In the fan-beloved "Fantasy Suite" episode, Ben whisks his three remaining women off to Switzerland, so that they can each act surprised to be invited by the show to spend the night alone with him. But just as Ben seems to have made big choices, a figure from his very recent past is flown halfway around the world to complicate matters and then roll around on the floor of a hotel lobby by herself. Also, Chris Harrison has a helluva cold. To Switzerland!
Ben flies to Switzerland and, along the way, remembers the moments he's spent with Nicki, Lindzi, and Courtney, as clips from their times together play. His thoughts about the first two are generic "I can really see myself with this woman" stuff, but about Controversial Courtney he says, "There's some kind of weird magical force that just kind of pulls us together" and "I like that she's a little nerdy" and "The chemistry I have with Courtney is unlike anything I've ever felt in my entire life."
Ben's first of three all-day-and-night dates is with Nicki, the sweet dental hygienist with the heart of gold and the hard sell. They go for a fake-harrowing helicopter ride and point out glaciers, and then sit on top of a mountain. For a brief moment, Ben's hair actually looks okay!
Later that night, Nicki works up the nerve to ask how many kids Ben wants to have. It's four. She wants two. Ben introduces the infamous Fantasy Suite card, and Nicki does the "Oh my, what is this? I assure you I haven't the slightest idea!" thing, and then quickly agrees to spend the night with Ben without cameras. But not before we get a glimpse of Ben and Nicki's night in the in-suite hot tub, and not at all before we shout at the TV "Shut up, Nicki!" because Nicki cannot stop trying to sell herself to Ben, telling him about how easily she'll fit into his life in San Francisco almost as if she's not even there or whatever. It's excruciating.
Next, Ben and Lindzi go on their date, where they find out they're going to be repelling. I'm sure the definition of "repelling" can include "Just letting your body go limp in midair while strong Swiss men slowly lower your freaking-out self down a ravine while you do nothing," but the one time I did it at camp it had something to do with kicking the side of the mountain. You know, repelling it. But maybe it's a Bachelor metaphor that will come up later. Anyway, Ben is refreshingly scared to death and not afraid to admit it.
Now to the fun part: Ben and Lindzi in an outdoor hot tub, where Lindzi tells Ben that he has "melted the ice queen." Ben is momentarily confused, because this is a very funny thing for a totally un-self-aware character in a movie or scripted TV show to say, but it turns out Lindzi really thinks she's an ice queen of some kind (maybe that explains all the frosty makeup?).
Lindzi tells Ben she's falling in love with him, finally. She agrees to spend the night with him in the fantasy suite even though that's not the kind of thing she would usually do. Lindzi and Ben are last seen making out on a hotel bed, with Lindzi's initially adorable short dress gathered around her waist so you can totally see her butt.
Next, Courtney lucks out and gets to go on an easy scenic train ride and picnic with Ben. Along the way, Ben points out a garden gnome, and then does a little garden gnome dance, and Courtney joins in, giving us a glimpse at this "nerdy weirdo" version of Courtney Ben is always going on about.
As they sit in a field of cows, Ben asks Courtney if she's ever played the game "Hey, Cow!" Courtney hasn't, so Ben explains that it's a game he used to play with his sister where you "Scream 'Hey, Cow!' at the top of your lungs and if the cow looks up, you win." Neither of them win, but oh please God let this be something that comes up later! (It's not.)
Courtney tentatively broaches the subject of how she was mean to the other girls and says that things were hard for her in this "unique situation," and Ben calls her on her shit and says, "Regardless of the situation, it's pretty messed up." He then tells her that he doesn't want to talk about it but just wants to enjoy the day. It makes for an awkward picnic, but it also seems much more real and intimate than Ben's interactions with the other women.
Later, in a wine cellar, they have another talk about Courtney's bullying of the other women, and Ben brings up the fact that he has "lots of women friends" and is close to his mom and his sister, which single-sentenced-ly makes Ben the most feminist Bachelor ever. I mean, the bar was low, but Ben is seeming more and more like a good guy! Courtney apologizes enough to make Ben feel like the dreaded conversation is over, and accepts the fantasy suite card with an un-Courtney-like degree of "if you'll have me" humility.
Ben and Courtney decamp to cuddle in a tiny hot tub, where Courtney says, "It was a two-piece but now it's a one-piece!" while still wearing her bikini top, and, if you replay it over and over with ever-higher volume, Ben says, "This is hands-down the smallest hot tub I've ever been in, but I'm not [sing-songy voice] com-plaining!" Goofy old Ben!
[We then go to an in-show promo-slash-commercial where future Bachelorette Emily Maynard is taken by surprise to see Titanic: 3D by previous Bachelorettes Ali and Ashley. If you remember, Emily lost the love of her life in a plane crash when she was a teenager, a fact Ashley actually mentions in voice-over as they're shown watching Titanic: 3D. Thank God for the tear-hiding power of 3-D glasses, I guess, but that is really messed up. Emily does not look un-disturbed by the whole thing, either!]
Ben announces that after his night with Courtney, all of his issues are laid to rest. Then, his most recent reject from last week, Kacie, shows up at his hotel door. Kacie wants to know why he sent her home, and he explains as vaguely as he can that it was, duh, her super-conservative family who said Kacie couldn't live in sin with him before marriage. Kacie tries to convince Ben that she doesn't listen to her dumb old family, but Ben says he just couldn't see her "at the end."
Accepting that her gambit has failed, Kacie goes in for the Courtney-kill, telling Ben what he most deeply does not want to hear: that if he chooses Courtney, his "heart will be broken." Shaken, Ben nicely ushers Kacie out. We are then treated to Kacie lying flat on her back on the floor of the hotel lobby, kind of crying and kind of being frustrated. It's a very strange thing for a grown-up to do, and it is never explained.
Ben meets with Chris Harrison, who seems extremely ill. His voice is weird and he's barely able to focus on what Ben is saying. He seems both sick and high. Ben explains his Kacie-induced qualms, and Chris pretends to listen, and then Ben is left alone to stare at the pictures of the women. He decides that he will wait until the last minute to decide.
Ben chooses Lindzi, and then waits for a long time, and then says, with an unusual degree of drama and finality: "Courtney." His tone is special, like in the very act of saying her name, he is realizing that she is the One. (Seriously he says her name in a total rom-com "It was you all along" kind of way!)
Ben sends Nicki off in the suspiciously kind manner of Bachelors after the overnight dates, telling her that he cried a little bit that day himself making the decision. Coming out of this episode, it's looking good for Courtney.
Next week: the rejected women re-unite for the "Women Tell All" special, where I really hope they find other shit to talk about besides Courtney, because it's gotten kind of tired. (Though I do want to know what they think about the skinny dipping in Puerto Rico, now that they've seen that it happened behind their backs!) Maybe she really is a weirdo gnome-dancing nerd who's perfect for Ben?