Welcome to San Francisco, Bach fans. The City. That’s what the natives call it. It’s famous for the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, Ghirardelli chocolate and The Rock. No, not Dwayne Johnson: Alcatraz, the dark, dank, scary island prison from which no one ever escaped.
Let’s see, LA to San Francisco by car is, what, an eight-hour trip? Seems our poor ladies have been on the road for days. And the Bachelor? He’s had to make the whole exhausting, hazardous trip by motorbike. At least that’s what we’re led to believe: here’s Jake on the steps of the appropriately product-placed Intercontinental Hotel in his biker jacket, waiting to greet our damsels as they run off the bus in glee. The opportunity is beyond Vienna’s wildest dreams: “I’ve never been in a big city before. We're staying in a Huge room upstairs.” I was afraid they’d put her in the laundry room. “It’s nice to be treated like a princess.” I’ll bet she checks for a pea under her mattress.
The Bachelor has great news. “We’re gonna start doing some things that are five-star.” I’m hoping this is not on a one-to-ten rating scale. He pulls out a date card and as usual, warns against opening it until he has left. Vienna issues a dire warning: “at the last rose ceremony I got the last rose and Ali was pretty upset. If she gets the one on one, I’m going to be [bleep]ed.” Whew! It’s for Tenley. Just to remind—Tenley has pretty much been ignored up to now, but we’re all worried about how hurt she was by her no-good, lyin’, cheatin’ first husband.
Appropriate to her re-virginized status (she hasn’t been with a man since her divorce) Tenley wears a white trench-coat for her rendezvous with destiny. Jake has thoughtfully arranged for a private trolley ride. Well, it isn’t exactly a trolley, but it’s a big van painted to look like a trolley, so that should count for the “quaint” factor. Tenley’s amazed there’s no one else on board, “Is it just for us?”
BUT THAT WAS IN ANOTHER COUNTRY…
First stop: Chinatown. Jake’s eyes open wide in surprise at the exoticism: “It’s just like a foreign country!” Maybe China? They stop by an eatery for some “succulent pig.” Yumm. Let’s not think about what they make with the leftover parts. Spam. Or Vienna Sausage.
Oh, and isn’t this cute? They’re at a Chinese fortune-cookie factory. They’re getting to write their own fortunes and put them into cookies. I wonder if they know about the rule that says you have to add “in bed” to whatever the cookie says. Tenley boosts his ego (something that must be done with frequency for this Bachelor) by telling him what a great decision he made dumping Ashleigh and Jessie at the last rose ceremony. As a reward she gets a little smooch.
Tenley’s pleased to be getting to know the Bachelor better, but she wonders if he’s “all there.” Oops, sorry, what she said was “I think we fit together. I just need to know all the pieces are there.” Jake realizes he’s starting to fall for Tenley, but there’s that whole pesky divorce thing. She better have a good explanation.
BACK AT THE BIG HOTEL
Another date card has arrived. Corrie decides to do another one of her comedy routines. With a perfectly straight face, pretending to read the card, she says, “Ali and Vienna.” Ali looks ill. Vienna looks furious. Everyone else looks terrified. The room is rapidly filling with venom. I’m thinking Jack Bauer showing up is the only hope.
Realizing the hackles she’s raised, Corrie confesses, “Just kidding. It’s Gia and Vienna. ‘Come be my queens.’” Ali mock-threatens Corrie: “You suck at life.” Vienna’s furious, both at having to share her date, and with Ali.
Vienna threatens to leave the room. Ali isn’t letting her get away with it: “You want me to leave? If you’re upset with me, then tell me to my face.”
Fine, accuses Vienna: “You flipped out at the rose ceremony. I heard you.”
Ali attempts to explain herself, telling Vienna, “If you’re right for Jake, then great, but there was a reason for what I said.”
Vienna retorts, nyah, nyah, nyah “I didn’t say anything anybody else didn’t say.”
Ali has no more interest in debating Vienna, “I think everyone makes mistakes. I make tons of them. I don’t know how to end this.”
Vienna won’t let it go. She’s vituperous, “She’s not going to break Jake and I up. I just want to go find Jake and tell him.” I’m betting she does exactly that.
CHEATING IS A CHOICE
Jake and Tenley arrive at the famous Coit Tower. Tenley cannot believe her luck, “We get to go up in it.” Honey, it’s not a hot-air balloon. It’s just a building. Jake is very proud of his date planning: “Coit Tower is amazing. I’ve set up a table for two on the roof.” I picture Jake lugging a card table, china, silver, food, flowers and the booze up the 210 feet of steps. Fun facts to know and tell: Coit Tower was built to resemble a fire-hose nozzle. Don’t say “The Bachelor” isn’t into symbolism.
Jake reveals to the viewers that out of all the girls, this paradigm of virtuous womanhood is the one he most sees as his wife, “I just want to know if I get down on one knee and look up at her….” What would you do if you were spending an evening with a woman you think is great marriage material? Probably not take Jake’s approach. He demands that she tell him what she did wrong in her first marriage.
After hearing her answer, I agree she bears a huge responsibility for the break-up: “I took things for granted. I really regret not jumping up off the couch to greet him when he came home. That was one of my biggest mistakes.” Wasn’t that was a question on “Family Feud?” Survey says, number four reason for marriage failures: wife not jumping up off couch to greet hubby when he comes home.
Nevertheless, for Jake it’s a great answer. “Some of the things I found myself saying, she’s saying the same things.” If these two get married, they’ll have to replace the couch every six months, what with all that jumping.
Turning the tables, Tenley confronts Jake with the question of “pilots and faithfulness.” No prob, he assures her, “Cheating is a choice. The woman I marry will be the last woman I look at.” They smooch. Jake thinks the kisses are magical. I think they look like sixth-graders at summer camp.
Time to open the fortune cookies made earlier. They each open a cookie to find the words, “Kiss Me.” Not shown: ABC interns Tiffany and Phillip pulling out the original messages and substituting pieces of paper all saying “Kiss Me”. As the music swells to the soaring strains of “On the Wings of Love” they obey the instructions. Tenley sighs, “Jake’s such a beautiful man from the inside out.” Huh, when did they show his insides? Was there an X-Ray or something I missed?
QUEEN ATTTACKS KNIGHT
There’s a knock on the door of the girls’ hotel suite. They open it to find a coffin on their doorstep. To my disappointment, there’s not going to be a date at some famous San Fran mortuary. It’s the only thing Jake could find to hold the clothes and accessories he’s picked out for Gia and Vienna to wear on their date. I don’t know when he had the time, frankly, what with all the work he had to do for the dinner with Tenley. Vienna thinks she’s hit the mother-lode and starts jerking out garments like a five-year-old ripping open Christmas presents.
Vienna’s already planning on taking Jakey home to meet the parents and scheming ways to make sure she can monopolize his time: “I’m gonna try really hard to keep Jake’s attention on me. While Gia’s around, I’m just going to pretend she’s not even there.” Charming. Gia’s worried about that as well, “I’m gonna feel like the third wheel.” Somehow, I think it’s likely hell will freeze over before anybody gets away with treating Gia like a third wheel.
Jake is waiting on the girls at the appropriately product placed Castello di Amorosa winery, no relationship, I am assured, to the Apprentice candidate. In case you were wondering if it’s a real castle, the answer is yes: there’s a moat with a drawbridge and everything. Vienna is quite surprised at this; she’d thought, “he’s telling us he’s taking us to a castle and we’re gonna stroll up to a trailer park. That would be hysterical.” Funny that her first thought was of a trailer park.
The date will involve an overnight stay. Jake’s a bit concerned about the logistics. Vienna isn’t worried; she’s gloating over the jealousy the other girls (read Ali) will feel when they find out. At dinner, Vienna wastes no time implementing her plans to monopolize the conversation and tattle-tale on Ali. Gia can do nothing but look on in dismay while Vienna trots out the crocodile tears and plays for Jake’s sympathy, “She (Ali) was saying she couldn’t Believe you would like a girl like me. After the rose ceremony (sniff, sniff) I just couldn’t hold it in anymore.”
It would be an understatement to say that Jake is not particularly adept at handling emotional conversations. The best answer he can muster, is “I’ve got it down to the best five. It’s because I want you here and it’s for specific reasons.”
YOU CAN EAT MY SALMON
Jake invites Gia to join him for some “alone” time. Vienna is royally miffed. But, Gia consoles her, “You can eat my salmon.” Once they leave the room, Vienna announces with satisfaction, “in a couple of days I won’t have to see these girls ever again. Jake’s Mine.”
Somewhere in the castle’s labyrinth, Jake and Gia are face to face on a bench. Gia’s pitch is that, despite appearances, she’s not at all confident of her status in this game. “I may not act insecure, but I’m probably the most insecure girl here.” Believe that, people, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn I can get for you cheap. And, she chastises him: “When you’re trying to fall for someone and you hear the other girls telling the same stories, you don’t feel so special anymore.” He wants specifics. Turns out it’s the leg thing. Gia thought that whole him pulling her legs across his was “maybe our thing. It really hurt me that you were doing that with all the girls.”
Jake hurries to make it up to her. He pulls her legs across his lap and coos, “I’m really into you. You’re so kind and sweet. You’re like drop-dead gorgeous. Are you falling for me? I’m falling for you. I have other dates, but I don’t have those amazing moments like we do.” Jake pinches himself to make sure he isn’t just having another one of those dreams.
Before the camera cuts away in embarrassment, we see Gia tutoring Jake in Lesson One from the book “How Grown-Ups Kiss” (*includes free DVD). It’s just like a movie. She sighs, “Is it Ok to fall?” He murmurs, “It’s OK to fall.” Sorry, guys, it worked a heck of a lot better in “The English Patient.” I almost swooned when Ralph Fiennes said it to Kristin Scott Thomas. Jake to Gia? I confess: I sniggered.
Right now, you’re probably asking yourself: “What’s Vienna doing while Jake is with Gia?” I’ll bet you thought she was being a good sport, waiting her turn, drinking her wine and eating Gia’s salmon, didn’t you? No, instead she’s grabbed her lantern and headed out through the dark cellars intending to barge in and throw cold water all over Gia’s hopes. I can’t help it; all I can think of is the Edgar Allen Poe story, “The Cask of Amontillado” in which Montresor gets fed up with Fortunato’s insults, lures him down into the cellar, and walls him up behind some wine barrels. Not that I think there’s anyone who would want to do that to Vienna…
This scene goes on entirely too long, as Vienna stumbles around in the dark, pretending to be terrified, and feebly complaining, “I’m really scared.” Then she calls out, “Jake? Jake honey?” I don’t know why she’s having such a difficult time. Everyone knows wolves can hunt in the dark.
Jake and Gia hear Vienna and wait around a corner to startle her. Vienna is not amused, “That’s F[bleep] not funny.”
Blithely sending Gia off to the tower to braid her hair, Vienna begins to spin her web about Jake. He just feels sooo bad about her treatment by the mean girls, “I’m so sorry you’re having a hard time in the house.” Oh, pooh, Vienna scoffs, “Just keeping my eyes on the prize. I don’t wanna share you anymore.”
Having exhausted his extremely limited conversational gambits, Jake turns to his old stand-by: “Tell me what marriage with you would be like.” Just to save you the trouble of a complex translation, please allow me to summarize. Vienna’s idea of an idyllic married existence is to have dozens of children running around (no doubt barefoot), but never have to take care of them because she’s going to be flying off to heretofore unseen big cities with big hotels while the two of them behave like “sixteen-year-olds.” To illustrate, she grabs Jake’s head, smacks him hard on the lips and shows him how in their future together she’ll be constantly screaming, “I love you!!!!”
That same evening, at the hotel, a date card has arrived for Corrie: “Love is a Walk in the Park.” She’s happy and relieved to finally be spending some time with the Bachelor. Tenley and Ali seem to share her happiness, with gleeful hugs all round.
We next join Vienna and Gia in their shared room in the castle. Enough of this, says Vienna, I’m going to find my man, “I wanna be the last girl he thinks of before he goes to sleep.” Gia thinks Vienna’s making a big mistake, “If I was Jake that would be too much. Vienna doesn’t think what’s right and wrong. She just does things without thinking.”
Jake has just shucked his shirt and laced up his drawstring breeches when Vienna flounces into his room and climbs under the covers in the bed beside him. Jake looks about as comfortable as a fish floundering on the dock. Vienna clinks her glass to his, “Here’s to finding love……and not having to go back to my own room tonight!”
I’ve no idea how long she stayed, but eventually Jake convinces her they’re being just terribly unfair to poor Gia and sends her packing off to sleep in her own bed. He admits to the camera, “I’m lying in bed, nearly nekkid. In comes Vienna with two glasses of wine, looking sexy as hell. I have to admit I’m having dirty thoughts.” It’s reassuring to hear he’s capable of those.
ABOUT READY FOR DINNER
It’s the next day, and Corrie’s looking hot for her date, wearing a skin-tight knit dress, leggings and eight-inch spike heels. Jake, waiting for her in the park, has other things on his mind, “We have the same values in life. I’m hoping the ambiance puts Corrie at east.” Just in case, he has a blanket in the boat.
Jake and Corrie’s riparian afternoon consists mainly of admiration of birds and bridges and fish and not kissing. Corrie does reveal that her parents told her never to date recreationally, to only go out with someone she’d want to marry. We’re all tremendously relieved when Jake blurts out, “I’m about ready for dinner.” To the camera, he moans, “I just can’t figure her out. The relationship is going reallllly slow. But—the night is still young.”
They arrive at the Science Center. I panic. This place is just rows and rows of balconies. And we all know what happens when Jake gets near a balcony—yup, he pulls a Mesnick. But we needn’t have worried: this date is so unexciting we might as well have stayed at the park and watched the grass grow.
They’re having dinner by the fish tank. Jake doesn’t mention having prepared it himself, so I’m crediting Phillip and Tiffany. Corrie mentions that Jake has been about as warm to her as the fluke-fish in the tank. Instead of responding to her concern, he pulls out his dog-eared “what if we’re engaged?” card. Oh, Corrie assures him, “I’d be living in Dallas.” Long long pause. “But I’d have to have my own apartment.”
Jake can hardly believe his ears. “Are you saving yourself for marriage?” From his tone, it’s pretty clear that’s a plan he doesn’t favor.
Corrie is a bit embarrassed at his reaction. “Yes.”
Jake tries to recover, “Well, I totally respect you for that.” To prove he means it, he leans in for one of his pseudo-kisses. He’s either forgotten everything Gia taught him or his heart’s just not in it.
At the end of the evening, Jake passionately tells Corrie good-night: “I feel like we needed to get caught up and we did.”
The last date card has come and it’s Ali’s turn again. “I want to leave my heart in San Francisco; show me your city.” Ali’s pleased to get to (ahem) plan the date herself. Really, maybe the name of the show should be changed to “Do It Yourself Bachelor Dates”. I’m just saying…
Guess who’s not happy about Ali’s date? Vienna’s fretting, “I think Ali is a threat to me. It kinda sucks she’s having that chance to show him around her town. It’s either gonna go great or he May decide he doesn’t like who he sees.” It’s clear she’s favoring the latter scenario.
Ali gets all dressed up and three of the four other girls tell her how cute she looks. She and Jake are strolling down the street, hand in hand. He buys her flowers at a street-stall. Daisies are her favorite, but they have none. Still, it’s a perfect moment for her: “I don’t know how many times I’ve walked past this flower stand and wished somebody wanted to buy me flowers.” Jake suggests they can have a place in Texas and one here in San Francisco. Ali lets him know how much she looooves Texas.
They go to the properly product-placed Ottimista Wine Bar. It’s Sunday morning, so they have cappuchino instead. Jake thinks it’s cute to get the froth all over his upper lip like a mustache. It’s not. Jake wants to know how Ali spends her Sundays, afraid she’s a workaholic. Not so, she says, “I work five days a week. I just want to be the best I can be at my job.” Confidential Memo to Jake: four of these five remaining women have successful careers. The other one claims to be a princess.
Jake warns Ali ominously that he’s going to need a serious conversation with her about what’s going on with Vienna. I’m thinking of better ways to use his time.
Ali and Jake walk by the Golden Gate Bridge. She share that “this is where I run.” He counters, “I’d chase you here.” They’re obviously enjoying one another’s company and a low-key day. Jake stops suddenly, looking at a pelican, “Hey, that guy’s got a crab.” They spread a blanket in the park, and what starts as a canoodle ends up with Ali astride a prone Jake, giving him a massage. She says, “People say when you’re in love everything is more beautiful.” Jake isn’t interested in that; he wants to talk about Ali being mean to poor Vienna.
By the time the sun starts to set over the Golden Gate, they’ve moved on to another spot and popped the champagne cork. Jake is like a dog with a bone. “Speaking of trust, I want you to know you can always come to me. I feel like there was something you wanted to talk to me about after that last rose ceremony.” I’m getting a really clear picture of why this guy needed to go on a reality television show to find a wife. He’s completely clueless.
Ali sighs, and gives in. “Vienna.” She tries to end the subject once and for all. “If you pick me, I’m yours. If you don’t that’s OK. I want you to make decisions that are right for you.” Jake is hell bent and determined to defend Vienna’s honor. He’s bristling like a porcupine, “I hear what everybody’s saying. When I’m with her, she’s incredibly honest. She goes out of her way to let me know she’s here for me.”
Ali wants this conversation over and done with. Now. “I’ve come to a point; I need to let go of that. I’m ready to let go of that.”
To end the day, Ali and Jake and some random person’s golden retriever dash into the surf. Ali has had a wonderful time: “I could have stayed out there forever. I’m so smitten with that boy.” I’m hoping Ali hasn’t ruined a great pair of suede boots for no good reason.
It’s that time again! There are roses to be given out and a heart to be broken. The girls are gathered in the hotel. I can’t help noticing they’ve given Vienna a bit of a makeover, corralling her straw tresses into a French twist and gluing fake nails over her chewed-to-the-quick ones. How does that saying go: One man’s sow’s ear is another one’s silk purse? Something like that, I’m sure.
The Bachelor appears to offer a toast and assure the five girls that he’s fallen for every single one of them, lock, stock and barrel. He will, naturally, be spending a little special quality time with each of them (except Ali, who’s gotten the whole day). Tenley’s panicked that “the man, I’m like, falling for, could be falling for other women.” That turns Jake on: “for the first time tonight I’m seeing Tenley falling apart. And I’m glad.” Huh? Anyway, he pats her on the head in reassurance and they dance to no music in the hotel hall. Looked like the box-step, for those keeping score.
Corrie’s worried about Jake’s reaction her being a Virgin. “Last night when I told him I was saving myself for marriage I think he was surprised. Just because I’m a virgin, doesn’t mean I don’t have a sensual side.” Jake tries to pretend he doesn’t care about such things, “It’s not about sex appeal; it’s about heart appeal.”
Vienna’s worried her little excursion in the castle might have back-fired: “When I snuck downstairs in the castle, he was thinking about Gia upstairs.”
Speaking of Gia, she’s gushing over what a gentleman Jake acted by sending Vienna back to her room. He preens in pleasure. “Umm, I’m not very good at that, double-dating.” Gia purrs sweet nothings back at him. Men all over America are drooling in envy. So what does Jake do? He nuzzles at her neck, like a pony with a pal.
Finally it’s Vienna’s turn. Jake’s worried about her mental health. “Tonight I wanted to do something special to reassure her.” He does the thing Vienna loves best: he takes her to his room. They go out onto the balcony. Note to producers: you can play that ridiculous “majestic/romantic” stringed symphony music all you like—I’m not buying what you’re selling. Jake and Vienna have another deep conversation.
Vienna: “So how are you feeling?”
Jake: “It sucks.”
Vienna: “It sucks for us too.”
After an extensive period of sucking face, each expresses his/her confidence in where they’re headed.
Vienna: “I think Ali is just a bump in the road. I want Jake to be happy. He’s a big boy. He has to make his own decisions.”
Jake: I think my relationship with Vienna is about to turn a corner. I’ve been holding back because of the other women. I like Vienna. I’m going for it.”
Host Harrison, who’s had some time off this week and shows up in a shirt I’ll bet he got at a thrift-store endowed by New Jersey mafioso, arrives with the magic grapefruit knife to announce, well, you know the drill.
Retiring to the library, where the final five’s fotos have been tastefully reframed by interns Tiffany and Phillip, Chris elicits Jake’s feelings about the remaining women. In a nutshell, here are his (ahem) insightful assessments of each:
Tenley: “We’re looking for the same things in life. She can make me relax.”
Gia: “an amazing girl. She might be the most insecure. I relate to her. I know where she’s coming from. I hated seeing Jillian go on dates with other guys.”
Corrie: “I have a really good idea of Corrie’s core values. We had a really slow start.”
Ali: “I really identify with Ali. You can just kind of cuddle up with her and it feels safe.”
I’m hoping they’ve printed up extra “friend” cards this season.
So, prods Harrison, what about Vienna? “You know the other girls don’t love her. Does that faze you at all?”
Jake is defiant. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks. “I know what they said. I’m through with that.”
Golly gee, asks Harrison, what are you gonna do? Jake is in fake-agony: “I know I’m gonna make some woman feel the same as I did when Jillian let me go. That memory is just burned into my mind. It’s gonna break my heart, but I know who I’m gonna send home. I just need to muster the strength to get through it.” I need to muster the strength not to fall off the sofa laughing.
Jake faces the females. “I’ve fallen for five women. My heart is breaking right now.” Tenley gets the first rose. Corrie looks rueful, she knows there’s only room for one virgin on this boat. Ali is next. Vienna smolders with anger. Gia is called. Harrison ominously announces, “Last rose tonight”; Jake shakes his head as though the weight of the world is on his shoulders. Inhaling sharply, he chokes out, “Vienna.”
Saying her goodbyes, Corrie affectionately hugs Tenley, Ali and Gia.
Jake walks Corrie out to the waiting limousine. She’s incredibly graceful in her exit, telling him, “I don’t want you to feel bad.” Still, in the limo, she’s unhappy. “Sometimes two people can be attracted and just not feel it. I don’t do good dating guys who are dating other girls at the same time. I came here to get to know Jake and see if he was the person I was supposed to spend my life with and he wasn’t. I was so sad.”
The remaining four ladies, their roses and Jake console themselves with champagne. He swears he’s excited to be meeting their families. I can’t help wondering if the families feel the same enthusiasm. You’ll have to tune in next week to find out—but you’ll have to bring your own rose. Harrison already spilled the beans: for the first time ever ever in Bachelor history there’ll be No Rose Ceremony!!! How can we bear the deprivation? My partner LG. will be here to share every heart-rending moment.
EPILOGUE Corrie, Tenley, Ali and Gia in the living room singing fake opera arias. They’re having a wonderful time and laughing so hard they can barely breathe. Not Shown: Vienna. Some might suspect she’s in Jake’s room. I’d never dare suggest such a thing. Others might. Not I. Never.