We’re down to just 11 women this week. How time flies! It seems like just a short time ago, they were a giant crowd of interchangeable faces arrayed before us like so many packages of chewing gum at the checkout counter. Now we can easily tell Juicy Fruit from Bubblicious.
Tonight the bachelorettes schlep with the two Chrises to Santa Fe, New Mexico to do their crying, bikini-wearing, and booze-swilling. Apparently, a “stunning twist” will be revealed to us, but it’s unlikely it will be Britt offering selected readings from Browning. We’ll probably just be introduced to another virgin.
Here we are in Santa Fe, which Chris thinks is the perfect place to fall in love. Rocky cliff-faces and cacti are so romantic. The women pack their strips of fabric excitedly. “I’ve never been out of the country–it’s gonna be awesome,” declares Megan, cementing her career as a make-up artist.
There will be one group date and two one-on-ones. Carly gets the first one-on-one date because Chris wants to figure out if there’s more to her than boobs and vacuous opinions. They meet at a hacienda, where they find some robed lady sitting in the lotus position in front of a reflecting pool. She tells them they will go through the process to bring more “juiciness” into their relationship. Chris feels consulting the love guru is the only way to make things work between him and Carly, since oddly, being on a reality TV show wherein he also dates several other women just isn’t cutting it.
They dress in white, since that invokes, um, relationship investigatory status. They stand still and utter ohms as the lady waves smoky incense to open them up to a relationship. Either that or the store was out of Yankee Candles in cinnamon apple scent. Chris worries that this may get weird. Too late, Chris. Then the lady blindfolds him and tells Carly to feel him all over, sniff him, and feed him sexy food. It’s like 9-1/2 Weeks meets the dog park. Then Chris has to feel up Carly, with the lady directing him to touch her thighs.
“This lady’s a sex guru, not a love guru,” Chris exclaims, almost appearing upset about it.
Next they have to take off the their clothes. Carly admits she hasn’t stripped for a man in some time, and probably never on national TV. For his part, Chris had hoped this exercise would get to them to another level in their relationship, but this is just really weird since the level he wanted to reach was just second base.
It’s the worst date of her life, Carly despairs. She whispers to Chris that she’s really uncomfortable as the guru, who seems to get off on being the third wheel, instructs her to tug down his waistband.
Guru Lady then asks them to talk about masks that didn’t come off in past relationships. They both murmur Dr. Phil-type self-deprecating comments, and then feel better about having been forced to paw each other in HDTV. The camera zooms in too closely as they embrace and breathe into each other’s faces. If we wanted to see this kind of thing, we would switch to HBO. They do start slobbering over each other’s faces, since that never makes Chris uncomfortable. Afterwards, he’s excited to take the relationship to the next level, which is to make a porno. Meanwhile, TLC signs the love guru to her own series.
Now to Kelsey’s arc. She describes how her husband suddenly died while walking to work, although she has trouble remembering the name of the condition that killed him. The story is so seminal to her life that she’s waiting until she has a one-on-one date to tell Chris the story, preferably not at a pool party.
The group date is announced. It includes Kelsey, so that means Britt gets the remaining one-on-one. Kelsey is disappointed. She does not feel special, unless you count her being the most dour of the bachelorettes.
Carly and Chris can now spend some time without the guru lady directing their make-out session like Lars Von Trier. Cuddling in front of a roaring fire, Carly says that she liked that Chris was as uncomfortable as she was. “That was more appropriate for date seven,” Chris observes, telling us something about his dating history. Carly admits to not having been intimate with anyone for quite some time. In fact, her last boyfriend never even touched her. He was too busy starring in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Carly’s problem is that she doesn’t feel pretty. Too bad her intellect can’t compensate. She thanks Chris for making her feel at ease. HE assures her she’s beautiful, cool, and smart. That’s why she made it this far on the show! He even shows her the Google Sheet documenting her progress. He also describes feeling inadequate because of. . .Iowa? The state better hire a PR firm stat.
Their “crazy and awesome” date compels Chris to offer Carly the rose, then grab her for a smooch. “I’d be a lucky man to be able to spend the rest of my life with Carly. . .she’d be the best wife you could ever ask for,” Chris tells us earnestly. And she can sing to the cows to soothe them during storms.
Next day, the group date ensues. The women march off through the New Mexican mountains to the Rio Grande River. Kelsey is trying to process her emotions about going white-water rafting in a group instead of having dinner by candlelight alone with Chris. Her dead husband’s memory mocks her.
Their guide advises them how not to be killed, and then they all pile into two rafts. Chris is sitting next to Whitney, whom he hopes will have to save his life, although she probably could only increase his sperm count. Jade falls overboard but is quickly rescued, black bar over her ass and all. She suffers from hypothermia, though, and needs Chris to rub her feet to warm them. Sure she does. Maybe if she wore enough clothing not to need a black bar over her ass, she wouldn’t be so cold.
Later, the group attends the cocktail party. Whitney stresses the need to have time alone with Chris, perhaps to measure his sperm count. As he comes through the lobby, Jordan, a previously ousted woman, approaches him. She came back to try again, clearly so invested in her goal that she intuited that they would be at this very hotel in Santa Fe. As we vividly recall, he sent her home because she was tossing back booze like a spray-tanned Foster Brooks and not taking things seriously. But she feels something brought her back to him, besides a producer exploiting market research.
Meanwhile, the group is waiting nervously for Chris to join them. When he appears with Jordan on his arm, the women are flabbergasted and crestfallen. He is eager to learn their opinions about his decision to allow Jordan a second chance, largely because none of them really has anything more interesting to talk about.
He goes off first with Ashly the Virgin. She feels Jordan and she are fundamentally different, and Jordan is not good marriage material. Chris appreciates that. Becca also frowns on allowing Jordan to rejoin the competition, possibly concerned that ABC hasn’t purchased another week in the franchise. As the women march in and out, Chris worries that they all want to just bitch about Jordan, and it’s not the best use of time that could be spent with his tongue massaging their molars.
“We should not be nice to her right now,” Ashley insists to the others. Whitney disagrees, believing Chris would not like a mean girl for a wife. Jade thinks he should toss Jordan to the curb, as she had her chance and blew it. It’s all like a meeting of a very petty U.N. commission.
Back at the house, Carly says Britt hasn’t showered in weeks. No wonder she’s a virgin. Her one-on-one date card arrives, and she squeals. She worries they will be going on a roller coaster, which terrifies her. No wonder she’s a virgin.
At the cocktail party, things have gotten very tense because of stupid old Chris. He needs to talk to Jordan and fix this mess. He can’t do this to the women, he tells her, adding, “The right decision as a man is not to let this go any further.” John Wayne once said that any man worth his salt will send home a woman who tries to crowd out all the other women trying to get him to marry them on a TV show. It was a tough thing to do, but Chris feels this choice gave Jordan closure, and a free trip to Santa Fe. She says her tearful goodbyes, collects her check for the evening’s appearance, and leaves to go drown her sorrows in drink.
Chris returns to the group and offers hugs. Then he tells them that he admires Jordan’s effort for coming back, since the right decision as a woman is to squeeze as much screen-time out of a reality show contract as possible. He brandishes the rose. It goes to someone who has a way of making him feel special, and is here for the right reasons. It’s Whitney. She blurts a triumphant little “yes!” which annoys the hell out of everybody watching.
Chris feels things are tense after that. He hopes it will get better, especially after he jettisons a couple more of these sourpusses at the end of the week. But Ashley is in tears. She didn’t want Whitney to get the rose–she’s too perky, whereas Ashley is super-real. Hyper-real, even. Carly thinks Ashley looks petty and mean with all her resentment toward Whitney. But really, she just needs to get laid.
Next morning at 4:30, Chris decides to sneak into the women’s bedroom to wake up Britt for their date. Uh, oh, he’ll see her without make-up. It could end everything. Carly, in bed nearby, doesn’t like hearing kissy sounds from the two of them. She cattily mentions that Britt sleeps in makeup for just such a potentiality. So no showering and sleeping in make-up. She must look like Emmet Kelly.
The date is a ride in a hot-air balloon. Britt’s fears are allayed by having Chris there to hold her hair when she vomits. She feels safe around him, even though he is not operating the balloon. “It’s the best date of my life,” she breathes, although as a virgin, how great could any one date have been. Chris feels they have chemistry, so they make out instead of admiring the breathtaking view of the Rio Grande Gorge they’re wafting over. I suppose they can watch it back on the footage.
At the house, the women try to guess what their date is. Carly tells them Britt doesn’t shower; everyone looks shocked since they spend the majority of their waking hours applying and removing beauty products. “Maybe he likes a little dirt,” Carly says. It’s not unreasonable for a farmer. Then Britt is accused of saying she didn’t want kids, and scorned for withholding this information from Chris.
Britt and Chris are now at some kind of inn. She asks him how many kids he wants. He’s not sure, but she wants a hundred. They’ll need Whitney’s help for that. Chris gives Britt the rose right after the other women are seen describing her as evil and manipulative, only telling Chris what he wants to hear. Except he didn’t want to hear she’s a virgin.
But their date is not over. Britt is ecstatic as they head into the bedroom and are seen writhing around under the covers fully dressed. Then the doors close in front of us. WHAT? Are we witnessing the deflowering of an innocent maiden? Before Fantasy Suite week? This is an outrage! Also, I hope she showers afterwards.
When Britt returns to the house, she is flaunting her rose and grinning like a Cheshire cat. Everyone is glaring daggers at her. She says they took “a nap.” The women burn holes through her face with their eyes. Kelsey especially feels threatened. Resolved to address the issue, she marches to Chris’s hotel room. She must share with him the painful details about her life before another woman wins his heart with camaraderie and shared interests.
She starts to tear up, her voice breaking as she tells her story of falling in love at first sight with her now-dead husband, who collapsed on the street on a gorgeous Austin day. This should make Chris want to become the lesser replacement. He listens intently, then hugs her.
“Isn’t my story amazing?” she tells the camera and any screenwriters watching. “It’s tragic, but it’s amazing. I love my story.” It’s almost as good as Love Story, but with less appealing characters. Chris apparently was also moved, since he starts chewing face with her immediately. Kelsey declares that she wants us to watch her pick up the pieces and create a new relationship on The Bachelor: Kelsey’s Tragic But Amazing Story.
Finally, it’s Rose Ceremony pre-party time. Everyone clamors for alone-time with Chris and his tongue. Nerves are stretched to the limit–except for Kelsey, who smiles smugly and mysteriously. The others are suspicious. How can she be so calm when the script demands they all act tormented at this point in the episode?
Chris arrives, looking innocent. He apologizes for Jordangate, then admits that he and Kelsey had an emotional conversation that “hit home with this process.” He stops, getting choked up, and has to leave the room. Kelsey had better be worried. He doesn’t want to be anyone’s second husband. In the private back area, Chris the Host asks what happened in there. “This is harder than I thought it would be,” Chris the Farmer confesses. “It always is,” Chris the Host says sagely.
Meanwhile, Kelsey admits that she told him all about her dead husband. The others see that as a manipulative and conniving move. Kelsey felt it preserved her relationship with the others to tell Chris privately, since they would likely be envious of how Kelsey’s grief makes her so attractive.
Chris tells Other Chris that his talk with Kelsey reminded him that he is making life-changing decisions here, not just sucking face while wearing designer suits. He must respond to that revelation and use it to inflate ratings this episode.
Kelsey grows teary, telling the women that what happened just now is that Chris is now aware, thanks to her, that time is precious for them all. Being a farmer never made him conscious of the cycle of life. As a result of enlightening him to this profound truth, she feels she is going to have to say goodbye to some of them tonight. My goodness, she is quite full of herself, isn’t she. The other women are just annoyed that Kelsey had serious quality time to talk of senseless death and agonizing loss with Chris.
Chris the Host comes in to tell them that Chris the Farmer has been upset, but he has decided what to do tonight. There is not going to be a cocktail party–they’re going right to the Rose Ceremony. No alone time, no kissing for anyone before the sentences are handed down. It’s all Kelsey and her stupid widowhood’s fault. Ashley is bitter that she doesn’t have a prematurely dead husband to capitalize on.
Now Kelsey is frightened. What is Chris thinking with this move? How did her amazing, tragic story actually change his attitude? She rushes from the room, perhaps to call a ghostwriter. Then the others hear sobs from the corridor. A woman is crouching over her as Kelsey lies prone on the floor, hyperventilating and crying wretchedly. She’s having a panic attack. She must have handled the loss of her husband very well.
And that’s the end of the episode, folks. Will Kelsey be sent home next week? Or will she be retained to continue her theme of bizarre, self-congratulatory emotional vampirism? Will Britt shower? And will we ever be able to distinguish Megan from Becca without the chyrons? Tune in next week to find out.