One "lady" leaves of her own volition, while Clare and Nikki take their cold war to Defcon 2.

By Kristen Baldwin
Updated March 13, 2015 at 07:46 PM EDT

The Bachelor

S18 E7
  • TV Show

¡Hola from Miami, rose lovers! Actually, let me clarify: Juan Pablo is in Miami. I am buried under an ever-growing pile of snow here in New York, and just fantasizing about being in Miami so I don’t lose what’s left of my sanity. It’s been a long winter, folks, and it’s only Feb. 18.

Anyhow, Juan Pabs is giddy to be back in his home city — and even giddier about the prospect of “surprising” Camila. (I’m guessing the camera crew filming her coloring session may have tipped her off. The girl is 4, not blind.) Still it’s really sweet to watch her dash into her Daddy’s arms for hugs and smooches. Meanwhile, in the Not-Yet-Rejected Limo, the “ladies” are wondering if this trip to Miami means a meeting with Juan Pablo’s family — perhaps even his pequeña amor — will be in order. But Sharleen is secretly praying to whatever god she worships that she gets the one-on-one date so she can determine if she even wants to make it to hometowns. “At this moment I’m not ready to introduce Juan Pablo to my family,” she admits. That’s too bad, because at this moment Juan Pablo is gushing to his cousin about how “elegant” and “classy” and “sexy” Sharleen is. “She could be the one,” he raves. Bro hug!

Shortly thereafter the Bachelor arrives at the hotel and presents the one-on-one date card directly to Sharleen, who accepts it with the same mix of poorly-disguised discomfort and feigned happiness that she displays whenever he hands her a rose. (At least this time she didn’t call him “sir.”) Nikki stares daggers at Sharleen as the opera singer runs upstairs to get ready and worry about how she’s missing that “cerebral connection” with Juan Pablo. Toots, if that’s what you need, catch a cab to the airport now. After all, God doesn’t give with both hands.

Next, they’re on a boat, sailing around Miami, while Sharleen finds herself cast adrift in the waters of uncertainty. “I have moments where I’m like, ‘We’re great together!'” she complains, “and then other moments I’m like, ‘Why am I here? I feel like we don’t get each other.'” So they make out for awhile on the deck, because Sharleen finds Juan Pablo “ridiculously sexy,” and it’s easier to suck his face than pick his brain about what, if anything, they really have in common. Later on a secluded beach, the opera singer gives Juan Pablo vague assurances that she has “different priorities” now than she did in the past, and that “change is good.” So that means… she’ll quit her job or take a position in some Miami-based opera company? That seems to be Juan Pablo’s interpretation. “Mmmmm,” he purrs. “I like that.”

When night falls on the duo, they’re still making out on the deck of the boat. Indeed, they’re kissing so much, Sharleen says “it disturbs me… I should be able to have a conversation [with him].” When they do come up for air to talk, the conversation doesn’t quite reach the intellectual heights Sharleen aspires to:

Juan Pablo: I like the words that you use. I’m learning.

Sharleen: What word did I just use?

Juan Pablo: I don’t know. The words you use in general.

Sharleen: Oh.

Though Sharleen doesn’t give a very encouraging answer when Juan Pablo asks how she feels about him meeting her family (“I think I can do it,” she stammers), the Bachelor doesn’t seem to notice any of the red flags.

NEXT: It’s a family affair{C}Presumably Sharleen gets the date rose — or maybe there is no date rose? — because the next scene begins with Sharleen back at the hotel and joining Renee on the patio for a heart-to-heart. “I am not sure, and it’s not fair to… to take that spot from someone who is sure,” she confesses. You’d think Renee would be all, “Welp, I’ll help you pack!” — but instead she advises Sharleen to make sure she really knows what she wants before making any emotional decisions.

We’ll leave Sharleen to her internal struggle and move on to the next day and Nikki’s one-on-one date. The card said “Nikki, listen to my heart beat,” to which the nitpicky nurse whined, “Am I gonna have to dance again?” — but the truth is much scarier than the prospect of watching Nikki bust a move again. Instead, Juan Pablo is bringing Nikki to watch Camila’s dance recital — thereby violating the implied no-go zone that any normal father would have constructed between his child and the group of attention-seeking neurotics he’s dating on TV!! Juan Pabs, I am so disappointed in you. Nikki, though, is totally delighted and can’t help but gloat. “I’m flattered,” she tells Team Bachelor. “I think it kind of shows how much he cares about me.”

As Nikki and Juan Pablo walk into the auditorium where the Bachelor’s parents — and his baby-mama Carla — are waiting, I’ve gotta believe Nikki thought to herself, I’m REALLY rethinking these ultra-short tramp cutoffs right about now. Still, she puts on her best nicey-nice face and greets Mama, Papa, and Carla with a cooing “Nice to meeet you!” (Carla keeps it classy by planting a polite kiss on Nikki’s cheek, but Camila shoots her dad a hilarious “You’re embarrassing me!” side-eye.) The kids perform a precocious and adorable ditty, and when it’s over Camila rushes into her daddy’s arms. Juan Pablo introduces her to his “friend” Nikki, who immediately begins gushing about how “perfect” Camila’s performance was. I can only imagine Carla’s thinking, Excuse me, if anyone’s going to ladle excessive praise on my daughter it’s gonna be ME.

After some aggressively pleasant, post-recital chit-chat among the adults, Juan Pablo prompts Camila to give Nikki a Cheetos-dusty goodbye kiss and bids goodbye to his family. At some point, Nikki changes into a backless hooker-halter top and fringed black miniskirt, and then they head to Marlins Park, aka Juan Pablo’s “office.” There they picnic near second base and have a not-quite-surface conversation about whether Carla is okay with Juan Pablo bringing a TV bride into the family. “She’s totally okay,” says the Bachelor. “She understands everything.” Well then — that settles that! Declares Nikki, “I’m in love with Juan Pablo.”

You know who totally isn’t in love with Juan Pablo? Sharleen. She assembles the “ladies” in the living room to break the news that they already suspected: Juan Pablo is not the guy for her, so she’s going to pull a Brooks and get the hell out of Miami. But first, she’s got to break the news to the Bachelor, so it’s off to room 1617 — and this time, the knock on the door does not mean he’s about to get lucky in the ocean. Sharleen slumps down on the couch and begins whispering her dear Juan speech. “I just don’t know that I can get to the place I’m supposed to be at in three weeks’ time,” she murmurs. “I don’t want to take the spot of someone else… who can be at that place for you.”

NEXT: “Let’s f—ing wrap this s— up and go home!”

Then she cries, and as weird as Juan Pablo’s habitual, semi-panicky “don’t cry because of me” reaction is, he does follow it with an impressively mature, graceful statement. “Here, even though it’s not easy, you get to know yourself better,” he tells Sharleen. “And you get to see if you’re prepared, and what you’re not prepared for.” Even though he’s probably severely bummed, Juan Pablo tries to make Sharleen feel better by making a little joke: “The only thing that pisses me off is you did not sing enough for me.” And with that, they hug and part ways. Juan Pablo manages to keep it together until the confessional, where he chokes up talking about how much respect he has for Sharleen. “You have to have guts to be honest in this situation,” he says, wiping away tears.

Well, you know what that means, rose lovers: Three-way scrum for Sharleen’s hometown slot! (Nikki’s a shoe-in, right?) The next day, Andi, Chelsie, Clare and Nikki pile into a pontoon plane with Juan Pablo for a group-date beach outing. The pressure’s on, because the one “lady” who gets the date rose will be treated to a “special” evening with Juan Pabs later that night. Chelsie kicks off the campaigning by reading some letters her mom gave her before she left — including one that advises her to “keep your clothes on” — and the Bachelor appreciates her “happy vibe.” Andi, on the other hand, has more of a weepy vibe during her alone time with Juan Pabs. “Get ready for a breakdown,” she warns, before breaking down about how “vulnerable” she feels. What if, she asks Juan Pablo, she introduces him to her family and then things don’t “work out”? Seeing as there’s a 75 percent chance that that’s exactly what will happen, there’s not a whole lot the Bachelor can say to make her feel better… so he smooches her.

Clare cries during her chat with Juan Pablo, too, but they’re tears of longing for her late father. She reminds Juan Pabs about the message her dad recorded for her future husband before he passed away, and then tells Team Bachelor, “I would love it if Juan Pablo would be the man watching that video.” (Listen up, guys: If we don’t see that video before the season’s out, that is some serious bulls—.) Naturally, Clare is severely irked when Andi gets the date rose. “The people who are standing out, and who are getting these roses, are the people that are doubting themselves — are not here for him,” she fumes, before climbing back into the plane and demanding, “Let’s f—ing wrap this s— up and go home!”

No doubt adding to Clare’s anger is the knowledge that Andi and Juan Pablo will be spending the whole evening together… which begs the question: Where did Andi pack her red minidress? Or did some PA have to carry a sexy nighttime get-up for each “lady” so no matter who got the date rose, she’d all be prepared? (Oh Bachelor logistics, how you confound me!) Juan Pabs takes Andi to a club called Bamboo, where they dance to the sexy Latin stylings of Romeo Santos. Wow, what a fun night! I wonder how the other “ladies” are doing…

NEXT: “Clare is like a dog”A somber Clare, Renee, and Chelsie file back into the hotel suite and plop down on the couch dejectedly. “There’s a rose, and whoever got it got to stay [on the date],” Chelsie explains to Nikki. “So. It is what it is. Awkward, I guess?” Everyone sits in silence for a few seconds, and eventually Clare admits that she’s disappointed. “I guess Andi needed that reassurance,” she reasons glumly. Nikki snaps, “That’s so stupid!” and then huffs back upstairs, leaving all the other women confused. Or confused and annoyed in Clare’s case. “I feel like Nikki always gets away with just being a bitch,” she gripes. “I’m not okay with that.” So Clare follows Nikki upstairs and demands to know what crawled up her butt and died. (In so many words.) The nurse says she didn’t want to listen to the women “talking s—” about Andi, which of course gets Clare all riled up – but when she tries to clarify who, exactly, was “talking s—,” Nikki stops her with some patronizing upspeak: “You interrupted? You interrupted?”

After that, things escalate quickly, and pretty soon the “ladies” are sniping back and forth about who’s cutting who off, and who’s laughing at who, and who doesn’t like who, and who can excuse herself from whose room. Eventually it devolves into a kind of contractual dispute about land rights — “Do you sleep in here?” “Did you pay for it?” “Do you sleep in here?” “Did you pay for it?” — and then Clare and Nikki finally retreat after taking one last parting shot each. (Clare: “You’re a piece of work, Nikki.” Nikki: “And you’re f—ing crazy.”) “Ladies,” please! Can we not behave like animals? If you ask Nikki, the answer is no. “Clare is like a dog. She peed on him first,” she sneers. “The fact is, she claimed some territory that might not be hers.”

The digs continue at the cocktail party, though at least they have the decency to do it behind each other’s backs. “If Juan Pablo goes to Clare’s hometown, he has a giant crazy family to meet,” sniffs Nikki. “She didn’t get crazy, like, all on her own.” Clare gets a confessional jab in too — “There’s quality, quality women here who aren’t brats” — and then the camera zooms in to record the two women sitting in icy silence for a full 53 seconds until the other “ladies” drift back in. (According to Chris’ blog, the icy silence lasted a lot longer.) Chris, thank God you and your Butter Knife of Bad News are here! Let’s do this.

The final three hometown dates go to… Nikki, Clare, and Renee. Sorry Chelsie, but the fun stops here. A weepy Juan Pablo takes her by the hand and leads her away, as Clare mutters “Such a mistake” under her breath. Chelsie keeps it positive until the end, telling the Bachelor, “It was nice to date a good guy for once!” (Have a glass of bubbly, honey — you’ve earned it.) And then it’s all over but the balcony cry.

I don’t know about you, rose lovers, but I have a lot of questions. Who do you think would have gone home if Sharleen hadn’t left? (My money’s on Clare.) Are we seriously not getting a two-on-one date this season? And what the hell went down in the fantasy suite between Andi and Juan Pabs? Post your thoughts now! Be sure to check out Chris Harrison’s blog over on PopWatch, too. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to look for a cheap ticket to somewhere warm.

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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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