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So we meet again, Bachelor fans. The previews for tonight promised some fun in the sun in Panama, a topless Courtney (what else is new?), and some drama and tears regarding Casey S. Let’s get straight to it.
The girls arrive in Panama, and Nikki says she’s never been to Central America, so she has no idea what to expect. Most people probably don’t expect the Trump World Tower Beach Club in the middle of Panama City, but that is exactly where the limo full of girls pulls up.
Courtney says, “Life is good,” with one of her smirking smiles, because she’s happy about “this gentleman in my life.” She also wonders if maybe she and Ben will have a chance to go skinny-dipping again. I’m sure Ben will be down!
Next, we see Ben tooling around Panama City in another Jeep, but this one must be rented, since it’s not his red vintage model from back in Sonoma. He talks about the nine women he has left to choose from, and tells us there will be a one-on-one date, a group date, and the dreaded two-on-one date.
Courtney tells the camera that Kacie’s date could go “one of two ways,” which, duh. Either she’s sent packing or she stays. When date time arrives, we see Ben and Kacie walk toward — SURPRISE — a helicopter. It takes them up, up and away as they get views of the city and famous canal. Ben explains that he’s taking Kacie to a deserted island, and he hopes that “feelings are still alive,” since it’s been awhile since their first date back in Sonoma. He also says his fear is that “we run out of things to talk about.”
As the helicopter drops them off on the island and then flies away, we learn that the theme of the date is apparently “stranded on a deserted island.” Kacie was supposed to pack three things (get it?), and she brought a stuffed monkey, a corkscrew, and a bag of candy. Practical! Ben brought fishing wire, a machete, and matches. So maybe they won’t die a slow death.
We watch as Ben and Kacie try to gather coconuts and then try to chop open coconuts. It takes him a few tries, but Ben finally gets one open. They also manage to catch a fish with Ben’s net, and they cook it over a fire and feed each other. “So romantic!” Ben exclaims. Turns out that’s the end of their survival skills test, and the helicopter is back to pick them up. After a commercial, we re-join the happy couple as they stroll through a Panama street to the traditional Romantic Dinner Set Among Twinkly Lights. Ben says he wants to have a serious conversation. Kacie is wearing a questionable one-sleeved black dress.
The rose is sitting on the date table, up for grabs, and to begin, Kacie says she’s enjoying all these exotic locales, but she’s excited to get back to her normal life and see her family and “go to the grocery store and cook, and go to the gym.” Not sure that’s exactly what Ben was looking for, but okay.
Back with Kacie and Ben, Kacie is struggling with “opening up.” Shocker! She says she doesn’t relate to people her age all the time, and explains she had an eating disorder in high school, which she says made her grow up a lot faster. Unsurprisingly, it’s tough for Kacie to talk about, but she says Ben made it easier to “open up.” Ben appreciates her honesty, and gives her the date rose. Along with a make-out sesh.
Group date time! We find Ben guiding a little boat through a very brown, muddy river. The girls pull up in a van, and someone says, “we’re, like, in a rainforest!” They meet Ben on the riverbank, and they all climb in his long green boat. It starts raining at one point, and Courtney, of course, runs her hands along her body and yells, “I’m soooo wet!” Yes, really.
The girls and Ben see some kids wearing loincloths playing soccer, so they decide to stop the boat and say hi. As soon as the group gets up on the grass, the kids run away. They follow the kids deeper into the jungle, and then everyone from the native village comes out of their huts to greet them with flowers and “the biggest language barrier I’ve ever been around,” according to Lindzi. The women villagers take the girls into a hut to outfit them in traditional costume, which includes a beaded bra top, worn over their bikini tops.
Courtney the attention whore of course decides to shed her bikini and just go “au naturel.” She calls the other girls “such prudes,” and Emily responds, rightly, with “Classy, right?” Right. Emily, I like you.
Then Ben comes around the corner in a very skimpy loin cloth. He says he appreciates Courtney’s topless-ness “in more than one way,” with a big smile. Gross, Ben. The chief of the tribe shows everyone around as Emily converses with him in Spanish, and then everyone gives each other painted tattoos. Courtney writes “B+C=
Back in the suite with Kacie, Blakely and Rachel, Kacie reads the two-on-one date card. “Save the last dance for me,” it says. Another card reads “Two girls, one rose. One stays, one goes.” Dramatic! Rachel is intimidated by the fact that Blakely doesn’t seem bothered in the slightest to be going on a two-on-one date and in fact seems confident.
Next Ben steals Courtney away from the group date. They cozy up in a shaded love seat and he tells her that he appreciates her assertiveness. Courtney pours on her game and says that it’s hard for her because she doesn’t feel special with so many girls. She’s even losing sight of their romantic nights! Ben falls for it all, again, and can barely contain his feelings. Courtney drops her hotel room number in the convo, hoping for some more “private time.” (But I thought all the girls stayed together in a big suite? Weird.)
Finally, mysterious Jamie gets some time on camera and time alone with Ben. As she confirms that she’s not just a production assistant that got mixed up for a cast member and is, in fact, attracted to Ben, we see Courtney at the edge of the pool behind them, stripping down to her white bikini, grabbing her glass of wine, and loudly going for a swim right next to them. “Hola!” she says to one.
Ben admits that he’s distracted by frolicking Courtney, which was exactly her mission, and poor Jamie rambles on. Ben tries his hardest, but there’s clearly exactly zero chemistry between Jamie and Ben.
Ben ends up giving the group date rose to Lindzi, because he says he sees something with her. Lindzi is thrilled — she can’t wait to bring Ben home to her parents. Hold your horses, Lindz. Courtney is mad because she thinks she’s the only one who took time to “make Ben feel special.” Ben departs the group with hugs for all.
The cameras apparently followed Court back to room 1611, hoping to catch Ben in the act of sneaking into her room. Courtney even puts extra makeup on and then sits up, waiting for him, we’re led to believe. There’s a voiceover of her talking about how men take her for granted, and she just wants to date someone who appreciates her. Ben never shows up. Womp womp.
And now it’s the two-on-one date with Blakely and Rachel. Ben says what Rachel’s been saying, that it’s the hardest of them all. He also says the two women are on an equal playing field, and he thinks they’re both beautiful. The threesome arrives at a salsa club, where they’ll be receiving private dancing lessons. The girls change into cocktail dresses, which look nothing like what I picture “salsa dresses” to look at. Blakely’s is a hot-pink number with appliqued flowers on the skirt, and Rachel’s is one-shoulder, sapphire blue, with a feathered skirt. Hers is actually cute, just not for salsa dancing. Both are sequined to the hilt and short.
Rach dances with him first, and feels the chemistry as they hold each other close. She even forgets that Blakely is there, she says. Looks like this two-on-one isn’t so bad! When its Blakely’s turn, she goes at it full force, adding in extra moves that she must have learned in stripper class (oops, sorry, I mean VIP cocktail waitress class). Rachel tried to cut in, but Blakely will have none of it.
Then they’re at a very awkward dinner, and Ben is terrified and nervous. He takes Rachel away alone first, and she tells the camera she’s going to let him know that she’s “into him, and we should be together.” She says all the magic words, including, “I wholeheartedly want to be here,” and “I think there’s something great between us, and it could be so much greater.” All Ben can say is “Ay yi yi.”
During Blakely’s alone time, she cries over their lack of time together, and then presents him with a scrapbook she made of their non-relationship. Whoa. It consists of lots of magazine cut-outs.
Rachel is thrilled and tells the camera that “to sum it up, I have the rose and Blakely does not.” It was all very weird, and she must have been drunk, because she sounded more like Courtney than herself. “I wish [Blakely] a safe flight,” are her last words.
They go out to a courtyard and Chris explains that it was brought to his attention that Casey is in love with someone else, not Ben. Dun, dun, dun! Chris says they talked to Casey’s boyfriend Michael back in the States. She calls him her ex-boyfriend. Chris says he was told they were spending every day and night together before she was on The Bachelor. Casey gives her story, which is that Michael didn’t want to marry her, so she broke up with him, and then got back together with him. “Maybe I should be in therapy,” she confessed, in a very calm voice. Then Chris gets her to admit that yes, she is still in love with Michael. “I think we should have a talk with Ben,” Chris tells Casey.
Casey tells Ben her story, and says she doesn’t think Michael is really holding her back here. Ben disagrees, and says he doesn’t sugarcoat things, and he thinks Casey should leave. With that, Chris whisks her away and into a blue van. No saying bye to the girls, no changing clothes, no packing her suitcase. Let’s hope she was able to put some shoes on. I’m actually kind of heartbroken for her, since she goes into ugly-cry mode in the van as the camera zooms in on her face. Maybe this will convince Michael to change his mind and put a ring on it. Let’s hope so.
Chris goes back to tell the girls what happened, and that there’ll still be a rose ceremony that night. “I hope this will change your conversations with Ben,” he says solemnly. He also says that if no one is “open to finding love,” they should also leave. Everyone awkwardly looks around. Courtney squirms.
Ben greets the girls at the cocktail party in another sharp gray suit, and says he has relationships with everyone. Alas, someone must go home. But first, some talking. Nikki takes Ben away to reassure him that since day one, she’s been open and honest. “I can see myself with you, Ben,” she says. They slow dance and kiss. Nikki admits to the camera that she’s falling in love.
Courtney and Lindzi have a chat, and Court tells her that she’s scared she’s going home. “Really??” asks Lindzi incredulously. “Ha, just kidding!” Courtney laughs. She’s feeling super confident, obvi. Even though she was stood up alone in her hotel room, I have to point out. Jamie is still frustrated that she’s not connecting with Ben, and she says her goal is to show him that she’s “sexy, and a woman, and I can please him.” All-righty then.
She wasn’t lying. As soon as they’re alone, she tells him that she has “big plans,” and that she thinks about him and what she wants to do with him when she’s in bed at night. Ben is completely shocked, and everyone is even more shocked when Jamie stands up in her little red dress, mounts Ben’s lap, and goes in for a kiss. One problem: She can’t stop laughing. She uncomfortably gets off Ben, and says she expected their first kiss to be “different.” Well, yeah.
Fortunately, it’s finally rose ceremony time. First to get a rose is Nikki, followed by Courtney, and then Emily. Jamie’s going home. No surprises there. She tearfully explains that she wants love, but it’s also the only thing she’s scared of. Good luck, Jamie! Hope your next guy likes instructions while he’s making out with you!
Next week, the six girls remaining and Ben are headed to Belize, where I’m sure Courtney will find yet another way to be topless. Cheers!
Meredith Rose (not her real name) is a writer living, working, and dating in Washington, DC. She enjoys dramatic rose ceremonies, college football and fashion. She has been a friend of HowAboutWe’s since attending the site’s launch party in April 2010.