Last week, I was on real vacation, and that included brain vacation from Love in the Wild, and that means there was no recap. I hope you’re not reading this as a ghost because you immediately took your own life after realizing there was no Love in the Wild recap last week. (But if you ARE a ghost, do me a favor and whisper some fun spooky stuff in a few small children’s ears before your spirit leaves this earth. Maybe like, “BOOOOOooooop!” and then you poke them in the nose. Or “BOOOOOOoooooks … are the key! Stay in school, kids!” I don’t know. Make use of your situation, is what I’m saying.) Point is, I’m back now. And clearly as mentally stable as ever.

I watched last week’s LITW episode on HOOOooooo-loo, so let’s do a mini-recap right now based purely on my days-old memories from between painting my nails and reading Facebook, because that is how this show is MEANT to be consumed.

So the challenge was that they first had to switch partners, which everyone openly hated. Then, with their new partners, they had to do … something … with a map — oh! I remember now. Get two big boxes, and then pack them out on mules, and then rappel down a waterfall with the rappelling gear they found in the boxes, and then retrieve a cursed voodoo idol? It gets hazy at the end there, but literally who cares. The point is that Ben and Samantha won (God help me for actually knowing these people’s names), and Derek dropped the monkey’s paw on his big toe and went to the hospital. GOD, DEREK. You’re such a Derek.

Then everyone worried that their old partners didn’t 1st-grade-love them anymore, especially Brandee, whose Sad Basset Hound eyes had landed her in the Friend Zone with Ben, whose Steve Buschemi eyes were stuck on sexy mantis Samantha. In the end, Derek’s Big Toe was eliminated, and so OCD Jess eliminated herself, Juliet-knife-to-the-gut-style, so she could be with Derek once more in the afterlife. It was all very The Notebook. Everyone else got back together. Brandee took one step forward and three steps back, as she rejected Ben’s proposal to get back together, then went back on her rejection and “stuck it out with him” to stay in the game. Braaaandeeee! This is me giving you the “oh no you di’nt” eyebrows. Actually, I kinda like your style, if you play this right. Now you’ve got Ben by the balls (OH GOD YUCK MENTAL IMAGE) so you better not let go! But, again, really, who cares.

So that’s what happened last week. Still with me? Tonight: MORE OF THAT.

We begin with a Sexy Status Report: Erica and Steele are smitten with each other, because they are both hot and dumb, and it works! Brandee thinks that Ben’s halfhearted apology is a sign that he will instantly change into a good person. Brandee is a dreamer — a dreamer of dreams about a human nightmare.

ben-sucks-litw.jpgIn the service industry … the service of making women miserable.

THE CHALLENGE: It’s a race! Each couple must find five stone carved masks hidden in a boulder, a tree, a pile of rocks, a waterfall and a grove (one in each spot). The first to collect all the masks and get back to the Aussie monkey wins a night at the Oasis, at which they may wear the masks while engaging in various sex acts. Each couple draws a map to help them along, which are the same except for one thing: Each map starts somewhere different, so they’re all traveling in slightly different circles around the resort I MEAN wilderness.

For once, Steele isn’t the worst (challenge-wise, not brain-wise). Erica is instantly turned on when he gets into “winning mode.” Skip, who is the human equivalent of a terrier (cute, dumb, always smiling) can’t get his horse started, but he and Theresa still make time to fall deeper in like. Ben is PMSing pretty bad, and is snapping at Brandee left and right. He calls her “130 pounds of deadweight,” which, to be fair, is an accurate and surprisingly healthy weight estimate (for a reality TV contestant). And, to also be fair, that’s totally what she is.

Elsewhere, Sam and Mike, the golden couple with the raven hair, are on horses, appreciating each other’s skills as well as faults. I’d like to note that this is the THIRD week in a row there have been horses/mules involved in the challenge. Glad to see the challenge writers care the appropriate (minimum) amount. It’s like every “adventure” description is a different result of the same Mad Lib.

After Sam and Mike have collected all their masks, they discover the final twist of the race, “a jungle slip ‘n’ slide.” Are you kidding me? That sounds AWESOME! Unless you’re Sam, who thinks “going commando” means that you’ll literally become a commando.

Shoulda not said that out loud!

THE WINNER: Mike, Sam, and Sam’s private rash come in first place and are headed back to the Oasis. Steele and Erica get second, because Steele transferred his curse to Derek’s toe last week. It’s a race to the finish between Brandee & Ben and Skip & Theresa. It all comes down to a beautifully obvious dating metaphor: Ben’s negativity and bossiness make Brandee move even slower (IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP), while Skip’s support helps Theresa push through (EMOTIONALLY). Brandee and Ben end up in last place, and they’re defeated in every sense. If this were a couple’s retreat, everyone would be whispering about how their divorce was imminent. And necessary.

Sexy Status Report: Ben shows a rare sign of self-awareness (instigated by fear of elimination) and apologizes to Brandee for being such a chode during the challenge. Minnesota Miles and Hawaiian Heather are still pre-falling in love on track. At the Oasis, Mike is ready to get some. Some EMOTIONALLY FULFILLING QUALITY TIME with Samantha! Skip and Theresa spend the entire night in their Hammock of Solitude. It’s kind of a nice little quiet place over there.

Erica is being too clingy for Steele. Everything is too clingy for Steele, who fully admits he is incapable of forming a real relationship, which is why it’s just so great that he got cast on this show. It’s like if a nudist got cast on Project Runway: He might be able to make some clothes (in this case, a relationship) given the pressure and circumstances, but they’re going to suck and no one will want to wear them–especially the nudist, because deep down he wants to be FREE!

Then, NOPE, J/K: Ben is still a jackass. Heather tells Brandee that Ben has been going around saying she’s “dead weight.” Steele starts to feel bad for Brandee (and feel sick of Erica) and the temptation to switch grows (within his pants).

Over at the OOoooOOoooasis: After a beautiful night of sweet, sweet emotions-making, Mike and Samantha get their prize: Ziplining. It’s like a Bachelor date, except much more tolerable, because we watch them zipline for five seconds, and then it’s over. They don’t even make a metaphor about how dating is like a zipline, you just have to strap in and hold on and let go, or whatever Brad Womack would say.



We pretty much know, at this point, that three of the couples will stay together. The question is: Will Ben and Brandee get jettisoned from the S.S. LTR, or will Steele scoop down his mighty arm and rescue Brandee from her googly-eyed ball and chain? An adorable Australian monkey who visited America’s Got Talent promised me that tonight, the Couple’s Choice Ceremony will CHANGE EVERYTHING.

The Choosing of the Mates: Mike and Sam stay together. The host commands them to kiss or share some other form of physical contact, as that is his “thing.” Steele wobbles and waxes cromagnon for a minute, and then shocks EVERYONE by asking Brandee to be his new partner. (Steele changes everything!) Then, SHOCKER part two, Brandee turns him down! (Brandee changes everything!) “I feel like it’s a little late, and I don’t feel like we have a connection,” she says, because when you hate yourself, you don’t even feel like trying anymore. Erica asks Steele to take her back, and HE says no. (Steele changes everything!) “With that said,” Erica spits out, “I think it’s time for me to go home too.” (WHOA, Erica just changed everything!) These people are really taking the “dating” part of this show to heart! Don’t you want to win the trip?! Don’t you know that “love the one you’re with” is OK advice when the options are limited? Don’t you watch other reality dating shows at all? Having dignity is NOT in the contract.

Moving on: Miles and Heather stay together, and so do Theresa and Skip. (Side note: Idea! I DARE YOU, next time you’re around some friends who happen to be in a relationship together — the newer, more undefined and tumultuous, the better! — point blank ask each of them if they would like to stay together or “switch.” Then just stand back and see what happens. It could change EVERYTHING!)

The CCC comes down to Ben and Brandee. Ben says he thinks Brandee would kill him if they stay together another week, so he glances over at the dregs and asks Erica to “stick around and hang out” with him. She still thinks this is about love, not WINNING and, somehow unmoved by his romantic proposal, Erica says no. (Erica changes everything! AGAIN!) Brandee, having rejected both remaining men, head hanging so low her forehead is almost scraping the jungle floor, drags herself over to the unmatched area. It’s a party in the unmatched area, and everyone (who’s lonely and unlovable) is invited!!!

“Since none of you want to be with each other,” says the host, who himself cannot believe these people are taking this seriously. Ben, Brandee, Steele and Erica are all eliminated and must put their bracelets in the little Australian’s bowl. Four more trophies of forgotten souls to add to his weird, little collection.

NEXT WEEK: Only three couples remain, and the challenge will involve a lot of sweating, and dredging, and yelling, and at one point it looks like a strange animal (a chupacabra, perhaps?) will cross paths with Theresa and Skip. Everyone sounds stressed out, like maybe falling in love in the wild doesn’t solve all your problems. Whatever happens will probably change everything.

Until then, questions: Three couples remain. Mike and Samantha, Heather and Miles, and Skip and Theresa. Which would you most like to see:
– Get eliminated?
– Win the final prize (a trip around the world, or something)?
– Get married and make all the babies?

Not caring is an option, but then your comment will be boring, and I’ll judge you for that. JK, I love you all, see you next week! 

(Images courtesy of NBC)

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.