Some of you may have noticed that my Week 3 recap was a little late- partially because my Tivo randomly decided not to record despite the Season Pass (the universe trying to tell me something) and partially because this third installment was almost a bit too much tears and drama for me to take. But alas, we arrive in San Fran, Ben’s home. Wasn’t that Sonoma, Week 2…how many cities does this guy claim?
First off, I could not help but notice that the city, usually covered by layers of fog, was more clear and picture perfect than on any day I have ever visited. So either…A) Amazing Timing or (B) Some poor cameramen were camped out for weeks on end taking these exterior shots. Either way, we are told that this location is extra special to Ben because this is where the winning lady could end up living with him and it’s also where his sister Julia lives.
Meet Julia- the excited yet protective sister, to a T. “Im ready for Ben to have a girlfriend so we can finally go on some double dates…But it does make me nervous that one of these girls will break my brother’s heart because I do think all of his cards are on the table”. Over coffee, Ben recounts his favorite ladies to his sis. “The girls are incredible, all very professional, independent, and strong.” To this Julia quickly asks, “Anyone that stood out, that mom or I would love right away?” LADIES AND GENTLEMEN (the few whose girlfriends have forced them to watch), we have arrived! The quintessential question: Which of these ladies would you bring home to your mother? Because let me tell you, there are certainly a few that are more of the one-night-stand persuasion.
Ben highlights: Lindsay (who rode in on a horse), Kacey B (who twirls baton like his mother), Courtney (the model who he describes as mellow, down-to-Earth, and drama-free,like his sister…WHAT are we thinking of the same girl?), Emily (the smart girl, ‘kind of a science nerd yet pretty and funny’), and Jennifer (the accountant who’s ‘super attractive and the best-kisser’…not sure your sister needed to know that last part!).
We jump over to the girls who are checking into The Fairmont hotel into a suite with, of course, more amazing views. Chris Harrison delivers the first date card and warns the girls to use their time wisely because it could be the only time they will get with Ben as not everyone will go on a date every week. The card is for Emily and reads ‘Love Lifts Up’. Emily is charmingly nervous, as she is afraid of heights. She goes as far as saying that she is so nervous, she might pee herself! Somehow, I found this endearing.
Courntey the model/BITCH, that’s right the gloves are officially off in this blog…chimes in her two cents (the only sense she has!) and says she thinks the date with Emily will be boring. “I always say this, book smart can be a little boring”. What does she mean ‘she always says this’… like how often? Still, I’m not surprised!
Back to the date. Emily and Ben will be climbing the Bay Bridge and Ben, who also admits to not loving heights, thinks overcoming this fear together will make the relationship stronger. That or he will see a grown woman pee her pants. As for Emily, she reveals she has nightmares about ‘falling off really tall things’, so I’m thinking climbing the 535 foot bridge above traffic isn’t exactly her idea of romantic. The climb includes walking up what is basically a steel pipe and reclamping safety hooks provided by Caltran about every thirty feet. I have a unique perspective on this date, as I have actually climbed the top of a bridge myself- The Harbor Bridge in Sydney. Only I wasn’t attached to a hot guy, rather an 80-year old woman who was proving she could do it! I was praying she could too! It was an amazing experience but that bridge is set up for climbing tours and this bridge looked…well..a lot less fun.
Needless to say, Emily froze about half way up but a kiss from Ben miraculously calmed her nerves and they both made it to the top. On a side note, back at the suite, Jennifer is looking through a telescope out the window and randomly (at least that’s what we are supposed to believe, give us some credit TV producers!) spots Emily and Ben climbing the bridge so the rest of the girls get to literally be peeping Tom’s on the date. Emily cheesily relates the bridge experience to her and Ben’s relationship, “A bridge takes two things that are separate and brings them together”. The cute couple grab some dinner post-harness and kiss under fireworks, very Meet Joe Black. They share some dating experiences, including that Emily was once set up unknowlingy with her brother by an online dating service…Awkward. Lets just be thankful the fog hadn’t set in for the bridge climb! Still, my verdict: the date lifted Emily to new heights (like how I did that) as a top competitor in this competition.
On to the group date…which brought us to new lows. Glad to see The Bachelor isn’t below babes in bikinis….on skis. The date included a fake ski trail made out of one of San Fran’s steep city streets. The girls were encouraged to strip down to their bathing suits and scarfs and hit the slopes. Apparently skiing the streets of San Fran has long been on Ben’s ‘leap list’…is that like a bucket list? More importantly, this was actually on it ? No matter, Ben can cross it off now and so can the rest of San Fran who enjoyed ogling the women as they slipped and slid down the street. Kaci B was particularly bad, even ‘butt skiing backwards’ as Ben noted but he liked the fact that she didn’t care and was able to just have fun and go for it. So did I! She is still my front runner for Ben’s heart and Ben seems to agree as he stated that, ‘She sparkles and is trouble for me, good trouble. I really like her’. The group date ends with Ben spending some alone time with Rachel who surprises him with her laid-back attitude and honestly which earns her a kiss and the group date rose.
Meanwhile, Back at the ski lodge, Courtney who got the first impression rose was feeling a bit left out as she had not yet been on any date and worried the other ladies were building stronger connections with Ben. The second date card arrives but it goes to Brittany (who brought her grandma opening night) instead. To the dismay of the other ladies, Brittany seems less than excited and actually decides that she is going to leave the show. Despite being torn over possibly missing the ‘best date she could ever go on’ and the chance to actually get to know Ben, she just feels like her heart isn’t in it. I admire her being true to herself but am a little confused. I mean, what did she think the show would be like? Plus, she hadn’t even spent time with Ben to decide if there was real interest. Lesson Learned: This is what happens when you let grannie set you up! For Ben, the realization is made that any of these woman can leave the show at any time and he could end up alone yet again. Did he not think this was a possibility?
But he isn’t broken-hearted too long. Instead, we are off on date #2 and Linzi happily fills in. Unlike some of the other girls who would have dwelled on being second choice for the evening, Linzi is excited to enjoy the night which includes a private trolley ride, ice cream on Market Street, a stroll through China Town, and a private concert in City Hall. Ben and Linzi arrive at the historic building which is locked and dark and Ben magically pulls out ‘the key to the city’…Damn, I was hoping for some breaking and entering!
The place lights up as singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson performs. The two dance and kiss and Linzi reveals she doesn’t usually kiss boys on the first date but it felt natural- and it look that way too! After the prom moment, we head to a private (former) speakeasy for dinner and the two chat about their dating history including Linzi’s worst breakup, the “Welcome to dumpsville, population you” text she received after a year and a half relationship. But, whatever doesn’t kill you makes your stronger, or something like that. Linzi is happy to be the strong, confident woman she has become. I was waiting for the song “I Will Survive” to start playing! Ben agrees with her assessment and admits that she didn’t just make a first impression but a lasting one, and he wants to get to know her on a deeper level. Do I sense a fantasy suite card moment in their future? She is one of my top choices and I guess sometimes first impressions really are that important. The two toast to ‘laughing at ourselves’ and I think it’s a safe bet that Linzi will be competing for the last laugh. But just as she announces nothing can ruin this nigh, we….
CUT TO: NIGHT. CAR DRIVES UP THE FREEWAY, OMINOUSLY.
A mystery woman is en route to the suite and tells Chris Harrison on the car’s speaker phone that she is close and can’t wait to see Ben.
The cocktail party has begun and just as Courtney proposes a toast to a drama free night where everyone is nice to each other (oh the irony!) the mystery woman arrives. It is Chantel (the funeral director) from Brad’s season. I missed Brad’s season but was just as confused as the ladies in the house as to what her connection to Ben is…but don’t worry, we quickly find out!
Ben has a few conversations with some of the ladies. He admits to Jennifer that she is the best kisser in the house (Side note- I also like Jennifer but I’m on the fence. It’s like she’s a story book princess who fawns over him and calls him dreamy every chance she gets. Cut back on the neediness sister!). He calms Elyse’s fears about not having spent much time with her yet. He takes Courtney to the roof for a few minutes to tell her he’s missed her and she responds with ‘We would make beautiful babies together’. Ben laughs it off with a ‘Someday’…but i give it a capitol C-R-A-Z-Y!
Chantel shimmies past the other girls in the cocktail party, but does not go unnoticed (screams of who is that and other profanities are clearly audible) and makes her way to Ben. Apparently, post-Brad heart-break she met Ben a few times and felt a connection. She knows he will be engaged after this process and saw showing up here as her only shot to win his heart. Ben is as shocked as the women at Chantel’s arrival (he literally exclaims Holy shit!). Chantel proposes that he give her a rose and let her stay and compete. Ben introduces Chantel to the ladies who he hopes will be ‘graceful and welcoming’ and departs to collect his thoughts pre-ceremony. If by graceful and welcoming he met verbally assaulting and accusatory, he was dead on. Chantel might as well of planned her own funeral. It was like someone let a room of wild animals free with one piece of food…I apologize now for the behavior of the female race that was on display. Then again, some species eat their first born.
Needless to say there was name-calling (ugly and fat thighs), demanding questions (what makes you think you have the right to be here) crying (by pretty much all), empty threats (by Courtney to leave if Chantel stays) and even fainting (by Erica, but Jaclyn looked just as green with nausea). I understand why the ladies were inherently upset but the poor display of manners only makes me root more strongly for the few women who were able to maintain composure and civility (a special nod here to Kaci B, one of the woman who is closest to him but remained a lady). That said, the entrance of Chantel really shouldn’t have mattered. So what if it isn’t fair, life isn’t fair! You are on a reality TV competition show…that alone should leave you open to unexpected plot twists! If the man wants you, he will pick you, whether there are 20 or 21 other woman. Period. Maintain some dignity and self-respect!
Okay, done berating my fellow females! In the end, after some medical assistance for Emily, Ben decides not to give his last rose to any of the remaining woman- Emily, Jaclyn, or newbie Chantel. He just doesn’t see the relationships moving forward with any of them at this point, an honorable decision. He spends time consoling each and lets Chantel know he was flattered by her arrival (just not flattered enough to prevent her quick departure). Courtney, conveniently forgetting her no drama toast, makes a point of hesitating when accepting her rose and tells Ben that tonight, ‘Was a lot and she almost left’. Do us all a favor!
We end the episode with Chantel in denial of her rejection, claiming that Ben ‘cracked under the pressure of being fair’…Really? I mean you drove across California for a guy you barely know and beg to stay in a house with a bunch of women who would love to physically hurt you.. Sigh. But for the rest of the woman, Ben proved himself to be the man they had hoped by sending her packing… and now the ladies will be packing for next week!
Park City Utah. See you there.