The problem with starring on a reality television game show in which you are supposed to be Prince Harry but also 23-year-old oil-cleaner-upper and cricket enthusiast Matt Hicks is that you must seduce the ladies twice: they must love you as Prince Harry, and then they must also love you as 23-year-old oil-cleaner-upper and cricket enthusiast Matt Hicks. It’s a tall order. Or rather, it is a 6′ 2″ order, which is exactly the height of Prince Harry, and also, I imagine, of Matt Hicks.
Where last we left off, Matt, in his official capacity as Not-Harry, had sent “genuine girl” Leah home and invited Rose, auditioning for the ingénue in the high school musical that is life, up to the “Crown Suite.” Rose, for her part, promised the other girls that she would do some “reconnaissance,” working to ascertain whether Not-Harry is actually Harry. In the minutes/hours/days between then and now, though, Kimberly, who has reached the status of definitely being a character on this show, has had doubts. “I just don’t see how they’d let a bunch of crazy American girls around Prince Harry,” she says. “I mean I wouldn’t. That should be, like, a law.”
Another thing that should be, like, a law is for Not-Harry to creepily creep like a creeper into the Crown Suite when you are in your bathrobe, brushing your teeth in the American style, but that is what happens. As part of Rose’s prize package for being her Rosy self, she gets a creep-attack surprise breakfast with the Not-Prince, followed by a helicopter ride to one of Britain’s finer private beaches. “Some people get sick in helicopters,” Meghan, who has gotten meaner since last week, notes from the ground.
“This is definitely the royal treatment,” Rose muses, kicking off her reconnaissance mission with her trademark subtlety. “If the date of a royal can’t be treated well, then [something],” Matt agrees. That is more than enough for Rose, who is now convinced that Not-Harry is “a royal on the royal chain.” Over oysters — “an aphrodisiac!!”— Not-Harry confirms all sorts of actual Harry details, sounding convincingly like Harry, if Harry had recently suffered frontal lobe damage. Rose, however, is convinced, because Not-Harry has once been skiing, and also has a brother. With the waters of the Atlantic lapping at their ankles, Not-Harry and Rose kiss.
Back at the palace, eligible bachelorette and former pageant almost-winner Andrea Fox explains to the camera that she is very competitive, because she has almost won a lot of pageants.
Matt and Rose agree that their budding romance is indeed a fairytale, but like all fairytales, theirs must come to an end, or at least, an intermission, and they are delivered back to the estate lawn, where the other contestants are playing croquet. When in England, etc. But no sooner has Matt retreated with Long Island Kimberly for a Patti Stanger-approved mini date than he is spirited away by his not-security guards to attend to a not-emergency, and
Carson Kingsley dutifully ushers the girls into the palace, where they can better speculate about the true identity of Not-Harry. “I think he has an important job,” Maggie says, slowly.
Threats to the Empire neutralized, Kingsley announces that “Sir” would like to spend the day playing cricket. As the winner of last week’s charm-challenge, it is Rose’s job to decide which of the girls will participate as athletes, and which of the girls will participate as makers of tea. “She probably wants to put all the cute girls in ugly outfits,” snips Meghan, who will be playing cricket despite her apparent calling to make tea. Andrea, meanwhile, will be serving tea despite her passion for competitions of all kinds. “I wanna show him I’m good at sports,” Andrea explains. That way, “if it wasn’t my looks that got him, or just my amazing personality, maybe my cricket skills might do the trick.” But for Andrea, there will be no cricket, not now, and maybe not ever. “I’m serving tea,” she wails. “Like a pioneer lady.”
“They’re all beautiful girls who are frankly way out of my league,” says Matt, wistfully surveying the cricket field. “I am in heeeeeeelllllllllllllll,” says Andrea, who is buttering sandwiches. Mid-game, or post-game, or maybe pre-game, it’s hard to tell, Not-Harry and Karina adjourn for a romantic stroll along the periphery of the cricket field, to get to know each other better, and also to escape Andrea. “I want to show him I’m different,” Karina says. “I want to get away from Andrea,” Matt thinks.
Tonight, Kingsley announces, there will be a formal dinner, after which one of the girls will be “elevated” to the Crown Suite, and one will be leaving the estate. How fortuitous! May I recommend Andrea? The girls adjourn to prepare for the Last Supper, which gives Matt just enough time to wonder if the girls would still like him if they knew he was not actually Prince Harry.
Downstairs, Kingsley gives the dinner gong his best ring, a ring he really, really hopes will get him cast on Downton Abbey. “Oh gosh,” says Maggie, overwhelmed by the selection of silverware. Matt’s heart is beating fast, he says, because it is elimination night. Maggie’s heart is also beating fast, because of all the forks. “I have never eaten any of this stuff,” Maggie confesses. “What is this, like, a sea urchant [sic]?” Across the table, Andrea glowers.
With the royal decision-making hour of midnight fast approaching, and Maggie trying “really hard to keep down, like, this vom from coming up,” Not-Harry and Kingsley excuse themselves to go figure out who to eliminate. Andrea “seems to be above it all,” which is a negative, but she has “a glint in her eye that says all sorts of things.” Kimberly, meanwhile, was “bubbly” at cricket. “You know when you meet someone, you get a vibe?” Kingsley does know. Kingsley has always known.
Maggie is overcome with the sheer emotion of it all. “It seemed like he really enjoyed his time with both of them,” she sobs, “so it’s like how do you know?” And it’s true, how do any of us know anything, except Kingsley, who knows everything? One thing Matt knows is that he’s going to eliminate Andrea and “elevate” Kimberly to the Crown Suite, which he does, with little ceremony. Andrea, for her part, knows that that’s okay, because “to be quite honest…I don’t really go for a ginger with bad teeth.”
Kimberly floats into the Crown Suite. “It’s something you only think of in dreams,” she tells the camera, opening a closet filled with bathrobes. Kimberly is not a winner, she says, not even at bingo, and now Kimberly has won literally all of the bathrobes. “I feel like I did something really right,” she says, climbing into the Crown Bed. And the night should end here. But the night does not end here, because in this one way, reality television imitates life, and nothing ends when it should end. That is the rule of being on television, and also of being 23. As Kimberly drifts off to royal dreams, Maggie and Meghan have a blow-out fight in the hallway: Maggie is drunk and Meghan is concern trolling. “I enjoy a cocktail,” Maggie sobs at Meghan, a schism forming between the camps. “I’m a person! I make mistakes!”
And really, is that not the human condition, to be a person and make mistakes, and also to enjoy a cocktail?