‘The Bachelor’, Season 20, E5: Girls Learn Spanish, Lauren B Gets Ravished, & Jubilee Is Banished

Welcome to Episode 5 of The Bachelor: Ben Is Sweet!

In case you missed it, the Bachelor Monday Link Buffet is up, and this tweet is pretty definitive when it comes to how much this season has taken over my life:

To demonstrate, I have to first correct a grievous error in my Bachelor Monday Link Buffet post, where I forgot to link to last week’s episode of “Here To Make Friends”, ESPECIALLY because they interview Sharleen Joynt, whom I highly enjoy. Everyone who reads my recaps and Live Tweets Editions already knows of Claire E. Fallon (because I basically post every single one of her Bachelor live tweets on these things, as she is THAT smart and hilarious), and her podcast partner Emma Gray is also someone whom I’ve started to enjoy on Twitter this season. I also really love this podcast because – while I do highly enjoy the gossipy, bitchy side of The Bachelor – these ladies give deeply intelligent and thoughtful takes on each week’s episode, and they do it in a way that encourages and inspires me to either think a little more deeply and/or rethink my initial reaction to some of the events + girls on the show.

I mean. Like Des, I’m already a truly deep thinker on my own – like, I think about things, you know? I just have a lot of depth! – but it’s nice when I feel like someone else can relate to me when it comes to that.

Listening to Sharleen on this podcast episode also makes me realize that we’re missing some pretty big pieces of magic on this season…magic that seems to have been gone since Juan Pablo exited center stage. First, one not so obvious differences is the maturity and Girl’s Girl camaraderie we saw on both Juan Pablo and Sean’s seasons (which paints this season, chockfull of REALLY young, immature, and overly catty girls, in stark contrast). Then, more obviously, are the big trips (SERIOUSLY, ABC…WHAT are you spending your money on?? Your viewership is higher than it’s ever been before, you’ve got enough network/promo/advertising muscle to have a goddamn aftershow, you’re getting bigass bucks to do a bunch of cross-promotional date shit with big movies like Ride Along 2, and we’re still getting the chintzy American tourist dates when, only 3 Bachelor seasons ago, we were in freaking ASIA by week 4! AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON SEAN, EMILY, BEN, ASHLEY, AND BRAD’S JET-SETTING SEASONS, YA DICKS) and that certain sort of Bachelor glamour that was so indicative of when Sharleen was on the show. You know? Like the dates were worth an international opera singer. They did cool shit like go to temples and get their feet exfoliated by tiny fish and meet huge Japanese pop stars. There was no bullshit champagne-in-a-parking-lot + helicopter ride + fireworks unless that was all happening around some huge, exotic ruins that the rest of us could only hope to ever see in our lifetimes. I mean, honestly, the more I think about this, the more I’m pissed. First we had to deal with Chris’ bullshit SOUTH DAKOTA AS A DESTINATION DATE, and then they finally sent us to Ireland for Kaitlyn’s season, but we stayed there for, like, 11 WEEKS and then all we did was look at some goddamn Irish castles every single fucking date. GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, ABC, AND GET MORE SHARLEEN-WORTHY DATES BACK INTO MY LIFE.

And on that note, HERE WE GO BACK TO MEXICO EVERYBODY IT’S LITERALLY THE EASIEST TROPICAL DESTINATION ABC CAN DO BESIDES SENDING EVERYONE TO FLORIDA.

Viva La F-CK Mexico!

First, I have to give a shout-out to the coverage of the Iowa Caucus cutting into the beginning of the show and everyone in Bachelor Nation losing their damn minds:

Then, we get to see our destination, THE BEAUTIFUL, EXOTIC, GLAMOROUS MEXICO CITY:

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Doesn’t that just look soooo ROMANTIC??

Ben tells us that he thinks this is going to be the perfect place to take the women, and when he says stuff like that, it just feels so polygamist, you know? Like, sometimes it doesn’t – sometimes it feels like, wow, this guy and all these girls are having drinks on this hotel rooftop and all these girls are trying to get with the same guy, which is basically just a regular Tuesday night for Bradley Cooper, right? But when Ben talks about bringing “these women” on a date or on a trip, it seriously gives me Sister Wives vibes.

AlsobecauseBenkindoflookslikeoneofthoseguyswhoaremarriedtoaDuggarsister
butisn’tactuallyaDuggarandI’msorrytobringthatupbecauseIlovehimjustasmuchasyoudo
buthetotallydoesandyouknowit

And then Ben tells us that Mexico City is the cultural and political capital of Mexico, but he says it like a question…like, “Oh really? It is? Sorry, I thought Cancun was the capital.”

And also probably because he, too, spied that dude just taking a lil’ siesta in a public place.

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The girls fly in via coach and show up at their hotel, and one of them draws out “Oh wow, this hotel is gorgeous” just a little too hard and long when they all get out of their airport van, which is our cue that the next five minutes are basically going to be a promotional spot for the goddamn Four Seasons Hotel again, which furthers my annoyance with ABC. First, you can’t even take us somewhere good, and then you make us sit through some fake-ass bullshit about an ugly hotel suite that didn’t even have enough space for each of the girls to have their own beds? And we KNOW it’s some fake-ass promo shit, because in other seasons, you would just camera-pan to the sign or the actual Bachelor would say “We’re here at ____ and it’s amazing” and we would appreciate it because it would be a place where we would ACTUALLY WANT TO STAY SOMEDAY and then we would move on with our show and lives. But no. First we have to listen to Amanda tell us in her baby voice that The Four Seasons Hotel in Mexico City is “totally amazing” and then we have to hear Midwestern tell us that it’s one of those hotels that makes her “like, feel really, like special just for being here”, and that their suite is just “stunning” and they’ve “really never seen anything like it.”

It’s like…a fucking hotel room. With a couple of extra couches in it.

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Also, this ABSOLUTELY STUNNING SUITE looks like those chocolate covered strawberries you get when someone sends you an edible arrangement, or the fancy way a chef will do a swirl of chocolate and strawberry on your plate when you order a warm brownie or a piece of cheesecake for dessert (omgIwantcheesecakesobadrightmydetoxcheatdayisalmosthereomg).

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The windows aren’t even as high as they were in the Vegas suite.

Oh, but according to Olivia, there’s a bidet!

This is, like, executive conference suite level at the Holiday inn. And I’m both troubled and enraged that we were forced to spend 5 minutes of our precious lives hearing about it.

Like, even Olivia is all, “Is this good did I smile big enough can I be done now I just want to go shower already and you guys didn’t tell me this entire show was going to be a commercial for Mexico City otherwise I would’ve tried out for that new Bravo show instead”:

Goddammit, ABC, when I win the Powerball, I am going to fucking buy and sell you and fire all of the executives responsible for this bullshit and then I’m going to blackmail Chris Harrison into marrying me and together we are going to make this show great again. 

The ladies open up some champagne and toast to “finding love in Mexico” (really?) –

And then they suddenly notice a date card! Olivia tells us that there’s no doubt in her mind that she’s in love with Ben, and that he doesn’t validate the other girls the way that he validates her. “Our love language is reserved for us.”

Her gut’s telling her that she’s going to have a one-on-one, and she knows it’s her.

Surprise! It’s Amanda!

I’m not going to do a shot of Olivia’s face after that’s announced, because I’m trying to be more human-like and she looks genuinely disappointed and I’m just not gonna go out of my way to make fun of that, no matter how much I dislike her.

Which is basically just my way of saying, “Hey, I still thoroughly dislike this person but I’m like, nice, about it, you know? Even though they’re totally terrible as a person, I’m nice.”

Wakey-Wakey, It’s Ben & Something-achy

It’s 4:20 in the morning, and the girls are still asleep, but BEN AND AMANDA’S DATE STARTS NOW!

And yes. We’ve seen this before. This is ABC’s zany idea of a practical joke! You know what’s so funny, you guys? Showing up before dawn to wake up a bunch of girls BEFORE they’ve had a chance to put on their makeup! Isn’t that just THE MOST HILARIOUS THING YOU’VE EVER SEEN? Like, HAHAHAHAHA, YOU DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO AFFIX YOUR FACE TO FIT THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCT WE’VE APPLIED TO YOU WHEN IT COMES TO WHAT CONSTITUTES ACCEPTABLE BEAUTY, HAHAHA, SO GROSS AND HILARIOUS TO SEE GIRLS WITHOUT ANY BELLS AND WHISTLES, HAHAHAHA, YOU SHOULD SEE THE LOOK ON YOUR FACE WHEN WE SHOVED A CAMERA + SPOTLIGHT INTO IT WHILE YOU WERE STILL IN A DEAD SLEEP, HAHAHAHA, DON’T YOU LOOK DUMB, HAHAHAHA SEXISM PATRIARCHY MISOGYNY HAHAHAHAHA

“This is what I’m here for,” Ben tells us giddily. “To just, like, see these girls in their element.”

Oh Ben…you beautiful, sweet, dummy-dum-dum Benny-boo-boo-boo! THAT’S not what “in their element” means! You mean “out” of their element, which is still annoying and frankly completely misogynist to purposefully put the women in situations where they’ll be uncomfortable just to see if they can still win your affection with their winsome, pleasing, go-with-the-flow ways.

Guys, I don’t know if you can tell yet, but I’m starting to lose my spark with this season.

So he walks in and wakes the girls up, and Midwestern freaks out because she sleeps with a retainer (“I sleep with a retainer, TOO!” Ben tells her, which is just so, like…bible camp sweet), JoJo still looks hot and the camera stays on her for a minute while she adjusts her boobs (I get it girl. Nobody knows the trouble we’ve seen when it comes to sleeping gracefully with those things), Ben spots a weave that’s *obviously* Caila’s (“Not mine!” she cheerfully lies, when he sees it on her nightstand and asks about it), and Olivia makes a reference to her “dragon breath”.

Also, shut up NICK. Get outta here with your shallow dudebro bullshit and go stare at your morally-corrupt girlfriend some more:

Amanda, however, is curiously wide awake and perfectly ready to be seen by the suitor who is taking her on a date that day.

For the record: I honestly cannot stand Amanda’s voice, and it makes me dislike her. I also have a hard time believing that any grown woman actually talks in that high of an octave without it being just a little bit on purpose, which just makes me dislike her even more. (Except for, you know, this hot psychological take which I also learned about during my time as a behavioral therapist):

I also REALLY resent everyone who’s all, “Amanda’s so sweet!” because she is NOT sweet, you guys. You just think she’s sweet because she says everything in a super high baby voice. It’s a subtle social construct that we all fall prey to – we’re kinder and gentler to the girls who both talk in a higher register or up-talk (You know? When they talk like this? Because everyone’s a question and they’re just an adorable baby who doesn’t really know anything unless she has your approval first?) because we view them as more childlike and therefore less of a threat. But the truth is that she’s talked just as much, if not more, trash about everyone else in the house as any other girl on this season. Play this episode back and imagine if she were saying everything in Olivia’s voice. Honestly – do it. You’ll see what I mean. There’s literally no quantifying statements or actions on her behalf that even remotely point toward her being “sweet” except for her annoyingly high voice.

So anyway –  Amanda and Ben finally leave for their date, and I wonder where they’re going to go so early???

Also, this guy pointed out that off-the-shoulder tops are the man scarves of this season, and he is TOTALLY RIGHT:

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After Ben and Amanda leave, Olivia and Midwestern sit down and have a lil’ girl chat about how, if Chris chooses Amanda, then he becomes an automatic father, which makes me wonder if these girls have ever even seen an episode of Step By Step or any Lifetime Original Movie ever made about a single mom dating a new guy. Because that’s not how it actually works.

Meanwhile, back on Amanda and Ben’s date, SURPRISE! It’s another hot air balloon ride at the crack of dawn, which leads me to believe that:

A) ABC needs to fire some producers because they’re obviously being paid too much for not actually doing any work
B) They need to hire me instead

Because this shit is already played out and done (hi, the exact same date happened on Chris’ season between Chris and Britt) that it’s not even fucking funny anymore.

Also, doesn’t this just look soooo ROMANTIC?

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“A hot air balloon ride in Mexico,” Amanda gushes to us. “I can’t even believe this is my life right now.”

I can. I can LITERALLY believe that this could be ANYONE’S life right now, because it looks about as romantic as taking a hot air balloon over the corn fields of Nebraska.

Except maybe then you wouldn’t have to suffer through a producer telling Ben to make sure he mentions all the Tourist Hot Tips about the “ancient ruins” they’re flying over like he already just happens to know them and weren’t at all fed to him by Mexico City’s Tourism Board!

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(Honestly, that screen grab above might become my most favorite thing of this entire season.)

They get out of the balloon and go have a picnic in some gross field where a bunch of drug cartel bodies are probably buried, and Amanda says “like” a BILLION times while she tells Ben that she can’t even believe this is her life right now and she gets nervous just because it’s, like, nerve-wracking.

Then Amanda tells us that she has a “less simple past” than the other girls in the house, and she’s scared to share that with Ben.

WHY is it always that the divorced women think they have the darkest pasts? First Tenley (sorry girl, I like you now but you KNOW this was annoying on Jake’s season) and now Amanda are all “My past is a lot more tragic and dramatic than anyone else’s…” *sad baby face* You got married, you got a bunch of wedding gifts and a honeymoon out of it, and then you BROKE. UP. The END. Just because you got married AND THEN broke up doesn’t mean that YOUR story is more tragic than anyone else’s. Actual people have had actual people die in their lives, or have been abused or abandoned or arrested for being a drug mule for their hot but devious love crush whom they met in Thailand during their last big adventurous fling with their best friend right before they went off to college. You at least got to get married, and I bet you still have a house or at least some really nice dish towels to show for it, so let’s cool it with the “my past is just so dark…” shtick, mmmkay?

And then Ben and Amanda just walk away from the picnic without even picking up any of the stuff, like a bunch of disrespectful tourist hooligans! No WONDER people hate American tourists! THANKS FOR RUINING IT FOR ALL OF US AMERICAN BACHELOR FANS WHO ARE NOW DREAMING ABOUT GOING TO MEXICO CITY, GUYSSSS!

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(Editor’s note: Seriously, if the above happened? I would DIE. A hot air balloon + classic surprisingly-poignant love jams by Air Supply is actually how you do these things)

The group date card comes and even though Olivia really doesn’t want to be on the card, she’s on the card, which means Midwestern gets the one-on-one date. Then Amanda and Ben sit down over a dinner that no one will eat and she tells him about her jerk ex-husband who wanted to go out with his friends instead of do stuff as a FAMILY (because, you know, she has daughters…did you know that she has daughters?) and how he had bullshit texts and photos on his phone from other girls and I just really want her to look at the camera and say, “And his name is Mike Connnelly.” You know? Like, just once, I want one of these girls to drop the guy’s full name on the show.

The sob story reels Ben in and he’s like, “how can I not just wrap you and your girls up and love on you” and I kind of want to throw up but I also really like Ben so I’m still a sucker for it. Amanda squeaks out a lot of “thank yous”, Ben gives her the rose, The End.

In Mexico, We Say “No Worries” 

Group date time! Here’s a shot of a hot guy reading:

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The ladies arrive, and here’s a good depiction about how those who are fake feel, and those who are not fake feel about another bullshit competition group date:

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They walk into a classroom – HOORAY MORE LEARNING ON A DATE –

…where they are greeted by Spanish language books and a teacher who reminds me of Mr. Escalante from Stand & Deliver, which I love because movies about tough teachers who inspire hope in inner-city and marginalized kids are the freaking best, so I basically take a quiet 15 to brush up on my favorite scenes with Lou Diamond Phillips, which then makes me wanna watch Young Guns II again, which is still one of my all-time favorite movies BECAUSE HELLO ’90s BEEFCAKE CENTRAL and also it has one of the best opening scenes/scores (and I’m not even talking about the totally badass Bon Jovi theme song, whose video is legitimately the only time I ever really wanted to do Jovi) and I still use the line “So ain’t we both just content” ALL the TIME.

So anyway.

Back to Mexican Spanish.

The crazy kids are taken through their paces, with each girl getting up at the front of the class with Ben to practice romantic phrases (“I want to kiss you” “I’m falling in love with you” “I would like you to get on top now”) in Spanish.

Jubilee is, admittedly, not having it. When it’s her turn, she gets up and makes more jokes about how he’s told the last four girls he wants to kiss them, and the other girls are either shocked or annoyed. Which, yes, it’s a *little* awkward when her jokes don’t land, but at the same time, why are we acting like she’s not right? She’s literally telling us that the Emperor has no clothes, and everyone’s all, “JUBES! You don’t SAY that!” It’s kinda bullshit.

Olivia, of course, feels “total electricity” when Ben speaks Spanish to her. Guys, it’s like…it’s not even worth it, anymore, to do all the screen grabs of her open mouth and her ridiculous declarations of his affection for her. It just never stops. I could literally spend all day grabbing shots of her crazy mouth and scribbling down her grandiose statements about her “relationship” with Ben.

The group wanders over to this huge grocery store/bar/restaurant place, where they learn that they’ll be breaking up into teams of 2 and competing with each other to create the best dish from a recipe written in Mexican Spanish.

Olivia asks the smart question about whether Ben is a part of a team, and when the two chefs/owners say yes, she immediately claims him. Jubilee tries to join their team, and it gets a lil’ tense when it’s made clear by one of the chefs that there really should only be teams of 2, and not 3. So neither Jubilee and Olivia budge on who gets to be with Ben until Olivia basically puts Ben on the spot about the fact that she claimed him first. So now Jubilee is annoyed and Olivia is triumphant and this looks REALLY positive for the rest of this date!

The teams have to shop for the ingredients on their list, for which their Spanish lessons (don’t) come in handy. Emily is annoyed that Olivia stole Ben first, which gives us one of my favorite moments of the night, when she does this –

See? Emily DOES know Spanish after all!

And then she sees them ask for mint at one of the outside bars and makes a joke about how she’s sure that Ben did that on purpose because of Olivia’s breath, which, according to Emily, “smells like shit”. Which, I mean…sharing mint/gum/schnapps shots is kind of the oldest trick in the book, but whoa, Emily. You’re starting to show your age a lil’ bit there, my sweet young baby child.

Even though…what if he did??? What if that was TOTALLY what he was doing? I wonder if she’s on Atkins or something (little known fact – when you do no carb, you can get really bad breath because of certain chemicals that are released when your body goes into the fat-burning stage of ketosis. SEE? I know stuff).

The gang starts to cook, Ben calls himself “The Spatchular” –

…and Oivia tells us that they’re a good team.

Snore.

Ben notices that all the girls are having fun and smiling and making the most out of the experience…and then there’s Jubilee, who seems to not be having as much fun and is a little more serious about the cooking challenge, LIKE THAT’S A BAD THING.

I know I’m a little overprotective of Jubilee, but I think this moment, right here, ushers in an important conversation about this show. When it comes to comments like this from the Bachelor, I always wonder: Are you looking for a wife…a real, honest-to-goodness human being who can be your partner, your actual wife…or are you just looking for a girl who always smiles and laughs and has fun even when she doesn’t feel like it (so you can, you know, still feel good about making her go on a group date and putting up with these bullshit challenges)? You know? Like can we talk about that for a minute? Why is it always a negative for a girl to have feelings of her own whilst on a group date? Because there’s a difference between being the kind of person who’s not having fun and so she’s ruining YOUR day, too, and then there’s just being a human being who might not be having the time of her fucking life whipping up a dish from a recipe she can’t even read because it’s in another fucking language. SO, like, do you want an actual HUMAN, or do you just want the modern social construct + Bachelor equivalent of a Stepford Wife?

Everybody sits down with mini-margaritas to have their dishes taste-tested, and the chefs tells them that in Mexico, you’re reading to get married when you know how to cook, which HAHAHAAHAHAAH of course that’s true in MEXICO, they probably don’t even have Postmates delivery yet.

The chefs try the dishes, and we have to suffer through an entirely-too long double-entrendre from JoJo about how good her taco tastes.

Olivia and Ben pass their dish to the chefs, which also ushers in one of the best subtitles in the history of the show. And I have to say…I’m feelin’ that male chef Nico.

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It took everything I had not to make a taco joke just then.

Then they try Jubilee and Lauren’s dish – it’s beautifully presented, and they love it. Jubilee and Lauren win!

SO TAKE THAT, BEN. A lil’ less smiling, a little more cooking is what was SUPPOSED to be happening when you’re a GODDAMN WINNER.

Another Bullshit Night In Suck City

Time for cocktails and cocktail dresses with all the girls form the group date! Because what did Lauren B and Jubilee win for totally smoking the cooking challenge? Absolutely nothing! Not more time with Ben, not a rose each, nothing! So fair, right, when you think back to all the other bullshit competition challenges that have happened on this season…

Ben barely finishes his group date cocktail party speech before Olivia jumps in and interrupts to ask if she can steal him first. And while, yes, it obviously pays to be assertive and I’m not going to do the whole “girls need to be polite and nice and wait their turn” thing here, it’s also the fact that she’s literally talking over *other* people who are also, at that moment, asking to talk to Ben.

Jubilee notes that it’s hard to sit there and see him have time with other girls and know that he’s holding their hands and kissing them, and in a moment of perfect irony editing, we see him walk past the group, holding Lauren B’s hand as they leave the group to go for a stroll along some city streets. Which: Rude. And also, it totally reminds me of the time when Chris took Britt to the Big & Rich concert while the other girls had to just sit there, and we all know how I felt about that. 

Lauren B and Ben are, once again, really cute together, and they have an admittedly romantic stroll and pretty hot make out session –

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Which would be amazing if it wasn’t being done while the other girls sat and waited for them to get back. They’re apparently gone so long that the other girls start talking about it in miffed tones, which…I mean. They put up a bunch of other bullshit on group dates, so the least Ben could do is show them a little consideration when it comes to spending equal time with each of them during the cocktail party. This just gets me every time, and it’s literally the point where I stopped giving Chris second chances during his season and just flat out started to loathe him – if you wanted to spend that much extra time with a certain person whilst on a group date, you should have asked her out on a one-on-one.

So Ben FINALLY comes back, and asks to talk to Jubilee. He tries to grab her hand, and she’s like, “Can we just do this without holding hands because I don’t want to make anyone else feel awkward.” JoJo’s like, “Did you just hear what she just said?!” to the other girls, and I’m like…JOJO. I WANT to like you. I WANT you to be one of my favorites. But then you pull out bullshit like that and I just want to punch you in the face. Jubilee said that OUT OF DEFERENCE FOR THE REST OF YOU. Unlike the rest of you, she was TRYING TO BE CONSIDERATE OF YOUR FEELINGS.

Fucking A, you guys. I cannot with this shit anymore. It’s like every time something like that happens, it shines a full light on how fucking weird this entire show is – you’re criticizing a girl because she declines to hold hands with the male that you’re all pining after and competing for in really weird group situations, and you act like SHE’S the total weirdo for not being 100% about PDAs in front of the rest of you??

*deep sigh*

Ben and Jubliee sit down, Ben asks Jubilee how it’s going, and when she says “it’s okay” and he asks, “What does that mean?” I’m instantly annoyed, because right then I can tell that Ben wasn’t actually asking Jubilee how it was going, he just wanted her to assure him that everything was great and she was great and she was having the best time ever.

So Jubilee is honest with him because she is a human being who is not afraid to have actual feelings: She tells him she has a hard time not feeling overshadowed by the Beccas and JoJos, and just sometimes wants to know that he notices her. She mentions that it seems like it’s been so long since they had their date, and he’s honest with her about the fact that when they had their one-on-one he was confident that they had something they could build upon but now he’s not as confident. He brings up the hand-holding thing and asks how her pulling away is supposed to make him feel, and she cites the fact that she knows how closely the other girls are watching his interactions with everyone, and after what happened after their first one-on-one (you know, when she got bullied by a bunch of other girls in the house?), she’s really mindful of the way she’s being perceived by them.

THIS IS LITERALLY THE MOST HONEST, TRANSPARENT, ADULT GROUP DATE CONVERSATION EVER YOU GUYS.

So, of course, obviously it’s going to end badly, because those types of conversations are just not what we do here.

Jubilee tells Ben that she’s not trying to pull back from him, but that she’s just being careful. Ben is quiet, thinking with that thinking face that any girl who’s ever been dumped can spot a billion miles away, and then asks her if she still thinks that in time, that there could still be something between them. She tells him that she just wants him to tell her if he sees something. Ben tells her that, with what’s happened and how some of the other relationships have progressed, it would be unfair to tell her that he feels that something could exist.

“I think it’s best if we say goodbye tonight.”

It’s so quiet and painful and I’m dying as I’m watching the emotions play across both Ben and Jubilee’s face.

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He walks her out, they hug, and we see her in the confessional, bending over in tears, whispering that she’s the most unlovable person in the world right now.

And also, ABC? The least you could have done with all your goddamn promotional money was call her a fucking town car instead of a bullshit run-down taxi. Fuck you guys.

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Ben sits in the dark after Jubilee leaves, and actually weeps a little. And I’m upset because I KNOW Jubilee was not a perfect match for Ben and he wasn’t a perfect match for her, either, but also…for once I just want someone on this show to be rewarded for being a real person, you know? To have an actual conversation, the way you would if you were actually dating, and not have it end in dismissal because you’re not being Holly-Go-Lightly about everything. Like, let’s talk about what kind of love lessons you could pick up from this, which is: The minute you’re honest with a guy about the fact that you’re not 100% happy and joyful about everything, that’s the minute he’s going to dump you. Cool. Awesome. Great.

And that is ALSO another reason why I think the Bachelorette wins almost every time when it comes to picking relationships that actually last – guys can express contrary thoughts and feelings about the process and/or confusion regarding the Bachelorette’s actions, and they’re not immediately dismissed. They have to REALLY cross a line (ahem, IAN on Kaitlyn’s season) before the Bachelorette is like, “NOPE, that’s it, all my other relationships have progressed much further because I’ve purposefully spent a lot more time with them, sorry, you should go home now.”

Anyway.

Jubilee, thank you for being a part of our lives and for being an amazing human and I really want you to be the next Bachelorette.

(Though, honestly, if ABC can’t even get its shit together enough to send you a town car – or at the very least, a taxi VAN – then I doubt they’re going to have their shit together enough to give us the Bachelorette we deserve).

But if you DON’T get on Bachelorette, I think Bachelor Nation should rally and get you in front of Oprah or something. I’m totally serious – you’re camera-ready and you’ve got an amazing story to share. Plus your side-eye game is fucking 100, babe.

So Ben goes back to the girls and struggles to tell them about what happened, and he’s about to say something else and JoJo interrupts him to ask if they can go talk. CAN THE MAN FINISH ONE GODDAMN SPEECH FOR ONCE IN HIS LIFE.

They go and sit and JoJo basically does the thing where she acts sad about Jubilee leaving but also tells Ben that he handles situations like that with so much grace and respect and that this has been the most amazing experience of her life and she’s sure that Jubilee is saying the same thing right now, too.

It’s the kind of thing you say to your boss about someone who just got fired, mainly because you’re just so grateful that you aren’t the one getting the axe but you also don’t want to look like you’re gloating so instead you’re doing the whole “You did the right thing” consoling/ego-boosting thing to your boss so they’ll remember how encouraging you were of their leadership when it mattered.

And then Ben and JoJo make out. Because that’s how bad both of them feel about Jubilee going home.

And then he returns to the group, makes another speech, and announces that he’s giving the date rose to someone whom he’s “reconnected with”, and someone whom he thinks has struggled for a while.

Olivia.

Like, what the fuck just happened to my show?

“There was a moment of silence after that rose was handed out,” JoJo tells us. “I was shocked.”

Once, back when I did the Miss Red Wing Pageant the summer after HS graduation, we were all lined up on stage for the big finale, ready and waiting for the court to be announced. The best part of the pageant, most of us agreed, was the fact that we had all gotten the chance to become really good friends and get close to girls we hadn’t spent that much time with in high school. The events and parades and meetings had bonded us.

All of us, that is, except for Emmy.

Emmy was an Olivia – she knew just how to turn on the bubbly charm for the people she wanted something from, so of course teachers and parents and judges loved her. While I had pretty much gotten my fill of Emmy already from our encounters in Speech Club (yeah, I was in Speech Club, and yeah, I was won a ton of blue ribbons for my speech, “The Importance of Freedom”) and the like, the rest of the girls finally got a full dose of just how fake and two-faced and manipulative she could be. At rehearsals the day before, most of us had gathered in the locker rooms and gushed about the fact that we all liked each other and had had so much fun this summer that we didn’t even cared who won…just as long as Emmy didn’t. 

(And also, I REALLY didn’t care if I won, because I was going to college in Chicago and fuck if I was going to miss out on Friday night dates and Saturday afternoon make-outs with hot varsity soccer players just come back to Red Wing, MN every weekend just to go to some bullshit Chamber of Commerce luncheon)

So on the tape my dad recorded of the finale, when the court is announced, you can see all of us smiling our pageant smiles and clapping graciously for the princesses, and then they announce it’s time to name the new Queen, and they say Emmy’s name, you can LITERALLY see a five second pause where we all just keep our hands to our sides and stop smiling. Then we eventually remember that we’re still on stage and so we slowly start clapping. But even the sweetest girls in that group – Amanda, Katie, Laurie – are wearing expressions like, “WTF. How are the judges not smarter than that.”

Because that’s the point (other than the fact that I give great speeches and was once in a pageant) when a girl like that wins? You lose respect for the powers-that-be for not seeing right through her.

Ya blew it, Ben. You not only sent Jubilee home after the first sign of trouble (ESPECIALLY when you just spent the last two weeks talking Olivia down from the ledge), but you also had an amazing time with Lauren B., and JoJo was the one to console you when you were feeling down, but you picked Olivia?

Nobody’s perfect.

But you, my beloved sweet Benny-boo-boo-boo, are fucking shit up.

“You don’t even have to say congrats,” Olivia jokingly tells the girls, after Ben says goodnight. “You don’t even have to say it.”

Good. Cause nobody was going to.

Hi Fashion 

Sidenote: Whenever fashion is talked about, I always think of this song, which is (you guessed it) amazing.

It’s Ben and Midwestern’s one-on-one date, and for this date, Ben is taking Midwestern to a STORE!

Non-stop romance this week, you guys. First he takes you to school, then he makes you cook for him, and then he takes you to a shop with awful hats and ponchos. VIVA LA MEXICO.

So while they’re there, Ben tells us that one thing we might not know about Mexico is that it’s known for it’s fashion.

Uh. No? Because if it was KNOWN for it’s fashion, then we would already KNOW about it, and you wouldn’t have to say, “something you might not know is..”. Cause that’s how knowing works!

Also, it reminds me of this scene from one of the best movies ever made, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, when Amanda shows up to her friend’s back-to-school pool party in her mom’s “severe suede” outfit and lies about her football playing boyfriend, Bobbie, sending it to her from his college in Iowa. “You know they have fine leathers down there.” “Oh, yeah. The best leathers come from Rome, Paris, and Des Moines!” #BestMovieEver #RIPAmandaPalmer

Anyway, in a twist that surprises no one, Ben and Lauren meet on of the shop’s designers, who takes him up to see designs being sketched and then just casually mentions that there’s a fashion show today and would the two of them like to go as his guest? Would they!! As Midwestern tells us, “it’s every girl’s dream!”

Is it?

I mean…is it?

Because my dream is to go to Iceland and go on a cool glacier-and-whales-sight-seeing boat while Sigur Ros plays in my head and then hear the songs of the humpback whales as they float to the surface and swim along beside me, confirming for me and everyone around me that whales and I are soulfully connected and that they understand me as much as I understand them and then a curious bystander named Steven Spielberg makes an epic, Academy-Award winning movie about this regular but highly-attractive woman with just an everyday kind of stunning sexuality named Amber L. Carter who makes an incredible connection with a family of humpback whales and whose Divine spirit and undeniable femininity elevates her to the level of living spiritual deity.

That’s my dream, Midwestern. NOT having to watch some bullshit Mexican fashion show on a date where I could instead be making out with a guy to the point where he almost goes to second base.

Meanwhile, back at THE UNBELIEVABLE HEIGHT OF LUXURY KNOWN AS A FOUR SEASONS SUITE, Olivia tells us that she’s not threatened by Lauren being on a one-on-one with Ben, because she got a date rose last night and she’s not going to push her and Ben’s connection in any of the girl’s faces but just so they know not only has she already won the heart of the man they’re all here for but she’s also totally entitled to sleep across not just one, but TWO twin beds.

Emily, however, does NOT think Olivia is winning anything and does the always-fatal wondering to Jennifer about the fact that if Ben is really into a girl like Olivia, how can he like a girl like her (because they’re so DIFFERENT, you guys! Sooooo, so different). Emily tells us that Olivia’s negative energy needs to be gone, and that she’s going to have to talk to Ben about how Olivia is affecting her.

Oh, Emily. You’re so young and sweet and immature and inexperienced, especially when it comes to this show and just life in general. Don’t you know that EVERY season, one girl takes up the mantle of showing the Bachelor whom another girl really is, and that girl ALWAYS gets punished for it? It’s a cardinal rule! Which you would know if you weren’t five years old and had any actual experience in life. *pats head*

Back at VIVA LA FASHION! Midwestern and Ben are watching the models walk down the runway, and then they meet the director of Mexican Fashion Week, who tells them that they just decided that Midwestern and Ben are going to walk in the show! WHAT AN AMAZING, UNPREDICTABLE TWIST!

Lauren gets some runway tips and practices her walk, says some boring and not-important stuff about being nervous and worried about all these beautiful models being around Ben, and then the show begins. She’s nervous about her walk, but Ben calms her down, and even though she blinks so much someone might think she’s sending out morse code to the audience, she does an okay job. (Also, I have to say, those fashions were legit. Good going, Mexico City) BEN, though…he did a genuinely fantastic job. That guy is gonna be snatched up for modeling jobs so quick after this, I bet. He did a genuinely fantastic job.

 

And, like, REAL modeling jobs. Not the bullshit “I”m Nick Viall and you should hire me as a model” modeling stuff (omg, did I tell you guys that a producer friend sent me his specs one morning after she received them from his agency??? I couldn’t share them because I didn’t want to get her in trouble, but they were AMAZING. If I didn’t know his personality, I might think he was hot, but I do, so I don’t.).

Meanwhile, AT THE ABSOLUTELY STUNNING SUITES OF THE FOUR SEASONS IN MEXICO CITY, Lauren B and Amanda are sitting around, smugly talking about Ben’s date with Lauren while they pretend that they can carry off those headbands.

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It’s always really fun when you see two girls get suuuuuper cocky about their place in the house and talk about it in a way that makes them sound like they’re simply talking about another girl’s connection with the Bachelor but really they’re just using the conversation as a chance to luxuriate in their delusional smugness about their own connection to him. Lauren B tells us that if he doesn’t feel a connection with Midwestern, he’s not going to keep her around, as he’s no longer going to keep anyone around that he can’t see marrying, as he “proved last night when he sent Jubilee home.”

Whenever girls get cocky like this, even when I like them, I just always want them to be blindsided by an elimination. You know? Like just have them siting in that limo, crying and remembering how just earlier that day they were feeling so sure of themselves and their connection with Ben and now that girl is still there and they’re the ones going home.

But let’s not linger on that, because it’s time for another boring dinner date confessional where yet another girl confesses her non-existent tragic past to the Bachelor in order to create a false sense of bonding and intimacy!

I love these dates because they give me time to catch up on editing all of my screen grabs.

Lauren brings up how admirable it was that Ben sent Jubilee home the night before, and I’ve suddenly gone from “don’t care” to “whose name just came out your mouth?” I just can’t handle it when a girl like Lauren brings up Jubilee, because I also can’t forget her “soccer mom” reference and the sort of casual, “She’s not….right for him” ’50s privileged sorority girl tone that she takes when she and the other girls talk about Jubilee.

And again, there’s a certain smugness in congratulating Ben for sending her home that is just…it’s gross, you guys. Nobody smugly congratulated him when he left Haley at her actual house, even though, if anyone’s inappropriate for Ben, it’s one of the twins.

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So because Lauren doesn’t want to be friend-zoned, she tells Ben a long story about how her first love cheated on her with three girls. But she knew she had a choice – she could choose to be miserable or sad or happy, so she chose to be happy! Ben kisses her, and she tells us that it’s a special moment, to know that Ben really gets “her.”

Just because a guy kisses you doesn’t mean he “gets” you, Midwestern. Guys kiss you when you tell sad stories all the time! It’s like a thing they do to basically say, “Hey, girl. That’s a really sad story you just told me. Now that you’re finally done talking, let’s do each other.”

They make out, Ben tells us that he can see himself marrying a girl like Midwestern, I think she’s more the type of girl we’re going to see on Bachelor In Paradise filling the “I’m a good girl, but I also have a bikini bod that just won’t quit” role that Tenley vacated, The End.

Rose Ceremony

The girls show up for the cocktail party / rose ceremony, their outfits on point, and talk a lil’ bit about how the place they’re in feels like a castle – “there’s sunflowers and candles…” And Leah tells us “I would get married here!”

The girls talk about how “overwhelming” it is to think of one of them going home tonight, which gives Olivia the PERFECT time to boast about how she’s not going anywhere because she got the date rose. “Smells really fressssshhh. Really, really fressssshhh.”

So she literally just responds to the conversation with, “I love candles.”

Which is actually kind of hilarious.

Ben waltzes in and tells us that he’s still shaken up about what happened with Jubilee, how he could see a future and then realized he couldn’t, so he really needs to know if these women are being real. “I would take it very personally if I fell for someone who wasn’t the person I expected.”

*sings* FORESHADOWING!!!!

He give a little speech to the women –

And then it’s off the races! JoJo talks to Ben about how quickly she’s falling for him, and how she just wants to be kept in the loop, that she just doesn’t want to be blindsided. Ben’s like, “no way, dude” and then they literally high-five.

Lauren B tells Ben that she could see, “Like, a LIFE” with him…not just getting married, “like, initially” but “like, a LIFE with you.” And I race to my room to grab my leather-bound journal so I can capture these poetic words for all eternity, and share them with the masses, so that they, too, can be inspired by these timeless words of romance.

A Life Like

I could, like
See
A Life
Like
With You
Like a Life
Like
A LIFE
Not Just
Marriage
Like, Initially
But! 
A Life
Like a LIFE life

Like with…
You

Back on the couches, Amanda’s telling a riveting story about how her baby daddy is supposed to pick her girls up on Friday after he’s done with work that weekend, and Olivia blurts out, “I feel like it’s an episode of Teen Mom…that I watch.” Amanda and the rest of the girls are like, “Whaaaat?” Amanda gets deeply offended and tells us that she’s an adult and had her kids when she was 22 and 24, which…I mean. You still talk like a baby, and you have the body of a 15 yr old, so. Honest mistake?

Obviously, though, it’s not a cool thing to say, and kind of shows Olivia’s privileged, spoiled existence, not to mention her condescending attitude toward young moms like Amanda. Amanda sort of confronts her – and makes a weird reference to how Olivia is like Snookie, which doesn’t make sense…if you’re going to infer a similar, offensive premise, Amanda, use your baby brain and find a reference that works – and Olivia turns on the waterworks and tells the girls that she’s learning a lot about herself and that she’s going to “try harder. I really am.” It’s incredibly fake, which Emily notes as she watches with barely-controlled eye-rolling.

So Emily goes off to find Ben, and says what’s probably the most self-aware comment ever: “Usually when I try to talk, it sounds good in my head, but then it doesn’t come out right.” She gets weirdly emotional and starts crying, and from afar, Olivia can see her talking to Ben, so she goes off to try to interrupt and squash it. It’s kind of funny, whenever she stands up from the couches and goes off to find Ben, because all the girls are like, “Oh, there she goes!”, like she’s the worst karaoke singer in the world who gets up to sing every other song.

Olivia sits down with Ben, and Ben tells us that his conversation with Emily is really making him question whether he knows who Olivia really is. Emily goes back to the girls and tells them what she just did, and then tells us that she hates Olivia, it’s okay to say that, and that she’s a bully and Emily is not going to let herself be bullied. Then we see Olivia giving Ben a little ring, and THEN we see Emily calling her dumb Twin on the phone and bawling like a baby, which is FANTASTIC.

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So Emily has THE DUMBEST conversation on the phone with her Twin about Olivia, and Ben tries to bring up the fact that sometimes you go on these dates and it’s like a high and then you go back to the house, and Olivia interrupts him to tell him that “you can’t stop me at this point” and he reaches into his jacket and is like, “Well if this bad boy…” and she weirdly interrupts/stops him again and is like, “You can’t stop me, like you literally don’t have to worry about me at all.” Like he was going to reassure her or give HER something to make her feel better? He takes his hand out of his jacket and sort of stares at her and says, “Reeeaaally…” really slowly, like he just realized for the first time that he’s talking to an insane person. It is THE BEST.

But not as good as it is to see Emily literally BAWLING to the camera and crying, “I’m SAAAD!” like a little 5 year old. Then we see the other women consoling her, and I’m SO CONFUSED. She badmouthed Olivia and now it’s the most tragic occasion in her whole life?? What the fuck is GOING ON with this episode??

“It’s just really EMOTIONAL,” Emily tells us through her tears. “It really makes you dig down deep and figure out who the hell you are.” She flicks her hair back and then adds, “In a good way.”

Ben keeps trying to dig for deets from Olivia about her and the other girls. He asks how it’s been back in the house – I’M SORRY, DO YOU MEAN THE MOST GORGEOUS HOTEL SUITE IN ALL OF MEXICO CITY, BEN?? – and if the other girls have congratulated her for getting the rose, and she’s like, *fake smiles* “Yeah.”

He pulls Amanda aside, who tells him that she feels like she’s been targeted by Olivia from the very first week, and then Jennifer tells him that there’s some people who just “doesn’t really click with anyone in the house.” And here’s where we get to the most interesting part of the season, where we explore the themes of whether it actually even matters if your future wife is popular with all the other ladies. Does it? I mean, it’s one thing to be a bully and an outright bitch to the other girls…and Olivia may be a lot of things, but she’s not downright evil to the other girls. She’s overly confident and a bit delusional and doesn’t care about making friends and sometimes says some really dumb stuff. And we all want to date someone who’s well-liked and gets along with others, but the defining difference between Amanda and Jennifer’s statements – which are trotted out every season – is telling to the inherent sexism of this show. If you’re quintessential Bachelor material, you’e well-liked and bubbly and a girl’s girl. But in the actual fabric of relationships, not a lot of that actually matters. The only thing that Ben F. did right on his season was choose Courtney *despite* how unpopular she was with the other girls, citing that it really only mattered how *he* felt when he was with her (he later held her misdeeds toward the other women against her, but we won’t go into that right now). So it comes down whether Ben H. REALLY feels like he’s getting the Two Faces of Olivia and is therefore being deceived by her, or if he’s more troubled by how she makes the other girls feel.

And I’m just going to point out, FOR THE RECORD, that when a whole houseful of other women were attacking Jubilee during that troubling incident that sported some serious racist undertones, he didn’t pull all the women aside and question them each on how well-liked Amber was or the other instigator’s behavior in the house when he wasn’t around and then base those opinions on whether or not to send the bullies home.

Just. You know. For the record. 

And ALSO, when Jennifer brings up that it really bothers her that, when Ben comes around and Olivia all of a sudden tries to make an effort to make it seem like she’s really clicking with the other women, I can’t help but think that JUST THE OTHER DAY, Ben was troubled because Jubilee wasn’t all smiles and cheers like the other women on the group date. She kept it real and 100% herself, which apparently was not the way to go with Ben.

So anyway, Ben’s starting to question whether he’s seeing the whole picture (you’re not. You’re not seeing the whole picture, Ben) and Chris Harrison FINALLY SHOWS UP (remember when it felt like Chris was actually on this show? Remember when it felt like he was actually a host, instead of a handsome and hilarious man who just popped up every now and again to remind me of my love for him?). Ben makes a speech about what a great night it’s been, but that it’s also been illuminating, and he’s sorry, but Olivia, can he talk to you for a minute?

Cue all the wide eyes and shocked looks in all the Bachelor land!

The ladies decide that even though Caila can’t remember a time when a rose was taken away from someone who already had one, there’s no longer any rules, and Ben can do whatever he wants. Which, to them, means Olivia is definitely going home.

HAHAHAHA. You’re wrong. It’s never that easy.

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And next week: ALL THE TEARS FROM EVERYONE!

It’s gonna be so great. I love watching people cry.

Also, this happened during the live tweeting portion of the episode:

I never thought that I, me, Amber L. Carter, could find love on The Bachelor, but it happened, you guys! It happened. (Also, to be fair, JJ’s been looking pretty smoking hot lately and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying his Twitter + Instagram feed). And just in time for my birthday, too, whichisonSaturdayandifyouwanttogetmeagiftyoucangohereIalsoacceptPostmatesandStarbucksgiftcards!

//

I’ll be posting the Live Tweets Edition tomorrow, so keep your eyes peeled for that (or you can follow me on Twitter, keep up wit’ my Facebook Page, or subscribe to my once-a-week email newsletter instead of hoofing it over here every other day to see what’s up).

And if you enjoyed this recap, check out my novel THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. It is not erotic fiction, though it does have some sex stuff in it.
But, like…literary sex stuff.

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About Amber L.

Hi! I'm Amber. I've been telling stories with books and blogs since 2004. I also spent 10 years working as a behavior therapist, which I now put to proper use by publishing thought pieces and dissertations on '80s pop music and the defining TV shows of our current times ('The Bachelor', 'Vanderpump Rules', etc). I can also be credited with single-handedly ruining the city of Portland, OR just by moving here.

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