For once the Padmates have to rely on their brains to move forward in the game, as a spelling bee challenge results in a showdown between good enough (Ed and Jaclyn) and evil (Chris and Sarah)
Bachelor Pad Spelling Bee
Credit: ABC

Welcome to the new, and definitely not improved Bachelor Pad, rose lovers. King Stagliano is gone, and as Julie Chen likes to say, the power is up for grabs. Who will get their grubby hands on it first? Let’s sneak into the Pad and find out.

The gang has barely had time to process the game-changing rose ceremony when Harrison strolls into the living room. “Hey guys!” he bellows to Rachel, who is upstairs boo-hooing about Michael as Jaclyn tries to comfort her. “Come downstairs and join me.” Yeah, “ladies,” you’re going to want to hear this: From now on, everyone will be competing, voting, and getting evicted as couples. Nick, meet Rachel. Rachel, meet the guy no one really remembers — even the ones who have been living with him for weeks. “Nick hasn’t spoken this whole time,” says Sarah. “There’s no way this is working out.”

The next day, the Padmates rise with the sun and board a big yellow school bus that’s waiting in the driveway to take them to their next challenge. I yelped with glee as soon as I saw it, because we all know what it means: THE SPELLING BEE CHALLENGE IS HERE! I would truly like to shake the hands of the folks who came up with this idea — just when I think Team Bachelor Pad can’t show more contempt for their contestants, they do.

The Padmates groan and moan upon entering the auditorium and realizing that their stupidity will be put on display for all of America. “I can’t spell,” drones Chris, while Tony humbly complains that spelling is, like, “the one thing I suck at.” And it’s going to be even harder than they thought: The teams must spell words together, with each of them alternating letters. And it’s going to be even more humiliating than they thought: The contestants will be judged by three child spelling prodigies who have no idea who these idiot grownups are.

Harrison goes easy on the gang the first round, with words like love, rose, kiss, sexy, heart. By round two, though, the host is breaking out the ten-cent words: jewelry, engagement ring, rose ceremony (or “ceremony,” if you ask Kalon), obsessive… How much fun would it have been to come up with the word list for this challenge? Let’s see: Needy, Damaged, Godforsaken, Fameosexual, Living Embodiment of Human Tragedy… Anyhow, it’s not long before the teams start hitting the limits of their intelligence; Blakeley and Tony are out first, followed shortly thereafter by Kalon and Lindzi (so much for having it “in the bag,” Copter Boy), and Nick and Rachel. “The little bell ringer was, like, disgusted with us,” says Jaclyn of the unfortunate young man whose parents thought it was a good idea for him to add Bachelor Pad to his list of extracurricular activities.

After several rounds, Jaclyn and Ed find themselves facing off against Chris and Sarah for the win. To the latter’s credit, they manage to spell philanderer without the benefit of a pen and paper/computer screen (it is much harder to spell without a visual reference, right? or is that just me?), but Ed and Jaclyn choke on boutonniere, leaving them with two strikes on their scorecard. (I’m not even going to pretend that I could spell boutonniere without the help of Microsoft Word.)

NEXT: “Hooking up is all a part of this process”

Fortunately, Chris and Sarah flame out on titillating (or “titalait,” as it’s spelled in their a-hole dictionary), leaving the two teams tied with two strikes apiece. Eventually, the teams get locked in a sudden death round, and the fate of the Bachelor Pad universe depends on whether the most hated couple in the house can spell serendipity. Remarkably, they can. Hooray! cheers absolutely no one. “No applause from the peanut gallery,” remarks Harrison dryly, as he instructs Chris and Sarah to claim their roses and informs them they’ll enjoy a “very romantic” overnight date as their prize. The happy duo scurries out to the waiting limo, as the rest of the Padmates trudge back to their bus.

Do we really care what happens with Chris and Sarah once their private plane lands at historic Santa Margarita Ranch? The only thing that’s even remotely interesting is that both players secretly had bathing suits on under their day clothes the entire time, as we discover at the swimmin’ hole. Do they get some kind of dress code instructions before each challenge? (Please arrive in: Formal attire/beach wear/painters’ smock/scuba suit.) Beyond that, the rest of the action can be summarized thusly: choo-choo; splash splash; “I dated Emily for a month”; glug glug; yada “history” yada; slurp slurp; “roll in the hay.”

Back at the Pad, the blonde with the severe bangs is still sitting shiva for Stagliano. “Rachel is an absolute disaster, stage 7 earthquake,” intones Jaclyn gravely. “Is that even a stage? I don’t know and I don’t care, but she is about to leave — and it’s my job as her friend to make sure she stays in this game.” Nick is working hard to keep his woebegone partner in the game as well, giving her a Do it for Johnny! pep talk out in the courtyard. “We cannot give up,” he tells Rachel. “You’re going to see Michael again. He would want you to be here. He would want you to go for the money.” Um, everybody knows Michael is not dead, right? Ultimately, Rachel decides to stick around long enough to make a pinky-swear plan with Blakeley and Jaclyn to vote Kalon and Lindzi off at the next rose ceremony. (Remember when Jaclyn couldn’t stand to be the same room with Blakeley? Ah, good times.)

Day two arrives, and with it comes Jaclyn and Ed’s “romantic” date, which they received for coming in second in the Bachelor Pad spelling bee. Get on your private plane, folks, because Team Bachelor Pad is about to deposit you on an abandoned stretch of coast where there will be nobody around to hear Ed’s awkward attempt to explain to Jaclyn yet again that he just doesn’t like her that way. (Unless there’s a whole lotta booze involved.) “The reality is, I have been pursuing somebody at home for awhile now,” he tells Jaclyn, staring at his feet so he doesn’t have to look her in the eye. While he broke up with the Mystery Woman before coming on the Pad, “it doesn’t mean that my feelings aren’t there for her.” As for his sextracurricular activities with Jaclyn? “Hooking up is all a part of this process,” he explains. And she does NOT love it. “Uh, all right. That’s a doozy.”

NEXT: Nick nearly throws himself under the bus

Eventually the sun goes down and the duo moves the uncomfortable proceedings to a hotel, where they alternately smile politely at and avoid eye contact with each other. “What we have done, and what you have said, are two different things,” Jaclyn tells Ed. “I just don’t want to look like a [bleeping] moron.” Unfortunately, Ed’s idea of giving Jaclyn some clarity about their relationship status is to tell her, essentially, I don’t like to sleep alone, and all of the hotter girls are paired up already. “Why is he acting like such a douche?” wonders Jaclyn sadly. “But I can’t live without him, and I can’t win this game by myself.” Cue the emotionally bankrupt intercourse!

Adding insult to injury, poor Jaclyn returns to the house with Ed and a pair of roses… that they have to give to some other couple rather than keeping themselves. Of course, all of the vulnerable couples come hat in hand to Ed and Jaclyn, making their case for why they need the rose the most. Though Lindzi offered the most compelling argument — “I’m your bitch,” she promised the rose-holders — Ed and Jaclyn bestow the buds on Blakeley and Tony. Huzzah, Blakeley — you’re one step closer to your dream of getting cable! (Honestly, honey, don’t be afraid to aim a little higher in life.) Kalon is in no mood to celebrate. “Just because we’re not emotional alcoholics who run around here hammered, crying about our feelings… doesn’t mean we don’t want this more than anybody,” he grouses.

Nick and Rachel, please join Kalon and Lindzi, and Ed and Jaclyn on the proverbial “chopping block,” won’t you? It’s time for voting to begin. Kalon goes right to work, politely planting seeds about how a “real couple” deserves to win, rather than a couple that’s been “slapped together” by circumstances, like Nick and Rachel. Blakeley and Tony are, not surprisingly, pretty susceptible to this sort of manipulation, so by the time Nick wanders over to check in about how Operation Evict Kalon and Lindzi is going, the plan has started to mutate. “This was your plan,” grumbles Nick, who talked Rachel into hitting the voting booth earlier in the evening. “I am going along with your plan right now… And all of a sudden I’m getting turned on.” Danger, danger, guy no one remembers! Getting defensive is probably not your best strategy. “All of a sudden, Nick decided to throw a total wrench in the plan, being just a complete like, lunatic, essentially,” groans Rachel. Adds Tony, “Nick kind of shot from the mouth when he shouldn’t have. We haven’t voted yet.” [Insert Kalon’s maniacal laughter here]

Of course, Rachel has absolutely no idea how to cope with the stress of the situation — let’s be honest, she has no idea how to cope with the stress of choosing a breakfast cereal in the morning — so she calls Stagliano for support. (Since when is that allowed??) This does nothing to lower Nick’s blood pressure; instead, his face gets redder and redder as he storms from couple to couple complaining about how no one is sticking to “the plan.”

NEXT: The “biggest winners” of Bachelor Pad get the boot

But all of his agita was for naught; in the end, it’s Kalon and Lindzi who get booted from the Pad. Sorry, Kalon — looks like your “power of suggestion” wasn’t as powerful as you thought. He and Lindzi pile into separate Reject Limos, though Kalon’s barely goes four feet before the luxury brand consultant jumps out and joins his truelove of one month. “I have to firmly believe that we are the biggest winners of Bachelor Pad,” he announces to the camera. All together now: Awwwwwww.

Wow, rose lovers. We’re just two weeks away from finding out which couple will (most likely) split $250,000 (before taxes, meaning each of them gets about, what, $75K each?) in the dramatic season (series?) finale. Are you happy with your final four couples? Do you think Kalon and Lindzi will still be together at the finale? Could Ed be a bigger douchebag? So many questions! Post your thoughts below, and be sure to check out Chris Harrison’s blog over on PopWatch when you’re done. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go start a Facebook fundraiser to buy Blakeley cable. If she has to look at hairy chests and nether-regions all day, it’s only fair she has some good TV to watch when she comes home from work. Don’t you agree?

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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