The first thing that struck me about tonight’s episode, rose lovers, is that Ames really shouldn’t use so much product in his damn hair! When he alighted off the plane in Chang Mai with the other guys, that shot of him in the jet way — his bangs blooming in a messy pouf over his ample forehead — was a revelation. He looked hot! Alas, his hair wasn’t free from its gel confines for long, and soon it was sitting stiffly atop his head as he bloviated on about Chang Mai: “Chang Mai is the perfect place to fall in love with Ashley. It’s famous for having for thousands of monks in saffron robes wandering around.”
Anyhow, the episode opens at the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi hotel, where Harrison drops the men off at their private villa while also dropping the bomb: It’s two-on-one date week! With that, he deposits the date card and disappears. Ashley arrives for her date with Ben F., sporting a bright pink sleeveless top that clashes mightily with Ben’s cherry-red polo. Well, at least they’ll be able to spot each other in a crowd. They clamber into a Thai taxi and head to a colorful street market, where they sample local cuisine and paint delicate paper umbrellas. They cop a squat on a bench by a beautiful, elephant adorned temple and stare lovingly into each others eyes, and… [needle scratching on vinyl] “You know we can’t kiss here?” Ashley tells Ben. “That’s how sacred this place is.” With that whispered warning, the sexual tension goes from fun and flirty to feral cat in heat, and the duo share a cute “mental kiss” with their eyes closed. “I just want to jump on him — merooww!” growls the Bachelorette.
Evening falls and the duo arrives at a romantic outdoor dinner — too bad Ashley is wearing a potentially mood-killing paisley strapless romper. Ben F. powers through, however, filling Ashley in on the life of a winemaker, which involves being “out in the fields” and “bringing the fruit in.” He goes on to say that the loss of his dad more than four years ago left him a little emotionally shut off, an “emotional zombie” if you will. (I think I’m going to steal that phrase — it’s a good one.) Over the past year, Ben says, he’s been dismantling the emotional walls. This all sounds promising, but Ashley still wants to know what Ben’s “agenda” would be for a new relationship. “My agenda is focus on her,” he says. “Spending time together, nights in, cooking, you know, wine parties… Just making her the priority.” And she LOVES it. “Ben is saying everything that I was hoping to hear,” marvels Ashley. Of course he is — he’s a winemaker, not an idiot. He gets the rose. Bring on the dancing girls and fireballs!
The next day, it’s group date time for Constantine, Ames, Nick, Blake, Lucas, Ryan Sunshine, JP, and Mickey. The card said “love is worth fighting for,” and you know what that means: amateur Muay Thai boxing! “This is a really hot way to see the men,” explains Ashley, who wants to “see if I can find the masculinity in these guys.” Um, sweetheart, if you have to look that hard for it, you may not get that fairy tale ending you’re hoping for. While Lucas has his game face on — “I’ve been in some street fights” — Ames and his Ivy League bone structure appear a bit worried. “We could end up with black eyes or broken noses,” he says, before quickly adding, “But Ashley’s worth it.”
NEXT: Ames gets his bell rung