Welcome to a special edition of the Bachelor Pad recap. It’s special because it’s late, and picture-less, and Labor Day, so we’re all just going to be cool about those first two things. Right guys? Let’s all be non-Viennas about how late and picture-less this recap is. Be cool.

So the episode begins with Blake’s post-Melissa elimination victory dance. Then Chris Harrison tells the group that from here on out, they need to latch on to a member of the opposite sex and never let go. From here on out, the game is COUPLES ONLY! “You might want to get to know them,” Chris says as a deliberate hint. Because this show is like The Bachelor in that the goal is to pretend you’re a solid couple until one day you are. It’s a terrible system, but sometimes it works. And now they’re going to put that jello-like couple-solidity to the TEST! Erica and Blake, the most unstable and most hated members of the house, team up together because it’s each of their last resort, which really bodes well for everyone.

Everyone takes the evening to ask each other the hard-hitting personal questions they’ve avoided asking all these weeks to talk about “strategy” instead: What did you want to be when you grew up? What’s your bra size? How many plastic surgeries have you gotten? What’s your biggest fear? (“Dying alone.” – Blake. But unlike most people, that fear of Blake’s is pretty well justified.)

Kasey and Vienna go to bed early, confident they know each other sooooOOOOooo well because they’ve been together for “a while now.” (Six months.) They even connect in their dreams! (Just kidding! You can’t dream if you don’t have a soul.)

The Challenge: “The Nearly-Wed Game”

It works like the Newlywed Game (not like the Hunger Games, unfortunately), except none of these people are anywhere near being married, despite what the name says. Chris sends the men inside while the women answer questions, and then they switch. If the partners match their answers with their predictions, they get a point.

The game begins, and it’s pretty dull until in one question, Vienna claims she needs 22 dates before she “makes whoopie” with a guy. HAHA. Remember when we saw her get engaged to the Bachelor after, what, NINE dates? I’m not entirely confident she knows what “making whoopie” means. Maybe she thinks it’s when you let them kiss you when there isn’t a camera around.

Kasey then guesses that, of all her loooovely qualities, Vienna’s exes miss her teeth the most. Her TEETH? Vienna’s teeth are grinding with RAGE over Kasey’s stupid answer of “teeth.” He doesn’t know her at ALL! (For the record, she answered “My boobs.”) They go on a streak of getting all each other’s answers wrong. They’re surprised and angry, but I’m not: I’m been saying for weeks that their entire connection and bond was formed around their mutual love for The Bachelor franchise and their mutual hatred for Jake Pavelka. I feel vindicated.

Then the awkward Blake and Holly moment comes. When asked, “Who would you sleep with?” Blake answers Holly, and Holly answers Blake. Michael guessed that Holly would say… himself. That’s an extra kick to the heart/gut/groin. “I don’t like Blake very much,” Michael’s morose gray cardigan pouts. “I want to punch him in his perfect ridiculous dentist teeth.”

Graham and Michelle start to school everyone with their “telepathic” answers, and it seems like they just know each other so well. But then things take a left turn when the question, “How old were you when you lost your virginity?” comes up, and Graham answers 7. Everyone is confused and possibly horrified: SEVEN? Seven years old? There’s a story there, and I for one do not want to see Chris Harrison be the one to handle it. Somebody call in Oprah, stat.

But wait. “Just kidding, haha!” ABC awkwardly doesn’t say. “No horrific pre-pubescent sexual awakening story here! False alarm!” This was just part of Graham and Michelle’s foolproof strategy: When asked numeric questions, they’d answer 7. Asked about a guy, they’d answer Michael, et cetera. It’s so simple and yet so brilliant. I’m just happy to see someone on the show pointing out how dumb the show is. If I wasn’t already rooting for them, that would have done it.

It comes down to one last question for the win, and Erica blows it: She incorrectly guesses her own secret crush, thinking she was supposed to guess Blake’s. But Michelle CORRECTLY guesses that Graham’s “secret crush” is Michael, so they win! They win it all: The roses, a date and immunity. Quite a prize for cheating the (flimsy, idiotic) system. Way to go, team.

Blake and Erica get second place, which is surprisingly good for how completely full of crap both of them are, but it probably won’t save them. “I made my bed and I’m fully prepared to sleep in it,” Blake flirts at Holly. Clearly what he’s prepared to do is anything to get Holly into bed before his inevitable elimination. Erica and Michael sit around and stew as they watch their partners flirt with one another.

Date: Graham and Michelle in the Most Romantic Promotional Plug Ever!

Graham and Michelle take a private helicopter (public; we’re watching) to a private screening (public; we’re there too, vicariously) of the movie What’s Your Number? which I have never heard of before, but apparently it’s a rom-com about people asking other people how many people they’ve done sex with. Neat movie concept! Two thumbs up! (…is how you would respond to “what’s your number?” if you’d only slept with two half-people.)

While Graham and Money are busy toasting champagne on a helipad, back at the ‘Pad: Vienna and Kasey are having another one of their public meltdowns. This time, Vienna announces to everyone that Kasey took his ring back because she wouldn’t have sex, I mean “make whoopie,” with him. Ahhhh-YIKES! Not even the people inside the house want to be privy to this disgusting mess, why do WE have to witness it? Vienna literally says, “no means no!” at one point. To her own boyfriend. Who claims he just wants to cuddle and that she’s being crazy. He gives Vienna an ultimatum: Stop being a crazy bitch and “come downstairs” (not a euphemism, I think) or he’s leaving. I hate how he keeps teasing us that he might leave. It’s disrespectful! I keep getting my hopes up! Anyway, Vienna eventually has sex with him, or something. (According to the black light footage, maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. I don’t wanna talk about this anymore, GROSS!) One thing we do know: psychologically-damaging bickering is her version of “foreplay.”

Back on their date, Graham and Michelle grope each other in a massive hot tub while watching What’s Your Number? starring Anna Faris, for which we then see most of the trailer. The editors just superimpose it on Michelle and Graham’s “screen” and pretend like we’re watching them watch the movie, not watching a commercial be inelegantly shoved into our favorite sexual manipulation nighttime programming. It might be the most obnoxious, gratuitous plug in Bachelor history, and for a show that hauled out Bret Michaels a couple weeks ago, that is saying a LOT. Graham grabs Michelle and “kisses her like she’s never been kissed” while Anna Faris and Captain America play strip basketball on screen, and it’s sexy and magical and hot and basically they’re going to get married now! Rom-com magic, you did it again!

Back at the ‘Pad: Erica and Blake get their date card, and Erica is pissed off because she can tell Blake would rather go on the date with Holly.  Erica vows to “seduce” Blake during their date so he’ll forget about Holly and only have cold, dead eyes for her.

Date: Erica and Blake’s Haunted Sex Castle Adventure

In preparation, Erica’s wearing her evil princess tiara and talking about how she wants to end up in the missionary position with Blake by the end of the night. She packed her horny-time sparkly pink bra and everything! I need to take a minute to go grab my blindfold. This might get ugly. 

Back at the ‘Pad: The rest of the group conspire against “shady” Blake while Holly just listens and fumes. She likes him enough to think they’re all wrong, but not enough to stick her own neck out and defend him. Maybe they get along because they’re both spineless?

Back on the date, Blake and Erica show up at a haunted castle or some sh*t. It’s just another excuse for Erica to throw out more of her kooky theories. This one is about how her dead friends (Erica has lots of dead friends) speak to her from beyond the grave all the time. Erica is always being haunted. Then she tells Blake about how her astrologer, Herb (“HER ASTROLOGER, HERB”!) thinks she will make it to the finals. She gropes Blake’s groin, and the insinuation is clear: if he taps it, he can also tap into her positive astrological energy. If he rides her, he can also ride her all the way to the finals. Princess Erica has laid her trap.

They show up at dinner, where two roses await. They think the roses are for themselves, but this game is not that easy*! (*Logical, straightforward, tolerable.) They have to give the roses to the one couple they’d like to save instead. Now it’s a matter of deciding whose asses back at the ‘Pad are the most accessible and beneficial for kissing. Hmmmm.

Back at the ‘Pad: Michael goes to Holly and once again declares his love. He and Holly talk about feelings until I can’t feel anything anymore. He cries, she cries, I eat a cookie. The usual.

Back on the date: Erica tries to give Blake a quickie heej under the table, but he claims he’s too “stressed out” for her hand right now. She tries to trick him into sleeping with her by saying that if he comes back to the house tonight, everyone is going to think he’s a dirtbag for liking Holly and NOT sleeping with another girl while on a date. Haha. Whaaat? Logic police, arrest this … woman? Yes, she looks and talks like a Japanese sex robot, but I’m pretty sure she’s a woman.

Back at the ‘Pad: Holly confides in Ella about all the feelings she’s feeling for Michael and Blake. “He’s a man, and she’s persistent,” she says about whether Blake might bone Erica tonight.

Back on the date, Erica wants to bone. Blake does not. But it’s not that simple, because Erica won’t let it be. “I let Blake know that I would be frustrated if he didn’t want to have sex with me,” Erica then tells us matter of factly. Then, to him: “I thought that you would, as my partner. I’m asking you to do something for me, as my partner, and it upsets me that you won’t.” Then, to us: “Blake says that me telling the girls that I brought my sexy lingerie is like him telling all the guys that he brought condoms. And I think that he’s right, and I wish that he had!” Then, to him, after he finally makes it clear that he is not going to have sex with/at/on her: “Your attitude is disgusting and a complete turnoff. I think that you should like your partner and respect them.”

OH MY GOD, THIS GIRL IS UNREAL. What is actually to blame for all this blatant sexual harassment? Just playing it up for TV? A giant sense of self-entitlement? Extreme horniness? A Dina-Lohan-brand pre-dinner prescription med cocktail? All of the above? We may never know. Erica is an enigma. She should be in a lab right now having her brain studied. And replaced.

After their date, Blake and Erica eventually get over the fact that she tried to force him to mount her, and go on to strategize for hours and hours about which couple they should give their special salvation roses to. Of course, after all of that “thinking,” they come to the stupidest possible conclusion: Give them to Kasey and Vienna! Kasey promises Blake and Erica that they’ll be safe. And they believe him, which means they deserve what they get, and what they’ll get is obviously screwed. (Hey! Isn’t that what Erica wanted?)

After she doesn’t get the rose, Ella runs into the confessional and cries, thinking that means she and Kirk are dead in the water. I love how her Southern accent ups the stakes: “He just signed a deal wit’ tha DEVIL!” Ella yells about Blake. Smash cut to Vienna (the cross-eyed orange devil!) singing a love song about her rose.

The Manipulation Marathon

Chris Harrison explains that, once again, tonight’s voting is a little different: The lady part of the couple will vote for the couple that she and her partner want to send home. The couples took new couple pictures together just for this voting ceremony, so the girls wouldn’t have to write down two people’s names instead of dropping a photo into the box.

The voting comes down to Blake and Erica or Kirk and Ella. With Kasey and Vienna on their side, Blake and Erica think that they’ve got it in the bag… but then, ooooh but THEN, Michael catches Blake and Holly cuddling and kissing together by the fire! TWIST.

Heartbroken, Michael now makes it his mission to send Blake home. He goes to Graham and Michelle, the heads of the BP Mafia, and says, “I want him gone.” Graham recognizes that the Unbreakable Laws of Bro Code has been invoked, and he has no choice but to obey.

Even though Ella’s got her boo-hoo story about how she’s a single mom (true) and how her mom got murdered (true) and how she wants to give some of the money to battered women (also true), which means she’s a serious threat to WIN! THAT! MONEY!, Michelle and Graham change their vote for Michael’s sake to Blake and Erica. And they try to convince Kasey and Vienna to do the same.

They’re the deciding vote, but Michael leaves it up to Holly as to which team they should vote for. Now Holly’s torn between her heart and what she knows is right! She cries, unable to choose between friendship (and money) or sex (and no money). Choices! Why do they have to come with so much thinking?

Time for the rose ceremony, and to find out Holly’s ultimate choice. She didn’t stand up for Blake any of those times he was getting bad-mouthed, but tonight…

…she doesn’t, either. She sticks with Michael and the rest of the power gang, and Blake and Erica are eliminated.

Holly says her “heart hurts” because she had to vote for her new lover-boy, but she gave him a note that says it’s “not the end” for them, so Blake’s hopeful that he’s about to win “something better” than money. Well, it’s not a positive public image, that’s for sure! But I wish them all the best in their new relationship. I’m sure starting it while they were both involved with other people while on television means that they totally know what they are doing and nothing but joy and peace will come their way forever.

Next Week: It’s the finale! FINALL-EEEY! With four couples left, they’re doing some crazy Cisque du Soleil wall-walking thing with harnesses and rainbow Power Ranger suits. Whoever walks up the wall the fastest and without falling off will be in the finals? I don’t even know, it looks crazy! And speaking of crazy: They’re bringing back all the eliminated contestants for the in-studio portion where they decide who gets the money. Who do you think should/will win? And can someone please explain to me what that last challenge is? At least we know it won’t be as mortifying to watch as last year’s Dancing with the Non-Stars disaster. And at least, no matter what happens, after that it will be OVER.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.