Yes, we’re down to our last six suitors on Juan Pablo’s season of The Bachelor, and after brief stops in exotic locations like South Korea, Vietnam and New Zealand, JP and Co. are headed to the faraway fantasy land of … Miami, aka where Juan Pablo lives. (Are Camila and the ‘rents still in Los Angeles?) Does he have a business meeting or something?
Even as we get down to the nitty gritty and the hometown dates near, this episode is about two things and two things only. Will Sharleen pull a Brooks and bail early, even when it’s clear she’ll get a rose no matter how hard she tries not to? And will Clare and Nikki end up involved in some sort of physical altercation?
Sharleen has almost been trying to get sent home, but to no avail. You really want kids? Yeah, they’re not in my future. You’ve got a kid? Yeah, I dated a guy with one before and I hated not being number one. You like me? I think you’re okay, but I thought I’d like you more. You want to unnecessarily stroke my face and kiss me awkwardly? Yeah, I’d rather have some actual conversation.
It seems pretty clear that Sharleen is on the way out, because after so much buildup, it’d just be delaying the inevitable if she somehow decided to stay again. But that’s why you play the games, folks. Championships aren’t won on paper.
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Back Eeen the US of A
The girls are staying in the penthouse suite of the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, where new bikinis are waiting for all of them. Yay! I wonder if there’s an in-room movie theater?
Sharleen thinks it’s important for her to get a one-on-one this week, because at this point she’s not willing to let him meet her family. Juan Pablo reunites with his family, takes a shirtless swim with Camila and then, in a fancy editing moment, tells his cousin that Sharleen might be “the one.” The cousin reminds me of the people in the Invisalign commercials, because he has braces and what appear to be perfectly straight teeth.
JP shows up at the hotel with the date card — “Come Sea My City” — and hands it to a terrified Sharleen. She holds it like she’s never seen one of these so-called “date cards” before, the same way I’d imagine she’d hold a baby. And it’s a get-ready-and-go kind of date, so we’re off to the races.
They start out with a yacht ride, and Shar Shar goes back and forth like an Olympic speed skater. Her normal type is less dumb foreign hunk and more super-intellectual nerd, but she just can’t seem to stop kissing Juan Pablo. He holds her face, as is his MO, and the fact that he’s “ridiculously sexy” has her on the televised side of the fence for the time being.
Over a private-island picnic, she continues to fight the good fight by saying that her career-first priorities have altered over the years and that “change is good.” A sunset swim in a sexy bikini reinforces her newfound confidence, but c’mon, these two aren’t on the same page. It’s easy to convince yourself in this type of environment, but what would their everyday life be like? How many times would she tell herself, well, at least he’s pretty?
And seriously, how tired are we of watching Juan Pablo make out? Much more so than in a normal season.
All About Chemistry
Sharleen decides that she needs to make up her mind at dinner, so naturally all they do is swap spit while yachting along the waterfront. He tells her she’s good at not trying to impress him while impressing him anyway, and he’s excited to meet her family. He asks how she feels about the prospect, and she enthusiastically says, “I think I can do it.” He completely misses the red flag she is waving like Tom Cruise claiming land in Far and Away and instead says he loves her smile when she says it.
And if you needed any more evidence that she believes herself to be mentally superior to him, she actually says, “I wish I was dumber so I could just be like, duhhhh.” He just laughs and says he wants honesty, but she keeps ignoring the little voice in the back of her head and instead kisses him. Again. Because it’s better than talking.
After a champagne toast, she goes back to the house and confides in everyone’s momma Renee about her uncertainty. She claims her gut is telling her to stay and see what happens, but that’s how everyone justifies staying with someone when their gut is actually telling them it’s time to go.
Nikki Don’t Dance and Juan Pablo Don’t Rock and Roll
The second one-on-one date card invites Nikki to “Listen to My Heart Beat,” and she immediately fears she’s going to have to dance again like she did in Seoul. This peeves Chelsie, who hasn’t gotten any alone time in about two months and doesn’t appreciate yet another negative reaction from a person who does. But unlike Sharleen, Nikki actually is falling in love.
They’re making a floral arrangement ahead of Camila’s dance recital, and this one’s the whole shebang for Nikki, who will be meeting the entire family, including baby momma Carla. They have the run of the entire flower shop, and somehow Juan Pablo picks a bouquet only a toddler could appreciate. Still, Nikki is in heaven and JP calls it a perfect day. Preseason favorite representing!
More Ball Play
Juan Pablo and Nikki retire to Marlins Park for an empassioned game of catch in high heels, a short skirt and a backless deep-V blouse. You know, the usual ballgame attire. They discuss how she would fit in his life, and a stadium tour and smooches follow.
Between the balls and the deep-V and the mound and the baseball tradition of eating hot dogs, I am amazed I kept that last paragraph as clean as I did.
The Skinny Lady Sings
The show isn’t over until it happens, and Sharleen has made up her mind that it’s time to bow out of the competition. She gets all gussied up and breaks the news to the girls first, telling them that it’s because she’s taking this so seriously that she doesn’t want to cost one of them a spot. She’s worried she’s making a huge mistake, but it won’t feel that way for long.
She says all the grown-up stuff about not being ready for a proposal and not getting where she would need to be in such a short time, but she also tosses in a couple lines about having feelings for him that she hasn’t felt in a long time. He takes it very well, telling her not to apologize for how she feels. He just wishes she had sang more for him.
He reinforces her decision by manhandling her face while wiping away her tears, but it’s all very mature. JP respects the guts she displayed in being honest, which he acknowledges isn’t often appreciated for what it is. Still, he sheds a few tears.
A Four-Way Group Date
Chelsie, Renee, Clare and Andi are headed out on the “My Hometown for Yours” group date, and there’s a rose up for grabs for the one lucky lady who will be guaranteed a hometown visit next week. Also, whoever gets that rose is the only one who will continue on the second part of the group date.
JP picks them up in a prop plane and whisks them to a private beach, where Chelsie produces a stack of advice letters her family gave her before she left. Mom says no gum chewing, two drink maximum, keep your clothes on. Dad says it’s supposed to be fun and do the opposite of whatever mom told you. So she gets wasted, strips down and pops some Chiclets.
Andi starts crying over her vulnerability, conflicting emotions and threat of failure, but all I can focus on is the fact that Juan Pablo is wearing water shoes. Renee gets a beach walk during which I assume they talk about their kids, and Clare describes the seven people you meet in heaven her hometown before crying about her dad and telling Juan Pablo about his DVD from the beyond.
The torrential rain starts falling, and JP gives the rose to DAndi. Clare is pissed, saying she deserves something amazing and wonderful because she’s been putting herself out there and watching other girls who are unsure of themselves get the dates and roses. She even goes all potty mouth and drops a “Let’s [expletive] wrap this [expletive] up and go home” as the three women get on the plane and a “What the [expletive] am I doing here?” Now she’s going back to the suite to take it all out on Nikki.
As the icing on the cake, Juan Pablo waves to the plane as it flies off, leaving him and Andi intertwined in the ocean. She changes into a tight red number before they hit South Beach for a night on the town and a serenade from Romeo Santos.
A Polar Vortex in Florida?
Clare and the other rejected ladies get back to the hotel in less-than-stellar moods. Clare feels like she got kicked off the last group date, but on the upside, at least she gets to hang out with Nikki! Please, she’d rather get stung by a jellyfish. There’s awkward silence before Clare says something that prompts Nikki to storm off, and spurned Clare refuses to be disrespected and gives chase.
Clare calls her a b**ch, and then they bleep a lot of S-words while they go back and forth about who is interrupting who, who owns the room and if either of them are paying for any of the amenities. It ends with Nikki calling Clare crazy.
Who’s in the Frozen Four?
I don’t know if the cocktail party is even necessary, because it’s painfully clear that Chelsie is going home. The Clare-Nikki feud is hovering like a pall over the night, with Clare shooting dirty looks at Nikki getting eaten by bugs and Nikki musing that Clare’s whole family must be crazy because “she didn’t get crazy all on her own. It had to come from somewhere.”
Nikki and Clare whine about how they can’t stand being around each other any longer, then awkwardly get left alone and sit in silence for a solid 90 seconds (it actually feels much longer).
Juan Pablo sits down with the women and talks about what a great night it is, prompting me to lovingly say out loud, “Aw, he’s so stupid.” Andi is safe, and the other three roses go to:
That means Chelsie is indeed headed back to the world of science educating, though Juan Pablo cries some over her departure. Chelsie is mature about it, unlike Clare, who utters, “Such a mistake. Huge mistake,” while glaring at Nikki.
Chelsie tells JP that if there’s a better match for him out there, she wants him to have it. Because she wants the same for herself. It’s the usual, I always hear I’m a great girl and will find a great guy, but I just want to find him already. She is consoled by the fact that Juan Pablo is upset she’s leaving. Still not a surprise, though, as she was definitely his least developed relationship.
Let’s Go Home
We’re looking at double the drama next week as we’re treated to a two-night extravaganza, with Juan Pablo visiting the hometowns of at least two suitors (Clare and Andi) who have outwardly disapproving families and engaging in some sort of fantasy suite mishap that threatens whether Andi stays or goes. Andi cries. Clare cries. Nikki cries. Even Renee cries. Will you cry, too? Don’t forget the tissues.
Whose side are you on with this whole Nikki spat? I agree that she’s different around Juan Pablo than she is with the other girls, but at the same time, I can’t say Clare and Chelsie are the people I’d want to be friends with in a situation like this. Sure, Nikki seems negative at times, but it’s telling that Renee just sits in the middle of the Chelsie-Clare convo without piping up or adding her two cents. Plus, the end dancing scene makes me feel like Andi and Nikki are the fun normal ones, while Clare has always struck me as a bit of a drama queen.
Either way — and it makes me a bit sad to admit this — I am genuinely excited to see what happens next. It’s called rubber necking for a reason.
The Bachelor season 18 airs every Monday at 8pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)