Congratulations, TV Watchers. We’ve made it to week three of The Bachelor. I hope you’re hanging in there, because there are 12 ”ladies” left, and by the looks of things, none of them are going down without a fight.
We open on Casa Bachelorette, where Harrison gives the women the rundown for this week: one group date, two one-on-one dates, and a big fat nothing for a few unlucky bachelorettes. Since we all knew from last week’s tease that Stephanie would be scoring a one-on-one outing with Jason, it’s no surprise when her name is on the first date card. So Stephanie and her pink yarn boa hop in the limo, and while she’s a little bummed because it’s Sophia’s fourth birthday and she’s missing it, she manages to keep her focus: Mama needs a new baby daddy! ”I think my husband would be smiling down on this whole situation,” she explains.
When Stephanie arrives at the beach (guys, I know you’re shooting in southern California, but could you try to mix it up a little bit?), Jason has a surprise for her: Giant oysters! Just kidding. It’s Sophia, wearing the cutest apple-themed ensemble you’ve ever seen. Now, you all know that I am a cold-hearted, cynical bitch, but even I teared up at this sentimental moment. Jason cried too, but as moved as he was, he couldn’t help but telegraph his real feelings about Stephanie: ”She’s been through so much in her life. I experienced something I’ll never forget, and no matter what happens, Stephanie will always have this.” (Emphasis mine. Translation: no ring for you!)
Still, Jason’s obligated to go through the motions, so it’s off to Legoland, which is closed to everyone but our little fake family. While it sucks that Sophia has to spend her birthday sharing her mom with a camera crew and a man she’s never met, at least she gets a whole amusement park to herself. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t check out a little bit on this date; Jason and Stephanie have zero chemistry. Watching the two of them together is kind of like watching an adult son make small talk with his dad’s second wife — it’s polite, stilted, and a little uncomfortable. Case in point, this exchange:
Stephanie: ”I’d love to meet Ty.”
Jason: [Silent chewing]
That said, Stephanie is fulfilling a very important function on The Bachelor: Every season, there’s always one woman the Bachelor feels obligated to keep around for a few episodes so he doesn’t look like a bad person. Normally, that role is filled by a black woman, but since the producers forgot to cast any this year, Stephanie and her sad story get the Guilt Vote. Seriously, no one wants to be the guy who interrupts a little girl’s birthday party to dump her mother on national TV. While Jason tries hard to convince us that he’s interested, he just can’t stop tipping his hand: ”It would be amazing to be with somebody who’s like Stephanie for the rest of my life.” (Again, emphasis mine.)
Back at Casa Bachelorette, Naomi reads the cryptic message on the date card: ”Let’s get busted for a good cause.” Too late! (Ba-dum-bum! Slezak, that one was for you.) When the ”ladies” get to the loft, Jason explains that they’ll be making and decorating busts of themselves, which will be auctioned off to raise money for an organization called Keep-A-Breast, which promotes breast cancer awareness. Jason goes first — which means he takes his shirt off and lets Melissa and Erica rub his torso down with baby oil before being wrapped in plaster. Let’s take a moment to salute the Bachelor staffer who came up with the idea for this group date — those hours of Googling ”naked charity work” really paid off.
NEXT PAGE: Jason gets to second base