Down to a horny dozen in Mexico City, the introduction promises us an aggressive twin, an introverted Jubilee, and several carefully arranged clips of Olivia speaking words. These auditory ransom notes say things like, “Amanda two kids yuck,” and “Ben is my husband!” Foolish Twin Emily is glad her sister isn’t around to hold her back anymore. That is a strategic miscalculation. Without her genetic gimmickry she doesn’t have any distinguishing features. She, Lauren H., and Leah wander a blond ghostworld, an episode or two shy of final elimination and the friendly services of Charon, the limo driver.
Squeaky-voiced (m)Amanda gets the One-On-One Date. The card reads, “All our eggs in one basket,” because everyone loves a fecundity-themed date. At 4AM the next morning, Ben breaks into their hotel room with a flashlight to see the women in their “natural habitat.” The natural habitat of a Bachelor contestant is, by the way, 11 women sharing beds in a single room. We get a quick tour of embarrassed women and their loose hairpieces before identifying Amanda, tussled and lovely, hair and makeup done. She did not come here to mess around.
Ben and Amanda tour Teotihuacan while posing for a Highlights Magazine cover.
They land to have a boring picnic, which they eventually just up and abandon Mad Men-style before changing into evening clothes for dinner in the Department of Mysteries.
They drink wine and she tells Ben about the time she found her husband’s burner phone. Ben hands over a rose. They stand together ankle-deep in a pool, and he kisses her the way he’s always wanted to kiss his own mom.
On the Group Date, Ben enrolls Jubilee, Becca, JoJo, Caila, Emily, Lauren B., Jennifer, Leah, and Olivia in a Spanish class. The women line up to tell Ben they’re in love with him, except for Jubilee, who’s not crazy about her position on the lineup. Deep sigh. There is a minimum amount of gratitude you have to display on each date, Jubilee, like flair on a TGI Fridays uniform. Ben notes Jubilee’s reticence, tries the word “engross” again, then leads the women to the cooking portion of their date at restaurant Carbon. They divide into teams of two, and there is a brief dispute between Jubilee and Olivia over teaming with Ben. Olivia wins and feeds him crickets and liquor. Finding the high road a little dull, Twin Emily goes on another tirade about Olivia’s breath.
The teams present their dishes for judgement, and some clever handler gets a lot of soundbites from JoJo about her taco. After fighting to be Ben’s cooking partner, Jubilee works really hard on her dish to win the competition (which she does). This signals to Ben that she is pulling back from him. Jubilee is actually really proud and wants to steal Ben away first at the cocktail party, but Olivia beats her to it, again. Olivia tries out a positive reinforcement technique, alternately kissing Ben and repeating “Best Date Ever.” We see him kiss one woman after another while Jubilee interviews about her frustration with sharing him.
If that’s not enough, Ben and “liking you is terrifying” Lauren B. walk the neighborhood making out and modeling Hot Topic’s new bridal line.
When Ben comes back to offer Jubilee her turn with his mouth, she doesn’t want to hold his hand for fear of inciting the other women to attack. This incites the other women to attack. JoJo is especially thrilled to point it out (twice), changing her tone to a more sympathetic, “she hasn’t been the really outgoing, fun, bubbly Jubilee that we all know,” when talking directly to a camera. Ben asks why Jubilee would shame him in front of his other girlfriends, and she can’t figure out a way to save herself. Honestly, I’m a little relieved because that means she’s out of personal tragedies.
He says, tell me that you want to be here, and she says no no, tell me that you want me to be here. I can’t wait to try this at a job interview. He sends her home and she handles it graciously. Ben returns to the cocktail party and gets five seconds into Jubilee’s eulogy before ambulance chaser JoJo takes Ben aside to tell him how good he is at dumping people. They kiss, but when they get back Ben gives Olivia the date rose, saying they reconnected. The women cannot understand why Ben likes her, this confident, beautiful woman who fights to spend time with him.
On the next One-On-One, some quick-thinking intern conjures up a fashion date ASAP to rescue Blond Juliette Lewis/Lauren H. from her mullet shirt. Ben and Lauren try on every brightly patterned item they can in fashion house Pineda Covalin, then try to look like they weren’t just mocking the clothes when the designer shows up.
They are told they’ll be walking the runway at Mexico’s Fashion Week, and Lauren H. laments her limited walking experience. Ben has the time of his life, smokes the runway, and even throws Lauren a little mid-strut wink.
Over dinner, Ben is back to business. He tells us that Lauren H. better have a good sob story or she goes home. Over dinner, Ben opens with a trademark Bachelor toast. I’ll never forget a day like today, but the best part was spending it with you. That’s her cue, and Lauren promptly says her road to this One-On-One Date hasn’t been an easy one. I really want her to say she was in a gang. Instead, she tells Ben her long-term boyfriend cheated on her with three other women, and that despite this betrayal, she made the conscious decision to be happy. Did Blond Juliette Lewis just tell Ben that she could share him and like it? Nailed it. She gets the rose and they kiss in front of a street harpist.
At the Rose Ceremony Cocktail Party, Cheated On Kids and Cheated On No Kids both have roses. Olivia does, too, and the jealous rage of the roseless is palpable. JoJo high fives Ben when he promises to warn her before he dumps her. Lauren B. can see having a life life with him beyond the initial annulment window of the marriage.
While Ben is away, Amanda discusses her stress dreams around her ex-husband’s inconsistent custody of their children, and Olivia says it is like watching Teen Mom. A hush falls over the group. This is their chance. Olivia tries to force tears, but it’s too little too late. Amanda takes an unnecessary swing at Snooki, and then Twin Emily dashes off to tell Ben, “We’ve got her! Olivia is a bad guy!!” I love Ben for asking her why. This is more follow up than Emily was expecting, and she mumbles something about being fake and then runs away. See, the twins are identical, so it’s understandable how the producers could have accidentally cut Schwarzenegger and kept DeVito.
Olivia drops by to give Ben an “I’m not crazy” ring, and he is confused again, or as I like to put it, Chris Soules-ed. He needs to get to the bottom of things, so the producers deliver (m)Amanda. Ben asks what’s up, and she says Olivia has been targeting her from week 1. Then Brunette shows up and tells Ben that Olivia hides that she doesn’t get along with the other women. If this sounds like a whole lot of made up bullshit, that’s because it is.
Ben asks to see Olivia in private. I hope it’s to propose right then and there, but it’s probably not. The women are gleeful. “She did this to herself,” says Emily, who did this to her.