The contestants compete for the title of Best Kisser, while Michael and Holly's relationship approaches the (re)breaking point
Bachelor Pad

Hello again, rose lovers! I hope all of you made it safely through the recent patch of inclement weather. Oh — no, I’m not talking about Irene. I meant Tropical Depression Melissa. As you know, storms like this can be deadly, with gale force gusts of hot air and dousing sheets of tears. Stay safe, everybody!

So we pick up right where the Sopranos-style smash-cut to black ending left off. As Harrison calls Kasey’s name, Jake smirks, Vienna tosses her head back in relief, and Kasey strides purposefully up to his woman and plants one on her. Jake decides to use his “few moments” to “say your goodbyes” as a platform to scream obscenities at his enemies… oh, no, sorry, he actually just makes a very polite speech, telling his assorted former opponents that if they want any chance of winning, they need to knock out the all-important Power Couples. “Kasey, amazing meeting you, he says, then bows to his former fiancé. “Vienna, my apologies — in my heart, you’re forgiven.” Wait a second — what happened to him taking a few people down with him? I guess that was last week’s goal; in the Reject Limo Jake says that he only came on Bachelor Pad so he could find closure with Vienna, forgive her, and move on with his life. “The last time I left in a limousine I was heartbroken. This time, I’m glad to be out of that f—ing crazy house!”

Back inside the Pad, Kasey and Vienna are making googly eyes at each other and offering insincere thanks to the other contestants for their votes. Not everyone is having it. “Kasey and Vienna are just sitting there with ugly little expressions on their ugly little faces, thinking that they run sh– around here,” sneers Erica. “I think everyone’s getting sick of the two of them.”

Harrison greets the gang the next morning in the living room, where Vienna and Kasey are already plotting who will be the final eight: The two of them, Michael and Holly, Graham and Michelle, and Kirk and Ella. “The rest of them? They’re expendable,” explains Vienna. Not so fast, Princess Bug-Eye! Because Harrison’s got a surprise for you: “I know it’s early — I hope you all brushed,” he warns. “Get ready for the second annual Bachelor Pad kissing contest!” The only one who looks happy about this is Melissa. Everyone else looks like Harrison just told them they have to kill a unicorn and turn it into meatloaf. Michelle immediately begs off, because she has a six-year-old daughter, and, well, “I try to be a good example for her.” Oh, honey. Horse. Barn. Way, way, waaaay out.

The “ladies” are the kiss-ees first, and Harrison leads a blindfolded Holly out to the pool, where the Pad’s dudes are lined up by the pool. Poor Stag is not loving the idea of watching his ex kiss all the other guys — something that William, as dumb as he is, recognizes, so he just gives her a quick peck on the lips.

NEXT: It’s called mouthwash, Kasey. Look into it.

In fact, most of the men fail to bring their A-games. “I was expecting some good kissing,” sighs Holly, “but all the guys kissed like grandmas today, and I think it’s because Michael’s there and they just want to be respectful.” Respect? thinks Blake to himself. Respect is for the other guy. “I would say I went in for the kill,” he gloats. And it’s true, he jams his tongue in everyone’s mouth — except Vienna, of course — in a ruthless play to win the rose. (The good news is, we know they all had access to mouthwash in the voting room. And I choose to believe that the big silver bucket next to the Listerine was not, in fact, a spittoon. I can only take so much, people.)

When it’s time for the guys to be blindfolded, Ella wastes no time devouring the lower half of each of their faces with her patented a-little-bit-of-pressure-pull-back-sucking-on-the-lips-not-too-much-tongue move. Sounds like a bit much to me, but it seems to go over better than Erica’s “extremely aggressive,” “sloppy” approach. Both Erica and Ella — and the rest of the “ladies” — are forced to dial it back a notch when it’s Kasey’s turn to be kissed, because apparently the King didn’t use any mouthwash before his turn. “Everyone thought Kasey had really bad breath,” says Erica. Adds Holly, “That’s gross, but this is a game, and I’m here to win.” She definitely gets Stag’s vote: “Can she go again?” he asks, only half kidding. Too bad Holly also goes to town on Blake — “I didn’t want to stop,” she giggles, as Melissa hangs her head and plots to murder them both in their sleep.

After the votes are tallied, Ella and Blake win in a landslide, meaning they each get to pick someone for a “romantic” one-on-one date. “My son would be very proud,” says Ella with a smile. (Hmmm, I’m not sure proud is the right word for it.) Lipsy McMilf chooses totally harmless/useless Kirk for her date, which involves a joyride on a windy mountain road in a red Ferrari. Blake probably wishes he was lying in the middle of that road right about now, because his “partner” Melissa is letting him know how very excited she is for their date tonight… The only problem is, he’d rather hack off his own foot and eat it than spend a romantic night with Melissa. “If I take Holly on the one-on-one date, Melissa would be Mount St. Helens,” laments Blake. “I don’t know what to do.”

While Ella was really looking forward to getting out of the house on her date with Kirk, they only got to drive that fancy sportscar a few hundred yards up the hill to the Casa Bachelor Annex, where they have dinner in front of the fire. Over pizza, wine, and s’mores, Kirk recounts his life-threatening battle with mold, or something (I didn’t really watch Ali’s season, I’ve gotta admit), while Ella tells Kirk about witnessing her mother’s brutal murder. Call me crazy, but I like them together — I even think Kirk enjoyed kissing Ella in the hot-air balloon. Since Stag and Holly are obviously doomed, I think this little May-December duo (he’s 27, she’s “31”) is my favorite couple in the Pad.

NEXT: Blake screws Melissa, tries to screw Holly

Speaking of Stag and Holly being doomed, when the date card arrives for Blake, he simultaneously grows a pair and wraps a noose around his neck by asking Holly — not Melissa — to go with him. The latter “lady” is more than upset, especially because Blake “pinky swore” that he’d be taking her. (Well, think how poor Erica feels! She must have wasted at least half of her bottle of Johnson’s Baby Oil on him during that backyard massage!) Grabbing Michelle by the hand, Melissa marches upstairs to the bathroom and slams the door. Blake tries to apologize, but of course it is to no avail. Melissa has already transformed into an emotional cyborg, and her mission is simple: Eee-lim-i-nate Blaaaaaaaaake! Her first stop involves telling Michael that Holly “doesn’t give a sh– ” about him and is going to dump him as a partner for Blake. Shockingly, this does not win him over to her side. Undeterred, Melissa storms through the Pad until she finds Blake in the bathroom — but you’re gonna have to put that confrontation on hold for 40 seconds, sister, because Blake is in the middle of his Oral B electric toothbrush regimen. [Jeopardy! music plays]

And we’re back! The next day! Blake and Holly board a private jet to Mammoth ski resort, where Holly — a novice skier — faceplants numerous times, much to Blake’s amusement. Both of them have so much fun sipping hot cocoa and tackling each other in the snow, neither of them even think about Stag. “If Michael finds out that I had so much fun with Blake, it’ll break his heart,” says Holly, with what can only be described as a suppressed evil grin. So make sure he doesn’t find out, you stupid wench. Later that night, Blake tries to find out what’s really going on in Holly’s mind about Stag… but he doesn’t really get an answer. “I feel like it’s going to be really hard for you and I to go back to the house,” muses Holly. “Especially after being gone all day. I’m just really thankful I’m not at the house right now.” So, I guess that means she’s over Stag? Maybe? Blake thinks so, and he gives Holly the rose. Unfortunately for Stag — who’s stewing in his own sadness juices back at the Pad, as the hours pass with no sign of his ex-fiancée’s return — Blake and Holly decide to stay overnight at the resort. Not cool, guys. Not. Cool.

Well, well, well, look what the limo dragged in. As soon as Blake and Holly bring their sorry asses back into the Pad, Stag comes running out of the backyard to profess his love to the raven-haired temptress. “When you were gone for 24 hours and I got another taste of what it was like to be without you — I don’t really want that again,” he murmurs. “I missed you so much… You are irreplaceable.” They rest their heads against each other while the Sounds like Titanic But Isn’t Soundtrack plays softly in the background. And just when it looks like things are going well, Holly admits to Michael that she kissed Blake. “I can’t believe you would do that to me,” he practically sobs. Hold up, says Holly: “You broke up with me, Michael.” True enough… but just because you were on a break doesn’t mean you can just smooch any old smarmy dentist with a disturbingly hairless chest, missy.

NEXT: “She drains the life out of me”

We interrupt this heartbreaking melodrama for a rose ceremony. Kasey’s “really sneaky” strategy to assure the “ladies” will put William’s name in the box instead of his is to tell people that he needs the $250,000 prize money for his granny. “I’m not trying to sell a story,” he whispers to Ella and Kirk, “but just know that the money is necessary for my grandma to live.” (Here’s a tip, Kase: When you’re trying to sell people a phony story, don’t start by telling them you’re not trying to sell them a story.) Michael and Holly, meanwhile, have decided to skip all the back-room dealings and instead go on a backyard date. It seems like Holly’s I’m-over-him façade is finally beginning to show some cracks. “I loved him so much, and it was so easy for him to walk away from me,” she says. “And that scares me.” Though they seem to have a nice time and even share a few kisses, Holly wisely concludes that now, in the middle of an alcohol-fueled reality show, is not the best time to make a decision about her future with Michael.

The rest of the Pad, of course, is still abuzz with talk of strategy and power couples. Will all the men join forces to vote Vienna out? Or, as William points out, is it better to get rid of Melissa, who does no one — especially her partner — any good? “I can’t imagine the amount of hell Melissa causes Blake, because I don’t even speak to her and I feel like she drains the life out of me,” says Graham. (Oh, hey buddy! Where you been?) It’s easy to see why: Her idea of “strategy” is to skitter around the house in her hooker heels and tearfully demand that each guy in the house tell her if he’s voting her out. “So unaware of the game,” sighs Stag.

Eventually everyone lines up in the driveway to learn their fate, and when all of the roses are handed out, it’s William and Melissa who are left empty-handed. Goodbye and Godspeed, Dead Weight and Crazy Sue! As Melissa turns her back to the camera and has a cathartic ugly cry in the Reject Limo, Michelle lays it all out for us in voiceover. “I think that Melissa deserves all the happiness in the world,” she intones. “But coming on Bachelor Pad, feelings are going to get hurt… I think we’re all realizing that we’re all on the chopping block and no one can be trusted. And that is the game of Bachelor Pad.” Boom! So what say you, rose lovers? Will you miss Melissa and/or notice that William is gone? Do Holly and Stag have a chance or should he extinguish that torch he’s carrying for good? And would you rather kiss Kasey, Vienna, or the barrel of a loaded gun? Fasten your seatbelt and let’s talk Bachelor Pad!

More Bachelor Pad from EW:

Episode Recaps

Bachelor Pad
Chris Harrison reassembles former rose-contenders for a second chance at reality fame, love, and televised skankiness
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