Tonight, Ben and his harem go to beautiful Vieques, Puerto Rico. Everyone’s excited, except Courtney, who was here two months ago and also doesn’t have the part of her brain that would enable emotions like “excitement” or “remorse.”
Puerto Rico is an island of rich culture, beautiful scenery and contentious political status — aspects that The Bachelor will glaze over, exploit and ignore, respectively, so the women can play baseball in short-shorts and a model can get naked on the beach so a guy will like her the most. Sorry, Puerto Rico. (Hey, remember this fall when The Bachelor showed up and Puerto Ricans thought they were filming a porn? Now we know why.)
Speaking of Courtney, Emily is still obsessed with hating her. A fascinating and worthwhile pursuit, granted, but she needs to let it go if she actually wants to marry Ben. (Which I guess she doesn’t. Or rather, shouldn’t.) The women arrive at their new beachside manor, and Courtney is wearing an ironic t-shirt that says “BE NICE!” It was supposed to be a self-reminder, but she didn’t realize it would read backwards when she looked in the mirror.
Everyone screams with delight when they find out that ALL OF THEM get to go out on dates with their collective boyfriend this week! “Me?” each woman asks herself, gratefully. “Allowed to see Ben for several minutes when he’s not making out with someone else? How did I ever get so LUCKY?”
Date #1: Soaking Up the Schmaltz with Nicki
So far, what I know about Nicki is that she is pretty, enthusiastic and a ruined woman. Ben and I are both excited to learn a bit more about her, since she’s been entirely defined by her divorce so far, the same way Kacie is defined by her baton twirling and Courtney is defined by her pact with the Devil.
Nicki and Ben head to San Juan, where it immediately starts pouring down rain. When they’re completely soaked, their hair looks the exact same.
Or rather, when they’re soaked, Nicki’s hair looks like Ben’s hair always looks.
“It is raining gatos!” Ben says. How cute, baby knows Spanish!
Soaked to the bone with rain and dashed expectations, they head to a clothing store to buy some “traditional” Puerto Rican clothing. Nicki picks out a super cute tablecloth to wear. Ben looks like a super-lame version of a Mexican drug lord. He looks like a Florida laundromat baron.
“I feel like I’ve got Latin swagger,” the Bachelor said because it had been five weeks since a single person had criticized or questioned him.
They sit down on a bench outside of a church and see a wedding getting started inside. Ben wants a “big” wedding, which is great news for ABC! His televised wedding to Courtney at Mordor ain’t gonna be small, or cheap.
Of course, seeing the wedding and sitting next to Ben brings out “feelings” in Nicki. Like how Ben is her second (and only) chance to ever be happy. Ben is also having feelings, like that he only wants to propose once more in his life. Yeah, good luck with that. To both of you.
At dinner, Ben and Nicki can’t stop talking about “that wedding.” THAT WEDDING! Seeing an actual one with their own eyes suddenly makes the fake proposal at the end of this “journey” seem so real. Nicki opens up about her divorce, how she and her husband grew apart and she wants to “grow with” somebody. She’s worried that her divorce will stigmatize her in Ben’s eyes. Maybe because that’s all they ever talk about?
Meanwhile, back at la casa de los tontos: Lindzi, Courtney, Jennifer, Kacie, Emily, Rachel, Casey S., Jamie and Blakeley get their group date card, which says “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” Blakeley is pissed that Elyse gets the next one-on-one and she doesn’t. She wanted to show Ben her “fun side” AND her “romantic side.” I wonder which side is the left breast and which side is the right?
Back on the date, Ben gives Nicki the rose, and they make out in a giant egg.
Where’s a giant sperm when you need one? (Oh, HI BEN!)
She very well could be the beautiful, non-threatening, boring woman of his dreeeeams!
Date #2: Playing baseball with Lindzi, Courtney, Jennifer, Kacie, Emily, Rachel, Casey S., Jamie and Blakeley
The women show up at Roberto Clemente Baseball Stadium, where they’ll be honoring the legacy of the late Latino baseball hall of famer by butchering his sport in the name of bitchery. Emily is disappointed that there’s no jewelry involved in the “diamond” date, but some of the other women, especially Blakeley, are stoked to show off their amazing athletic skills for Ben. Working out on a date is a dream come true.
The tighter the shorts, the more athletic the lady!
After some drills and batting practice, Chris Harrison shows up with the “twist”: Tonight, Ben’s having a beach party, but not everyone is invited. (GASP!) They’ll be split up into two teams for a baseball game in the stadium. The winning team gets to go to the party, and the losing team gets to go back to the hotel and eat self-pity ice cream until they barf. Well that explains all that rain earlier. It was Roberto Clemente’s ghost, spitting on this offensive use of his stadium from heaven.
There”s an uneven number of women, so Ben picks Lindzi to “play for both teams,” meaning she gets to win the game and go to the party no matter what. Lucky her, I guess? After all that exercise and a baseball game, personally I’d rather have an actual nap than an awake nap (what I call listening to Ben).
It’s time for the big game, and Ben is pitching in a Spanish Giants jersey. How festive!
His chest says “gigantes,” but his face says “afeminado”
The red team (headed by Courtney and Kacie B.) scores five runs in the first inning, but then the blue team comes back when Ben makes a throwing error and scores three runs. It’s a nailbiter already. The stakes are just SO HIGH!
More baseball playing later, the blue team ties it up, and Kacie B. is furious. “DEFENSE YOUR ASS OFF!” she screams at Courtney. Then, “BITCHES!” at the group in general. Grammar, and manners, are out the window. The game goes into an extra inning, and then, with the Most Important Beach Party on the line, Jennifer pulls a real ginger move and strikes out.
The red team, the color of blood and vengeance and anger and LOVE, wins the game! The blue team, the color of sadness and tranquility and the ocean and Ben’s balls, sit in the dugout and cry their eyes out that they don’t get more time with him. Just to rub it in, a helicopter shows up to pick up the red team and Ben to take them to their exclusive beach party. Even WORSE, it’s a helicopter with a locker room and showers in it, so everyone is perfectly dressed when they arrive at the party. An exclusive beach soiree and a magical helicopter? NOOOOOOOOOOO! Courtney says something mean about how the other girls shouldn’t cry because they won “fair and square.” Somebody put a hamburger in her mouth just to shut her up, please.
Monica said Courtney loves to nap. So why won’t she ever GIVE IT A REST?
On the bus ride home, Blue Blakeley weeps about how her boyfriend isn’t spending enough time with her and it’s all her fault. Jennifer feels like she’s gotten some time, but not enough. It’s all about getting more time. Even Courtney says this when she’s at the beach party: “I don’t need a rose. I need more time.” She’s complaining about wanting more time WHILE she’s getting more time!
I don’t know what those blue team girls were crying about, because this beach party is booooooo-RING. Everyone is just sitting around, exhausted from all those lunges they did earlier for no reason. Ben gives Kacie B. the rose after they have a forgettable conversation about love ‘n’ junk. Courtney doesn’t approve because she thinks of Kacie as a “little girl.” Kinda like how the Evil Queen feels threatened by a “little girl” named Snow White?
Furious that sweet little Kacie got the rose, Courtney cooks up with a little evil plot. She steals Ben away and makes her much-anticipated proposition: Skinny dipping in a “secret rendezvous” at an undisclosed time later! Ben calls the idea “unexpected,” and says “I don’t know.” He doesn’t seem too excited, but he’s too dumb (or not dumb enough?) to decline the offer of swimming naked in the dark with a borderline sociopathic model. No clothes between them. And no one to hear him scream.
Date #3: Going Out to Sea with Elyse
Finally, someone who’s actually gonna get dumped on a one-on-one! I mean, I guess I shouldn’t assume that. But so far all we’ve seen of Elyse is her making bitchy faces and crying. Everything points to the fact that Elyse’s purple quilted suitcase is getting shipped back to the States tonight, including her reveal that she quit her job to be here because she “believes in it.” High hopes + high stakes + no screen time = No rose for you.
Ben shows up and reveals that they’re spending the day on a private “mega yacht.” Courtney, our monotone narrator tonight, makes a “joke” about how she wishes she’d gotten Elyse’s number because she might not get the chance later, and she could use a personal trainer. Is that supposed to be an insult? Playing the villain must be so hard when all of your brain power goes to counting calories.
Things take a quick turn for the boring on the yacht. Elyse gives an impassioned speech about her life’s accomplishments, which include moving to Florida. So why does that elusive end-all-be-all, LOVE, keep ignoring her calls?! Ben’s bored too, so he proposes that he, Elyse and her leopard-print bikini take a dive off the yacht. Wear lifejackets, you too! Your lack of chemistry is weighing us ALL down.
They disembark the yacht for an overly fancy dinner on the beach. There are fancy white chairs and a fancy table and fancy lights everywhere. Ben is wearing a fancy tux, but forgot to comb his hair again. Or maybe he just didn’t bother because Elyse isn’t worth the effort.
WHO WORE IT BETTER?
This is like if the kids from Blue Lagoon had a prom dinner together, AFTER they found out it’s wrong to boink your cousins. No connection, just awkwardness. I rate this date a triple O, for obscenely obvious overcompensating.
Elyse talks at Ben some more about how she’s sick of being single, which provides the perfect segueway for Ben to break up with her. “I was hoping for some things today that I just didn’t find,” he says. Like secret pirate treasure? No, like “feelings.” Ben likes a woman with lots of worldly experience, a low bone density and an insatiable thirst for blood.
Elyse walks away from their once comically, now tragicomically fancy beach dinner in tears, and asks, “What did I do wrong?” You didn’t do anything wrong, Elyse. You just ARE wrong. Like, as a person. Ben sends her away in a dinghy of shame. Elyse cries a lot and says that Ben “didn’t give her a chance.” That whole day on the yacht that they just had? Not a whole chance, apparently.
I feel so adrift 🙁
Back on shore, Ben writes “Cooourtnaaaaay” in the sand with his toe and hums his theme song, “This Year’s Love” by David Gray, in his head.
Back at la casa de los idiotas hermosa: The guy whose job it is to silently enter, solemnly grab the suitcase and then leave, does that. Elyse is out! Another tribute sacrificed to Ben’s Hunger Games! Everyone is aghast, I tell you, AGHAST. “Maybe she drank too much and the Jersey Shore came out,” Courtney says. Blakeley tries but fails to hide her smile at that one. Then Courtney just KEEPS TALKING. “Another one bites the dust. Blew my panties off!” Who is she even talking to?
Impromptu Sex Date #4: Skinny Dipping with Courtney
So that’s when Courtney decides to reward Ben for dismissing Elyse with a little visit to “fulfill her promise.” She shows up at his door in a bathrobe with a bottle of wine and two glasses and offers him a “nightcap.” And a “bath.” And some lotion, for a “massage.” Incapable of both emotion and subtlety, Courtney’s new strategy is to just get at that dick any way he’ll let her!
At first, Ben’s weirded out, but eventually (when he figures out that there’s just lingerie under that robe? and that he hasn’t had sex in a month?) he comes around. He knows it’s a bad idea for many reasons, but arrives at the sound logic of “Why the hell not?” So, after the nightcap but before the “massage,” they go skinny dipping. After throwing their panties in the sand and running into the waves, Courtney wraps her talons around Ben’s neck and bumps her wet uglies against his.
CENSORED, FOR THE CHILDREN.
Blurry bars block out their private parts, but no amount of blurring can block out the grossness of this little encounter. I mean, it’s not inherently gross that they’re naked. But it is gross that it’s on this TV show right now. Though, not much grosser than most of what we see on this TV show. And it’s fundamentally f***ed up to go grope-y nighttime skinny dipping with one girl when you’re dating a bunch of other ones. But Ben makes out with everyone constantly, so that’s sort of a wash.
Mostly what I mean by “gross” is Courtney’s cocky and cruel and excessively competitive attitude, and the way she’s using sex to win. She’s very obviously not getting naked because she’s in Puerto Rico with a “guy that she likes” and wants to be romantic with him. She’s doing it because she wants to hurt the other women and manipulate Ben and, most importantly, win. It’s sad, really. Ben’s so easily duped that it’s a legitimate turn-off, and Courtney’s really giving models a bad name. Who will be their advocate now?!
Afterward, Courtney says she’s worried the other girls will hate her if/when they find out, but she’s not. She’s positively glowing with pride and proclaims, “I feel like I’m winninggggg.” Quoting Charlie Sheen again! She’s a nightmare in so many different ways that I’m losing track.
The Cocktail Party
Courtney’s feeling great about their encounter last night, but Ben’s feeling “crappy.” He finally remembered that he’s also dating nine other women, and now he’s only seen ONE of them naked, and that’s not fair! He vows to stay “open” with the group, but then makes no mention of the illicit nude adventure in his champagne toast. LIAR! LIAR MOST FOUL!
Blakeley grabs Ben because she has a big announcement to make to him: “Every day I write something down about you that I really like.” (Uhhhhhhh.) And today, Blakeley wrote down — or maybe just realized, it’s hard to tell because these are barely sentences — that she finally DESERVES Ben?! Ohhhh gooooooood griiiiiiiief. Ben says that Blakeley had an “epiphany” (LOLOLOLOL) and he’s so glad she opened up to him about how great he is. That must feel really good for her.
While Ben is mackin’ on the girls one by one, Courtney’s badmouthing them and bragging to herself about how she has a dirty little secret. A producer told Jennifer to bring up skinny dipping as much as possible and she’d get a special prize (more airtime, no rose), so she starts a conversation about skinny dipping and asks Courtney, “If you had to pick a place to go skinny dipping, where would you go?” Courtney says Puerto Rico in the moonlight, OF COURSE, but she doesn’t spill the beans.
In their one-on-one time, Emily tells Ben that she’s not thinking about Courtney anymore, she’s thinking about Ben and how much she wants him to know that she’s not thinking about Courtney. “And, speaking of Courtney, did I mention that she’s a deceptive weirdo and I still hate her but I’m not bringing it up, I’m just saying that that’s what I’m not bringing up and aren’t you so proud? Do you love me yet?” Ben once again tells Emily to “drop it” and to “tread lightly.” He’s mad AND disappointed, like she’s a little kid who can’t remember the rules. So Emily runs off and freaks out and cries and says, “I think he hates me.” GIRL! Get it together. Ben doesn’t hate you. But I’m starting to.
The Rose Ceremony
Ben goes into the rose ceremony having told none of the women about his skinny dipping stint with Satan. Otherwise we might have some rose rejections on our hands. If only! But no, The Bachelor is The Liar and the women are clueless. Here we go.
Nicki and Kacie B. have roses. And the rest go to…
Lindzi, whose sparkly dress represents how she shined in the baseball game because it was even more pointless for her than everyone else
Jamie, whose collection of horrendous figure skater dresses is UNMATCHED
Rachel, whose beige dress symbolizes her status as wallpaper
Courtney, who wishes she was wearing nothing at all
Casey S., whose pink dress makes her look even more like Barbie than usual
Blakeley, whose huge yellow melons heave with relief at the mention of her name
Emily, whose makeup is all messed up cuz she been cryin’
Which means that poor redhead Jennifer, who had THE perfect fake concert date with Ben just a week ago, is going home. Is it because her earth-toned tie-dye “dress” looks like it should be hanging behind a Bob Marley poster in a stoner’s dorm room? Oh my god, or is it because she STRUCK OUT and lost the baseball game? Ben, that’s cold. But I guess we’ll never know, because this show only cares about how Courtney feels/looks naked. Silly questions like “Why did Jennifer get eliminated?” or “Who is Casey S.?” don’t matter.
Jennifer says “I really do understand” when Ben walks her out. But that’s a lie! She weeps in the van and wonders what she did wrong. I’m sorry, Jennifer, I don’t get it either! In her parting shot, Jennifer lifts her head to the sky and grasps at her neck and, between sniffles, pleads to the heavens that she won’t die alone.
BUT ENOUGH ABOUT HER! Ben announces that the group is going to Panama City. There, he’ll go on tropical kissing adventures with Kacie, Courtney, Rachel and Emily, among others. But then, Chris Harrison will stop by “for one serious reason” that leads to Casey S. sobbing and leaving. Did someone die? Was it Casey? Has she been a ghost this WHOLE TIME?
And later this season: Courtney will declare, “My mojo is risin’ and these other girls better watch out!” The other women will advise Ben not to trust Courtney because she’s “in this to win it,” and Ben will question whether he can trust her. But eventually, Ben is going to say “I feel like we were put on this planet to be together” about somebody, and he’s going to “take a risk” and propose to her on top of a MOUNTAIN!
(Images courtesy of ABC)