The Bachelor is off to Vietnam this week, which promises astounding scenery from the setting and questionable behavior from the stars. The ladies ooh and aah over their resort digs, and ride an awesome funicular up to the hotel. Right away, it’s time for the one-on-one date card, and this week it’s for Renee! She’s giddy at the chance to get some alone time with JP, but in a talking head, Andi discusses her own concern that she hasn’t gotten the same time.
I don’t usually talk about the commercials, but it’s worth noting that tonight the commercial is “framed” by rose petals and the Bachelor logo. Weird. Essentially, it looks like my HD is screwed up.
JP is meeting Renee in the village of Hoi An. He tells us “I can’t wait to make her enjoy the day.” Heh. She arrives in a kind of shlumpy tank top & cutoffs outfit, and they pick up a pedicab…which JP pedals. Renee’s being cheerful, but is also a bit like, “Um, hard to talk to you when you’re behind me, dude.” They abandon the pedicap somewhere and go shopping for a custom dress–I was trying to show off by finding the correct name for the Vietnamese dress, but what Wikipedia shows me doesn’t look like the mannequins, which appeared to be wearing cheongsams. Anyway, that is a pretty cool souvenir. Then they go shopping for stuff for the kids, which Renee thinks is a-mah-zing.
Now it’s time for beer on a boat! Renee tells us in a cutaway that she wants to kiss JP, but no kiss is happening right now. Also, no boating is happening–they stayed docked at the side of the river. But the night is young! It looks like Renee’s dress is ready, and it’s cheongsam-ish on the top, but flowy at the knee. It’s very pretty! They change and go to dinner at an empty restaurant, where Renee tells JP how she and Ben’s dad split up. JP has a sort of smirky look on his face and says he’s “checking on” Renee when she talks about Ben. I think he means, to see if she’s missing him? But it’s weird. And Renee’s all, I’m fine, dude, let’s get to it.
Back at the ranch, the bell rings, and it’s time for the group date card: Sharleen, Chelsie, Kat, Cassandra, Clare, Kelly, Alli, Danielle and Andi. Andi’s bummed, and wonders what she’s doing there if she’s not getting any one on one dates. Traveling the world, girlfriend!
Returning to Renee and JP, he tells us in an interview that he and Renee are on the same page, and that “she’s not just a mom, she’s a beautiful woman.” He loves her eyes. And in the restaurant, he gives her the date rose, so she’s safe for another week. Now he just wants to walk around, and dang, she is in some high skinny heels for that. They stumble “spontaneously” on a gaggle of children selling floating lanterns, and they make wishes and then float the lanterns out into the water. It is awfully pretty, if a little cliched. In an interview, JP insists that he wants to kiss Renee, but is mindful that her son will watch, and wants to be respectful–“so it’s not gonna happen.” Oof, poor Renee.
It’s the next day, and the group date hint was “Can you go with the flow?” The girls all come down to the river, where there are little round boats they’re going to ride together. JP tells them to pair up, and they all do, leaving Clare alone…to ride with JP. The girls are grouchy, but if they can’t manage to divide by 2 and figure out what to do, that’s on them. Everyone starts paddling, and Clare and JP get stuck in the trees right away, where he steals some kisses–much to the other girls’ outrage. They all comment on how they’re not really enjoying watching Clare’s one-on-one date happening in front of them.
They’ve washed up at some sort of farm/village thing, and Chelsie hilariously talks in an interview about how the place was really romantic, and a great place for a date–too bad her date was with Alli. “Juan Pablo was around my date, but my romantic date was basically with Alli.” Heh. After strolling a bit, they “spontaneously” ask a farmer where they can eat, and he invites them in. Turns out they’re all going to do some farming first! They put on the conical leaf hats you see in movies, and they water and weed and till before coming in and having a delicious looking dinner. The girls are “teasing” JP and Clare about all their time spent together, but there’s a bite to it. Kelly, in a talking head, admits that Clare seized her opportunities, and it’s not exactly fair to blame her for striking while the iron is hot. I like Kelly! I think she can do better than JP.
We’re back from commercial (no more rose frame, incidentally) and it’s cocktail time! Andi is drinking a cocktail that basically has an entire apple as garnish. I guess it’s important to get your 5 servings of fruit a day. JP pulls Clare aside first, which starts another round of mockery from the remaining women. He takes Clare to his suite (gasp!) where there is a private pool, and they change into suits and go swimming. Clare is very coy in her talking head, but they’re making out in the pool like teenagers.
Back in lonely Bachelorette Manor, Renee reads the just-arrived solo date card to Nikki: “Let’s have a hell of a good time.” No guess what that means, but Nikki’s just happy to have a solo date.
On Group Date Beach, JP’s now sitting with Sharleen, and he’s dressed and dry, so I’m not sure this is all shown in order. Sharleen is wearing a sundress that is super-low in the back, and tells us in a talking head that “I need to make sure he sees me as a panda in a room full of brown bears.” They’re smooching on the beach, but she’s doing her patented go away-come here thing. We don’t see any master plays, though, because we’re now getting the “JP montage” while he takes time with each of the girls. Cut to Andi, who again expresses a little insecurity, but JP takes her off to the beach to shnoogle a bit, and then they’re making out, which makes her feel better. Um, yay?
Time for the Group Date Rose…”The person who deserves this rose tonight is doing things that get her out of her comfort zone.” That turns out to be Clare, which produces smug giggles from Clare and a soliloquy from Andi that sounds like the Serenity Prayer. Just let it go, girl.
The party’s over, but Clare’s not done! She tells us her bucket list (ugh, that term) includes “swimming in a warm ocean,” but then she’s saying just “swim in the ocean,” and I’m confused. She’s never swum in the ocean? Anyway, she goes to get JP to come with her, and it’s Ben & Courtney all over again. (Although Clare keeps her bikini on.) JP says “the waves were wild, and we got a little wild, too.” What kind of wild, JP? WHAT KIND OF WILD? Clare says they “went for it” and she doesn’t regret it. So that means sex, right? We just get wave shots, though, no sly closing door.
The next day, it’s time for JP and Nikki’s one-on-one date. She is wearing an ill-advised silver headband in the sweatband fashion. She looks about twelve. JP tells us that last night was great with Clare, who has “something that I like,” but “today, I can’t wait to see Nikki.” Even without suggestive wave-swimming, JP? Wow. The two of them walk in some sort of natural park-type place and Nikki’s eager to see what their date will entail. They wander around the grounds of a place called Marble Mountain, and it is lovely. There are arches and pagodas and lots of stairs (and lots of stairs). But eventually they arrive at a terrifying, deep hole in the ground. It turns out that their “hell of a good time” is going to be rapelling into this terrifying hole to a cave called Hell. Nikki is pretending she’s cool, but she is Freaking. Out. I don’t blame her.
She’s doing the “I want to be cute and funny about this but I am dying right now” joking, but she’s on the verge of tears. JP starts down and waits for her a little bit while the rappelling instructor is trying to coach Nikki off the ledge (heh, literally). She’s frozen in fear and now she really is about to cry. Her talking head interview talks about how this is like falling in love, because you have to trust the other person and you have very little control. True enough. They start out OK, but about halfway down Nikki begins to panic, so they stop on a little ledge for a break. JP decides this is the right time to go in for a kiss, and Nikki gamely declares it “super-romantic,” even though I probably would have shoved him off the ledge for getting in my space right then. At last, they make it to the bottom! (Now if it were me, I’d be wondering if they were going to force me to climb back up. They are greeted by a creepy sculpture of a fish, which seems appropriate for this date. And off they wander into the cave.
Whoa! Apparently cave demons got them, because they stole Nikki’s headband and made her change into a very tiny cocktail dress! We’re told this is a different cave, which requires dinner attire. The two of them talk, and Nikki tells JP (and us) how she wound up as a pediatric nurse. Basically, she loves the hopefulness of kids, and feels she has a really big heart, which “not everybody knows about me here.” JP likes Nikki, and seems impressed by her honesty and her openness to being a stepmom. With that, he presents her with the date rose, and an open-mouthed kiss. Yay? Nikki does seem a little giddy in her talking head, so maybe she’s really falling for him!
It’s time for the final cocktail party, and the women are taken by boat to a gorgeous terrace festooned with brightly colored lanterns. It really is stunning. But trouble looms on the horizon, as the previews have shown us! JP arrives to greet the ladies and offer his opening remarks for the rose ceremony. He says today is harder than ever, because he’ll be sending home three people (of the eleven remaining). The women instantly tense up and start doing math, and the room goes silent. JP sadly doesn’t really have the small talk skills to warm things up, but at least there’s alcohol to help.
JP takes Andi away first, presumably to forestall an evening’s worth of pouting. Whatever he says, she’s smiling, but I missed it because I was getting my leftover awesome Super Bowl chili! But Andi gets some kisses. Then Cassandra gets one line of voiceover, followed by Sharleen getting a “she’s got it.” Then JP’s with Renee, waffling over the kissing again–Renee is all, “Seriously, dude, IT”S FINE.” And at last JP kisses her, hallelujah. They seriously play Disney princess music over the kiss, like it’s the second coming of the savior. I’m just glad we can stop talking about it.
But now JP is agonizing over having gone to the ocean with Clare, which wasn’t fair to the other girls in the house. He’s sitting with her now, and says that although it was nice, it was “a little weird for him” as well. He tells her “maybe it wasn’t right, but what happened, happened” and she is hurt. She tries to explain that she’s not thinking about the game, she’s just thinking about spending time with him–and that it’s not about being fair, it’s about listening to his heart. He then says it’s not just about being fair, it’s also about what his daughter would see, and he doesn’t think she’d like it. At this, Clare starts to cry, which is kind of fair–when the guy you like basically says his daughter would be ashamed to see you fooling around with him, I can see why you’d feel crappy. JP instantly is all, “Oops,” and wants her to stop crying and understand. She nods, and they return to the group…but in her talking head, she’s pissed, and says, “When we were in the ocean, it was a mutual thing. There was no confusion.” I kind of agree with her anger, but there’s a hint of Fatal Attraction there too.
Now the anger has left and there’s just weeping–she won’t tell the other girls what’s up, but she stalks off to sniffle until JP comes to console her. Part of that includes a lot of “look at me,” “look at me,” which is starting to sound less charming and more bossy. He tells her they don’t need to discuss it any more, but she asks him, “Why didn’t you just tell me no when I asked?” He has no good answer, because he can’t exactly say, “Because I wanted to and only realized later that I shouldn’t have done that.” They agree to disagree and return to the group, who knows something’s up, but not what. Clare claims “allergies,” and Andi uses her ADA skills to figure out that’s a total lie. I’m more concerned that Clare’s left her shoes in her weeping spot.
But enough drama–it’s time to hand out some roses! There’s thoughtful vaguely-Asian Muzak playing in the background, as JP tells the women how difficult this is for him. But not so difficult that he won’t do it! Clare, Nikki and Renee all have roses already, so who else is staying? First up is Sharleen (no surprise), followed by Cassandra. Cut to Kat, who gives a rueful face like she knows she’s going home. Chelsie’s name is called next, and Andi looks stricken. But now it’s Kat! No need for your rueful face, it appears. The final rose rests in a stone basin, for only one woman. Kelly, Alli, Andi and Danielle look on. And the last rose goes to…Andi, of course. Why would we watch him tell her “you’re fine” so many times if he wasn’t going to keep her? Sorry, other three ladies who got no screen time! At least Kelly has Molly waiting for her at home.
The rejected ladies say their goodbyes (why is Sharleen sobbing?), but head off with their dignity more or less intact. Danielle goes first, and says, “I knew there wasn’t a strong connection,” so she doesn’t really seem broken up. Alli’s worse off, saying that it sucks to put your whole life on hold only to be turned down. Back with the other women, JP is weeping as well, and being consoled. We don’t get a quote from Kelly.
Next week: New Zealand! Cool! And all the drama starts coming to a head. Clare brings up the ocean thing again! Sharleen threatens to leave! Tears! Tears! Tears! I’ll have it all for you right here…next week.