The Bachelor recap: Get Out of Africa
Brad and the "ladies" head to South Africa for safari adventures and Fantasy Suite dates
Rose lovers! How are you this fine day? I’m feeling a bit jet-lagged after following Brad all the way to South Africa for this segment of his “journey.” At least I was able to take a nap during the first five minutes of the episode, which was yet another review of the three “ladies” left — Chantal the hysteric, Ashley the skeptic, and Emily the Tragic Mom — so I think I’m gonna be able to power through.
Finally, Brad’s plane lands in beautiful South Africa, which the Bachelor explains is “a very vast land of exotic animals.” It’s also a land where he’ll get to spend some “very intimate time” with the “ladies” at the lovely-looking Lion Sands Private Game Reserve. First up is Chantal, whose top half understands she’s in Africa, but her bottom half thinks she’s serving moonshine at the Boar’s Nest in Hazzard County. She actually seems surprised that she and Brad will be going on a safari… Perhaps she thought a “private game reserve” was a place where valuable copies of Sorry! and Parcheesi are kept in climate-controlled play rooms? Anyhoo, Chantal and Brad drive past lions, rhinos, elephants, one very mellow giraffe, and then sit down for a riverbank picnic in clear view of a hippo.
At dinner, the discussion turns to getting engaged, a ritual that Chantal believes means something on this show. “If I’m getting engaged to someone, the thought is that I’m planning on marrying them,” she says. “It’s not like you’re getting engaged thinking I’m going to get unengaged.” Seriously, because that never happens. While it sounds romantic, in fact, Chantal is issuing Brad a steely-eyed threat: “You’re promising that person that you’re getting married to them,” she warns, “and your word is your word.” Capisce? When Chris’ invitation to the Fantasy Suite arrives, Chantal practically knocks the table over rushing to drag Brad to bed… which happens to be in a treehouse… which happens to have no walls. So much for the privacy idea, Brad and Chantal — you’re going to be getting busy in front of all of God’s creatures.
Day two in South Africa finds Brad greeting another woman wearing Daisy Dukes — this time it’s Emily, who pairs her short shorts with some well-worn cowboy boots. After a quick greeting Brad bolts into the bush and comes back riding on an elephant. Hop on board, blondie! The pachyderm carries Brad and Emily to a picnic, where they dive right into talking about the other elephant in the room: Emily’s little girl. Is Brad ready to become a stepdaddy to a five-year-old? “Never in a million years would I even ask you to a movie,” says the Bachelor, “if I didn’t realize that you are a package deal — and I love that about you.” Nice answer, buddy! Let the kissing commence!
NEXT: Seriously what is with all the daisy dukes?
At dinner, Brad gets tongue-tied in a different way, stammering a bit and wondering, “Why do I get so nervous?” Emily admits that she’s “hard to read,” so she vows to let Brad know how much she really, really, really likes him. “I don’t want you to question anything, as far as I go,” she begins. “I am so excited about the idea of you and I and Ricki.” Then she starts to stammer: “And then, you know… I just want to do it!” Or does she? Brad hopes she’ll accept the Fantasy Suite card because it’s the only chance he’ll get to “talk to Emily” in private (is that what the kids are calling it these days?), but at first she seems reluctant to take their “relationship” off-camera. “I’m a mom, obviously, to a five-year-old little girl, and I want to set a good example for her,” Emily begins. Hooray for dignity! “But with that said” — ugh, rest in peace, dignity! — “I also want more than anything to spend more time with you… Keep things going slowly and just use it as a time to get to know each other better.” Emily seems genuinely uncomfortable when they enter the Fantasy Suite (one with walls, fortunately for her), but soon things gets gooey, as both she and the Bachelor admit they’re falling in love with each other. Let the kissing re-commence!
I cannot begin talking about Ashley’s date without asking DO THESE WOMEN OWN NOTHING BUT SKIMPY CUT-OFFS? I know it’s hot in Africa, but how about a nice linen Capri pant or some jaunty cargo shorts? Ashley, on the other hand, cannot begin her date without squealing and whining about the fact that she and Brad have to take a helicopter to their destination, because helicopters are her biggest fear in life. “I will take care of you,” coos Brad. While it’s a completely meaningless statement (like, is he going to sprout wings and fly her to earth if the whirlybird starts to plummet to the ground?), Ashley feels completely reassured. They land at a spot called God’s Window, which must just be a nickname because if that really was God’s window, he’d slam it shut when Team Bachelor tried to climb their way in. In this midst of this breathtaking scenery, Brad and Ashley discuss whether her drive to be a “great dentist” will stand in the way of her living a life — which for Brad means being a wife. Brad worked so much in his 20s, you see, that he let life pass him by, or something. “Maybe I can help you find balance,” he says, and then changes the subject to jelly beans.
Time for dinner! Brad puts Ashley in a headlock and leads her to an open-air dining area where they sit on stumps and continue their conversation from earlier in the day. Ashley’s wheels have been spinning — and she wants Brad to know that she’ll bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. That’s not enough for the Bachelor, for reasons that quickly become obvious: “Today I asked where would you like to live? And not one time did you mention Austin.” Why didn’t we see this conversation? Was the jelly bean moment just too good to leave on the cutting room floor? Explain yourself, Team Bachelor!
NEXT: When God’s Window opens, another door closes
Anyhow, Ashley gets defensive and says she’s never been to Austin, and for her choosing a place to live is more about the people than the place. “I’m in Austin!” replies Brad, getting a bit defensive himself. OMG, Brad, can’t you just “have faith”? And then something shocking happens — Brad makes a good point. “Neither one of us can build an actual future that’s real… off of the fact that we had an incredible carnival date.” A Bachelor vaguely recognizing the fact that being on The Bachelor is not conducive to forming a real relationship? I think Hell just froze over. And with that, Ashley shuts down — not so much that she turns down the Fantasy Suite card, of course, but just enough to scrawl “buh-bye” on the wall in lovely, clear handwriting.
Apparently ABC didn’t foot the bill for Doc Hollywood to fly to South Africa, which means we finally get a real deliberation between Chris and Brad. He and his large watch press Brad for some clarity about what happened with Ashley. “This is a really bad time to have a bad date,” says the host. “You’ve gotta be spinning right now!” Brad admits that the derailed date with the dentist has been driving him crazy, because he has such a great “connection” with Ashley — and after his talk with our fearless host, the Bachelor realizes he needs to talk to Ashley one last time before handing out the night’s two roses. After clearing his throat, checking his cufflinks and stammering a few So, uhs… to the “ladies,” Brad asks Ashley for a quick one-on-one, leaving Emily and Chantal alone (with the camera crew) and perplexed.
Once out of earshot, Brad apologizes to Ashley for their horrible date and says he didn’t mean to back her into a corner with his questions — he just wanted to know if she loves teeth and gums more than him. “Here’s a woman I could propose to in a week,” he explains, “and I don’t even know if I fit into your life.” Ashley — who has the misfortune of being shot from the side, making the mic pack under her dress look like a Quasimodo hump — begins to cry and basically admits defeat. “There’s really nothing that I can do now,” she says, and when Brad decides he needs to say goodbye, Ashley hops up with a curt “Ok” and prepares to walk out, much to Brad’s surprise. “I don’t know what else to say — I’m not going to beg you to change your mind.” Meanwhile, poor Emily and Chantal stand in the waning sunlight, waiting and waiting like that guy in the taxi at the end of Airplane!. Ashley manages to keep it together pretty well in the Reject Land Rover, and though she doesn’t admit it, somewhere deep down she knows she made the right decision to place her career goals above a potential relationship.
NEXT: Will you
help me fill time accept this rose?
After scratching his head in bewilderment for a few minutes, Brad returns to the Platform of Only Two Roses and let’s Emily and Chantal in on what happened. He then goes through the motions, because otherwise Team Bachelor would find themselves a few minutes short this episode. Roses and awkward hugs all around! After the biannual Airing of Grievances at the Women Tell All special next week, we’re off to Cape Town for a dramatic finale filled with furrowed brows and frustration. So, rose lovers, can you handle the anticipation? Were you sorry to see Ashley 1 go? And did this episode finally give you the resolve to book that safari trip you’ve wanted to go on for years? Post your thoughts below! Don’t forget to check out Chris Harrison’s exclusive Bachelor episode 9 blog on PopWatch. Now, climb up on that elephant and let’s talk Bachelor!