We open on contestants being mean on-camera about Olivia, whom they decry as mean deep down, off-camera. They suspect she’s really an angler fish, and her glittering $40,000 wardrobe is the dazzling light that’s distracting Ben from this:
Chris Harrison checks in, instinctively attuned to the aggressive sexual energy of the house, and reveals that this week, there will be two private dates with Ben and one group date. He leaves the women with the invitation to the first One On One Date and disappears in a cloud of smoke. If Jubilee gets the date, she tells us it will be the best moment of her life. This may sound hyperbolic, but only if you don’t know Jubilee’s backstory. Adopted out of Haiti with no surviving blood relatives, war veteran and Bachelor contestant Jubilee’s current best life moment is “Short line at the Army Recruiting Office.”
The date goes to Lauren B. They take off in a Mustang convertible, then fly in the cartoon plane from Talespin directly over Bachelor Compound. The cast of Left Behind 2 stares up at the happy couple as Ben stutteringly kisses Lauren B.’s microphone. Lauren B. tells us she was scared to go up in the plane at first, but being with Ben made her calm. It doesn’t feel like a real season of The Bachelor until some contestant plays the scared-of-heights-until-you angle, but Lauren B. gets side eye because she is a flight attendant.
They get dropped off in the middle of nowhere, a location that will be reused when Ben needs to strand a freshly-dumped contestant. Hopefully by helicopter. Ben and Lauren B. soak in each other’s heated fluids, and Lauren B. speaks for the whole franchise when she says,
In fact, this show makes way more sense if you assume the cast has been infiltrated by Cylons.
Over dinner she tells Ben she loves simple things, like her dad. Ben loves his dad, too, so Lauren gets a rose. They peep in the nearest barn and a band you’ve definitely heard of and would recognize is playing so they can slow dance. In related news, Season 21 of The Bachelor will be filmed entirely in a hot tub in a helicopter in a barn with a band playing.
Meanwhile, back at Club Estrogen, poor Caila is trying to find a way to say, “It sucks that my boyfriend is dating my 20 roommates” that stays within the social code of the show. I know this isn’t a competition. They’re amazing. I think they’re all great people. I don’t want to be guarded. It’s gonna be hard. But it’s worth it. It’s gonna be worth it! But it’s gonna be hard. I mean, I’m definitely happy I’m here. He’s amazing. I love how real this is to her, but at the same time she knows this is a game and she isn’t going to lose on some careless slip.
Amanda, Haley, Jennifer, Shushanna, Leah, Amber, Lauren H., Olivia, Jami, are you still reading?, Rachel, Lace, and Emily get The Group Date, a soccer match at the LA Coliseum. They split into teams Stars and Stripes, coached by US National Team members Alex Morgan and Kelly O’Hara, and the stakes are high. Winners continue their date with Ben, losers go home. The women promise and deliver blood on the grass and balls to the chest, but ultimately Stripes win the game when Stars player Rachel gets injured and decides to tough it out/be a terrible, deadweight player. Stars go home, and holy shit, Shushanna is a mathematician?
On part two of the Group Date, Bartender/Sorting Hat Amber identifies Olivia’s house designation:
and Olivia steals Ben away to speak parseltongue. Down below, feminist book group Amber, Lace, and Haley talk shit about Olivia’s toes, breasts, and breath while Jami slips away to tattle. When franchise regular Amber gets alone time with Ben, he asks her why she’s trying a third time. She tells Ben at this point she’s pot committed and he gives her a pity rose.
At Bachelor Mansion, the girls wait for the last One On One Date Card. Jubilee pegged Ben’s type pretty much exactly as I did- bubbly, breezy, bwhite. She knows her chances are slim, but surprise! Jubilee beats out JoJo and Becca’s hymen for the date. She squeals with pleasure (too excited), then gives Ben a hard time when he’s late for their date (too ungrateful), then jokingly offers her date up when she sees it’s the fucking helicopter date (too unexcited and ungrateful). The other women want her dead.
On the date, Jubilee replays the scared-of-heights-until-you card, charmingly spits out caviar, and credits Ben for laughing when she calls him a white boy. Ben replies:
Ben. Ben Higgins from Warsaw, Indiana. Who just finished playing shuffleboard.
Okay. Jubilee makes a racially charged dick joke back. I am having a great time on this date. Then things get serious. Jubilee opens up about deep personal tragedies and the resultant feelings of pain, isolation, guilt, and grief. Of course, this is followed by a room full of catty women who are shocked that Ben allowed Jubilee to even return from their date. Then we get the thinly veiled racist suggestion that Ben wants a less controversial wife
Will all the other soccer moms also be dating Ben?
At the Rose Ceremony Cocktail Party, Ben tells everyone that two family friends just died in a plane crash, and then states very clearly that he hopes that his future wife would want to comfort him in this situation. Olivia pulls an Olivia and grabs Ben away first. Hey Ben, whose family friends just died tragically, ask me what’s troubling me. It’s my damn cankles! Ben passes the distraught Olivia one of the tissues he was going to use on his own tears of bereavement, and she gathers herself.
I think I heard a “Preach!” from your ankle straps.
Single mom Amanda checks in on Ben. Jubilee comforts him with a massage and the other women freak out. Jami breaks it up, and Amber summons Jubilee for a girl chat ambush. Jubilee employs evasive maneuvers and takes cover in the bathroom until Ben shows up and intervenes. Enter Amber, who should know better. Apparently she really believes everything she is saying. Amber accuses Jubilee of really hurting other contestants by jokingly offering up her date. Ben dismisses this as the bs it is and stands by Jubilee, until he gets pulled into another dramatic vignette with Lace. She’s a mess. Lace tells him she has to be true to the butterfly tattoo on her wrist and enter chrysalis. Ben breaks it to the other women that she withdrew from the show, and they selflessly comfort him.
At the Rose Ceremony, Olivia is put on notice, receiving the last rose. Ben maintains the team average by eliminating bilingual mathematician Shushanna and snarky bartender Jami, and we are promised an Olivia meltdown in Vegas next week. Can’t wait!