The Bachelorette recap: Dismayed in Taiwan
JP is jealous after Ben F. stays out all night with Ashley, and Emily returns to explain why her relationship with Brad fell apart
Hello, rose lovers! It’s been a long two weeks — I hope you’re rested and relaxed, because we’re off to Taiwan, a.k.a. the “hidden jewel of Asia.” Ashley’s ready to put the past behind her (no, she really really means it this time!) and move forward on her “amazing journey” to “love.” Which will likely end in an “amazing,” “nationally televised” “break-up interview” — but I’m probably getting ahead of myself.
Harrison greets the guys in front of the giant display honoring the 100th anniversary of Taiwan, and informs them that the “fortunate four” men who receive roses this week will get hometown dates. The rest will most likely die alone in their apartments. Even though there are no roses on the one-on-one dates this week, JP is feeling stressed out. “I don’t like it. I don’t want other guys to go on dates with her,” he frowns. “I am at another level with her… At this point, I’m as scared as I’ve been in a long, long time.” People, do you see why I think this guy is cocky? Even with his dash of vulnerability there at the end, the Jape’s presumption of victory irks me. I find it irksome.
Constantine gets the first one-on-one date, which involves a trip on a steam engine to an “adorable little village” called Ping-Shi. The mode of transportation is appropriate, as Ashley says her relationship with Constantine “is moving slower than all of the others.” Choo-choo! The train’s rhythmic rumbling seems to get them both in the mood for love — or at least a little hand-holding PDA. (Bonus points to whatever Bachelorette editor followed Ashley’s question “Are you looking for looooove on this trip?” with a shot of the train heading into the tunnel.) Once in Ping-Shi, Ashley commands Constantine to paint his “love wish” on a paper lantern, so he dutifully grafittis it with hearts and such. At dinner, Constantine has the audacity to think about his own needs: “I’d like to know how she would fit in in my life.” Even with hometown dates on the line, Constantine — ever withholding — refuses to give Ashley the hard sell. When the Bachelorette asks, “Do you think that this could possibly work for you?” he offers a measured, “If I fall in love.” But even the Ice King can’t resist the romantic lure of dozens of love lanterns being released into the sky, and he finally gives Ashley a kiss. And she LOVES it.
The next day, Ben F. — recipient of the second one-on-one date — joins Ashley in Taroko National Park. As they zip around the gorge via moped, the winemaker pours sweet nothings into Ashley’s ears. “Keep your eyes on the road, buddy!” she chides, to which he responds, “It’s hard, with the precious cargo that I have behind me.” Does anyone have any Listerine? Because I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Meanwhile — knock, knock, knock! It’s the Taiwanese Accent Table of Doom at the door! And it comes bearing major news: Lucas, Ames, and JP are on the group date, which means Ryan Sunshine is finally getting a one-on-one date. Won’t that be… special?
NEXT: Here comes the groom… and the other groom… and the other groom…
Not as special as Ben’s date with Ashley must have been… because as day dawns, the winemaker is still not back from his one-on-one with the Bachelorette. This does not sit well with JP, who’s sitting on the couch stewing in his own hate juices. “I don’t want to think about it, I don’t want to talk about it, I don’t give a f—,” he snaps. “The last time I spent with Ashley was in Hong Kong and she and I have something amazing. And now Ben just doesn’t come home from the date? What the f— is going on?” Uh oh, looks like someone turns into a bit of a potty mouth when he’s angry! Chill out, Jape—here comes Ben now, strolling in the door with his wheelie luggage (why he has his wheelie luggage when there was no rose on the date is a mystery to me, but whatevs). He assures the guys that “nothing physical” happened on the date and that he and Ashley did not share a room. Still, JP storms off in a huff, saying the whole thing is a total “mindf—.” Again with the potty mouth!
But the real mindf— is yet to come. The group date consists of exploring a passion of the Taiwanese people: taking wedding photos. As hilariously lame as this idea is, the reaction Ashley gets from the guys is even more comical. It went something like this:
Ashley: “We’re taking wedding photos!”
Ames: [politely befuddled] “All right.”
Lucas: [holding hands outstretched as if beseeching the gods to take him now] “Yes.”
JP: [dying one thousand deaths, scratching chin] “Nice.”
The laughs just keep on coming as the men get dressed to play the part of Taiwanese grooms. Lucas is given a floor-length gold gown, Ames gets a powder blue tuxedo with a pink ruffled shirt, and JP, ever the favorite, emerges from the dressing room in a traditional black tux. “The jacket’s too tight, if it makes you feel any better,” he says, in a totally unconvincing effort to comfort his goofy-looking competitors. Lucas, who points out that JP would have “had a fit like a 15-year-old” if he had to wear something like a gold gown, gets his photo shoot with Ashley first. It’s a “traditional” set-up, which means they stand next to each other stiffly, sit next to each other stiffly, kiss each other stiffly. Ames the ’80s prom king goes next, and he and Ashley sit in a (fake) tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. When it’s JP’s turn, he’s still so pissed about the Ben thing that he can’t relax, and Ashley is not having it. “Be happy!” she barks, punching him in the arm. “These are going to be the worst pictures.”
Things are still a little tense at the post-date cocktail party, where Lucas tells Ashley he felt “foolish” watching her take photos with the other guys, while he was “sittin’ over there in a dress.” Counters Ashley, “It’s not a dress. It’s a long shirt.” But to Lucas’ credit, he isn’t whining — he’s just giving Ashley the lowdown in his typical straightforward (also: slightly boring) manner. Ames greases the hometown date wheels by spending his one-on-one time showing Ashley some personal photos, including an endearingly dorky school portrait. “I was very unpopular until I was, like, 16,” he admits. (I refuse to believe that a guy who grew up to believe red pants were acceptable attire for a straight man was unpopular as a kid.)
NEXT: Ryan hates water heaters.
When it’s JP’s turn, he launches right into his litany of complaints. “This week was really, really, really hard,” he tells Ashley. “Then to watch you go out with three other guys this week? I just don’t want to do it… Ben doesn’t come home in the morning. And then this photo shoot, Lucas goes first, and of course you have to kiss him…” Oh my god just SHUT UP ALREADY. But all his whining works, and he gets the rose.
At long last, it’s time for Ryan Sunshine’s one-on-one date. Ashley was apparently so excited to see him she forgot the back of her shirt at home. They stroll through a temple watching people pray, before pausing to present their wishes to the “matchmaking god,” who will only grant them if the small red “bricks” they toss on the ground land on opposite sides. Do I even need to tell you that both bricks land red side up? If Ashley wasn’t sure before whether or not she had an attraction to Ryan, after their picnic lunch — during which Ryan educates her on the evils of water heaters — the Bachelorette knows with absolute certainty that this guy is not for her. (More props to the Bachelorette editing team, by the way, for the masterful way they intercut Ashley’s “Ryan’s such a great guy, but…” confessionals with footage of him boring her to tears with his tankless water heater lecture.) Rather than waiting for the rose ceremony, Ashley tries to cut Ryan loose over dim sum — “I just don’t know if I see you as my husband,” she explains — but the poor schmuck is not making it easy. “You don’t want to meet my family?” he asks, wide-eyed. Eventually, the rejection sinks in and he walks the Taiwanese streets aimlessly, before finally hailing a Reject Cab and driving off into the night. “That was a really hard goodbye,” Ashley tells the camera. “I’m not 100 percent confident that I made the right decision.” (Folks, this is what they call foreshadowing.)
The night of the rose ceremony arrives, but Ashley tells Harrison she doesn’t need a cocktail party before the big event because she knows who’s going home. (It’s awfully thoughtful of the Bachelorette, given that ABC also needs to make time for Harrison’s interview with Emily in this episode.) The boutonnieres fly fast and furious — first to Constantine, then Ben, then Ames. Lucas, who graciously wished Ames good luck before the Final Rose Tonight, is left with a naked lapel and a trip back to the States. Stoic to the end, Lucas offers a simple “I wasn’t ready for this to be over,” before passing his hand over his brow and escaping into the night. But that’s ok, because Ashley does enough crying for the both of them.
And suddenly we’re back at Casa Bachelorette, where Harrison is weaving a tale about the “many” people who have found their “soulmates” through The Bachelor and Bachelorette. “Some have gotten married” [Editor’s note: “Some” = “two in nine years”] “and even had kids.” [Editor’s note, part 2: Here, “Some” = “one”] Of course, he continues, “Some of the couples who have gotten engaged on our show have not stayed together. They’ve parted, with broken hearts.” [Editors note, part 3: Here, “Some” = “All but three in nine years, if you count Ali and Roberto who have still not set a date and probably never will”]
NEXT: No rose for Emily
All of this preamble is Harrison’s way of breaking the news that we’ve all known for quite awhile: Brad and Emily have broken up, and now, Emily is here to tell us why. She gets a trademarked Bachelorette Limo Arrival — luxury to the bitter end, folks! — and emerges looking as fragile and pretty as ever. “I thought we’d be plannin’ a wedding, the next time I saw you,” she says to Harrison, her voice trembling. Alas, they are “not engaged anymore,” says Emily, even though she’ll “always be in love with Brad.” She goes on to explain that their road to ruin was paved with “little red flags,” though she doesn’t go into details, except to say, “We’re both used to being single, and I think that’s a hard adjustment.” Even after going through the reality TV wringer, Emily is self-aware enough to realize that simply willing a fairy tale ending is not going to make it happen. “I wanted to be married, I wanted to have more children, and I wanted that with him — [but that] maybe overshadowed the reality of the relationship.” Throughout the interview, Emily seems genuinely sad and disappointed, and maybe I’m a sucker but that only makes me like her more. She still seems like the most normal, sane, grounded person ever to appear on this fauxmance franchise — not counting, you know, the fundamental personality flaw that drove her to go on The Bachelor in the first place. While I don’t sympathize with Emily’s paparazzi sob story — if you don’t want to have to explain to your 5-year-old why some man is taking pictures of you in the bookstore, don’t go on a reality TV dating show — I do think she and Brad might actually have made it work if they had met under normal circumstances. That said, she can do better — and hopefully will, next summer on The Bachelorette.
So, rose lovers, now it’s your turn. What did you think of tonight’s episode? Did Ashley choose the right “fortunate four,” or should Ryan Sunshine have been given a shot at a hometown date? Did JP annoy any of you with his pouting tonight or am I still (mostly) alone in my dislike for him? Do you want Emily to be the next Bachelorette? And how awesome was it when the dog peed on Ashley and Constantine’s love lantern? Post your thoughts below! And don’t forget to check out Chris Harrison’s exclusive Bachelorette blog over on PopWatch. Now put on half a shirt and let’s talk Bachelorette!