Pass this note to Susie when you’re in homeroom tomorrow: The demonic Chad, offed the week before last, is now dating castmate Robby’s ex-girlfriend, the same woman he demonically dumped just so he could be on the show. Adding insult to injury—if anyone involved is actually either insulted or injured by any of this—the poor woman’s name is Hope Higginbotham, which sounds like a character from Dickens if he were writing an episode of The OC. Kids, just say no to reality shows.
Remember the ominous cliffhanger we were left gasping at, if we were still awake at the end of the last episode? Like eczema, Chad is proving extremely difficult to eliminate. Previews suggested it was his post-dumping sneakers stalking someone in the night, but it was unclear (at least to me, because it’s hard to follow the action while typing and eating malted milk balls) whether the stalkee was JoJo as she relaxed with Alex, or the remaining guys back at the hotel. ABC says it’s the latter he wants to confront, most likely not with language Dr. Phil would approve.
ABC also says that the group will depart for their “first international adventure to the exciting South American city of Punta Del Este, Uruguay.” All I know about that country is that it’s the home of those 70’s soccer players who crashed in the Andes and had to eat their dead to survive. Perhaps that makes it the perfect location for the show.
After learning the time and temperature from TD Bank, we begin. Precaps include a lot of threats of violence, telling on people, and whiny accusations amid beautiful woodsy settings in Nemacolin, PA, which sounds like an antibiotic ointment. The men somberly scatter a giant jug of protein powder to acknowledge Chad’s long-awaited departure. “Death to tyrants,” they yell, and whoop joyfully. The same thing often happens at Bernie Sanders protests, except those people scatter Metamucil.
Meanwhile, Chad approaches stealthily through the forest as twilight falls. They guys hear a knock on the door. Chad is not there to sell them Fuller Brushes. He reports on Alex’s poor behavior during the two-on-one date they shared. He adds that JoJo must have thought Chad “too intense or something,” although it’s likely the producers phrased it more coherently.
Jordan asks him if he’s genuinely sorry now, because they will accept his apology. Chad stands by his insults and threats of violence, much as the NRA does after a mass shooting. Bickering ensues while Daniel calmly eats granola. The guys ultimately dismiss the unrepentant Chad, leaving those of us who wanted to see Jordan get punched unsatisfied.
Meanwhile, Alex and JoJo make out. He looks forward to his triumphant return to the hotel, where the guys lift him on their shoulders, cheering at his win, and then serve cupcakes. “He’s gonna be America’s hero,” one says. It’s vindication for those of you who claim we no longer live in a patriarchal society where women are viewed as possessions to be fought for.
JoJo feels sending Chad home was a wise decision, because all the other guys and Twitter said he was a jerk. She addresses the group at the cocktail party, expressing both her disappointment with Chad and her hope that she won’t have her heart broken by one these other artless clods. Chase brings her outside, where they each climb into an inflatable ball and run at each other. That’s the way to any woman’s heart.
Robby considers his relationship with JoJo to be advancing admirably. He implies he will win this thing, but they throw coins in a fountain to be sure. The other guys gawk from afar at them as they kiss. Evoking the work of the great romantic poets, Robby says tenderly, “Thank you for your time.”
Chase has written JoJo a poem. It’s good enough to appear on a Hallmark card that gets stocked fairly high in the Target display. Luke discusses how great it was the last time they were together for 45 minutes. He says he’s thinking about her when he’s not with her, which Dear Abby says is a sure sign of either love or an Amazon sale you passed up. Jordan next gets some time with JoJo. I want their couple name to be JoJoJo. He’s all smug since he has a rose already, and he can add this extra smooching to the leaderboard.
Now JoJo is going to consider her options, probably during a pedicure and some shopping, and will see them at the Rose Ceremony later. All the guys are anxious, just like I am at tax time, but in their case, they’re sure to see some money afterwards.
Evan explains that everyone is “feeling the void of Chad,” especially Hope Higginbotham. First they were upset having Chad there, now they’re upset with him gone. Men! JoJo finally arrives for the ceremony. She’s had some pretty good highs this week, she explains, but also some really dark lows, mostly related to her wardrobe choices. Yet she’s sure she’s getting closer to finding love. We can only hope it doesn’t see her first.
The first rose goes to Derek, followed by Robby and Chase. Wells is worried about his chances, but he gets the next rose. Does this particular pattern ever vary? Maybe occasionally have someone unsure if he wants a rose, or more worried that his plants are being watered while he’s out of town. Grant gets the next rose, then Vinny and James, still with the bruised eye socket. They coul dhave put concealer on that.
Now one rose remains. As she lifts it, the music swells dramatically, much like a scene in a classic opera about famewhores. Evan is called to receive it. What the hell? Maybe JoJo’s preparing in advance to save some bucks when he eventually suffers from erectile dysfunction. Goodbye to Daniel and I forgot who the other guy is. Daniel says JoJo’s not interested in his ripped Canadian body, preferring skinny wusses like Wells and Evan. What a floozy she is.
JoJo tells the surviving guys they are going to exotic Uruguay “where the rich go to play” and the tourism board is generous. Also, apparently, where JoJo will cry pitifully in her room. Punta del Este has rocky beaches, friendly people who do cartwheels in the street, and rather bare hotel rooms. Are the remaining guys genuinely here for her? JoJo muses as she gazes across the windswept sands. At least they seem committed enough to appreciate the free accommodations.
Jordan has assessed the competition and feels ready for the challenge of wooing JoJo. Although some dudes have not yet gone on one-on-one dates, Jordan gets this one, despite both his group date and first impression roses. The other guys complain that he’s fake and inauthentic. His nose sure is. They accuse JoJo of liking him because he was a football player. I thought that was exactly why guys became football players. But that’s wrong! She should fall for someone with another kind of job best suited to a mindless lothario.
Jordan and JoJo ride a boat and make out, then swim with sleek, athletic dolphins who also had to audition for their roles. Meanwhile, the guys at the hotel are absorbed in an US Weekly story detailing how JoJo is still in love with her ex-boyfriend. It would be a twist if it were she who wasn’t there for the right reasons.
The group date card arrives. But the recipients are not pleased after reading that carefully researched piece of journalism that appeared under hot pink headlines.
It turns out that JoJo met a woman who used to date Jordan, and didn’t give good reviews on his performance. She needs to find out if it’s true, since she hasn’t seen that article about it in InTouch. To introduce the sensitive topic, she describes to Jordan a former relationship that left her insecure, and was also written up for a tabloid magazine. She asks him about “the trust stuff.” I would be quicker to ask about the awful hairstyle stuff.
Jordan explains that at the time, he was focused on football, and he took it out on other people when things didn’t go well or he overdosed on steroids. He rushes to assure JoJo that here was no “physical” cheating, just a giant data bill for his android. He was just immature, but now he knows what kind of man he is, which is one who auditions for a TV show to find a hot piece of tail. Will he pull away if things get serious between them? Certainly not! He always carries a Trojan in his wallet.
JoJo is relieved at his vacuous reassurances, which sound lifted from an episode of All My Children. Now she’s excited for what’s to come, and gives him the rose. She thinks the date was pure magic, like a scene out of a romantic movie, albeit with poor acting and inane dialogue.
But back in her room, she is handed the condemning magazine article and told that the guys have read it. They also enjoyed the “Who Wore it Best?” feature on page 38. So upset that she almost asks for the eyedrops, JoJo blames the ex, also named Chad, for his spitefulness and manipulation. She explains tearfully thought last season was the first time she ever felt pure love, but this Chad accuses her of not loving Ben at all. To be fair, I saw that season and I can understand why he’d think that.
“I haaaaaate hiiiim,” JoJo wails while dabbing at non-existent mascara smears. She only confided in Chad because she has a big heart, and this is how he repays her emotional largesse. She’s so distraught that when she goes to visit the guys to explain, she puts on a droopy gray sweater over her plunging neckline. She left her sackcloth and ashes back in LA.
Struck by her sincerity and this cross-promotional aspect in the script, her male harem remains supportive even with her cleavage covered. It was wrong for JoJo’s ex to suggest she has any reason to be on the show besides money, media coverage, and the opportunity to become a guest host on Entertainment Tonight. The guys are reassured, too, that her distress at the article means she truly wants a relationship with at least one of them. What a relief!
Next day, the guys get facials with cucumber slices on their eyes as they discuss the events of the evening before. They also agree that 11 of the 25 things they didn’t know about Emilia Clarke weren’t that interesting.
After all that drama, JoJo is trying to live in the moment, be present for the guys, and avoid committing micro-aggressions during the group date. The group is sand-skiing, the perfect occasion for JoJo to wear leggings and a tight tank top as she lies spreadeagled on a slope, until a sudden Uruguayan storm ends the fun and acts as a much-needed cold shower as well.
The guys at the hotel receive the one-on-one date card, which goes to Robby. He’ll prepare by waxing more closely.
That night, Luke reconfirms to JoJo his strong sense of connection to her. He needs no outside verification for his feelings, aside from promoted tweets from Bachelor Nation. JoJo appreciates that he doesn’t question her and refuses to believe the upsetting article, even though it was a two-page spread. Derek also feels a connection, but is unsure how to deal with all the competition. “I know it’s hard for you to be vulnerable,” JoJo assures him, failing to mention how much she enjoys a conglomeration of product-slicked metrosexuals vying for her attention.
Alex only cares that he can see himself falling in love with JoJo, so he’s willing to be vulnerable. Name the time, name the place, he’ll be there and vulnerable, you just watch. He feels that this powerful disclosure will mean something to JoJo, and to his chances of a new paycheck next week.
Now it’s rose-giving time. JoJo declares that it is going to somebody she wants to reassure, which is Derek. Alex sneers that this means Derek told her he needs validation. Alex don’t need no stinkin’ rose.
Next day, JoJo meets Robby amid some phallic rock formations on the beach. They’ll go through the town which has “streets full of culture” in addition to its cartwheeling citizens. JoJo finds Robby playful and flirty, which she likes. I would like him to find a job aside from former competitive swimmer. Later, perched on a rocky outcropping, they embrace, and Robby suggests they jump off the cliff, presumably into the ocean. The writers have such a way with subtle relationship metaphors. Next they’ll talk about riding a train through a big wet tunnel. They make the leap as an underwater camera captures the spontaneity of the moment. Robby now knows that he loves JoJo, but is afraid of how she’ll react.
The other guys discuss why Derek got the rose, but no matter how much they sneer at his perceived weakness, Derek doesn’t mind getting reassurance represented by a stemless flower. Chase insists JoJo doesn’t want a guy who’s insecure, which ironically he has just proven himself to be.
As Robby and JoJo go to dinner, he feels they’re ready to go to the next level in their sham relationship. He’s still nervous about telling her, though. By candlelight, he admits he made big changes in his life to be there. After his best friend died driving off a bridge while texting his girlfriend, Robby was compelled to quit his job and end a stagnated long-term relationship. Surely his friend would be glad his death was not in vain.
Now Robby tells JoJo he’s fallen in love with her. “Thank you so much,” she replies politely, as if he has just told her about his relationship with Christ. She’s shocked that he’s revealed so much, but appreciates his being open and vulnerable. She presents him with the rose. “Love is a force that pulls two bodies together,” he comments, indicating a strong interest in the Fantasy Suite. They kiss as fireworks explode overhead. The unsubtle metaphor guy is working overtime.
The next evening, Uruguayan animals, vehicles and plant life are briefly seen as the guys troop to the cocktail party. The tension is palpable. Then Derek asks to speak privately to Jordan, Alex and Robby. He suggests that things are looking like a high school clique among them, since they questioned his eligibility for a rose. The three are resentful at being taken away from a well-lit area of the set. Alex is particularly paranoid about Derek’s motives, babbling on again about how secure he himself is, much like Donald Trump repeatedly insisting his hands are not small. They return to the group and ask if anyone else feels excluded. Rose envy is at an all-time high.
Chris appears. He just talked to JoJo, who reports she had enough quality time with everyone, and wants to go straight into the ceremony. Also, three guys will be going home. “Pretty heavy,” says one. Alex further underscores his Napoleon issues by ensuring that when Derek “does go away,” he will rush to tell JoJo that’s a good thing, because Derek’s behavior is not normal. For a tall person, that is. Somebody gave this twerp a gun?
They line up solemnly for the Rose Ceremony. In a green halter dress with a gold belt, JoJo reports how emotional the week was. But she was reminded of the type of guy she truly wants, which is apparently all of these guys except three.
The first rose goes to Luke. The next two are for Chase and Alex, ugh. Following them is James. Now for the final rose. It goes to Wells. So long to Evan, Grant, and Vinny. Evan feels like it’s daggers to the heart. He blames himself, as he should. Grant believes JoJo made a mistake. He’s hurt and confused, and, he adds, at the same time. Vinny wanted to continue his journey with JoJo. The hardest thing is losing the happy feeling he had being paid to stay in resort hotels.
Next week: Buenos Aires, Derek falling for JoJo, Luke falling for JoJo, James suggesting Jordan is self-serving, and Chase confused about how JoJo feels about him. JoJo will also flee the Rose Ceremony in an agony of doubt, and also because the back of her dress looks so dramatic as she rushes down the steps.