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episode 8
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friday, april 18th
8:00 pm
10:00 pm
Outback Jack - Episode 8
Outback Jack - Episode 8

It's time for the final showdown! Tonight, it's Natalie vs. Marissa in a no-holds-barred jello wrestling match to determine who will win Jack's heart! Okay, we're kidding. As you well know, Jack has to decide for himself who he'll end up with. (Why he doesn't make them jello-wrestle for it, we'll never know.)

Not only does Jack have to choose between the lovely Natalie and the strong-willed Marissa, he only has one hour (at least, after careful editing by our producers) to make that decision. Don't worry, though. You won't have to wait an hour to learn who he chooses. We know you're eager to find out what happened, so our usually long-winded episode summary won't take you near as long to read this time...we hope. Let's begin!

As this week's season finale begins, we get to hear the theme song for the last time this year. We loved the original Men at Work version of "Down Under," but don't you think our updated version rocks in its own way? Admit it, you'll be humming it all night now that it's in your head. Speaking of getting inside your head, as this week's episode begins, we get to go inside Jack's head, via a well-placed voiceover. As we watch Jack, Marissa and Natalie soaring across the Outback in their hot-air balloon, Jack ponders the end of his adventure. "It seems like only yesterday," he says, "that I was being introduced to twelve beautiful women. And now, those two girls have a piece of my heart."

Meanwhile, Natalie admits that she's on top of the world--figuratively and literally--because she's that much closer to being with Jack. Of course, Marissa doesn't see it that way. "In the end, it's going to be Jack and I," she tells us. The competition is hot, but not as hot as the fire on the hot-air balloon. Throughout the scenic flight, both girls worry that their hair spray will go up in flames. Luckily, it doesn't, and the girls manage to land safely after only hitting a couple of trees with the basket.

The new camp for Jack and the girls is the best one yet. The three of them are spending the night on the edge of the Indian Ocean. "It has almost every color of blue. And the sand is like baby powder," Marissa exclaims. "It's just the most gorgeous beach I've ever seen." Jack sees as much worry as beauty in their new camp, since he knows that it's where he'll have to make his final decision. (video)

The threesome waste no time climbing into the sparkling water, and it's like a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue come to life. Until Marissa cuts her foot on a sharp rock. Jack carries her back to camp, of course, much to Natalie's dismay. "That seems to be her strategy," Natalie says. "Hurt herself or get sick and get all the attention she can." Despite Natalie's misgivings, Jack nurses Marissa's wound while managing to share in some witty banter with both girls.

The leisure of the first night is soon offset by chaos the next morning. A strong coastal wind besieges the camp, almost blowing the tent--and both ladies--out to see. To top things off, something even scarier for the girls comes into JD Roberto. He announces that both girls will get one date and one evening with Jack--their last time together before Jack makes his decision. Marissa gets the first date, and wanders off with Jack while Natalie remains at camp. "When I see Jack and Marissa walk off to go on their date," Nat says, "It makes me jealous, and I hate it." Marissa's feeling no such trepidation. She adds, "I am confident that Jack is mine. And by the time this date is over, he won't even remember that Natalie exists."

On Jack's last date with Marissa, he's intent on finding out if there's anything more there than a physical connection. There's not much time for talk at first, however, as the two take an ocean flight in a seaplane and go dolphin watching. Soon, they land in a secluded cove and go snorkeling together. (Want to go to Australia yet? We sure do.) After the sexy snorkeling (you had to see it to know what we're talking about), Jack and Marissa sit down for a nice lunch on the beach. They feed each other seafood, giggle like schoolkids, and have plenty of bikini-on-bathing suit contact. The connection is definitely there, but is it more than Jack has with Natalie? "To spend time with Marissa like the time I spent with her today," Jack states, "was worth more than its weight in gold. It's well worth everything we've been through on this journey, just for that lunch today." Uh-oh. Things aren't looking good for Nat so far.

Day soon turns to night, and another seaplane ride takes Jack and Marissa up the coast for a romantic rendezvous under the stars. Jack and Marissa again remind us of the connection they've made ("I know I've fallen for Jack," Marissa admits), but the only audio is coming via voiceover at this point, since the two are making out too much to talk. (video)

Even the best dates have to end, and Jack and Marissa eventually return to camp to find Natalie sitting by herself. Natalie only has nice things to say to Marissa as the couple joins her on the bed, but the awkwardness of the situation doesn't go unnoticed by either girl. Jack kisses both girls goodnight, then goes to bed. After his date with Marissa, he expresses that Natalie needs to open up a little more on her date if she's going to have a chance with him. Is she up to the challenge?

The next day, Jack and Natalie begin their final date together. It begins with a scream, as Jack surprises Natalie while she primps for their time together. If Natalie was jealous the day before, Marissa seems equally insecure today. But Jack and Nat are oblivious to her concern as they head off together, Jack giving Natalie a piggyback ride down the beach. Jack confesses that Natalie complements who he really is, and lets him be a little boy. The little boy inside Jack--along with Natalie's little girl--soon makes another appearance, as Jack and Natalie jump on four-wheelers and cruise down the coast, racing and weaving crazily. (Natalie's favorite part of the ride? The wimpy horn.) Natalie joins Jack on his bike, and our hero gets to show off his skill on four wheels.

Eventually, Jack and Natalie take a break in some tidal pools, and get some quality time alone together. "I really love what I see in Natalie," Jack confesses. "My nature is to show emotion," Jack tells us, "and with Natalie, I know she needs it and I'm more than happy to give it to her." Just like on his date with Marissa, Jack seems to fall into a comfortable pace with Natalie, and the two are soon cuddling and kissing on the beach. Speaking of Marissa, we get a peek at her back at camp. "Just knowing that Jack is on a date with Natalie, and knowing that I feel I've fallen in love with him, it does suck," she informs us. "I want to break down because I'm here and he's there, and I don't know what's happening." What's happening is a lot of kissing, which really makes us wonder which girl Jack will commit to. Marissa looked like the favorite, but who can tell now? (video)

After lunch, where Natalie consumes more cheese than most Wisconsin natives ("I was definitely a Brie-whore," she admits), she and Jack take a short nap. Things pick up again, however, when they take off on a kayak ride on the Indian Ocean. Jack does the rowing, while Natalie checks out the scenery, safe in her lifejacket. "I'm not the best swimmer, I'm more of a floater," she says.

Eventually, it's dinner time. The happy couple come in dressed to the nines, to discover a beautiful beachside retreat has been erected for them. "It definitely is amazing, sitting out here in this romantic setting, having dinner with the most gorgeous man, who I've absolutely fallen head-over-heels for," Natalie states. Jack seems similarly swayed. "Every moment I spend with Natalie," he begins, "my heart grows fonder for who she is. And I can only hope she feels the same." So was his final date with Natalie enough? Which will it be, Jack, Natalie or Marissa? Each date seemed perfect for each girl!

When Jack and Natalie return to camp, Marissa's waiting up. And she's not in the same generous mood that Natalie was in the night before. In fact, she's downright catty. "You look so tired, Natalie! You look trashed!" she proclaims. "Princess, its time for bed!" Jack leaves the worried women behind and hits the hay, a huge decision ahead of him. Neither girl looks like she'll be getting much sleep tonight.

The next morning, host JD makes another appearance. He's been called the scourge of the Outback before, but now he really does bring doom for one of the ladies. He gives Natalie and Marissa one last chance to talk to Jack and say what they feel before the big decision. Natalie goes first, and lets Jack know that she's crazy about him. "It just hit me like a ton of bricks," she tells him. "We're great together." She brings a smile to Jack's face, as she lays her cards out on the table. "As long as you know how I feel, I won't have any regrets," she adds. (video)

Marissa steps up next, taking advantage of her last chance to talk with Jack. "I've learned so much from you," she tells him. "I've learned a lot from you," he replies. Marissa thanks Jack for taking care of her in the Outback, and tells him she feels something she's never felt before. Jack remains a mystery, however. "I never expected to feel the way I feel, come this decision," Jack confesses. "I thought it would be a walk in the park for a bloke like me." But Jack, what does that mean? Is Marissa the one? The two kiss and part, so that Jack can get ready for the final decision. For once, Marissa's confidence is shaken. "It's strange," she observes, "looking into his eyes it just seemed like he didn't know what he wanted. To be quite honest, it worries me." (video)

It's time for the final decision. JD informs the girls that he'll meet each of them in a private location, where they'll learn what he's decided. Both of them are understandably worried. First, we get to see Marissa walking down the beach to where Jack waits. "If Jack doesn't pick me, I'll feel heartbroken," she says. Then, we see Natalie making her own trek down the beach. "I think I've fallen in love with him," Natalie remarks.

Jack waits by himself and ponders his decision. "The qualities of these girls, Natalie and Marissa, I've found to be special, but totally different," Jack states. "I've been attracted to Marissa from the first moment I laid eyes on her. Natalie was the least forward with her emotion towards me. I was attracted to her for her other qualities." As he ponders, both girls continue their treks down the sandy beach. "I've been struggling with this decision," he says. "And I have to make it right now."

Jack approaches Marissa first, and takes her hand. "From day one," he begins, "you caught my eye. On many occasions that we spent together, I felt a connection with you. You captured my heart and my soul. You know that by standing here now, you mean the world to me. This decision today was the hardest choice I had to make, and obviously there can be only one. But today...that decision is going to someone else." Marissa is crestfallen, but keeps her chin up. She puts her head on Jack's shoulder before letting him go. "I want you to be happy, ok?" she tells him. (video)

Jack makes his way to where Natalie waits. By now, she's the only one who doesn't know she's the winner! "Princess," he starts to say, "since day one, I've found this journey with you has slowly blossomed. The way that you make me feel, and hopefully the way I make you feel, has made this journey a whole lot easier. The person you are is the person I long for, and I felt that you had now completed me. And you know now...that you are the last girl that I would like to continue on this journey with me." Natalie squeals with happiness and hugs her hero. The two kiss, while Jack hides his face (and his tears of joy) in Natalie's hair.

"What are we going to do?" Natalie asks. "See that?" Jack answers, gesturing towards a beautiful yacht near the shore. "That's where we're going." The two join hands and walk towards the boat as Marissa looks on. "The last thing I ever expected was to fall in love," Natalie remarks. "I kept my emotions guarded until I knew what I felt was real and I found my Prince Charming." Jack can echo her emotions. "There's a difference between the love that comes instantly and the love that grows over time," he states. "And my love for Natalie gets deeper and stronger in each passing moment." As the two sail away on their love boat, the music swells, and the sun sets on the horizon. (video)

"He's all I wanted, and I got him," Natalie comments. "And I'm so happy!" "I feel as though I'm damn lucky," Jack adds. "Because it worked out like a fairy tale. For the first time, I can give myself to one girl, the way I would like it, and I'm happy."

We're happy for you, as well, Jack and Natalie. Congratulations!
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