Meredith narrowed down her boyfriends from fifteen to ten last week. This week she has to let four more of her men go home empty-handed, with nothing but dried up boutonnieres from rose ceremonies past to show for their time on The Bachelorette.

RoboChris starts the show by gathering the men in the living room of the bachelor pad. Again he stands before them and tells them things will be handled a little differently than in the past. Before the men were selected for the show, they had to complete a psychological profile. From the results, the man who tested most compatible with Mer will receive a one-on-one date. The second date will be the next two men who tested most compatible sharing a date with her – so a threesome - and the last date will be a group date for the remaining seven, clearly incompatible, yet hunky men. RoboChris tosses the first video to RyanR and heads out of the house. RyanR jumps up and pops in the video. Mer is dressed in Asian garb and reveals that Ian is the most compatible man for her and invites him to a night in Chinatown. RyanR cannot mask his disappointment and looks like he is about to punch the TV for giving him the bad news that he is not the man for Mer.

After watching the video, the guys decide to play a game of pool. Out of nowhere, Sean (oh come on… you know Sean, right? That guy on the show that gets NO air time which leads us to believe that he will actually be the last man standing?) gets in MetroRick’s face telling all the other guys that Rick looks at Meredith as a game to be won. Sean continues, “Rick, you may be a good looking, successful guy, but I have a lot of things going for me, too, bud.” Rick’s bottom lip begins to quiver and he worries that his mascaraformen will run. Sean tells the camera in confessional that Rick has been pissing him off since he got the first solo date, prancing around the house as if he’s got the girl in the bag.

Later that evening, Mer picks up Ian and they head to LA’s Chinatown. They are greeted with a private parade then are driven by rickshaw to an empty restaurant for dinner. Now, I’ve never been to LA and I don’t know what Chinatown in normally like, but I have to say it seemed like the couple was actually on an ABC studio set. The streets were completely clean and perfectly empty. There were NO other people. I realize that in the past, the show has shut down restaurants and such so the couple can be alone, but this is ChinaTown. Can they seriously shut down an entire area of Los Angeles like that? Anyway, enough about that…

During dinner, Mer asks Ian what he is looking to get out of the show. He says, “ A girlfriend. I’m ready for that.” Ian asks Mer about proposing to the final man standing. Before she can answer about whether she would like to be engaged at the end of the show, he adds, “Because, for the record, even if I am totally in love with you, head over heels, I wouldn’t ask you to marry me that way. It’s just not me.” And I like him even more for stating so. In confessional, Mer says that she was just kind of going with the flow of the conversation, agreeing that she’s not looking to be engaged, but it appears that his saying he wouldn’t ask her to marry him actually wounded her in some way. I think she should be glad that Ian is reasonable enough to know that six weeks of fantasy dates does not a relationship make.

After dinner, Ian and Mer head outside and sit on a bench in the empty streets of Chinatown. There is no bird poo on the bench and again I am led to believe it’s a set built on the lot at ABC. Ian asks her if she had anything to do with him getting the one-on-one date. She shakes her head and says no, that it was based strictly on compatibility profiling. He says “that’s too bad” or “drats” or something along those lines, indicating that he wished she had chosen him for the date rather than him being selected. Ian, I think you should just be grateful that you received the date at all.

Back on the bench, Mer has draped herself across Ian and has her arm around his shoulders. Watching the couple, it appears that Mer is more into Ian than he is into her. I think he likes her, but she is definitely the one who has made all the moves up to this point. After they sit for a minute, Ian reaches up and pulls her face to his. Mer paused right before the kiss, making it a little awkward to watch. My guess is she wanted to kiss him, but the seven men shoving cameras in their face made it a little weird. Regardless, the couple kisses and Mer seems to be falling head over heels. After the make out session, they head to the wishing fountain and each throw pennies in and make a wish.

Back at the house, the second video has arrived. Mer invites Todd and RyanM on the threesome date and mentions a train and animal magnetism. I swear if I had a joke, I would insert it here. The next day Mer arrives dressed very casually and looking great. She, Todd and RyanM go catch a train that will take them to the zoo for the day. On the ride there, someone asks, “If you were a kind of food, what kind of food would you be?” I feel like I’m watching a Barbara Walter’s Special. Mer says that Ryan would be a turkey sandwich the day after Thanksgiving. Todd says, “Too much.” When Mer asks what kind of food she would be, Todd lamely says, “A S’more. Because you want s’more.” Ugh. Just ugh. After the food question, the three stand on the back of the train and RyanM talksandtalksandtalksandtalksa ndtalks. Todd and Mer just stare blankly into space as if the constant sound of RyanM’s voice has lulled them into some sort of hypnotic state.

At the zoo, they go look at the gorillas and Todd makes some snide remark about how the ape looks angry and it probably has something to do with RyanM. In the bird area, a couple of parrots are playing on RyanM’s head. Todd makes some snide remark about how the bird is insane and it probably has something to do with RyanM. This continues throughout the date. As annoying as RyanM is, and I believe him to be REALLY annoying, I’m sad that my favorite, Todd, has seemed to lose the magnetism he had from the last episode.

After a day of being insulted by Todd, Ryan asks for a moment alone with Mer. Todd graciously walks away while RyanM leads Mer to a conveniently placed blanket in the middle of a grassy area of the zoo. RyanM says something to the effect of, “MerIthinkyou’regreatandIthink wehaveagreatchemistry, youfeelit,Ifeelit,whatcouldbeb etterthanthat?Fromthemomentwem etIthinkwe’vebeenreallycomfort ablearoundeachother.Infact,Ith inkyouaremorecomfortablewithme thanwithprettymuchanyotherguyh ere,right?Don’tyoufeelit?We’re amazing.Really.AndtothinkIdidn ’tevenknowyouafewdaysagoandher ewereareinthemiddleofthezoowit hToddstandingwayovertherewavin gatusandit’sallaboutyouandme.B utmostlyme.” Mer can’t even get a word in edgewise and tells us in confessional, “I think RyanM likes to talk all of the time.” Really? Well, duh.

The three meet back up again and have dinner at a table set up for them in the zoo. Todd really isn’t talking much, but mostly I think it’s because RyanM hasn’t let him. Mer says, “I have a question for you. Do you guys think about marriage the way we girls do?” Todd begins, “I thought about getting married once…” but he was interrupted when RyanM says, “Yeah,metoo!Evenlookedatrings! Butnotrecently.Maybelastweek.” Todd looked defeated and didn’t try to continue his thoughts. Mer then asks the men, “Do you think there’s anyone left in the house that isn’t here for the right reasons?” The men sit quietly, which is quite a feat for Ryan, then Todd says, “What do you mean?” Well done, Todd. You’ve got the guy code down pat. RyanM then says, “It sounds like you’re thinking of someone specifically? Are you? Are you thinking of someone specifically? Is it Rick? Let’s just get it out there. It’s Rick, isn’t it?” Then he goes into this big spiel about how Sean got onto Rick for treating this as a game and how Mer should sit him down and look him square in the eye and say, “Rick, why are you here?” Mer gets this weird expression on her face as if she’s shocked that he would (1) run at the mouth like that and (2) suggest how she should handle the situation. The camera turns to Todd who looks utterly defeated and appalled that Ryan would give up any of that information about the other guys.

In confessional, Mer tells the camera that she knows she will be extending a rose to Ian and one of the guys from the zoo date and that she’s not sure she could deal with RyanM as he has no filters and is constantly chattering and she needs some peace and quiet. From this, I get the impression that Ian and Todd are in like Flynn.

Back at the house, the last date tape has arrived. Mer invites Matthew, RyanR, Sean, Chad, Brad, Lanny and Rick to join her the following day for a date ice skating and watching a hockey game. The guys all look excited, except for RyanR who is clearly still sulking from not being more compatible with Mer and getting stuck on yet another group date. Suck it up, Ryan. That’s how it goes. Be a man, drink a beer and be pumped that you get to see the Mighty Ducks in action.

The next day, Mer picks up the guys. She’s anxious to see which of the guys will be focused on the game and which of the guys will shuck the game and pay attention to her. Now, if this were me as the Bachelorette, I’d be thinking “screw the guys” and trying to figure out a way to get rinkside so I could get a better shot of the action. The date starts with two of the Ducks handing out jerseys to everyone. Mer tells them that they will be going up against Guy Hebert, goalie for the Ducks, and whoever scores the most goals out of five tries gets alone time with Mer. Now I’m thinking, with Guy in front of the goal, no one will be getting alone time, but I’m guessing Guy was told to just stand there because he did not even seem to try to stop the shots. Most of the guys end up on their asses, except for MetroRick who can actually skate. Of course he can skate. I’m sure his parents spent a fortune on figure skating lessons when he was growing up. Anyway, it ends with Lanny getting the most goals and he and Mer head towards the penalty box.

In the box, Mer tells Lanny he’s cute and that she wants to know more about him. In confessional, she tells us that she loves being around Lanny – that he makes her feel comfortable and safe. That he’s a manly man. The group heads up to their box seats and the game begins. Most everyone seems to be having a great time. There’s beer drinking and male bonding at its finest! Matt walks back to Mer and asks her if she wants to go somewhere and talk. She nods yes and he tells the guys, “If we’re not back in five minutes, then wait longer.” Matt and Mer sit and talk a bit. She asks him why he doesn’t have a girlfriend and he says he’s just not met the right girl and isn’t willing to waste his time on the wrong one. She tells him he’s great and leans in for the kiss. After the kiss, Matt sits back and says, “Thank you.” Odd. And random. Might as well have told her you love cake.

While the couple is gone, MetroRick decides to stir up a little trouble for Mer. He tells the guys to each think of some questions for Mer – to put her on the spot and make her uncomfortable. That Rick is so thoughtful. When Matt and Mer come back in the room, they all sit around a table and ask Mer questions like, “What is Lanny’s brother’s name?”, “How many hair products does MetroRick use prior to his deep conditioning treatments each day?” and “What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?” Mer doesn’t know the answers to any of these questions and is visibly uncomfortable. When Rick admits that it was his idea to play the game, Mer becomes angry. She tells the camera that Rick isn’t here for her, but rather just to have a good time. Rick just got the kiss of death. No rose for you!

The next night, Mer is waiting at her house when the men arrive. Again, there is a line up of air kisses and “you look greats.” They group is all gathered on the couch, when RyanR stands up and says, “I think it’s going to be a long night. Can I have a little time with you?” Mer offers her hand and he helps her up and together they leave the room. Away from the group, RyanR is pleading his case, “I think we have a great chemistry. I really want a rose. I just need to get some one on one time with you.” Before Ryan can even finish his speech, MetroRick walks up, taps him on the shoulder and says, “Hey buddy, can I interrupt?” Ryan is obviously annoyed, but not wanting to make a scene yet he gets up and leaves.

RyanR wanders over to the other guys and is pissed. He reenacts MetroRicks interruption, “Hey bestfriend, old buddy, old pal, paaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaardon meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.” For the rest of the night, RyanR wanders around mumbling to himself, something about burning the place down and squirrels being merry or something. Next to steal Mer away is Brad. I have to say last week in my recap, I thought Brad was a bit pretty and possibly a guy’s guy instead of a manly man. I want to retract that now. My gaydar didn’t go off this week for anyone but Rick. I think I was confused about Brad because he is just so damn pretty. Anyway, Brad tells Mer that he likes her, wants more time with her, feels a connection, yada yada. Mer, who is leaning into Brad says, “I’m so confused. This is hard! When I was on The Bachelor Bob let me go. He sent me home.” Then she adds, “I’m really comfortable with you.” Huh? Brad is stumped. That wasn’t exactly the encouragement he needed and now he says he’s feeling a bit skeptical. Yeah, I would be, too, Brad.

Next thing we hear is the clink of the crystal as RoboChris interrupts the party to take Mer off to the deliberation room. When Mer sees RoboChris, she is flustered. She gets up and walks up to him saying, “I’m not ready for this. I need more time.” He leads her away from the men and says, “What? What’s your deal?” She explains that she’s confused and hasn’t chosen her men yet. He tells her to come to the deliberation room so they can further discuss it.

In the deliberation room, Chris says to Mer, “What was all that about downstairs?” He seems like a disappointed parent about to lecture an insolent child. I don’t like the vibe. Mer tells him that she simply isn’t sure about who she is going to pick, and that she would like the option of extending a seventh rose. Chris says, “Merrrrrrrrr… you know how this game is played. You have 10 guys, you knock it down to 6. Next week, you knock out 2 more. Remember?” She says, “Nope. I want seven and I want them NOW!” Chris buckles and wanders out to find a nearby rosebush from which he can rip off a seventh rose.

Chris rejoins the bachelors and tells them that Mer was having a difficult time and tonight she would only be sending away three of the men instead of four. He goes back to get her from the deliberation room and leads her down the stairs. On a platter in front of her sit seven boutonnieres. She extends roses to Ian, Sean, Chad, Brad, Matthew, RyanM (?!!!) and Lanny. Not surprisingly she lets Rick and RyanR go, but I am surprised that at the zoo that day, the one rose she knew she would extend was to RyanM instead of Todd. I’m sad to see you go, Todd.

The guys say their goodbyes and Ryan stomps outside and throws something in the air. He tells all of the cameramen to get away from him. Rick tries to come over to him, telling him to calm down and not embarrass himself and he pushes Rick away and yells, “I need a mOOOOOOOment!” over and over.

Mer is sorry Ryan is so angry, but manages to clink her champagne glass just fine with her remaining seven men.

Tune in next week for a great recap from Eny and what is certain to be the most exciting rose ceremony ever.

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