With the finale of For Love or Money 2, we’ve all collectively reached the end of our summer addiction. But not before the producers torture us with two hours of flashbacks and commercial spots.
We begin with seven minutes of flashback scenes to For Love or Money One and Two, before we meet up with the remaining contenders for Erin’s heart, Wade and Chad.
Wade – Confessional Scenes, Part 1
Tonight I notice that Wade looks more tired than I’ve ever seen him in confessional scenes. Five weeks of life in the mansion and the emotional stress of playing the game appear to have taken their toll. Wade says it’s hard to imagine that he is in the final two. He speaks of his friendship with Chad, and that it’s hard to be in competition for a woman with your friend.
Chad – Confessional Scenes, Part 1
Chad also looks strained, but I suspect he’s become weary of the game, of the cameras and the manipulation of the producers. Chad says it’s not tough to keep his friendship with Wade separate from his relationship with Erin.
Morning Meeting, With a Twist
Jordan invites the men to the salon for a talk. Wade said he and Chad had already figured on there being another twist. After useless chitchat from Mr. Obvious, Jordan pulls two million dollar checks from a box and hands them to the men. He then explains the twist we knew was coming all along: Whoever Erin chooses must make a choice between Erin and the money. They can’t have both.
Before returning the checks to the box, Jordan announces that Erin will meet both men for dinner that evening before spending alone time with both.
We then watch the Wade and Chad pass the afternoon in various stages of angst and introspection.
Wade – Confessional Scenes, Part II
For love or money. There’s the rub. And maybe Erin has to do the same thing. Maybe she has to make a choice between love and money as well. Maybe she has been playing me. If she has, I am falling for it. Erin possesses more of the qualities of my soul mate than anyone I have ever met before. I am leaning toward choosing Erin. She would make a great addition to my life. But I can’t tell how she feels. She really has to show me something tonight. My cards are on the table. Chad has a lot of thinking to do.
Chad – Confessional Scenes, Part II
I have a lot of thinking to do. I don’t know what to do. I am at a crossroads. Is she playing me? We’ve only had five dates; we’ve only spent about 12 hours together. If she is playing a game, she gets an award. She is a damned good actress. Erin has a special personality. She is gorgeous, witty and fun. But is it for real? We’ve had great dates. We seem to have a really deep connection. Tonight is the key. If I don’t feel what I want from Erin, it will be easier to take the money.
Dinner for Three, Angst on the Side
Erin comes to dinner knowing that the final twist was revealed to the men this morning, and the men will have many questions of her they cannot ask. She hopes to reassure them. In confessional, Erin says she is certain that if she picks Wade, he will choose her over the money. Chad, however, presents some uncertainty. Although her feelings for Chad are strong (we have a ‘connection’), “… if he won’t take the leap, it will be a real bummer to never see him again or be able to pursue the relationship.”
At dinner, the friendship between Wade and Chad is obviously in conflict with their affections for Erin and their competitive natures. As Erin attempts to pay attention to both men without seeming to favor one or the other, Wade and Chad struggle to introduce neutral subjects. Eventually, Wade comes up with the right and wrong thing to say at the same time. Noting that Chad is not as good at expressing his emotions, Wade speaks for the two of them and tells Erin how wonderful and beautiful she is, and explains that the competition is difficult for all involved. Chad manages to mumble something to the effect of, “Me too.”
Alone Time – Erin and Wade
Glasses of wine in hand, Erin and Wade retire to the mansion’s steps to talk. Again, Erin asserts in confessionals that Wade would definitely choose her over the money. Then we see Wade say that if Erin’s tactic has been to play hard to get with him, she has been playing too long. “She’s got to show me something.”
Wade tells Erin as much directly, pointing out that he has shown her all his feelings, but doesn’t feel as though those feelings were reciprocated. Erin says there were so many things she wanted to tell him, but was still hesitant.
By now the producer’s contribution to the conversations is becoming obvious, even to the most dedicated FLOM2 viewer. As Wade reminds Erin of the moment on their date in Sedona, Arizona when he leaned in for a kiss, we are shown yet another flashback scene. Wade says he felt let down another notch by her obvious coolness.
Erin’s word for the evening is “bum” in all its many variations. She tells Wade his revelation really bums her out, and she didn’t mean to make him feel that way. She goes on to make the brilliant observation that she loves Wade because of his old-fashioned southern charm, and often thinks of his mother, as in “What would Wade’s Mom think?”
In confessionals, Wade says this line was not the least romantic. “I really don’t have a clue [what I’m going to do]. All I needed was a little rope to pull myself to Erin’s shore.” Realizing what he feels for Erin is not being returned, Wade says, “I’m not an idiot,” and asserts that it is Erin’s own fault if he takes the money.
Erin - not quite aware that a brain and good intuition exists behind Wade’s gentlemanly airs – remarks, “Wade is a slam dunk if I want it. The other choice (Chad) is a black hole.”
Alone time – Erin and Chad
Before spending time alone with Chad, we are treated to more confessional moments. Erin says she definitely has real feelings for Chad, and knows she needs to reassure him. Despite Chad’s growing skepticism regarding Erin’s intentions and the unknown elements of the game, he confesses that he is amazed by her, “Each time I see her, I go ‘Wow.’”
They greet one another lovingly and go for a walk on the lawn. They end up in the gazebo where they met on the first night. After more flashback scenes they kiss and exchange lover’s looks.
Prompted by the producers, Chad asks Erin what her favorite experience has been. Mexico (flashbacks). Ice skating (flashbacks). They dance around real conversation for a bit. Erin notes that Chad is acting standoffish, and recalls that she acted the same way during her last moments with Rob (more flashbacks, with a dash of foreshadowing).
Chad thinks it likely that Erin is playing him. Erin wishes Chad could trust her. Chad attempts to draw Erin out, but pride or conversational skills prevent him from asking directly. He asks Erin about the future. Erin says, “I have no expectations. We’ll just see where it goes.”
For whatever reasons (editing?) Chad took her remark as a dart to his heart and begins to rethink the situation. With her now trademark squinchy eye look, Erin tells Chad she has no doubts about how she feels. When she squinches and states, “Do you think I am a liar?” all at the same time, I giggle uncontrollably for no apparent reason.
Later, Erin says that if Chad is unable to trust the feelings they have together she sees it as a bad sign, a red flag. Meanwhile, Chad was looking for signs in their conversation, “This is not the way I want to start [a relationship].”
Chad and Wade – After Dinner Mince
After Erin leaves the mansion, Wade and Chad talk. Chad confesses he was ‘freaking out’ during his alone time with Erin. Wade believes Erin is keeping her own secrets about the game, and speculates that perhaps if the man she selects chooses Erin over the money, she – in turn – gets to choose the money or the guy. “That’s my biggest fear. She picks me. I pick her. She takes the money.”
By now it’s 8:49, and I’m realizing the show could easily be over in 11 minutes. Or given NBC’s proclivity to drag this show ten minutes over into the next time slot, perhaps 21 minutes. During the commercial break I check the TV schedule hopefully. No dice. I’m stuck with this show for another 71 minutes. Bummer.
The Final Day – Endless Angst and Introspection
I confess. I am titillated by the word “angst” in this final recap. I am not sure why. It just seems an appropriate theme for this episode.
The next 30 minutes of show time are filled with flashbacks and scenes of Wade and Chad staring pensively into the blue. Presumably, they are pondering the weight of their life-altering decision.
After nine weeks of manipulation, now topped off by a final two hour insult heaped on top of it, I’m suddenly seeing right past the drama of it all and right into the eyes of the producers:
Producer: Okay Chad, we need you on the balcony for another shot. Just sit here on the railing. Okay. Leg extended. Look pensive. Ready? Oh, Chad! You look great! The camera loves you.
(Chad looks pensive, longing. The wind ruffles his hair slightly. Shadows fall on his face as dusk approaches.)
Producer (fawning): Great job, Chad! That will make a great moment. Tell me, what were you thinking?
Chad: In 6 more hours I’m taking a cab the hell outta here. I’m grabbing a burger, calling my mom and checking my email.
Cameraman: Crap. Battery is dead. We need a mulligan.
Producer (singsong voice): Oh Wade!
Wade and Chad visibly weigh the decision. Love or Money? Money or Love? Girl. Nice Enough. Money. Character. Girl. Money. By now I’m nauseous and pawing the junk drawer for an old prescription bottle of Phenregan.
The Longest Elimination Ceremony – Ever!
Erin arrives at the mansion in a limo, thoughtfully considering the evening ahead. Once she reveals her decision, she must divulge her ‘past’ as a contestant on FLOM1, her relationship with Rob and her decision to go for double or nothing and further her broadcasting career.
Jordan makes a final appearance, painfully explaining the obvious conclusion to the evening. Wade and Chad have a moment to say their goodbyes before being taken to separate rooms during the elimination process.
Erin’s Speech to Wade – Part One
It’s good to see you. Wow. You still light up the place. I’m so nervous.
When I first met you, you lit up the place. You really glow. When I first met you (flashback), you were the first person I knew would be standing here tonight. I don’t know what that was about, but it’s true. It felt like we knew one another. At the barbecue, (flashback) you were so vibrant. I loved how funny you were. You stuck out to me.
Our dates. The Hollywood Bowl (flashback) was so romantic. You seemed flawless to me. I always felt like I could trust you. You are the most honest of the men here. You never seem to be afraid of anything. I’ve never met anyone like you – someone who meets all the criteria I was looking for. There is nothing wrong with you. You are perfect.
And you were like, totally, the glue in the house. (you can take the girl out of the valley …) All the guys identified with you. It’s so rare to meet a person like you. And I just flat out started falling for you. Our connection is so real.
By now the tiredness I’ve seen behind Wade’s eyes in this episode has evaporated along with all the doubts he had about his connection with Erin. I see what Erin means when she says that Wade lights up the place. Wade grins widely, seems relieved. And. We fade away to ...
Erin’s Speech to Chad – Part One
I’m so nervous. There are so many things I want to say. When I first saw you I thought you were so handsome. It wasn’t till the pajama party that I realized you were the one that stood out. It totally made sense why you were voted out of the group dates by the other guys. I wanted to get to know you better.
Our dates – On the ropes course (flashback) you were awesome. We grabbed one another and just fit perfectly. (squinches eyes) I knew I felt something real. Then the dolphins (not football – just another flashback), we had a great time. In Mexico (flashback) I felt scared. I don’t know what you are thinking. I guess what I’m trying to say with all this is …
(Commercial Break. And 36 minutes till the local news.)
Erin’s Speech to Wade – Part Two
(Rewind. Play back last lines of speech in case viewers got too distracted by the commercial breaks to notice the obvious change in the arrangement of rings at Erin’s side.)
I guess. When everything played out. Ultimately. I felt like. Connection. With Chad. Was. Just. Stronger. I’m choosing Chad.
The emotions on Wade’s face have run a full spectrum in this time. Finally he gets a chance to speak: I saw in you so many qualities I was looking for. I’ve had a great experience. You made it all worthwhile. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.
I guess – finally the ring comes off. But it still fits if Chad messes up.
In confessional Wade admits this was a big rejection that he would feel for some time. He says that he is used to winning and that Erin was the kind of girl he could see as being part of his life. Wade’s eyes were wet as he tells the camera, “If Erin had chosen me, I would have picked Erin over the million dollars” before he burns the million dollar check.
Erin’s Speech to Chad – Part Two
(Rewind. Play back last lines of speech in case viewers are experiencing short-term memory loss.)
I am totally following my heart. You are someone I have connected with. (oh geez. I’ll never, ever say the word ‘connected’ again). I’m not scared to tell you how I feel. What I’m trying to say is. I’m falling in love with you. I choose you.
Erin and Chad engage in a long hug. Chad seems surprised. Then, because it’s only 9:30, he begins a long soliloquy:
Chad’s Speech to Erin
You are amazing. You are smart. Witty. Classy. Very special.
Just the dates. The ropes course (flashback). I didn’t think I had any feelings in this. I looked at you. I held you. At that point, I felt a huge connection (oh no! it’s contagious!). You are great. Okay. Now. The twist.
(Eyes roll. Commercials roll. Speech continues.)
I’m here (in the mansion) for about six hours when Jordan tells us we are going to meet a fabulous woman. And we have the opportunity to win one million dollars. Yesterday, Jordan tells us that we have to choose between love or money.
Yesterday, I was standoffish. The reason being, I felt as if I was lying to you. Money was never my motivation. Now that it comes down to it. Well. You said you didn’t have any expectations for the future. That hurt me. (Erin protests, “I didn’t realize I said that.”)
So [the money]. It’s a big decision for me now. It’s nothing about you at all. But at this point. I’m going to have to say to you …. (That it’s time for a commercial break.)
(Rewind. Play back last lines of speech in case viewers are easily suggestible and went to buy a beer. Or a Ford truck.)
I’m not taking the money. And I’m keeping the ring. Maybe it will work. Maybe it won’t. But here I am. I am yours. (Kiss, kiss, passionate kisses)
Erin Tells All
Finally, the moment has arrived for Erin to tell Chad that she lived in the mansion before as one of 15 contestants playing for Rob’s affections. “He picked me, but I chose the money because I didn’t feel a connection with Rob.” She tells Chad that she came back for the second series because the money was “like, whatever” (because my family really needs the money, what with my dad’s stroke and all).
“I’m playing for two million dollars. I want to split it with you,” says Erin with a straight face before splitting hairs, “I am splitting the million we were playing for here. I don’t have to, but I want to.”
With a flourish learned at the feet of Jordan, Erin whips out a blank check and handy Sharpie and writes out a check to Chad for $500,000.
After much glurge, Erin and Chad depart the mansion with Chad saying, “It’s like that old song. Love conquers all. Erin is definitely worth one million dollars. If not more.”
For comments or questions about this recap, please write Bumpkin@fansofrealitytv.com.
With apologies for a lengthy recap, I’ll say, that’s all folks. While I grew to love Wade, I am hopeful that we won’t be subjected to another installment of FLOM. Or Jordan.
If you find yourself with strange cravings for sap and romance, I hope you will join LurkingGirl (LG.) and myself as we recap the upcoming season of Joe Millionaire 2, beginning in October.