Tonight the assortment of dollar-store resin figurines that is the cast of Season 20 visits Las Vegas, where instead of staying there, what happens in Vegas is heavily edited and broadcast to a credulous audience of millions. Mindless hysterics, petty accusations, and crying that does not wash off false eyelashes will result not only when someone loses their shirt at blackjack.
Even more exciting, although only if you’ve been in a medically induced coma for several months, is that the group date requires the gals to perform as the opening act for Terry Fator, the inexplicably popular ventriloquist who won America’s Got Talent one year. In this case, the enraged emotional outbursts will come from all the people who paid $75 a ticket.
Here’s one spoiler as unpredictable as the snow drift photos passing hourly through your newsfeed: Olivia has a meltdown after her act doesn’t go over well. It must be because her legs are so unattractive.
And because I know no reader is the least invested in a particular woman winning, I will share that Haley, of the Haley and Emily Twins, is denied a rose in the final minutes. The resulting violent upswing in their sibling rivalry will be dramatic enough to launch a new reality show, possibly called Pissed-Off Sister.
There is tension in the house. Caila says Olivia doesn’t care what the other women think. Apparently she doesn’t care what Ben thinks either, since it’s apparent she plans to land him like a prize bass. Chris arrives to share the news of their trip. Everyone is excited to go to Fabulous Las Vegas, where wearing tight, sparkly dresses and a half-pound of make-up isn’t just for Cirque de Soleil performers. Ben arrives ahead of them, driving a convertible roadster because evidently that’s less expensive footage to film than the standard view out the plane window.
The gals are met by a big video message of welcome from Ben, who was too lazy to write personal notes. The date card arrives to the usual fanfare. JoJo gets to read that she sets Ben’s heart on fire. Better that than his genitals. “I want this week to be a game-changer,” she asserts, acknowledging that sincere emotions have little to do with the process. Olivia is not concerned, though, because Ben is her “piece.” “He is mine,” she states, like Ben is a designer purse she just scored on eBay, so his journey with other women doesn’t bother her. Even Glenn Close boiling a bunny is a less terrifying character.
Ben and JoJo, whose outfit would be too immodest for Ellie Mae Clampett, sip wine on a rooftop as they await their helicopter. I did that last week, only I was in my apartment waiting for an Amazon delivery. The other girls watch from a window, revealing their bitter jealousy as the two kiss. The Sister Wives live this every day, you know. Ignoring the stunning aerial view of the city, Ben and JoJo make out around their head phones.
The group date card arrives at the suite. Twelve gals are going, which leaves Becca as the recipient of the other one-on-one date. I hope she washes her hair by then.
JoJo relishes the chance to open up to Ben, which she has a hard time doing. Everyone who gets cast has to check that box on the application, anyway. She tells him she had “like, those nerves” before their date. He tells her he’s had so many moments with her, but he wants more moments outside those. Maybe this generation talk like that because our generation did so many drugs.
JoJo reveals she has stuff in her past, maybe a few STDs, and it made her cautious about giving herself to somebody. We’ve never witnessed that scenario before. She ended her last relationship because there were trust issues; more specifically, he was cheating on her. The experience made her insecure. Ben is so sorry that happened to JoJo. His dating a dozen other women at the same time isn’t cheating, it’s just efficient socializing. They kiss before he gives her the rose, saying there was not one thing he did not like about this time with her. Maybe she could have showed more cleavage, but that’s easy to fix.
Since apparently the show didn’t want to pay for a heated venue, the two embrace on a rooftop as fireworks go off just for them. “I’ve never been able to do that,” sighs one of the twins wistfully. She should try that KY Warming Jelly.
The group date follows the next day. The gals join Ben, who wants the women to come out of their shells. They’ve already left behind their bras. Terry Fator greets them with one of his creepy puppets that look like Muppets with congenital defects. He asks the group who has a special talent, aside from the one they shared during their private meetings with the casting director.
Olivia insists she will not fade to the back, although wearing red feathers and rhinestones is hardly the way to do it in Vegas. She tells Ben there’s a surprise waiting for him in her act. Maybe her legs are even worse than we thought. Terry lets them all know they’ll be opening for him live in front of 1,200 people tonight. Really they just want to open for Ben.
The girls are seen backstage being nervous, except Olivia, who expects to dazzle us all. The first act is Haley and Emily, wearing Irish milkmaid costumes and river-dancing for 15 seconds. It reminds me of a nightmare I had after eating a frozen dinner that was past its freshness date. Jubilee plays the cello poorly. Someone juggles, another belly-dances, and a girl wearing a chicken outfit sings a version of “Old MacDonald” that weaves her love for Ben into the poignant lyrics. This is one case where Simon Cowell wouldn’t accuse anyone of being too Broadway.
Finally, it’s Olivia’s turn. A large cake is rolled out to the stage. She pops out in sequinned underwear and dances awkwardly as the audience howls in either glee or dismay. Probably for the heterosexual men, it’s the former. Ben does a two-handed face-palm. Terry’s puppet insults her, indicating a strong passive-aggressive streak in the performer. At least he’s not The Bachelor.
Olivia is sobbing with humiliation, her red feather boa lying on the floor like a depressed rooster. She admits she has no talent for anything but sitting behind a desk and reading pre-written copy with a commonly employed inflection. She’s not marriage material, she fears, since most men only want to marry famous opera singers and award-winning novelists.
At the cocktail party, Ben says today meant a lot to him. “Thank you for just being you, dressing up in crazy outfits,” he tells the gals, hopeful now that all would be willing to dress as a French maid. Then he makes out with Caila, who claims she feels shy and uncertain. Ben describes her as a “sex panther” and “tigress.” Jungle animals rarely wear hemlines that only reach their crotches, though.
Displaying a a round-headed puppet called Little Ben–no innuendo there–Ben sits with a Lauren, wither B. or H., who kisses the puppet full on the lips before shoving her tongue down Ben’s throat. It’s like a threesome since Ben has his hand up the puppet’s ass.
Now it’s Olivia’s turn to walk off with him hand-in-hand. Strategically covering her lower half with a blanket, she tells him how awful she felt about her show performance. “I was super-embarrassed about it,” she reports, selfishly ignoring that the audience suffered far more. When a twin arrives to steal him away, Olivia says she feels like everything is different now and their relationship is no longer what it was. Well, he did see her legs up close this time.
Lauren B. is terrified because she’s falling for Ben, but she’s surrounded by all these women who are so confident about themselves. “I don’t even now how to comprehend these feelings, “she admits to Ben, most likely because the director forgot to explain her motivation for the scene. This could be her last first date ever, she notes with a disturbing sense of awe and lack of awareness of how the show’s engaged couples usually end up.
Next Ben talks with Emily about her pets, or possibly string theory, as Olivia stalks around. She finally hoves into view and fusses at Ben about her newly upsetting feelings. He tries to keep his eyes on her face as her plunging neckline is presented before him. “I want to know what you’re thinking and feeling,” he assures her, still unaware that that encompasses only tan lines and whether to use sparkly or matte nail polish.
Time to give out the rose. It goes to Lauren B. As Ben leans over another woman to kiss her, Olivia is bitter and regretful, resigning herself to getting more camera time because of it.
Next day, a large gift box arrives for Becca. Everyone is jealous. “Get dressed, it’s a big day,” says the card. Inside the box is a white wedding gown, probably a cross-promotion with Say Yes to the Dress. As she models it, Jubilee reminds us that Becca is a virgin who will likely not lose that status today because she’s gone 26 years without sex already, and by that point you lose interest.
Becca meets Ben in a Vegas wedding chapel. He tells her that he knew from the first moment that they could have something together, possibly even besides sex. He kneels and asks her to marry. . . other people with him, because he got ordained. This sucks. No one likes going to a stranger’s wedding as someone’s date.
Ben and Becca marry a bunch of couples, none of whom is attractive enough to be a regular cast member on the show. Becca feels she calmed Ben’s nerves by standing next to him as he united in marriage a few other couples who apparently are not at all sentimental about their big day. This enlightening experience makes Becca feel she could be Ben’s wife, or at least an assistant pastor at his church.
That night, they go to a neon museum where all the old signs go to be refurbished, and also where Cher buys her earrings. Ben wants to know if Becca “can love, and can feel, and can commit” to something besides her contract on a reality show. She tells him that she couldn’t open up to Chris, which explains why she’s still a virgin, but that this time it’s different because she needs the money more now. “I want you to feel,” Ben says, which sounds nice until you consider he might have meant to put a comma after “you.”
He asks what she thinks about his decision to not be a virgin, especially since he’s made that decision numerous times. It’s fine by her, because no one wants their first time to be with an amateur, or with Chris Soules. Becca likes being with a guy who’s confident, self-assured, and kisses her just like the dozen other women she’s been living with. Ben wants to make vows to her now, which include to always look her in the eyes when she talks, despite the fact that basic etiquette generally should go without saying, as well as to laugh and be honest and open. Their pre-nup will be a riot. She vows to tell him he’s great and make sure he knows she’s in this and will express how she’s feeling even though it’s largely banal platitudes.
This Byronic exchange earns Becca the rose, and with it, a growing yearning to be Mrs. Ben Higgins, Ex-Virgin. Back home, Chris comes to give the girls some news: Ben has asked for one more date with just the twins. This should work out well. He’s concerned that he’s attracted to them both, as one is attracted to all sex dolls produced by the same manufacturer.
They take him home, introduce him to their dogs, and give him a house tour. One twin asks that Ben not view them as a pair, as he does their breasts, since she knows that ultimately, he can be with only one. Not if they move to Utah. Ah, but Ben already feels like he’s leaning toward one over the other. He believes it’s best to speak to their mother about it. Mom says Emily is the more dominant twin, which pretty much decides things right there.
He tells both the twins that he has to make a choice now to avoid future confusion by the audience, whom market research has indicated can’t tell one from the other and doesn’t care anyway. Therefore, he says goodbye to Haley, who sobs that she’s glad Emily will continue the journey while she can go back to match.com and not have dates with soundtracks. As she and Ben drive away in the limo, Emily observes that her sister is taking it well; that is, until she sees this footage of these two wrapped around each other like the snakes in the medical symbol.
Now for the Rose Ceremony pre-party. Olivia is determined to repair the damage she caused by being untalented while wearing a stripper outfit. She explains that she’s nervous because it’s out of her comfort zone to be this aggressive, except toward her personal assistant or an inept store clerk. She doesn’t care about anyone else’s relationship with Ben, not even his boss or his mom, so she brings him a piece of cake because she does have a talent for eating cake. I bet I could slaughter her in a talent contest for that. She tells him she was so confident in what they have, and she’s sorry she ruined it. He demands she not apologize for following the script. After that she feels they’re finally back to being the leads in Play Misty for Me.
Next Ben strolls hand-in-hand with Rachel, or maybe Caila? Oh, wait, its Becca. It’s like trying to distinguish between the jumbo eggs in a carton. Then he tells Jubilee she has “qualities,” possibly even some in addition to a large bust.
The Rose Ceremony approaches. Ben reveals he is feeling things he never thought he would feel, like several different women’s breasts in a single evening. Amanda is first to get a rose, then Lauren H. and Jubilee. They are followed by Emily, Caila, Jennifer, and Leah. Now, as those who still wait brood and yearn, one rose remains. Olivia thinks Ben is going for “best for last” again, and she’s partly right. It’s actually the producers going for it.
Amber and Rachel are hitting the road. It’s a real blow to Rachel, who is unemployed and from Little Rock. Amber pulls off her heels as she departs, symbolizing how she is a smaller person for having been on the show. Their pitiful sobs echo from beyond the room as the others engage in a triumphant group hug.
Next week is Mexico, so the ones who don’t end up on Bachelor in Paradise can do some shopping.