Because once a week is never enough, ABC is turning Valentine’s Day weekend into a two-night Bachelor extravaganza. What’s that, you say? Five hours of love? Five hours of Chris Soules in a 26-hour span? But I just sat through two hours of Fifty Shades of Grey. I don’t know if I can handle any more.

Psshhawww. ABC laughs at your feebleness. It’s time for Chris to take his women to Podunk, Iowatown, to see if any of them can handle life on the farm. And just for good measure, we’re tossing in an hour-long mid-season “Tell All” episode featuring Kelsey and Andi.

Three hours is a lot to ask anyone to spend sitting in front of a television on a Sunday night unless you’re watching a sporting event or an awards show, so no need to dilly-dally.

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Kelsey Tells All

Kelsey, who Chris eliminated in one of the most bizarre two-on-one dates in show history, is up first during the “Chris Tells All” special. She apparently didn’t even realize she was controversial, so Chris Harrison explains what condescension means. The other girls were upset when she sneaked away to tell Chris the amazing and wonderful story of her husband’s death, but she defends the decision as an important step in Chris finding out who she is. She also denies that the panic attack was fake. 

As for the date in the Badlands and the notorious “I know what you did” glare, Kelsey says that Ashley was so nice to her face all the time that she was really shocked to be thrown under the bus. She also wonders if Ashley’s comments were part of the reason she went home, and while she would be looking forward to seeing the other ladies again at the “Women Tell All,” she worries it will be a crucifixion (her crucifixion, unlike the fancy edit in the promo that made it look like she was talking about Ashley).

As for the future, Kelsey is heading to Paris to become a writer. And there, she will likely search for her third true love and work on a novel, presumably Bachelor fan fiction about her steamy love affair with Chris that was thwarted by an evil Disney princess villainess (called Fifty Shades of Crazy?). Of course, the move to France will have to wait until she completes her other two vacations to eat and pray.

What Does Chris Think?

Chris Harrison points out that this season has had everything, which is true except for a disturbing lack of actual love and romance. But there’s been plenty of drunks and crazies, and he sat down with Chris Soules to talk it out, bro-style.

They break down the double elimination and Chris’ ratting out of Ashley I., then discuss the truly scary crazy that came out of Ashley S. She apparently spent her evenings wandering the grounds and picking through the craft services table, and she was convinced that the crew was a giant gambling ring betting on the girls. And yet her audition tape was surprisingly normal.

Tara’s drunken first night made Chris question why she was there, but he gave her a pass. Jordan’s drinking was also an issue, and he felt bad for her when she made her plea for a second chance. But he quickly realized it was a terrible idea to add her into the group date mix.

Chris was a fan of Jillian’s tiny bottoms and roving black box, but there was no chemistry. As for Juelia’s widow story during the pool party, Chris-squared praise her strength and wish her luck in love. The Kimmel-Kaitlyn date was crazy, the sex doctor date was uncomfortable, Sully the donkey went nuts on the horseback date and his kiss with Britt was one of the most intimate moments in Bachelor history.

What Went Wrong with Andi and Josh?

Bachelorette Andi Dorfman is back to dish the deets on her breakup with Josh, and she’s runny-nosed tearful before the interview even starts. It started out as a storybook romance in which Andi was certain she’d found her soulmate was falling apart, and they’d been struggling for a while leading up to the red carpet premiere that saw them holding hands and discussing wedding plans. 

Seeing the other couples who were happily planning weddings was an eye-opening experience, and they realized they weren’t making each other better. They’re both stubborn and don’t back down, so there was no calming force in their relationship, just lots of tension. Everyone agrees it’s sad all around, she’ll always love Josh, they’re not talking anymore and this is the biggest failure of her life so far. Guess she should have signed on to Team Nick.

You might think that’s enough Bachelor for one night, but nope, we’ve still got a two-hour regular episode to get through. Push on, we must, like a pit stop that doesn’t mean the leg is over on The Amazing Race. At least we’ll be one step closer to the finish line.

To Rose or Not to Rose

Chris just sent home Kelsey and Ashley, but seven still need to be pared down to six. First up is the cocktail party, with Britt asking Chris what happened on the two-on-one and all the girls saying how proud they are that he got rid of the black widow. Megan pulls him aside to ask why their relationship isn’t progressing, and he tells her it’s not there and sends her home. Well, that was abrupt. Like ripping off a Band-Aid.

Despite losing a friend, the girls now think they’re all safe. Then Chris Harrison drops the bombshell that there will still be a rose ceremony, and one more woman will be eliminated. But wait, just kidding. Chris has strong feelings for all six and won’t be sending anyone home, and they’re all going to Iowa.

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Welcome to Iowa

The women tour the big-city sites of Des Moines (population 200,000+) and marvel at its beauty, but it’s still unknown if any of them fit into the farming life of Arlington. Jade gets the first date card, and she will be joining Chris in his hometown. It also marks the first time someone has gotten a second one-on-one date, and Britt doesn’t hide her jealousy.

They share a nice makeout session in Chris’ kitchen before he gives her a tour of the house, which they both agree could use a woman’s touch. She’s from a small town herself, so it’s not too much of a culture shock. Then he introduces her to each of the cows. 

They ride his hog to downtown Arlington, which basically consists of five boarded-up ex-businesses and a coffee shop, and Jade begins to realize just how isolated the area is. She recognizes his insecurity but can’t help feeling overwhelmed by the ghost town, which is like a third person on this date.

Play Ball

The date continues at a high school football game at Chris’ alma mater, and Jade finally gets to see some other people, which makes her smile. She even meets Chris’ parents, because I guess there really is nothing better to do on a Friday night in Arlington than watch teenagers tackle each other.

They walk around the darkened school and find his name engraved on a plaque, then sneak into an English classroom to act out a popular adult movie fantasy. She opens up about her rebellious youth and how she made a lot of bad choices, and they do some smooching pressed up against a locker. He praises her small-town values, and she’s not quite ready to talk about her “modeling” days yet.

Back outside, the crowd chants “Kiss Chris,” and Jade obliges. She giddily tells the camera she’s falling in love, and then she eases Chris’ mind by telling him not to be ashamed of where he’s from or worry that it’s not enough for another person. She remains my favorite. 

Whitney and the Big City

While Britt continues to freak out that everything isn’t about her, desperate to know where her relationship stands (yup, she’s that girl this season), Whitney gets a one-on-one date and will be “looking for love in Des Moines.” 

They start off at an art museum, where he reads an exhibit sign and announces they’ll be documenting their love in photos. The pictures include kissing at various locations in the city, making shadow hearts and throwing leaves in the air. They talk about their families and ideals, and she feels a sense of peace in Iowa.

They head to a restaurant to cap off what he calls one of the best days of his life, and three of his best friends show up to grill the filly. One of the guys, who only speaks out of the side of his mouth, is the skeptic of the bunch, and he asks how love works during such a unique experience. She has no hesitations and feels good, and the bros think she’s killing it and give their blessing.

Before the date ends, Whitney wants to share her family dynamic with Chris. Her mom passed away about 10 years ago when she developed a blood clot during a routine procedure, and she has no relationship with her father. That’s why a husband who has a great relationship with his parents is important to her because she wants to be able to call someone mom and dad again. 

The night ends with the unveiling of a mural of them kissing painted on a wall, and she wraps her leather-pants wearing legs around him while he does that awful high-pitched laugh thing.

A Road Trip to Nowhere

Back at the hotel, Jade is trying to describe Arlington to the other girls, while Britt cries that she wasn’t the one to see it. Carly suggests they take a road trip to canvass the town so that they won’t be surprised by anything, and even though some girls are on the fence because Chris is supposed to be the one showing them around, the four of them (no need for Jade to go back) hop in an SUV and begin the three-hour-ish drive. 

Despite their already-low expectations, they are astonished at the size and lack of time it takes to drive through. The main drag is so un-main-dragy that they don’t even realize it is one until they exit Arlington and pull a uey. It’s worth noting that Arlington is not looking good in this process. Perhaps shining this light on it will get some commerce back into those run-down buildings. There’s certainly room for growth. 

There is literally nothing to do, so they walk around for a bit and find that even the church is locked. But Carly peeks in and sees that the religious folks have the same framed picture of Jesus that her grandparents had hanging on their wall, which she takes as some sort of sign that she’s supposed to be there. 

They ask some older dude in a Call of Duty: Ghost Recon T-shirt where a good place to get some grub is, and he tells them, “Not in Arlington.” He winds up being the pastor of the church, and I’m glad there is money in the budget for a PlayStation 4.

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An Icy Reception on the Group Date 

Britt does not see herself living in Iowa, though she seems to soften her stance, apparently because of a sunset. But the other girls think she’s being fake, and Carly even paints a little imitation Britt on her hand and argues with it, declaring that Britt is going down and that Carly will rise. The group date card — Icy Our Future Together — goes to Britt, Carly and Kaitlyn, meaning Becca gets no love.

Before the date begins, Jade confides in Carly about her Playboy days. She wants to tell Chris herself because her dad found out from his co-workers and that didn’t go so well. She worries that Chris’ family will Google her, and then the nude skeleton will be out of the closet. 

The trio of ladies heads to the Wells Fargo Arena, where Chris has the hockey rink all set up. They lace up the skates and hit the ice for a different kind of scoring. Chris keeps falling down, which the women find absolutely adorable. Then Britt, still pining about this being the hardest week for her, steals him away to recapture that special feeling of feeling special. She tells Chris about their road trip and gushes that she fell in love with Arlington. 

Beware the Tattletale

Britt’s words eased Chris’ worst fears, and he thinks they could make a special and great life in Podunkville. And that doesn’t fly with Carly, who decides she needs to speak up. I say it every season that the person who tells the Bachelor/ette about the dirty laundry in the house never wins because he or she is immediately painted as a friend or as someone playing the game too hard. But in this case, Carly may actually be more concerned with Chris’ best interests, even if it brings about her end.

She’s very protective of Chris and wants to make sure he ends up with someone who wants his life, and that person, she says, is not Britt, who confided in them that she could never see herself in Arlington. Chris’ face visibly hardens as she talks, and we may have just witnessed a heart actually breaking. He is obviously concerned that Britt is lying to his face, and Carly warns him to be careful.

The Britt Implosion

Britt has already dug herself a hole, but instead of climbing out, it appears that she’s about to pick up the shovel again. Perhaps learning some tact after ratting out Ashley, Chris lets Britt do the talking. He asks about Arlington and if there was ever an “oh my god, no way” type of moment (like Carly described). She says no, and that it’s all part of the Chris package, and that no matter where she lives she just wants to be a mom.

She’s happy and in love, oblivious to the storm that is coming. Chris is going along with it, for now, but you can tell he’s not exactly sure what’s up. Kaitlyn is next, and she’s feeling a step behind in the process and wants to “get there.” She says she’s always catching up, and the lack of time is frustrating because the connection is there for her. He reassures her that she’s stood out since day one, and if they’re going to end up together, she has to trust the process. To back that up, he gives her the rose.

This does not sit well with Britt, whose insecurities over not being number one all the time prompt her to question Chris’ motives. Kaitlyn and Chris return to a somber and silent scene, and they must have been gone a while because Kaitlyn went in with a Moscow Mule mug and walked back with a glass. Britt glares with an icy stare so cold that Chris probably wishes he was flubbing around the hockey rink again.

Carly’s Scheming Pays Off

Chris thanks the girls for a great day, but Britt doesn’t get the concept of a private conversation. So in front of Carly and Kaitlyn, she talks about being confused and really hurt. She talked about being Chris’ wife and fitting in to Arlington, and she made herself vulnerable and literally begged for validation. She doesn’t want her husband to see her as third, fourth or fifth down the line (c’mon, it isn’t Utah), and she forces Chris to justify his decision. 

He’s not sure if she’s saying she wants to leave, which makes her think he doesn’t care if she goes. She wants to know if he’s going to meet her family, but out of respect for Carly and Kaitlyn, he won’t tell her anything that could make a difference. This is one chapter of the journey, and she’ll find out at the rose ceremony like everyone else. 

Carly’s day, which she already said was good, just got better. Having Chris see Britt’s true colors meant more to her than any rose. Who knew Britt was such a quality prognosticator?

To Be Continued…

The two-night extravaganza continues with Britt’s recovery attempt and a cocktail-partyless rose ceremony. She pulls Chris away just before he hands out flowers to apologize, and there’s kissing, so he might be in too deep to quit her. 

We see Becca, Kaitlyn and Jade introducing Chris to their families, so those three are definitely sticking around. That leaves Britt, Carly and Whitney for the final spot. Who do you think gets it and who goes home? And do Britt’s actions warrant her dismissal? Or is the connection strong enough to withstand?

With only six ladies left and two about to get the boot, who are you rooting for? For my money — and there’s not much of it — it’s Jade all the way. I also like Carly a lot more than I thought I would, but not necessarily for Chris. 

But back to Jade — who cares if she posed nude? I’m not about judging someone for their past, only the present and future. Though I can see how it might be tough. On the one hand, you can tell your friends that your wife posed for Playboy. But on the other, they can see her naked any time they want. 

But for love, you just deal with it.

You can watch The Bachelor every Monday night at 8pm on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Bill King

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Emmy-winning news producer & former BuddyTV blogger. Lover of Philly sports, Ned, Zoe, Liam and Delaine…not in that order