So there we were in Portugal, setting out on THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of THE MOST IMPORTANT JOURNEY TO LOVE ever. And yet all we could think about was how Jake and Vienna were going to come on the TV after this and argue for our entertainment/tell us how their most important journey to love ever ended at a broken-down shack instead of the beautiful five-star hotel of love they thought they’d booked online. That is, metaphorically speaking.
But alas, for now we would have to settle for unfathomably beautiful Lisbon scenery and a lot of talk about how important it would be for the men to open up so as to win one of the four coveted hometown dates. (And, in fact, if you’d like to talk about Jake and Vienna, please see Michael Slezak’s detailed Jake vs. Vienna analysis. A subject of such societal weight, we felt, deserves its own separate place for debate. We’ll stick strictly to Ali here, as if she never had anything to do with Jake — which I’m sure she’d prefer at this point as well.) There would be four dates. All roses would be given at the rose ceremony and nowhere else. The game was truly on now.
Date #1: In which Roberto was the king of Ali’s castle
The first date card invited Roberto to ”come be the king of my castle,” prompting approximately seven hours of painstaking dissection of the phrase by guys despite the fact that it was pretty clear it meant they’d be hanging out at one of Lisbon’s 8.9 trillion castles. Maybe Roberto would be in the dungeon, one said. But kings don’t spend a lot of time in dungeons, Roberto said. Maybe it would be super-romantic. Maybe it wouldn’t. Maybe he’d get a crown and scepter. Maybe he would join Sacramento’s basketball team. Anything could happen. Anything.
We’d have to suspend our suspense for a while, though, because first Ali and Roberto had to take ridiculously cute pictures of each other, then decide spontaneously to slow dance in the middle of the cobblestone street. First sign that a date is going well: When he says, ”Are we the only ones dancing in the street?” Second sign that a date is going well: When he says, ”As long as I’m around there’ll be a lot of moments like this.” Third sign a date is going well: When you spend an entire picturesque trolley ride playing kissyface.
Brief interlude to discuss one of my favorite phenomena: The occasional scenes where the guys not on the date sit around the house and talk about their feelings. Like when Frank mused, ”I think we all owe it to Ali this week to really put our cards on the table and let her know how we feel about her.” Can’t these guys talk about sports or movies or books or something?
Meanwhile, Ali and Roberto were picnicking at — you’ll never guess — a castle overlooking the kind of view that could make you fall in love with a pigeon if that’s who was next to you at the time. ”You’re a mystery to me a bit right now,” Ali said, which made me glad, because I feel the same about him. He’s cute and all, but I have no idea what his deal is. ”You’re not really that nice, are you?” she continued. ”You amaze me,” she answered her own question. He didn’t really illuminate anything in response — he simply said, ”I feel lucky when you say things like that because you’re beautiful and you’re smart,” then made out with her a lot. But she seemed satisfied with that. And, well, I might be too.
NEXT: The awkward 2-on-1 date