Belize- here we arrive in the land of bikinis, Mayan ruins, and sharks and I’m not just talking about the ones in the ocean. Bachelor Ben has done a decent job so far. In fact four of the six remaining women have been in my top picks from the start. But with almost half the girls saying bye-bye this week, the teeth were sure to come out!
This week we have three one-on-one dates (in which no roses will be handed out) and one group date (of three people) with a rose up for grabs. Without further hesitation, let’s jump right in!
Date #1. The women are all vying for the coveted alone time but the first date card goes to Lindzi with “Two halves make a whole”, leaving Nicki in tears because she was really hoping it would have gone to her. We quickly board another helicopter for a ride around the picturesque blue waters and tropical ambience of the area until we come to a circular shaped blue lagoon surrounded by a reef. Before Ben even speaks, I already know these two will be plunging into the waters below. Is it me or does this guy enjoy scaring the shit out of these ladies, not to mention jumping! Do I see a skydiving date in the near future? So far, there was the bridge climb for Emily (afraid of heights) and the crater jump for Jennifer (also afraid of heights) and now the helicopter jump with Lindzi (you guessed it! afraid of heights). Ben goes in for his signature ‘calming kiss’ and the two are flinging themselves out the side door before you know it. Once again the consensus among both parties is that facing your fears together builds the relationship …blah, blah, blah! Why not just submerge the girls in a bucket full of snakes or spiders. You’re in the jungle. I’m sure the Fear Factor producers can loan you some other horrid ideas.
Post-jump, the two share a romantic dinner. As next week is the start of the home-town dates, Ben asks Lindzi if she is ready for him to meet her family and she responds that she is and is “falling for him”. Then they write a fairy-tale message and stuff it in a bottle and send it off into the ocean…where some PA is probably waiting to snatch it up in case she wins and it can miraculously appear back on the beach as he proposes, LOL. I do like Lindzi, but I think she needs to open up more. Right now they have more of a friendship vibe and I think if she doesn’t step up her game soon she will be gone.
Date # 2 goes to Emily. Thank goodness because when Ben took out Lindzi, Emily described it as if “someone sliced a delicious piece of cheesecake and then someone else walked by and picked it up and took it away and said bye-bye.” The girl has gone to food metaphors so you know she’s hurting. Their date consists of a bike ride and shopping around the local town and then they go diving for lobsters. It comes up rather nonchalantly as Ben inquires about buying lobsters for dinner and the next thing you know the two are underwater trying to catch the slippery little suckers! But you know that shit was planned! Still, Emily gushes about loving Ben’s impromptu, adventurous side. Anyway, they cap of the night eating the lobsters on an ocean side picnic table while enjoying dancing at the nearby club. Emily also tells Ben she is ready for him to meet her parents. I really like Emily’s fun and wacky side and still give her props for being brave enough to open her mouth about Courtney. I think the two have more chemistry than he and Lindzi but still, Emily has some tough competition if she wants to bring the boy home.
Meanwhile, Courtney pouts at the house to the other girls that if she doesn’t get a one-on-one, she is not bringing Ben home. She feels hurt by his selection of Emily, the girl who was ‘mean’ to her and comments she’s unsure about Ben because there has been so much time in between dates that the spark has started to fizzle. Just as she plays this poor-me card she receives the final date card. With a “Snap, I’m excited” she is back with her game face and quickly rubs it in that Ben ‘listens to her and must have known she needed the date’. Perhaps Ben is clueless, but the rest of these ladies and any viewer at home can clearly see Courtney’s game. The girl is sweet as pie on her dates and then when she feels she’s loosing traction she pulls the ‘I’m not sure if I like you’ routine so that Ben panics into trying to win her back. DISGUSTING!
Kaci B couldn’t have reacted better. “That (w)itch! It took every frickin’ fiber of my being to not spring across the room and punch her in the face.” As for Ben, he confesses, “One of my fears is being with a woman who I like, but ultimately, other people don’t.” Fear Realized Baby! As she departs the house for her date, Courtney bids the ladies farewell with a “Bye, can’t stand you all” to the camera.
Date #3. The date includes a walk through the jungle where they ‘came across’ Mayan ruins. Oh Ben, you didn’t just happen upon these ruins! Seriously, stop trying to pretend like we don’t know this stuff is scouted and set-up. The ruins were impressive and have so much history and all that jazz. But the part that really captured my attention was how easily Ben fell for Courtney’s pity party yet again. By the time they reach the view at the top, Courtney has managed to regain her spot as Queen of the land. At dinner, Ben FINALLY questions Courtney about her ability to get along with other women. She is quick to defend herself and disrespect the other women calling them ‘boring’ and ‘vanilla’. For a split second, it seems that Ben has caught a glimpse of her true colors but he quickly backs down and practically begs for her adoration when she mentions she’s not sure she wants him to meet her family. In the end, Ben has been played exactly as Courtney intended. In her words, “Kill shot!”.
Group Date: Nicki, Rachel, and Kaci B. Ben surprises the ladies with a 4am wake-up call! After a quick montage of them being panicked about their frumpy PJ’s and lack of makeup, and briskly shaving their legs while brushing their teeth and washing their hair,(Yes men, we can multi-task in a hurry when need be), we are off to the dock. The ladies board a catamaran and next thing you know we are mid-ocean at Shark Alley. As in real live sharks. The crew is throwing chum off the side of the boat and the ladies are told to gear up for a shark dive. Nicki & Kaci B seems ecstatic but Rachel looks a bit sea sick with fear (Ben’s favorite date emotion). Short of the Jaws theme song, I had the same scary images scan my mind as Rachel. Ben assures her he will be right with her the whole time and he is…much to the annoyance of the other two ladies who feel Rachel has monopolized the date.
Despite this, Ben spends some one-on-one time with both Nicki who impresses upon Ben how much she cares for him and how much she wants to take him home. Kaci B becomes the first girl to drop the ‘L’ word when she admits to falling in love with him. Wearing her heart on her sleeve earns Kaci B the first home-town date rose. Back in a group, Nicki and Kaci B decide to share their concerns about Courtney with Ben (Rachel is present but remains mum). It is clear their warnings come from a place of true concern, as they only want Ben ‘to be happy’. For the first time, Ben seems to have true hesitations about Courtney. Considering more than half the remaining women have now approached him, I’d say he should wake up and smell the blood in the water.
Rose Ceremony: One rose has been given and only three roses remain with five girls. The girls arrive by boat to a long dock lit with tiki torches a la Survivor’s Tribal Council. A noticeably tanner Chris Harrison arrives to tell the girls that Ben will forego the cocktail party as his mind is already made up. But before the roses are handed out Ben steals Courtney away to question her about the earlier revelations. She assures him of her best intentions and it’s clear he is still under her spell. The final rose comes down to Rachel, Emily, and Courtney and the in the end, he chooses the black widow (I was rooting for Emily).
Next week, we are on to home-town dates. Nicki’s family appears concerned because she has been married before, Lindzi’s mother warns Ben she was just heart-broken not long ago, Kaci B’s Dad looks to be taking a tough stand on giving his approval in an effort to protect his daughter, and Courtney’s family…well, we didn’t get much but they seemed to be worried if Ben is good enough for their girl and if she is genuinely into Ben. Of the final four, I had picked Kaci B & Lindzi day one and Nicki as a dark horse so my judgments have been pretty good.
We end the night with an outtake of Courtney playing with a giant tarantula. Let’s hope Ben’s spidey senses kick in soon. I’d hate to see him alone again at the end of all this.