Ben Higgins, Chris Harrison.
What was that episode? No one threw a drink in another person’s face. No one talked in unison with someone who shares their genetic code. There were no mini horses. This episode doesn’t bode well for Ben’s season, if you ask me. His lack of, well … anything makes it difficult to motivate these ladytestants to do anything.
This snooze of an episode opens with the ladytestants doing a toast with their ritual mimosas, a sun salutation, and the sacrifice of an inferior bronzer palette to honor the good name of Ben. Ben’s worthiness as a Bachelor was repeated so often in this episode, it was almost as if the show has to remind us “He’s cool, remember America?” Bland — I mean Ben — greets the morning by thinking that he might be about to go on a first date with his future wife (and nine other women).
The first date card arrives, and the lucky ladytestants are going to “learn how to love,” and unfortunately, it’s not a group tantric workshop where all ten ladytestants have to harness the energy in their root chakras to knock Ben into the next astral plane. Jackie, LB, Lauren H., Becca, Amber, Mandi, Jojo, Jubilee, Jennifer, and Lace are going back to high school! Ahhh, nothing creepy about tasking grown women to act like high-schoolers to win the affection of a grown man.
Lace is taking this opportunity to redeem herself in the eyes of Ben and America, while Lauren H. is just excited to be invited. Jubilee is “over the moon” to be on a group date. Jubilee, my powerful cocoa-butter goddess, you are too perfect and beautiful to be excited about going on a group date with the mashed-potato sculpture that is Ben.
Jubilee is still my favorite, America.
The high-school date features a race of high-school class — WHAT IN TARNATION IS MANDI WEARING? She looks like a Vanessa Hudgens stunt double. The fact that in 2015 you can buy pants that look like rejects from a Mad Men commune episode is troubling. Back to the challenge, the ladytestants have to pair up and complete vaguely high-school-related challenges, like making a volcano. If they’re still making papier-mâché volcanos in high school, our public-school system might be worse off than we thought. Jubilee doesn’t think Lace can read. I don’t know if she can either, because her eyes aren’t like normal human eyes, but glass orbs designed to see drama where there is none. In lunch class, the ladytestants have to bob for a red apple that’s red like Ben’s heart. There are weird, homoerotic elements to this apple-bobbing because the ladies have to pass the apple (or Ben’s heart, if you’re following this metaphor) to each other only using their mouths. Well, homoerotic cannibalistic elements. Either way, it kinda looks like ladies are kissing. Who said The Bachelor doesn’t have anything for the guys. Oh, and the losing team from each station is eliminated, but who cares, right?
In geography class, the ladytestants have to place Indiana on a map. Becca and Jojo confuse Indiana with Pennsylvania and place the cutout of the state sideways and either 50 or 500 miles to the east. I didn’t get to see the legend on those maps. In gym class, they have to shoot free throws because in Indiana, everyone is a hoosier or something. The ABC producers really ran out of steam, didn’t they?
“Okay, Donna, Tommy. What do we have for Bachelor High?”
“They’re gonna make volcanos and bob for apples.”
“I love it. It’s fun, it’s whimsical. I’ll get the romantic-metaphor team to start fleshing out the idea. What else you got?”
“Um … Indiana goes on a map.”
“Okay, okay, not really an activity, but I’ll take it. One more station.”
“They shoot a free throw.”
Amber and Mandi are the only ones left standing after the rigorous academic day and have to run a footrace to win Bland’s – I mean Ben’s — heart. How do I keep doing that? Mandi smokes Amber and gets to ride off in a golf cart with Ben dressed like a teenage girl who just won homecoming. Yikes.
Later, at a condo rooftop, Ben has a drink with all the ladies from the date. At this point in my notes, hand to the goddess Ashley S., I just wrote, “God, he’s boring.” Becca gets some one-on-one time with Ben as they anemically try to shoot some hoops. Becca is spending too much time worrying if Ben is going to think she’s a crazy girl. Becca has never done anything crazy in her life. She probably thinks ordering extra-spicy salsa at Chipotle is wild!
Lace and the other women get into a stealing-away war with Ben on this date. If you’re playing a Bachelor fantasy draft, this episode got everyone hella points. Ben sits down with Jojo, and he’s impressed by her attitude and bubbliness, and gives her the group-date rose. Lace stares directly into Jojo’s soul to see Jojo’s weakness and suck it out of her body like a Dementor.
The women back at the Bachelor coven are waiting for another date card for the first one-on-one date. Caila gets the honor of joining Ben for a day of surprises! What are those surprises, you ask? Why, it’s the cast of Ride Along 2 for some reason. Kevin Hart and Ice Cube show up to playfully spout stereotypes about riding in cars with black people, and to drag Caila and Ben to cheap-ass locations and buy 40s. And this is the same network that airs Black-ish, you say?
Caila gets a rose because she puts up with seeing Kevin Hart “nude” in a hot tub and has “depth,” which wasn’t a hot-tub pun. She gets a rose. She says, “If I could live forever in this moment, I would. I could see myself falling in love with Ben. There’s no way he’s unlovable, no way snowball’s chance in you-know-where.” Interesting choice to censor a common everyday phrase, Caila.
Group Date No. 2 is a weird affair with Emily, Shusanna (WHO SPEAKS ENGLISH THIS EPISODE), Sam, Olivia, Haley, and Amanda at a love lab, which I don’t believe is a real thing. Using technology only dreamed of in Gattaca, a man in a lab coat will use SCIENCE! to determine Ben’s perfect match. Apparently, science means making him smell their reproductive glands — vagina. Just say vagina. Ben smelled their vaginas to see which one was the best. The other test is getting on a bed with Google Glass and seeing if they got hot when their noses touched.
Olivia gets an incredible score of 7.42/10, and Sam gets a preposterous 2.42. Sam, go home now, girl. America just saw that you don’t smell like roses and you’re cold in bed. Olivia is running away with the competition at this point and keeping secrets from the other women like “where she went to sit with Ben.” Everyone can tell that she’s trying to put bad vibes in their heads. Olivia and Lace should get their own Practical Magic remake.
Apparently, Shusanna came to America with $400, vodka, and jeans. Classic immigrant story.
It’s time to give out the rose and, of course, he gives it to Olivia. “Olivia Higgins,” she purrs as she drops a pinch of mandrake leaf into her bubbling cauldron.
It’s time for the cocktail party. It’s also still this part of the season where there are just too many people and everyone is wearing the same bandage dress. So if they’re not Jubilee, I don’t know who is talking to Ben. Also, because a stunning number of women at this point haven’t even had the chance to talk to him. Like Amber. Amber, what are you doing? Not at this cocktail party, just in your life. Get on Tinder, girl. How do you think I found the guy watching me write this recap right now? I was not on 14 iterations of the same reality-dating franchise. Olivia spends the cocktail party lurking in corners like Ellis Boyd from Smash and stealing Ben away even though she already has a rose!
Lace doesn’t want Ben to think she’s some crazy girl. Good luck with that plan, boo. She takes Ben aside and starts describing childhood photos to him. Ben also starts giving the women tiny, priceless — did I say priceless? I meant cheap gifts. He gives Lauren B. a screenshot of them together and helps Amanda make hair clips for her daughters. This man could not be more milquetoast.
It’s time for the Rose Ceremony. Ben gives a preamble about his feelings and how hard it is to be the Bachelor. No one cares, Ben. During the Rose Ceremony, LB takes Ben aside when he chooses to give her a rose and tells him that it’s hard for her to be there and she doesn’t want to make a scene. Good luck with that, boo.
See, even in an episode with a walk-out, I can barely muster an — zzzzzzz. Sorry. I fell asleep, but I’m back. Amanda, Jubilee, Lauren B., Leah, Becca, Rachel, Lace, Jennifer, Emily, Jami, Lauren H., Shusanna, Haley, and Amber all get roses.
Hopefully, next week, the mini horse will come back and guide us to some interesting content.