I prepped for tonight’s recap by watching Olympic coverage all day, leaving me particularly susceptible to foreign men with accents (and also allowing me to see the results of the ice dance competition before this episode airs). But that’s not to say I’ve had my fill of drama! Here’s hoping Juan Pablo’s fading suitors (suitresses?) give us something good to chew on.
As we were told last week, the next glamorous port of call is going to be JP’s hometown of Miami, which has to be a bit of a letdown after New Zealand, no? The previews promise us the world, but they’ve lied to us before. What’s it gonna be, show? Chris Harrison, take us away…
JP’s first stop in Miami is to see Camila, and he’s planning to “surprise” her. Because the cameramen waiting in her home weren’t a hint. She is overjoyed, and then we get a montage of happy-family-times. Meanwhile, the girls are all in a limo together, speculating on whether they’ll meet JP’s family since they’re in Miami. Clare has a crazysauce smile, like her face is actually stretched too tightly around her skull.
The women check into their newest palatial suite, where boxes of product-placed, tiny bikinis await them. There is squealing…except from Sharleen, who tells us that she still has doubts, and at this point is not ready to introduce JP to her family. Cut to JP, telling his family all about Sharleen. Dude, it’s never going to work between you two.
Back at the hotel, JP arrives to hand-deliver the date card to…Sharleen. She takes it with confusion, not understanding that it’s the solo date card, and JP has to chivvy her along so she’ll get ready. Clare takes umbrage at her lack of enthusiasm. Although they only have 10 minutes, Sharleen still has time to brood on a balcony and worry that they don’t have a “mental connection” to complement their physical one. She says that if she still doesn’t feel it by the end of this date, she needs to go.
Once they’re gone, the other girls express their bafflement that JP and Sharleen are having any kind of relationship. Apparently she’s told the women that her type is intellectual/nerdy, and they’re all flummoxed that the two of them have anything to talk about.
Well, they can start by talking about the luxury yacht that is the site of their date! They’re reclining among pillows on the…foredeck? bow? something. JP is macking on her and Sharleen is grinning, but she seems to want to talk more than kiss. There’s a long, stupid “flirtation” where she tells him he’s trouble and he says, “What do you mean I’m trouble” about a thousand times. I’ll give you a hint, JP–it means she thinks you’re hot, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that you’re dumb.
Back at the ranch, the women are still trying to solve the puzzle of Sharleen, and Nikki points out that Sharleen’s life as a world-traveling opera singer doesn’t seem conducive to settling down with a man who has a young daughter. Andi offers (skeptically) that perhaps Sharleen is willing to give all that up, but no one seems like they believe it.
So how convenient that Sharleen now wants to talk to JP about the importance of her career. By which she means, apparently, that her career has been very important to her, but “she likes change, she’s good with change.” She has not said, “I will quit my job” or “I want to settle down and raise a kid with you” or even “I’m falling for you.” JP, however, appears to have heard all of those things.
Now it’s evening, and Sharleen has changed into a dress that has a back! Oh, but wait, the back (and a stripe across the collarbone) is made of illusion netting, so it’s sort of like backless anyway. There’s more reclining and smooching, and JP tells us in an interview that he really wants to meet her parents. Too bad Sharleen doesn’t want to introduce you, bro. Sharleen, in her own talking head, says that “It’s so hard not to kiss him when I’m near him that…it disturbs me. We should be able to have a conversation.” Back on the boat, JP’s actually asking Sharleen how she feels about bringing him home, which is an interesting turn of events–the Bachelor is more worried than the contestant.
Sharleen is hedging about the fact that she doesn’t really want to bring him home, and says tellingly, “I wish I were just a little bit dumber” (so she doesn’t have to think about it, I guess). OK, we get it–do you listen to your head or your huminahumina?
Back in the hotel, it looks like the women haven’t left the couch! But a new date card has arrived to stir them up. This one says: “Nikki: Listen to my heart beat.” Nikki, grinning, says, “I’m going to have to dance again?” Clare is of course appalled that someone so negative should still be getting any attention, but it seems clear to me that Nikki’s being self-deprecating.
Sharleen comes home from her date and goes to talk to Mama Renee–she wanted to feel excited about bringing JP home to meet her family, and she just doesn’t feel sure. She thinks she shouldn’t take a hometown spot from another girl if she isn’t feeling it, but Renee tells her she has to think about what she wants. I am tired of Sharleen being this torn about the whole thing. Girl, you know it would never work long-term, so why belabor it? Call it a night. OH–unless she’s trying to hold out for the Fantasy Suite because she really wants to know what sex with this guy would be like?
[Commercial break–can we talk about how annoying this Subway campaign about the Fritos is? I refuse to believe there are snack-obsessed people all around who are singing paeans to putting Fritos on their subs. And couldn’t they just, y’know, buy some Fritos if they wanted them? Cruncha muncha my foot.]
It’s the next day, and Nikki meets JP on the beach, dressed in some sort of shower curtain. Oh, Nikki, you have the worst taste. They go to a flower store first, to make a flower arrangement today…because they need one for the surprise he has planned later that day. They’re bringing the flowers to Camila’s dance recital! Which means that not only is Nikki going to meet JP’s daughter, but also his mom and dad. She is honored and a little staggered. I am unimpressed with the florist, who ties a bow around these mixed flowers but doesn’t wrap it all in plastic! WTF, florist? Nikki’s super-nervous (not unreasonably), and we just see her walking into the gym before we cut back to the hotel.
The remaining women get the group date card, which reads “My hometown for yours.” It includes a reminder from Chris Harrison that there’s a rose on the date, and the woman who gets that rose will automatically advance to the hometown dates and introduce JP to her family.
Camila and her dance class strut out and begin their performance–JP waves at Camila, who rolls her eyes like a practiced teenager. Camila seems unfazed by the appearance of a strange blond lady at her dad’s side. Nikki is grinning like crazy and speaks nicely to Camila, who’s polite but uninterested. She has more presence than Emily’s little Rikki, though. Also, I think that Camila’s mom might be there too? There’s an attractive brunette woman who didn’t get introduced, but she might just be JP’s sister? Nikki said she had a great time and could see herself fitting in fine with JP’s family.
JP says the day went perfectly and now, “it is time for the night.” They go to his “office,” which turns out to be Marlins Stadium. Per form, Nikki is dressed like a cocktail waitress, in a tiny black fringed skirt and a white halter that’s backless and cut down to her navel…so naturally they play catch. JP gets a little sweaty and then says he’d rather kiss Nikki than throw the ball, so they head to the infield, where surprisingly a picnic and pillows are just left there conveniently. I’d be slightly annoyed that they were recycling dates, since didn’t they already do this in that other soccer stadium?
Aha! It WAS Camila’s mom–Nikki is asking about how Carla feels about JP possibly remarrying (or maybe JP hooking up with an assortment of 20-something women?), and how Nikki might fit in. JP loves that she’s thinking about how she can conform her life to his (OK, he doesn’t say it like that, but still), and then it seems that a half-conversation is enough to call it a night and move on to more kissing. In a talking head, Nikki tells us that she’s in love with JP, and that the day solidified her feelings for him.
Sharleen comes into the living room and says, “I need to talk to you guys.” The women ask, “Why are you fancy?” Which is hilarious to me. (But she is dressed and coiffed, so the question is valid.) She tells them all that she’s thought really seriously about it, but she has to leave. I think the fact that she’s announcing her departure to the other women before JP is evidence that she’s making the right call. The girls are sad and seem to genuinely like her, except Clare who has that stupid rictus of glee on her face.
Then Sharleen takes the long walk to JP’s suite, and is crying-without-tears almost before she gets in the door. She won’t look JP in the eyes, and tells him it’s “excruciatingly difficult,” but she doesn’t see herself being proposal-ready in three weeks’ time [BECAUSE YOU’RE NORMAL] even though she feels something genuine for him. JP seems completely unfazed by her confession and reassures her that it’s OK. He gives her a big hug and sort of stops himself from going in for a kiss. He is, however, wiping away her tears in a weirdly intrusive manner while he holds her head, all the while telling her it’s OK. After a raft of platitudes about how special she is, he sends her on her way and goes out to his brooding balcony (all good hotels have a brooding balcony, you know).
JP confirms to us that she was going to have a hometown, and then tells Sharleen (via interview) that she’s an amazing girl, and she had guts to be honest with him and leave. He’s crying in the interview, and I don’t really understand what he’s saying–something about being noticed and not appreciated, or vice versa? Sharleen gets in a taxi (no limo when you leave on your own!), and says that she’s very sad, but “I just know that he doesn’t have what I’m looking for in terms of a forever partner.” Farewell, Sharleen! We’ll always have Hobbiton.
Group date time! The women are sad to have lost Sharleen, but happy for the reduced competition. The four groupies are picked up by seaplane and taken to a beach somewhere. How do they all have ocean shoes? As they sit beneath an umbrella, JP points out the rose and tells the ladies that only the rose-winner will get the nighttime portion of the date, so the pressure’s on.
First up for some one-on-one time is Chelsie, who pulls out a stack of notes (on cheerful bright stationery) that her mom gave her before she left for the show. They’re pretty funny, actually; Mom’s advice includes “2 drinks, maximum” and “keep your clothes ON.” Then there’s a note from her dad, saying, “Just do the opposite of whatever Mom said and have fun.”
On the flip side, we have Andi’s JP time, where she opens with “Get ready for a breakdown.” She’s cracking under the pressure, and JP clucks to her like she’s a frightened horse. I’m getting a little sick of Andi’s insecurity-leading-to-makeouts, but I suppose it’s worked for her thus far. JP lets her talk it out a little and then tells her to relax, basically. She lightens up and tells him that he calms her down. I’m still seeing FriendZone here, I’m afraid.
Clare’s turn! How are things on Team Bunnyboiler? JP asks her who he’d meet if she was one of his hometown dates, and she tells him that she’s one of six girls. Oof, are they all like Clare? God forbid. She tells him that her late dad made a video before he passed away for the man she would one day marry, to tell Mystery Fiance how special Clare is. I find that equal parts sweet and gross. If she shows that video to JP, the needle tips all the way to gross. JP kisses Clare, but it’s not a lingering makeout sesh.
Now the rain is coming in, and it’s time for JP to give out the “meet the family” rose, which goes to…Andi! Wow, I didn’t really see that coming. Neither did Clare, judging by her fake smile. She smiles widest when she’s the most upset. In her talking head, she says, “I’ve been putting myself out there, and the people who are getting the roses are the people who are doubting themselves, who are not [bleeping] there for him.” Swearing, Clare? For shame.
Andi is grinning from ear to ear, now that she’s sure they’s safe. And wait a minute, did I just miss Renee’s solo time entirely? (I did go to the kitchen to get dinner; I guess it happened then?) Sorry, Renee.
Miami at night! Fancy cars, strangely empty sidewalks, and Andi in a teeny red dress, happily clutching her rose. JP takes them to a mostly-empty club, where a guy is onstage singing in Spanish. JP leads Andi right up to a walkway/stage/bar in the center of the room to start dancing…although I fear girlfriend has no rhythm. Either that or she can’t move in her sky-high heels. Oh, she admits to the bad dancing herself. Fair enough. She’s having a great time, though. Still don’t know who the singer is, since I didn’t pay attention to the marquee outside. Happiness is boring–let’s go back to the suite.
Clare is still pissed about having been “kicked off the date,” and then coming home to hang out with Nikki. The four of them hang out on the couch in silence, and then there’s some awkward chitchat that somehow provokes Nikki to march back up to her room. Clare has decided this is bitchy, and goes after her. She asks Nikki what’s up, and Nikki basically says she got the vibe that they were about to start talking shit about Andi, and she didn’t want to hear it.
The conversation only gets stupider, including “This isn’t your room.” “Oh, do you sleep in here?” “Did you pay for it?” After some more posturing, Clare stalks off to the group, and Nikki sneers in a talking head. I’m more perplexed by the fact that the other women seem to have a frying pan on their hotel room bed.
Cocktail party time! No one is really talking to each other, and Chelsie notes that it’s still awkward between Clare and Nikki, and even when Chelsie tries to draw her out with some idle chit chat, Nikki doesn’t want to play along. Renee is getting very little screen time this episode…bad sign? Nikki and Andi are talking about how sick they are of the cocktail parties, and Nikki goes, “The people who have a rose are done, the people who don’t are nervous…or not.” In an interview, she says, “I have a rose. Oh, wait, I don’t–but I pretty much do.” Ugh, Nikki, not cute.
I’m surprised Nikki didn’t tell them all that she met Camila–I would think telling Clare that would send her around the bend. Clare’s smugging with Renee and Chelsie about how great it would be if they got the roses and Nikki didn’t. Nikki’s dreaming of the moment she can be rid of Clare, while Clare doesn’t think Nikki’s mature enough for this relationship. I don’t understand why one of them doesn’t GET UP OFF THE COUCH. I assume they’re forced to remain there by producers. Man, I want to give them both iPhones so they can ignore each other more comfortably. To make things even more awkward, the producers just leave the camera on them, sitting in silence, for like 90 seconds straight.
Then Andi and Renee come back, followed by Chelsie, and finally JP to end this painful night. He can’t handle the awkwardness either, but Chris comes to rescue him. It’s time for roses! The women line up like an angry box of Crayolas in their brightly colored, skintight sheaths.
First rose goes to…Nikki! She cannot contain her cat-ate-the-canary grin, while Clare schools her features into neutrality. Just in time to get Rose #2! Of course–the producers aren’t letting this rivalry go until the bitter end. So it’s down to Renee and Chelsie–neither of whom I think has a chance at final two. I’m guessing he’ll ditch Renee “out of fairness” to her son Ben? But I’m wrong! He keeps Renee in the running, and it’s Chelsie’s turn to hit the road. Aww, Chelsie, it’s OK–now that we know how adorable your mom and dad are, I’m sure there’ll be a nice guy snapping you up.
JP is weeping already, which seems a bit pointless, but whatevs, he has all the feels. Chelsie says goodbye to everyone, gives JP a hug, and he walks her out. Clare turns to Renee and says, “Such a mistake.” Renee nods, but I’m thinking, if the choice was between Chelsie and Renee, then that’s kind of insulting, no?
On the walk out to the limo, Chelsie is putting a good face on things, telling JP, “If there’s a better match out there for you, then I want you to have that match, and I want that match for me too.” You tell ’em, Chelsie! She’s crying in the the limo, but I think she handled that as well as she could. Go on back to your “science education” in Ohio, and keep having fun, kiddo.
JP acts like he’s taken a blow to the solar plexus. Does he understand the girls are not being driven off and killed somewhere? Ah, I see by the previews that he’s gotten over it. Oof, it’s a 2-night extravaganza next week, and I don’t know if I have that kind of stamina. We’re promised double the drama: someone’s dad disapproves! Clare’s mom won’t give her blessing! And “what happens in the fantasy suite does not stay in the fantasy suite!” In JP’s words, Ay yi yi! See you next week!