So what do you think will happen in tonight’s episode, titled Week 6: Redux of Week 5? Will Ben recite Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 from memory to Lauren H.? Will it be revealed that Olivia is an evil twin who escaped an insane asylum and dismembered another bachelorette previously cast for this season? Will viewers agree that Becca is less interesting than the maimed corpse would be? Will a single person utter a sentence without using the words “amazing,” “connection,” or “opening up”? The answer to all these questions is likely “No, the show is not written by Shonda Rimes.”
But we will learn whether Ben makes Bachelor history this episode. Admittedly, that’s not hard to do, since the only way anyone can distinguish one season from another is by analyzing the progress of Chris Harrison’s cosmetic procedures. If he does what is suggested by the heavily edited preview clips and all the tweets from very lonely people, Ben will be the first bachelor to retract a rose he awarded a favored woman.
This would be as monumental a moment as when the nation elected our first black president, only without the GOP complaining so much. Either Olivia survives to continue playing the show’s own Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed, or Ben will seize the coveted flora from her trembling hand, telling her she has as much chance of marrying him as if they were both men and Kim Davis the county clerk.
The heart-stopping drama will all play out before the remaining cast heads off to the Bahamas. There, amid the sun-dappled waters and glittering white sands, people wearing bikinis will question whether they are able to be as vulnerable as the script demands. Meanwhile, Ben clings to the hope that his future wife might still be among the group, much as I continue to believe Marco Rubio might one day speak extemporaneously.
Previews, previews, previews. Let’s all go to the lobby, let’s all go to the lobby…. Okay, here are the other gals, feeling tense and upset that Ben has invited Olivia to talk before the Rose Ceremony. He tells her that their relationship is different than the ones he has with the others, mostly because the others don’t require twice-daily doses of powerful anti-psychotics. She feels that by getting roses from Ben, she now has a target on her back. That’s in addition to the chip on her shoulder. Olivia points out that she prefers reading and thinking in her room to doing the other girls’ hair. The fact is that everyone resents her for preferring Danielle Steele to being polite to people.
After Olivia and Ben huddle in the shadows that the lighting director seems to believe indicates intimacy instead of a failure to pay the utility bill, they return to the group. Olivia is crying tears that Emily feels are not even as authentic as the Indian’s in the anti-pollution ads, but she still clutches her rose as they head to the ceremony. Never since the latest Beauty and the Beast movie has a flower been the source of so much angst. Well, except for last week and the week before. also in The Little Prince. Oh, wait, that was a tree. Evs.
The ceremony commences. “What an incredible week,” Ben says. That’s because this was filmed months before the debut of the Puppy Baby Monkey ad. The first rose goes to Caila, the next to Lauren B. Emily frets. Another rose goes to JoJo, then to Becca. Emily worries some more. Next Leah gets a rose, and Emily pouts. Finally Chris appears, his expression as fraught with portent as the guy who plays Skinner on The X-Files. The last rose goes to Emily. All that needless anxiety just increased her chance of needing Botox before age 30.
Jennifer says goodbye, saddened that Ben didn’t get to know her. He can always read her bio on the ABC site. Meanwhile, Ben counsels the survivors about how all of this will lead to a great life, at least for the producers. They toast going to the Caribbean, something to celebrate when somebody else is picking up the tab.
Images of boats, turtles, and white sand indicate that we are in the Bahamas, or maybe the set of a very expensive production of South Pacific. Everyone admires the rooms, as the tourism board requires in their contract. Amanda thinks it’s the most romantic place they’ve been, except for all the other women going on dates with the man she wants to marry.
Chris arrives to explain the various complex date scenarios this week. They could hire the robot from Lost in Space to do his job, and he would sound more lifelike, too. Leah is desolate. She’s in desperate need of time with Ben, but Caila has been granted the one-on-one date. The others resent that she is getting another bite at the Benana. “I haven’t gotten ***,” sobs Leah, who apparently missed Juan Pablo’s season.
Caila feels so lucky to able to spend time discussing software with the salesman of her dreams. Ben regrets that his last date with Caila was spoiled by the presence of two annoying guys doing cross promotion for their latest project. He wants to compensate for that by making out with her in less crowded quarters.
Back at the house, sobs are heard from behind a closed door. The camera approaches, stumbling drunkenly, to find Lauren B. (H.? Bacall?) comforting the embittered Leah. She feels like a total fool for agreeing to put herself through this agony, and her accountant refuses to allow deductions for her Valium scrips. Even if she gets the two-on-one date, which just sounds dirty anyway, it’s not worth it because it results in one girl going straight home. Do not pass go, do not get a spot on Kimmel.
Ben discusses the meaning of relationships with Caila. Who does this deeply personal analysis of their feelings on the second date? That’s a red flag in all the Cosmo articles. Caila feels she’s not ready to open up emotionally, at least until her attorney reviews the documents. Her fear is that she can’t truly fall in love with someone, thus she might break Ben’s heart. Anyway, she only came on the show to get the free make-over.
Back at the suite, the date card person knocks. “Who’s there?” “Drama-gram.” Lauren B., Becca, Amanda, Lauren H., JoJo, and Leah are going on the group date, which inevitably involves bikinis. That leaves mortal enemies Emily and Olivia for the two-on-one date, which promises drama straight out of an Ibsen play: A Sex Doll’s House.
“Maybe my mind is thinking differently than my heart,” Caila suggests to Ben. It could be the case, since I know my heart rarely agrees with my gall bladder. “Are you ready to find somebody?” Ben beseeches her. He means to marry, not to do handiwork around the house. “I feel like I want you in my life. . . . This is real,” Caila pronounces, similar to when she spotted those adorable boots at DSW.
Out comes the rose, which is accepted. They kiss. I’m inspired to look up her last name so I can come up a couple name for them. They must marry because Quiggins is just fabulous.
The following day’s group date is a boat ride, during which they sight a swimming pig, but it’s not Chris Soules with waterwings. Then they all swim with a bunch of pigs themselves. You can’t tell who’s squealing the loudest.
Back at the suire, Emily calls Haley to report her impending encounter with Olivia. I bet she’s getting paid more than me to do recaps.
As they stand in the crystal clear water, without any pigs present, JoJo tells Ben she’s scared, but not as scared as I am that she’s going to have a wardrobe malfunction. Next Ben reveals a big tattoo on his side that appears to be lines of type. Probably his crib notes for the Fantasy Suite. Then he talks with Leah, in full makeup while swimming. She insists she’s one of the few girls who’s genuinely there for the right reasons, which is a free trip to an expensive beach resort. Ben reassures her, and they hug. This whole season is nothing but emotional uncertainty repaired with bland platitudes. If I wanted to watch that, I’d turn on Dr. Phil.
“I hope he sees something in me that he wants to explore,” Leah says tearfully. I think he does, and it’s under her bikini bottom.
Ben is concerned that the afternoon showed him there are a lot of fears among the girls, starting with how the harsh lighting may make their hair color brassy. That evening, he takes Becca aside. “I felt like today, you were stand-offish to me,” he tells her. Becca agrees. “I started thinking, I don’t know, it’s hard,” she elucidates for him. She really likes Ben, and she’s pretty tired of being a virgin. They kiss. Ben feels that their conversation, which was less substantive than Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephone call, made him realize that he needs to speak openly and honestly to everyone, especially the IRS.
Next Amanda squeaks about being honest before they kiss. No one in these confabs ever talks about current events or politics, but then again, no one in these confabs knows anything about those topics.
Back at the suite, the date card arrives. Emily and Olivia are both nervous and annoyed that they must fight it out for the rose. Nevertheless, Olivia has confidence in her ability to snatch it away from Emily like a bald eagle seizing a tiny blond field mouse in its talons.
Now Leah and Ben are going to be open with each other. She tells him that some of the women aren’t being real with him, and it hurts her. She won’t mention names, except Lauren B., with whom she perceives him as having the best chemistry. Leah asserts that Lauren is different with the women than she is with him. “Are those concerns legitimate? I don’t know,” observes Ben, who has apparently never been present for a bull session at a girl’s summer camp. He brings in Lauren B. to discuss it. Lauren doesn’t know exactly how to respond to the charges, similar to Nixon when he gave the Checkers speech. She returns to the group in tears,. and begins describing what Ben has told her. Just then, Leah comes into the room. She pretends not to know who said such a terrible thing; in fact, she lies blatantly about it. Do these people not know what that big microphone over their heads is for?
Finally, Ben joins them to present the evening’s rose. It goes to Amanda. Lauren B. can’t help but question why she didn’t get it, since her conversation with Ben five minutes ago was as lighthearted as a scene by Noel Coward. Meanwhile, Leah is grateful that Lauren B. didn’t get the rose, but looks forward to Yom Kippur when she can repent for lying like a Mafia hit man.
Now Leah goes to Ben’s hotel room to “talk about Lauren B.” Or is it Lauren B. going to talk about Leah? I bet even he can’t tell the difference. Okay, it’s Leah. She believes Ben and she would have a great marriage, with both a Christmas tree and a menorah every year, so she doesn’t want him to end up with Lauren B. At least it’s refreshing to see someone who isn’t all about Olivia.
Leah asserts that Lauren B. doesn’t care as much about Ben as she does for increasing her Q score. “I’m not here to sabotage what you have with somebody,” she says immediately before trying to do just that. Ben ain’t buying. He claims he doesn’t know what’s missing from their relationship, aside from her cattiness and maybe a cup size. He suggests it’s time for them to say goodbye. She is devastated, much like Wile E. Coyote is taken aback when his Acme bomb explodes prematurely. “Our sparks have been few and far between,” Ben tells us ruefully. They kind of had to be, since those two only saw each other for three minutes a week.
Finally, it’s time for some deadly sparks to fly on the two-on-one date. “We have been writing our love story this entire time,” says Olivia, unaware that it was shelved under fiction. Meanwhile, Emily is beside herself with resentment for this self-appointed, but non-terminal, Jenny Cavalleri.
Off the threesome goes on a speedboat that seems designed to test the effectiveness of the women’s hair product. Ben thanks them for joining him, since everyone hates the two-on-one dates. He goes off with Olivia first. Sea spray batters them with the force of Olivia’s egotism. “I’m at peace with who I am. I’m very grounded and in tune with my body,” she explains, adding, “Deep intellectual things are just my jam.” How else would she have been able to graduate with honors from the University of Phoenix? She declares her love to Ben, and of course, he rams his tongue down her throat accommodatingly.
“I’m glad you’re able to open up,” he tells her, although it was more like she was reciting some of her Live Journal entries.
In her turn, Emily tells Ben she feels validated by him. She wants to be here more than she has been able to express, largely because she has a limited vocabulary. Ben seems charmed by her histrionics and hair color like a Labrador retriever’s.
When Ben takes Olivia aside again, taking the rose with him, Emily is convinced her rival has won the day. She is brought to tears. But as the waves crash against the shore, their presumptive relationship is similarly reduced to bits of foam upon the craggy beachhead. Ben tells her he cannot give her the rose, which he’s brought along to indicate which one he means. Olivia is left standing before a rocky outcropping, her brief romance now as disappointing as Oliver’s Story. She weeps, the sense of loss so profound that she’ll probably have to become an anchor in a smaller market.
Ben walks thoughtfully along the beach like the mom and daughter in the Summer’s Eve ads. He’s probably thinking about vaginas, too. “My fear is that I’m losing some of them,” he reveals. “Maybe at the end of this, I won’t find love.” Even worse, Us Weekly may not feature him on their cover again.
At the house, the girls note the beginning of a storm outside. “It’s like the weather has predicted this whole week,” Becca says, apparently unaware that to predict something, you have to do it before the thing actually happens.
A somber Chris arrives now to everyone’s disappointment, especially mine. They will go straight to the Rose Ceremony tonight, meaning a greatly reduced chance of getting drunk for yet another evening. Everyone regrets the lost opportunity to make out with Ben.
Roses go to Becca, JoJo, Emily, and Lauren B., who ahs apparently been assessed as not a phony. Left without is Lauren H. (? Who the hell knows). She despairs,”I don’t get what he wanted,” which is probably at least a C-cup. Then she carefully daubs her eyes, because smeary mascara is not what she wants. She just longs to find love. Why is it so hard? Ask the director.
Next week Ben reveals he is in love with two women, and cannot choose between them. He thought it was going to be clear how to resolve this dilemma, but polygamy is illegal in his state.