This week, Ashley and her final 11 head to Chiang Mai, Thailand. Other than that, not much has changed. Ryan is still too chipper, Ames is still robotic, JP is still hot, and Ashley is still hung up on Bentley. Yep, tonight marks another chapter in Ashley’s Bentley heartbreak. I’d be more annoyed if I weren’t already so numb inside from all the Not Caring Anymore. But hey … tonight, instead of kisses, we get punches! So at least there’s that.
IT’S THE EYE OF THE TIGER, IT’S THE THRILL OF THE RECAP:
Chris Harrison struggles to pronounce the name of the guys’ fancy hotel in Monk-Central, Thailand. The bros take a tour of their new palace, and JP says, “If you can’t find romance in this environment, then you’re hopeless.” I don’t think he knows he just called Ashley hopeless, but I do, and that’s funny. Chris breaks the news that this week will contain a two-on-one date, on which one guy gets a rose and one guy will need to “leave forever.” (Or until they call him back up for Bachelor Pad 2.)
Date #1: Another effing market date with Ben F.
Date card: “Let’s fall in love in Chiang Mai.” WHAT? No pun? It’s like they’re not even trying anymore.
Ashley shows up to grab Ben F. by the bedhead, and finally the other guys are starting to get jealous. It’s probably Ashley’s tiny white mini skirt. It’s like a lighthouse calling them to her shores. A bro-beacon! They’re powerless against it.
CHING CHONG CHANG, that’s the kinda racist Thai music that sets the mood as Ben and Ashley walk, then ride, around Chiang Mai. Hey, you know what’s a big indicator of romance? The fact that Ashley calls him “Ben F.” like he’s a student in her 5th grade class. Still, Ben and Ashley have “chemistry,” and she says “the longer I get to know him, the hotter he becomes.” They get all touchy-touchy as they paint umbrellas and talk about married life, because that’s how first dates work around here.
“It’s a little soon, don’t you think? Just saying this as your friend.” – That Umbrella
They sit in front of a temple where they’ll be cursed to a gruesome circle of Buddhist hell if they kiss on that sacred ground. The circle where you have to kiss some uggo with bad breath FOREVER, probably. Ashley tries to tempt Ben, but he stays strong, so they share a “mental kiss,” which is actually cute. “Mmm, real good,” says Ashley about their mental kiss, half joking but half sincere, reminding me for the first time in a while that she can be pretty OK sometimes.
Ashley doesn’t know, but Ben just mentally stole second base 🙁
Ben and Ashley show up to dinner in what can best be described as a crop circle made of candles and flowers. (Well that’s MY best description, anyway.) He tells her about wine making, which has Ashley swooning. Then he tells her how he only recently became “emotionally available,” because he’s been struggling to cope with his father’s death for the past few years. “Even when I would date women, I wasn’t being very fair or true to them, because I was just an emotional zombie. In the last year, I’ve come to terms that my father’s passing is a part of life,” he says. He now tries to embody what his dad stood for, and count his blessings that he had such a great father. I have no jokes regarding this; it was just a sincere conversation between two adults about one of their backgrounds. Those happen sometimes, even on this show!
Meanwhile, back at the mansion: The group date card arrives and is addressed to Constantine, Ames, Nick, Blake, Lucas, Ryan, JP and Mickey. Which means William and Ben C. are going on the dreaded two-on-one. The battle of Dud and Dumber! (William is Dumber, incaseyoudidn’tknow.) William’s hair is looking increasingly poofy and bedraggled, like the realization this date may (read: should) be his last has hit him like a bolt of electricity.
“Who’s got two thumbs and has overstayed his welcome? THIS GOON!”
Back on the date: Ashley is very pleased that Ben said he is ready to spoil a woman and put her first. He’s every girl’s dream! Ashley offers him the rose and hopes to one day be his vineyard queen. They share their deferred kiss as fire breathers and exotic women with candles surround them and dance the slow Thai sway of love.
CHING CHONG BOW CHICKA WOW CHANG, that’s the sound of love in the air. The camera pans out. End of scene.
Date #2: Beating the crap out of each other for LOVE with Constantine, Ames, Nick, Blake, Lucas, Ryan, JP and Mickey
Ashley prepares for the date by strapping on her hot pink Barbie boxing gloves. Violence has never been so adorable!
She’s in a sports bra and spandex, just so all of us at home can remember that our body fat is what’s keeping us from finding love. The men show up, and it’s a matter of seconds before they strip down and learn the rules of this form of Thai boxing, called Muay Tai. (From what I gathered, there are no rules? Just punch and kick like it’s a video game you don’t know the codes for.) Then it’s like a group version of the Rocky training montage. Kick, punch, grunt, sweat, yell, fall down, punch! The Thai coaches sit on their backs and scream while the sweaty, shirtless guys do push-ups. They’re putting the “abs” in “absolutely gratuitous,” not that I am complaining. This must qualify as pornography in certain countries. About the screaming coaches: “I don’t know what the f*** they’re saying, but it’s definitely motivating,” says JP, who’s not happy to be on a group date, but I am happy to see him without a shirt on. The want hearts what it hearts!
Then each boy gets to pick out his favorite color from the Shiny Shorts Rainbow (they’re like Power Rangers!), and poor Ames gets hot pink. LOL! Oh, Ames. That color, like my tree house is FOR GIRLS ONLY.
It’s time to float like a butterfly and sting like a … what’s weaker and lamer than a bee? A jellyfish? Sting like a jellyfish! The guys arrive at the ring right when another fight ends with a boxer getting knocked out cold. They’re sh*tting their technicolor pants, but there’s no backing out now. NO FEAR. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t look like a fruit in front of Ashley.
You’ve gotta FIGHT! For your RIGHT! To AAAAASH-LEY!
Fight #1: Blake vs. Lucas. Ashley tries to mask her arousal when Blake kicks Lucas in the face. Blake wins.
Fight #2: Mickey vs. JP. JP is worried because he’s the smallest guy on the date, but “there’s no crying in Muay Tai!” At first Mickey is wailing on JP, but JP is a wily little one and totally goes all David on Mickey’s Goliath ass in the end. “The Jew from Long Island kicked the Irish man’s ass from Cleveland!” JP triumphantly proclaims.
Fight #3: Ames vs. Ryan. Ames is a fancy-pants pacifist who grew up book-learnin’, not “fightin’ in the streets” (says Lucas) like the rest of these thugs and ruffians. (White guys from California.) Ryan thinks he will get a rose if he kicks the sh*t out of Ames, so this battle is doomed from the start. Ryan pounds on Ames and clocks him a few solid times in the head. After the fight is over, it immediately becomes apparent that Ames has a concussion. Evidence: His face.
Fight #4: Nick vs. Constantine. This is the “heavyweight” battle, but no one is really paying attention, because Ryan broke Ames’ brain, so Ashley runs off and gets some help for him. I didn’t even see who won? Was it Nick? As he rides off in the ambulance in his hot pink shorts with a disoriented look on his face, I wonder if Ames will ever recover from this complete emasculation.
CHING CHONG BONG DE BOOM, that’s the ominous sound of Ames on the gurney in the Thai hospital, ruining the rest of the date for everyone. Juuuust kidding, it’s not his fault (it’s the producers, for making the men KICK EACH OTHER IN THE HEAD on a “date”), but seriously, the date is completely ruined. They try to make the most of it, though. Ryan says he “feels so bad” for hurting Ames, but he says it while laughing and smiling, so screw him. Mickey says Ames has never been punched before, so that explains why he’s in the hospital right now. They’re trying to make him look like a sissy! Not cool, you guys. Before one of them can tell Ashley about Ames’ peace sign tramp stamp, he shows up. And he looks mostly human!
“I can smell colors now.”
He’s a little dizzy and cloudy in his noggin, but at least he’s getting the Florence Nightengale treatment from Ashley. She thinks Ames’ glazed-over expression and loss of words is charming. Maybe he reminds her of Bentley now.
Dr. Blake finally gets his moment with Ashley, but he says he doesn’t trust relationships that are hot and passionate right out of the gate, which reminds her of Bentley. Moment ruined. Also, he wishes Ashley would pay more attention to him. (They have more in common than just dentistry!) Lucas sits down with Ashley and literally thanks her for making eye contact with him, then gives her a golf lesson. Ashley is impressed by how smooth he is with the ladies. SPEAKING OF SMOOTH: Lucas can tell that Ashley’s “type” is Bentley, and says so. Good grief, this show needs an exorcism. Spirit of Bentley, LEAVE THIS HOUSE! At least she says that she while she was initially attracted to Bentley, that’s not necessarily what she wants long-term. (“I like trolls with beady black eyes and a perpetual dickish smirk, but only at first.”)
Ashley can relate to Blake’s need for reassurance, so she gives him the date rose and a kiss. She can’t relate to how Ames got his brain juices wrecked and went to a foreign hospital for several hours because she forced him to fight a solar powered lunatic in a public death ring, so Ames gets jack. WHAT A COOL DATE!
“Drill, baby, drill!” – Dentists french kissing joke, hey did you guys know I get paid for the hours it takes me to write these gems?
Date #3: A trip down the canal of broken dreams with Ben C. and William
Date card: “Guide me to love.” Part two: “Two men, one rose. One stays, one goes.”- Chris Harrison, bearer of DOOM
Actually, this is more like a three-on-one date: Ben, William and William’s Idiocy are all in attendance. So is my boredom. They’re slowly pushing a flat wooden raft down the lazy river. Even Ashley is more interested in the scenery than either dweeb in her raft sandwich. William is stuck at the front, away from Ashley, so he pouts and says Ben C. is “so irritating.” I’d give him the “pot, kettle, black” speech if they both weren’t so white.
The Adventures of F**kleberry Finn
William decides he needs to throw Ben under the bus to save himself, so he gets Ashley alone and says, “I’m not throwing Ben under the bus…” and reveals that Ben is ready to go home because he’s really “looking forward to the dating websites.” First of all: Don’t trust William. (Evidence: His face.) Second: NEVER trust anybody who says “throw him under the bus,” because that means they think in reality TV parlance, and that means they suck. Third and most important: Who looks forward to online dating? WHO? “I can’t wait to wade through a bunch of freaks’ resumes until I eventually give up or decide to meet up with a stranger in what will surely be an awkward encounter soaked in stigma and shame!” If you are online dating right now, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a means to an end, but it’s not a fun means. It’s a cruel means, a MEAN means, you know what I mean?
But Ashley believes it, and she’s very worried. William twists the knife just for fun: “Some people still have you on their minds, some people don’t.” Ashley’s fragile ego bends over and hurls on her infant-sized shorts. All her insecurities rush back into her blood stream and take over her body, Hulk-style. So she goes back to their picnic and immediately dumps Ben for even “CONSIDERING” online dating. Ben says it’s not true, but it’s too late. She hates him more than she hates pants, and now is her moment to send someone away dramatically. Ben floats off on the raft like it’s an ice floe and he’s an eskimo elder drifting toward the sweet release of death. Hey, remember when Ali left Kasey on an iceberg? And Jillian left Robbie by the side of the tundra train tracks? And Andy Baldwin left Peyton on an aircraft carrier? This is one of those.
“BYEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…” they could hear him yelling as the raft drifted away, until the sound became a whisper in the night.
“I can’t risk keeping someone around if they don’t feel strongly for me,” says Ashley, who up until this point has not made herself emotionally available to anyone but Bentley, and has complained almost constantly. Who wouldn’t get attached?
At dinner that night, William makes the toast, “To hoping that I can get back to where I once was with you,” because he is the CHECK-MINUS OF PEOPLE. William thinks he’s safe since Ben already got sent home, so he just goes ahead and turns the hole he’s already dug for himself into a little mole-people condo. He reminds her that he is a “30-year-old boy.” I think he actually likes saying the wrong thing! Ashley realizes that the feeling she had for William on their first date has shriveled and died, so she dumps him, too, finally. Ding dong, the Ding Dong is dead.
William gets in the van and really wades around in the rejection. Really milks it for the camera. “I am the world’s biggest f***ing jackass. My life is full of sh*t.”
I hate me for loving myself so much :(((((
But then, because it’s William, he goes overboard. “I don’t deserve anything. I don’t deserve sh*t.” He says he’s going to go home, “crawl into his hole and slide the rock over the top.” (As we now know, he went home and signed on for Bachelor Pad, so, you know, same thing.) Then he says he wants to get into bed and “never wake up.” Yeeeeesh. Too bad it’s not legal to marry your own self-pity, because William is in love.
Forlorn that she was forced to reject both of her man-toys, Ashley pulls a Pavelka (!!!) and sets the rose on fire, because if her hope for love can’t live on, NEITHER CAN IT.
[the sound of a rose that can scream burning alive]
Ashley asks (more like begs) the guys to be true to themselves and be honest with her, because if they’re not falling in love with her, they can GTFO. (Not in so many words.)
Alone Times: Ryan says his initial love for her was like a “rocket ship,” and he’s still totally on board for Planet Ashley. Ashley couldn’t give a crap, but she pretends she does. Constantine says Ashley “seems like a real person,” and she’s all, “I don’t always dress up, I’m just normal!” Then he says he feels closer to the other guys than he does to her, but that’s just because he spends 99% of his time with them. He says he’s not ready to marry their communal girlfriend, and the other men look on in shock and disbelief. Meanwhile, JP gets his cuteness all over Ashley, but she’s scared to get hurt and still thinking about Bentley, so she doesn’t appreciate it. Come over here, JP, and I will give you the reinforcement that Ashley won’t.
Chattin’ with Chris: I pretty much spilled my guts about it this morning. Ashley is being such a GIRL, and Chris is being such a “good friend” by still not telling her all the bad things Bentley said. At least Ashley’s being honest. She doesn’t want to think about Bentley all the time, but she can’t help it. (If only someone, anyone, could give her a reason to let go and move on! Like a video tape of him saying that she’s gross and ugly and annoying!) She says that she needs Chris to bring Bentley back so she can “ask him some simple questions” and “release herself” with, I mean FROM, him. Chris says he’ll see what he can do. It’s creepy how he plays it cool, like he doesn’t know this will result in more psychological damage for Ashley and that they weren’t planning something like this already. Bentley’s probably already on a plane. It just goes to show that you can’t trust anybody, even those who pretend to comfort you and have your best interests at heart, so sleep tight and good luck falling in love when you figure that out, Ash.
The lesson of the night is honesty. Ben and Blake already have roses. And the rest go to…
Ames (Guy gets a concussion and she makes him wait until #4? That’s cold.)
Which means Beefcake Nick is out. Bummer. He was some good-looking wallpaper, and he will be missed. Unfortunately, Nick is devastated, and he thought that he and Ashley were headed toward love. I like his Gordon Gecko button-down paired with his surfer hair. Nick, don’t take it too hard. You’re going to do juuuust fine at those Bachelor cast reunion cruises.
Next Week: Ashley and her final 8 go to Hong Kong, and no doy, Bentley shows up. Ashley takes the news like Elaine Benes: “SHUT! UP!” When the guys find out that Bentley is back because Ashley’s been obsessing over him this whole time, they flip out. Lucas says she’s wastin’ his time! Constantine says “I’m done!” Mickey cut his hair! It’s gonna get intense.
So there’s your carrot, da-RAW-muh fans. Personally, I’m more excited for next week’s episode to see if Ames has suffered permanent brain damage. I hope not, but since I hear he signed on for Bachelor Pad, too, I fear the worst.
Until then: How annoyed with Ashley are you? How much do you love JP? How sad were you for poor Ames? How ambivalent are you about Ben F.? How many different ways can I ask you to share your important feelings about tonight’s episode? Comments, go!
(Images courtesy of ABC)