Welcome back to the 20th season of The Bachelor where strapping young Hoosier Ben Higgins is looking for a clean cut wife he can bring home to Ma. According to Olivia, the news anchor who got the First Impression Rose, the show is already over. You see, she wants Ben Higgins to be her husband and now that she has called dibs on him, the rest of the ladies should just pack up and go home. Now that would be a surprise twist for the show’s 20th season. Of course, Lace, for one, isn’t ready to leave yet. She is really sorry for getting drunk, mean, and demanding eye contact last week and hopes to make it up to Ben this week. She is serious, too, a fact that the producers establish via shots of her steaming her dress, the preferred activity of serious women (and underpaid housekeepers) everywhere.
Here’s what happened on The Bachelor:
The Bachelor Milestone: Shirtless Ben. Last week, viewers of The Bachelor were robbed when the show opened and Ben was fully clothed. What sort of message was the show trying to send its devoted viewers? Luckily they rectified the situation this week by opening the show with shirtless Ben getting ready for his first group date.
First Group Date: The only thing you need to know about Ben is that he really liked high school. Because of course he did. He’s a Ted Demme film waiting to happen. Anyway, for his first-ever date as The Bachelor, he decides to take Jackie, L.B., Lauren H, Becca, Amber, Mandy, Jojo, Jubilee, Jennifer and Lace to high school. If they survive a day at school, he’ll crown them homecoming queen. The women are forced to run a high school-themed obstacle course, including science class where they are forced to make Ben’s volcano explode. Ben appreciates that the women are “putting themselves out there” by bobbing for apples for teacher. The geography quiz would be a painful indictment of the American education system, but since when is the exact location of Indiana important? The final challenge devised by Principal Chris Harrison pits wild-eyed dentist Mandi against Rerun Amber in a race to be Ben’s date to prom. Mandi wins and Ben is slightly stunned at the idea of heading behind the bleachers with the woman who gave him an oral exam (not a euphemism) on their first meeting.
The After Party: At what is ostensibly the after-party to prom, the ladies vie for alone time with Ben. Becca uses the opportunity to justify her presence on the show, Jennifer earns a kiss, and Lace realizes that she needs to make Ben see that she’s not a crazy girl, which is hard because the producers are definitely giving her the crazy girl edit. She decides to use her time to make some intense eye contact with Ben while apologizing for yelling at him for not making eye contact with her. Then, Ben shows Jojo his helicopter launching pad, which is not a euphemism. He appreciates that she was “bubbly” during the group date and proves it by kissing her.
The Bachelor Milestone: Jojo has developed real feelings for Ben. For that, she earned the Date Rose.
The First Date: After earning the First Impression Rose, Olivia considers herself to be the frontrunner to be Mrs. Ben Higgins, so she is shocked (shocked!) when Caila is given the first date card.
The Bachelor Milestone: Stunt casting! Kevin Hart and Ice Cube are so determined to promote Ride Along 2 that they crash Ben and Caila’s date. They make Ben chauffeur them around L.A., force him to buy her flowers, and try to get him to buy condoms (safety first!) and hard liquor for the date. Then they head to a hot tub store, where Kevin Hart third wheels it in the hot tub with the couple. The fun ends when Ice Cube drags the nearly nude Kevin (clad only in a little black box) out of the hot tub and heads home humming “It Was A Good Day.” Ben appreciates how “bubbly” Caila was on the date. Apparently the number one characteristic that Ben is looking for in a wife is “bubbly.”
The Bachelor Milestone: Awkward private concert! Amos Lee (one of Ben’s favorites, he pinky swears) plays a show so Ben and Caila could dance uncomfortably in front of him. Hey Amos Lee, at least this is less embarrassing than performing at the VMAs.
Second Group Date: For the second date, Ben is turning to science to find love and is putting the twins, Shushanna, Olivia, Samantha, Amanda and some other people through some rigorous scientific testing, which naturally involves making the women wear tiny little outfits for science. The scientists make Ben sniff the ladies (really, show, that’s enough), track their retinas when looking at babies vs. diamonds, and hook them up to heat sensors. The results: On a scale of Sam (2.42 out of 10) to Olivia (7.45 out of 10) this was humiliating for everyone. “Your data were spectacular,” said the scientist to the news anchor, while dying a little inside, probably.
The After Party: As a prize for her high score, Ben pulled Olivia away to make out — and make enemies of all the less confident women. Amanda finally told Ben that she had two kids and he bravely tells her, “Kids don’t scare me.” Then they make out, too. He gives the date rose to Olivia, though, because science.
The Cocktail Party: Before hitting the bar, Olivia hits on Ben by enticing him into a mini-makeout session — even though she already has a rose, which is a clear violation of the Contestant Code. While most of the girls just roll their eyes at the faux pas, Lace demands reparations in the form of a one-on-one chat. Lace knows that she’s coming across as crazy, and wonders aloud, “Will Ben never know about Lace?” Can’t help but wonder if Ben checked some box on his Bachelor questionnaire about preferring women who refer to themselves in the third person. Lace tells Ben that she knows that she’s a lot to handle and Ben manages to not make a No Duh face, which may qualify him for an Oscar. Lauren B. (who is neither L.B. nor Lauren H.) may not have gone on a date, but she is bubbly enough to make her a frontrunner for Ben’s affection and before the Rose Ceremony, Ben proves he is into activities and not scared of children by making Amanda’s daughters some rose-themed barrettes in the hopes that some day they’ll grow up to be Bachelor contestants, too.
The Rose Ceremony: Going into the ceremony, Caila, Olivia, and Jojo all have roses. The first rose goes to Amanda, followed by Jubilee, Lauren B., Leah, Becca, Rachel, and Lace (but which Lace? Oh right, the one that the producers like).
The Bachelor Milestone: Drama! Ben calls L.B.’s name, but instead of gratefully accepting the rose, she pulls Ben aside for a quick chat. Turns out that she can’t handle the competition and wants to leave the show. They let her skip the tearful farewell interview, though, so she must be an ugly crier.
The Rose Ceremony, Continued: Back in the action, Ben hands a rose to Twin One, followed by Jennifer, Jami, Lauren H., Shushanna, Twin Two, and then it’s the final rose. Ben hands the rose to Amber, sending Sam home and proving that science is right.