A date with the Red Cross turns into a bitchy battle for bachelorette supremacy.

By Kristen Baldwin
Updated March 13, 2015 at 09:27 PM EDT

The Bachelor

S15 E2
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Hello and welcome to week two, rose lovers! While right now there may be fewer of us on this “journey” than in previous seasons, I, for one, will never abandon Brad during his time of nationally televised humiliation need. For God’s sake, people, we watched every episode of Prince Lorenzo Borghese‘s season — you know we can survive this mess.

The episode opens with the “ladies” enjoying their morning mimosa ritual as Harrison — in a bold, electric blue shirt — shows up to remind the women to use their time with Brad “wisely” (an impossible feat for some of them, I’m sure) and to drop off the date card. Raichel (or is it Marissa?) lunges for the envelope, and as she tears it open, the suspense nearly makes Melissa the waitress explode. “It is very, like, imperative that I get this date. I’ve been thinking about doing this for eight years, and I spent a fortune on clothes and dresses and gowns. I quit my job!” Yes, and God knows if Dave & Buster’s will still be hiring when you get back, so I hope your name is on that card too…. But the envelope holds bad news for all of the “ladies” but one: “Ashley H, the road to love is a wild ride.” Perhaps the only person more disappointed than unemployed Melissa is sweet and Southern Ashley 2, who gives Ashley 1 a truly impressive death glare.

Night falls and Brad arrives to whisk Ashley away in a silver sports car. When he parks the car on a deserted dirt road and leads Ashley through the darkness to an unknown location, for a second I thought The Bachelor was finally going to realize its full potential as a horror film. “It feels like something out of a horror movie!” whines Ashley. (OMG Ash — jinx! Buy me a Coke!) But rather than donning coveralls and a hockey mask and chasing Ashley through the woods with a machete, Brad instead asks her to flip a giant switch. And voila! It’s an abandoned carnival! (okay, maybe this is a horror movie…) While there appears to be no one operating the rides, Brad and Ashley have a grand old time riding the flying swings, playing the Ring Toss, and eating cotton candy (with a wine chaser). The sugar-booze combo works its magic quickly, and soon they’re making out under the romantic and garish glow of neon carnival lights.

When they come up for air, Brad remembers he’s actually supposed to talk to these women. “What makes you you?” he asks Ashley. Good thing he follows up that question with an enormous swig of wine, because Ashley’s answer is a hum-dinger: her dad, who has had addiction problems and has been homeless, was never really in the picture, and so she’s a girl who is looking for stability but always preparing for the worst. Brad can relate, because — as he spent much of the premiere telling us — his father was an unreliable presence and may in fact have caused him to leave two women standing at the Proposal Platform. “My fear is that you feel obligated to choose somebody,” muses Ashley. Your fear is one hundred percent correct, young lady! But like a well-trained telemarketer, Brad has a rebuttal for every argument: “I don’t need redemption,” he says. “I’m so much different.” Ashley buys his story, so she, Brad, and her date rose take a ride on the Ferris wheel and call it a night.

NEXT: Bleeding is fundamentalThe sun rises on Casa Bachelor, where the mood is grim. Last night, the Accent Table of Doom delivered the awesomely ridiculous news that there will be 15 women — Keltie, Chantal, Madison, Melissa, Kimberly, Marissa, Raichel, Britt, Meghan, Emily, Stacey, Alli, Shawntel, Michelle, and Lisa — on today’s group date. Dude, that’s not a date — that’s a football team! Michelle is extra specially bummed because the Biggest Group Date Ever Told falls on her birthday. The whole thing, she grumbles, is “going to drive me crazy. Guaranteed.” Well, here’s the first sign that she’s losing her mind: “I’m 30 today,” she tells Stacey. Wait, like, in dog years?

The stretch Hummer pulls up to a soundstage parking lot where Brad reveals to the “ladies” that they’ll be volunteering for the American Red Cross. They’ll be making public service announcements that, as Brad puts it, “very well may be used as national commercials.” In other words, you might be able to find them on YouTube. It’s no surprise that the Red Cross did not want to commit to airing these ads beyond tonight’s episode, because Team Bachelor has gone a bit off-topic with their scripts: the women are all assigned outrageous characters, from a cougar (Melissa) to a pregnant woman (Lisa M.) to a dominatrix (Madison) to “butch girl in a neck brace with two arm casts” (poor, poor Keltie). The vignettes begin, and we’re treated to take after take of Stacey and Emily grabbing Gustavo (Brad, in a rivetingly horrendous performance)… that is, until Melissa — who’s either feeling a little left out or the voices in her head got too loud — barges into the scene and lays one on the Bachelor. Alli speaks for us all when she says, “I think he was really scared.”

Not as scared as Britt, whose scene involves a threesome with Brad and Chantal. “I’m kind of a goody-two-shoes,” she quavers. “I’m a big ol’ prude.” Um, sweetie, did somebody slip some rohypnol in your sports drink and you somehow just woke up on The Bachelor? Despite her qualms, Britt proves to be a quick study — she all but swallows Brad whole during their make out session; poor Chantal can’t get a tongue in edgewise. This makes everyone on set extremely uncomfortable, no one more than Michelle, who bolts from the set and pouts until Brad comes to soothe her wounded ego. I’m amazed her ego can get wounded, to be honest, seeing as it is gargantuan. “When I kiss Brad, fireworks are going to go off – probably right behind us,” she declares, making what may or may not be the sign language gesture for explosives. “Every girl he kisses after he kisses me is just going to be one huge disappointment.”

And we’re off to the rooftop bar! The chardonnay is flowing, and by the time Michelle sits down for her one on one with Brad, she’s clearly lubricated. “You have walls,” she tells him, jabbing her finger in his face. But the real drama is happening about 20 feet away, where Melissa is going toe to toe with Raichel and Marissa (or is it J? All these women look alike, I swear to God). Anyhow, Marissa wants to know if Melissa told Brad that she was threatening to leave if she didn’t get one on one time (which of course she didn’t), so Raichel accuses her of “lying by omission.” Girl, don’t you know the only accusation that really matters on The Bachelor is telling someone she’s not there for the right reasons? Anything else is going to be like a dog whistle — these bitches aren’t going to hear it.

NEXT: Brad treats Jackie like a hookerThe time comes for Brad to give out the date rose, so the “ladies” all line up against the back of the pool as Brad wades toward them from the opposite end. And Michelle gets the rose by default, because it’s her birthday and the Bachelor would look like a real a-hole if he didn’t give it to her. “I got everything I wanted for my birthday,” gloats the “30”-year-old, clenching the rose between her teeth.

There’s still one date left, and it goes to Jackie. (I guess Brad really liked her off-key singing.) That means Lindsay and Sarah P., who I don’t think we’ve seen with Brad for more than 10 seconds total, are left in the dust for yet another week. Off Brad and Jackie go in his silver sports car, on the road to mystery. As Brad explains, “This date is Jackie’s very own Pretty Woman experience.” (Major props to my husband, who asked, “She’s going to be a prostitute?”) The good news is, Brad is not selling Jackie into international sex slavery. The bad news is, Jackie loves the high-class-hooker treatment. As they arrive at the Hollywood Bowl for a private concert by Train, Jackie gushes over and over that she feels “like a princess,” and declares that all she needs is a rose to be “the luckiest girl in the world.” Wow, everything’s going so well, it’s like these two are meant for… what was that, Jackie? You’ve only ever dated two guys seriously in your life? [Screech of needle being pulled off a record] Brad no likey. “Jackie reminds me of myself when I was here last time,” he muses. “I’m concerned that Jackie might wake up and realize that this is all way too much of a risk for her.” That said, he feels too guilty and self-loathing to judge someone for being romantically risk-averse, so Jackie also gets a rose.

Wow, is it time for the cocktail party already? Thank goodness, because if Michelle had to wait one more second to see Brad again she might have burned Casa Bachelor down with a can of Aqua Net and a Bic lighter. As soon as the Bachelor walks in the door, she grabs him by the wrist and yanks him outside, leaving the rest of the “ladies” to seethe in their primary colored gowns. Of course, Michelle knows exactly what she’s doing; her pressing questions for Brad — “Do you prefer Starbucks or the Coffee Bean?” — are really just a stalling tactic to keep him away from the other women. That’s fine, though, because the bachelorettes are all occupied with round two of Phony the Manscaper vs. Crazy the Waitress. Not sure what started it, but Melissa is still insisting that Raichel is “fake,” while the manscaper says Melissa is “a psycho.” Before long, they’re both in tears, badmouthing each other in different corners of Casa Bachelor. The best part of the whole thing is Madison’s oh-my-god-I-am-so-bored expression as she listens to Melissa’s rapid-fire complaints about Raichel.

NEXT: Oh, hey, look. It’s Ali and Roberto. Hooray?{C}Eventually, Brad wanders into this hot mess, and before he knows what hit him, Melissa is having a full-scale meltdown in front of him — first weeping about how Raichel is an “energy suck,” and then suddenly having a giggle fit about having onions on her pizza. (“No onion breath,” he assures her weakly, his eyes filled with desperation and resignation. “I promise.”) “The “ladies” are transfixed, watching this emotional car crash happen as they stand by helplessly. “He keeps doing the look-away,” says Keltie of Brad. “Like, ‘Someone come save me.'” Sorry, pal, but Raichel needs to cry on your suit about all the “technical difficulties” she’s having with Melissa. Sheesh, could things get any worse?

Why yes, yes they can: Ali and Roberto are here! Armed with their superior romantic judgment, the Bachelorette duo interview each of the women and then give Brad their verdict as to who should get an extra-special Cocktail Party Rose of Honor. And it goes to… Tragic Single Mom! Okay, I can actually live with that decision, in part because Emily called Michelle out as a “smartass” for her Starbucks stunt. Finally, it’s time to crush some hopes and dreams. The rose ceremony is quick and dirty, and when it’s all over, both Raichel and Melissa are sent packing (hooray!), along with poor Keltie (boo hiss!), whose downfall, I think, was her sense of humor and fun personality. Doesn’t she know those things have no place on The Bachelor? (Neither does white-girl rap, but I’d be willing to give her a pass on that.) Oh, don’t cry, honey! Love is in the cards for you. Just not with this Womack tool. Miraculously, Lindsay squeaks through yet again. She must smell really good or something.

So rose lovers, what say you? Will you miss Raichel and Melissa, or are you glad Brad ditched their drama in one fell swoop? Are you looking forward to next week’s action movie extravaganza? (I don’t know about you people, but I have never gone on a date that involved filming a fake motion picture.) And how old do you think Michelle really is? Post your guesses below! (I’m going with somewhere between “36” and “undead.”) And when you’re done, be sure to check out Chris Harrison’s exclusive Bachelor blog on PopWatch, where he reveals why ABC isn’t showing ages for the “ladies” this season. Now, strap on your neck brace and let’s talk Bachelor!

EW’s TV INSIDERS PODCAST: This week, Dalton Ross, Adam Vary, and Mandi Bierly go inside the American Idol‘ audition room and tell you what to expect from the new judging panel. Do they actually get along? Can they survive the loss of Simon? And does Steven Tyler make one lick of sense? Plus: we break down the season premiere of The Bachelor while asking the question on everyone’s mind: Who brings a manscaping kit out on a date? Or fangs, for that matter? And listen in as Ken Tucker stops by to preview midseason TV and let you know which new programs you need to be watching — and avoiding. To join in all the fun, just click on the audio player below. Of course, we’re now on iTunes! So you can also subscribe for free right here and take the TV Insiders with you on the go. And to send a question to the TV Insiders or learn about upcoming editions, follow us on Twitter @TVInsiders!

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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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