7-26 recap: Romance with Projectile Weapons
Welcome back to FLOMland, FLOMians. I’ll be honest; I have no excuses this week. I got a good night’s sleep. I took comprehensive notes. My kids haven’t burned anything important today. You’d think this recap would rock. Yeah, you’d think that… *sigh*
This week’s FLOM opens with our five remaining suitors waiting in the “wait here for Jordan’s dramatic entrance” room. This room really lives up to its name. Jordan comes bouncing in wearing an oddly feminine jogging suit that I assume is meant to indicate the early hour. Either that, or he’s trying to tell the boys that they have options.
Jordan launches into the task of the day: yet again, the men will have a chance to win Rachel’s heart on a solo date—yet again, it is the only solo date before the next elimination. Rachel is waiting for the men in the main event room (which I will no longer refer to as the “lame twist room,” since they appear to have used up all the twists in the first three episodes), where they will have one half-hour to “capture her beauty on canvass.” Without knowing the artist, Rachel will pick her favorite painting. That artist will then get the one on one date…AND…a chance to trade his check for another, if he so desires.
Caleb, our sole million dollar check holder, feels the target descend and settle gently into place between his shoulder blades. Morgan, true reality show fan, is thrilled at his own precognitive powers--because he knew this would happen.
The Joy of Painting, without Bob Ross
Rachel is lounging on a twin-sized Craftmatic adjustable bed set to the “reading” position. She is wearing a short, slinky red robe; the men collectively gulp as they see her. The camera lingers on the silver heart-shaped pendant around her neck, and I think they are pushing just a little too hard for the Titanic association. That’s hardly the “Heart of the Ocean” there, boys. I try to look on the bright side, though: maybe this foreshadows a boating accident that will kill off half the contestants.
Rachel silently turns over the big hourglass beside her, and the men commence “capturing her beauty.”
Aside, Rachel talks about the potential this contest has to help her understand the men’s motivations. She thinks it will reveal how the men see her—as a possible love interest, or as a cash prize. Because some poor sap is going to get so caught up in his artistic expression that Rachel’s portrait will end up resembling Benjamin Franklin. Good luck with that, Rachel.
The finger-painting and paste-eating continue.
Mike thinks he is sure to win because of his pure intentions. He goes for deep symbolism, painting a rose growing from a crack in concrete. He rambles on about beauty and purity, blah blah blah…
Morgan wants to guarantee himself a “better position” in the game. He paints the only straight portrait and it’s not half bad. At least it looks like a girl.
Caleb admits that he’s no artist, and we watch him crumpling sheet after sheet of poor attempts while the sand slides through the glass. He finally comes up with something which he feels slightly resembles a swan, and he goes with it. He says goodbye to his money.
Dave paints some kind of kindergarten hieroglyphics with hearts and stick figures and lollipops…
Chris paints another portrait, just Rachel’s face floating over what looks like a city skyline to me. He doesn’t explain it, and I’m at a loss. Pick your own interpretation.
The Merry Men of Sherwood Forest
Mike and Caleb get the first double date. Nobody (Jordan, I’m looking at you) has explained how these dates are assigned, but it doesn’t seem fair to me. Last week, if you recall, Morgan and Dave were shafted with the 4-1 odds. This week they apparently get the 3-1 shaft again. Rachel gushes over the beauty of the horse ranch they are taken to, where a hugely obvious set up is waiting: a big target stuck to hay bales, with a set of bows and arrows next to it, and—across a little pond—a picnic lunch with just two chairs. Rachel still feels the need to explain the contest, but I will spare you.
Mike feels like this date is made for him. He took archery lessons every summer from the time he was eleven until he was eighteen. He picks up a bow and appraises it professionally. Caleb has never shot an arrow in his life.
Caleb goes first and doesn’t do too badly, considering his experience. He gets a solid hit two colors away from the bull’s eye.
The deer hunter steps up to the line, and his later-recorded voice-over tells us the thoughts running through his head. Mike, through a strange, misguided sense of fair play, decides to throw the game. Caleb is his friend, you see, and he generously wants to give him a chance to spend some time with Rachel. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yeah, this is no Survivor-esque, Matthew Von Ertfelda maneuver. Mike just sucks at archery. His arrow embeds itself in the hay north of the target.
Lost at Sea
A boat waits in the rushes for Caleb and Rachel (my pulse quickens—bring on the iceberg!). Caleb attempts to row Rachel to the little picnic area. But Caleb has never rowed a boat before, and it’s not easy going. Does it seem like Caleb hasn’t done much of anything in his deprived life? No painting, no archery, no rowing. Perhaps reality TV dating is his way of trying to add to his store of life experiences.
Rachel laughs herself into hysterics at Caleb’s ineptitude, but finds it “endearing.” She leans in to give him a quick smooch for being pathetic, while they spin helplessly in place. The boat doesn’t sink (*pout*), and they eventually make it across the ten feet of water in time for an early dinner.
Both Rachel and I are impressed with Caleb’s ability to laugh at himself. He is much more at ease and they seem to be having a good time. Caleb claims he is a “big eye guy.” While I am distracted by the mental picture of Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc., Caleb adds that Rachel has “something” in her eyes, and he thinks it’s something he can trust. Perhaps these keen insights into the ocular spheres of the opposite sex are one reason why Caleb is still single.
Rachel claims to be “wowed” by Caleb, and completely attracted to him.
Rachel returns to the archery range to bestow alone time on Mike. A quick shot of the target, riddled with arrows, shows us not only how Mike passed the time, but also how desperate he is to prove his skill. Rachel doesn’t seem to notice.
The conversation quickly becomes intense. Mike promises that there is a lot more to him than she’s seen so far (like the dungeon in his basement, the moldering stuffed body that used to be his mother…). He adds that she “hasn’t even scratched yet.” I really hope he meant to include “the surface” in that statement. Or maybe there’s something else we don’t know about Mike, something that might necessitate penicillin if Rachel gets too close.
Rachel doesn’t seem afraid to get close. She and Mike suck face in the shadow of the hay bales. Rachel declares she and Mike have pure, undeniable chemistry. Mike recites a free form ode to the perfect woman, which he’s apparently assigning to Rachel now—since his last girlfriend got that restraining order.
Freud Enjoys His Moment in the Sun
Rachel feels confident that she played her cards right at the ranch. But she isn’t quite so smooth in the limo. She accidentally refers to Morgan as “Jordan,” and then quickly corrects herself. Both Caleb and Mike pick up on the slip, and jump to the correct conclusion. Is Rachel playing a game, too? Hmmm, ya think?
Continuing with his “fair play” agenda, Mike tattles to the other boys as soon as they get back. Morgan, playing smart as usual, tries to put the other men at ease by claiming that people call him by the wrong name all the time. Secretly, he seems almost excited by this revelation (I’m guessing because it alleviates the guilt): “We all have secrets—I know she’s got a secret!”
Manly Men Kill Ceramic Plates
Morgan, Dave and Chris head off on their terribly romantic skeet shooting date with Rachel. Because nothing titillates like protective headphones and rifles. I’m surprised that Rachel doesn’t agree with me on that. She does like that the men get to show their competitive side, and to be “men.” Like the first date, the best shot wins alone time.
Rachel tells us that she wants it to be clear that she’s playing for love. Actually, I think she’s made herself very clear on her motivation. But she can want whatever she wants to want…if that’s what she wants.
Morgan is into the whole “man” thing. He thinks shooting down innocent clay Frisbees qualifies as the “ultimate, primal thing there is. Who’s better? Who’s better looking? Who’s stronger? Who’s gonna win the girl?”
Well, not Morgan (though Rachel would approve of the “man” talk). Chris is the only one who gets his pigeon on the round that counts, and Rachel whisks him away for some one on one. (My favorite moment of the episode happens when Dave misses his shot and announces “I suck,” with a grin.)
Chris is conflicted by “Jordan-gate.” He quizzes Rachel about her reasons for being here, thinking his wily “amazing experience” clichés will fool her into confessing everything. But it is Chris who is fooled. By the end of their trite exchange, Rachel has him convinced she’s clean.
Symbolism Ne’er Won Fair Lady
An unrevealed amount of time passes, and Rachel returns to her man stable to announce the winner of the portrait contest. Consummate egotist that she is, of course she chooses the only picture that might conceivably pass for her. Morgan wins the alone time and the chance to swap checks. Mike whines, depressed that his pure, beautifully symbolistic message was passed over. Caleb mourns the impending loss of his check.
Before they are free of the driveway, Rachel attacks Morgan in the limo. Morgan claims to be taken aback, but he looked willing enough to me. The limo takes them to the Shambalu wildlife preserve, and both participants ooh and ahh over the coolness of this date. It’s quite clear that they’re trying to convince themselves more than they’re trying to convince us. Morgan describes the devil and the angel that perched on his shoulders throughout the day, and it sounds to me like that angel was tied up and gagged.
Hoping to garner the same kind of sparks Meredith and Ian radiated for The Bachelorette 2, the producers hang a hammock in the middle of the path. Morgan says, “I don’t believe it,” and neither do I. But the lovebirds dutifully settle into the hammock and make out. Rachel is reluctant, yet she feels like she can’t pull back because she’s already crossed that line. It’s like a fable: The Unwillingest Little Hooker. Morgan, inspired by the lions and tigers and bears, attempts to bite Rachel’s lower lip off.
Morgan feels confident on the way home. He can’t imagine that she’s making out like that with everyone. So much for Morgan’s game savvy.
Inevitability Provides Little Entertainment
The men hurry in for their orchestrated gossip session. Morgan lies about kissing Rachel, keeping his cards hidden again. Dave asks if Morgan “felt a vibe,” and Morgan doesn’t answer. The men incorrectly translate this as a negative. Morgan says, “I didn’t want to come in and say, ‘Guys, the game is over.’ But I could have.” Ah, the hubris of the alpha male.
Morgan figuratively rubs his hands together in anticipation of the check swap. He has a pretty good idea what Chris and Mike are holding, thanks to the auction in last week’s episode. Sensing Mike’s purity, or perhaps his sense of fair play, or maybe the fact that he can’t keep his mouth shut to save his life, Morgan goes to him to dig for information. Without having to expend much in the way of effort, Morgan learns that Caleb has the big check. Morgan shouts, “Cha-ching!” …Or maybe I just heard that in my head.
The men meet in the portrait room, and Jordan over-articulates what we already know, pausing so often I begin to wonder if the cue-card guy is messing with him. This scene obviously wasn’t dramatic enough for the producers, who draw it out with a face shot of every man at the end of each sentence Jordan speaks, and add loud, generic “tension” music.
No one in the television viewing world is surprised when Morgan decides to go ahead with the check switch. He takes his check down, and we wait through more dramatic close ups until Jordan allows him to “go ahead and switch……..now!” Caleb is having a hard time keeping a straight face. Even if Mike hadn’t ratted him out, the laughter of the damned would have given him away.
Morgan takes the check we knew he would take, and the amounts are revealed. Caleb is stunned that Morgan only had a dollar, and sarcasm oozes from his pores as he mutters, “Beautiful.” Morgan says he’s only been using his C-game, and now he’s bringing out the A-game. Poor little B-game. Nobody loves you.
Dave—who hasn’t gotten much air time this episode, but is unfailingly charming whenever he’s allowed to speak—is glad that he didn’t win the portrait contest, because he was sure Morgan had the million. Caleb gets a little testy about the switch, and confronts Morgan about his choice. Morgan protects his source, claiming a lucky guess.
And Then There Were Four
How neat. For no reason, suddenly elimination night gets a title screen. The Elimination. Does it add drama? Were focus groups confused by the transition? Are we short of material tonight? Ding.
The men put on their nightly uniform. I’m thinking that, what with all the nervous sweating, unless they’re sending them out to be dry-cleaned every other day, those tuxes have got to be a little fragrant at this point.
Rachel approaches the ring stand babbling something about strategery. Then she addresses the men, begging them to open up more, to let her know their minds… After the Jordan slip, if the men are paying attention, this should be a dead give away.
Rachel calls Mike up first, and is nothing but positive. She raves about their obvious chemistry, the fun they always have together, and looks forward to more. Mike gets the only spegs point this week for not giving another acceptance speech. Thank you, Mike.
Morgan is next. Rachel appreciates his openness, and how comfortable she feels with him. She also loved the hammock. On the stairs, all eyebrows raise in perfect synchronization. She asks him to stay, and our million dollar, A-game boy is quick to agree. He tells us privately, just in case the blind and deaf viewers missed it the first twenty times, that he has a million reasons to stay. I notice that he does not say “a million and one” reasons. Sorry, Rachel.
Rachel invites Caleb on down, tells him that he “wowed” her on their date, and asks him to stay, which he does.
The last two on the stairs, Dave and Chris, exchange a glance, bonding through their pain. Dave appears to be the sadder of the two.
Chris is called next, leaving Dave sweating in his already aromatic tux. Rachel claims to admire his beauty pageant attitude, making the world a better place and all that crap, HOWEVER (and Dave smiles) there is no romantic chemistry. Chris gives her a very mature and composed goodbye. He doesn’t seem too broken up.
Rachel tells Dave that she loves his sense of humor and wants a chance to see more. Dave happily agrees to stay, telling us that he wants to fall for Rachel, and that he thinks she’s genuine. And that’s why they call it “women’s intuition” people.
Do You Smell Smoke?
In a short, frill-less piece, Chris commits his check to the flames. We barely get a glimpse of the fireplace. Chris calmly departs in his taxi, half-heartedly regretting the loss of his check. The producers give up any hope of drama from this particular scene, and move on.
Just like every other week, Rachel claims that now the real work begins. Now she must decide whether she can fall in love with one of these four men, or whether she will go for the money.
Next Week on For Love…Or Money:
Reality fans everywhere are relieved when the Dating Show Hot Tub Regulation is finally complied with. Rachel is relieved to finally get to wear her bikini. Voice-Over Man declares that the men will “fight back!” but I think he means it figuratively, and that’s too bad because some WWF action is what this show sorely needs. Most exciting of all, the lovely and talented Lucy will be taking my place as official FLOM recapper. And all my adoring FLOMites will visit me in “Growing Up Gotti” land—either taking pity on my forlorn-ness, or hoping to see me get whacked for mocking The Family.
Parting is such sweet sorrow! Tell me all about it at email@example.com