So far there have been three themes this season: phobias, feeling special and vulnerability. The last theme plays first tonight as Brad flies over the lush Costa Rica jungle in a helicopter. After commenting that Costa Rica is really magical, he says, “The only way I’m going to fall is to be vulnerable, to open up my heart.” And we’re off…
The eight women arrive and take transport through dense overgrowth. Perhaps the scenery is what prompts Ashley to declare that she is ready to get down and dirty with Brad. They enter a clearing in the forest and are delighted to find an upscale, modern resort – The Springs Resort and Spa. Marveling their way across the lobby they are directed to a lookout on a balcony where they can view a steaming volcano. (Hmm, is this a shade of Iceland and possibly a portent for the week?) Brad greets them with hugs and guides them on the scenic tour to their Villa.
Excited, happy moods turn solemn when Brad whips out the infamous white envelope containing date information. He props it up on a table and leaves. The room is silent while everyone stares at it; but, Emily gathers her courage and picks it up. She reads, “Chantal O., Close your eyes, hold on tight. Love is in the air tonight.” An ecstatic Chantal screams, while a bummed Alli is sad that it is not a date for her.
Cut to Michelle’s first grumpy face of the episode: If Brad is more interested in Chantal, then I’m not his girl. All I can do is be patient and hope Chantal gets attacked by monkeys or apes.
Batty For Each Other
Once again Chantal packs her lipstick pink suitcase and tells us that she is freaking out because after her time with Brad in Vegas, where she got emotional, she is worried about how he feels about her. This is another make or break date for her. When Brad collects her and walks hand in hand with her to a helicopter, she brightens up. “Oh My God; I always get the cool stuff!”
As they lift off over the tree canopy, the scene switches to Michelle with grumpy face number two who is once again complaining about Chantal. She really can’t see why Brad keeps Chantal around and tries to justify to Emily her wish that Chantal doesn’t return from the date by saying, “Perhaps Brad is just giving Chantal a last shot.”
Meanwhile Chantal and Brad reclaim their bond as they fly over the Costa Rica jungle, viewing volcanoes, lakes and cows. They land at what Brad calls the longest zip line in the world where they will fly 600 feet over the trees. Brad is very happy to re-discover the strong, confident Chantal he first knew and Chantal is excited to share a first with Brad as neither has been on a zip line before. A light rain doesn’t deter them as they launch from platform to platform, squealing with delight.
The sun goes down and a date card arrives at the women’s Villa. Alli explains that neither she nor Britt has had a 1:1 and hopes her name is not on the group date card; it isn’t. Her confidence swells and she thinks that Chantal needs to step aside. But, that will be hard for Chantal to do since she is seated in a jeep hugging one of Brad’s arms while Brad grins with joy.
They arrive at a picnic spot in a small clearing near the river which is lit with tiki torches. A blanket and pillows along with a food tray and wine await them and they sink down to nosh on coconut truffles. They clink and cheer to the best day ever and Chantal tells us that she has feelings for Brad that she has never had before. She is ready to move on to the next chapter in her life. Uh, moving on is a good idea as a heavy downpour crashes their picnic. It is very lucky that their picnic took place on the grounds of the resort close to Brad’s room because even though they make a run for it, they are drenched by the time they reach the door. Gentleman that he is, Brad pulls one of his white dress shirts from the closet and offers it to Chantal and points her toward the bathroom so she can ditch her soaked dress.
Tropical torrential rain pounding on a palm frond takes us back to the villa and Michelle’s grumpy face number three. With a wry smile she says she is happy that the rain has ruined Brad and Chantal’s date. (We know she lives in Me City, but is that located in the State of Delusion?)
A barefoot Chantal re-enters the bedroom wearing Brad’s shirt, a smile and not much else. His is stunned and thinks this is the hottest she has been. With a “Good God,” he quickly leaves for the bathroom and his own change of clothes. (Snicker – and I’ll leave it there.)
When he returns carrying a desert tray and the rose on a platter, he finds Chantal comfortably seated on a terrace sofa. Chantal thinks that getting rained out is romantic and perfect, though Brad corrects that to them being rained in. Chantal thinks that wording is better and declares that she would take being rained in with him any day.
They hash out her dramatically bad time in Vegas and she confesses her vulnerability. She feels good with him and wants it to continue. Brad is happy to hear that and they flirt a bit, snuggle and kiss as Chantal whispers, “I’m crazy about you.”
Brad: I’ve been so happy all day only because it just works with Chantal.
He offers the rose, she accepts and they’re back to kissing. When they take a short break, Chantal tells him that she feels the “things” you are supposed to feel and Brad replies, “Me, too.”
Chantal confides to us that she felt his vulnerability tonight, that he is ready to fall in love. With a bashful coyness she then declares that she did fall in love tonight.
Batty Is as Batty Does (or Brad discovers his stone face once again)
The women travel to their destination in a rolled up canvas sided vehicle provided by Pure Trek, their sponsor for the date. As they roll along and get soaked by the left over rain from last night’s downpour, Michelle displays grumpy face number four (why do I even bother numbering them, all of her faces are grumpy) pops in to tell us she hates group dates. All right, already, we get it, Michelle!
Brad greets the six women and tells us, not them, that this date is about facing fears. Guiding them over a slippery hill to a staging area, he tells them to grab a helmet and harness. Everyone, except Michelle and Emily, take advantage of the rain slickers proved by the trekking company. Brad leads them to a small bridge jutting out over a waterfall and says they are to rappel down. Of course, Michelle (again!) is pissed because of her pinky-swear thingy with Brad. She did, however, forget the crux of the swear - that they were not to rappel down buildings with anyone else.
Shawntel volunteers to go first since she’s afraid if she watches anyone else, she’ll freak out. Brad tells us that he is looking for a woman he can have a little adventure with, even if they are nervous. Shawntel wants to be that woman.
With encouragement from Brad, three more bounce their way to the base of the falls; and that leaves Jackie and Michelle. Jackie admits to being deathly afraid of heights – including ferris wheels and fire escapes, but Michelle thinks she is being a drama queen. When Brad tells Jackie to not look down, Michelle countermands that with, “look down”; Jackie looks. Not wanting to seem a wuss, she pushes off and slides her way to the bottom.
Brad is left with an angry Michelle who feels free to beat on him for breaking his promise. When he tells her he saved her for last so they could rappel down side-by-side, she changes like a chameleon into smiles, hugs and kisses. Poor Brad; by making Michelle happy, he’s ticked off the other women on the date. But, he’ll have time to make up to them when they soak in the hot springs, right?
Our first Survivor ™ moment happens as the hot springs scene opens with a centipede crawling gingerly over a lava rock. What follows are many shots of hot abs and hot bodies sliding into a natural pool of heated water. Britt brings us down to earth from all the “romance” cued up by the hot springs by pointing out the rose on a platter, which is balanced on the edge of the pool.
Jackie feels really special to be the first pulled away for a chat with Brad. She does call him out, though, about not rappelling down the waterfall with her. A gaping Brad senses trouble ahead with women jealous of his favor to Michelle.
Skipping over a short distance to the Villa, Chantal reads Alli’s date card, “Meet me at the altar.” She teases Alli that the card doesn’t say “love”, to which Alli replies that maybe it means marriage.
Emily and Brad dangle their feet in the pool and Emily tells him that she is pretty much scared of everything. She is starting to really like Brad and finds that scary as well. When she tells him that she sabotages relationships with guys she really likes, she proves it by sliding into the pool in order to put distance between her and Brad. When he catches up to her, she tells him she wants things to be different, that she wants to be more open, but she doesn’t know how to do it. They share a sweet kiss as Brad worries that Emily is setting herself up to be all alone.
Scary music erupts back at the Villa as Alli unleashes a panic attack over finding a big, crunchy beetle on the coffee table. Chantal tries to reassure her by scooping up the bug on a piece of paper and carrying it outside. However, that is the direction Alli has run screaming and when Chantal shows her the bug on the paper, Alli throws her wine glass at it and screams so loud she catches Brad’s and Michelle’s attention as they lounge in the hot springs.
The scene shifts from a freaked out Alli to a stone-faced Brad, who is apparently fed up with the jealousy and concerned about Emily not being able to open up. He faces the women in the pool and, after a speech of sorts, tells them that he is not handing out a rose.
Michelle goes creepy when Brad refuses to hand out the rose. She tells us that he needs to make decisions about who to send home, and if he can’t do it, she’ll be forced to take matters into her own hands.
Alli is so excited to be going on her date with Brad. She packs her red suitcase, applies makeup and is ready for her time. She wants that glow that the other girls get on their 1:1 dates.
Brad arrives on a mare and a smaller horse for Alli to ride. Two very young horses follow in their wake which makes me think the mare is still nursing them; totally cute…but – on with the date.
Brad: It’s time to decide if Alli and I have a true relationship forming.
They ride the horses at a walking gait through rolling fields. When they dismount, Brad prepares her by mentioning fear and anxiety, but nothing can prepare her to enter a 40 million year old cave with only a hard hat and lantern for protection. Stepping lightly through a rocky stream, Brad points out a huge spider on the wall; then with an upswing of his flashlight, he disturbs bats hanging from the cave’s roof. Alli is, of course, freaking out, but with both encouragement and teasing, he leads her through a waterfall and to journey’s end. They climb natural stone steps built into a small hill and collapse on a blanket laid out at the top – the altar. While they share a toast, Brad wonders if he can see this woman standing at the altar on the very last day.
Out of the bat cave and all dry and spiffy, we next find our couple seated at a table cleverly set on a platform jutting out into the pool at the resort. They make small talk which irritates Brad. When she goes on about not wanting to live in a big city – duh, Austin – Brad says, “We’re sinking.” Of course that could be a metaphor for this date, but he means it, literally.
Brad doesn’t give up on Alli, though, and tries to find a paddle, but it doesn’t help and they do sink, figuratively. No rose and a tearful walkout for Alli.
At the Villa, Chantal forces a vote on whether Alli will come home or leave. Consensus is that she will leave, but when the ‘man-hands’ arrive to carry off her bag, they are still shocked. They all chase out after him except for Michelle, who lounges back on the sofa and allows a small smile to crack her face.
Bats for Brains (or Michelle overplays her hand)
Brad retreats to his room for a little bit of downtime in order to treat his emotional exhaustion. From behind a closed terrace door, he hears a knock on the front door of his suite. (Give me a break! The cameraman heard it and pointed his finger.) He opens it and finds Michelle on the threshold. “Hola,” she says.
A bewildered Brad invites her in claiming that this is a nice surprise and proceeds to fall for her touches and light kisses. The temptress serves up the entrée before bringing in the feast. She tells him it was a good choice to send Alli home. Brad takes on irony and asks if there are any other decisions she wants him to make. (The making of decisions is a flashback to their time at the hot springs when he told her not to get in his way.) Not sensing him shutting down, she charges ahead and tells him that it still bothers her that he kept Chantal. While not wanting to be a tattle-tale, she dishes on who should be going next and in what order, leaving her in the number one spot.
With that, and a shake of his head, Brad escorts her to the door. She tells us that she accomplished what she wanted – she got alone time with Brad. He tells us that sometimes he feels like he is pulled in a million different directions and Michelle is a large contributor to that.
A subdued bunch of women wonder who will be cut at the Rose Ceremony. Brad joins then and admits to his day being really rough. Saying goodbye to Alli sucked and he caught a little grief from some people about not handing out the rose at the group date.
AHA! The game is afoot! Everyone perks up with a mystery to be solved and it doesn’t take long to narrow the field of grief giving to Michelle. Shawntel takes a moment of her time with Brad to ask if someone talked to him, then tells the others that someone did. The group confronts Michelle and she confirms that she visited Brad. Ashley is upset because Michelle crossed a boundary by sneaking off to see Brad. They all stare at her in silence until she says, so what?
Brad pulls Emily aside and they rock on the hammock as he admits to being scared of her. Emily confides in him that she feels like the biggest idiot because of their conversation at the hot springs pool. She reassures him that while she does distance herself, she cares about him a lot and it’s scary for her to feel so vulnerable. She needs his help to keep from pushing away and he declares that he is here for her.
Brad takes Michelle for their private conversation and tells her that while they have a good connection, she scares him badly. He tells her that they had the same conversation last night that they had at the hot springs and it left him reeling. It feels to him like they took ten steps back. He doesn’t like her questioning his decisions. Michelle tears up and says that now she is scared; yet showcases her lack of listening skills. Brad can’t resist a teary woman and pats her as she makes a case for him to keep her.
She tells us that she wants someone like Brad.
Shawntel wants Brad to relax so she gets him to play the silent game. They can do anything but talk. They are cute with it and their kisses; and Brad comments that they have an unsaid connection anyway.
As she heads into her big moment with Brad, Chantal worries that Michelle could ruin everything . She tells him that she realized something good on their date and, having a rose, this is the one time she can say it without him thinking he has to do something for her.
Chantal: I think it is important…I have fallen in love with you. I love you. I know I’m not going to get anything back, and that’s okay.
Brad’s eyes pop open and he turns to stare at her. Silently they embrace and kiss.
She tells him that her big revelation came when her attention turned from herself to him; and how he was doing. It was like the love of sacrifice.
Brad: Thank you very much, made my night.
She dissolves his serious mood by saying that he can tell her all he wants when they come back here with the family and friends.
Brad: (chuckling) Here’s the confidence I like to see.
Brad walks out Jackie and assures her that she is a wonderful woman. The limo drives off in the rain as a tear-free Jackie blames herself and not Brad, who is a wonderful man.
Next week – Anguilla – and all the drama an exclusive Caribbean island can deliver. Read how LG. throws out her lines and catches a big one.
The second Survivor ™ moment comes when a praying mantis overlays Michelle saying that Chantal won’t come home from her date. The mantis scares all the women. Uh, don’t praying mantis females devour their mates?