My co-recapper Lauren is sick and can’t stomach all the tongue kissing and bad writing, so I’ll be doing this “Bachelor" recap solo. You might even call it a one-on-one … sorry.
The gang’s in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., this week, which is “very sexy and cool” and “a beautiful place to fall in love” according to Arie (ABC’s corporate ad sales team).
The girls are staying in the W hotel’s penthouse suite, and the producers let them practice their future “influencer” careers by having them gush about how awesome it is. Becca K. does a particularly good job. I’ll be watching your Instagram feed, Becca K.
First One-on-One with Chelsea
Arie visits the girls at the hotel and gives single mom Chelsea the first one-on-one date. It’s been four or five weeks since she’s seen her son, which is shocking because this season has dragged on forever. Arie and Chelsea go yachting, which gives her the opportunity for this zinger: “I’m on a dreamboat. But I’m also with a dreamboat.” Hey, at least she’s shut up about being mysterious.
Back at the hotel, the girls peer through a conveniently placed telescope at Arie and Chelsea out in the water. First the binoculars last episode, now this? Maybe Arie has an exhibitionist streak and asked the producers to set this up.
We don’t even make it though dinner before Arie calls Chelsea mysterious, thus reinforcing her behavior and continuing the vicious cycle. But when Chelsea talks about how her ex left her for another woman when their son was just 6 months old, it’s hard not to feel for her. Plus, even though she was annoying in previous episodes, she’ll never be as bad as Krystal.
Arie gives Chelsea the rose, and they dance to another no-name soft-country band an ABC intern had on a spreadsheet somewhere.
It must have been raining that day in Fort Lauderdale because this group date takes place at a bowling alley. (No one would go bowling willingly, right??) All of the girls except Raven’s friend Tia (and Chelsea) are on the group date, meaning Tia gets the second one-on-one.
The production company had to have rented out the place to film, so it’s unclear why there’s a pack of middle-aged women dressed in matching pink uniforms hovering around. That is, until later during the credits...
The girls split up into two teams, the Spare Roses and the Pin-Ups, to compete for more time with Arie. But when the Spare Roses win, Arie decides to forget the competition and include the losers in the rest of the fun. Krystal, who is on the winning team, is FURIOUS. She apparently loses it on the bus ride back to the hotel and calls Arie a liar, but it wasn’t filmed so we’ll never know for sure. Missed opportunity, ABC.
Krystal dons a bathrobe for the remainder of the group date, packs her bags and refuses to come out of her room. It takes Arie a little too long to realize Krystal isn’t there with the rest of the women, but when he does, he races (heh) up to her room to find her. This seems to be a trend — Arie encouraging bad behavior. When Krystal tells Arie he disrespected her teammates, he retorts that “it’s just bowling,” and the producer who went through all the trouble to book that location last minute feels her heart drop. Arie tells Krystal that it would be best if she stays in her room (and bathrobe) for the rest of the night.
Lauren B., who looks exactly like Lauren B(ushnell) from Ben Higgins’ season, gets the group date rose.
Second One-on-One With Raven’s Friend Tia
Tia and Arie take an airboat through the Everglades, where we find out Tia has a doctorate and believes in God, and Arie’s an atheist. Now that’s what I call character development! “The Bachelor” leading ladies and men are kinda like American presidents — they’re either religious or they don’t talk about it. Cue the think pieces on religion and “The Bachelor.”
The pair ends up at a house built on stilts in the middle of the Everglades, where a complete rando serves them deep-fried frog. I am SHOCKED that this is a date but I am so not surprised they’ve given it to Tia, who’s from Arkansas. The producers will not let up with the Southern thing! Also, really, Fort Lauderdale office of tourism, bowling and froggin’ is the best you could do!? Despite the frogs and the fundamental difference in religious beliefs, Tia gets the rose.
Krystal finally decides to come down from her tower just in time for the cocktail party, where she invites the girls to come talk to her one by one. And I honestly don’t blame her. No one likes to be ganged up on. Kendall, the most low-key psychopath (taxidermist) ever, is the first to pull Krystal aside for a chat.
It’s all very civil until Millennial Bekah’s turn, when she straight up asks why Krystal is still there. Krystal is terrified, shaking in her boots. But wouldn’t we all be in the face of Millennial Bekah, who is beautiful and confident beyond her (mere 22) years?
Krystal and Arie talk for the first time since he banished her to her room during the group date, and for the first time in Arie’s life, he has a conversation with a woman without being all over her. And in Arie’s world, that means something’s very wrong. Krystal is mad at Arie for going back on his word (about a bowling game), and it’s like Krystal doesn’t know the whole thing was scripted. Seriously, Arie could make this whole thing go away if he just says “The producers told me to do it.” Their icy convo adds a lot of tension to the upcoming rose ceremony.
As each rose is handed out (first one goes to Millennial Bekah) Krystal has a direct-to-camera interview where she talks about how she’s shown Arie all her different shades: fun, passionate, “futuristic” — and I immediately conjure up a hologram of Krystal in a silver-metallic bathrobe.
The producers save her; she gets the last rose. No one saw that coming!
There’s a snap-in of the throng of women bowlers fawning over Arie with bowling euphemisms, and even though it feels really dirty, it feels so right.
What did you think of last night’s episode? Let me know on Twitter, @leighcmcdonald!