7-19 recap: Monkey Love—Brought to You by the Discovery Channel
Greetings my lovely FLOMers (…or FLOMians…or FLOMites. You can be anything that you want to be—and that’s not just true for Blue’s Clues). Today’s phrase of the day is “rolling blackout.” Can we all say it together? Mmmm, well done. I’m sure my California friends know the definition. Well, those of us here in Phoenix like to copy our trendy neighbors at every turn. So, last night, the blackout rolled through my house again, and again, and again. Nightlights were doused, children were frightened, children were screaming, children were huddling in my bed, and the house reached about 110 degrees. Now, I say this not to whine…okay, not just to whine, but to forewarn you that today’s recap may cause you question my sobriety. (Sleep deprivation makes me act like I’m on crack, or at least that’s what my dealer tells me.)
And it’s too bad, because FLOM is finally settling in to a comfortable groove where the twists are not all powerful. The lack of twisting last night made me feel strangely un-dizzied, and I was all set to write clear and cohesive recap for you. Ah. I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
The World’s Pause-y-est Auctioneer
Dawn dawns at the mansion of love (or is it the mansion of money? Sorry. Jordan made me do it.) and we get to catch up with Rachel’s man-harem. Caleb, who is apparently the captain of some vessel and has the last name “Obvious,” lets us know that there aren’t as many faces in the house. Rudy talks about odds again, and I sense there’s been a lot of heartbreak for Rudy at the craps table. It is revealed that—though the editing withheld it from us—Mike and Josh did in fact tell each other the amounts they were playing for on that first day. Will that come in to play? Gosh, I just don’t know!
Jordan enters the room where all the men are assembled, only to tell them to immediately assemble in another room (the LTR to be precise). I’m thinking Jordan really is quite useless, but when we get to the LTR I see that I misjudged him (and I quickly remove the pin from his voodoo doll’s spleen), because there are props waiting. Numbered paddles to be precise.
Rudy says “Like, what could this be?” While Rudy visits a lot of casinos, I don’t think he’s ever heard of Sotheby’s. ’Cause I’m pretty sure right away what this could be. Yes, it is the first FLOM auction. Jordan explains—in a dramatic way that I cannot really convey without resorting to interpretive dance—that the men will be bidding on a date with Rachel—the only one-on-one date before the next elimination. And they will be betting with the money on their checks. The betting starts at $25,000, so Dave and Morgan, our one dollar players, are out before it begins. To quote Dave’s eloquent summation, “Brother got a dollar!”
The date includes the opportunity to give Rachel a 30 carat, $500,000 diamond necklace (Is this where the budget from FLOM 3 went? No, a little bird who watches Regis and Kelly let me know that the opportunity to give Rachel the necklace was quickly followed by NBC’s opportunity to take it back again. Tacky, NBC.) The date also includes a limo trip to the historic Biltmore Hotel, where they will have a private dinner in the majestic gold ball room. Betting begins. Rudy, with all his Boston Rob cunning, will be watching the bets to see how much the others are playing for.
Chris (playing for $250K) opens with $25,000.
Josh ($500K) quickly raises that to $50.
Chris makes his final attempt at $75.
Mike (250K) moves in with a strong $100,000 bid.
Alex (1 mil) jumps in at $125
Mike goes to $150
Alex takes it to $175. (Dave takes this moment to tell us that Alex is a “too fast, too furious” kind of player. No, I don’t know what he means, either. Certainly not that Alex is a poor man’s Paul Walker. Just…no!)
Mike pushes it to $200
Josh (dubbed the dark horse by Alex) returns to the game at $225
Mike bets all his cash, $250, bemoaning in confessional the fact that Josh knows his hand
Josh, with a smirk, trumps him at $275,000
Going, going, gone! Josh wins the date.
I notice in particular one betting trend. Caleb and Rudy, both holding a million dollars, are the only ones never to place a bet. Revealing. Mike says that if he’d had a million dollars, he would have bet it all, and I believe him. I’m afraid not to. Mike scares me.
Beach Blanket Bingo
On to the first group date, which is Mike, Alex and Chris—picked seemingly on a whim by Jordan. Mike looses a spegs point by hoping for a chance to “share a connection.” Rapidly becoming the voice of self-righteousness for FLOM 4, Mike tells us he is the only one on the date who isn’t after the money. Chris’s following “I want that money!” lets us know that Mike is at least justified in his sanctimony.
Rachel makes her first appearance in the episode, looking cute. This does not excuse Alex’s smarmy “Hey, beautiful,” and he loses a point. He does redeem himself slightly by adding aside that Rachel looks like a million bucks (but not enough to get that point back). They’re off to the cheap beach date. Alex laments the lack of sun—he was hoping for a bikini. Don’t worry about the clouds, Alex. Wear whatever makes you happy.
After a brief game of sand volleyball, Alex snags the first alone time with Rachel. Rachel finds his physical flirty-ness uncomfortable, but she’s afraid to rebuff him. Why? Because someday he might be choosing between her and a million dollars. There is a word for people who trade physical intimacy for money. I will use it later.
Mike takes Rachel away next to eat their lunch in privacy. Rachel claims to have the strongest physical attraction to Mike, which I am not seeing. Particularly as, in this scene, he is wearing a hideous gray knit cap pulled low over his naturally glowering brow. Shocking no one but Rachel, Mike is intense and aggressive in their conversation. She sees him as a wild card, but an attractive wild card. Mike, in an aside, promises that she’ll get hurt if she doesn’t pick him (I guess all the mafia didn’t leave the building with Chad), because he’s the only one who doesn’t give a damn about the money. I am sensing top two potential with this one. If I were a betting woman… oh, sit down, Rudy.
There is no alone time with Chris, or, if there is, we don’t get to see it. They head back home in the limo, Rachel cuddling with Alex on the way. The date ends with Rachel in confessional declaring, “I love money.” She thinks she can make a lot of money if she’s good at making these men feel special. Again, there are many words in the English language for that kind of behavior. The nicest one is “gold-digger.” The less nice one is coming up later.
Momma Needs a New Pair of Shoes!
(seriously, I do)
That night, there is a tense exchange between Josh and Mike over Josh’s knowledge of Mike’s check amount. Bleeped words fly. At first I’m on Josh’s side. It’s not like Josh held Mike down and drooled loogies over his face until he cracked; Mike volunteered the information. But then Josh pretends that he didn’t remember the discussion, and Mike gets a not-taking-any-crap point for not believing him, and letting him know that.
The next day is a casino date with Rudy (who should feel right at home), Morgan, Caleb and Dave. I don’t know why they got the shaft on the 4-1 odds, but it doesn’t seem fair. The four men all discuss their need to step it up and other clichés. Dave sees Morgan as his biggest competition, and then proceeds to give either a very self-confident or very gay appraisal of Morgan’s charms. Morgan doesn’t seem to be much of a player at this point, though. If he had to choose at this moment, he’s not sure if he’d pick Rachel or the dollar. Ouch.
At the mini-casino (one table with an apathetic looking dealer in a small, dark room) Rudy steals Rachel away first. Rudy tries to talk with her seriously—make a connection, if you will (-1 for me)—but this plan backfires. Rachel wants humor. Rachel demands to be entertained. I’m surprised she doesn’t ask him to put on a propeller hat and do back flips. Dance, monkey! Dance! Rudy later declares: “I think the most attractive thing about Rachel is her million dollar smile.”
Rachel pretty much orders Caleb to join her for private time, and he shuffles off submissively. Another intimate moment falls flat. Rachel detects a lack of interest, and Caleb admits there is no connection (-1). Rachel gets an intuition point for guessing that Caleb has a big check, and thus is reluctant to develop feelings for her.
Rachel trades in Dud #2 for Morgan, who just previously revealed that he might take one measly George over Rachel. But this moment doesn’t disappoint. Rachel thinks Morgan is “hot” and a “man,” and I think she intends to convey more with the title “man” than just someone with a Y chromosome. Morgan is feeling the sparks, too. I can’t help but think that it really helped Morgan out to follow after un-funny Rudy and sparkless Caleb.
Back at the gaming table, Rachel reveals that the man with the most chips gets to ride back in the limo with her. Game faces go on! Because it is a looooong walk back to that mansion. Dave wins, and he is pleased because he was the only one denied alone time. Why was he denied? I don’t have the answer. Do you? Please…share. Dave swings Rachel up in his arms and carries her to the limo. Rachel finds this very sexy. Like Morgan, Dave is another “man.” Dave likes that his one dollar check makes this a guilt-free situation. He is intrigued by Rachel.
Mano a Mano
It’s time for the only non-polygamous date of the episode. Both participants admit to a physical attraction, but Josh also states that he is playing for money (it’s too bad you blew more than half of it on this date, then, huh?). Rachel is quite pleased with the very high maintenance date. She is “swept up in the romance of the environment.” Stealing P.J.’s slipper, Rachel claims she is now Cinderella.
In a very gauche way, Josh tells Rachel how much the necklace is worth when he presents it to her. Well, I find it vulgar, but Rachel’s eyes light up like two dollar symbol neon signs. She gives Josh an iron-clad “don’t worry about the elimination ceremony” guarantee. (Ah, Mr. Foreshadowing! So glad you decided to join us tonight.)
In the limo, Josh makes his move. Suddenly, the ultimate fantasy date becomes Brian Fellow’s Safari Planet. That’s right, Josh becomes a wild animal. Giving away a half-million dollar necklace has apparently gone straight to his…head. Rachel shuts him down and he is embarrassed. And here’s where the word which I’ve promised to speak will be spoken: prostitute. Yeah, that’s right. Because Rachel is suddenly anxious that this will affect Josh’s choice, should he be the one choosing (dum dum dum) Rachel or money. So Rachel decides to “fix” the situation. She does this by climbing on Josh and grooming him like a chimp to feign interest (apparently the safari has not ended). A very creepy, hooker-ish reaction. And she is confident this strategy has worked. In her words, “I think I got him!”
Back at the house, it’s another Jeff Corwin moment. The other men circle around Josh, perching on sofa arms and ottomans like vultures waiting for the injured zebra to stop kicking. The questions are forthright. Josh admits that they did kiss a little bit, and the vultures go after the details: “Did you kiss in the limo or out of the limo?” The men are all disappointed by the “both” answer. Morgan is confident and insightful, though. He knows a kiss isn’t always a positive. And, in the biggest turn around of the season, Morgan is sure that if he’d had the alone time “this game would be over.” Ah, there’s that alpha male Rachel loves. In Morgan. And Dave. But not in Rudy. Or Alex. Quite capricious about her love for aggression, isn’t she?
The general consensus among the men is that Josh is cocky. Which is easily translated from male-speak into “we’re insanely jealous.”
Because it Wouldn’t be FLOM Without One
The next day, Rachel is invited to visit with Jordan for a little surprise twist on the veranda. (Actually, they’re in the portrait hall, but I like the way veranda sounds.) Rachel is offered the option of seeing the amount of any one man’s check. Jordan says, “Are they here for love…(wait for it)…or money?” I stab the pin through Jordan’s little dolly heart with a vindictive laugh.
Rachel agonizes, but finally picks Mike, strengthening my earlier “top two” prediction. She was clearly hoping to see $1.00 on that check, and is “scared” by the $250,000. I think she’s overreacting, as it could have been $750,000 worse.
The men are shown as they get ready for the big elimination ceremony, and I think they say something about money, but I was so distracted by the very strange cleavage that Alex has, that I missed the whole scene. And I was too afraid to see his chest again to rewind it and try to pay attention.
Guillotines Go Best with Formal Wear
The men assemble on the FLOM stairs in their tuxes like eight dutiful waiters. Rachel stands behind the ring box and gives the obligatory “this is tough” speech. Actually, she does a decent job, pointing out that these men chose her, and it makes it harder to send them home.
Morgan is the first one she calls. Rachel simpers (she does this every time, and it is annoying every time). Then she tells him he has presence, he is genuine and sincere, BUT she is worried by his skepticism. HOWEVER, there is a connection (-1). Morgan stays.
Rudy is second. Rachel starts right in with how disappointed she was with their alone time because she was hoping for a stand up routine. Rachel seems to have this show confused with Last Comic Standing. (Note to self—check with Shazzer about cross-promotion of recaps). There are no positives here, no connections (-1), and Rudy is given a swift kick toward the curb. I’m going to miss his endearing Machiavellian charm!
Dave gets complimented on his appearance (“So cute tonight!”) and not a single BUT or HOWEVER (is that allowed?). Rachel loves what she sees in him, genuine, open, yada yada yada, and she liked being thrown around. It made her feel like a woman. Dave makes a mental note to hit Rachel over head with a club on their next date, and then drag her off by her hair. Obviously, Dave stays.
Chris gets a very generic description of his energy and zest, and an invitation to stay. Again, I wonder if there was alone time that we were not shown, because, unless she’s just working on physical attraction alone (not that I would for a second blame her), we’re missing something here. Is Chris the dark horse the editors are keeping from us? Chris accepts the invitation, and stays.
Alex is, in Rachel’s opinion, assertive and she loves that. Not enough to keep him, though. That’s right, though Rachel says, “I really enjoyed my company with you,” she also gives him the cruelest HOWEVER of the evening. She sees him as more of a friend, or buddy. Alex hands Rachel her knife back, and the ring, and leaves feeling “floored.”
Mike is called. Rachel enjoyed the fact that lunch gave her a chance to “get a connection (-1) with him,” and I am confused by the way this word is being morphed by overuse on reality TV. (I got a connection once. My cable company came on out and hooked up my computer for high speed. And that connection is true love, so maybe this usage is correct.) Rachel invites him to stay, and Mike gives the only acceptance speech of the evening (-1). He wants to explore all there is to Rachel. He wants more. He needs more. And I need to go make sure my deadbolt is locked, because Mike makes me feel like I’m in the shower of a roadside motel and Bernard Herrmann’s Suite for String Orchestra is playing.
Two men are left. Josh is looking very confident, and Caleb is resigned. Rachel calls Caleb first. Rachel senses nerves or shyness may be holding him back. BUT she needs more. And she wants a chance to see more. Caleb is invited to stay, and he accepts.
I think that when the previews promised us an elimination that no one would expect, they were basing that claim on the reactions of the four men standing on the Balcony of Acceptance. Because they really are blown away. Great “did you just see that monkey fly out of my butt?” expressions on every face. Caleb is just as surprised. And I am surprised, not by the fact that Josh will be leaving, but that Caleb is staying. And then my eye strays to the very nerdy graph I’ve compiled on my little cheat sheet, and I see that Caleb is the only one with a million dollar check left in the game. The producer’s pick of the evening, perhaps? My gut feeling is that Caleb only gets to stay until the checks are shuffled. Because we all know that’s gonna happen. Yes, you know it, too.
And all we have left to do now is give Josh the “it’s not you, it’s me” speech. Only Rachel doesn’t have that script. She lets Josh know that it is him—particularly the groping part of him—that she is rejecting. She admires aggression—but only on her terms. His physical aggression made her uncomfortable. Again, the men on the balcony have priceless reactions. Mostly, “what the heck did he do?” and “why didn’t we get a play by play of that”? I think I see Dave mentally erasing his pro-caveman mental note. Josh is quite polite and accepting as he leaves.
Rachel is very happy with her condensed herd of stallions. She is the luckiest girl in the world!
Smoke Gets In Their Eyes
On to the gratuitous torturing of the losers!
Rudy goes first, and very honestly tells us that if Rachel wants love, then she is not missing out by sending him home. He would have broken her heart for a million dollars. He burns his money sadly.
Alex is still surprised by the “buddy” brush off. But he was also leaning toward the money. That is what he regrets losing.
Josh is completely befuddled. “I have no clue who that girl is.” I have to agree with his reaction. Rachel couldn’t have mixed her signals more thoroughly in a blender.
Next Monday on For Love…Or Money! (-1)
In the next episode, we will learn how skeet shooting always paves the way for tonsil tennis. Rachel will reveal too much, and the men will begin to suspect that they aren’t the only ones playing a game. Only one man will be sent home, and, if they don’t switch checks, it’s not gonna be Caleb. Spegs will give her last recap, and there will be much rejoicing (by spegs in particular, though you can rejoice too if you want to hurt my feelings) as Lucy takes the helm. Till then, adieu to you, my FLOMies!
Here are this week’s spegs points totals on the remaining contestants for people who care:
And me… -1
You still have time to earn your own, special spegs point! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org