision. "My mother said to follow my heart, but how do you follow a heart that's saying three different things?" He asks.

Maria and Jack are the first to meet. Again, Maria only wants to talk about the other girls. She calls Marissa a liar and says her intentions are false. "I don't mind if you end up with Natalie. I would rather that than you end up with Marissa." Jack seems floored by Maria's candor, but still only has nice things to say to her. "In my heart, you're still here because I believe we could have something together," he says before they kiss.

Next, Marissa gets some time in Jack's arms. She's shaking, and Jack can feel her heart beating. Maybe her sincerity isn't an act, after all? "Explain to me why they think that you've changed characters," Jack asks. "I can't explain why they think what they think, and I can't change who I am," Marissa counters. "I'm just here for you." The two kiss, as the light fades.

Natalie is the last girl to meet with Jack. "My feelings for you have grown really strong," she confesses. "When I'm with you I get excited." Jack tells Natalie what he told his mom, that Natalie has grown on him more than any of the girls have. But it's not all wine and roses. "You need to know that no matter what choice I make tomorrow," Jack begins, as Natalie furrows her brow, "I saw something in all of you that could have gone a lot further after this."

Another son rises over the Outback, as the girls pack for the elimination ceremony. Soon, they all gather--butterflies in their bellies--in front of a beautiful orange and yellow hot-air balloon. "These three girls mean the world to me," Jack says, "and I need to know that I won't make one wrong judgement." JD gives them the movin' on speech, and then it's time for Jack to address the nervous ladies. Like we said last week, this could never be as dramatic on paper as it is live, so we'll just cut to the chase: Natalie is safe, Marissa is safe. With teary eyes, Jack tells Maria goodbye. (video)

Of course, Maria doesn't take it well. She cries a river before, during, and after the decision is made, and Jack and his mom join her with heartfelt tears. "Sweetheart, you are so special to me." Jack tells her. "Please understand that." This is easily Jack's toughest decision to date, but it's even harder on Maria. Despite the rejection (and her dripping mascara), Maria puts a positive spin on the whole adventure, saying that she did things she would have never done and that she's glad she'd come this far. She also gets to cry on the shoulder of Jack's mom, who does the motherly thing and consoles the poor girl with her own sympathetic tears. "My heart is broken." Maria says. "And it's like you keep falling and you keep falling, and this time there's no parachute. You just hit smack dab on the ground. At first the view was nice and beautiful, but near the end you get nervous and you realize you're not going to make it." A nice metaphor on its own, but especially ironic considering that the other girls are about to be lifted hundreds of feet in the air in a hot-air balloon. (video)

As the episode ends, and we motor on to the grand finale, the last two girls, Marissa and Natalie, join Jack in the hot-air balloon. As they soar over the Outback, Maria and mumsy look on with tears in their eyes. Did Jack make the right choice? Will he find true love with one of the remaining ladies? The biggest decision is yet to come!

See you next week.
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