Welcome to Warsaw, Indiana, another notch on the ole’ Corn Belt! Ben visits his parents in his childhood home and briefs them on the coming cloud of Elnett hairspray. He shares his handy nicknames for the women: Becca “From Last Season,” “Shockingly Beautiful” (m)Amanda, “Unbelievably Beautiful” JoJo, “Young Twin” Emily, possible sperm-related hair product dig “There’s Something About” Lauren B., and “Beautiful, Scared Sex Panther” Caila. On the way to their apartment, the women pose for a stock photo that would suit anything from a living with herpes campaign to a cautionary brochure on fall leaves and syringes.
Ben meets the women at their place, not far from where his parents live. He asks them to avoid peeping through windows on his mom and dad, not because it’s a crime, but because they are always screwing. So. Ben asks “Cum Hair” Lauren out in front of the other women, a more intimate gesture than a card, according to intimacy expert Becca “From Last Season.” “Unbelievable” JoJo recognizes that “Semen Bangs” Lauren is her chief competition, and decides to play her Guard Is Up card. A player with the Guard Is Up card may play this at the beginning of her turn, costing her one trust card but earning her two Cat-And-Mouse Boner points. Player must play a “Guard Down” card to complete her turn.
On the informal One On One Date (there’s no rose to win), Ben takes “Stiff Side Part” Lauren to the theater where he had his first kiss-and-judge, a theater that is now a hotel. How’s that for a subtle nudge? They reenact his 7th grade rejection, but do not get a room. Instead, Ben takes her to make out at Baker’s Youth Center. Ben worked here a few years earlier while he was in high school. All the kids Ben knew have been cryogenically frozen since he worked there, so their fond memories of him are fresh. The happy couple play ball, smile to prove they love kids, and Half Court Ronnie makes an impressive shot that compels them to kiss.
I hope they bring this girl back for Fantasy Suite commentary. Pacers players Paul George and George Hill show up, then Ben cheers up a crying child. I wonder if the same intern who unfroze all the kids also made little Eric cry for this scene. What do you think she said? “Hey kid, your parents are divorcing because of you. Now stand by this wall and let me get a light meter reading.” Whatever she said, it worked. Ben and “Knob Bob” Lauren leave the Youth Center for his apartment so he can tell her he trusts her, and they drink at a dive bar with his unidentified friends. Lauren tells us she’s in love.
“Not To Be Believed” JoJo gets a One On One with Ben in my sweet hometown, Chicago! ABC/Disney is going to be disappointed when they find out why it’s actually called The White City. Ben and JoJo’s date is a marriage of two iconic institutions, The Bachelor and Wrigley Field. This is the Cubs’s biggest win in 107 years. They run the bases, Ben fiddles with her score box, and “Do Not Trust Her, Ben” JoJo puts her guard up and takes it down before the lights go out.
(m)Amanda, Becca, and the Frightened Tigress look grim on the way to their group date. Their limo pulls up to a farm, and they pair off for paddle boat rides. Ben and the Horny Snow Leopard are in one boat, and (m)Amanda and Becca share another. They look on, understandably uncomfortable, and compare it to a scene from The Notebook. I’m of the Bridget Jones’ Diary generation, however, so, “Fuck me, I love Keats.” Ben takes (m)Amanda aside and reassures her that he likes her children and shitty past. Then he takes Becca aside. They do some weird splicing but essentially she confides that she doesn’t feel like her feelings are reciprocated. He says nothing. She then asks him not to blindside her, a deal JoJo also made and sealed with a high-five. Ben takes the Sultry Caracal aside and she tells him she’d like to be the moss on his tree. Tempting, but Ben gives the date rose to (m)Amanda. The other women are left to execute that clever tear wipe/eyeliner fix move, and Becca asks what more she needs to do to get a little validation. Mouth stuff?
The date rose allows (m)Amanda and Ben to answer, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Ben takes (m)Amanda to dine and work at McDonald’s, and even forces her to say she takes her kids there. The grease washes off, but the desperation remains. They clock out and head to a carnival filled with extras from “Sperm Perm” Lauren B.’s date. Even sad Eric is there, cotton candy in hand and at peace with his parents’ impending divorce. Ben stresses to the crowd that (m)Amanda is a different woman than Lauren, but they’re not buying it. Ben squeals in terror on a park ride, and then raises an excellent point. “Fair rides scare me. They get set up in like a day.” These are the kind of street smarts that only develop in people from towns like Warsaw, Indiana.
“It Twin” Emily (have some fun and anagram it) gets a One On One boat ride to Dumpsville, conveniently located in Ben’s parents’ house. From the get-go this date felt like a hit job. It starts when Ben’s mom and dad take a fiver from boning to welcome them. Twin barely gets out a compliment on the local duck population before Ben’s mom takes her for a walk. Is this when it happens? Emily confesses to a complete lack of character, depth, and life experience, but somehow returns alive. She confides to Ben’s father that she would stay in and watch movies for the rest of her life if she could, which is something we all want for her. Meanwhile Ben’s poor mom takes him aside so she can burst into tears at the prospect of this self-confessed “so average at everything in life” daughter-in-law. Let’s hope her husband sexes her good after this. The doomed duo hop back on their boat, and Vegas’s luck finally runs out. Ben drops her, putting a .22 in the heart of a 23, and sails away to the sounds of wind rushing and loon calls. Back at Twin’s wake, “Blow Out” Lauren B. is the gangster that throttles the corpse to make sure she’s good and dead.
At the Rose Ceremony, Ben doesn’t want to eliminate anyone. Voice of reason (and smooth molasses) Chris Harrison asks Ben if he could really marry all of the five of the remaining girls. Really? Ben sees his point and cuts Becca “From Last Season.” She calls him out for blindsiding her after she specifically asked him not to, but he points out they never high-fived on it. Sorry, star-crossed lover, that’s what happens when you miss your palm to palm line and only use your lips in prayer.