ABC
By Melissa Locker
January 27, 2015

Welcome back to The Bachelor, which for better or worse, is now 100% Jimmy Kimmel–free. The noted comic and talk-show host has abandoned us in a sea of Ashleys and bikini-clad blondes that we still can’t be bothered to tell apart. This week, Chris has called for a lifeline, and his three sisters are descending upon the show to sift through the women, thin the herd and choose a suitable companion for Chris to take on a date. All their 4H animal-husbandry experience will undoubtedly come in handy.

Here’s what happened on The Bachelor:

Group Date: A date card arrives that ominously tells the women, “Let’s do what feels natural.” The wording inspires a frantic montage of panicked women adjusting their weaves, gluing on lashes and generally freaking out about the slight possibility that they might have to be seen without makeup. Luckily for the women, Chris has no interest in seeing them go au naturale, but instead wants to see how the women fare in nature. They load into cars, head to a lake and start romping in Chris’s general vicinity. Some of them take the date cards wording to heart and go “natural” by stripping down for some pants-free swimming.

Unhappy Camper: The only person not having fun on the date is Kelsey, who is complaining about the lake’s turbidity, the women’s moral turpitude and generally how much she hates being outdoors in California. That’s when Mother Nature strikes back and sends a bee to smite her.

Overnight Date: Unfortunately for Kelsey, the date turns into a camping trip, which gives Ashley I. the opportunity to point out that she is a “camping virgin” and also “a virgin camping.” Chris and his harem sing camp songs, drink and talk about their feelings.

Bachelor Milestone: Someone is accused of being “fake.” The women are increasingly suspicious of Kelsey because she doesn’t like camping or nature, but does like Chris, so tries to put on a good face whenever he’s around. Sometimes people just hate camping, because camping is basically historical re-enactment and just not for everyone.

Bachelor Milestone: Kaitlyn accuses Ashley S. of “not being here for the right reasons,” but not because Ashley has an ulterior motive, but because she has no idea where “here” is.

Date Rose: Ashley I. is convinced that she has extra special chemistry with Chris, so it comes as a real surprise to her when he gives the date rose to Kaitlyn. When Chris heads off to his tent for the night, Ashley joins him, but just to talk about the fact that she’s never had a real boyfriend before. Then they make out.

The Date Card: Back at the Maudlin Mansion, Chris’ sisters have arrived to grill the women: “How are you in relationships? Do you wear the pants?” “Are you going to move to Iowa?” “Do you like farms?” There are a lot of fake smiles, fake answers and real nerves all around. To meet the future in-laws, Jillian wore another black bar of shame over her bikini-clad behind. The three sisters love Whitney, whose blonde good looks fit right in with the family and could fulfill all of Chris’ sister-wife fantasies. Carly, the cruise singer, cries in front of the blonde squad about how she’s never found love before, but really likes Chris. “I want his affection,” she interviews, before awkwardly finishing, “I want him to be like my grandpa.” Um, Carly? I think that’s a different reality show.

The First Date: The sisters choose Jade to accompany Chris to a royal ball that ends at the stroke of midnight, which is as charming as a Disney cross-promotion gets. Before the date, her fairy godmothers show up to get her ready for the ball — and make all the other women jealous. Ashley I. is so jealous that she is giving all the evil stepsisters rolled into one a run for their money. Ashley’s jaw is on the floor, and her mouth is in the gutter when she finds out that Jade gets to keep the glass slippers as well as some Neil Lane diamond earrings (although Ashley would have begged for the matching belly ring too). Before Jade can make it to hair and makeup, we get to (have to) sit through a clip from the new Cinderella movie. Finally, Jade’s white Rolls rolls right over Ashley I.’s heartbroken corpse as she heads to the ball. While Ashley I. is the squeakiest wheel, Kaitlyn’s Costco date is looking especially shabby right now.

The Royal Date: Chris claims he is thrilled his sisters chose Jade — although it’s easy to suspect that he couldn’t actually pick her out of a lineup of comely brunettes. After Jade makes it through the harrowing trial by fire of descending a giant staircase while wearing high heels, they have a lovely, quiet dinner date, and Jade doesn’t once make a relationship metaphor out of walking down stairs. They chitchat about life in the Midwest, and Chris gives her the Date Rose. Meanwhile, Ashley I. tries to turn a pumpkin into a party van by putting on a pretty pretty pink dress, pouring a glass of champagne and eating the saddest piece of corn on the cob in the world while she waits for mice and birds to come fix her hair.

Bachelor Milestone: Private concert. Back on the real princess date, Jade and Chris make out while awkwardly dancing in front of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. As the clock strikes midnight, Jade leaves Chris pondering his future and her giant glass slipper.

Second Date: The next day, the remaining six women are given wedding dresses (they don’t match or anything, because that would be weird) and invited to “get dirty” on their dates. They are then shoved into an airplane and airlifted to a Mud Run in San Francisco. Britt, Carly, Whitney and Nikki, a former NFL cheerleader who may have just gotten lost at the airport and wandered onto the airplane accidentally, are determined to win the date with Chris. They hike up their wedding dresses, hit the obstacle course — and all resoundingly lose to Jillian.

One-on-One Date: Jillian spends her entire dinner conversation with Chris talking about herself and her interest in sports and love of competition. Chris interviews that while Jillian talks, her words blend together and flow over his head, and he starts to dream of unicorns and fairies. As Jillian gets a brutal narcissist edit from the producers, Chris tells the camera the obvious fact that he doesn’t think he and Jillian have a romantic connection. He finally breaks it to her: he’s looking for a wife, and she’s not it. She tries to talk him out of it, but he won’t take it back even when she cries.

The Cocktail Party: Now that Jillian was sent home, things are getting really real for the women, and the quest for alone time at the cocktail party turns into a high-stakes competition. It’s just too bad Jillian’s not here to enjoy it. Megan “kills it” (if she does say so herself) during her alone time, while Ashley I. uses her stolen moment to make sure Chris really, really understands that she is a virgin. As she breaks the news, Chris tries and fails to play it cool, straightening his tie and swearing that he “respects it.” Ashley starts crying when Chris doesn’t immediately start making out with her after the big reveal. As she sobs, she tells a small audience of women that she is a virgin and Becca shrugs, “Samesies.” She’s a virgin too, but is completely comfortable with her decision and doesn’t feel the need to tell everyone about it. As Ashley rethinks her life choices, Britt uses her time to grill Chris about his interest in Kaitlyn. Chris has a hissyfit and snerks at all the women that he is here for the right reasons and if the women all take their clothes off while he’s around he can’t help it.

The Rose Ceremony: Kaitlyn and Jade already have roses. Whitney, Carly and Megan get the first three roses. Samantha, MacKenzie, Kelsey, Becca, Ashley I. all get their flowers, and the final rose just sits there. Britt doesn’t have a rose because she is being punished for daring to question Chris’s integrity — or, you know, her audacity to treat this like it’s an actual dating show where you’re allowed to ask somebody a few questions.

Who Went Home: Ashley S. drifts off into the night, a brunette who probably accidentally wandered in from craft services returns to her day job, and Juelia, who had the horribly tragic story of her husband’s suicide days after their daughter’s birth, is sent back to her daughter.

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