Hour 1 – Sarah!
If the previews from last week are to be believed, this is the episode where several of the “Bachelorette” contestants reveal that they signed up for the show hoping to land a different Brad Womack cast-off. Yikes.
Harrison shows up at the house and talks some nonsense about Ashley’s husband being in the room with all of them, like a spirit. All the dudes must get really sweaty and aware of the exits every time that comes up. Cool it, Ashley and Harrison! So, who gets a one-on-one date this week??? It’s Ben C, a lawyer from New Orleans, who sometimes looks really cute and other times looks like one of the supporting characters in “The Butterfly Effect.” Yeah, I saw that movie. In theaters.
Ashley’s date with Ben: a surprise (for Ben, anyway) flash mob in a park! Man, I remember the first time I took a man on a flash mob date. It was 2003, and — oh wait! — I confused this show with reality. My fault!
Ashley takes a time out from all this excitement to explain to us what a flash mob is, which tells me that she probably still has a dial up internet connection. Also, note to the “Bachelor/ette” producers: it’s not a flash mob if every single person in the park is there for the flash mob. The flash mob happens. It’s all right, I guess. Then, Far East Movement, whose song “Like A G6” was the flash mob music (ABC apparently has pictures in a vault somewhere of the group sexting Anthony Weiner (current events!)) appear in the flesh for an impromptu concert. Fun fact: Far East Movement is totally Ben C’s favorite band! So much mouthing of the words!
Ashley and Ben head to dinner. Unfortunately, Ben looks really doughy and weird in this segment. Also, he has some efffffffffed up ideas about love and relationships. Ideally (ideally!), he would like to “live in a bubble” with another person.
Back at the house, a bunch of dudes, including Bentley, are chosen for a group date. The theme: “make me laugh.” Bentley vows to “go in for the kill.”
We return to dinner, where Ben apparently has not stopped effing talking since we left. Ben C, you are exhausting! No one will agree to spend eternity in a bubble with you if you insist on talking so much! They mack, but I got a serious friend vibe from Ashley. Ben C does not try to talk while they’re kissing, so points for that, I guess.
At the MackMansion the next day, the editors cannot get enough of the scary organ music for Jeff’s scenes, and neither can I. Carly compares Jeff’s mask to Hillary Duff’s in “Cinderella Story,” which is accurate: a mask that only covers half your face doesn’t mean we don’t know what you look like! Unless Jeff has the same mask tattooed beneath it, in which case, touché. My point, as ever, is that everyone should have been able to tell it was Hillary Duff in the movie, even with the damn mask.
Ashley comes over and Jeff asks her for a moment. He’s going to take off the mask! He stalls and stalls and stalls. The peanut gallery inside is like “Well, she hasn’t started screaming yet.” Jeff babbles. Ashley waits. A falcon ruffles its feathers. A squirrel gnaws on…something. These are actual shots that were just used. Jeff removes his mask (decent, but you’re no WILLIAM, knowhati’msayinnnn?) and says, very seriously, “Hi. I’m Jeff.”
Ashley’s reaction: he old.
(She also says that she’s glad he took off the mask, blah blah, but that was basically her first though.) Well, big mystery solved! Time for the group date. There is a serious trail of tears ahead of us.
The men will be roasting Ashley today. William interviews that he’s confident he’ll be able to get a rose (Carly: “I’ve seen the future, and it does not look good!”). He also interviews that this has always been a dream of his, and that maybe his roast will catch Jeffrey Ross’s eye and it’ll be his big break! So…he’s straight up admitting that he signed up for “The Bachelorette” to become famous and not to put a ring on it? It’s like nobody but me cares about the integrity of the show!
Ashley is so excited. Apparently she juuust learned what a flash mob is and there was no time to teach her what a roast is. For the most part, everyone sticks to making fun of the other dudes. William is perturbed by how easy everyone is going on Ashley, since that’s not the point of a roast. Fair, but being mean to the girl you’re trying to woo is also not the point of a dating show.
It’s William’s turn. I’m going to transcribe this verbatim: “Ashley: so beautiful, so gorgeous, so used. They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I thought when I signed up I was going to get Chantal or Emily, and then Ashley’s here!” He is booed. “Really. Who gives a shit,” he says. Then he asks everyone to get out their cell phones to donate to the Ashley Small Boob Fund. The guys are horrified.
“…Basically, I feel the same way,” Bentley says, but then duhs that he would never say it to her face. Jesus, seriously. Let her be humiliated in the privacy of her living room when the show airs on national television! Ashley is sobbing. When I saw that in the preview I was like girl please, but now I feel terrible for her. Either this is a reality show that has its contestants’ best interests at heart (The Biggest Loser, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, What Not To Wear) or it’s a reality show whose purpose is to embarrass them (…everything else); you don’t get both. That’s right, I’m commenting on the ETHICS OF REALITY SHOWS!
Cocktail party. William gets teary eyed. I remain unmoved. He volunteers to leave, then takes a walk on the mean streets of LA. Commercial break. Now he is sitting, head bowed, in a room bathed in red light?
Ryan P (Solar power guy) takes Ashley aside and is like “You were my first choice,” a gambit that I guess didn’t occur to any of the other guys. Ashley is like whaaaat? Put it on me! They kiss. Ryan P, exploiting the other men’s weak moments for his own personal gain. I like it. Ashley, exhibiting more great decision-making, is like “I’m feeling vulnerable and I just want to talk to Bentleeeeeeey.” She takes him aside.
Okay, so CHECK IT: the person who warned Ashley about Bentley was MICHELLE MONEY!!!!! Bentley guesses right away that the warning was Michelle’s doing, because she KNOWS BENTLEY’S EX-WIFE! Ugh, the tangled “Bachelor/ette” family tree! Just when I’ve given up on Ashley, however, she gives the rose to Ryan P.! Good instincts! For once!
Aaaaaaand luckily, it’s Carly’s turn to recap, because I am exhausted by all this naked manipulation/all the feeeeeeeelings.
Hour 2: Carly is already so stressed out about this episode.
Well, I don’t know about you guys, but I am POOPED. That first hour was a nightmare, yeah?
Ashley is pacing by her steaming pond of feelings and talking about how she fell in love with Bentley last night and that she is now 100% certain that he is her husband. Girl, PLEASE. She says if it were up to her she would take him to Salt Lake City right now and walk down the aisle and I’m unsure if he’s from there or if that’s just where Ashley thinks people go to get married.
Meanwhile, Bentley’s guilt has finally caught up with him, and he decides he’s ready to leave. Crazo interviews that he does miss his daughter, but in case any of us get the wrong idea that he’s maybe a decent person after all, he makes it clear that Cozy is NOT the reason he is leaving. He says goodbye to the gents and makes his journey to destroy Ashley’s already paper thin sense of self. But not before making sure his hair looks good.
On a closer look, it turns out Bentley actually does live in Salt Lake City, so that answers that question. He again talks about how unattractive Ashley is in comparison to Emily and my heart just breaks for present Ashley who is seeing this all for the first time RIGHT NOW.
Bentley enters Ashley’s apartment and she clearly knows something is up. She keeps trying to climb all over him while he looks away and says um a lot and finally she just has to ask if he’s leaving and he says yes and acts sad about it like a GIANT DOUCHEBAG. He’s totally going to pretend that this is about his daughter and again I think of present Ashley and also poor Cozy who is already doomed with that horrible name and doesn’t need more of a reason to resent her parents. Bentley proudly interviews that he almost made himself cry. Class act.
Ashley is sobbing about how the whole process is going to fail because he was totally her guy and there is no one else in the world who could be that guy for her. And he’s like ‘yeah baby I cried those tears too!’ YOU ARE A LIAR! She hugs him and he pulls her legs around him and interviews about how easy it would be to start banging her in that position. BENTLEY! At this point this isn’t even enjoyable to watch. Now he has the wherewithal to say that even though he’s leaving, he would like her to continue to think of him as an option so that she can never really have closure and settle down with someone nice and respectable like Ryan P. the solar energy guy or maybe the winemaker.
She walks Bentley out and then completely unravels. Lots of wailing “Whyyyyyy!??!!!” and “How can I do thissssss?” as she thrashes around in her bed. While I do feel bad for her because this is going to be supes EMBARRASSING and also probably make the dude she actually chose feel pretty crappy, I also feel like she’s maaaaybe milking this for all more than it’s worth. Of course it’s pouring outside. Harrison has a direct line to God and is like “thanks, man. really added to the doomsy mood. I owe you one.”
We’re back from break and Ashley is crying some more to the camera about how this isn’t going to work because Bentley was her one true love. I feel bad for J.P. His one-on-one date is going to suuuuuuck.
Right on cue, J.P. shows up with flowers looking super foxy. He wants to briefly address the dramatic day she’s had and then put it aside and focus on them. I heart J.P. He asks if she’s ok, and she says she’s bummed and exhausted but wants to move on. Good. They’re having a really sexy date drinking white wine in front of a fire and despite Ashley’s suuuper puffy, red eyes, she looks really cute with her hair pulled back and a nice outfit.
Now it’s P.J. time with J.P and they are very cute together. He does a really good job of making her feel cheered up without pandering. Of course she gives him a rose because she’s not entirely insane. They make out a little, and I think J.P. is in the 1 seed moving into week 4. A-plus.
Cocktail party! William is still there, looking forlorn. Ashley arrives in an insane sequinned mini that would probably be cute if not paired with a huge sparkly necklace. Less is more, Ashley! She’s in the confessional again and we’re back to crying about how none of this is going to work because her soulmate has already left. What about J.P.?? What about last night? Have you forgotten already?
Harrison is there to counsel. He puts on his best soft, therapist voice and asks Ashley what was so great about Bentley anyway? (“SERIOUSLY!! -the world). She says that she was in love with Bentley, which… doubtful. Ashley finally admits that maybe Michelle was right after all. Obviously, we here at NSOP are 100% behind anything crazy Michelle does, so hoots and hollers all around this apartment for her being proved right, and still smoking the crazy drama pipe.
With Chris’s encouragement, Ashley decides not to have a cocktail party tonight and to go straight to the rose ceremony. William is rightfully concerned. He does seem genuinely upset, and for whatever reason I’m still finding myself liking this guy. Give him a chance, Ashley! Ryan P. stands in a corner with his rose and actually says “I feel great!” while all the guys are exchanging their worries.
Rose time! First rose goes to Constantine. Next is a rose for West the murderer, because he was lucky enough to not be included on the hellish group date. Hot/Not Micky gets number 3 and I really feel like she is just rewarding everyone who did nothing, which.. fair. Winemaker is in because he makes the wine and really, that’s enough. Fellow dentist is in – probably on the same logic. Soul Patch Nick is in. Yalee Ames. Lucas, who I seriously think just arrived in this episode gets a rose. Seriously who is that guy?? Last rose – William, Jeff and a rando remain. And it’s William!!! Yay! I’m now 110% team J.P., but I still want stupid William and his bad decisions and worse impressions to be around.
The rando is upset that he got booted because apparently he and Ashley really had something, despite them seemingly never speaking. Jeff doesn’t actually seem upset at all as he interviews, but he does seem upset as he throws his mardi gras mask into the fire. Thanks for the memories, smelly mask! Ashley toasts the remaining men, who – at this point – seem almost all normal! Sure, that has nothing to do with Ashley’s decision-making abilities, but the elimination of Jeff the masked man and Bentley the sociopath is a solid one-two punch in the name of sanity.
Next week: More talking about Bentley, now on a beautiful caribbean island! The men are apparently annoyed with Ryan P., which is confusing to me because he has seemed totally normal so far.
End tag: Bentley fixes his hair while Jeff sits on the toilet with his mask and his knit cap reading the classifieds. Jeff asks Bentley’s opinion on several listings and Bentley adamantly refuses to acknowledge his existence. It would be funny if these weren’t two of the least likable people ever to grace my screen. RIP, psychos!