I know this week Bentley’s imminent return will dominate the discussion, and I have some interesting takes on what is happening and what is about to happen next week in Hong Kong — but first let’s talk about this week. We have been to some exotic locations over the last decade, but the city of Chiang Mai in Thailand might just take the cake. The city has so much to offer but the property we stayed at, the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi, took it to a whole other level. This resort that sits on over sixty acres and includes two working rice paddies in the middle of it. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen. You know a resort is big when you can check out mountain bikes just to get around. The guys arrived in old school limos straight out of a James Bond film. The only difference is these limos were not just old school they were old. It was a really hot day and the limos that had A/C weren’t working that well. Let’s just say the guys were more than happy to get out and get to their villa. Speaking of their villa, it was insane. The men stayed in a three story presidential villa complete with a grand piano and incredibly valuable art that the guys were scared to death of breaking.
Ashley’s date with Ben F. was a great experience on the streets of Chiang Mai. It’s easy to get lost in the markets and Temples in this city and that’s exactly what they did. The group date was a tough one, but in my opinion it was one of the coolest dates we had this season. One of the things you have to experience while in Chiang Mai is Muay Thai boxing. Some of our crew and I attended a match the night before so we were excited to see it all play out on this date. A ring was set up for us in the middle of a town square. Fliers were passed out and ads ran on the radio promoting this “fight” drawing a nice crowd. These guys were really put through the wringer on this date. They worked out hard in incredible heat for about three hours before arriving for the actual fight. By the time they showed up at the ring they were all exhausted and a bit dehydrated.
Most the fights were pretty even but not the one between Ryan and Ames. As Ames will be the first to tell you, he’s not a fighter. Being the trooper he is he got out there and gave it his all. Unfortunately that meant he took about five good shots to the head. I was standing right there when Ames climbed out of the ring and I can attest to the fact that he was not all there. He was just sitting there with a blank look on his face and everybody knew something was wrong. He went to the hospital was diagnosed with a minor concussion and was released later that afternoon. I felt bad for Ames, not so much because he got his bell rung but more for the fact that he got wheeled into a hospital in hot pink boxing trunks. In all seriousness, everybody likes Ames and he had a great sense of humor about the whole thing, at least what he remembers about it.
Two-on-one dates just flat-out stink. This one in my opinion was worse than most because of what I will call the Bentley factor. Ashley was not in a good place and really wasn’t open to fighting for either one of these guys in the state she’s in right now. I heard Ben C. made comments about getting back home and being excited about online dating. Whether he was kidding as he claimed, I don’t know, but either way it probably wasn’t a good idea to bring that up to the other guys. William thought he was in the driver’s seat and home free, but Ashley just wasn’t in the mood that night and sent him packing as well. When I broke up the cocktail party I could feel the tension in the air, and when I sat down with Ashley at deliberation I could tell she was in a bad place. A massive thunderstorm blew in that night, very symbolic of what’s going on in Ashley’s mind right now. I will admit I was a little disappointed that she had slipped back in to this place and was still so hung up on Bentley. I was brutally honest with her at deliberation. I firmly believed we reached a serious breaking point. If things continue down this path this isn’t going to end well. There is absolutely no way possible Ashley can find love like this.
At this point we weren’t quite sure what we were going to do about this, but we knew for certain we had to do something. Obviously you’ve seen in the previews, what we were able to do was get Bentley to meet us in Hong Kong next week to face Ashley again and answer all her questions. One way or the other this needs to end for her. A lot has been made about Ashley’s meeting with Bentley but in my opinion the bigger story next week is how the other men react when Ashley comes clean and tells them everything that happened. Next week is an episode not to be missed from start to finish. It will absolutely shape everything that will happen the rest of this season and maybe the rest of Ashley’s life. I look forward to hearing from you this week, and I very much anticipate your reactions to what unfolds next week in Hong Kong. As usual we have a ton of extras for all Bachelorette fans on our official website thebachelor.tv, and you can always find me on twitter @chrisbharrison. One more important personal note this week: I’d like to wish a happy belated Father’s Day to all the dads out there including my own dad, to whom I’m eternally grateful for giving me so much in this life.
More Bachelorette from EW:
Ashley’s Bachelorette blog on people.com