Ben Higgins‘ quest for love on The Bachelor hit yet another snag in the previous episode, one so important it warranted the dreaded “To Be Continued…” instead of the usual episode-ending rose ceremony. And the big question America has been asking ever since is, will he or won’t he?
And my guess is that he won’t.
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No Taksies Backsies
Thanks to the emergence of the season 20 tattletales, led by the crying, whining and twinless Emily (or Haley), Ben has finally caught on that Olivia is less than adored among the other women. And while this is sure to raise a red flag, you can’t make decisions based on gossip.
Even if Olivia is the worst person to ever exist on planet Earth, which I’m sure she’s not despite the bouts of Disney step-sister wickedness, Ben has to see it for himself before he kicks her to the curb. There are many instances, like with Nick in both his seasons, where the least popular suitor actually has the best of intentions.
Aggressively chasing the prize and making sure you’re seen is an easy way to get a target on your back, and rather than bitch to Ben about it, these ladies need to get off their asses and do some legwork (or, in Olivia’s case, canklework). You’ll never catch a fish if you wait for your rod to cast itself.
Plus, she already has a rose, and Ben is too nice and non-controversial to Indian give. He shouldn’t send her home, but instead keep a closer eye on her. Besides, if he gets rid of her, Caila will be the only remaining source of potential instability. And everyone, especially the producers, knows you need to keep the crazy ones around at least until hometowns.
He does, however, need to ditch the other Stepford Swift. Snitches get stitches. On their hearts.
Ben was down to his final 11 women before Jubes tried to steal his insecurity blanket and got the ax, and as sad as it was to see all those layers go, Unlovajubesitis just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Before we can head out to Exuma Island, though, we’ve got a rose garden that needs tending. Teen Mom Amanda, kindergarten teacher Lauren H. and Olivia all received date roses, but Ben has some air to clear prior to handing out more posies. So he pulls The Mouth and her piglets out of the assembly line, with the others giddily discussing the certainty that she’ll be sent packing.
Ben asks her about her relationships with her housemates, and she counters that she’s been a target because she’s aggressive and confident. And while the others enjoy painting their nails and doing each other’s hair, she prefers reading books, thinking and having smart conversations. I mean, it must be absolutely unbearable for her.
Still, she’s sure of what she feels for Ben, all while he stands there tapping his finger on his mouth and muttering “mm hmm” like he’s Sherlock Holmes about to crack the case.
The women are crestfallen when he returns with Olivia in tow, prompting Emily to say “She’s fake as f**k” numerous times. C’mon, do you, boo boo. But for Olivia, it’s game on and “Come at me, bro.”
The roses go to:
That means it’s the end of the line for Ben-and-Jen Jennifer, who is devastated because her worst fear of being eliminated without Ben really knowing her has come to fruition. Meanwhile, Emily was freaking out about possibly going home because she didn’t want Ben to think she is the type who causes drama, even though she’s the one who brought the drama directly to Ben.
Now let’s take this shindig to the Bahamas.
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Welcome to the Bahamian Club
The Grand Isle Villas will be their contentious home for the next week, complete with the always traumaculate (my favorite made-up word) two-on-one date. The first card — Let’s see if our love is reel — goes to Caila, much to the chagrin of Leah, who still hasn’t gotten a one-on-one. Or, as she phrases it, “I haven’t gotten shit.”
While Ben and Caila enjoy some “deep-sea fishing” (they’re going awfully slow for real deep-sea fishing — it is not a relaxing experience) and a dip in the ocean, Leah tearfully blubbers, “I look like a fool, a total fool for putting myself through this.”
The group date card — Love is unpredictable — goes to Lauren B., Becca, Amanda, JoJo, Lauren H. and a now-despondent Leah, which means Olivia and Emily will be squaring off in a steel cage match. Oh Lord, he we go.
For Emily, she’s going to battle for everyone who hates Olivia, which is every guy’s dream. Who wouldn’t want to date someone who shows how much she cares by telling you why you shouldn’t be with someone else? I think we know how this one ends.
Is Caila Actually for Daily Use?
As Caila and Ben settle down for dinner, he’s determined to break through her smiley outer shell and find out what makes her sad because he needs someone who is going to cry with him, since he’ll be crying for her as well. There will just be a lot of tears in general, I imagine, especially considering how often they’re likely to watch Steel Magnolias. I bet he loves that movie.
She feels put on the spot to share her deepest and darkest secrets, but she’s not ready to be his damsel in distress quite yet. “I feel like I love you, but I don’t know why I can’t share,” she says. “Maybe it’s just that I’m not ready.” While his biggest fear is that he’s unlovable, hers is that she’ll hurt him, and at this point, her head and her heart aren’t on the same page.
It seems like we’re about to have another confirmed case of Unlovabenitis, but then Caila busts out an “I feel like I’m in love because I am understood” and “I feel like I want you in my life. This is real.” Well it doesn’t sound like it. “I feel” is what you say after a fight so your partner can’t say you’re wrong. “I feel that your inability to load the dishwasher properly is why there is food stuck to the plates.” But can I prove it?
Happy that she’s simply interested in sticking around, Ben decides that it’s “almost attractive that she can be confusing.” WTF does that even mean? Oh, here’s a rose.
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The Weiner Goes in the Mouth
Leah is determined to enjoy the day despite her downtrodden attitude, and it’s a boat ride bikini fest complete with tropical drinks and shots … and aquatic pigs. Yep, the ocean is full of wild pigs, and Ben and the gals will be feeding them chicken hot dogs. Because regular dogs would be a form of cannibalism, and if you allow that, what will prevent a man from trying to marry two or even three pigs?
There is lots of screaming and a general sense of terror, particularly from Becca and JoJo. The Laurens, however, are picking up piglets and loving life. He pays extra attention to Lauren B., which makes the rest of the pack feel neglected.
JoJo gives him the cold shoulder because she’s not good at or used to fighting for attention, while Becca keeps her distance, and Ben doesn’t know what’s going on. He thought they all got how the process worked, and he expected a day of wacky fun that isn’t working out as planned.
Leah cries to him over not having a chance at a one-on-one date, and he begs her to make the most of this experience with him.
A Back Stab for the Ages
The ladies are feeling empty after a day spent with someone who usually fills them with happiness, and Leah is convinced she’s not getting a rose unless she finds a way to save herself.
Ben pulls Becca aside first, and after answering her “How are you?” with a half-hearted “Decent,” he accuses her of being standoffish on the beach. She corroborates based on his chemistry with Lauren B., but the good news is that she’s feeling jealous because of how much she likes him. That leads to smooches and a realization that he needs to go out of his way to communicate why he likes each of them.
It works to reassure Amanda (“You’re a girl I’m really into”), but Leah, who is having an increasingly difficult time being herself, decides it’s time to create a new villain. Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but this is so evil it could melt the ice caps.
My first reactions to Leah’s declaration that some women in the house aren’t being real are: 1) here we go again with this Olivia crap, and 2) Leah has just doomed herself. But then she tosses Lauren B. under the bus as the one with a split personality. Whhhatttttt? Listen, all y’all, it’s a sabotage!
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Doubling and Tripling Down on Being a Bitch
Ben brings the accusations to Lauren B.’s attention, and of course she’s so shocked, she has no idea how to respond. And when a tearful Lauren recounts her conversation to the others, saying she’d never use her time with Ben to talk about someone else, Leah plays dumb, lies and claims that she’s not the type of person who would do something like that. Steeerike two!
Where did all this come from? This is the girl who hiked the football!
Ben ends the date with a rose to Amanda, and as everyone tries to make sense of what just happened, Leah decides she needs to up her devious game even further to ensure she sticks around. And so she sneaks out to Ben’s in an effort to forge a true connection. Kidding! She actually wants to slam Lauren B. some more to make sure he believes that she’s not right for him.
He’s excited to see her and pours them each a glass of wine before she really lays into Lauren B., and it’s quality material ranging from accusations of being catty to not being genuine, even that she once said, “If Amanda ends up with Ben, that’s great!” She’s not here to sabotage because he’d figure it out eventually, but she sees potential in their relationship.
While Leah is busy putting sheets on her bed of lies, Ben comes to his senses and follows his gut that something isn’t right. He was hoping they’d make the best of this secret time, but all they’re talking about is Lauren. And the more Leah sounds off, the more he feels the disconnect.
He’s not sure what or why they’re missing, but he’s never felt anything stronger than his first impression. So it’s probably best if they part ways now. To quote Happy Gilmore: Holy shit. Talk about your all-time backfires. Major, MAJOR, MAJOR props to Ben for seeing through the charade and acting on it immediately. This may be his standout moment of the season.
Leah thinks Ben is stupid for letting her go when she has so much to offer, because “deceitful self-preservationist” and “downright dishonest” are such desirable qualities. Her Match.com profile must be popular. Or I guess she could just lie.
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Hurricane Emily Blows into Town
The date card reads “Two women, one rose. One stays, one goes,” which I’m 99% sure is recycled, and “Let’s see what the Bahamas have in store for us.” Olivia and Emily are the same age, which I think we can all admit is preposterous, and the former is convinced she’s going to feel like the latter’s mom on this two-on-one. But, oh well, she’s going to treat it like a one-on-one anyway.
Emily is all tits-out (c’mon, you noticed them right away, too), and she’s hell-bent on drawing out Olivia’s true colors, which will lead to self-sabotage. It probably won’t be difficult when Olivia describes her and Ben’s love as “all-consuming, ever-present and constantly growing.” Yikes. Hide your bunny rabbit, Ben.
Emily hangs out in the background showing off her sailor mouth, while Olivia talks about herself and everything she knows. “Deep intellectual things are my jam,” she coos, and from the moment she met him, she knew it was right. And now she’s in love with him. She’s also confident and proud of who she has become as a woman, though it’s tough to fully believe that when she’s buried her feet ankle-deep in the sand. We know what you’re doing.
Then it’s Emily’s alone time, and her feelings are stronger than ever. She wants meaningful conversation. She wants to be validated. She wants this moment to be the start of their magical story. Feed me, Seymour! He plays with her hair but offers no kisses, as it’s weird to kiss your little sister.
Ben grabs the rose and pulls aside Olivia, prompting Emily to rage about him passing on a girl like her and claiming she has every right to be confused. But in reality, he can’t reciprocate Olivia’s intense feelings, and another first-impression rose winner bites the dust. Emily declares victory, while Olivia is left standing alone in a puddle of ocean water and tears, buried ankle-deep in the sand.
Somebody’s Gotta Go
We might be down an astounding two villains in one show, but there’s still a rose ceremony on tap. Ben is discouraged and lonesome, worried that he’s losing some of the women and that this could all be for nothing (other than our collective enjoyment). And it’s the first time he doesn’t have the energy to go through with a cocktail party.
That’s bad news for Lauren B., who is desperate for a chance to gauge where Ben is at and how seriously he took Leah’s BS. Caila, Amanda and Emily are safe, leaving Becca, JoJo and the Laurens on the chopping block. I honestly don’t know who it will be because only three can get a rose, and I like all of them better than Emily.
And so we must bid adieu to kindergarten teacher Lauren H., who I admit has grown on me throughout this process. She graciously maintains her composure as he walks her out, wishing him luck and hopping into the van without a conversation.
She is confused as to what he wants, feeling like she was perfect for him and ready for marriage. She just wants to be loved and doesn’t understand why it’s so hard, and the struggle is real. But don’t worry. I love you, Lauren H., and America loves you too.
So Many Tears
So, wow, that all just happened. What an episode. What a freaking episode.
I was not expecting Olivia’s elimination, even though I saw the writing in the sand as the wind-whipped date played out. And I certainly didn’t see Leah crossing over to the dark side out of nowhere. We didn’t get to know her much, but holy hell, that was nuts. I feel like they M. Night Shyamalan’d me.
I’m not sure where we go from here, other than there’s lots of tears ahead and two professions of love from Ben before he seemingly proposes over the phone. But I’m sure that’s all just fancy editing, and he probably calls his mom before popping the question.
Or maybe he calls Emily’s mom to ask permission. Now that would be an unexpected end to the season, wouldn’t it? But who would be the maid of honor?
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)