MAFS Recap 2024 Episode 17: John Aitken Delivers A Feminism 101 Course

Head here to enjoy more MAFS 2024 recaps — updated straight after every episode airs.
It's episode 17 of Married At First Sight and the third Commitment Ceremony of the season is here. If I can be honest, I'm still kinda reeling from last week's dinner party. I know that as soon as I see Jack in this episode, my fight or flight response is going to be ACTIVATED. With that in mind, let's kick on and continue to torture ourselves with this habit that we just can't quit.
We check in with all the couples, and damn, we're already at the halfway point? Time has just flown by. Ridge and Jade are hanging out in bed after presumably buying a ticket to BoneTown, while the rest of the couples are still reeling after Jack's "muzzle your woman" comment at the dinner party. "What a misogynistic, horrible thing to say," Richard says, while Timothy says his comments are "derogatory" and "defamatory". Would have been nice for ya'll to say that to Jack during the dinner party, but I digress.
However, we then see Jack, again in a silly hat, saying that it "felt good" to say the comment to Lauren. Zzzzzz. Are we surprised? It's Tori's birthday and Jack is pissed that that this will likely ruin his birthday. Damn Lauren for being sooooo offended at Jack offending her!
Meanwhile, Lauren has said 'yeah nah' to Jono after not standing up for her during the dinner party. Jonathan says it wasn't his intention to upset her, and Lauren says that she needs to see Jono show her that she's there for him and that "he's a man, not a little boy".

I Can't Keep Defending Ya'll, Please

I can't keep defending ya'll (Credit: Nine)
Soon, the couples start piling in for the third Commitment Ceremony and Queen Lucinda and Daddy Timothy are up on the couch first. It's a refreshing change since their last ceremony, with Lucinda saying the two of them took a romantic trip to the strip club and that she had "tits and ass" all in her face, which is lovely! Despite the fun they've been having, they admit that it's still mostly just a friendship between the two of them. "I don't feel too desired," Lucinda says, and I want to shake her and say, THE ENTIRETY OF AUSTRALIA DESIRES YOU, BABE!!!
Tim says he sees "some potential" between him and Lucinda on the romance front but admits that he hasn't been inclined to reach out to smooch her or hold her hand. Lucinda writes 'STAY' and is open to any advice the experts can share, with Tim also writing 'STAY'. Expert Alessandra says it's a bit confusing that he'd write stay, given the whole experiment is about romantic love. Lucinda agrees, and Tim reckons he's throwing her under the bus. Jayden pipes in for some reason, but Tim says that he doesn't need his advice. "I'm actually questioning why I wrote [stay] now," Tim says. And damn, now you've really gone and done it.
Expert John Aitken has had ENOUGH and says that if nothing changes romantically in their relationship within the next seven days, he's inclined to ask him to leave. John says that he's chained to his past and that he needs to get out of first gear. Both of them leave the couch, and Tim says he's "pissed off [he] wrote stay". I'm like, how did we go from a really cute wholesome start to THIS?! I can't keep being a Lucinda and Tim defender; it's actively harming my mental health at this stage.

Three Couples Actually Like Each Other — A New Record!

BoneTown. Population: Them (Credit: Nine)
Jayden and Eden are next and they're very into each other. "I'm mad about her," Jayden says, adding that he's never felt this way about a partner. The two reveal that they've been intimate, and everyone is like hell yeahhhh. Unsurprisingly, they both write 'STAY'.
Sara and Tim are on the couch next, and they actually look like they're into each other this week (which won't last long, knowing Sara and Tim), which is nice. Sara explains how she's a Latina and expresses herself loudly, and there seems like a nice understanding between the two of them. I'm here for it. They both write 'STAY'.
Ridge and Jade hop on the couch and rave about each other, which is nice (even though it's only been a week). They both write 'STAY'.
Tristan, you did WHAT?! (Credit: Nine)

We Were Rooting For You, Tristan!

Tristan and Cassandra are up, and Tristan says he's "not doing good". He says he's concerned that the two of them are just friends and is concerned that he "might not be enough for her". Cassandra says he's everything she needs, but is still quite upset. Cassandra writes 'STAY' but in a shocking move, Tristan writes 'LEAVE'. At this stage, everyone is like WTF – both in the experiment and across Australia. I really, really didn't have that on my bingo card for this ep. Damn.
Cass starts crying and says, through tears, that it's okay if he feels that way. Expert Mel asks Tristan if he wrote 'LEAVE' because he's in his own head. Cass reiterates how attracted she is to him, and honestly, it's really sad to see him grapple with such self-doubt, with him admitting that he feels like a "tool". "I know I wrote leave, but can I get one more shot," Tristan says to Cassandra. He apologises for living in his head, and the two of them smooch. At this point, I'm kind of just hoping they break up and Tristan goes to therapy. This Commitment Ceremony is a bloody ride, I tell ya.
I love them I love them I love them (Credit: Nine)
Then YAY! IT'S MICHAEL AND STEPHEN TIME! (In case you can't tell, they're my favourites). They jump on the couch, and Michael says they're off to a "good start", but there are "walls we need to work through". Stephen says that finding out Michael was matched with someone before him has planted a seed of doubt, and he feels like a second choice. John Aitken says that when his old match bolted, he said that he was going to try and find someone better for him — and better, Stephen is! Thankfully, my favourites both write 'STAY', and I don't want to be here on the day they decide not to write that.
Ellie and Ben are up and I feel like I haven't seen these two in like, five weeks. Not that I'm complaining, really. Ellie says she's nervous to be in front of the experts and worries she's not getting the real, authentic Ben. "I just feel like there's a bit of a facade," she says. "I feel like you're trying to control the narrative, and in turn, controlling me." Ben puts on his best NIDA performance and says, "It hurts". Act harder, dude! He tries to look really shocked and upset and rattles off some words, then some more words. Then comes decision time. Ben writes 'STAY', sealed with a smiley face, which makes me die inside. While Ellie, in a boss-ass move, writes 'LEAVE'. TWO people already writing 'leave' in the same episode? What a bloody treat!
Angels Andrea and Richard are next and we get some ominous dark music for these two. Ooooh, foreboding! Andrea says the words that Richard used last time on the couch made her feel a bit icky, including how many times a day they had sex. "I felt disrespected," Andrea says. It's interesting that Andrea says this, especially considering that after Richard said these comments, the experts were hooting and supporting it. It's a good reminder that even though physical intimacy is good, how it's discussed on this show needs to suit everyoneeee.
Andrea says that she might have put a bit of a block in the relationship and that she doesn't know how to push past the barrier she's put up. Richard says he's taken what she said on board and that they've lost what they had. Andrea speaks about her previous relationship and feeling disrespected, and that it might have triggered her. I really, really love her and this is actually quite nice to watch. Andrea speaks about the ways in which Richard is different from her previous partners and says he's a "good man". Richard gets emotional at this, and by this stage, I'm also getting emotional. "Not a lot of people say this about me," he admits. No, I'm not crying. There's just an OCEAN in my eyes. Thankfully, the two of them write 'STAY'.
Madeleine just getting the energy that something isn't right (Credit: NIne)

Ash Is Still Confused About Cow Crying & Doesn't Want To Eat... Potatoes?

Madeleine and Ash are up next, and oooooooh boy, this is going to be wild. Ash kicks off and speaks about Madeleine crying over cows, while the rest of the cast is trying to conceal their laughter. Then he speaks about her hearing voices and having a vision at dinner. "It was a lot for me to process," Ash says, while Madeleine remains silent. "I'm not here to have potatoes at dinner parties, I'm here to find love," Ash says, and when I tell you, I am CACKLING. This is the most unserious conversation I think I've ever heard.
Former actress Madeleine says that she really wants a loving and supportive person in her life, and Ash says that he wants to find someone looking for love. I can't help but think that the subtext of this is that he is pissed at clearly being stitched up by the experts. Ash writes 'STAY', but in a shock twist, Madeleine writes 'LEAVE'. Everyone is kinda confused, made even more confused by Madeleine's odd tangent about the "universe" pulling her to "do things". Okay. Ash says that the next week "can't be any worse" than last week, and I am SCREECHING. Unhinged, pure and simple.
THREE PEOPLE HAVE WRITTEN LEAVE. Sorry, I'm still just digesting this all.
Jono, you really went and cooked it, didn't ya? (Credit: Nine)

John Aitken Reads The Room To FILTH

Because we were clearly having too much fun, Jonathan and Lauren are brought onto the couch and I'm not ready for what's about to come out of this man's mouth. Expert John seems PISSED and is ready to "hold people accountable" and I, for one, welcome our new spicy expert overlord.
Jonathan admits that yeah, he did actually say all those things to Lauren that she said to Jack, then proceeds to apologise to *checks notes* ...Jack (?) for what he said. Thankfully, Expert John has had enough of this and says it's "unacceptable". Jono explains that he felt responsible for Jack and Tori coming under fire, and slams Lauren for taking information Jono had given her and bringing it up. At this point, everyone is like, oh man, you have SHAT THE BED with this one.
Lauren fires up and says that she was in the right last night and calls out Jono for feeding her those lines verbatim. Jono says that Lauren is more important to her than Jack, and Expert John is like, oh hell nah. John finally brings up the "put a muzzle on your woman" comment, and like a teacher speaking to a little baby boy, he asks baby Jono to explain what the inference of the comment means, which he thankfully picks up on, i.e. it means that Jack was referring to her as a dog. Well done, baby Jono! 10 points for you!
"I just thought it was degrading," Lauren says of the comment. "I have been in situations in the past... when I've had men come up against me and say degrading things and they go straight for the sexist comments." Unfortunately, any woman who's ever stood up to a man can probably attest to the same universal experience. "As a woman, you want your dude to step in and say, 'Don't speak to her like that', but in that moment you chose that your friendship with Jack was more important than me," Lauren continues.
Can I get a mic drop?
"It's simply not good enough," John says. "If someone said that to me about my wife, I wouldn't back down." YES, JOHN. GET HIM! Petition to have Expert John as all of these women's partners, thanks. Because he's not finished with being an icon, John puts it on the rest of the men, asking them why they all collectively decided to stay silent after the comment. Honestly, I know this is just a reality TV show, but this kind of calling out means so much to me, as I'm sure it does to a lot of women out there. If you are silent, you are complicit!
Ben says he didn't hear the context for the comment and everyone is like, do you need context for this type of comment? Everyone's faces are like, uh, gross. "If you are in that position ever again, I want you to speak up," John continues. "Because it is your responsibility to call out bad behaviour; otherwise, you're complicit in it all." THANK. YOU. JOHN. AITKEN.
It shouldn't be this difficult to ask men to call out sexist and derogatory comments, but quite frankly, this show is only a microcosm of what it's like out there in the real world for many women.
Then it's decision time. Jono says he'd like the opportunity to make it up to Lauren and writes 'STAY'. Lauren, clearly upset, says that Jono is a good person and usually treats her with kindness, so she writes 'STAY'.
Hey look! It's Melissa and Bryce 2.0! (Credit: Nine)

Every Time I See Jack I Shudder & Tonight Is No Exception

Then it's time to make a cup of tea, quickly recentre ourselves with some meditation, and get ready to watch old mate Jack on the couch. I'm struggling to have to keep looking at this dude and his bad haircut. Tori and Jack hop on the couch, and Expert John is ready to throw hands. He says he's heard a bunch of gross things during his time on MAFS, "but that was one of the worst things I've heard."
Expert Mel asks Jack about what that comment says about him, to which he says "nothing nice". No shit, mate. "I'm ashamed. I've lost sleep over it." Did someone take acting lessons from Madeleine, because I'm sorry, I'm not buying it. Jack says that he just snapped and that his family would be appalled at his comment. "It's hitting home and I'm really ashamed," he continues. Mhmmmmmmmm.
Then all eyes are on Tori, with Expert Mel saying that Jack has shown part of who he is as a man and his relationship and attitude towards women. However, Tori doesn't agree with her take. "I think when you're at a heightened state of anger or emotion, you say whatever is at the top of your head," Tori argues. "I'm not dismissing or discounting the comment, it was disgusting, but it doesn't come natural to Jack."
Expert Mel is having none of it, and says that actually, it did seem quite natural to him. "It seemed like a reflex," she argues. "What if he had said it to you?" Oh my god, it really is Melissa and Bryce 2.0.
At this point, we are all Tim and Sara (Credit: Nine)
Jack and Tori double down on the idea that Jack never said he wasn't attracted to Tori, and finally Jono pipes up about the "no sexual spark" comment. Jack then says that he's attracted to Tori, but that his sexual attraction to her is... growing? The experts then ask Jack to clarify his "couple swap" comment, with Jack saying, "If we do a partner swap, Tori might get to sleep with Jono," he says he said.
Expert Mel is still like bro, what the fuck, but Tori doubles down and says that his "offering her up to other men" is just "dark humour". It's just so ha ha ha funny, you wouldn't get it! Tori says that she hasn't really been reading into the comment and never thought about it like the way that Mel is positioning it, while Mel says that she might just be hearing things from Jack's perspective and hasn't been able to process how she actually feels about it, outside of him.
Jack writes 'STAY', Tori writes 'STAY', but I want to 'LEAVE' because if I have to keep watching these two, I'm going to hurl.
The Commitment Ceremony ends and everyone files out except for Tori and Jack. "I wanted to see if you'd turn on me, but you didn't," Jack says to Tori. "It's all a crock of shit anyway." Got it, so all those apologies and saying he did the wrong thing were all for show. Great.
Next episode, we're diving into meeting friends and families, which I'm sure will have absolutely zero drama.

WTF Moment:

Any clip that has Jack in it.

Couple Of The Episode:

Surprisingly, Tim and Sara were the best this episode, which is really saying something.


Just gonna say it, John Aitken was on fire this episode — it couldn't be anyone but him. CALL. OUT. THOSE. MEN!
Want more? Get Refinery29 Australia’s best stories delivered to your inbox each week. Sign up here!  

More from TV