In switching up the rose ceremonies every week, The Bachelor Winter Games has done something that cannot be undone: It has rendered the dates useless. At the start of the episode, I was sitting on my couch and realized that if the rose ceremonies were based on who is there for the right reasons, the dates are irrelevant. And if everyone is in the house all day long and able to get a modicum of privacy, then the dates are irrelevant. Why stress about getting a date card when there’s a Jacuzzi at the house? Why even have dates anymore? If we’re trying to switch up the format from Paradise, why not just eliminate the dates altogether and focus on cultivating drama in the house? Let’s Big Brother this shit. Let me log in at four in the morning and see Clare attempting to sabotage another relationship before it gets off the ground. Give me something.
They need to give me something because it’s all going a little too easily. Everything is sailing along smoothly. Every time someone sits down and has a conversation with another person, they’re falling in love! Luke makes eye contact with Stassi and mouths the word “heart” at her and suddenly they’re reciting country poetry to each other.
At the beginning of the episode, Clare is really thrilled about being the center of a love triangle. Benoit won’t stop talking about how cooking is essential to a successful relationship, but even though Clare and Benoit have shared the intimate experience of completing a Blue Apron meal, anyone who delights in all their options and being part of a love triangle is about to have their shit messed up.
It’s time for the first event. The whole gang is going speed skating. By “speed skating,” they mean “regular skating but in a circle.” Speed skating requires special skates. Don’t you give me Ben Higgins and his hard-ass nipples in a catsuit with hockey skates on and tell me it’s speed skating. You can’t fool me, ABC. The Bachelor Winter Games has decided that we aren’t interested in the “games” part of the series, so we only get a half-hearted attempt at a montage of the qualifying heats. In a fun twist, the losers from each heat are racing each other! What a fun twist no one asked for! Bibiana thought that Kevin was going to win a date card because he’s one of two people who knows how to skate on a WINTER OLYMPICS-THEMED REALITY SHOW. I know all you ladies got your ombré re-ombréd, but you couldn’t head to the rink once? Stassi and Dean win the date cards.
Also, I feel like Luke has gotten less Southern since his time on JoJo’s season.
When they return to the house, there’s a man sitting in a chair by the fire drinking a whiskey. He’s posing like he’s a Bond villain who’s about to unleash the swinging swords. He says he was late because of a visa issue, which is exactly something a Bond villain would say. His name is Jordan and everyone flips the fuck out. He was the second New Zealand Bachelor and he’s an asshole. (Well, according to New Zealand rumors, he’s an asshole.) On his season, he wasn’t feeling either ladytestant so he just flipped a coin to decide. I don’t care what you think — that’s amazing. He’s my new favorite Bachelor. Bye, “None of the Bachelors Because All of the Bachelors Are Actively Garbage.” Make room for Jordan!
They all start gossiping and whispering about all the terrible things Jordan did on his season. I heard he punched New Zealand’s Chris Harrison in the face! I heard he eliminated everyone taller than he was! I heard he gave a rose to a New Zealand fur seal that wasn’t even one of the contestants! Oatmeal has had ENOUGH of all the speculation and he calls Jordan into the kitchen to clear the air.
Oatmeal is like the mayor of the house. He’s taking it upon himself to solve the conflicts and act as the house’s moral center. They keep pushing him as our window character and I’m not here for it.
Stassi picks Luke for her date and Dean picks Lesley for his date. Who cares? They go on some wagons and sit in hot tubs and go sledding and Dean rambles about trying to be more decisive and who cares?
Meanwhile, Kevin and Ashley I. are actually hitting it off. That’s how we know this is the darkest timeline: Ashley I.’s feelings are being reciprocated. We’re in some Cloverfield Paradox shit and the Earth has disappeared. Kevin decides to go tell Bibiana that he’s not feeling it anymore and we don’t even get to see what happens! It sounds like they were pretty mature about the whole thing, but we are starved for any emotionally healthy interactions on this show. Meanwhile, Ashley I. is picking out a china pattern because Kevin was nice to her for eight seconds.
You want to know what they’re trying to pass off as thrilling entertainment on this show? Watching a German man wait. What kind of a Dadaist exercise is this?
Unfortunately, the other guys in the house are starting to notice that Clare is spreading her affections a little thin and Benoit has had enough. He’s tired of seeing her cook with other men, so he sits her down and asks her if she can imagine a future with him. First of all, that’s a bit much for someone you met three days ago. Second of all, how do you not look at Benoit’s little Québécois face and not fall in love with him? His head is a little too long and his glasses are a little too big. He’s like a cartoon character from the 1960s that goes on little adventures in your favorite books.
Benoit tells Clare that she kissed him and that means something. Then she says it was just a friendly kiss.
For someone who is really excited to have two men chasing her, Clare is really screwing this up. There’s no such thing as a friendly kiss. We all know that. Quit messing around, Clare. But it seems like Benoit is counting every individual lip touch as a kiss and she’s counting every interaction. Then Benoit tells her that he’s going to leave unless she asks him to stay and she can’t even fake the funk to tell him to stay.
When it’s time for Benoit to go, he says, “She didn’t felt it.” He hugs Clare and because his face is nestled in her shoulder, they have to subtitle it. And it says …
There is no such thing as racism against white people. There just isn’t, so stop trying to argue that with me on Twitter. But this is damn close. This was WILD. I had to rewind it three times just to make sure I saw what I saw. What happened there? Whose editorial decision was this? Would they have done the same thing if this was someone who was Latino? What if ABC took some liberties in doing the subtitles for Yuki? Again, this wasn’t racist per se. It’s not. It’s not racist. We can go into the whole dynamics of privilege and power and punching up and punching down and this was definitely NOT racist, but it felt like something. It was a choice.
To round out Clare’s day of bullshit, she hears from Josiah that Christian is upset because they never got their Jacuzzi date. Instead of apologizing or trying to make it up to him, Clare decides to pick a fight because she can’t help herself. Christian seems to have moved on from the drama and just wants to let her know that they don’t have anything serious. Her flaking on him hurt, but he just wants to get to know her better. Clare just can’t handle that. She immediately brings up the fact that she’s going to kiss other men and that’s her GOD GIVEN RIGHT. She keeps yelling at him that he has to pursue her when it was his idea for the Jacuzzi date, ma’am. He just says, “In Germany, when we make a Jacuzzi appointment, we keep the Jacuzzi appointment.” Ah yes, that old German proverb. Clare realizes that she’s screwing this whole thing up, but it’s time for the cocktail party.
Host Chris reveals that the men will be giving out roses, but each woman can accept or deny the roses. Also, apparently there’s some guy named Michael G. here?
Clare decides that the cocktail party is the best time to let Christian know that she didn’t fight for Benoit to stay in the house because she wanted to pursue something with Christian. How does she communicate that information? Did you guess “not at all”?
She starts off by saying, “We need a translator because I don’t know if this is a cultural thing or a language thing.” CLARE. Eees not okay! His defense is if he can tell that a woman likes someone else, why go all out trying to get her attention? Her defense is “I DON’T OWE YOU ANYTHING,” which is what you say when you’re done with someone, not when you’re trying to mend the relationship. She walks away saying, “I’m over Christian,” and we all know that’s a damn lie because her thirsty ass is not ready to go home yet.
It’s time for the rose ceremony. Courtney gives Lily a rose. Luke gives Stassi a rose. Jordan gives his to Bibiana. Josiah gives his to Ally. Dean and Lesley stay together. Kevin gives his rose to Ashley I. Ben gives his rose to Yuki for having the hardest “uphill battle” and then everyone applauds like she’s some charity case. Michael G. gives his rose to Tiffany, who made a Hail Mary for Kevin. Christian gives his rose to Clare because of course. Two Scandinavian chicks go home and I couldn’t even tell you who they were. I wanna say … Jenny? And … Inga? That doesn’t sound right.
See you next week!