Bachelor Feb 28 Ė Lions and Tigers and Boars (or Bores), Oh My!
Bachelor Feb 28 Ė Lions and Tigers and Boars (or Bores), Oh My!
Hello again, Bachelor fans, and welcome to South Africa, the venue for this seasonís fantasy dates. Iíve been having a case of busy life this week, so this recap is going to be short and sweet, unlike this episode which was long and semi-sweet at best. Letís just say that itís sad when the highlight of a two hour show is the cast announcement for a different show.
As we start off the episode, Brad is sitting in a hotel in New York City, staring at himself in the mirror, having a Stuart Smalley moment. The therapy bachelor hasnít seen his counselor Jamie is several episodes and needs to repeat to himself ďIím good enough, Iím smart enough [for this show anyway], and gosh darn it, people like me.Ē
Brad packs his collection of plaid shirts and boards a plane to South Africa, where he has plenty of time to think about each one of his final three ladies, complete with video clips. Somehow when I reminisce, it doesnít seem quite so produced.
Apparently the ladies also head to South Africa, but we donít see any indication of them spending any time together. Instead they each show up riding on some cool vehicle that that looks half car and half boat, like the Duck Boats they use for tours at Wisconsin Dells. There are gorgeous animals all over the place, and unlike on Survivor, I donít think they were symbolic of action of the show. At least there werenít any snakes on the plane. That would be terrible.
Safari, So Good-y
Chantal shows up first, wearing a pair of Daisy Dukes. They cuddle for a minute and then hop back in the Duck Boat for a safari date. They drive past a family of monkeys towards a pride of lions. It is really quite beautiful. And honestly, the rest of the date seemed perfectly pleasant while at the same time painfully dull.
I donít recall any discussion about whether or not they are going to opt for the fantasy suite in lieu of separate rooms. I could have happened while I was zoned out from boredom, but Iím not sure that they even had that as a logistical option, and they end up spending the night up in a very funky tree house which didnít appear to have two separate rooms, as it didnít actually seem to have even one room. It looked like fun for a couple of hours, but at some point, Iíd be in favor of having a bathroom available. If their idea of a bathroom was a coffee can under that bed, then it would be a treehouse of horrors rather than a fantasy date.
Next up is Bradís date with Emily, and she arrives wearing shorts and cowboy boots. Brad greets her by running away for what seems like an eternity. Here is a programming note to ABC, these episodes do not all really need to be two hours long. Seriously, you could cut them back, we wonít riot in the streets like all the hippies who have overrun the capitol in my home state of Wisconsin.
In what likely smells about as bad as the capitol building in Madison, Emily and Brad are about to embark on an elephant ride. They bounce around on the backs of the elephants, and Iím reminded of the episode of the Thailand season of Survivor when Brian and Clay rode an elephant as a reward. That season was great, and Brian has always been unfairly overlooked as a great player and master manipulator. Perhaps it is because Brian was really an adult film star and not just a car salesman like he told the producers, but come on, Richard Hatch was buck naked (and not a ďgood nakedĒ as Seinfeld would say) for half of his first season and was still asked back for an All Stars season.
Brad and Emily have dinner and then get the card inviting them to forgo their separate sleeping accommodations if they want to share a fantasy suite. Emily agonizes over whether it is appropriate for her to take this invitation as she is cognizant of being a good role model for her young daughter, but eventually capitulates and joins Brad in an indoor suite for some time to talk and cuddle.
Unlike the treehouse, the only thing memorable about this fantasy suite is a plate of weird flan-like dessert sculpted into the shape of a heart. For some reason, I was fixated on that plate of flan and missed most of what Brad and Emily were saying. Until I picked up that Emily declared herself in love with Brad and then he reciprocated. What? Is he allowed to do that, just go and declare himself in love with one of the contestants when there are three left? Maybe he had gotten away with it because he had managed to lull the producers to sleep with his boring date and they didnít catch it either.
Carnivals Ė no. Carnivores Ė yes.
Finally we have Ashleyís date. She leaps out of the Duck Boat and wraps her legs around Brad in her custom ďslither holdĒ move that she is so fond of this season. They start off by wandering through the brush, and Ashley remarks that it reminds her of their first date where they walked through the woods to the private carnival. Brad doesnít understand what sheís trying to say, and he is trying to let her down gently that there isnít actually a Ferris wheel. Ashley is young and somewhat immature, but I donít think she really thought theyíd encounter a midway in middle of South Africa. She was trying to re-kindle the spark from their first date by reminding him of it, not actually re-create that date. This was just the first of many uncomfortable verbal exchanges they had for this date.
Rather than a carnival, Ashley and Brad finally reach their destination, which is a helicopter. Ashley has an annoying nervous freak-out about flying in the chopper. Brad reminds her that heís had at least half a dozen dates involving helicopters in his two seasons as The Bachelor and they are old hat to him. Sheís bummed to be brought back to reality that she and Brad are not alone in the world, and that he is in fact a ride that many have taken. This doesnít sit well with Ashley.
While in the chopper we get more footage of cool animals, and they fly over something called the eye of the world. As if to stick a large thumb in the eye of the world, Ashley and Brad cannot seem to stop their uncomfortable conversations centered around whether or not Ashley can even seen herself in his life. There are more discussions of Ashleyís future plans, but Brad notes that they donít seem to discuss a future together. There are endlessly circular and frustrating discussions about whether they could have a future.
Iím frustrated that my favorite Shawntel was sent packing, as she would have at least tried to have fun on the date. Brad is frustrated with himself that he canít communicate to Ashley, and this is not a fun date. Sheís completely turned away from him (and towards camera number 3 Ė how uncomfortable that must be to have cameramen swirling around into position while having this fight about their ďrelationshipĒ in front of a camera).
This date has gone horribly. So should we opt for the fantasy suite? Oh why not prolong the uncomfortableness. At the end of the date, Brad says heís afraid that heís screwed things up with Ashley. Iíd argue that Ashley screwed things up with Brad and Ashley, but Iím willing to give Brad credit for an assist with that one. Stick a fork in this one Ė they canít even agree to disagree.
Rose Ceremony Refugees
At the end of the episode, Brad chats with Chris Harrison on a porch with pictures of the three ladies. Brad tosses out something ďamazingĒ about Chantal, and then claims that he feels like heís known Emily for a decade. Then he admits, ďMy date with Ashley was rough.Ē He tells Chris that this decision seems cut and dried. Isnít that what you do with bait before you go fishing? Iím just saying, itís time for Ashley to update her Facebook status.
They start the rose ceremony, and for the second time in this episode, Brad wanders off the set. Brad wants to talk to Ashley for a minute in private (except for the camera crew that follow them). Brad wonders how their relationship took such a nasty turn and why they have such lousy communication. Hereís a snippet:
I donít know if I fit into your life.
I still have questions even after hashing it out for hours.
Iím entirely incapable of reading the writing on the wall.
Iím apparently waiting for God himself to send a burning bush to tell me that this relationship is dunzo.
Perhaps there was divine intervention at some point, because they end up with Brad telling her ďI need to tell you goodbye.Ē He spares her the agony of going through the rose ceremony only make her watch two other ladies get roses. The communication problems continue, and he canít even let Ashley slip away into the Range Rover / limo without more awkwardness and telling her ďwhatís wrong with you?Ē to which she replies ďIím just a little bit hurt right nowĒ because you just dumped me, you oblivious jerk. Maybe she didnít say that last part, but I definitely heard it.
Unlike Michelle, Ashley seems to talk all the way out of the jungle in the back of the limo. The mascara is running, and Chantal and Emily are standing around all dressed up, wondering what the heck happened. Brad says that he always thought that Ashley was one of his final two. Did he think that when he gave the other Ashley the first impression rose? When he told Emily that he loved her? When he invited Chantal up to his treehouse for a night in his bed? Letís hope they have psychologist Jaime on speed-dial for his final episode.
He finally returns to Chantal and Emily, tells them that he sent Ashley packing, and that he cares too much for her to make her go through a rose ceremony and not get a rose. So, does that mean he doesnít care for any of the other 22 women who left earlier? This guy just canít seem to quit sticking his foot in his mouth this week, yet sadly, none of his comments are funny.
Brad gives his self-deprecating talk about only wanting Emily and Chantal to stick around if they want him too. Chantal accepts his rose, as does Emily. Hippos hanging out in the water snort some water in approval. Next week, they are heading to Cape Town where Emily and Chantal will meet Bradís family. Or is it the cast reunion where the women tell nothing first? I think it will be the later, and Ariel will cover the action (or sad lack thereof). Until then, enjoy your treehouses.
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