Yes, that’s a euphemistic headline, if you were even a little unsure. Because tonight on The Bachelor, it’s Fantasy Suite week! Bow-chicka-ugh-woof.
It’s a special week, but Brad starts it off as he does every week: Debilitated by indecision and confusion. “I have no clue what I’m doing right now.” That makes two of us. Let’s figure it out together, Brad.
He’s in New York City, and once again he’s packing up for a whirlwind week, this time to South Africa. I imagine him getting prepped for this trip by a producer: “South Africa? Now, is that a different continent than Africa? Like there’s North America and South America, so there’s North Africa and South Africa? No? …. My god.”
Now that Brad’s all caught up, let’s go to South Africa and fall in sex I MEAN love!
CAAAAN YOU FEEEEEEL THE LOOOOVE FOR THIS EPIC RECAP TONIGHT:
Brad’s electroshock heart therapy is working, but he’s not all the way there yet. He’s still plagued by trust issues, worried he’ll end up alone. He ponders these intense emotions as he makes the long flight to South Africa, once again recapping for us what each of his remaining three women is like:
Chantal: Emotional and sexy.
Ashley: Emotional and cute.
Emily: Angelic and wonderful in every way, like the Mary Poppins of Barbies. (“Huh?” – you. Just go with it, OK?)
Brad’s like the Inception of people, constantly reflecting and re-reflecting upon each relationship until even he can’t figure out what is real and what is “reality TV.” The one new bit of info we hear is that it has actually occurred to Brad that if he proposes to Emily, he is asking to join a FAMILY. And that’s a big deal. You know what else is a big deal? ELEPHANTSSSSS! Can we see some now, PLEASE?
Finally, Brad arrives in South Africa, “terrified of being alone” but ready to bone. That’s right, it’s Overnight Week, when people stop being polite and start taking off their pants in the name of landing that big, fat, juicy diamond ring at the end of all this. It’s also the week when the Bachelor editors pull out the big guns with their suggestive nature montages. Both of these traditions start out funny but, upon further contemplation, end up gross. Let’s see how they go!
Date #1: Chantal
They’re going on safari! Chantal is wearing ugly jean shorts but looks lovely otherwise, and a family of monkeys laugh at Brad when he says “in the bush.” He and Chantal pass a pack of sleeping lions, and take turns saying “Oh my GOD!” until the lions wake up, yawn and turn over, just like the way WE DO when Brad and Chantal are talking.
“Oh my GOD!”
“Please, leave the Big Guy out of it. And me too.”
Then they see my favorite African animal, the giraffe! (It looks like an Avatar alien and I really want to ride one.) “It was just hangin’ out, eatin’ its lil’ leaves,” says Brad, who is, unfortunately, his own tour guide.
After they fill out their African Animal Bingo Cards (Monkeys! Rhinos! Wildebeasts, oh my!) Brad and Chantal sit down for a river-side picnic next to an angry hippo. Did you know they’re the most dangerous animal in the WORLD? Like, they kill a lot of people every year. Their teeth look like huge Thanksgiving cornucopias made out of solid, deadly BONE. I learned about them at the zoo. Anyway, this one looks super angry to be one of the final objectified creatures to be featured this season. I like how Brad tells Chantal that he misses her family, since we all remember how Brad is in love with Chantal’s dad Mike. (I said this to Carla and she said, “Don’t forget about Boca! “Boca ‘n’ me are buddies! Hurrrrrr!” But I think Mike is more Final Rose material.)
Brad to Chantal: “We’re WEEKS away from something that could change our lives forever.” Seeing as this whole process has happened over the course of eight weeks, Brad, you could have said that at any point. Before the hippo can rip their faces off, Chantal and Brad give it a shot of their own, both getting up on their tiptoes (?) for their first African kiss!
“Brad, do you accept this bite?” – The Hippochelor
After lunch, it’s immediately time for dinner (after a crucial wardrobe change), and Brad “gets fired up” and admits that he’s the “most comfortable” around Chantal of the final three girls. “I can say and do other things,” he says. (Like put her in his button-up shirt on their second date and go to third base.)
Chantal pulls a classic crazy girl move: “Let’s just get married HERE! Wouldn’t that just be so CRAZY-awesome and I’m pretending I’m kidding but I’m totally not?” Brad loves how Chantal puts her heart (and brain) on her sleeve. When she’s good and warmed up, thinkin’ about the bliss of married life with Brad, he hands her the Fantasy Suite card and Chantal says, “I think we should go. I think we should HURRY. I’m done with dinner.” Girlfriend is in love and ready to get dooooown. NOW.
But before she gets down, she’s got to go UP: They walk (and walk, and walk) out to the middle of nowhere, where they find a tree house. That’s where they’ll be staying that night! The tree house a fitting metaphor for the child-like emotions that pass for “love” on this show. Plus, there’s no roof or bathroom. Can you say “romantic”???
Inside the Fantasy Suite: So much for privacy. We’re there in the tree house with Brad and Chantal, watching them make out and call each other a “special person.”
Brad and Chantal, sittin’ in a tree, K-I-L-L-uh I mean-K-I-S-S-I-N-G!
I’m distracted, wondering how we’re supposed to follow the Fantasy Suite script of slowly backing out with the camera man as Brad shuts the door when there is NO DOOR. We find out: Slowly zoom out and then cut to a yawning lion. I concur, Simba! Let’s get out of here.
Date #2: Emily
Brad says he’d “prescribe a night in a tree house to any couple,” (*WINK*) and then all of a sudden he’s looking like a lovestruck doofus when Emily shows up. Ew. I almost forgot how much the back-to-back sexcapades really bother me on Fantasy Suite week.
Brad runs up and hugs Emily, and then all of sudden tells her to “hold on” and runs off. She’s like “… the fuuuu?” but before she can get pissed, Brad rides up on a FREAKING ELEPHANT.
Good save, Womack. This time.
This is how I know Emily is from beyond this world: She’s perfectly adorable and well-dressed, even at a watering hole. I don’t know how she hides the halo, but she’s doing a great job!
They get off the elephant and sit on a dock for a chat: Brad misses her daughter. Aww. Emily asks Brad if he’s ready for a five-year-old, and he freezes and inhales sharply before saying, “…Yeah!” He seems sincere though: “I’ve never been a father, and I’m going to fail sometimes. But never in a million years would I ask you to a movie if I didn’t realize you are a package deal and I love that about you.” CUE KISS.
CUE SWELLING MUSIC … AND PANTS.
Brad’s ready and rarin’ to get that dinner out of the way so he can take Girl #2 to his tree house of love. He wasn’t willing to kiss Emily with her daughter upstairs, but you betta’ bet he’s willing to go further now that they’re on another continent!
It’s dinner time, and you can feeeeel the looooove toniiiiiight (in Elton John’s voice please k thx). Emily looks gorgeous in a classy black dress, while Brad’s wearing a freaking t-shirt like a goon. That’s fitting. He is again acting like an awkward, stammering weirdo, and admits he’s still “nervous” around Emily. She offers to tell him anything he wants to know. Cut to confessional: Emily tells the camera that she’s falling in love with Brad (!!!), but feels vulnerable since there are still two other girls.
It’s getting harder for Emily to separate her relationship with Brad from the other girls, but she doesn’t want him to question anything from her. She tells Brad that if he wants to be with her, she “just wants to do it.” (No, Brad, not THAT “it.”) When Brad gives her the Fantasy Suite card, Emily says she wants to set a good example for her little girl, “but with that said… also want more than anything to spend more time with you. Keep things going slowly. Use it as a time to get to know each other better and just talk.” Yooou know the drill. Way to go, Emily! The ol’ “Let’s talk and grow and connect” response is a lot classier than Chantal’s “YUM YUM let’s go sex NOW!”
Inside the Fantasy Suite: This one has a ROOF! Emily finally works up the courage to tell Brad that she’s falling in love with him. He’s bowled over and says he didn’t expect that. (“Surprise!” – Emily, such a doll.) Brad’s breakin’ ALL them rules: He says he’s falling in love with HER TOO!!! He’s not supposed to DO THAT, you guys! WHOOOOOOOOOA! The music swells again, and it’s kissin’ time.
Yay, Emily! You did it! Good job! I love you too.
Good luck following that act, Ashley.
Date #3: Ashley
Brad is stoked to see Ashley, because he’s missed her very “badly”! (That’s Womack’s word. He owns it, as you Drinking Gamers know so well.)
They go on a walk and Ashley jokingly asks if there’s a carnival waiting for them in the bush, and Brad is like, “No, that date sucked. This one is WAY cooler.” And guess what it is: A HELICOPTER. Ashley freaks out and literally runs away, and at first I think she’s just surprised, which is a dumb thing to be about helicopters on The Bachelor. But then she reveals being in a helicopter is her “biggest fear in life,” which may actually be dumber. (And she’s gonna have a hard time next season if that’s the case…)
“Wait, a HELICOPTER? On The Bachelor? This isn’t what I signed up for, except that it totally is!”
Inside the ‘copter, Ashley is very high-pitched for a very extended period of time, and it’s wearing on my nerves. But Brad, his third trip to the Fantasy Suite in sight, is much more patient, and he holds her hand as they ‘copter around and peep some more exotic wild animals. (Let me just say: I am VERY relieved that all the dates are animal and not local culture focused, because I was stressin’ on Brad’s behalf that he would accidentally do and say any number of offensive things.)
The helicopter lands, and it’s picnic time again. Brad’s using all the same moves on each girl! He even gives the same toast to Ashley that he did to the others, saying he loved her family and was really comfortable with them.
But it quickly goes downhill from there: Brad asks her where she’d want to live, and she says she’d consider anywhere if it’s around the people she loves. But Ashley is also very career-focused. Brad says she reminds him “exactly” of himself, how he was all about working in his twenties, but now that he’s in his thirties, he’s ready to settle down. He’s making Ashley nervous that they’re not in the same place in their lives, but he kinda saves it by saying maybe he can help her “find balance.” Brad is unsure whether they could “mesh” their individual lives together. That will determine whether they can mesh their other parts together in the Fantasy Suite.
Dinner time: Brad says he’s confident that his relationship with Ashley is “worth building on” (“Is THAT what folks are callin’ it nowadays?”), and Ashley is contemplating Serious and Important Things about the future. She is talkin’ circles around Brad, and he’s hurt that “not ONCE” did she mention Austin as a place she’d like to live. (Not EVERYTHING is about YOU, Braaaad.)
Ashley: “I have faith in us, because I know me.” (“And I don’t really know you!”)
Brad shoves the triviality of their carnival date in her face, and then worries that they’re always trying to “reassure” themselves of their relationship instead of, you know, actually just HAVING ONE. Ashley accuses Brad of wanting an “easy” wife, and now he’s frustrated. “May I remind you I’m the guy who walked away last time?” No, you may not. I had almost succeeded in forgetting, Braaaad. This is not going well. “Who even knows?” says Brad, in an attempt to end the conversation on a meta-confusing level.
[Silently prays for an alien abduction to take him away]
But no, it’s not over: “Happy to be here,” they both say, miserably. They keep saying “I don’t know” and getting frustrated because, honestly, I think they’re just trying to force a real bond where there’s merely attraction at this point. Speaking of attraction: Brad gives her the Fantasy Suite card, and Ashley says there’s “no doubt in her mind” she wants to go. Brad hopes they can get past the awkwardness. Yeah, because it’s not like sex ever made things MORE awkward between people who don’t know where they stand.
Inside the Fantasy Suite: Ashley says, “What do you think of those nets?” which sounds like something you’d say on your last date. They kiss in the suite but still seem frustrated and miserable.
At least we’re not talking anymore.
Then they’re making small talk, and Ashley says they’re “off their game.” Cut to a shot of the moon before we find out if they ever get past the awkwardness. Taking off all your clothes usually helps, though.
Unnecessary Chris Harrison Interlude
Wait, that looks wrong. Here we go:
Unnecessary Chris Harrison Interlude
Better. Brad tells Chris he does not want to say goodbye to any of the women, and that there’s “no comparison” between this time (when he knows he’s falling in love) and the last time he was The Bachelor (when he was petrified but pretended he was falling in love anyway).
Brad on Chantal: “I feel more myself around Chantal than ever.”
Brad on Emily: “I feel like I’ve known Emily for a decade.”
Brad on Ashley: “This date, the wheels were falling off. It was breaking my heart.”
Brad on Brad: “I am spinning.”
Chris leaves Brad to morosely gaze at each woman’s framed portrait (which are, in turn, framed by tiny giraffe statuettes) and he decides he needs to talk to Ashley before he decides if that was just one bad date with the right girl, or his last bad date with the wrong girl.
We all agree the portraits are fittingly dramatic but unnecessary, right? If I were a Bachelor producer, I’d pull this prank:
Hahahaha. Hypothetically got you GOOD, Harrison! (Oh no, I just got hypothetically fired!)
Brad greets the women, and asks to talk to Ashley alone before the ceremony. They sit down and Brad wants to get “very real.” He apologizes for how their date did not go well, and says he’s shocked their relationship went south so suddenly. He feels bad that he grilled her with so many big questions at once, but he’s worried that they miscommunicate a lot. He doesn’t know if he really fits into her life. Ashley is speaking in the past tense (“What I felt was so strong, we could have had something so strong”) and they sound like they’re breaking up. Brad: “My god [DRINK!], I think you’re so exceptional.”
Brad finally pulls off the band-aid: “I need to tell you goodbye.” Ashley stands up, and that’s it. Chantal and Emily are still standing at the rose dock, holding in their pee and tears for what may be hours. Brad walks Ashley to the van, and she’s “surprised and hurt,” but she allows Brad to kiss her on the forehead and see her off.
Byeeeeee Ashleeeeeey. See you SOON!
In the van with Ashley: “I think we had a really great thing, and when we were together it was magical for me. But sometimes that spark isn’t enough. It got lost in translation.” “I’m trying to find the strength to see the good in the situation and move forward. But I can’t see that far ahead right now. I guess I’m not that strong.”
Back at the African mansion: Brad is surprised at how quickly things can change, and he needs to know that “these women and him are in this thing together.” (Yeah, I’m sure Chantal and Emily are STOKED to be partners in this love triangle.) Brad manages to pull himself together to approach them, and gives a little speech: He said goodbye to Ashley because of how much he respects her; Um; Uh; He wants them to know how REAL this is to him; Uh; The rest of his LIFE real; Um; He wants to know if they’ll accept these roses. They do. Obviously.
Slappy Versus Barbie: The Final Showdown
Brad remembers to tell them that they both look beautiful, and then they take turns hugging (but not a Chantal-Emily hug, duh), and Brad tells them they’re moving to Capetown next week (“I KNEW it!” – Chantal, who had no idea), where they’ll meet his family.
Next Week: It’s the Women Tell All, also known as the night when Chris Harrison earns his keep. Maybe this season the women will ACTUALLY tell all, or at least some. We’ll get to hear more from crazy Michelle (yay!), tragic Ashley S. (ehhh) and recently eliminated Ashley H. (again). Then, the week after, Brad decides between Emily and Chantal, and Brad gets testy when both of the women second-guess him. Because how dare they question him! He’s only going to dump one and propose to the other on national TV! What’s there to worry about, y’all?
And finally, in this week’s credits clip: Chantal ate a worm on their hippo picnic, and Brad refuses to eat one when she tries to whine him into doing it! Hahaha. Awesome. I’m thankful for another opportunity to laugh at Brad’s safari hat. I think he just looks silly in ALL hats? Not sure why, but I’m just gonna blame his head.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Surprised to see Ashley go? Chantal VS. Emily: Who’s right for Brad? Did you see that those finale spoilers may not actually be so spoilerly after all? It’s either woman’s game, as far as I’m concerned. On the one hand, Emily is the Ideal, but Chantal and Brad seem to have a more natural connection. Let’s hear what you think, even if it’s just how much you love The Lion King.
(Image courtesy of ABC)