This week, Emily and her final six men embark on the final leg of their tour of the world's coldest, rainiest, creepiest castles. They're in Prague, and the pressure is ON, as Emily must decide who will return to America with her so she can spend a couple hours hearing about their families' hobbies and judging their home decor.
Chris Harrison greets the guys and reassures them that Emily "definitely" sees a future with all of them. Except the two who will be dumped by the end of the week. Then he explains, boringly, that there will be no roses available on the one-on-one dates this week, but there WILL be one on the group date, because group dates aren't awkward enough and are a lot more fun with a ridiculous level of rivalry and bitterness involved.
The first date card reads, "Arie, let's CZECH out Prague together," har, har, har, har, har!!! The Czech Republic is like, "Very original. You're the first to tell me that one! Please get out."
Date #1: Arie Better Czech Himself
Emily keeps talking about how she thinks of these lavish, unrealistic dates as exactly what she would do with her "husband" when they're on vacation. I think she's trying to seem down-to-earth, but Arie is wearing a jacket with elbow patches, and she's wearing a pair of scalloped, jewel-encrusted hot pants. Also, you know, all the producers and cameras following them around. So it's not like they're exactly LOW KEY as they waltz around Prague, with Emily robotically explaining the landmarks, and Arie desperately trying to kiss her mouth quiet.
"Shhh. Can I tell you a secret? I don't care about art history."
But it doesn't take long for Arie and Emily's business-casual lovey-doviness to turn upside-down, because Emily knows something that Arie doesn't know that she knows: Which is that something happened between him and a producer several years ago, but she doesn't know what happened, or when, or whether it's a big deal. But still: SHE KNOWS.
They go to a bronze sculpture built to commemorate a Saint, on the bridge where he drowned (that's dark), who is joined by his loyal dog, which you are supposed to rub for "good fortune." I had to explain all of that, because it's the set-up for the BEST QUOTE IN THE HISTORY OF THIS SHOW, courtesy of Emily:
"It's weird to rub a dog that represents loyalty when I know that he has a SECRET."
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhahahaha! That is the Advent calendar of sentences. Each piece of it is like a gift. "It's weird to rub a dog." "It's weird to rub a dog that represents loyalty." "It's weird to rub a dog that represents loyalty when I know that he has a SECRET."
When we come back from commercial, we're greeted by a suited-up Chris Harrison in front of the Bachelor mansion, clearly filmed recently and separately from the rest of the show. It's time for a Very Special Segment, called "The Tabloid Rumors Have Forced Us to Do This."
Chris explains that Arie dated Bachelor producer Cassie Lambert a long time ago, for a very short period of time, and that in Prague, they filmed an interview segment with Emily in front of the camera, and Cassie behind the camera, where Cassie told Emily about the previous relationship. Cassie says that she barely knows Arie anymore, and hasn't seen him more than a couple times in ten years. It doesn't bother Emily that they used to date (if you can call it that?), but she's upset that neither he nor Cassie mentioned it until now. She feels "set up," and like "an idiot," because she thinks she was the only one who didn't know. "It's not a thing," Cassie's voice promises from behind the camera, but Emily is adamant in her suspicion. "It's not a production thing, it's like a real life thing," she says, underlining the fact that those categories of her life A) exist at all and that they B) creepily and unnaturally get confused for each other sometimes. And yet, she still (allegedly) fully believes that she is going to find the love of her life through this real life/production Frankenstein of a process.
So, back on the date, we have an inside look at Emily's brain when she and Arie sit down for lunch, and she tries to smoke Arie out of the "secret." She asks pointed questions about his honesty philosophy, and whether he thinks of himself as an honest person. Arie can tell that she's testing him, but has no idea why. Finally, he reveals the only secret he can think of ... that he used to have another woman's name tattooed on himself, but then had it covered up when they broke up. I wish Emily had a Taboo! buzzer in her purse that she could pull out and press, like, "EHHHHHH! WRONG." Sorry, Arie. You know I love your sense of humor and face. But it's obviously not a SECRET that you make ill-conceived, short-sighted romantic choices. The Bachelorette is like a tattoo on your reputation that can't be removed. So now the woman you are attempting to woo thinks that you are covering up a lie, and knows that you probably have a very ugly cover-up tattoo, too.
Uh oh, Chris Harrison is back, from the future. Apparently Arie finally revealed the "relationship" to Emily off camera (wait ... they have moments together off camera?!), and they both agreed that it wasn't a big deal, so basically this entire "drama" has been completely worthless. Cut to Emily and Arie in Prague being like, "Glad that's out of the way, I'm so happy we're able to talk about stuff!" So everything is fine. Except that we never actually saw them talk honestly about ANYTHING, because Emily spent the day trying to manipulate Arie into admitting a non-issue instead of just coming out and asking about it.
Meanwhile, back at the bro-tel: The second one-on-one date card comes, and it's for John. "All you need is love," it reads. Chris says that it is "killing him inside" not to have more private time with Emily. He tries to play it cool in front of the other dudes, but he's almost crying in front of us. Way to "save face," Chris.
With the stale fart of that stupid non-drama still hanging in the air, Emily and Arie are already talking about how fun it's going to be when she meets his family. And now it's time for Arie to reveal his TRUE SECRET: He LOVES Emily!!!! Just kidding, that wasn't a secret, either, because last week he said he would "marry her tomorrow." Emily is like, "Wow, thanks," because it's one of the rules that every guy can tell her that he love her, but she can't tell anyone that she loves him back until she picks him to be her husband forever because that's how this twisted version of the world works.
Literal fireworks explode over the water as Arie and Emily, who by the way are dining on top of a FREAKING BARGE IN THE MIDDLE OF A RIVER, kiss their way to the Hometown Dates.
Date #2: Feeling Locked Up with John
Her relationship with John has been a "slow starter" and Emily hopes he realizes that "time is running out" for him to prove that he is worthy. John's wearing a dad sweater and dad khakis, so he is clearly taking this seriously.
They travel by water-trolley to the colorful, art-filled Lennon Wall, named for John Lennon of The Beatles. Emily stiffly explains that the wall represents all the freedom and music that the people of Prague felt they were missing out on "during Communism." This means absolutely nothing to Emily and John, who could actually use having certain freedoms revoked. They spend all of ten seconds drawing a rudimentary boat (for that two-on-one date where Nate got dumped and John survived) and the outlines of their hands. John interprets these drawings as a sign that their love will last forever. Instead, it's a sign that their love has been half-assed, and will be written over within the hour.
"You weren't the ones I was referring to." - J.L.
Exploiting one symbolic wall just wasn't enough today! So they go to this other symbolic wall, where couples are supposed to put a lock on a rail to represent their forever-ness or whatever. But John can't figure out how to get the lock onto that damn rail. Emily reveals that she's already written him off, because their relationship like the lock: John can't figure out how to make the damn thing work! (OH, I GET IT. The lock represents Emily's howdy-hoo-ha.)
Guess what, it's time for Emily's fifth/ZILLIONTH dinner in a dungeon. Seriously, everywhere they go, it's a dungeon dinner. "Hey look, ancient rotted prisoner bones, YUM." - Emily. What a freak.
Apps haven't even been served yet before John dives into a story about how he had an awful girlfriend who cheated on him repeatedly, for days at a time sometimes, and that's why he "takes things a little bit slower." Because he's terrified of being hurt and betrayed. Well, John, here is a pro-tip: If your deepest fear is a woman dating other guys behind your back, don't go on a TV show where the premise is that you are dating a woman who is dating other guys behind your back.
John is a tough read. He doesn't really emote when he talks. But he convinces Emily enough that he A) could fall in love with her eventually and B) really wants her to meet his family, that they end the date with a kiss. It's not the open-mouthed, steamy sort of kiss that Arie and Emily have been sharing since Week 3, butJohn definitely has a stronger chance now than he did at the beginning of the date. Except for the vision of him roughly jerking on that lock.
Back at the bro-tel: The group date card arrives, and Sean, Doug and Chris are horrified to learn that they are the recipients. The date card reads, "Let's find our happily ever after." Chris is "crumbling under the pressure," says Arie -- and that only gets worse when John comes back from his date, and says that if he had to rank his time with the communal girlfriend tonight, he would give it a "10 out of 10."
But actually, it might be Sean who's cracking, because when he hears that Emily walked John home, he runs out of the apartment and tries to catch her. Eventually, after yelling, "EMILAAAAY!" in the deserted streets 800 times, Sean "finds" Emily walking "alone" in a perfectly quiet and well-lit alcove, and they share several passionate seconds together that reaffirm their love. Emily invites Sean to grab a post-date-with-another-guy beer with her, and he is ecstatic. Sean doesn't care if it's sloppy-seconds, thirds or fifths. He is DOWN.
As his pelvis jams her up against an ancient stone wall for a third and final erotic makeout, Emily decides that Sean "would be a great husband." I guess, if your type is a super hot nice guy who is so grateful just to be in your presence that it doesn't even occur to him to get jealous that half an hour ago you were making out with a different guy in a different stone alcove.
Date #3: One Last Uncomfortable Fustercluck with Sean, Chris and Doug
It's the very last group date of the season, and Sean is feeling confident after last night's secret rendezvous. Chris broods, and has a "bad feeling" that he might snap and cry-punch everyone at any moment. Doug is deadweight at this point, and knows it, so he overcompensates by being insanely complimentary and chipper about everything. Emily looks at and treats Doug like a sad little puppy in a cardboard box that she can't decide whether or not to adopt outside the grocery store. She's good at pretending to consider it, but at this point we all know she's gonna walk away.
When they sit down to chat inside a dark tower (oh yeah, the group date today is riding in a carriage to another g-d castle for another g-d dungeon dinner), Doug won't touch her, and Emily is pissed. "If he doesn't want to touch me now, he's never going to want to," she says. A guy feeling weird about kissing her (on TV, after she's kissed all those other guys)? That will never do. So she decides to send him home right then and there. She gives the speech out in the rain, just to make it more dramatic. She explains that she understands being a "slow mover," but with Doug, there's "no moving at all" (in his pants) ... and THAT is the moment when Doug decides to move in for an awkward, teenager peck. In the middle of Emily breaking up with him! Emily says "Thank you for that," and continues to break up with him. It's not until the very end of her speech, when she says "I think it's best if I walk you out," that Doug realizes what is happening. Oops. "I regret giving you that kiss," he says.
"And I regret letting you get this far! We all make mistakes."
Doug is ashamed, mortified, and stunned. In the van, he says, "I think my girl radar is broken," which is actually a pretty self-aware, accurate description of what might be wrong with him. Doug is a nice guy, but he came off as awkward and uncomfortable because he was so (sweetly) concerned about not stepping on Emily's fragile toes that he to just go for it and get up in her face-space. Mama needs to mack if she's gonna meet the fam. So Doug had to go.
The cuts during this episode have been VERY bizarre. When we come back from commercial, there has been a costume change, and Sean and Chris have already come to terms with the fact that Doug is no more. They don't give a sh*t, except for the fact that it increases both of their odds of getting that sweet, sweet group date rose. Just to make things more insanely dramatic, Emily gives Sean and Chris two massive keys, and says that the man with the RIGHT key that unlocks the separate private-time room gets to go in there with her first. Sean's key works, so he must have the bigger penis, and this pleases him. In the room, they talk about Sean's family, and then kiss some more. Meanwhile, outside the room, Chris is three quarters of the way through his "Jack Nicholson in The Shining" transformation. If he sees Emily and Sean kissing, this castle may become the capital of The MURDER Republic.
Back at the bro-tel: The final date card arrives, and it's for one-F Jef. "This is your chance to pull on my heart strings," it says suggestively. OoooOOooooh!
Back on the date, it's finally Chris's turn to talk privately with Emily, so he wisely decides to use that time to accuse her of being mean for not giving him a one-on-one. Emily says "sorry" like she's not sorry, and then tells him that he "makes the best of everything" (riiiiight), so that's why she granted him the honor of not having a private date for the last five weeks. Then they kiss, because every conversation ends with kissing at this point in the game.
It's time for Emily to give out the rose, which she says is a symbol of whose family she is ready to meet, and that guy is ... Sean. Chris looks on with pure hatred in his eyes. "I hope you don't take it personally," Emily says about this decision that she JUST announced was deeply personal. Chris is furious, and pouts so hard that he refuses to even look Emily in the face. A great end to SUCH a great day!
Date #4: Pulling Strings and Swapping Spit with Jef
When Emily comes to pick up Jef, Chris is still stewing in his disappointment that he isn't Emily's number one stud. Emily is Hef, and Chris wants to be Holly ... but now he knows that he's Kendra, and we all know how upsetting it is to be Kendra.
Emily takes Jef to a cool/creepy marionette shop, where they pick out a girl puppet and a boy puppet to play with. Jef earns extra points by running back into the store and buying a puppet for Ricki, too. Then, they "find their way" into gorgeous, muraled, completely empty library. Emily: "We HAPPENED to have our marionettes, so I figured WHAT BETTER PLACE than an empty library to put on a puppet show reenacting our entire relationship?!?!" How about "not doing it at all"? That's a better place.
I love these two together, but it's the worst play in the entire world, because we've already seen their relationship play out, and it wasn't interesting the first time. It's basically just a stream of awkward non sequiturs ("I wanted to ride on your skateboard," "I like your nail polish"), but the childish exercise unlocks a surprising freedom for Jef and Emily to express their true feelings. So here, in this library from Beauty and the Beast, empty except for them and their puppets and the ghosts, Jef's puppet tells Emily's puppet that he is "A MILLION PERCENT" in love with her. Whoa, dude. That is a LOT of percent! Their puppets kiss, and then the puppets' humans kiss, and I take a bite of my delicious takeout sandwich. It's all very meaningful, for all of us. Especially the sandwich.
"LET'S GET A DOG TOGETHER," the man with the puppet said to the woman with the puppet, because they were clearly mature enough, and ready.
Then Jef and Emily sit down on a blanket on the floor, and he talks about his family. As you may know, Jef is ex-Mormon, and his parents are (I think) still Very Mormon, so they refuse to be on TV, but Emily will/would meet some of his many siblings. Jef says that one time, his family didn't like a girl that he brought home, so he broke up with her. Emily's nerves are extremely wracked over this.
They lay down on the floor, and Emily says, "There aren't too many people I could lay on the floor with and still be very happy." There are only five people, actually: Sean, Chris, John, Arie and Ricki. Oh, and Chris Harrison.
Jef and Emily connect over everything they have in common, like how they both want kids/more kids "yesterday." Jef talks about how he wants to grow old with her, and it's very much "too soon, bro," but then, so quickly and quietly that you could have sneezed and missed it, he completely wins me over with these simple words in Emily's ear:
"I want to date you so hard and marry the f*ck out of you."
To which, Emily cracks up. She loves it! NOW THIS is a modern love story. Signed, sealed, delivered. She is to be JEF'S OR NO MAN's future bride.
Cocktail Party Moping Time
There are three roses on the table. Sean has his locked up, and Doug bit the dust, which means that one guy is going home between Arie, Chris, Jef and John. We all know Arie and Jef are safe. So now, Chris is worried -- as he should be.
Before the cocktail party, Emily and Chris Harrison sit down for a very casual chat about which men she wants to continue pre-marrying. Normal friendship setting. Normal friendship topic.
LOOK AT THESE RIDICULOUS CHAIRS! Pretty sure they were rejected from the set of "The Tudors" for being TOO OPULENT.
Emily reveals that she knows what she has to do, so she doesn't want to give the men the chance to change her mind or see her in that terrible disco queen dress, so there will be NO cocktail party tonight. Noooooooooooo!
John is openly convinced that he is going to get the rose, and Chris is deeply convinced that he's not, which is why I definitely believe that it will be the other way around. While Chris Harrison gathers the roses and gently kisses each of them for good luck, Chris goes outside to shuffle his feet and cry about how sad he is to "miss out on the perfect girl."
Chris vows to "fight for Emily," which we know is one of her biggest turn-ons, besides babies who were born yesterday and eating dinner inside of ancient dungeons.
Emily enters the room, and explains that the point of the cocktail parties aren't to party and spend quality time together, but to "answer unanswered questions." These people spend time together like they're billing by the hour.
(They aren't. But the producers are.)
And the roses go to:
Jef, one step closer to "marrying the F*CK" out of Emily!!!
So it's down to John and Chris. Chris interrupts and asks to speak to Emily alone, and she's like, "Oh, OK. Sure. Definitely." So they walk out of the room together. John's face is like, "I didn't know we were allowed to do that!" So now he's stressin'.
Chris lays it all out there for Emily: He wants to be the man that she deserves; he's sorry that he reacted so poorly on the group date; but it's only because he feels SO STRONGLY for her. And that, John, is how you work that lock.
Emily and Chris come back into the room. Chris takes his place in line for five seconds, until Emily calls him forward to get his desperation rose. So John is gone. Emily walks him out as the other guys give Chris weird hugs of congratulations for how he convinced Emily not to dump him. "Nice work, bro! But I'm still gonna marry the f*ck out of her. Sorry."
John just wants to get out of there, but Emily stops him to explain that they were moving too slowly for her to meet his family. They share an uncomfortable side hug, and John descends the long, spiral staircase of forever alone-ness.
"She kept wanting more and more and more, so I gave her more," but it just wasn't enough." He says that he's sad, but keeps the same monotone and blank expression as always, so it's not exactly heart-wrenching. He seems like he'll be fine.
Next week: Emily meets the families, and gets new extensions! But we don't see much at all from next week's family meetings, because it looks like Emily is going to have a major breakdown before the rose ceremony. In the preview, she looks scared and upset as she tells Chris Harrison that she keeps imagining how she would feel if she introduced a guy to her family in this setting (why does she need to imagine it, if she did this exact same thing last year with Brad Womack?) and then got dumped. She doesn't know what to do! We still have yet to see a single clip from the final rose ceremony, and now it looks like she'll be paralyzed with indecision next week. Are they setting Emily up to leave the show alone?
(Images courtesy of ABC)