Welcome back to The Bachelor, bee-bees! I hope you brought a large scarf to bury your faces in because the forces from my living room tonight is cringe, cringe, and more cringe.
The girls finally get to leave the Bachelor Mansion to meet Ben H. in the Capital of Healthy Marriages: Las Vegas. Coincidentally, this is also where EmilyHayley were born and raised. Looking forward to not being able to distinguish these two on their home turf!
A Not, Not Forgettable Date
“Welcome to Las Vegas, Can’t wait to see you! – Ben,” says the sign outside the Aria hotel and casino, which send the Ladies into a sustained squealing frenzy. If it sounds as though he is talking to all them, personally, its only because the Ladies don’t yet know that the only name on the date card awaiting them in their decadent suite is Jojo’s.
The Ladies watch through their glass cage as a helicopter touches down to scoop up the couple, while they kiss passionately on the heliport. Probably wishing the view from the penthouse suite wasn’t so good after all, the Ladies groan before uneasily retreating from the window. For the first time, we sense the seeds of self-doubt in Olivia and begin to rethink the wisdom of having started working a framed cross stitch featuring her catchphrase: “He Is Mine And We Have Such A Strong Connection And Also He Is My Husband Definitely” this early in the season.
The producers struggle to find meaningful tidbits on this date, and cut to Jojo Opening Up about being insecure after having spent too long dating someone who was clearly dating other people while she was being monogamous. Ben seems genuinely touched that Jojo would share this, and neither really ponders whether The Bachelor model would be the best vehicle for her to get over those insecurities because it’s time for fireworks. The two snuggle up to Ben on the roof of another hotel casino and watch the same fireworks that the other Ladies immediately notice from their presidential suite. I want to care, I really do, but it’s hard because Jojo is like the human version of a butterfly tattoo: feminine and platitudinous.
To distract the Ladies from reckoning with the fact that their boyfriend is currently probably kissing under the fireworks, our master of ceremonies Chris Harrison sends a consolation group date card that very night.
A Not-So-Sweet Cake Pop
Caila, EmilyHaley, Rachel-Unemployed, Amanda, Olivia, Jubilee, Amber, Lauren H., and Lauren B. join Ben at the Terry Fator theater. Boyriend’s surprise today includes putting on a talent show with the ventriloquist Terry Fator, who apparently a bunch of these under-30 (Amber excluded!) Ladies grew up watching. It must not have been on PBS because IRL Terry Fator seems very comfortable with the concept of making boob jokes using a hyper sexualized puppet.
“I am not going to fade to the back,” threatens Olivia, our resident confidence booster shot. “I’m not concerned about standing out at all today.”
That’s wonderful because it turns out, the Ladies will be opening for his evening show before 1,200 strangers and Ben!
Vegas babies EmilyHaley thank their lucky stars for having been forced into dance class, because it means that today, they can dress up in German outfits and do a synchronized Irish jig without looking like fools. Jubilee plays the cello and Lauren B juggles. Carla belly-dances, before Lauren H. delivers a comedic nursery rhyme in a chicken outfit.
Backstage, Olivia builds up her upcoming her performance before not just before the cameras and the girls, but also before Ben. By the time Terry Fator calls Olivia’s name, everyone is eager to see the special talent she’s been touting for the past several hours. To the sound of big band horns, a three-tiered cake is rolled out onto the stage and our self-proclaimed frontrunner Olivia pops out a la Marilyn Monroe.
She actually looks quite fabulous in those initial seconds and the audience — whom Terry Fator has warned us is the toughest in the world — cheers at the mere sight of her. Ben H is all smiles until it becomes obvious that Olivia may have spent more time talking up her routine than actually honing it. Other things Olivia may not have considered: the limiting impact of wearing a sequin thong on one’s already mediocre ability to kick up her legs cabaret-style. With zero talent and stage presence, and many minutes to kill, all we are left with is Olivia pacing the stage paired with a combination of uncomfortable giggling from both Olivia and the audience.
Apparently, prancing with a live pulse doesn’t count as a secret talent. Who knew!
Ben is visibly mortified but hugs her warmly when she steps down the stage into the audience at the wrap of her performance.
“What part of Talent Competition did she not understand?” asks Terry Fator, as the audience in the theater and every household watching this fiasco jeers in the background. While the Ladies congratulate each other backstage, Olivia runs to a back room labeled Boys II Men and boy do I wish Boys II Men was who we were hanging out with, instead of Olivia have in “panic” “attack” mode. So much crying; yet so little incentive to feel sorry for her.
Ben greets them the Ladies for the drinking part of the group date, rocking his suavest leather jacket. Like a good boyfriend, he cheers them on for being such good sports this afternoon. Then, it’s time to get down to business. Caila pulls him aside first and the two have chat and make out sash, leading Ben to dub a sex panther behind her innocent facade.
Olivia invites Ben aside next, mostly to coax him into making her feel better about bombing worse than Ashlee Simpson on SNL. Ben sweetly tries to act like it wasn’t that bad but before Ben can say more, Olivia gets a taste of her own medicine as another woman interrupts their conversation, forcing her to leave sans closure.
The second passionate kiss of the night belongs to Lauren B. who subtly lets on that she is falling for Ben. The feeling seems mutual and in that moment, it is impossible to not see Lauren B. as a likely finalist. One half of EmilyHayley has just started talking to Ben about what it’s like experiencing the Bachelor in her hometown when Olivia creeps over for a second time, all mopey in her silken dress-bathrobe.
“No, continue, I want to hear this,” Ben tells EmilyHayley when she points out that they are about to get interrupted. But The Bachelor rules clearly require all interruptions on group dates to be heeded so EmilyHayley gracefully gives up her seat to Olivia. “Sorry about that, I don’t know what’s going on,” says Ben with a detectable twinge of exasperation. Are you cringing yet?
If not, that’s because you are not watching Olivia spend her entire second shot at redemption repeating that she was not being herself at the talent show today, while Ben repeats that she does not and should not be apologizing to him, thereby spurring more apologizing from Olivia.
It is evident that getting the group rose tonight would really help lift Olivia’s spirits tonight. However, Ben decides on Lauren B. instead. And, if Olivia hadn’t staked a claim over the most awkward part of the evening, the eekiest moment of the evening would have gone to Amanda who we had to watch recline in her seat in order for Ben (sitting on her right) to hand Lauren B. (sitting on her right) the group date rose and a quick embrace. Ouch.
Til This Date Does Us Apart
The next morning, a large box containing a wedding dress arrives for Becca the Virgin’s one-on-one date. Our blushing bride meets Ben at the Little White Chapel where he gets down on one knee to ask: “Becca, will you marry … other people with me today?” Surprise! Today will be about putting them internet-certified ordainment papers to good use and bringing other couples the gift of
50%-Likely-to-Last-Forever love. The two patiently await for the first couple to walk in and it’s sort of fun to watch them marry the a bunch of people although following five or six couples, we are pretty ready for this date to chug along. On the other hand, Becca, whose personality probably lends itself well to doing the same thing for three hours while still pretending it’s fun, seems to be having a blast.
Later that evening, the two discuss her Virginity@26, which Ben takes as a good sign of her ability to commit to things. Ben hints that he likes Jesus too and hopes she’s cool with his decision to bone anyway (spoiler alert: she is). And with the seal of this rose, Ben pronounces thee Becca a Bachelor survivor for one more week.
The next day starts with bad news in the form of Chris Harrison materializing in the Ladies’ suite to announce an unexpected fourth date this week. Of course, the chosen two are EmilyHaley, effectively turning this into a mini hometown date. Everyone in the suite pretends that a plausible outcome of the two-on-one date includes both Ladies coming back even the outcome is clear as day: Only one Lady will return from this date, if any.
The threesome arrive at “Doxie Crossing,” where the twins’ mom greets them along with her doxie dogges. We start in Haley’s room where too many photos of her and her ex are strewn around the room. After stuffing each frame out of sight while Ben silently watches, Haley sits Ben down to assure him that it’s alright to treat her and her twin like individuals, and that she understands he has to choose at one point. Emily takes him to her room next, where she dives right into convincing him that he has a stronger connection with her than her sister. For good measure, Emily even throws in that Haley has told her (in confidence? heh, who cares!) that she’s been having a harder time opening up to Ben.
Ben then sits with Mom to get her take on what makes the twins different. Emily is the bubblier, more dominant twin, she explains, while Haley is more reserved but a lovely person when she opens up. Then, on what is thus far shaping up to be worst date this season — I mean, really, no one’s even pretending to lay out a bowl of peanuts or a glass of wine here? — Ben sits with Mom and the twins to announce his decision. Emily is the twin will return to the hotel with him, while Haley will stay home and root for her sister … at least until ABC airs this episode.
War of Roses
The Ladies are all shimmered and sequined out for the rose ceremony, in which two unlucky hopefuls will be sent home. The mood is a little somber but let’s get real, like Jubilee calls it in her interview, Haley’s departure means less competition. For the rest of us, it also means (1) being able to call the remaining twin Emily with full confidence, and (2) possibly find out what Emily’s profession or defining hobby is beside: “Twins.”
Jennifer pulls Ben aside first to talk to him, but Olivia is on a mission to get time with her man. “I don’t care about anyone else’s relationship with Ben with mine. I don’t care,” Olivia says like she means it.
In a forceful attempt to make light of having failed to sexy-jump out of a cake once too, Olivia comes bearing a slice of cake to share with Ben. It seems like this would be a good time as any to leave things there, and talk about something more cheerful than her performance on the group date but Olivia gets sucked right back into a pattern of apologizing, which pushes Ben to reiterate that he’d rather she didn’t.
The interaction feels tense and, all in all, like an awfully fragile time for Olivia to aggressively move their relationship forward according to her masterplan. But, undeterred by the fact that the sparks that initially bonded them may just be on vacation tonight, Olivia looks Ben deep in the eyes and decides to unload. “Like I’m completely falling for you. Completely. And it’s the coolest feeling in the entire world and I have no fear to say that I’m falling for you. Olivia is here for you. I’m not going anywhere.”
Ignoring Olivia’s foray into Third-Person Land, Ben grabs her hand and doesn’t say anything before hugging her. Good thing Olivia is a news anchor and not a meteorologist because she ability to read signs, tea leaves, data, and/or body language is virtually non-existent. How do we know? Well, the first thing Olivia does upon returning from this intimate conversation is to tell Jojo that she just told Ben she’s falling for him. Jojo responds that she would never say the magic words unless she felt it was reciprocated. To which Olivia responds, “I mean, it was reciprocated.”
It seems to like a very, very, very generous interpretation of what we just witnessed from the comfort of our homes but at the same time, it is also evident that Olivia believes her own hype. She and Ben are back and that he is hers, lest we ever forget it. “I’m happy. We’re happy,” Olivia adds. “I’m just ready to spread this to my man. This is gonna work for me. I read a lot of novels where everything comes together. I would be shocked if I didn’t get a rose.”
Good thing Olivia can’t see Ben making out with Caila again, probably as she’s talking into the cameras. Later, Jubilee admits that the ceremony process makes her anxious, which baffles Ben even though this is a not a remotely shocking side effect of living with all the Ladies your boyfriend is simultaneously dating. Still, Ben reassures her that she’s pretty much safe and the talk ends with a weird head hug.
Becca, Jojo, and Lauren B. have a rose, so Ben starts by calling Amanda’s name. Next up for roses are Lauren H., Jubilee, Emily, and Caila. Then, Jennifer, causing a mic’d Olivia to mumble “Seriously?” The Ben calls Leah, leaving AmberAlert, Rachel-Unemployed, and Olivia to pray for the last rose.
Unfortunately, Olivia does get a rose. Although any other Lady of lesser confidence predispositions would assume that by picking her last for the second time in a row, Ben is signaling that she is in fact tittering on the edge of being shipped back to Texas lest she should get her shit together, Olivia decides this can only mean that he is actually saving the best for last. Hmm … there’s that historical southern revisionism when we need it!
But back to business. In the end, AmberAlert must swallow a third rejection on this franchise, which she takes quite harshly. After gloriously taking off her painful heels, AmberAlert melts into a puddle of tears on a secluded pool chair while she awaits her ride home. It almost makes you forget just how mean she was to Jubilee the previous week. Rachel-Unemployed is devastated too, which sucks because she was really sweet and because it doesn’t seem like she has much to go back to in Arkansas. We’ll miss ya kid — hope you son find a man to whom you won’t be invisible 😦
And just like that, we are down to our last Black Girl on Week 4, so everything is moving right on schedule! Will Week 5 be Jubilee’s last? And has the time come for Ben to realize that Olivia’s heart is actually a great lump of coal?
Tune back next week and lettuce find out together!