Greetings, rose lovers — and thanks for following me (back) to EW.com. As you know, neither rain nor snow nor a new job as a TV critic will stay me from the swift completion of my appointed Bachelor recap duties. Now, on to week 5!
Perhaps taking a cue from The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, this week Team Bachelor moves the action to the beaches of Florida — Fort Lauderdale to be exact. It is “a beautiful place to fall in love,” notes Arie, who clearly has never seen an episode of MTV Spring Break.
Once the women are properly settled in their penthouse suite, the Bachelor shows up in an ocean-blue ensemble to steal Chelsea away for the first one-on-one of the week. And wouldn’t you know it, it’s on a yacht.
At the hotel, Last Remaining Lauren admits she expected to get today’s one-on-one date, but instead Arie gave it to Chelsea, “and I felt like he didn’t look at me even one time.” Her insecurities aren’t helped when even more competition walks in the door.
Awww, welcome back, Maquel! Good to see you…but you probably shouldn’t get too comfortable, honey. The other women fill Maquel in on Arie’s whereabouts, and it isn’t long before producers lead them to a telescope on the balcony…just in time to see the Bachelor and Chelsea “Titanic-ing” on the bow of the yacht.
With all the Krystal drama the last few weeks, Chelsea and her single mom status have faded into the background — until tonight. “I have to really see if there could be a connection to move things forward,” says Arie. “I don’t want to waste her time.”
So over dinner, the Bachelor presses Chelsea for details on her past relationship, and it’s certainly not a boring backstory: She met an “older,” “more successful” man when she was 20 years old, and that man proceeded to “mold” her into the person he wanted her to be. Seven years later — and just six months after Chelsea gave birth to Sammy — Older Man left her for another woman. “I was left with, literally, my belongings in trash bags,” recalls Chelsea, tearing up. Today, she says, “I probably have the least that I’ve ever had, but I feel like I have everything.”
Ugh, remember three weeks ago when we didn’t like Chelsea?
Anyhow, she gets the date rose…and a private concert by a Tia lookalike named Tenille Arts.
Enjoy that Bachelor Bump, Tenille!
On to the group date! Maquel, Krystal, Bekah M., Becca K., Jenna, Seinne, Kendall, Ashley, Marikh, Jacquline, and Lauren B. (why the B.? she’s the last Lauren!) meet Arie at the Holiday Bowling Lanes…because there’s no time to spare. Get it? Also, kudos to whichever producer talked Arie into licking a filthy bowling ball — in service to a Big Lebowski homage, of course.
When the time comes to divide into teams for a bowling showdown — winners get to go to the after-party, and losers go back to the hotel — Krystal is so desperate to get more time with Arie she actually says a prayer to her dogs that her team will win. I laughed, but perhaps I should not have scoffed at the power of canine divinity: After Krystal’s prayer, The Spare Roses (Jenna, Krystal, Becca, Maquel, and Jacqueline) do, in fact, trounce the Pin Ups (Seinne, Marikh, Lauren, Bekah, Ashley, and Kendall).
High on bowling-alley beer and adrenaline, Krystal is ready, yet again, to speechify. “I want to make a toast about not focusing on breaking others down, but building each other up,” she tells her team. “Cheers to the best day everrrrr.”
(Next: Arie changes his mind)
That’s what you think, toots. As the Pin Ups console each other in the locker room, our Bachelor sits alone by the lanes, pondering his options. Though he’s supposed to send the losing team home, Arie can’t bring himself to be the bad guy.
Squeals all around! Krystal, however, is all kinds of pissed. “Like, why’d you change your mind?” she huffs. “I’m not gonna sit there and fight for his attention.” Apparently her hissy fit continued and intensified on the ride back to the hotel. “On the bus, on the way home, Krystal literally, like, lost her mind,” reports Ashley gravely. I’m guessing she means figuratively, but back at the hotel Krystal is definitely losing her s— on The Bachelor crew. “I’m changing, so if someone wants to take my microphone off, or I’m taking it off myself,” she snaps at some poor off-camera plebe. Meanwhile Maquel reports that Krystal repeatedly called Arie “a liar” during the bus ride, which is all the more reason why we need cameras on those damn buses, Team Bachelor!!!
Fortunately the cameras are able to capture some of Krystal’s rant, as she vents via subtitles to a producer.
The other “ladies” are doing their best to push past the latest Krystal kerfuffle, but then she swans into the room, still wearing her bathrobe, and announces she’s not going with them to the after-party.
The Bachelor, Krystal explains, was “disrespectful” to the winning team, adding, “I want someone to include me in decisions.” Yeah, the women aren’t having it either.
If the women really believed that Krystal was going to leave for good — “all my bags are packed,” she tells them — they no doubt would have been quick to encourage her righteous indignation. But everyone there knows Krystal is really just having a “temper tantrum,” so they leave her to it and head out to meet Arie at the bar. He’s not there 30 seconds before the women start filling him in on their rival’s meltdown.
“She’s kind of throwing a fit in her room right now because everyone else got included on the date,” says Bekah. “She was basically calling you a liar multiple times,” adds Jenna, who can be quite serious when she’s not fall-down drunk. Because this isn’t Arie’s first rodeo, he knows this is his cue to go “check” on Krystal — which is, of course, exactly what Krystal wants him to do.
Don’t let that hug fool you — our Bachelor is pissed. First he chides Krystal for talking smack about him (“Whatever was said up here could have been said to me directly”), and then he makes a remarkably sensible observation about relationships: “This is exactly what couples can’t do — run away from their problems.” Whether Krystal is trying to “teach him a lesson” or whether she’s really that upset about a minor change of plans, Arie is not having it at all.
That’s right, Krystal — you’ve been disinvited from the after-party. “I’ll see you in a few days,” says Arie curtly, before heading back upstairs.
At last, the party gets going, and it proceeds apace: Arie makes out with Kendall; Arie makes out with Bekah; Arie makes out with Becca; and so on. Everything’s humming along nicely until…
That sound you hear is everyone’s last nerve snapping. Lauren is so frustrated about Krystal’s spotlight-hogging antics she storms off in tears, while Bekah unloads her anger right to Krystal’s face: “You said you weren’t coming tonight, yet here you are, so does that make you a liar?” Sensing that she’s about to have the flaxen extensions ripped right out of her head, Krystal retreats back to her room.
(Next: Would Arie eat human flesh?)
Meanwhile, Lauren has dried her tears in time to sit down with Arie for a fun game of “21 Questions.” She grills him about his favorite color and his egg-and-toast preferences, but when it’s Arie’s turn, he attempts to go a little deeper: “What are you scared of, in all this?” Short answer: rejection, emotional annihilation, a lonely and miserable death. And he LOVES it. Lauren gets the date rose.
The next day, it’s time for Tia’s first one-on-one date of the season. Just as he regionally profiled Tia before with the hay bales and moonshine set-up at the mansion, once again Arie arranges a “country” date (a fan-boat tour of the Everglades) for his “country girl.” It’s gator time, y’all!
There’s nothing like floating next to a prehistoric killing machine to remind you how scary love can be, or something. (Seriously, Team Bachelor, you’re really reaching.) Arie and Tia’s tour concludes at a rustic cabin on stilts in the middle of the Everglades, built with love by a nice old man named Gerald. He treats them to a hearty meal of fried frog legs, catfish, and deep-fried corn on the cob (“my own invention,” notes Gerald proudly). It’s truly a dream date, and Arie and Tia are getting along famously.
Their conversation may not be deep, but it’s comfortable and relaxed. She tells him about frogging back home in Arkansas; he tells her about how racing makes him feel like a “different person” — and then they make out, of course. (Side note: Where is Gerald all this time? I hope Team Bachelor paid him a hefty fee to let these interlopers squat on his porch.) “I just feel like my feelings are growing and growing,” says Tia. “It’s this new lovey-dovey feeling, and it feels really good.”
At dinner, Tia tells Arie more about her job as a physical therapist, and how her patients, many of whom are older, feel like she’s an “old maid” who needs to find a man stat. Even better, she’s ready to leave Arkansas…perhaps for a desert climates? “There are a lot of elderly patients in Scottsdale,” offers Arie helpfully.
More interesting, though, is their conversation about religion — and what’s interesting about it is how vague and circumspect they’re both being. Rather than asking Arie, “Do you believe in God?” she says, “Do you believe there is a higher power, like, leading you to where you are?” And rather than saying, “No, I’ve never been that religious” or whatever, Arie hedges and says he’s “struggled” with the idea of God because so many of his friends have died racing. “There’s a lot of questions there, like why?” The closest the Bachelor comes to saying he doesn’t believe in God is asking Tia, “Could you be married to someone who…doesn’t have that faith?” (Short answer: Hells yes.)
Even if Arie is a godless heathen, he’s still way more qualified to be a husband than Tia’s past boyfriends — guys who “don’t have it all together” and whom Tia tried to “fix.” Now that she’s found a man who isn’t (too) broken, Tia’s ready to go next-level, baby.
Whoa! Gurl, it’s only week five! Don’t you know that you’re supposed to keep your “falling in loves” to yourself until the week before hometowns? Even so, Arie LOVES it. Tia gets the date rose — and a patented Arie Luyendyk Jr. push-and-smooch.
“I’ve been waiting for you to push me against something,” says Tia. (Who knew she was a Bachelor scholar?)
(Next: “This is our first fight!”)
When the final cocktail party of the week rolls around, the “ladies” are still annoyed with Krystal — who has apparently spent the last two days moping in her room. Or, to hear her tell it, she was “growing” and “discovering” her truth after the fight with Arie.
As you might expect, the return on Krystal’s investment in herself yields even more delusion. “This was definitely a really challenging week, and it was definitely challenging for Arie and I,” Krystal announces to the room. “We were able to have a hard conversation, and I feel like no regrets.” Her speech receives another warm reception.
Good times. Other fun tidbits from the cocktail party: Kendall would “totally” eat human flesh if she happened to visit a cannibal tribe; Jacqueline is used to dating guys with “massive egos,” which is why she finds Arie refreshing; and Krystal wants to make “glitter bomb” the new “mic drop.”
Just when it looks like she’s a goner, though, Krystal pulls out some quality emotional baggage to explain her actions. When she was growing up, her emotionally distant mom worked in a bowling alley — so that date, she says, triggered a lot of unpleasant childhood memories. And Arie’s decision to backtrack on the “losers go home” decision, Krystal adds, reminded her of all the deadbeat guys her mom dated who broke promise after promise, leaving her mom “really broken.”
Damn, she’s good.
Arie, however, seems immune to Krystal’s tale of woe. “If you think this is hard, after this it’s twice as hard, or more,” he says. Even when his date tries to lighten the mood by batting her eyelashes and cooing, “This is our first fight,” the Bachelor refuses to play along.
Ouch. Oh, and here’s Chris Harrison with his Butter Knife of Bad News. Will Krystal and her many facets — “fun, passionate, sad, emotional, futuristic” — make it through another round of cuts? I think we all know the answer to that (curse you, universe!), but for the record, the roses go to: Bekah M., Seinne, Kendall, Becca K., Jacqueline, Jenna, and…sigh…Krystal. Alas, that means it’s the end of the “journey” for Ashley, Marikh, and poor Maquel, who traveled all the way to Florida just to be shipped back to Utah. Here’s hoping producers give her a free trip to Paradise for her trouble.
Well, rose lovers, here we are. Some questions for you: Is Krystal on borrowed time? Is Lauren boring or just very reserved? And is it me or do all of these women (minus Krystal) actually seem to like each other? Post your thoughts now. And be sure to check out Chris Harrison’s behind-the-scenes blog right here.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to say a prayer to Wayne and Chucky that Krystal gets sent packing next week.