Welcome back, Bachelor fans, as well as all of you ashamed-to-admit-you’re-actually-a-fan fans (shh, this is a safe space, we won’t tell).
This week, we’re treated to episode previews of Bachelor Ben and his ladies in Sonoma, and I learn that he actually has 18 women to entertain, not 15, like I thought. Apparently there will be a pool party where he smooches the redhead, some one-on-one time with horse-crazy Lindzi, some typical girl fighting breaking out, kisses with Courtney — all, as Host Chris Harrison says, COMING UP TONIGHT ON THE BACHELOR. Shall we?
After some sweeping shots of Ben’s winery and some scenes of him walking his adorable puppy, Ben tells us that he’s bringing the 18 women to him (instead of staying in LA as the show normally does) because Sonoma is a big part of his life and he wants to share it with them.
And then we have Ben showing off some short-shorts as he talks about fond memories of his late father. He explains that his parents’ relationship inspires him.
Finally, Ben greets his women, and Emily the epidemiologist thinks he looks “amazing, in his dressed-down, Sonoma-fied version of himself.” Well said, Em.
And the girls have a new house! So long, House of A Million Crazies in the Hollywood Hills. You, your state-of-the-art kitchen, and bunk beds will be missed.
Jennifer (the red-head’s name! Aha!) wants a date, “any sort of date card with my name on it,” really, she says. She doesn’t care of it’s a solo date or group date, and she gives herself away as a fan of she show, as she knows the “date card” lingo.
Kacie B. (from Tennessee) gets the first date, and says she feels like the “luckiest girl alive right now.” Well Kacie, I’m pretty sure the internet would disagree with you and say that Blue Ivy Carter is the luckiest girl living as of last Saturday, but whatevs.
Kacie gets her bags all ready, because in case you didn’t know, one-on-one dates are all or nothing: Either you get a rose and stay, or you gotta go home. Hard core, this show.
Courtney the model is on Team I-Hope-Kacie-Goes-Home because, as she says, “she’s kinda annoying.”
Night falls at the ladies’ abode, and they’re all by the pool. “Are you nervous??” they all ask Kacie B, who answers that she’s intimidated by the prospect of possibly going home.
Ben tells us that he thinks this first date is important, and then calls the 24-year-old Kacie a “genuine woman.” He picks her up in a red Jeep, and she’s got on a sweater and booty shorts. He’s got on a nice sport coat. Glad we’re all on the same page. Ben says that he feels immediately comfortable, parks the Jeep, and takes her on ” a stroll to show her my town.”
He plays tour guide for the night and shows her City Hall, the oldest California winery, and various other Sonoma landmarks. Note to the gentlemen: Showing off your knowledge and fun facts about a new city is always a good way to score points.
Next we see Ben and Kacie work on a piano duet (that frankly probably needs some work), and then Ben makes a sweeping generalization about all Southern women being “very family-oriented, since that’s a big part of their culture.” Okay, sure.
Then Ben and Kacie are on the mean streets of Sonoma and two random women come up and hug them both — I’m pretty sure they were never introduced, did anyone else catch this?? Please let me know who they were in the comments below, if so.
“He brings out things in me I haven’t been in touch with in a long time,” says Kacie. Ah, but her Bachelor journey is just beginning. They stop to play in a toy store, and oh God, she buys a baton and gives him lessons. They even march down the street in full-on marching band style. It’s super cheesy.
We’re back from a commercial, and Ben and Kacie hit up a cute Sonoma romantic restaurant for a meal. He talks about why he and his family moved to Sonoma, and she asks him what he learned from his father: “What kind of man do you want to be?” That’s a little deep for a first date, but props to her for the hard-hitting questions.
Ben talks about how great his parents’ relationship was, and Kacie likes how the convo flowed easily. He’s really looking for someone to be a part of the Sonoma community, and she says she’ll move anywhere, because she’s a hopeless romantic.
Another date card! arrives back at the house! Jaclyn reads:
“Brittney, Rachel, Jennifer, Blakeley, Emily, Jenna, Shawn, Monica, Samantha (Sammi Sash, as you’ll recall), Jamie, Nicki, Jaclyn -Come play with me – Ben.” The date is set.
Blakeley tells us that she doesn’t want to go on a date with 11 women, and she isn’t saying she’s going to “knock somebody out, but who knows.” Who knows, indeed.
Back to Kacie and Ben – time for the rose! Will he or won’t he? “I decided to do the Bachelor because this worked for me once before,” says Ben, and he would like it to work again. Kacie has reaffirmed his decision, and he’s happy that there are “women like you out there.” Will she accept the rose? Of course she will! It’s sealed with a kiss.
But there’s one more surprise!
They walk up to a theater where they sit in empty seats, and, oh wow, the screen alights with home movies from Kacie’s family. We see Christmas, Kacie playing with dolls, competitive baton-twirling, and Halloween. Ok, that’s cute. It does seem like a move more suited for a proposal, though — I’m not sure how this plays into a first date.
Now it’s Ben’s turn! We seem him as a naked toddler, and then lots of shots of him and his dad. He cries, and it’s all very touching.
Ben admits that the home movies were super-personal and kind of intimate, but he feels like it bonded them.
Kacie: “I think I have found what could be a lifetime of love with Ben!” Congrats!
Ben closes the evening by pronouncing a “perfect date, perfect girl, we’re all good.” So there you have it, HowAboutWe-rs – apparently a perfect first date includes: a stroll around the town, a stop at a toy store for a baton, marching in the street, a cozy dinner, and an empty theater where you can watch each others home movies from childhood — pretty simple to re-create, right? Thought so.
Ben’s excited for his first group date. He’s going to make the women feel “part of this community.” Twelve women, by the way! Ben sheepishly admits that that’s “a lot of pairs of legs” with a hound-dog grin.
Blakeley is wearing a very confusing jumpsuit-onesie situation, and is the first to hug him. Of course.
“Welcome to the town square!” Ben says. He has hired “some of the bet playwrights in all the land,” and the gals are going to be putting on a play.
But, surprise! The “playwrights” turn out to be a bunch of kids. Ben loves kids, you see, and he thinks this will be an excellent way to see if these women do too. The kids say they wrote a fairytale, and the girls will be auditioning for the “good parts and … interesting parts,” according to Ben.
Jennifer makes a really clever remark about how she would love if this were the beginning of her fairytale. And then the kids promptly ask her to “act like a weasel.” Then we see Shawn doing a “pig noise,” Jaclyn as a damsel in distress, and Nicki looking for her Prince Charming. Nicki loves that this is showing with a good dad Ben would be. Then the kids ask Nicki for a “sexy dance.” Good job, producers, corrupting 10-year-olds!
Nicki demonstrates “the sprinkler,” and the kids are way impressed. “Sexy!” they say. Ben pretends to agree.
“Don’t worry, we’re just kids!” says one precocious girl to a nervous Emily. Another kid doesn’t understand how some of the gals are so shy: “Come on, you’re auditioning!” she says, with an eye-roll.
Time for Blakeley and her onesie to take the stage. The kids are not impressed with her wardrobe choice, either. They ask her to jog in slow motion. Everyone comments on her “chest region,” since this is a very low-cut onesie-romper, by the way. I’m not even going to try to describe what she does on stage, and I’ll just agree with the cute little girl in blue: “I wasn’t a fan of her.”
Meanwhile, back at the ranch (literally!), the girls stuck at home discuss who’s getting the next date – Lindzi is confident because she thought she had “good quality time with him at our first.. rose.. thing.” Eloquent.
Courtney wants Lindzi to go home, though, and says that Ben gave the first impression rose to the one person who gave her the worst impression. Ironic! Courtney also straight-up tells the girls that “There’s something there, I can see the way he looks at me, it’s undeniable, there’s something there.” Um, ok sweetheart. Courtney to camera: “I think the HORSE got the first impression rose.” Burn. Then she says, out of context, “Well, I’m not going to beat a dead horse.” GOOD ONE, PRODUCERS. This is going to be the theme of the season, I gather? Ok then.
Erika the law student admits there’s something “a little bit off about Courtney.”
And we’re back at the park! Parts are assigned. Jenna the blogger (remember? Crying girl in the bathroom from last week? Yeah, that one.) is the wizard, and gets to wear a giant sparkly costume, complete with fake beard and mustache. Jenna says “it’s really important for Ben to see me in a different light today.” Um yeah, think so.
Jaclyn is the princess. Jennifer is the weasel. Emily is the hippie. Blakeley is the gingerbread man. Sammi is the pig, and tells a joke: “What do you get when you cross a gingerbread man and a hooker? Blakeley!”
No, I don’t know what kind of play these kids are putting on, either.
Ben — aka Prince Pinot (cute, kids) — then tells the ladies that they’re performing in front of a packed house, including some of his closest friends. Emily is way nervous.
I can’t really follow the story of the play, but Emily the Hippie and Rachel the Valley Girl were supposed to kiss Ben at one point, but he ran off stage before that could happen (wait – how do fifth and seventh graders know about Valley Girls??).
Nicki the Donkey is into her role, because she gets to kiss Ben. The play involves magic spells and ben being transformed into a sheep. Monica the Dragon “blows Ben’s clothes off” (her words) and he strips on stage. The end.
Blakeley has seen all that she needs to see and says, “this is the kind of person that I KNOW I want to be with for the rest of my life.” All righty then.
Up next after commercial: “Blakeley is a slut. Blakeley is a stage 5 clinger.” Sooo, I’m pretty sure that Blakeley isn’t going to be winning the Miss Congeniality award.
And we’re back. Ben hopes he can get more serious with the girls now, since, you know, it’s a bit hard when they’re dressed as gingerbread men, pigs, donkeys and other assorted creatures. Girls have changed into cocktail attire (no more weird romper onesies, thank God), and they gather around a hotel pool for some nibbles and Champagne. The group somehow decides that Jennifer, aka the Weasel of the play, gets the MVP award.
Rachel and Emily the epidemiologist (I just love how that rolls off the tongue) take Ben aside to tell him they feel cheated that there was no kiss during the play! They all make up for it. Kisses on various cheeks.
Jennifer notices the rose on the table. Blakeley says “I know. I didn’t want to take it from you guys.” Everyone’s weirded out by her aggression, especially Sammi Sash, who says that Blakeley is “one of those people who’s sooo ridiculously full of shit.” She also calls her a cougar and desperate.
Ben misses the vibe, and immediately tells Blakeley, “You seem super-grounded and super-go-with-the-flow, everyone likes you!” HA, so he’s getting the exact same impression of her that the girls are! Except not.
Ben was also impressed by Blakeley’s romper. Oh no, Ben! I thought you had better taste than that. Blakeley then says, oh man she really said this, that she’s “blessed in some places, and I really didn’t know if that was going to be okay,” and she is def talking about her boobs in that low-cut romper that she wore in front of the kids. Wow. Well, at least she’s semi self-aware. Cheers to being blessed! She really says this!
Now the girls go searching for Sammi Sash, who’s, of course, hiding in a bathroom stall, pouting about Blakeley. Girls, I know that when you’re being followed by cameras it can be tempting to escape to the bathroom for a moment of peace, but what are you doing?! Get out there! While you’re whining, she’s out there working her magic! Go get him.
Back at the ranch! Date card! Who’s getting the final one-on-one of the night, and who’s getting no date at all? Courtney is confident: “I’m competitive. i usually win. Winning!” Ugh, Courtney, go away. Kacie reads the note: “Courtney – let’s spin the bottle – dot dot dot, Ben.”
No one is happy. Except for Courtney: “We’re gonna make out, wooooo!”
Erika: “Courtney is trying to deflate all the girls in the house right now who haven’t gone on a date. I thought she was maybe a real person, but she’s not. She’s not!”
Back to the pool! Everyone’s in bikinis now, playing chicken in the water. Blakeley’s aqua ruffled bikini is, again, a sartorial mistake. i really like Jenna’s neon pink suit. Good job, Jenna, at least you’re good at picking cute outfits!
Jennifer the red-head steals Ben away for some on-on-one time. Aggressive, way to go Jen! They get close in the hot tub. I’m pretty sure you can see where this is heading. Jen: “Ben makes me feel giddy. She also says that Sonoma reminds her of home (which is Oklahoma city, OK, in case you’ve forgotten). Ben compliments her acting skills. They both are glad that Jen’s here. Then Ben leans in for the kiss, which turns in to a full-on make-out sesh.
Jen: “Kissing Ben was dreamy, it was perfect. I loved it. I’m so happy right now. I could easily be on my way to falling in love with Ben. It could happen! And I hope it does.”
Meanwhile, the girls try to guess who’s going to get the rose. Jenna thinks Jennifer has a shot. Blakeley immediately attacks her: “Really, Jenna??”
She then decides to go after what she wants, and descends the pool stairs to where Ben is alone, apparently. Ladies, come on! Why is he alone??
Blakeley: “Being a Scorpio, we are super-passionate, and we’re great lovers. And I absolutely believe in my kissing skills 100%. Now it’s time for some grown-up time with Ben.” Well then.
Jen and Jaclyn (who’s curiously fully dressed and not in a bikini) spy on Blakeley’s one-on-one time — and they’re now making out in the pool.
Jaclyn: “If Blakeley gets the rose tonight, there will be a lot of pissed off girls.”
Ben: “What a day! What a night! ” He thanks the girls for the date. “You’ve made me proud, so thanks!” And now it’s rose time! it goes to…. BLAKELEY. NO. Everyone has daggers in their eyes. Jen is disappointed, to the point of tears. “i just hope he gives me time!” Sniffle.
Emily the epidemiologist: “I think Blakely pulled the wool over the sheep’s eyes tonight, and I think it got her a rose!” (Clever, because Ben played a sheep in the play, remember?)
Sammi Sash calls Blakeley a slut again. And very horsey. And “tranny.” Blakeley comes back to where the girls are sitting, and the couch immediately clears. Blakeley gets the picture: “All these bitches, I just got the rose dude, I was so happy, i was not worried about anything else. The whole reason I was there was to get the rose. So, i got the rose and that was that.” Bam.
On to the next date! Ben is ready to pick up Courtney in his big red Jeep. With his puppy! Scotch! Awww, puppy!
Kacie wants Ben to see Courtney’s true colors. She hopes Courtney doesn’t come back.
Courtney tells Ben on their date, “You look hot driving this car.” He replies, “You look better riding shotgun.” Well-played, Ben.
Ben again says, “I wanted Courtney on this date because I want to show her Sonoma! We get it, Ben, you like your wine-filled small town. Enough. He wonders if she can handle the small town, since she’s big city girl. They head into the woods, for a picnic maybe?
He tells her the forest is full of redwoods. Courtney thought it was very romantic. Booty shorts and boots seem to be the required attire for one-on-one dates, as Courtney follows Kacie’s lead and also chooses that for her date outfit.
They set up the picnic by a river. Courtney admits it’s been awhile since she’s been on a date. Ben asks why, and she explains: “I’ve just been doing me for awhile, i dunno, just haven’t met anyone, I haven’t been asked out!” Guys: ask out that girl, no matter how hot you think she is. She’ll just be sitting at home if you don’t.
Ben then bundles up his dog, because he thinks he’s cold, and I melt. (The way to my heart is through a guy’s dog, clearly.)
They talk about how they’re both happy with their lives, and they’re just looking for someone to share it with. This is your typical Bachelor/ette convo.
Ben thinks Courtney’s the full package: “smart, witty, drop-dead gorgeous, almost too good to be true.”
It’s nighttime, and our happy couple is on a tractor driving through the vineyard. Ben says he’s had a great, normal day, and that’s the reason he brought all the women to Sonoma, so they know that “this” can be real. And actually, I really like that, it’s different from past seasons when the dates are all these highly produced events with surprise band performances and carnivals that pop up out of nowhere. He’s showing the ladies his real life, and that’s kind of cool. I guess it doesn’t hurt when you own a winery and your “normal life” includes an adorable dog and hot car.
And then they walk up to a tree lit with tiny lights, and a dinner table set up in the middle of the vineyard. She gives him a weird compliment: “You’ve got a winning personality!”
Ben tell Court about a time in his life when he worked in “Internet advertising” and made a ton of money, and partied all the live-long day and night. He admits it was fun, but it didn’t let him deal and/or cope with real life. HENCE, the Bachelorette experience opened him up! imagine that!
Courtney says she’s still single ’cause she’s picky, and she doesn’t want to date actors who party in Hollywood every night. She says she’s been through a lot, including “finding underwear in the bed.” Ben says, “That’s… tough?” Court says she has trust issues. Well, yeah, underwear that’s not yours in the bed’ll do it.
Ben wonders: Is Courtney too good to be true? He says, “If this is really who we are, this is a pretty good damn match.” Sounds like he’s smitten.
Ben then gives Courtney almost the exact same speech he gave Kacie: “I’m glad you’re here! I’m happy! Will you accept this rose?”
She jumps the gun a bit and answers, “I DO!” Got it, Court.
In front of the camera, Courtney switches off her sweet personality and says, “All the other girls should watch out, because i got the rose!! I’m very happy about how the date went.”
Cocktail party / judgment night is here! The girls are in their finest. I’m not too sure about Monica’s beige ruffled number, but i really like Jen’s sapphire blue dress and Rachel’s black lace shift. Kacie’s floral dress with the prom up-do hair and choker is not so flattering. Good thing she already has a rose, because, yeah, this outfit is questionable.
Ben’s looking sharp, too, in his gray, very well-fitting suit and skinny tie.
He takes Lindzi aside, and her coral feathered mini-dress seems like a bit much. She definitely knows her color though — the coral looks perfect with her skin. Ben says that she didn’t get to go on a date because he already knows he likes her (guys, don’t try that in the real world). He then rattles of some stats about her that he remembers (HORSES is one, obvi) and she’s impressed. She tells him that back home, she drives an F350 diesel — you can tell she thinks that this makes her seem super-hot to guys. ugh. Nothing worse than girls who pretend to be “one of the guys.” OH, AND SHE GOES EVEN FARTHER: “It’s really hard wearing actual makeup here, because normally dirt’s my makeup,” she drivels. Oh Ben, COME ON. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS.
The ladies agree with me that Ben looks good tonight, and they raise their glasses to his skinny tie. Ben comes to steal Sammi Sash away, and I approve of her cute flouncy black party dress. Sammi starts her one-on-one time with Ben by saying, “I’m a cool girl, I like to hang out with the guys, I HATE drama, and…”
Speak of the devil, here comes Blakeley, crashing in on Sammi’s one-on-one time. “Hiiii, guys!” Sammi is steaming. “Jugs came in,” she explains to the girls when she returns to them without Ben. Ha.
The ladies agree that it’s not fair for her to take time away from other girls who don’t have roses, and direct all there vitriol toward Blakeley, once again. Back in the one-on-one room, Ben tells Blakeley again that he was impressed with her on the group date, and that her audition was perfect. He even gets this whole “confident woman vibe” from her. She says she fights for what she wants, and Ben likes it.
Then we see Blakeley running after Ben AGAIN, this time while he’s with Erika, and the girls are SUPER pissed now. “Where are your morals? Do you even have any? Do you think it’s ok to go around and be a bitch?” says Brittney.
“Its like a war out there,” comments Courtney as she takes a big swig of her red wine.
We’re then treated to another glimpse of Kacie’s prom-style up-do – girl, that was not a good choice.
Ben invites Jenna to join him outside. And here we go, again. She starts off perfectly, by throwing the blanket on a candle. “Oh, let’s not put that there,” says Ben as he rushes to avoid a fire. That was a close one. Jenna blames the drama for “bringing out the worst in you,” (meaning the worst in Jenna, let’s hope). She describes another constant battle in her head. How does she move forward, she asks. She says she’s a nervous wreck and thanks Ben for the second chance. She’s gonna be honest: “I feel like I’m a guy in how i act,” she says. She admits that it’s weird to be around girls all the time. “It’s hard waiting around for you, ’cause there’s only you, and it’s TOTALLY worth it but, I’m not, like, a girl.” Thankfully this mess of words is interrupted by Jaclyn, resplendent in a long-sleeved green sequined dress.
Jenna is back in front of the camera, having yet another meltdown where absolutely nothing coming out of her mouth makes any sense. “I don’t know, its upsetting to me” – us too, Jenna, us too.
Next we see her in a random bed, under the covers. And she’s crying again. Now I kinda feel sorry for her.
Sammi sash is back, complaining about how trashy Blakeley is, and yes, ok, this has been established, but girls, sometimes when you do this, you just end up making yourself look bad. Don’t do this.
Our next shot: Blakeley in a dark corner, surrounded by suitcases, kneeling and crying. But Blakeley, I thought you were so hard-core! What is this?
Ben is confused, and Jamie (got the first rose at the rose ceremony last episode, remember her?) is trying to explain the dramz. Ben notices the mood of the party is shifting, and that girls are emotional. He questions Brittney. She says drama affects everyone.
Ben then wins the understatement of the century award for saying, “Blakeley is not the best at communicating with the girls.” His solution? “I need to find Blakeley!”
He finds her hiding in the corner besides the mountain of suitcases, and advises her to “take a moment.” Good talk.
Then, he finds Jenna curled up in the covers, crying herself to sleep apparently. Jenna? he asks. “Tonight’s intense,” Ben says to the camera, with another understatement of the century. He pulls her out of bed, and it’s not romantic or sexy in the least. “I had no idea things had gotten this bad this early,” he says. “Trying to divide your time between 18 women is really, really hard,” he says, “but i’m learning as I go.” Chin up, Ben. It can’t be that bad.
Back from commercial in time for the rose ceremony, under a full moon. Hi Chris Harrison! “This second week has been unlike any we’ve had before,” he says. It’s not clear if he’s referring to their Sonoma setting or the fact that girls have been crying next to suitcases and in beds, but then he acknowledges the girls who already have roses and aren’t in danger of going home: Kacie B., Blakeley, and Courtney, and for the first time I notice that they’re all brunettes. Guess he really was telling the truth the first night when he said he was digging the dark-haired lasses.
Chris says there’s only 13 roses up for grabs. By my accounts (and please someone, check my math) only two girls are going home. This is going to be a long season.
And here’s Ben! He is thankful for all the women being with him in Sonoma, and confesses that some relationships are starting. With that being said, the first rose of the night goes to: Jennifer! Hurrah! Good for her.
Next: Emily the epidemiologist. Then we have Elyse, who barely got any camera time except for when she was bitching about Blakeley. Next rose to Jaclyn in green sequins. Erika the law student who didn’t get a date gets a rose. So does Rachel with bangs. Horse-loving LIndzi is next. Nicki from Texas gets a rose, too, then Casey S. — who?!? I legit have no idea who she is. Sammi Sash, Monica, Jamie, and Brittney round out his pics. SHOCKER — Crazypants Jenna is not saved by the producers this time. Good for Ben for standing up for himself. Shawn, the one who has a son, is also let go.
Jenna is “in shock” that she’s going home, and she must be the only one on Earth. “I can’t believe this is happening,” she wails! “I’m mortified! I think I deserve love! I have always been trying to find it!” Good luck with that, dear Jenna.
Ben announces to his ladies that they’re headed to San Francisco! Party on! Everyone clinks their champagne flutes.
Next week, on the Bachelor: cable cars, Blakeley roller-blading half-naked (are you really surprised?), LindZi and Ben making out in front of fireworks, Brittney has a confession and it looks like she chooses to go home, and a mystery girl shows up. The climax of next week? A girl in an unfortunate turquoise dress passes out.
Until then, my friends!
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.
(Thanks to Ashley for the amazing screencap of Jenna in her wizard costume.)