'Bachelor' Recap: Two Go Home, The Rest Kvetch
It's a long, long day for Brad as the women begin to lose their minds
And welcome to the most dramatic episode of "The Bachelor" yet. If by "dramatic" you mean sort of pokey, especially during the ninety million shots of Brad with his head in his hands, mumbling things like, "I really feel like we're taking two steps backward tonight." Honest to God, tonight's episode was like watching the video of someone getting acupuncture, in some drama-free netherworld between painful and dawdling. If only Michelle had gotten the boot! Then we'd have something to celebrate -- but we're jumping ahead.
Back to the beginning: We're in Costa Rica, with almost as many volcanoes as Iceland, which we will all remember was the settting for Kasey's final offer to guard and protect Ali's heart last season. Costa Rica has not just volcanoes but also caves, and "poisonous jungle bugs" (R.I.P., Alli), and rain, alluded to in the surprisingly-descriptive name of "rainforest." Tonight we're having two one-on-ones and a group date, and Chantal gets first dibs on the private time. "All I can do is be patient and hope Chantal gets eaten by monkeys," Michelle says.
"I want to see the same, confident woman I saw in the beginning," Brad says, midway through his helicopter ride with Chantal to a half-mile-long zipline through the Costa Rican rainforest. I didn't think it was fair when the women -- notably Chantal, leading the pack -- criticized Brad for leaving two women at the altar at the end of his debut season. I don't think it's fair for him to criticize their lack of confidence throughout this process. (Er, "journey.") This show is almost as sadistic as that scientific experiment from the '60s where people basically executed strangers because a voice of authority told them to do so. (This is officially known as the Milgram Experiment, and unbelievably, its Wikipedia page is the first result if you do a Web search for "scientific experiment killed strangers authority." You may remember this retold in a recent "SVU.") Anyway, imagine waking up and your new boyfriend is dating six other women, and that same night you're all going to get dressed up and he's maybe going to tell you, in front of the others and a viewing audience of millions, that he likes you the least of all of them. That's psychological warfare. Compared to that, a zipline has to be the easiest thing in the world. Chantal puts on a happy face and they make out on the couch. "I feel so good," she says. Brad begins, "The feeling's...." I think
"mutual" is how Brad would have ended that, but he trails off, so we'll have to live without knowing. "I want more of it, every day, forever," Chantal says. Making out.
Next up is the group date, and you can basically see Brad steeling himself to manage a pack of harpies -- in this case, down the side of a cliff. Speaking of harpy, "I'm pissed," Michelle says. Why, you ask? Why not, Michelle might respond. She's says this like it represents a change in perspective, which, of course, it does not. "On our one-on-one, Brad and I made a pact that we would never rappel down anything with anyone ever again." It's hard to believe that Brad agreed to this, but he backs her up: "Michelle and I made a pact that we would not rappel without each other ever again." I feel like everyone here is using the word "ever" incorrectly, like when they mean to say "during that one episode." Brad pushes everyone over the cliff and then, presumably to stop her from literally biting off his head, escorts Michelle to the bottom. Jackie, who trembled the whole way down, is jealous, and tells Brad, "Maybe one day [we'll go down together]." He replies. Yeah. One day really, really soon. Michelle continues to upbraid and harass and any word in the thesaurus that means "pester," because she's annoyed that Chantal made the cut. Also, this gem: "Watching Brad take off his shirt, it makes you want to go home and..." Unsurprisingly, between the harping and the whining and the nightmarish need to harangue, Brad keeps the rose all to himself. "Thank you very much for an incredible day I hope you understand," Brad exhales, and then, presumably, returns to his room to cry.
That would seem like enough torture for one Costa Rican vacation, but Brad still has his date with Alli. Here's a snippet of their conversation:
Brad: "Austin's an amazing city."
Alli: "It's big."
Brad: "Do you want to live in a big city?"
Alli: "Everything in a big city is inconvenient."
Actually, it reads better than it sounded. It sounded like the worst first date you've ever heard. If crickets were indigenous to Costa Rica we probably would have heard them. The tragic part was that as Brad's maneuvering the conversation into no-rose-for-you territory, Alli briefly misreads this. "I know exactly what you mean," she says. (She's wrong.) "I feel so completely comfortable with you." To his credit, Brad handles this adroitly and honestly, and Alli is ushered into a waiting car. "The next guy I date better watch out because he's got a high standard to meet," Alli says. This is not the first time this sentiment has echoed through an empty limo near the end of this show, and it really makes you wonder where the women are accustomed to setting the standard. (One hopes it's somewhere above "interested in me more than a minimum of six other women.")
Brad is worn out. "All I need is just a little bit of downtime to process how I'm feeling." Of course, we don't know how much time actually transpired between the word "feeling" and Michelle knocking, but let's assume they were basically simultaneous, because that feels like a very Michelle thing to do. She bad talks Chantal some more and generally annoys Brad as much as possible, before going back to her own bed.
Finally, we reach the cocktail party. The women do some last-minute maneuvering, chief among them Emily, who retracts her group-date admission of "sabotaging" all her relationships ("Why in the world would anybody want to hang out with me after that?" she says) and Chantal, who tells Brad she's in love with him. Michelle cries, and unsurprisingly, she's one of the two last woman standing. Fate (read: a producer) intervenes, and it's Jackie, the New York City artist with whom Brad is never, ever going to go rappelling, who gets sent home.
Next week: It’s Valentine’s Day every week on “The Bachelor,” so the actual holiday feels a bit repetitive, no? Also: Anguilla!
Michelle is a sick little snake. I mean she is mean and jealouse and if he doesn't let her go next time around when he finally does not give her the rose there will be hell to pay. She will go off like a bomb! In fact I can see he is afraid of her now.
Oh he will be so PW'd should they ever hook up. She wants his babies now! Oh well good luck Brad.