Jason spends topless time with the ''ladies'' for breast cancer awareness, plays surrogate daddy to Stephanie's daughter, and tries to determine which bachelorettes are actually Mean Girls

By Kristen Baldwin
Updated January 14, 2020 at 08:09 PM EST
Credit: Adam Larkey/ABC

Congratulations, TV Watchers. We’ve made it to week three of The Bachelor. I hope you’re hanging in there, because there are 12 ”ladies” left, and by the looks of things, none of them are going down without a fight.

We open on Casa Bachelorette, where Harrison gives the women the rundown for this week: one group date, two one-on-one dates, and a big fat nothing for a few unlucky bachelorettes. Since we all knew from last week’s tease that Stephanie would be scoring a one-on-one outing with Jason, it’s no surprise when her name is on the first date card. So Stephanie and her pink yarn boa hop in the limo, and while she’s a little bummed because it’s Sophia’s fourth birthday and she’s missing it, she manages to keep her focus: Mama needs a new baby daddy! ”I think my husband would be smiling down on this whole situation,” she explains.

When Stephanie arrives at the beach (guys, I know you’re shooting in southern California, but could you try to mix it up a little bit?), Jason has a surprise for her: Giant oysters! Just kidding. It’s Sophia, wearing the cutest apple-themed ensemble you’ve ever seen. Now, you all know that I am a cold-hearted, cynical bitch, but even I teared up at this sentimental moment. Jason cried too, but as moved as he was, he couldn’t help but telegraph his real feelings about Stephanie: ”She’s been through so much in her life. I experienced something I’ll never forget, and no matter what happens, Stephanie will always have this.” (Emphasis mine. Translation: no ring for you!)

Still, Jason’s obligated to go through the motions, so it’s off to Legoland, which is closed to everyone but our little fake family. While it sucks that Sophia has to spend her birthday sharing her mom with a camera crew and a man she’s never met, at least she gets a whole amusement park to herself. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t check out a little bit on this date; Jason and Stephanie have zero chemistry. Watching the two of them together is kind of like watching an adult son make small talk with his dad’s second wife — it’s polite, stilted, and a little uncomfortable. Case in point, this exchange:

Stephanie: ”I’d love to meet Ty.”

Jason: [Silent chewing]

That said, Stephanie is fulfilling a very important function on The Bachelor: Every season, there’s always one woman the Bachelor feels obligated to keep around for a few episodes so he doesn’t look like a bad person. Normally, that role is filled by a black woman, but since the producers forgot to cast any this year, Stephanie and her sad story get the Guilt Vote. Seriously, no one wants to be the guy who interrupts a little girl’s birthday party to dump her mother on national TV. While Jason tries hard to convince us that he’s interested, he just can’t stop tipping his hand: ”It would be amazing to be with somebody who’s like Stephanie for the rest of my life.” (Again, emphasis mine.)

Back at Casa Bachelorette, Naomi reads the cryptic message on the date card: ”Let’s get busted for a good cause.” Too late! (Ba-dum-bum! Slezak, that one was for you.) When the ”ladies” get to the loft, Jason explains that they’ll be making and decorating busts of themselves, which will be auctioned off to raise money for an organization called Keep-A-Breast, which promotes breast cancer awareness. Jason goes first — which means he takes his shirt off and lets Melissa and Erica rub his torso down with baby oil before being wrapped in plaster. Let’s take a moment to salute the Bachelor staffer who came up with the idea for this group date — those hours of Googling ”naked charity work” really paid off.

NEXT PAGE: Jason gets to second base

The ”ladies” all get behind their colorful strip-club screens and start doffing their clothes. (I was shocked — shocked! — to spot the outline of a nipple. This is the family hour, ABC!) Once the women are covered in plaster, Jason strolls behind the screens to inspect — and in some cases manhandle — the goods. Things get a little weird when it comes time to decorate the busts, primarily because Megan says she wants to put a fetus on her cast, since they ”feed off of breasts.” (Maybe I was absent that day in biology class, but I thought babies were fed by breasts and fetuses were fed by umbilical cords? Anyhoo…)

With arts and crafts time over, Jason turns his attention to giving out the rose: ”Whoever opens up to me in a way I haven’t seen before has a great chance of getting a rose today.” First in the hot seat is Melissa, who inexplicably decides to reveal that she had breast reduction surgery when she was 17, because she was a size 20FF. ”I know it’s not a pretty visual for someone I’m trying to woo,” she giggles. While a slightly stunned and embarrassed Jason admits that he was surprised by her secret — ”That’s something I never saw coming” — it’s clear that’s not the kind of candor he was looking for. Next, Megan’s one-on-one time gets off to a bumpy start when Jason tells her that she was a little quiet during the bust-building exercise. Be careful what you wish for, buddy, because as it turns out Megan does have something to say, and it is all kinds of narcissistic: ”I live my life to serve other people. I am a role model to young girls. I don’t make any money doing it, but I love it… So having a week or 10 days to do nothing and not help anybody and not have anybody thank me, you know, or appreciate me or praise God that I’m in their life, has been driving me crazy.” (Oh, so that’s what it is.)

Nikki has the opposite problem during her couch time with Jason: After repeating six times how much she ”loved” the bust activity, she pulls a Cindy Brady and goes mute with stage fright, staring at Jason in nervous silence. Come on, Nikki, give us something! Any elective surgeries in your past? What about food allergies? Do you have trouble digesting gluten? Anything?? Ooof, never mind. Tooth Nazi doesn’t fare much better — not only does she fail to secure alone time with Jason, when he finally tries to strike up a conversation, she responds by putting him in a modified chokehold and bursting into tears. (For once, I’m in agreement with Megan: ”Get a hold of yourself!”) Not surprisingly, he gives the rose to Jillian, a.k.a. the only woman who didn’t spend her one-on-one time weeping, ranting about what a good person she is, looking like she was about to puke from nervousness, or admitting that she used to have breasts that hung down to her belly button.

The next day, we join Jason as he’s getting ready for his one-on-one with Natalie (let’s hope those were Ty’s Pull-Ups on the bathroom counter). He arrives at Casa Bachelorette followed by a burly, suitcase-bearing sidekick. Natalie looks fine in her little black dress, he explains, but she’d look better draped in $1 million in diamonds. Okay, so, shopping spree? Check. Expensive loaner jewels? Check. I guess all we need now to make this Pretty Woman homage complete is for Stuckey to make a pass at Natalie and then punch her in the eye when she refuses. But rather than heading to the Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel, the limo takes them to an airport, where a jet is waiting to take Jason and Natalie to Vegas.

NEXT: What happens in Vegas… is really uncomfortable

When the two of them hit the Strip, Jason is in his glory: ”I felt as cool as I’ve ever felt in my life walking into the restaurant with Natalie… I was the guy walking in with the girl that everybody was looking at. That felt good.” But hey, come on, ”that’s not what this is all about,” adds the Bachelor. ”I really look forward to digging beneath the surface and find that deeper side of Natalie.” Pal, I think you’re more likely to hit China than Natalie’s deeper side, but more power to you. Let’s listen in, shall we?

Natalie: ”I love bears.”

Jason: [Pause] ”Like, just, like, like, koala bears, panda bears?”

Natalie: ”No, all bears.”

Clink, clink, clink… Yep, that’s the sound of Jason’s shovel hitting rock bottom. Even a private concert by someone named Kate Voegele can’t salvage the evening, and Jason is forced to own up to the obvious: ”I could tell that she wanted me to kiss her, and that’s when it really hit me that it wasn’t happening.” And lo, the bachelorettes’ screams of glee were heard ’round southern California when the black-clad crew member sneaked in the back door to retrieve Natalie’s bags! And woe betide the censor who had to operate the bleep button during Natalie’s expletive-laden exit interview to the Reject Cam: ”Bleeeep! I’ve got a lot going on… I’m super attractive. You don’t feel a connection with me? Who do you think you are, God? Bleeeeeep!” (In her defense, waving the rose in her face only to declare, ”I can’t give you this rose” was a pretty douchebaggy move on Jason’s part. Dude, you don’t have to do everything the producers tell you to.)

But before she leaves, Natalie bestows a little gift on Jason — the gift of paranoia. Who exactly are these bachelorettes that she claims are ”cruel” and ”mean to every girl in the house”? Jason arrives at the cocktail party determined to find the answer. He starts by asking Naomi to name names, but she’d rather let him know that she’s only been in love once before — and he just might be number two. Nikki and her ”amazing qualities” get what they want — a kiss from Jason — but only after he grabs her face and aims it at his lips. (I guess all that talk about her OCD toothbrush tendencies really got him worked up.) Erica gives Jason the whole ”I really want to be here” speech, and then accuses him of looking at her amazing qualities. (”I was just looking at the color of her dress,” he tells the camera. ”That’s it, I promise.”) Meanwhile, the stress of the whole situation is clearly starting to wear on Tooth Nazi, who spends her one-on-one time bawling to Jason about how she just wants to ”complete” him, preferably while wearing her pajamas. I’m going to blow past Stephanie’s kissing tour of Jason’s face because it’s something I’m sure we’d all like to forget. Let’s talk about Lauren’s one-on-one instead. How ironic that the meanest of the Mean Girls is the one who finally tells Jason which women he should watch out for: ”I don’t see you with the two drama queens of the house, which are Megan and Erica.” That said, I totally understand why Lauren admits to being afraid of Megan. That broad is scary.

NEXT PAGE: Chaos at the rose ceremony!

All of this leaves Jason feeling ”lost.” So much drama, so many ”amazing qualities”! How is he supposed to decide? Fortunately, Harrison has a plan: Group therapy! Before the rose ceremony begins, he tells the women it’s time to ”speak candidly, speak from the heart” in front of Jason, just to ”clear the air.” After a few seconds of awkward silence, Erica says, with poorly feigned confusion, ”I thought we all got along great!” Nikki concurs, saying that now that Natalie’s gone, there’s really no problem at all. Then Megan is all, So why are you skanks still talking smack about me? Harrison does his host duty, poking the angry bears with a stick: ”Natalie’s gone, Megan is not — who here has a problem with her?” That sets off a lot of tense cross-talk between Lauren and Megan (Lauren: ”If I have a conversation with Jason, that’s a private conversation”; Megan: ”I never said one word about any of you”) until all of a sudden Tooth Nazi — who either wiped off her makeup earlier in the evening or never put any on at all — breaks formation and walks out of the room, holding her stomach and moaning, ”I hate it here.”

Megan is typically sympathetic, calling Tooth Nazi an ”ungrateful selfish, self-absorbed, high-maintenance piece of s—.” Jason, blissfully unaware of her tirade, rewards her a rose — though he did make Megan wait until the end of the ceremony. And the good news is, Tooth Nazi also got a rose for her troubles. In the end, it was Erica and Kari who were sent packing. (I guess Jason just didn’t like the color of Erica’s dress, huh?)

Well that really was the most dramatic rose ceremony… ever. Or, at least so far. Now it’s time to let me know what you think — did Lauren cross the line by throwing Erica and Megan under the bus? Is Megan using some kind of witchcraft or voodoo to continue to get roses from Jason? And are you, like me, obsessed with the guy in Canada who (spoiler alert!) says he figured out who Jason ultimately proposes to just by watching two episodes? (Seriously, do not click if you don’t like spoilers.) Start posting, Bachelor junkies! And when you’re done, don’t forget to check out Chris Harrison’s exclusive blog over on Popwatch, where he reveals even more about Natalie’s disastrous Vegas date with Jason. Then click on the bonus scene below, where Lauren and Megan try to hash out their differences the day after the rose ceremony, but the subtext is all, ”Stop being such a beeyotch!” Okay, let’s talk Bachelor!

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The Bachelor

Chris Harrison hosts the romance reality competition series in which a gaggle of women vie for the Bachelor’s heart — and a wedding proposal. Will you accept this rose?

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