Hello, Age of Lurve fans! If you’re like me, you’re coming into this week’s show thinking, “How CAN we ever top last week’s drunken crying fest in the woods? Also, has anyone seen Mark Consuelos do anything useful?” And if you, like me, watched this week’s show, then you already know the answers are “Sadly, we cannot” and “No.”
However, that’s not to say I don’t come to you this week with some drama! It really doesn’t come near last week’s, but hey, you have to work with what you’re given. Making recap lemonade out of show lemons, as they say. Anyway, this week we have illicit massages, a Cinderella carriage, a walk-off and a panic attack! Not bad, really.
TV, TV, On The Wall, Who’s Still The Bitchiest Of Them All?
As you’ll all recall, hopefully with the same joy I feel when I remember it, last week our ladies and Mark trooped off into the woods for a “camping trip” that involved everyone getting drunk, Maria screaming about female empowerment, Jen crying, Amanda sneaking into Mark’s tent, and Jayanna finally getting the boot for her manipulative, two-faced ways.
That leaves us with four women left, and completely randomly there are two 20-somethings and two 40-somethings. I’m sure the producers had nothing to do with that. Jen misses Jayanna, who was her friend, and says she now feels homesick. She also says that if she didn’t know Mark, she’d hate him for what he did to her friend. However, since she does know Mark, then it’s ok for her to keep snogging him, even though he hurt her friend? I’m not sure how that math adds up, folks.
Interestingly, Maria calls the other women downstairs to see a video on their TV screen. It’s a message from Jayanna, and I have to wonder – have all the other women been leaving video messages, and this was the only one worth showing us? I’m going to guess, yes. And this one IS a doozie. It’s clearly taped while Jayanna is still in the woods, immediately post-dumping. With all four remaining women sitting there, Jayanna warns them that Amanda will run to Mark and tell him lies about them (because it was Amanda who told Mark that Jayanna was being manipulative). Jayanna says Amanda is “pathetic, sad and so immature” and that she is “that desperate for a man.” Throughout Jayanna’s speech, Amanda rolls her eyes and Megan gasps, but Jen sits there looking troubled. After the video is over, Amanda says Jayanna is the pathetic one and that she’s never said anything untrue. But Jen believes Jayanna, and says Amanda better watch her back.
Like a Flailing, Sweating, Booty-Shaking Floral Sofa
Meanwhile, Mark is choosing women to go on a salsa-dancing date. He decides on Maria and Amanda. There’s some discussion in the women’s suite about what to wear, and then Maria appears in a sexy black off-the-shoulder dress, while Amanda is still in a sleeveless top and jeans.
As it turns out, though, that isn’t going to matter. They arrive at the salsa place to see a couple of professionals dancing. Mark, it comes out, has never salsa danced. It sounds like both women have. He’s pretty nervous. Amanda thinks her age gives her an advantage – I guess she’s expecting Maria to be arthritic or break a hip? At any rate, they all get a brief lesson from the professionals, although Mark appears to have two left feet when it comes to things like “steps” and “rhythm.”
After the lesson, Amanda and Maria are sent to put on dancing costumes, which is why it doesn’t matter what they wore to begin with. Amanda gets assigned a sexy, barely-there bra-type top with a fringe, and a tiny skirt. But poor Maria is put into a hideous ruffled floral monstrosity that looks like a 1980’s prom dress. Or possibly draperies. It’s godawful. Gee, that’s really fair. It’s so bad I actually tried to find a photo of it to show you, but NBC hasn’t put up pics of this week’s eppy yet.
Mark picks Maria to dance with him first, and Amanda totters off the dance floor by herself. Luckily for Mark, it turns out he didn’t need to learn to dance, because Maria lets loose and begins shaking it all over the place, with moves that really just require Mark to stand there (and stand still, lest he lose an eye to her flying gazongas or booty). Amanda says Maria’s dancing is so suggestive that she had to look away, and says Maria tries too hard and that she was really giving him a show and that it was sad.
Mark says Maria’s dancing didn’t really give him much to do. When he calls up Amanda, she lets him lead a lot more, although she also has to keep tugging her skirt down in back. It rides up so much that Mark is trying to dance her into a mirror so he can see. Again, way to pick dresses fairly, producer-people!
When they all finally sit down, Maria is still sweaty and out of breath, whereas Amanda looks cool and calm. A lack of oxygen doesn’t stop Maria from pointing out that this could be their last date and asking Mark if there’s anything he wants to say to either of them. When he hesitates, she offers an encouraging “c’mon, baby, go there baby.” Kinda ew, is what I’m thinking, and so is Mark. He tells us Maria’s whole thing there was a buzzkill and ruined the mood. They depart shortly afterwards.
Stress On the High Teas
Later, presumably the next day, Mark invites Megan on the next date – “high tea.” Megan is, interestingly, already wearing a dress when she receives the call, and then wears the dress on the date. Editing slipup? You be the judge. Megan also does not know what high tea is. I can sort of forgive her for that, because while I totally know what high tea is and knew when I was 21, I also was a weird kid who read a lot of Jane Austen in middle school, so I try to assume that I sometimes know strange things that most people who had social lives in their youth might not know. (For this reason, I also know that a “French letter” is a condom, a tidbit that earned me the amazement of a pub trivia team. But I digress).
So anyway, I’ll let that go, but Megan just seems awfully dim sometimes. In the limo, she asks what a partition is. Really? Seriously? Mark, far from appearing to recognize her immaturity, just says she says the funniest things and it makes him smile. So do three-year-olds, Mark.
Megan tells us she really feels the tea date is more suitable for the women in their 40’s. I don’t know why they would want to sit and have tea and crumpets, or be any better at it than she is, but whatever. Megan also does not recognize the sugar cubes as being, in fact, sugar cubes. She has to ask. She has to ask what everything is.
“I don’t know anything about tea,” Megan says, adding that it was uncomfortable “sitting there with all this super-breakable tea stuff.”
Anyway, they have tea and talk, and Megan tells Mark she likes spending time with him. But, she tells us, she didn’t get to tell him he’s great and all, because she was just “super-focused on what the hell fork to use.” It’s all very Eliza Doolittle.
On the way out, Megan asks Mark to show her his new salsa moves, and they dance a bit. She says it’s moments like that that make her like him. “I’m definitely falling for him,” she tells us.
I’ll Rub Your Back If You Rub Mine
Back at the suite, Megan tells the women all about her tea ignorance. Then Jen gets a pager message, telling her to get ready for a carriage ride and to bring a swimsuit. Amanda and Megan are extremely – and, in Megan’s case, loudly – bummed. Apparently Megan has been wanting someone to take her on a carriage ride for ages. She’s even more bummed when Jen appears in a fancy dress for the ride.
Outside, Mark is waiting beside a very Cinderella-like carriage – it’s round, and looks like it’s made of white wrought iron and lights. Mark says it’s like something out of a fairy tale. Jen says she feels like “the most special woman in the house” and tells Mark that while the other women seem to want more from him, she’s getting exactly what she needs. She tells him he always makes her feel special. Dude, that’s because she keeps getting the cool one-on-one dates! Mark says she makes him forget about their age difference. Honey, the rest of us aren’t forgetting. Although Jen looks awesome for her age, or for any age, really. Jen tells him this is the most romantic date she’s ever had.
They return to Mark’s suite and get into swimsuits for some romping in the pool. Mark claims it’s all just a ruse to see Jen in a bikini again. “Her body is just ridiculous,” he says. After swimming it’s cuddle time, and there’s some discussion of whether or not he’s had fantasies about her (apparently he has).
They then go back inside, and Jen tells us she feels feisty and wants to show him a good time. That might explain why we’re suddenly looking at a darkened bedroom, while Mark looks for massage lotion and Jen talks about whether the cameras can see them. We can now testify that if they turn out all the lights, then no, we can’t SEE, per se, but we can hear. Or, rather, we can read the captions. Mark tells her she’s “so good at this.”
Later that night, Jen sneaks back into the women’s suite, and it seems everyone else is in bed. She tells us she has fallen for him, and they both call it a great night.
The next morning, Jen describes the carriage ride in all its glory, reigniting the jealousy from Amanda and Megan. Of course, Amanda would be jealous of anything Mark did with anyone else, so it’s no wonder her face gets stonier as Jen then goes on to mention the massages she and Mark gave each other. Megan notes that that will look scandalous on TV, and Jen agrees that “it was bad.” By this time Amanda is almost in tears.
Amanda tells us she put herself out there and he’s doing the same thing with other women, and it upsets her. She feels silly. “It’s no fun … to try to be in love by yourself,” she says. Sadly, she doesn’t decide she’s better than this stupid show and to leave it.
No, that’s Maria’s job. Again. She claims, again, that she has to follow her instincts and that Mark is just not the guy for her. Everyone is skeptical, since Maria has said this twice already.
It’s About Damn Time
With an elimination approaching, Mark again wants to talk to each woman one-on-one. He begins with Megan, who wants to take this chance to tell him all the things that got lost in her tea-fog. But all she manages to say is that he’s grown on her. He asks her to send Jen before she finishes the rest.
Jen says she’s worried that she’s feeling too sure of herself. Mark asks how she feels and she tells him her heart is definitely in this. He says he looks forward to having more fun with her.
Amanda comes into her talk with a purpose. She tells him it’s hard to see him connect with other women, and that she got a report on the massages. She’s clearly angry. Mark says he has been honest with her, and that the massage did happen, but laudably – at least in the weird moral code that governs these types of shows – he refuses to make excuses or pretend he doesn’t like Jen. Instead, he just says he can only talk to her about his relationship with her. And, like the silly goose she is, Amanda accepts this. She tells us she was prepared to say a lot more, but forgot it when he smiled at her. Awww. I may puke now.
Maria is last, and again has been dressed in a very unflattering dress. This one is gold and makes her hips look huge. She promises he’s not going to be able to talk her out of leaving this time. She tells Mark that she doesn’t know where he’s at, that they have limited time, and she’s turned off by feeling that every time she opens the door, he slams it shut. Mark tells her that she’s there because he truly wants her there, but it’s no good – Maria announces that she is eliminating herself, and that she has to go. Mark tells her he was not going to eliminate her, which then begs the question – who WAS he going to cut? My vote is for Megan. Although maybe he was just saying that to make Maria feel better. At any rate, she walks out, and tells us it’s hard but she has to know what she needs. She also makes some speech about how women are amazing and can learn so much from each other. And I agree – I have learned, from watching dozens of women make fools of themselves, not to go on reality TV dating shows. Thanks, my sisters!
Ten Minutes to Wapner
The other three are still waiting upstairs, wondering what’s wrong as an hour passes and Maria still doesn’t return. But instead, Mark shows up at the door. He explains that Maria left of her own accord, and that therefore they are all staying. But by “staying” he means “flying to Australia”! Yay, that would be worth it to me, actually. They’re going to Australia, that very night, to meet his family and see his homeland. Excitedly, everyone runs to pack.
Except Megan, that is. She’s packing, but she’s nervous as hell because she’s terrified of planes. But she wants to go, so she’s making the effort.
They all head out to the airport, and wait around in the public waiting area for their Quantas flight, which surprises me. Not the Quantas bit, the public bit. Their flight also appears to be going to Auckland, which is not Australia but is New Zealand. Isn’t it? Am I going to have to look this up? Ok, I did. It is in New Zealand. Which would also be cool. At any rate, Megan looks nervous but tries to keep going, and makes it all the way through the gate and nearly to the door of the plane before breaking down in a panic attack. At least, that’s what I assume she had when she weepily tells Mark she felt like she was having a heart attack. She says she can’t get on the plane, and Mark tries to be very nice to her, telling her she can, and that she’s strong, and that Quantas has the best safety record of any airline. Everyone who’s ever seen “Rain Man” already knew that.
But none of it sways Megan, and finally Mark walks her back out of the gate, out of the airport, and puts her in a cab. Megan apologizes, and Mark says he feels very badly for her. They kiss – their first kiss, in fact, and Mark is also upset that they’ve finally bonded some just as she’s leaving (because leaving the airport is, presumably, leaving the show). “It shouldn’t end like this,” he laments.
Is the finale! With only Jen and Amanda left – duh, who didn’t spot that coming several weeks ago? – Mark must choose, as the announcer points out several times in the promo, between a woman in her 20’s and a woman in her 40’s. They’ll also meet his family, who seem taken aback by Jen’s age, and who cow Amanda into silence. So come back, if you’ve watched the show for this long, you might as well see how it ends!