7-5 Recap: “Truth In Advertising—The Title Says It All”
Greetings, faithful followers of FLOM! Are you sensing a theme here? Yet another fresh writer for your recapping pleasure. Yes, they don’t let things get stale here at the FORT. And, since this is the big finale, clearly, they’ve saved the best for last. At least…that’s what they told me. Because a wet-behind-the-ears, unproven, virgin recapper is definitely better than someone with experience, right? Right? Yes, of course. Because that’s fresh. Mmmm. Minty.
So this is exciting. You’re excited, too, aren’t you? The final episode. The final ring—the one ring, the ring of power. One Ring to rule them all…One Ring to find them…One Ring to win Preston’s heart…and in matrimony bind him!! Okay, so not really. But that sounds more momentous than “to a week and a half on the talk show circuit bind him!—followed immediately by a small upper left-hand corner picture on the front cover of US Weekly announcing the breakup!” But, still, it’s exciting. Because they will have to choose…da da dum!! Love…or money!!
Hey, Stupid! Yeah, I mean you.
We begin, of course, with the obligatory “I can’t believe we’re the final two,” breakfast. Rachel is not concentrating on her Wheaties. She’s obsessing over the smack talk that’s been going on behind her back. Sweet PJ’s eyes flicker spastically around the room—the very essence of “shifty.” If Rachel were paying attention to anything besides her own monologue, she might not have to wonder quite so hard about who could have said such slanderous things about her. Oblivious, Rachel comments that PJ always acts with the best intentions.
In confessional, PJ admits guiltily that she, the queen of blond innocence, did indeed warn Preston about Rachel. She is a little smug when she continues to say that she knows Rachel trusts her.
The girls are summoned to the “event” room. Which I would call, “the room wherein lame twists are announced.” Both girls react skittishly to the small box waiting on the end table. I consider things small enough to fit in that box that could inspire this level of concern—it seems overboard to me, but maybe they’re right. Maybe it’s anthrax. Maybe it’s the speedo Preston will wear when he greats them on the circular rug of destiny.
Jordan the Bland meets the girls here and starts rambling tediously. He seems confident that, despite the stress, both girls have had an amazing time thus far; Rachel and PJ’s expressions are not convinced. He informs them--with a weak attempt to sound ominous--that, tomorrow night, they may have to choose Preston’s love, or their money!!
(Brief Spegs confessional moment: This is the first FLOM episode I’ve watched this season, but I’m already so nauseated by the constant “Love or Money? Love or Money? Polly want a cracker!” repetition that I’m ready to order my Tivo to destroy all evidence that this show ever marred its pristine memory banks without watching to the end. Seriously. The question is in the TITLE. This show is calling me stupid, to my face. I don’t know how you faithful little soldiers endure this every week—but I salute you!)
Rachel’s reaction to this surprising revelation is: “I don’t think I’ll have another chance at a million dollars.”
PJ: “I could reach out to my family, give them everything I’ve wanted to…I could buy world peace and give lollipops to babies…” I’m too distracted by PJ’s strange brown shirt with fuzzy loopies on the collar to pay attention to the rest of her Miss America speech.
Jordan pulls the blank checks (gasp!) from the scary box and makes them each hold theirs. Rachel’s eyes squint and strain at the blank amount space while she holds it two inches from her face. PJ holds it loosely; her expression is wistful
Jordan announces that one check is worth a million dollars, and one is worth a single dollar. The girls react with appropriate eye rolls and grimaces, but the response lacks feeling—they’ve been through this too many times at this point. Jordan makes a big deal about having a 50% chance at a million dollars, worried, perhaps, that neither of the gals can do the math in her head.
“One more thing…” Jordan leers.
The rolling eyes and grimaces reappear, but they are lifeless. The twists have lost their power to surprise. It’s much like your tenth time through Disney’s Haunted Mansion—after a while, those little pop-up ghosts behind the tombstones just don’t do it for you.
Jordan springs this mind-boggling shocker: if the chosen girl chooses love, Preston gets the same choice, “Your love, OR your money. Not both.”
Rachel is upset that Preston will have the power in the end. I’m thinking, not if you choose the cash, honey.
Jordan adds that, “If you choose the money, you’ll never be able to see Preston…AGAIN.” This needed a big crash of thunder in the background, because I’m unimpressed. However, I am very curious to see the “restraining order” section of the contract.
PJ says the thought of never seeing Preston again makes her sick to her stomach. I’m kind of sick to my stomach, too, but that has more to do with Jordan’s never-ending, failed attempts at drama. Example: Jordan now announces redundantly that, “Tomorrow night, you are going to have to put a price on love!”
Jordan leaves and the women whine about their huge and eminent decision. In confessional, PJ claims to want Preston more than anything, but that she doesn’t want Rachel to know that. Rachel says that choosing between a million dollars and a great guy makes you realize what’s really important to you. This gal should be writing fortune cookies.
Deep Thoughts with Sherlock Holmes
Prince Charming makes his first appearance of the episode, and I wait to be bowled over by this paragon of greatness who can make a woman sick just by threatening to never see her again.
His first comment shatters my illusions. “Every time I see Jordan it’s another twist,” he whines. “Or just something I’m not expecting.” But if you’re expecting something unexpected, then it’s really not that unexpected anymore, is it? Oh, forget it. Preston says he feels like a detective, and he’s proud of his choices and his sleuthish skills to this point.
In the portrait room where Jordan is waiting, all the women’s pictures are lit again. Jordan points out these sixteen portraits, commenting on Preston’s monumental decision. As he speaks, the lights on fourteen portraits suddenly black out. Jordan looks pleased, and I wonder how many takes it took to get the switch-guy’s timing right.
“Tomorrow night!” Jordan emphasizes again (and my Reality TV Senses are going off. It feels all tingley, like maybe my note-taking hand has fallen asleep. Or, just maybe, this will be another new twist. Yes, you thought the finale elimination would be tomorrow night, but you only have until…dum dum dum…tomorrow, late afternoon!! Mwuhahahaha! (What I wouldn’t give to see Borin’ Jordan burst into a fit of maniacal laughter. Sigh. I’d trade a month of reality TV to see that. Last month. Not next month, when the Amazing Race is on.)) “You will have to decide,” Jordan continues, “who you share the strongest connection with. But that’s just the first hurdle!”
Jordan then details the producer’s evil scheme. We’ve already heard this. No splitting of the money, it’s love OR money. Juuuuuuust like the title. Jordan speaks slowly and emphasizes every single word, not realizing that this kills the correct intonation. “YOU will HAVE to CHOOSE love OR MONEY.” No wonder Preston looks confused. Please tell me the concept doesn’t confuse him. Please.
Jordan leaves Preston “to his thoughts,” and I think that’s assuming a lot.
Preston says that his gut tells him to go for the money, but his conscience says love. Isn’t that supposed to be heart? Fire the writer. Preston thinks that if he knew who had the million for sure, it would be harder not to choose the money. But maybe one of these girls is his future wife. He doesn’t want to shoot down that opportunity. Very loving and sincere, Preston. Not to mention specific—the girls seem fairly exchangeable to our lovesick hero at this juncture.
Ah, but I judged too soon. Preston can differentiate. He sees a passionate relationship with Rachel, but a long term potential with PJ. Both amaze him.
Sorry, we spent your budget on FLOM 2
Preston surprises the girls at lunch. Well, they’re both all gussied up, and Rachel squeals immediately that “I knew you were coming,” so the word surprise might be imprecise.
The girls demand to know how he is feeling, like he’s going to suddenly announce, “I’m feeling like I’m going to pick YOU!” or “I’m feeling like I want a million dollars!” (I know that feeling. I’m feeling it right now.) Preston says he is “composed.” This answer seems strange to me, but it doesn’t bother the girls. Preston thinks it’s interesting to have the two girls alone together with him for the first time, to see how they play off of each other.
PJ’s playing, all right. She serves up that she has no regrets because she’s always been herself, with sly glances toward Rachel. Rachel volleys back, claiming that she’s always been herself, too—laughing because people hate her for it. PJ returns with an eyeroll.
Preston interrupts the game for some alone time with PJ. They walk out to the edge of the balcony, where PJ gives me a brief moment of anticipation by declaring, “I’m going to step off the edge.” My hopes for some real entertainment are quickly dashed, though. Sadly, she’s speaking metaphorically. “And if you’re there to catch me, it will happen.” (And if I open the mayonnaise, it will be open. And if I turn off the TV now, it will be off.) Preston is taken aback by this statement. Was he hoping she was being literal, too?
There is a brief discussion of Cinderella and glass shoes, and a really passionless peck on the cheek that slow motion does not improve.
“What would we do first thing?” Pres asks. “If we got out of here?”
(This explains much. Apparently razor wire and guard towers are involved in the filming of this show.)
PJ can’t answer his question. Suddenly, Preston pulls out the pipe and the Sherlock Holmes hat. “Ah HAH!” He doesn’t say. He does say, “Seems like I threw you off with that question.”
PJ lets loose a torrent of anxiety and over-analysis, and Preston loses the scent. She concludes, “I’m so happy when I’m with you,” her face a mask of pain.
Their brief interlude ends. Preston’s summation: “The chemistry is there. It’s just which is stronger…” PJ: “He’s going to pick Rachel.” Preston is 100% sure that PJ will choose him over the money.
Now Rachel, whom he has dubbed “the risk,” joins Preston for her low-budget walk across the veranda. For the first time, there is visible chemistry in the body language.
Preston has more on his mind this trip. Flashbacks of Andrea and PJ trashing Rachel are shown in a purplish monochrome. Purple, the color of memories. My memories, too, Preston. Mine, too.
Preston wants to “call her out” on the fact that the other girls said she was the biggest doubter in the house.
Rachel: “That could…possibly…be true.”
Preston gets upset, wanting to know what she thinks about the two of them.
“Why do you even question that?” Rachel interrupts. Rachel, please refer to your immediately preceding comment.
Preston probes further, and Rachel protests too much. But then the tide turns. Preston wants to know where they go from here, and Rachel’s answer is a lurid smile as she leans in to make out with him.
“Rachel eased my doubts,” Preston says. Is that what the kids are calling it these days?
More verbatim, because I just can’t resist: Rachel tells Preston, “I’m crazy about you. I want to start something with you, and I want to be, like, home with you and just…all that stuff.” Who would not be swayed by such eloquence?
About the time that I realize Pres and Rach’s little walk has now lasted until after nightfall, Rachel reveals that she made good use of her time with Preston. I should say so! She bounces happily upstairs to torment PJ, who is, in Rachel’s opinion, an emotional mess.
Regardless of this assessment, Rachel giggles and gushes about how cute Preston is, how twitterpated she is, while PJ stares straight ahead with the same expression she probably has on the gynecologist’s exam table. PJ comforts herself that this day has to come to an end. I comfort myself with the same thought.
How to Dress for Disgrace
Another tense breakfast scene has PJ trying not to break down. Because, apparently, this always happens to PJ—anytime she finds something she wants, it gets stripped away. Rachel smiles, liking that pattern.
They confess some more. Rachel doesn’t want to give up a great guy for a dollar (She means Preston, right? Just checking). She says nothing about giving up a great guy for a million. PJ is frustrated, sad and mad that this situation is out of her control.
Lots of purply flashbacks ensue, and I’m glad they use the purple. I might have been confused, wondering where they kept the beach set and the snow set in the mansion, if they had shown these memories in color.
The girls obsess over the decisions to come, pacing up and down stairs and across balconies. The physical movement is not enough to balance out the stale reiteration. Both girls are worried that Preston is playing them.
PJ: “If I could say that Preston was falling in love with me, that would be the most amazing thing to hear.” Go ahead, PJ. Say it. See if it really sounds that amazing out loud.
Finally, it is night. Blessed, blessed night. The girls prepare. And what is the appropriate attire for an evening that has a distinct chance of ending in total humiliation? Rachel wears a one-shoulder, knee-length dark purple dress with a scarfy thing over the one shoulder. She looks nice. PJ asks someone—Rachel?—which dress to wear. I think Rachel must have been the one giving advice, because PJ ends up in a black dress with a ragged, shredded hemline that reminds me of a Halloween costume I once made for myself out of garbage bags.
Rachel is worried that she might lose Preston for a dollar, and never be able to forgive herself. PJ just points out that there’s no more decision time. Preston arrives in the limo. He wonders how he will say, “Thanks, but no thanks,” to one of the girls.
Jordan is with the girls in the “room wherein lame twists are revealed.” But there are no twists (except in PJ’s hair, which suddenly looks like mine does when I don’t brush it after swimming) only pain. Because one of them will lose EVERYTHING tonight (that’s some freakishly evil contract!). Again, they are reminded of the title of the show. Then they much say goodbye to each other…forever!
Rachel at least says “good luck,” and kisses PJ on the cheek. PJ says nothing, but her eyes say, “Get that lipstick off my cheek—now, ho!”
Once alone, Rachel sums this decision up for us. “If he wants the sweet apple pie girl, that’s PJ. If he wants the girl that stands up and is forward and calls people out on things—then maybe I’m his girl.” What a choice. I bet you could offer those alternatives to 1000 different men and get 1000 identical answers.
Preston’s Big But…and Split Ends
Preston goes to stand upon the carpet of fate. Much introspection follows this brief action.
Preston: “I see happiness with both of them in the end. But I’ll never be this close to just winning a million dollars again.”
Rachel: “It would be devastating if he didn’t choose me.”
PJ: “I’m just going to have faith in him. It got me to the end, it can get me to the final girl standing.”
Moment of truth. Jordan goes in to fetch…Rachel! He sends her out to Preston.
Oh, but those tricksy producers are one step ahead of us. Now Jordan summons PJ, and sends her down the stairs too. The cameras alternate between the two girls as they walk out to face Preston.
Meanwhile, Preston is contemplating that his parents would choose PJ, but that his friends and “people who know me” would choose Rachel. I’m feeling really bad for these parents whose son is a stranger to them.
PJ and Rachel are shown in a split screen, both walking out the back door. Then PJ is suddenly black and white (not purple and white—this is important! She is not a memory. She is frozen. Or dead. But not a flashback.)
Thus it is Rachel that goes first…or so they want us to believe. Preston greets her with a ridiculous “So we meet here again,” and she doesn’t turn around and walk away.
Preston: “I want to go through our first date.” Translation: the producers want to use the purple flashbacks again. This episode clearly needs the padding.
It’s all happiness and light now, just the utter joy and beauty of their brief dating history replayed in purple, and foreshadowing is beating me over the head with a crowbar. Rachel’s expression is nothing but smiles and “I can’t believe it’s MEEEEE!” faux shock. Flashbacks of the retirement home, the beach in Cabo, the hot tub… Preston raves about how he knew she was the one…
BUT. (Yes, and we’re all having strokes from the surprise).
And then, suddenly, Rachel is frozen, her face caught in the shift from shock to homicidal rage, and the split screen returns. Rachel fades to black and white (not purple) while PJ returns to life. Oh, those tricksy producers!
PJ and Pres compliment each other. Pres goes through the dating history again with all its purple glory. He talks about PJ’s transformation as she opened herself up to him (cue purple makeout scene). He admits to hesitation, though, and PJ promptly turns green. And then gray, as the lame split screen returns!
Back to Rachel, who is reeling from the big “but.” Preston tells her that his feelings were hurt when he heard that she doubted him, because he never doubted her (except for right now?).
“Yeah, but I wasn’t dating lots of other people,” Rachel butts in, and Preston looks surprised at the interruption.
He continues. “Er, right, that. Anyway, so much of me wants to be with you,” (I think we all know which parts he’s referring to), “BUT,”
Split screen! Ugh. Enough. Please.
He’s with PJ now, and telling her that she looks nervous. She admits she is a wreck.
“BUT,” Preston says, using the word gratuitously, as he is contradicting no former statement. “I choose you.”
PJ, whispery and verklempt, smiles disbelievingly. Her smile freezes in place, the stupid picture splits again, and we’re off to watch Rachel get dumped. Are you rubbing your hands together in evil expectation, too? No? Oh. Me neither.
Dumpsville. Population: Rachel
Preston wonders aloud if chemistry translates to long term commitment. Then he admits he might be making a mistake—
“I think you are!” Rachel inserts. If looks could maim and disfigure…
Preston asks for his ring back.
Rachel: “I cannot believe you’re seriously saying this,” she half-laughs through clenched teeth. “I’m not kidding. I’m, like, shocked.” (I’m surprised she doesn’t throw out a Vizzini-the-Sicilian-style “Inconceivable!” here.)
Rachel presses to know when he made his decision, and Preston admits it was only a few hours ago. How comforting for PJ. He also reveals, under duress, that he passed on Rachel because of trust issues.
Rachel’s concession speech is masterful: “I’m very sad. Honestly, I’m, like, totally disappointed. Like part of me wants to be, like, you know, Rach, you’ll do fine and you’ll meet somebody else, but I’m very disappointed! It’s inconceivable!!”
She gets a little violent with the double hand-hold between them.
Preston is cold and fish-like. “’Kay, well, I apologize.” (I didn’t make that up, people).
This eloquence convinces Rachel to give up hope, and she returns the ring. It was not the ONE ring, I guess.
The camera follows Rachel upstairs to record her melt down, which is not that melty. She cries a little, but not so much that it messes up her makeup. Her focus is very much on finding someone else, the right someone—somehow…someway. *Knock knock* Hello? This is Foreshadowing.
Rachel goes to burn her check. She takes a brief look at the amount under the blacklight and mutters “Unbelievable.” (Unbelievable not only rhymes with inconceivable, but has the exact same definition. Anybody want a peanut?)
The ‘O’ in FLOM
Back to the PJ and Preston love fest. PJ waxes romantic about how miserable she’s been. Preston smiles. PJ remembers that she now has to choose love or money (how could anyone forget!) and Preston’s smile gets tight and painful. PJ mentions how much her family could use the money, but concludes that money doesn’t buy happiness (who keeps pushing this concept? I want to know if the proponents of that theory have every really tried)) and Preston’s smile becomes positively Cheshire-smug.
She chooses Preston over the mystery check.
They kiss. It is not inspirational, though the producers try to spice it up with multiple camera angles and slow motion.
Now Preston has to decide. PJ turns green again. Preston copies her reservation about needing the money for his family (the parents who don’t even know you? Yeah, right—sell it to the Eskimos, buddy), but then decides that PJ has been “too real” to him. He says she could have the million dollar check for all he cares. He says no to the money because, though most people would say he’s crazy, he’s not most people!
Another dry peck-kiss follows. PJ is shaky, whispery, and thrilled. Preston is eloquent as usual. (ex: PJ: “I’ve never been this happy.” Preston: “Really?”).
After the fact, Preston grows thoughtful. “We both chose love over money—a rare and amazing thing…fer sure. Love did conquer all.” Very romantic and heartwarming (“fer sure” excepted) until one remembers that he didn’t know who he was going to pick until the eleventh hour.
PJ glows. She got her Cinderella ending. Her ring is the ring of power.
Preston makes a revealing comment: “I might not be winning a million dollars, but I’m winning a girl who’s worth a million dollars.” Someone is still hoping the producers are going to reward this happy ending with a new check, aren’t they?
By the pricking of my thumbs…
It’s done now, right? Time to hit the sac—Oh, for the love of reality TV! Jordan is back. He stands on the front stairs of the mansion as a limo approaches. Out steps Rachel, looking pretty hot in red satin. The foreshadowing comes to fruition, for Rachel will be our new Bachelorette. Or, FLOM Gal, rather. She’s ecstatic that she is the ONE girl chosen to come back for this opportunity. Foreshadowing’s crowbar hangs over my head only briefly, for the voiceover man quickly reveals that Rachel is not alone. Another limo deposits Andrea at the doorsteps. She seems to be wearing some kind of yellow lampshade. She also enthuses about her solitary position of power; she is honored to be the one.
What follows is a strange, circle-y scene where Jordan explains the rules to both Rachel and Andrea separately as the camera orbits the chairs in a dizzying fashion. Rachel and Andrea take turns appearing in and disappearing from the chair, while Jordan repeats himself silly.
He guarantees them both a check for one million (because I’d totally take a guarantee from those trustworthy reality TV producers at face value!) if they get the chosen guy to choose them over his money. Then they will have the same choice as Preston: love or money, one or the other.
Jordan: “Would you like another opportunity to discover the price of (and suddenly Jordan channels Barry White) luuuuuuv?”
Rachel and Andrea, on the much loved split screen: “Absolutely.”
Next Monday on For Love or Money:
Arch enemies will whine about each other. A lot. Fifteen men will choose who stays. Twists galore will hover above us like stealth bombers, waiting to drop their load of shock and awe!!
You know I’m going to be there! *uncrosses fingers surreptitiously*
And now, dear FLOM fanatics, we come to the end of the beauty and the grandeur that was For Love or Money 3. Not just pretty words, are they? And I find myself wishing desperately for that one ring of power, PJ’s ring, because then you would all have to love my recap. Yes, all would love me…and despair!!
In the immortal words of the ever expressive Preston: “Thanks.”
You can send your love—or your despair—to me at email@example.com