Alright folks – after tonight we’re halfway home. The ABC producers decided that Mexico City was an even more romantic locale than Las Vegas, so this week the crew traded drugs and hookers for cheaper drugs and hookers south of the border. Over the last few episodes, it seems that eliminating contestants has gotten harder on Ben – maybe part of his strategy is seeing if any of the blonde-haired, blue-eyed ones get kidnapped this week, making his Rose Ceremony decisions much easier. This week has two one-on-one-dates and a single group date. Let’s break it down:
One-on-One Date with Amanda
Upon arrival in Mexico City, the ladies immediately receive a date card addressed to Amanda that reads, “Let’s put all our eggs in one basket.” I probably would have tried to avoid making a reference to eggs or anything else related to fertility when asking a single mom on a date, but I suppose that’s why I’m sitting at my kitchen table writing instead of frolicking around a resort with my eleven girlfriends.
The next morning Ben decides to start his date with Amanda just past 4 a.m. He sneaks into the girls’ room to surprise them with an early wake up, which is one of my favorite Bachelor traditions. This episode did not disappoint; we get a great shot of Lauren H. with her retainer in place and it took a full five seconds for me to even recognize Becca as she emerged from her nest of blankets and pillows. Granted, I look a bit more like Steven Avery in the morning than I’d like to admit, so I can’t be too critical.
Unlike the other ladies, Amanda is woken up with her hair did and lip gloss poppin. Either she fell asleep while practicing make up tutorials or some merciful producer tipped her off so she could be ready for this moment; it’s a kind gesture for Amanda but it deprives us of more reality television gold. As they leave the hotel, Ben reveals that the first part of their date will be taking a hot air balloon ride.
Nothing says romance like climbing into a flammable, human-sized picnic basket underneath a giant torch along with a balloon pilot and a cameraman. This must be the Bachelor equivalent of the feeling you get when you’re crammed into the back of an Uber and the couple next to you launches into a violent make out sesh. They float over some Mexican ruins – I didn’t catch the name, mostly because the only things I care about when I’m in Mexico are margaritas, cerveza, the beach, and margaritas. After their balloon ride, Ben and Amanda lay in what appears to be a field of weeds – I guess the hot tub contractor fell through this time. Tough break, Ben.
Amanda shows up to dinner looking like an evil Tinkerbell and spends most of the meal talking about her failed marriage and deadbeat ex. She explains that he prioritized spending time with his friends and going out over spending time with his family, which is not completely irrational behavior for a 22-year-old. In the midst of these troubles, she found out she was pregnant again. I was halfway finished shouting the birth control spiel I perfected during my OB/GYN rotation at the television when I realized none of this actually bothered Ben, and he handed Amanda the date rose.
Cooking Group Date
The group date card reads, “Cómo se dice – this way to a man’s heart” and is for Jubilee, Becca, Jojo, Caila, Former Twin Emily, Lauren B., Jennifer, Leah, and O Face. Their first stop is a classroom where they brush up on their Spanish, and much like the high school group date from Week 2, we’re reminded why these ladies are pursuing reality TV fame instead of academia.
One by one they whisper sweet nothings and new vocabulary words into Ben’s ear and he responds with his newly learned phrase of “¡Te amo!” Panties are dropping left and right until it’s Jubilee’s turn – when Ben starts to whisper to her, she announces that since he said the same thing to the last four girls, she doesn’t want to hear it. On the other hand, Big O is completely oblivious to his interactions with the other women and decides Ben is speaking only to her in their new secret love language. I’m frightened that this footage will someday be played in a courtroom as evidence supporting an insanity defense.
After Spanish class, the group travels to a market – the girls marvel that this is a place where you can buy food and other assorted household items at the same place and I am again mystified at their ability to survive in the reality the rest of us occupy. They head to a restaurant called Carbon in an upstairs portion of the market and the chefs there inform the ladies their next task will be to compete in a cooking competition – because once a woman knows how to cook, she is ready for marriage. Not sure how ABC slid that comment in there; then again, this is a show about a man picking a wife the same way elementary school kids pick a dodgeball team.
The chefs tell the ladies to split off into teams of two for the competition. Since there are nine women on the date, O Face and Jubilee both attempt to snag Ben as their partner. Even though Jubs fought in an actual war, she lost this battle to the Big O. To add an extra layer of difficulty to the cooking challenge, the chefs provide each team with recipes written entirely in Spanish. Emily’s face tells the camera “I don’t speak Spanish, but I did blow a guy at a Taco Bell once. That counts for something, right?”
Everyone heads down to the market to attempt to find the ingredients for their dish. It goes about as well as you’d expect – a few of the teams appear to take shopping very seriously; Becca and Jojo hit the grocery store bar so they can watch O Face and Ben and talk shit instead. It’s a power move, and I respect it.
Eventually everyone finds the ingredients for their recipe and heads back up to the kitchen. Their cooking escapades are reminiscent of a remedial episode of Chopped featuring exclusively drunk toddlers as chefs; once the ladies realize they can’t use a microwave or call their mom and ask for help, it becomes quite apparent these girls have less skills in the kitchen than Becca does in the boudoir. I’m genuinely impressed that the girls don’t light each other on fire or “accidentally” cut off anyone’s finger. Thankfully, Ben seems like he knows what he’s doing, so at least he won’t starve or get food poisoning if he does end up with one of these women.
While most of the ladies work well together, Ben notices that there is some tension between Lauren B. and Jubilee. Partway through preparing their dish, Jubs decides to take her toys and go back to her own sandbox and sits off to the side alone. The restaurant chefs mercifully spare us from watching more of this and decide it’s time to judge the dishes the contestants have prepared.
Jojo is confident in her creation, saying “Ben already tasted my taco and he thought it was delicious.” Are we still talking about dinner or did they edit this in from the Fantasy Suite episode? While the judges were less enthusiastic about Jojo’s taco than Ben, they were certainly not impressed by Big O’s concoction, stating it looked like dog food. Grinning like the Cheshire Cat, she reveals that her secret ingredient was dead crickets, since “people down here love to eat crickets.” The judges grimace, and if you look in the background of the shot you can see Ben low-key hurling into the nearest bucket while Chris Harrison holds back his hair.
The chefs crown Lauren B. and Jubilee as the winners, stating they want to put their creation on the menu of their restaurant. I suddenly have no desire to eat there whatsoever.
The rest of the date consists of a cocktail party. Per tradition, Big O interrupts Ben mid-introduction to steal him away. If O Face takes a deep breath with her mouth wide open, is she able to suck people’s souls out of their bodies like a dementor? Or does she just steal their shit like Kirby? These are the questions that keep me up at night.
Ben spends an inordinate amount of time walking around Mexico City with Lauren B., making out with her on street corner after street corner. In his defense, she was absolutely slaying the game in that little white number, so the other ladies should probably be grateful he decided to come back to them at all. Unsurprisingly, Jubilee is upset by how long Ben is gone, so when he asks to talk with her, she won’t even let him hold her hand.
Ben seems quite taken aback by her rejection but quickly realizes there are at minimum ten other fish in the sea, so when Jubs asks him if he can see a future with her, he tells her honestly that he doesn’t. He walks her out to the Mexico City cab ABC so graciously furnished for her exit, and then cries dramatically in a stairwell for a while. Grow a pair.
After Ben returns from fixing his mascara, he explains to the women that he sent Jubilee home. Jojo pulls him aside to give him a pep talk about how well he’s treating the rest of them and is rewarded with tender kisses; however, he ultimately decides to give the group date rose to Olivia as a sacrificial offering so she will be inclined to continue sparing his life.
One-on-One with Lauren H.
This week’s last date card goes to Lauren H., and reads, “Let’s design a life together” and for the first time, I can relate to the contestants who are left behind when Ben goes on one-on-one dates. Jealousy is a bitch.
Ben tells Lauren that Mexico City is known for its fashion scene. He takes her to a boutique, and as they are trying on various frocks, one of the designers at the store emerges. He explains that the inspirations for his pieces come from local animals and nature, which is odd because the clothes don’t look like street dogs or cacti at all. He also informs Ben and Lauren H. that they are visiting during Mexico City’s Fashion Week, and they will be joining him at a runway show.
When they arrive at the event space, Ben and Lauren look on in awe as a herd of vaguely Hispanic giraffe women prance around the runway in preparation for the show. Their new designer friend introduces them to another woman, who surprises the pair by telling them they will be participating in the fashion show as well. They get a crash course on modeling before being whisked away to have their hair and make up done.
Lauren H. is one of the first models to hit the runway and does well – well she doesn’t trip, fall off the stage, or vomit, so I’d count that as a victory. Ben follows her out and throws a little wink her way as they pass each other on the stage. Once the show is over, they rip some tequila shots and head off to dinner.
Ben explains to the camera that his relationship with Lauren H. has been a slow burn up until this point, and given that some of his other relationships are progressing quite quickly, he needs her to be open with him. Lauren H. echoes this sentiment, telling Ben that she wants him to see beyond her goofy side and understand her depth as a person. She spends some time telling him about her previous relationship’s abrupt end and in the aftermath of that decided it was up to her to choose to be happy. Ben was impressed and gave her the date rose. Better watch out Ben, Crick Watson’s out to steal your girl.
Amanda, O Face, and Lauren H. already have roses. As Ben takes the beginning of the cocktail party to reconnect with the hearts and tonsils of Lauren B. and Jojo, Big O takes an opportunity to put not only her foot, but also her cankles, and sturdy thighs deep inside her infinite chasm of a mouth. While Amanda explains that her mom has been taking care of her daughters during filming of The Bachelor , her ex-husband still gets them on the weekend. O Face remarks, “Wow. It’s like an episode of Teen Mom.” As soon as those words are out of her cavernous trap, the rest of the women’s menstrual clocks reset in a move of solidarity, all synchronizing to zero dark thirty in preparation for fucking war.
Shit, I’d like you to meet fan. Fan, this is shit.
Former Twin Emily, sensing her time on The Bachelor was likely in short supply, makes the decision to jump on the grenade of being the snitch. If she’s going to go home, she may as well go out in a blaze of glory. Amidst blubbering tears, she tells Ben how Big O has been disrespectful to the other women. She is the first domino in a long line as Ben starts to ask the rest of the contestants about the dynamics of the house. One by one each reveals how they feel like they’ve been personally victimized by
Regina George Olivia.
When Chris Harrison emerges from his lair to signal the end of the cocktail party, Ben tells the women that this week has been illuminating for him and that he is starting to question whether he’s seeing the true colors of each contestant. With that prelude, he asks to speak to O Face alone.
Just kidding, we have to wait until next week to see the fallout from Ben’s conversation with Olivia, because this show is bullshit. Judging by the previews it looks like next week will also bring us another two-on-one date and enough hot tears to melt the remains of Snowmageddon. See you then..