Are you ready for some dinner theater? Will ChrisÂ treatÂ what is likely a minor Â indiscretion likeÂ bloody murder? Can Jake get any worse? Are we going to be subjected to a double standard wherein people refer to a contestant as a “whore” even as she is vying for the attention of a man who is dating 15 women at once? For those unwilling to read more: yes. For those looking for a little more analysis, let’s jump.
We begin with a group date. After several mimosas and a ride in an Escalade stretch limo, the girls are confronted by a man wearing a pinstripe suit and an earring. Turns out, he’s the fashion director for InStyle, and the girls are going to model. That’s some date. Sometime model Roz, former Miss America contestant Ashleigh, and swimsuit model Gia (age 26? Do we believe this?) are understandably psyched. Lady-with-a-normal-job Christina is less so. So Christina does what a normal woman forced to model on a reality show would do: she drinks.
Don’t be surprised if we never see Christina’s photos in InStyle. She was terrible. But I don’t blame her. After Roz wraps her long, skinny leg around Jake while the scary mustached photographer snaps pics, I can’t believe Christina doesn’t just call it a day. (From the blur, I am guessing RozÂ forgot her undies.Â TheÂ prospectÂ ofÂ riding in a stretch Escalade will do that.)Â
What happens after a photo shoot? Why, a wrap party, of course. We’re off to the scarily abandoned Hotel Shanghai for the festivities. It is here that these women have to make a connection with bland Jake in order to make their mark. GiaÂ chooses to confess thatÂ once, a long, long,Â long, long time ago, she was an outcast of sorts. Ashleigh interrupts (wearing a swimsuit) to steal Jake way.Â Observation:Â breakingÂ up even the most insincere and inane confession byÂ a swimsuit modelÂ whileÂ wearing a swimsuit isÂ not smart. Seems dumb.
Later, Christina attempts to make Jake forget the boobs and bikinis with a spirited discussion that includes 100 “likes,” some “lalalala,” and a bit ofÂ “ding, ding, ding”Â as an answer toÂ Jake’s attempts to inquire about travel preferences. Listen, the lady is drunk, and Jake isn’t exactly a good time Charlie, so he’s not all that amused. Worse, it’s Roz’s turn to interrupt. Say, what you will about her, Jake likes her.
After a turn in the pool, the twosome gets out of the pool and warms up with a shared blanket. Jake calls her mysterious. Here’s the real mystery:Â After the turn in the pool, Roz’sÂ hair is wet. And yet, her makeup is heavier than it wasÂ during the photo shoot. Anyway, she’s flirtatious. She grabs his face and makes out with him.Â Jake notes, “She’s out of my comfort zone.” You know what that’s code for? “She’s out of my league.” And, let’s be honest. She so is.
Roz gets the first rose.
Back at the farm, the remaining women are waiting for something to happen when a producer–presumably Roz’s other boyfriend–plays a game of ding-dong ditch and drops off a letter and a gift. The letter, read by the resident kook Michelle, says, “Come fly with me. –Jake.” It’s accompanied by a Pretty Woman-type necklace. Michelle convinces herself that the first woman to don the necklace and achieve a perfect fitÂ will win the one-on-one date.Â No one has the heart to tellÂ this brunetteÂ thatÂ the fairy tale thatÂ she isÂ thinking of involves a shoe and a blonde heroine.Â But on the bright side, not winning the one-on-one givesÂ Michelle more time to find and boil Jake’s bunny. Win, win.
Where to start with the one-on-one date? Is it the fact that Allie cries a whole bunch upon winning ? Why doesn’t anyone bother to tell her that she shouldn’t wear an evening gown for a date thatÂ involves riding a motorcycle (with large sombrero-like helmet), flying in a puddle jumper, touring the desert in a convertible, and dancing to a band that was last relevant in 1982? How funnyÂ is the whole plane thing? I love that Jake doesn’t trust her to fasten her own seat belt. But even that wasn’t asÂ great as his over-the-top check of the plane. See, Allie is afraid to fly, so Jake makes her feel better by checking every inch of the plane. He walks by a sign thatÂ prominently displays the name of corporate sponsor Apollo Jets.Â Â He checks the wings. He gets on top of the plane. He screws in the propellers. I don’t even fear flying, and I was worried.
Finally, they’re off. And magic happens. “For me, taking off was our relationship taking off,” Allie says. And there’s more.Â Jake says, “This itinerary is going to put her literally on cloud nine.” And then they literally land on Cloud Nine and have a picnic on the pillow-like landscape. Okay, not really. It seems even the producers have tired of the fly-boy puns, so they opted to payÂ some real money to drown out the bad dialogue.Â Â All of a sudden “On the Wings of Love” begins blaring as the dynamic duo soarsÂ above the California landscape.
The pair finally lands in Palm Springs where a car fromÂ a ZZ Top video awaits. “A-listers escape to Palm Springs,” Allie observes. The couple drives for about 13 hours or so before landing at an outdoor spot for supper. During dinner, Allie has the chance to talk about her past relationships with Jim, Jason, Jake, and Jordan. There’s a pattern, see? Jake starts with a “J.” Kismet.
She gets a rose.
Post-supper, it’s time for a little dancing. Enter Chicago. Minus Peter Cetera. And anyone else who actually began with the band. The happy couple dances like mad while the band sings, “You’re the meaning in my life. You’re the inspiration.” And so on.
Meanwhile, back at the farm, strange things are afoot.Â MichelleÂ is freaking out. She has just learned that she didn’t get a bid for Group Date No. 2, and she’s not happy about it. “I’m not ordinary like the others,” she opines. She packs her bags. Luckily, the other girls have a good enough understanding about ratings points and shares to know that without the resident crazy, the per diems could go away. They talk Michelle into staying.
On to Group Date No. 2. While the first group–or the A-Team, as I like to call themÂ –scores an In Style photo shoot, the second group gets a trip to Magic Mountain. So, clearly,Â we’re dealing now with theÂ less photogenic of the gang, but B-Team seems okay with it. They play along, running through turnstiles, riding roller coasters, and playing the carnie games.
In the downtime, nanny Elizabeth seizes a moment to present Jake with a letter she’s written. You know what’s great about letters? You can drop them off and let the receiver read at leisure. Not our girl Elizabeth. She apparently likes to write her correspondence and follow up with a dramatic reading. Or maybe she doesn’t trust that Jake can read. Whatever the case, she reads her missive. I’ll paraphrase:Â “Dear Jake,Â IÂ have been very impressed with your character. The fun has just begun. Don’t kiss me unless you know that I’m the one. Your friend, Elizabeth.”Â Instead of laughing, our hero is intrigued.
Next up: Vienna. Now remember, on the first episode, she acted like she was kind of a princess? Fancy, right? Well, maybe not so much. She feels the need to confess about a couple of things that actually don’t make any sense. Apparently, once upon a time, she was engaged to her pastor’s son. (Nice touch with the pastor thing).Â She wasÂ 17. Now, luckily, she had the good sense to call it off being so young and all. But then, “Literally, a month later, he got married,” she says. Heartbreaking, right? No one likes to think she’s replaceable. I get it.Â But our girl Vienna’s reaction is pretty unique. She apparently elopes with someone she hardly knows, and thenÂ gets divorced a few months later.
Question:Â Why not an annulment?
But before our dim hero can get into any good analysis on this weird story, wide-eyed Ashley interrupts. This is a woman who does not blink. Seriously, if you have this episode DVR’d, watch it again just to prove me wrong.Â That’s all IÂ have to say about her.
So, anyway,Â it’sÂ time for Jake Â to bestow a rose. He goes on and on about how this particular ladyÂ really opened up. Vienna thinks she has this thing in the bag. Wrong. Thanks to her incredibly deep letter, Elizabeth wins. So, while the rest of the gang drives around the Magic Mountain parking lot,Â Elizabeth gets to cuddle and tease Jake with bon mots like “Do you want to kiss me? I want to kiss you. Kiss my forehead. Kiss it again.” while they watch fireworks.
And now we’re at the rose ceremony where all the action goes down. While Jake is presenting Ella with a lousy birthday cupcake and Tenley opts to stay mum on the subject of her ex-husband, Chris Harrison is gathering the wood and the nails for the cross. After getting the fire started, he asks to see Roz. He begins choking up almost immediately and lets her know that because of her inappropriate behavior, she needs to jet. (Forgive me.) Her denial is pretty lame. I especially loved when she says, “I mean, I don’t think my personal life is anyone’s business.” As if she’s been ambushed by this terrible show that she signed on for.
But whatever. From there, we’re forcedÂ to watch Roz pack in real time. And I’m kind of happy for her, and happy for the show, too. Even if you’re mad at her, you have to admit it evens the playing field. In “real life,” someone like Roz would never, ever date someone like Jake.
Another aside: I love how Chris assured Roz, “No judgment.” You know who says, “No judgment”? People who judge. I know this. I use it all the time before I say something nasty. Good to know Chris is the same way. Anyway, Chris has to inform Jake of the transgression, which, let’s be honest, we could have just been heavy flirting. Not to get too defensive here, but let’s say you signed up for the show thinking the “prize” was Reid or Tanner or whomever you dig. And let’s say you get there, and they tell you that you’re competing for Jake. You might start looking around.
Anyway, Chris breaks the news to Jake. He is crushed. The girls are good and outraged. Externally, anyway. On the inside, you know they are all more than relieved.Â For the same reason thatÂ it’s awesome that someone like Michelle sticks around, it’s really good for the competition when someone like Roz goes home.
So Roz is escorted out, and the rose ceremony proceeds as planned with an extra bud for someone on the B-team. Christina and Ashley are shown the door. Neither are bitter.Â WhileÂ Christina is trying to give her sincere exit interview, we can hear sounds from the winners’ party raging on nearby. It’s sad and miserable. Just like this dumb show.