The contestants are forced to form teams of two, which leaves bad boy Blake out in the cold.

By Kristen Baldwin
Updated September 06, 2011 at 05:03 AM EDT
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Happy day after Labor Day, rose lovers! I feel a little guilty that rather than spending this day celebrating the can-do spirit of the American worker, I instead spent two hours with a bunch of unemployed morons who list things like “children’s book author” and “entrepreneur” as their job descriptions. (Kudos to Vienna, however, for keeping it real.)

We begin with the tail end of last week’s rose ceremony, as everyone files grimly back into the living room and sits morosely on the couch, where they’ve clearly been told to wait for Harrison’s “surprise” announcement: It’s time to (officially) pair up, folks! This news makes absolutely no difference to anyone but Erica and Blake, as they are the only two players who have not yet paired up like animals on a Noah’s Ark booze cruise. Though Blake would have much rather gotten Holly as a partner, of course he agrees to pair with the Princess — he has no choice — but Erica thinks he should express a little bit more excitement. “I’m a lot smarter than Holly is,” explains Erica. “And in my opinion I am a lot prettier.”

As Harrison has warned the duos that they need to get to know their partner before tomorrow’s competition, the couples immediately begin data dumping biographical information in each other’s lap. Vienna — who has been consistently overconfident before every challenge — assumes she and Kasey have it in the bag, seeing as they’ve been together for six whole months, and her boyfriend agrees: “We’re gonna take this thing and we’re gonna win it. It’s so close I can smell it,” he adds, drawing two fingers across his nose in a gesture that is not technically obscene yet comes across as completely disgusting anyway.

Moving on, it’s time to play The Nearlywed Game, which — for those of you who have never seen the Game Show Network — is a game in which men and women answer questions about each other and then must predict what answer their partners gave. It becomes clear very early on that Kasey and Vienna prefer to talk at each other rather than to each other, because by round three — “What quality do you think your exes miss the most?” — they still have zero points. For the latter question, Vienna goes with boobs, but Kasey guesses teeth. “Seriously?” sneers Vienna. (In Kasey’s defense, maybe he thought she dated Ashley the Bachelorette/dental student. After all, Vienna is like the community bike of Bachelor Town — everybody gets a ride.)

Still, she should be mad, because Blake and Erica — two people who have been playing together for all of 17 minutes — are kicking everyone else’s butt. It doesn’t hurt that Team Bachelor Pad insists on asking some of the questions multiple ways; is there really going to be a different answer to what player would your partner like to kiss and what player would he/she like to sleep with? Of course the latter two questions were on the board simply to make Stagliano feel like crap, which he does when Holly chooses Blake as the answer to both. Sighs Stag, “Part of me just wants to punch him in his perfect, ridiculous dentist teeth.” (Do it!) Blake the snake gets his a few minutes later, when all the contestants are asked who they like least in the house — and naturally everyone picks him. “Yes, I realize that nobody likes me,” says Blake, “and it sucks.”

NEXT: Somebody call Child Protective Services! Some pervert deflowered baby Graham!

When it comes down to the final rounds, Graham and Michelle are neck and neck with Blake and Erica — and given how much everyone hates Blake, both he and his partner know they have to win. But nothing can stop Graham and Michelle, and it is only after Graham reveals that he was 7 years old when he lost his virginity that the other teams realize they are getting played, big time. It seems he and Ms. Money have a “strategy,” which involves dividing the questions into categories and assigning specific answers to those… Oh, I’ll just let Graham explain it: “Any question dealing with a numerical answer, we would give one number, and the number for us was 7. If it had to do with a non-gender specific person, the answer would be Mike. If it was a girl, we would say Holly.” I’m not gonna lie, folks — I am flabbergasted. That is actually a really smart plan. Let me repeat that: Someone actually came up with a smart plan on Bachelor Pad. Color me impressed. (Of course, when, exactly, did they set up this strategy? Weren’t the guys sent to “isolation” as soon as Harrison introduced the challenge? Oy, why am I looking for authenticity of any kind on this show?)

Somehow, even with this seemingly foolproof strategy, Michelle almost manages to lose the game. The question — “Who does your partner think is the most annoying person in the house?” — should have been easy for her. It’s a non-gender specific question, so according to their plan the answer is Mike. I remembered this after hearing it once three seconds ago. Michelle, however, manages to blank on her own rule at the end of the game after playing for god knows how long, and she answers Holly. Fortunately, she remembers for the tie-breaking question — by their system, Mike Stagliano is her “secret crush” — and they take the win. (Side note: Ella is Erica’s secret crush? Yeah, that sounds about right.) “At this point, I’m kind of resigned to my fate,” mutters Blake.

Ding dong! The Accent Table of Doom is at the door! It’s got a date card for Graham and Michelle, who are being whisked away by helicopter to a screening of What’s Your Number?, which, if the trailer is any indication, is a romantic comedy version of the short-lived CBS show The Ex List. Anyhoo, while Michelle and Graham are enjoying their sunset champagne on the top of a building, back at the Pad a fight’s a-brewing between Kasey and Vienna. I’ll let Blake explain: “Kasey and Vienna burst into the kitchen, and Vienna’s saying, ‘He ripped a ring off my finger because I wouldn’t have sex with him!’ And I just kind of said, ‘I need to go in this room, because I don’t know what to say.'” No need to worry, pal, because Kasey has more than enough to say for all of them. Vienna, you see, has been promising him sex and then not “following through” — and she’s done it before. “You never said no, you said yes,” King Kasey continues. “Just like you told Wes. Just like you told David Goode…” Man, this guy fights dirty. He pouts a little more and threatens to leave, at which point Vienna storms downstairs to the smush room/fantasy suite/biohazard so Kasey can “cuddle” her under the disdainful eye of the night-vision camera.

NEXT: Erica learns that the art of seduction does not involve force

Meanwhile, Michelle and Graham soak in hot chlorine and enjoy the romantic comedy stylings of Anna Faris and Chris Evans. How can Blake and Erica’s date top that? Especially when Blake can’t stop himself from flirting with Holly non-stop. But don’t worry — Erica has a plan. “I’m totally going to seduce him on this date,” she drones. “That way he’ll forget about her.” Not if Holly has anything to do with it; before Blake and Erica leave for their date, a bikini-clad Holly prances around in front of them both in the kitchen. “Blake didn’t have to look,” she chirps. Just shut it, toots. You’re not as cute as you think you are.

I get why Erica wants to get Blake’s mind off of Holly — the more he flirts with her, the angrier Stag gets, and the more likely it is that he (and by extension, Erica) will be voted out — but her seduction plan is clearly a non-starter. From the moment they arrive at the Mission Inn, Erica tries to warm Blake up to her by rubbing his thigh and whispering in his ear about how her astrologer, Herb, thinks she’ll be in the final two. Continues Erica in her nasal upswing, “I think we both need to just relax and do whatever we feel like doing? Completely? And relieve any type of tension that there might be?” Blake, who under the best of circumstances looks like he’s being forced to smile by an unseen gunman, now looks as if his face might melt from sheer mortification. He removes Erica’s hand from his lap and tries to let her down gently: “I just feel like staying away from the house makes me look more suspect.” Nice try, pal, but you’re dealing with a professional narcissist here — and she’s not leaving without getting what she wants. “I feel like we need to just bond as partners,” says Erica. “I brought some, like, very sexy lingerie.”

Mercifully, Team Bachelor Pad cuts away from this sh– show for a short sojurn back to the Pad, where Holly is reeling from Stag’s umpteenth declaration of love for her. “Michael broke my heart,” she sobs to Ella. “And now, it’s like, you had three months to talk to me… but you wait until we’re in a house full of people, and then drop the bomb on me?”

Aaand we’re back! Blake’s resolve isn’t weakening, and in fact, he’s even getting a little mad that Erica’s treating him like a male escort. “The fact that you told me that you packed a bag and you packed your lingerie — I feel like you painted yourself into this corner and you assumed that I would hop right on there — ” (Editors note: On there? Is that what the kids are calling it these days?) ” — it bothers me.” Seriously, Erica, didn’t you hear Vienna? No means no! Anyhow, they’re going to have to agree to disagree, because eventually Erica comes to terms with the fact that she’s not gonna get any tonight. “Let’s go make yourself not look like a slut,” she snaps. “And you’ll be known as the guy that hooked up with the craziest f—ing girl in the whole entire world… and tried to get with a girl who has a boyfriend. That’s weird.” She’s got a point.

NEXT: Boy, that was a dumb move.

By the next morning, though, Blake and Erica have worked out their differences well enough to strategize about how to use the two “safety roses” Team Bachelor Pad bestowed on them during their date. Erica wisely decides that they should first let everyone know about their secret power and then see who makes them the best deal. The only flaw in that plan is that everyone, of course, is simply going to promise them safety in exchange for the roses. So which couple do they believe the most? Kasey and Vienna. Seriously. What is the mysterious power these two morons have over everyone else in the Pad? Are they using the Jedi mind trick or something? Poor Ella is distraught; she knows that if K&V promised Erica and Blake safety, it most likely means she and Kirk are on their way to the Reject Limos. “They just threw away two roses,” she says tearfully.

Indeed, it does seems as though Vienna plans to keep her half of the promise to Blake and Erica — she’s gunning for Ella, whom Vienna thinks has spilled her sad backstory too soon. “I’m not going to go out there and pour my story out to someone and tell them how I want to help my mom catch up on four months’ rent that she’s behind on and she’s about to lose her house, and I have an 11-year-old sister who lives there,” she whispers. “I feel like that’s something you do in the end, and make it really sincere.” Blake and Erica vote for Ella and Kirk to leave, as do Kasey and Vienna… so it’s all up to Michelle and Graham. Will they be swayed by Stag’s last minute plea to send Blake — who he just caught smooching on the outdoor couch in front of the fire — out the door? “I can’t vote Kirk and Ella off before I vote for Blake, and I want him gone,” says Stag. Michelle, who pretty much has hated Blake from day one, has no trouble going against Kasey and Vienna’s wishes. But since the “ladies” on the teams are the ones casting the votes tonight, Stag is going to have to convince Holly to put her crush’s photo in the box… oh, wait, no — he’s just going to cave and tell her to do what she wants. Holly is so supremely selfish that when Ella finds her in the bathroom crying, she whines about how hard it is to be the deciding vote, and how she doesn’t want to lose Blake — never mind that Ella’s the one who will be out the door if Holly votes for her dentist dude.

Oy let’s just get this over with. Who is gonna get the boot? Michael and Holly get the first pair of roses, and then after an excruciatingly long pause, Harrison calls Ella and Kirk to the rose table. Amen! One more week in the house for Ella, who is clearly the least hateful person in the house. Well, rose lovers, are you happy that justice prevailed? Will you miss Erica’s demented confidence? Are you excited for next week’s Cirque du Soleil-looking challenge? And can you believe there’s only one week to go? Post your comments now! Don’t forget to check out Chris Harrison’s exclusive Bachelor Pad blog over on PopWatch when you’re done. Now, put on your bedazzled bra and let’s talk Bachelor Pad!

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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