The Bachelor recap: Sea Change
Before we get to this week’s leg of Juan Pablo’s “adventure,” rose lovers, I’ve got to admit something. I’m pathologically afraid of traveling anywhere in Southeast Asia, primarily because I once saw Brokedown Palace and am now convinced that devious heroin smugglers lurk around every corner in those countries just waiting to prey on clueless American women like myself. (Then again, it’s not like absurd, false convictions can’t happen in Europe.) So forgive me — and blame Hollywood — if I’m unable to rhapsodize about the exotic beauty of Vietnam.
“I have 11 girls left,” Juan Pabs tells us, adding that he’ll be “keeping my eyes very open right now” and focusing on giving time to the women hasn’t gotten to know very well. That’ll be good news for the “ladies,” but they’re not going to be able to focus on anything until they’re checking in to what seems to be the top three floors of the InterContinential Danang Sun Peninsula Resort. “Like, 20 years from now I still want to remember, like, every little detail,” says Nikki of the gorgeous digs. The pediatric nurse also admits that she was the cause of some “tension” last week, but says she’s ready to “move forward.” Well, toots, you’re not gonna move forward until hour two, because Renee just got the first one-on-one of the week. (By the way, I feel like putting out an APB for the Accent Table of Doom. We miss you, buddy!)
Renee — who reveals that Juan Pablo “makes my hands hurt a little bit,” which is truly odd — is sincerely hoping that she’ll finally get to kiss the Bachelor on this date. It could happen — after all, Juan Pablo thinks Renee is “so cuuuute.” On the other hand, he seems more interested in having Renee “meet the world and see a different culture and eat some weird stuff” than smooching her. Juan Pablo drives Renee (via pedicab) to a clothing store in the center of town, where a tailor begins measuring her for a custom-made dress. (“Ooooh, eighty-six!” jokingly reading the number on the measuring tape wrapped around Renee’s bosom.) But it’s not all sophomoric boob jokes; in fact, Renee is touched by Juan Pablo’s little considerate gestures, like buying her a fan to keep her from being soaked in sweat and suggesting they shop for gifts for Camila and her son Ben. It is all very sweet, but honestly if the Bachelor doesn’t kiss her soon things are going to start getting very awkward. “I really want to kiss this man,” groans Renee, who stares at Juan Pablo intently as they sip beer, as though she’s trying to bore through his skull with her desire. “What are you thinkin’ about?” Juan Pabs asks her, and it’s clearly all she can do not to scream, “I’m thinking ‘Is body language your second language too? For the love of all that’s holy, man — your lips, my lips, NOW!'”
Maybe he’ll get the hint at dinner. Renee does look smokin’ hot in her bespoke purple dress. But is Juan Pablo actually into her? It’s nearly impossible to say. So far he’s talked almost every one-on-one date in the same way: “[Name of date here] is so beautiful”; “[Name of date] is so niiice“; “I had a great time with [name of date here].” He’s going to have to start sending some of these one-on-ones home before we really know what he’s thinking.
NEXT: If only we had farms in America That’s not going to happen tonight, though, because Renee and her hypnotizing eyes have earned a rose… but not a kiss. (Her magic wish lantern must have been broken.) Juan Pablo, you see, doesn’t want poor little Ben watching at home and wondering, “Mommy what are you doing? Why are you kissing this guy? Is he going to be, kind of, my stepdad?” It’s a smart move; after all, we all remember how things turned out for poor little Ricki.
The next day, Sharleen, Chelsie, Kat, Cassandra, Clare, Kelli, Alli, Danielle, and Andi head out for their “go with the flow” group date. “It’s been five weeks and I’ve been on group date after group date after group date,” Andi sighed when the date card arrived the night before. “What am I doing here if I’m not getting a one-on-one date?” Hating yourself, I’d guess. Buck up, little camper — look at all these nice round bamboo boats! Won’t it be fun to ride in them with a “lady” of your choice? Yes, I said “lady,” because each boat only holds two people — and while you and the other women were so busy picking each other as partners, Clare used her pariah status to snag a spot on the Bachelor’s ride. And Juan Pablo, bless his heart, remains completely oblivious to the fact that every other woman on the date wants to drown Clare in the river — so much so that he starts laying “little besitos” on her (that is, making out with her), thinking that the rest of the “ladies” are too far away to notice. But notice they do. “I’m seeing another one-on-one date happen right in front of my eyes,” grouses Andi. Jokes Chelsie, “Me and Alli have had a really romantic morning.”
Then Juan Pablo takes his harem to a local family farm and puts them to work in the fields. “It’s a big community and they all work together,” marvels Cassandra of the set up. “I was telling some of the girls that we should have this, um, back in America.” Good point, honey. Where else but Vietnam can you see migrant workers picking other people’s food? After a healthy looking farm-to-table meal, the group heads back to the hotel for the requisite cocktail portion of the evening. (What in the holy hell is that blue concoction Sharleen is drinking? Anti-freeze on the rocks?) Our endearingly tone deaf Bachelor kicks off the evening by grabbing — you guessed it! — Clare for the first one-on-one chat. “Should we just take the rose now and give it to her?” jokes Kelly, who must be commended for maintaining a sharp sense of humor during this entire soul-sucking “journey.” The Bachelor leads Clare to his hotel suite, where they proceed to strip down to their bathing suits and make out in the pool. Jesus, buddy, way to make the other “ladies” feel special.
Sharleen, for one, is feeling that classic post-one-on-one date depression — and today’s Clare-heavy group excursion has not helped her mood. “I guess I’m questioning the connection we have,” she says. “I need to believe that he sees me as a panda in a room full of brown bears.” (Huh? Is that a colloquialism, or did her electric blue cocktail addle her brain?)
NEXT: Clare crosses something off her bucket list During their chat on the beach, Sharleen remains teasingly aloof, hinting that she’s annoyed he hasn’t paid more attention to her. But her emotional ice begins to melt once Juan Pablo declares her “muy cuchi” (which according to Wikipedia means “cute, nice, pretty“) and starts slipping his tongue into her mouth. He takes the same approach with Andi — and the making out definitely does more to boost her confidence than his little “I want your cheeks to hurt from smiling” speech from earlier in the day. (“Sorry mom,” giggles Andi. “Another episode you can’t watch!”) I hope you savored that millisecond of happiness, girl, because what happens next is going to plunge you back into the pit of despair: Clare gets the date rose.
And what happens after that is enough to make us all feel queasy. Back at the hotel, Clare tells the “ladies” that she’s going to bed, and then sneaks out and scampers up the steps to Juan Pablo’s suite. “The one thing on my bucket list that I’ve never had the chance to do is swim in a warm ocean,” she tells Team Bachelor. “And I kind of want to do it with Juan Pablo.” The next thing we know — Ding-dong! There’s a needy hairstylist at the door! — the duo are charging into the surf holding hands. “The waves were wild, and we got a little wild too,” admits the Bachelor. How do you say “ewwwwww” in Spanish?
Well, Nikki, I hope you’ve got some tricks packed in that little pink suitcase, because it’s going to be tough to top Clare in the “one-on-one” department. They begin their date strolling through the grounds at Marble Mountain, but it’s not long before Juan Pablo reveals what they’re really doing: going to Hell! Well played, Team Bachelor. In my fantasy, they chose Vietnam as a destination simply so they could film Juan Pablo and some poor chick lowering themselves into a dark hole called Hell Cave. There couldn’t possibly be a better visual metaphor for this franchise.
Guess what? Nikki’s afraid of heights, and depths, and plummeting to her death, and all that good stuff. (She is not, however, afraid of hideous headbands.) Fortunately, Nikki also says she’s “willing to take risks for love,” and declares, “I either live, or I die, or I poop my pants.” (Second-grossest visual? When Juan Pablo tells Nikki during the descent, “If you open your legs it’s better.”) Dinner is largely unremarkable. Nikki launches into a rehearsed-sounding speech about how she thought “long and hard” about whether she’d be a good stepmom, and eventually came to the inevitable conclusion that yes, yes she would. And he LOVES it. Date rose, meet Nikki.
The final cocktail party of the week gets off to an awkward start — first because Juan Pablo announces that he’s sending home three women this week, and then because Clare raises a toast to “finding love, being loved, and making love.” Yuck. It does seem like the Bachelor is struggling to pick out three “ladies” to send packing — I mean, the dude has a soft spot for everyone. He “likes” Andi, believes Cassandra would “be a good stepmom,” thinks Sharleen has “got it,” and finds Renee “beautiful and smart.” In fact, Juan Pablo is so smitten with Renee that he can’t kiss her fast enough once she assures him that Ben won’t be “pissed” at him for doing so. Cue the orchestra!
NEXT: “Why didn’t you say no?” After his sweet, ripped-from-a-romantic-comedy moment with Renee, though, Juan Pabs is starting to feel regret about his tawdry, ripped-from-a-softcore-porn moment with Clare in the ocean a few days back. “Maybe I made a mistake the other night, taking it too far with Clare,” he tells Team Bachelor. “It wasn’t fair to the other 10 girls that are in the house.” So he proceeds to tell Clare that “maybe it wasn’t right,” and “I’m trying to be as fair as possible.” And if Camila ever saw what happened? Ay, yi yi, that would be bad. At this point, Clare realizes that Juan Pablo wants to pretend like their little aquatic hook-up never happened, and that fact drives her to tears. Juan Pablo tries to calm her down — “I’m just letting you how I feel, so you understand” – but of course Clare needs to make this all about Clare. How embarrassed she is. How stupid she feels. How sad she is about everything. But in fact what she really feels is angry. “He was on board with everything” that happened in the ocean, Clare tells Team Bachelor. “It’s confusing!”
The “ladies” definitely notice the tension between Clare and Juan Pablo when they return to the group, but Clare claims her red eyes and sniffles are the result of “bad allergies,” as opposed to “bad judgment.” She slinks away to cry some more, of course, and Juan Pablo chases after her, of course. She essentially demands that he take the blame for the transgression — “Why didn’t you say no?” — and, ever the people-pleaser, Juan Pablo agrees. “It was my mistake too,” he admits. “I should have said no, but maybe I would have hurt you.” In other words, toots, he took pity on you. Can we all just move on now?
When it’s time for Juan Pablo to take his leave for the rose ceremony, there’s at least 10 full seconds of awkward silence before Harrison arrives to fetch him from the group. Naturally all of the “ladies” without roses are incredibly nervous. “Juan Pablo spent more time tonight with Clare than anybody else, and she already has a rose,” says an anxious Andi. “Let’s not forget that three people are going home!” Oh, we haven’t forgotten, honey. Sharleen, Cassandra, Chelsie, Kat, and Andi join Nikki and Clare in the “safe” column, meaning that Alli, Kelly, and Danielle will not be moving on to the next round. “You’ll find the right guy,” Juan Pablo whispers to Danielle as he hugs her goodbye, and then wipes away a tear. Awwww…
Well, rose lovers, this season finally has some drama — are you happy? Whose side are you on — Juan Pablo’s (“I made a mistake”) or Clare’s (“Once again, things that could have been brought to my attention YESTERDAY“)? And will you miss any of the departing “ladies”? I, for one, will miss Kelly’s pointed sense of humor. Post your thoughts now! And be sure to check out Chris Harrison’s exclusive blog over on PopWatch. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go harvest some lemongrass.