Episode Overview: We are down to the final two women on Age of Love. Due to the conceptually-fortunate turn of events in the previous episode, the final two are neatly and conveniently split between a 48-year-old Cougar, Jennifer Braff (Jen), and 25-year-old Kitten, Amanda Salinas. It’s seemed pretty clear since about Episode Three who Mark Philippoussis really had his eye on, is it possible NBC is about to pull off the twist of all twist and give us a completely unexpected ending?
In a word, no. But let’s get through it anyway, shall we?
The trio is in Australia, and on their way to meet with Mark’s parents. Jen has brought a hostess gift for Mark’s mom, but neglected to mention this to Amanda until they are in the limo. Amanda thinks this is immature for her to do, but seems to fail to notice that it might be even more immature to expect someone else to teach her, at 25-years-old, about etiquette.
Mark has “only” brought home four women before to meet his mom, and she is a little shy about meeting the women. Mark’s friends and sister are there as well. They are shocked to find out Jen’s age, but admire how fit she is. Jen and Mark’s sister seem to hit it off well, chatting about careers and other areas of common interest. Amanda is agonized about not being able to join the conversation, but later, Mark’s mom makes a comment to Amanda that she is shy as well. The comment puts Amanda at ease, letting her know the visit wasn’t a total flop.
After the dinner, Mark debriefs with his family. His sister likes Jen and her outgoing nature, but mom – also keeping an eye on the potential for grandkids – likes reserved – and younger, ostensibly more fertile – Amanda. And Mark says to his family how he “never thinks about age when with Jen.” If, as you might remember from the last recap, you have decided to play the Age of Love drinking game, it is a time to take two shots when Mark makes this statement, as he does at least once or twice an episode. The divide within his own family does nothing, Mark says, to help him with his own decision.
And now it’s time for the final series of one-on-one dates. Mark decides to take out Jen first, which fills Amanda with anxiety. (Time for another shot.) Jen and Mark take a boat ride and have dinner at an aquarium in a room surrounded by the fish and other wildlife. Mark says that while a couple of weeks ago, Amanda was in the lead for his heart, Jen has really connected with him. And here it again: despite how he never thinks about age with Jen, he mentions her age again.
On the date, Jen once again gets frisky with him, telling him out of the blue about some of her sexual escapades. Mark likes how confident and comfortable she can be. But she also gets serious with him, saying as they lie on pillows watching the fish, that he has made her believe in love again. She could see herself falling in love with him, and can imagine she wouldn’t “get tired of being with him.” Aim high in love, lady!
Then it’s time for Amanda’s date. More wildlife, this time on land. He takes her to a wildlife park to meet some local animals like koala bears and kangaroos. They have dinner together at a Japanese restaurant, and afterwards, the two cuddle. Amanda gets very open with him again about her feelings. Afterwards, she comments what an unnerving and vulnerable position this is to have the control of the relationship be solely in his hands.
Despite being competitors for the same man, the two women take some time to chat about themselves, their similarities and their differences. The main difference between the ages seem to be confidence. Amanda notes that she still says there are things she “wishes” she could do or would like to do, while Jen just resolutely states she is “going” to do them. The two seem to be connecting, but Jen takes a step back to reassert that she does, in fact, have feelings for Mark.
It’s decision time. Unlike The Bachelor, Age of Love opts to intercut between the two separate meetings between Mark and each individual woman. He spends quite a bit of time building up Jen, but ominously comments that he had a tough decision to make (no one ever says that directly to their selected person on one of these dating shows; that’s always a runner-up comment), so we all know what that means, right? Mark will not be going against expectations, he’s sending the Cougar home, and asking Amanda to continue on this journey with him.
Jen is disappointed, saying her “emotions are real” for Mark. She’s pretty sure age was the final factor, saying if she had been younger, there would be no way Mark wouldn’t have picked her. However, to her conversation with Amanda earlier about all the great things that come with age, had she been younger, would she have had that confidence and sense of self that Mark claimed to like so much?
Meanwhile, Amanda is ecstatic. Confident or not, she now has her man, as she says, and we can assume the two have found love.
What do you think? Do Amanda and Mark have a real future together? Did you ever buy that the Cougars had a chance with a man who had never before dated an older woman? Do you think Mark was truly open to the experience? Let us know your thoughts on Age of Love in the comments below!
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– Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of NBC)