When we left our bachelor last, he was hurting the feelings of various potential life mates, but none more than Clare, who made the mistake of getting a little too friendly with him after hours. The previews for tonight suggest that we’re not done with that drama yet–and that it might spread to Sharleen, as well. As Juan Pablo would say, ai yi yi!

We’re greeted with a montage of fricking gorgeous New Zealand scenery, and it truly looks amazing. We should all go there immediately. The women are staying at the Huka Lodge in Taupo, New Zealand. The Huka gets its money’s worth as we get a tour of the amazing chalet, complete with infinity pool overlooking a rushing river, in which the girls are staying.

But enough of that! It’s time for the first one-on-one date card, and it goes to…Andi! She’s beaming, relieved that she finally gets some solo time, but Clare is not so happy. She wanted that date card for herself, to clear the air after last week’s missteps. She says the pressure is “building and building.” Meanwhile, Cassandra expresses jealousy that Andi’s got the date card, and trots out the “why am I away from my son if I’m not getting dates” song and dance again. Not that she doesn’t have a point, but I’d say she’s there for an amazing trip around the world while she can grab it. No one’s chained you to the radiator, after all, Cassandra.

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Andi tells us again that it’s a big day for her, as we watch her packing her bag–if JP doesn’t give her the rose at the end of the date, she’s going straight home. They’re dressed like an Abercrombie & Fitch ad, and they step into a speedboat to go flying down the river. It looks fun, but cold. And impossible to talk. JP says he’s planned for Andi “a very adventurous date” and that they’re going to a romantic place. The boat slows to a crawl, and it gets misty and jungle-looking. The driver says, “This is where you’re going swimming,” and it seriously looks like they’ll be eaten by a crocodile any second. Plus, it still looks cold.

They’re now squeezing between these big mossy rocks, and I would be freaking out. Andi’s narration is fairly calm, though she tells us she’s freezing and wonders where JP is taking her. He seriously can barely fit through some of these crevices. Andi insists that his courtesy in helping her through the rocks is a sign of how he could take care of her, which I think is setting the bar a little low. But they eventually arrive at a clearing with a beautiful waterfall and a hot spring. They stand under the waterfall, and I am amused to see that they’re trying to look all romantic and sensual, but are actually blinded and spluttering, the way one actually does when being pounded by gallons of water. Heh.

The soaring music says “ROMANCE!” and Andi wraps her legs around his waist–revealing the fact that she’s still wearing her boots. Huh? I mean, I don’t blame her, I’d want shoes too, but those didn’t look like footwear intended for water. I will also note that Andi is in a sexy, but one-piece, swimsuit. She’s so East Coast :). lake

Now it’s nighttime, and they’re bundled up for dinner in front of a geyser (but it’s cold enough to need gloves, poor things). They snuggle up with wine and nibbles, and Andi talks about the awesome experience of feeling the earth’s own heat bubbling up through the water. I’m glad she went on this date, because she’s articulate enough to describe it well. And boom! there goes the geyser. I applaud the producers for NOT going for the obvious metaphor. Instead, it’s kind of funny, because it’s going off for ages and ages, and it gets them soaking wet. They abandon dinner and run for shelter.

Back at the lodge, it’s time for the next date card! Cassandra says she wants a one on one date for her 22nd birthday. (OMG YOU ARE TOO YOUNG TO BE DOING THIS SHOW) But this one’s a group date card, and it lists everybody except…Clare. She plays shocked in the manner of Taylor Swift:


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C’mon Clare, no one’s buying it.

Back at the damp, JP and Andi are snuggling in a slightly drier location, but I don’t really see a connection. I know it’s cold, but they both have their hands stuffed in their pockets, and there’s hugging but not a ton of smooching, and they talk about how it’s “easy and fun” together. Not sexy, not romantic, not heart-pounding. I think Andi’s totally in the Friend Zone…but JP unzips his jacket to reveal the date rose, which he gives to Andi with a kiss. And NOW the producers go in for a mild geyser shot, which I will allow.

 

 

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The next day, the ladies arrive in a big green field with scenic cows or sheep dotted about the place for a group picnic. It is still cold and very windy (which is apparently typical for NZ), and there’s stilted chit chat until Chelsie (I think) “steals” JP for a little private time. The other girls are a little grumpy, but since the private time involves making grass whistles and startling the cows, I don’t think it advanced Chelsie’s cause much.

After that, JP reveals what the date card’s “clue” meant–it said, “Let love roll,” and they’re going to be rolling down a big water slide in Zorbs! Cool! [Ed note: apparently this kind is called an Ogo.] I don’t really understand why the water, but they all get into bathing suits and have a blast. You can put two or three people in these things at once, and they’re kind of suspended in a ball-within-a-ball? I want to do this. EVERYONE loves it, even Grumpy Nikki. Cassandra is still whining about having no time with JP, but is too shy to actually ask for the time on a group date, so nuts to her I guess. Plus, if you can whine after doing this, you’re no fun:

Following the hamster-ball antics, it’s time for another cocktail party! Because cocktails are universal. They’re in a ski-chalet looking place with more beautifully arranged platters of snacks doomed to remain untouched. (Seriously, have you ever seen anyone eat on this show?) JP takes Renee off for a little alone time, and as he leaves I see that they were in a hobbit hole! The door is round and green. They’re in Hobbiton! I’m such a nerd.


This photo of Hinuera is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Renee and JP discuss…something, but I’ve gone down a hobbit photo hole and missed it. They wind up smooching, though, so she’s happy. Now it’s Nikki’s turn, and she is wearing a patently ridiculous short skirt in a sequined Native American pattern that is basically clubwear. JP asks her how she feels about not getting the one-on-one, and she says it’s a little scary because she feels vulnerable. JP is obviously not listening, but just waiting for her to breathe so he can be “reassuring” and then “kissing.” I am seeing WAY too much tongue considering these people are strangers.

Back in Bag End, the remaining women debate the significance of this group date rose vs. a boring old rose ceremony rose. Sharleen is getting nervous, and also “questioning what [she’s] feeling.” It’s now her time for some one on one time, and Sharleen has barely sat down before JP flings himself at her lips. She says, “You cut right to the chase, don’t you?” and JP says, “Whas that mean?” Sharleen is sort of smiling, but seems vaguely annoyed. She plumbs the depths of his empathy by asking, “How do you think I’m feeling right now?” He says, “You feel great. A little scared, but great.” That would be more meaningful if Nikki hadn’t just given him the answer. Sharleen’s trying to talk, and JP’s basically like, “Less talk more kiss.”

blue seaBack inside, the girls are squealing “Happy birthday!” Did you know it’s Cassandra’s birthday? I think she’s only mentioned it about seventy times thus far. You know what would be great? If SOMEONE got the rose as a BIRTHDAY present!

At last, it’s time for Cassandra’s one on one time, and let’s just say that JP does not cut to the chase with her. He sits there and Cassandra starts talking…and talking…and talking. It’s like she’s in her first job interview, answering the ” what is your greatest strength” question. JP says nothing of significance, but Cassandra seems reassured. Y’all, I don’t think she’s all that bright.

Now JP’s back in the hobbit hole with everyone, and we get a voiceover from…Sharleen? saying that she hopes if it’s not her, then Cassandra gets the rose, because “she’s who I’ve been rooting for this whole time.” Uh-oh. But JP gives the rose to Sharleen, and then quickly asks Cassandra to come with him for a minute. It’s now raining out, but a prepared PA has a see-through umbrella ready. The two sit under a tree, and JP reminds Cassandra of what she said to him back on their last one on one date, where she told him, “If you’re not feeling me, send me back home to my son.” And now we begin the litany of Cassandra’s wonderful traits–and we all know what that means. JP tells her that they’re in two different stages right now (i.e., she’s way too young for him), and he doesn’t want her to wait any longer to see her son. I will say that he did that much more gracefully than his conversation with Clare last week! He walks Cassandra to a waiting Jeep and sends her on her way. She seems a little stunned, but  not all that upset about losing JP…just tired of waiting “for love.” JP mournfully returns to tell the other women that he’s sent Cassandra home, while emo music plays on the soundtrack. Just when we were all falling asleep from sorrow, the previews promise us drama, in the form of angry Clare and bored Sharleen!

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It’s a new day, as symbolized by gamboling lambs. JP has a cleansing Skype with Camila while his voiceover tries to explain his conversation with Clare. He says he’s looking forward to talking to her…um, not so fast, JP. I think this is going to be tougher than you think.

Clare tells us (again) that her feelings were hurt by JP’s words, and she’s waiting for an apology. The two of them sit by a river, which is beautiful, but the banks are covered in huge rocks, so it must have been a challenge to find space for a picnic blanket. JP jumps right in and references their conversation, saying “I want to make sure you understood me,” which is not exactly what the problem was but whatever. Clare reiterates that she didn’t intend anything disrespectful, and JP says that he was caught off guard and thus didn’t tell her “no” at the time. He wants to be done with the conversation, but Clare’s all, “OK, so what are the boundaries?” JP goes on about how he doesn’t show any PDA in front of Camila (ignoring the whole “Camila’s surely not watching The Bachelor, is she?) and Clare’s all, “But we didn’t do anything but swim in the ocean.” JP talks around it a little, but I guess said the magic words? Because Clare decides it’s an apology, and now they’re kissing (in front of Camila!), and she archly asks, “Was that our first fight?” Oh, Clare, honey. Won’t it suck even worse if he picks you and dumps you six weeks post-show?

poppies I could do with a little less of Clare’s baby voice, but this date is still going on. They’re sitting in some sort of nondescript hotel room, which I assume means that the weather outside was appalling. They’re just sitting on a couch and talking…and talking…and talking. Clare loves how JP handled the conversation today and that they “worked through it,” while JP is just staring at her shmoopily and wondering if planting a kiss on her will shut her up. [OK, it’s possible I’m projecting that onto JP.] Jeez, buddy, give her the rose already so we can be done with this boring-ass date.

Clare says she likes casual nights instead of fancy dinners, and JP jumps up with a “one minute.” I assume he’s going to get the rose, but it’s on the table in front of them. Instead, he comes back with a pair of sweats for her, and encourages her to change out of her super-tight jeans and boots. She puts on the sweats and a tank, which JP finds super-hot. They snuggle a bit until she gets the rose.  Then there’s dancing (to the song that played on their first date) and face-sucking galore. He’s got it bad, people.

The next time, JP sits with Father Confessor Chris Harrison, and basically recaps the events we’ve just watched. Step off, JP, that’s my job. Then it’s time for JP to stare at his little Shrine of Women, which is frankly creepy. And at last, it’s cocktail party time! Will Sharleen put her money where her mouth is and go? Will Clare go all Fatal Attraction on the other women? Will half these women be at all upset if JP doesn’t pick them?

JP’s nervous because all the women are quiet, and it really does feel a little like high noon at the Just-OK Corral. JP picks Nikki first for the evening chat, and she is wearing a super-tight and short red dress that really shows off how tiny she is. JP tells her (and us) that he’s wearing pink underwear. Um, great? I refuse to recap the rest of this conversation because it’s stupid, bad flirting that says nothing of substance. (Why am I looking for substance in the Bachelor?) Nikki does not seem worried about not getting a rose this evening.volcano

Now it’s Renee’s turn. Her fashion is still mom-ish; I fear she may be wearing a white romper over black tights? JP asks if Renee is worried since Cassandra went home, and she talks about her son Ben for a while. “There’s nothing more attractive than a woman talking about her kid,” says JP, but apparently opera singers and kooky hairdressers are, if not more attractive, then equally attractive, if history is our guide.

Back among the women, Chelsie breaks it down for us: 7 women, 3 of whom have roses. Of the 4 roseless ones, Chelsie thinks both Nikki and Renee are shoo-ins, which means it’s down to Chelsie and Kat, and it could go either way. On JP and Chelsie’s solo time, she’s saying that she’s ready for “real love” and not interested in just killing time, and that she hopes not having had one-on-one time this week doesn’t mean that they’re not still moving forward. JP isn’t explicit, but tells her that “she’s here for a reason.” This is good enough for her, apparently.

Now it’s Kat’s turn, and she leads off by telling him about her “journaling.” I hate that verb. I also think this is not a subject that will interest JP. In fact, he mostly looks confused about why she’s talking about her (drunk) dad on their date. She’s telling a moving story about her shitty childhood, but I don’t think that’s going to be enough at this point.

Please, please can we be at the rose ceremony now? I have Olympics to watch, people! And there are only 12 minutes left. Thank god, we are. Sharleen is wearing another backless dress, incidentally. I’m beginning to think she’s some sort of sexy alien who breathes through her spine. JP greets his “ninas,” and says it was a great week, and that he’s “very pleased having such a good group of women in front of [him.]” I know he meant that well, but it comes out sort of patronizing and gross. I am over JP, it seems.

First rose! Goes to Nikki, which surprises no one, including Nikki. Second rose! Goes to Renee, so that the show can fulfill Chelsie’s predictions. Final rose! is announced by Chris Harrison, because apparently they don’t expect viewers of this show to be capable of counting to one. But at last, the rose is awarded…to Chelsie. Sorry, Kat, emotional honesty and personal baggage failed to bring it home. On the plus side, the flight home from New Zealand is about 14 hours long, so you’ll have plenty of time for journaling.

Kat is taking it well as she gets into the limo. They have a “friends” hug, and although she’s a little teary in the car, it’s more hurt feelings/embarassment than real sorrow. And then she says “the problem is that my whole life I’ve been told how great I am and what a catch I am…and yet…” Well, that didn’t come off quite as it could have, but good luck, Kat. Nice knowing you.

Sharleen looks a bit like someone killed her dog, and seems to be having some kind of survivor’s guilt. She won’t meet JP’s eye, even though she tells us in voiceover that she’s happy to still be there. JP reveals that their next stop is…his hometown of Miami! In a talking head, Sharleen is crying and says she’s going to give it one more week to see if there’s something there, and if she doesn’t feel it, she’ll leave. Oh, Sharleen, either play the game or don’t play the game, but stop crying about it! You think he’s hot, but you know he’s not smart enough for you. Ride it out till the hometown visits and then bail.

And with that romantic sentiment, I shall leave you all for another week. Until Miami!

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