Bachelor Recap: To Braid or Not To Braid. That is the Question.
For the first time in a very, very long time, I wrote the majority of the recap immediately after watching the show. Today’s schedule did not permit me the luxury of getting eight hours of beauty rest before writing this little post during my lunch hour and state mandated 15-minute breaks.
With that said, please be kind when watching this week’s AOL TV Squad video blog. I had exactly 30 minutes to come up with something funny and 10 minutes of that, I spent braiding my bangs. You understand. I hope you enjoy what is quite literally an impromptu take on last night’s show.
The following information you are about to read is of personal opinion. However, if you or someone you poked on Facebook happens to personally know, sort of know, is friends with the nephew/former classmate of someone who often purchases the Chick-fil-A cow calendars and looks exactly like one of the contestants on the show…none of this is personal and I’m sure they are all lovely people.
The episode begins with several canned shots of scenic Costa Rica that ABC borrowed from the Discovery Channel. Brad is transported over steaming volcanoes, long-billed toucans, luscious rain forests and 17 million waterfalls before exiting the pimped out leather seated helicopter.
He showcases his “Hotter Than Crap” side when the chopper door opens, revealing muscular, tan forearms. His navy blue Polo struggles to stretch around the bulging biceps as he emphasizes once again that he is fortunate to get a second chance at love. He says something about his heart (the specifics are unimportant) and that prompted me to look at his chest. I longed for a shirtless scene.
The Bachelorettes take us through a few shaky Blair Witch scenes with their trusty Flip Cams as the ABC graphics department gets a solid shout out by creating a handy map of the world with a cartoon airplane moving via dotted line from Las Vegas to Central America.
The girls are dropped off at the Springs Resort and Spa and are prompted by the producers to check out the looming volcano in the distance. It was imagery at its finest. The pending destruction of spewing lava and hot ash could have been a metaphor for Michelle’s eventual meltdown or clever foreshadowing of Alli’s war cry against all creatures with an exoskeleton. One can’t be too sure and it’s silly to speculate.
Jackie is the first to spot Brad waving below and tells Britt to let down her beautiful hair so he can climb up. Instead, Brad politely asks the ladies to please follow him. When they finally get to the Bachelorette villa, Brad is sweating through his Polo. This would have been an appropriate time to lose the outer layer. Shirts can be so binding when you have muscles that big. But that didn’t happen and I was forced to push down all that hope for a shirtless scene, knowing that I would probably be disappointed yet again his week.
Brad leaves the date card on a wicker chase lounge and it is revealed that Chantal O. has the first one-on-one date in Costa Rica.
Alli and Britt’s feelings are hurt because neither of them have had a one-on-one date. Emily is secure in her beauty and says nothing. Ashley writes a letter in her journal to other Ashley and Chantal begins doubting…not her choice of hot pink suitcase, but Brad’s feelings for her.
And then we meet one of Michelle’s personalities. I like to think of this one as #4, because this is typically something a fourth grader would say:
Michelle: “I don’t know why Chantal’s name was on the date card. But I can be patient. I hope that Chantal gets attacked by monkeys. Or an ape.”
That’s good sweetie. Here’s a snack trap full of goldfish crackers. Now go run along and watch iCarly on Nickelodeon. Stay in there because the grown ups are going to be talking about you out here.
Brad arrives in a tangerine button down with boring gray shorts. Chantal has been instructed to dress in what she would wear during hot yoga. I could tell she wasn’t told P90X or Jazzercise because home girl did not have on a sports bra. Think athletic comfort without the athletic support. They stroll hand-and-hand through the rain forest and come to a clearing where the pimped out helicopter waits to take them on an amazing adventure. The appropriate OMGs are exchanged and Brad reminds us that he digs Chantal’s chili but she’s been a bit of a drama queen lately. He wants to see if the old Chantal comes back out in Costa Rica.
Back at the villa, Emily drew the short stick and the producers make her go out to talk to one of Michelle’s personalities. This time, we see #23 — the oblivious one.
Michelle: “I just can’t figure out what Brad sees in Chantal.”
Emily: “Uh huh.”
Michelle: “She’s so aggressive and way too confident. It’s almost like…”
Emily: “She’s you?”
Michelle: “I was going to say egotistical?”
Back on the helicopter, in only the way our Bachelor can, Brad eloquently shares with Chantal the super secret details of their date:
Brad: “What I have in store for you…what we are about to do…you want to do. Only here.”
Knowing that we needed some visual context clues to accompany that stellar description, the ABC chopper camera man (not Gary because he too is afraid of heights) gets a nice shot of the longest zip line known in the history of time. At least that’s what Brad read on the cue card the ABC intern gave him.
Chantal thinks this will take their relationship to new heights. My right eyeball almost got stuck inside the socket from rolling it back so far.
Brad tells Chantal on more than 12 occasions that they are 600 feet off the ground. Then he looks stunned when it begins to rain…as they stand…in a rain forest. Brad thanks no one in particular and promises to make the most of the situation. Chantal thinks that Brad’s reaction to the rain shows that he will make the most of any situation in a relationship too.
I may have thrown some wayward gummy bears at the screen and screamed an interjection or two.
Brad: “Please. I always knew Chantal was fun. Truly. It was pouring down rain and she just went for it.”
As if she had a choice.
Brad channels Wooderson, repeating, “Alright, alright, alright.” after completing his zip. They hug it out in the downpour, congratulating and thanking each other for being fabulous. Then they tandem zip a few times and we get some unfortunate crotch shots of Brad spread eagle into the camera. This is the third time we’ve seen him in a harness in three weeks. It continues to be pretty special.
At the villa, the Costa Rican date card pedestal is flourished with a big banana leaf to add some Latin flair. We find that “Love Springs Eternal” and Jackie, Michelle, Emily, Ashley, Shawntel and Britt are all going on a group date. Ali is stoked that she finally gets a one-on-one and consoles Britt with a fake hug.
Meanwhile, Brad and Chantal make their way to a romantic picnic down by the river. They see a van in the distance. At first glance, it appears that Brad is wearing jorts. You and I both know that look can not be rocked by anyone other than Johnny Ray and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Upon further scrutiny, it was just plain blue shorts. Phew! Crisis averted. Let’s go back to hoping he removes that pesky shirt.
Chantal: “Brad is the whole package. Today I got a glimpse of what it would be like to be with him and I can see myself having a future with this man.”
Hey Chantal. It’s Lincee. Just so you know, there are no rain forests to zip line through in Austin, Texas. But it is possible to picnic beside Lake Travis as long as you don’t mind UT’s 2011 FIJI pledge class on a party barge in the background. You’re welcome.
Just as the dynamic duo sit down to eat cracked coconuts, the rain begins to fall. Again, this seems like a huge inconvenience for our Bachelor as he struggles with an alternate plan of action. He grabs the rose and the hand of his tandem partner and heads for comfort and protection of The Springs Resort and Spa’s Room 491. Brad and Chantal are soaking wet. Our Bachelor rifles through Harrison’s closet and chooses the most expensive white button down he can find for Chantal to use as a bath robe. The producers encourage this behavior and ask that we pay no attention to the free hotel bath robes hanging on the back of the door.
Brad gets tongue tied when Chantal saunters back into Harrison’s chateau living room. wearing nothing but the shirt. He can’t put a sentence together and then excuses himself. He returns a few minutes later holding the safety rose and a plate of desserts he found on top of Our Host’s mini refrigerator. Just before they both take a bite of the “special brownies,” Chantal decides to have a normal conversation about her feelings as Brad checks to see if hair is growing on his palms:
Chantal: “I like to see you in your comfy clothes. You have good taste.”
Brad: “Thank you. I’m wearing Harrison’s underwear. I have so much fun with you.”
Chantal: “I’m crazy about you. Can’t you see that?”
Brad: “You scared me a bit in Vegas. Don’t play games. I hate games. Do these brownies smell funny to you?”
Chantal: “I’m fighting to be vulnerable with you. I feel good around you and I want that forever.”
Brad: “When you talk, you sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher.”
Clearly, Brad had not succumbed to the side effects of the cannabis, but the intoxicating essence of Chris Harrison’s pheromones. After a few cups of coffee and several deep inhales of Wes Hayden’s pearl snap offered by the ABC psychotherapist (who refuses to admit why she is in possession of said article of clothing) Brad’s head is clear enough to determine that Chantal deserves the rose and they both agree it was the best date ever.
“Love Springs Eternal”
Michelle, Ashley, Britt, Shawntel, Emily and Jackie
In perhaps the most anti-climatic date in the entire season, Brad takes the group date girls rappelling down a waterfall. I’m going to go ahead and beta cap this portion and save us all precious time:
Still raining. Michelle hating. Hand holding. Feet slipping. Adventure facing. Lincee eye rolling. Harness adjusting. Helmet dorking. Water falling. Jackie freaking. Michelle hating. Shawntel rappelling. Brad looking. Britt sailing. Hair flowing. Ashley inching. Emily floating. Jackie still freaking. Michelle still hating. Jackie conquering. Lincee bored.
But then things take a turn for the interesting. Michelle’s evil personality, number 666 makes an appearance. Just as Jackie is about to lean over the ledge to rappel, Brad instructs her to NOT look down. Without hesitation, Michelle tells Jackie to look down, which Jackie does, and she screams. Even though I think Jackie was playing the damsel in distress role a little too carefully, it was mean and even uglier when Michelle started laughing. Then she tells the camera that Jackie is dramatic.
No one bothers to replay her the tape where she threatens to hurl all over Brad before rappelling down the side of a building on her “conquer your fear with me” date because both cast and crew are afraid she’ll stab them in the jugular with a nail file she has conveniently hidden away in her ample bosom. This Michelle even has the crazy eyes rolling around in reckless abandon.
Michelle #666: “Jackie put on quite the production. It’s really annoying seeing him being so nice to the others when we had a pact. He promised me he would never rappel down anything else again in his life unless it was with me. HE PINKY SWORE.”
Now that it’s just Brad and 666 at the top of the waterfall, she begins beating him into submission, ticked off that he dare rappel without her. Just before her head spins a full 180-degrees, Brad tells her he is indeed keeping his promise and they will go down in tandem.
Tandem was a big theme for this episode.
Brad: “When I told Michelle that we were going down together, her mood changed immediately.”
Or, 666 left and docile #85 came out to play. It’s just a guess.
Later, Brad takes the girls to a mossy green natural hot spring. They begin to peel off their outerwear, revealing mis-matched bikinis. For a few seconds, I cursed the TV that ABC once again left Brad in his perfect Gap t-shirt. But then, there was a glorious, slow, tight shot of him removing the shirt to reveal his hotter than crapness.
Michelle: “Watching Brad take his shirt off makes you want to go home and BLEEP.”
Well bleeped Michelle. And I’m so glad that all of my strongly worded letters finally reached the decision makers at ABC. Let’s keep it up in the weeks to come!
Brad pulls Jackie away for some alone time in the grotto. She said she felt special and then proceeded to contradict herself by telling him how she wished she would have been the one to tandem down the waterfall. Brad looks defeated, but hot.
La mesa de date cardo arrives inviting Alli to meet our Bachelor at the altar. Alli automatically thinks wedding altar and begins to wondering if the side swoop bang braid will still be fetch six months from now because her bridesmaids could totally rock that look. Chantal is convinced the altar is of the sacrificial variety and quickly becomes frustrated because there is no way she will be able to convince a local tribe that Michelle is a virgin.
In a rare moment of weakness, Emily admits to Brad that she often sabotages relationships. She is working to be more open, but admits that she doesn’t have a clue how to do that. After passing her Dr. Jaime’s cell and work numbers, Brad declares that he will never allow Emily to sabotage what they have. Then they make out. We are treated to about three minutes of Brad’s Propecia-sponsored massive back tattoo before heading to the villa to check in on Chantal, Alli and a scary intruder.
Alli: “What’s that on the table?”
Chantal: “It looks like a huge beetle.”
Alli: “I’m going to throw up. I’m more afraid of bugs than anything in the world.”
Chantal scoops the bug up with a piece of paper and begins to chase Alli. I laughed, even though I thought Alli was being a bit dramatic. Then Alli takes a questionable turn and throws her cranberry juice (Montezuma’s revenge I imagine) at Chantal while issuing forth a bloodcurdling scream that would normally come from someone watching The Shining, The Exorcist or Glitter. It was true terror.
We are treated to a rare moment when we see Brad and yet-to-be-determined-Michelle’s reaction to the terrifying scream above. Apparently, the steamy hot baths are just below the Bachelorette’s bungalow. Brad looks alarmed and checks with the producers to see if 9-1-1 should be called for the person above who has clearly lost an appendage. A quick walkie talkie radio conversation with the ABC intern, and it is determined that actual crazy trumps bug crazy and Brad should stay where he is with one of Michelle’s personalities.
Jealous of the surrounding chaos, #14 Michelle has reared her vigilant head to assess the situation.
#14: “Chantal is soooo different than me. How could you give her a rose?”
Brad: “I’m not looking for a type. I’m looking for a connection. We have one.”
#14: “Do we Bradley? DO WE?”
Brad: “Why would you say that? I don’t want to take two steps back from you.”
#14: “You had a sexy date with her in Costa Rica and I swore she wouldn’t come home.”
Brad: “Isn’t that my business?”
#14: “She came home in one of your shirts.”
Brad: “Technically, that was Harrison’s. I went home in one too. It helps me sleep at night.”
#14 shuts Brad up by luring him into a seductive kiss. Brad soon forgets that he just told the camera how much it ticks him off that she gets mad at him for no reason.
Another whiff of HWMNBN’s shirt and Brad is thinking clearly again. He decides to not give anyone the safety rose. He pleases and thanks the ladies for an incredible day, apologizes and then leaves the party.
“Let’s Meet at the Altar”
Brad rides up to the bungalow on a horse. He’s wearing flip flops. If real cowboys watched this show, they would have turned off the TV at this point. Afraid to dismount, Brad stays on his own stud and encourages Alli to self hoist up onto the noble steed. She mounts from the wrong side. No one but me and a handful of people on my Facebook wall notice because they are distracted by the two baby horses following close behind. I, on the other hand, am forming a committee to have him placed on state probation, as well as drafting curriculum for a pre-K class that teaches boys grown in the south the proper way to ride a horse, bale hay, two step and open a beer bottle by whacking the cap on the side of a sturdy table or window ledge.
The pair reach the edge of the marshy rain forest, crawl off the wrong side of the horse and make their way to an eerie cave that is 40 million years old according to the historical marker to the immediate left. Alli is nervous that poisonous jungle bugs will suck her face off and begins to tick in nervous chatter about this being the perfect place to find a skeleton and her high hopes for running in to Captain Jack Sparrow if they are lucky. Brad points out a cute little spider in the corner and we are once again treated to the various octaves of Alli’s capable vocal chords. Approximately 40 million bats are catapulted into a frenzy at the sound of Alli’s shrieks. Brad offers to protect her from the bats and weaves a path to safety at the “altar” that turned out to be a Costa Rican word for rocks in the shape of steps. He makes a mental note to tell Dr. Jaime that his life-long dream of being Bruce Wayne has finally come true and toasts Alli on their victorious adventure.
Brad takes Alli back to The Springs Resort and Spa. The ABC intern has fashioned a piece of plexiglass on top of the mossy green hot springs, giving the illusion that Brad and Alli are floating on the water.
Alli fumbles around cutting her mysterious chicken as Brad figures out a way to get beyond the small talk.
Alli: “So you’ve never been to Europe?”
Alli: “Not even back packing with your friends after college?”
Brad: “I worked hard in the oil field. When did you go?”
Alli: “Two years ago. Being an apparel merchant, I find that I can get a few weeks off at a time if I give my boss several weeks notice. If not, I’ll just quick and go work for another Abercrombie. Does Austin have an Abercrombie?”
Sensing the direction in which Alli is steering the conversation, Brad decides to change the subject. Before he can ask her all-time favorite movie, they realize they are beginning to sink in the hot springs. There’s talk to relocate this cozy dinner back in Harrison’s room, but Brad is quick to respond.
Brad: “Please. Quickly. Tell me about your last relationship. I believe you said it just wasn’t meant to be?”
Alli: “Yeah. It all started when I was in high school and…”
Brad: “Please. Just a yes or no will do.”
Alli: “I guess so. We just lost interest in each other. I just couldn’t see myself marrying him. I tried to convince myself I was into it, but I just wasn’t. He’s a great guy and deserves someone wonderful.”
Brad seizes the opportunity before it passes him by.
Brad: “Please. Why don’t you lift your feet up a few inches so your shoes don’t fill with water. This will only take a minute. I know EXACTLY what you mean. I’m looking for a wife and a connection.”
Alli: “I totally get it. I think we could hang out all day long like this. And don’t worry. I have my bikini on under my clothes. I’m happy to keep sinking with you. Sinking into deeper love and…”
Brad: “Please. Stop right there. I feel the same way. I think it would be great hanging out. But that’s it. We are not falling in love and I can’t give you the rose. At the end of the day, we both know we are best friends and that’s where it ends. Now carefully get up out of your chair, take this oar and row us to the edge. I have to walk you out.”
Alli begins to cry. Brad shuts down and throws up an emotional wall. He pines for the comfort of Jaime and rushes to his bungalow to call the good doctor so they can process what just happened. After careful contemplation from the balcony, he’s ecstatic to hear the knock on the door and rushes to embrace his beloved therapist.
“HOLA!” says the figure on the other side of the door.
Ay caramba! It’s numero cinco—Latina Lover Michelle. With a bang braid.
She pulls a stunned Brad toward the couch and throws her arms around his neck as if fashioning a pretend noose or choke collar. Fearful that he will both get in trouble from the producers (bless his heart for thinking this wasn’t planned) and equally afraid that this nut job is about to go full-blown boiling bunny psycho, he treads carefully.
Latina Michelle: “It is I…your Latina lover. Besame mucho.”
Brad: “Why is there porno music playing in the background?”
Latina Michelle: “Silencio mi novio. I know you are heart broken from sending Alli home.”
Brad: “How did you know that I sent her home?”
Latina Michelle: “Por favor. Her bags were taken away. It was a good decision. Que bueno.”
Brad: “Are there any other decisions you want to make for me?”
Latina Michelle: “Si. Chantal needs to vamos. If you end up choosing her, it’s a mistake of grande proportions.”
Brad: “Now how am I supposed to respond to that?”
Latina Michelle: “Vaya con Dios is a start! Tambien…you drive me loco when you don’t give me roses. I have muy informacion on these gringos that I could give you.”
Brad: “WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?”
Latina Michelle: “Exactly. You will say adios in this order: Britt, Jackie, Shawntel, Chantal, Emily and then Ashley. But I know you can figure it out. Don’t cry for me Argentina.”
Brad: “Aren’t we in Costa Rica?”
Latina Michelle: “I must go now mi novio. Hasta la vista.”
Brad: “You forgot to say baby.”
The ladies can tell that something is different with Brad. He confesses that someone gave him grief for not handing out a rose on the group date and that coupled with his kicking of Alli to the curb has really messed with his head. His confidence is low, his brow if furrowed and his pecs are as fabulous as ever. What better way to make yourself feel better than to sit in the presence of Emily in a hammock with hot pink throw pillows? She immediately puts him at ease by confiding that she is a big ole idiot for telling him that she sabotages relationships. He knows she is worth the fight. They sit for 10 minutes looking pretty.
Since no one picked up on the fact that Brad admitted that someone was busting his balls for not handing out a group date safety rose, an ABC producer pulls Chantal aside and encourages her to nudge the beehive a little. She takes her place at the head of the semi-circle and wonders aloud how someone was able to give Brad grief when this was the first time they have seen him since the group date? Slowly light bulbs appear over the heads of Britt, Jackie and Ashley. The buzzing has begun.
Michelle, in a colorful, flowing caftan that Mrs. Roper would have definitely worn in her earlier years, is being interrogated by Brad who has thankfully located his balls.
Brad: “Our conversation on the group date was all about trust. Last night we had the exact same conversation again.”
Michelle: “But you asked me to list out the girls in order of who I was send home when!”
Brad: “Uhm…no…I didn’t. I feel like we’ve taken 10 steps back.”
Michelle: “Two steps back? Don’t say that. I said what you wanted me to say. It’s nothing that you can’t figure out by yourself.”
Brad: “I said 10, not two and what makes you so confident that you know me?”
Michelle: “Because you told me that we would be together forever!”
Brad listens as Michelle recalls, in perfect detail, a date that never happened. She begins crying and the ABC psychotherapist gives her a little something to calm the nerves. The ABC intern runs over to show Brad the signed contract that he would keep Michelle around for another two weeks.
Michelle heads back to the girls.
Ashley: “How was your time with Brad?”
Chantal: “You look like you’ve been crying.”
Michelle: “I was. I might be crazy.”
Chantal: “You think? Listen, something is not right with Brad. Someone said something about him not handing out a rose. Was it you?”
Michelle: “Well…I did give him a good stare down. I don’t hide my feelings very well.”
Chantal begins kicking the beehive with the point of her high heel shoe.
Taking a different tactic, Shawntel pulls Brad away for some alone time and suggested they play the silent game because they talk about their feelings way too much.
She’s met Brad, right? This dude majored in rigid boredom. Shawntel switches gears and begins making out. This is when my Mama texted me, inquiring why she had to use so much tongue on national TV?
Shawntel breaks first and Brad tells her they’ve had an unspoken connection from the beginning. She begins to babble on about something irrelevant and he pulls her in for some more tongue.
Well played Shawntel.
Chantal has taken to batting the beehive around like a cocky kid on the tether ball court at recess. She accuses Michelle of being dishonest.
Michelle: “Okay. I went to Brad’s and spent about 20 minutes with him. I didn’t run my mouth off about any of you because I would never do that.”
She realizes this show is being taped, right?
Ashley: “Wow. I just thought there were certain boundaries, you know?”
Michelle: “We all know where he stays. I’m not apologizing for being smart.”
Chantal begins to panic and decides to take matters into her own hands. She can not live in a world where Michelle is smart. It’s time for drastic measures to be taken.
Chantal: “Hey Brad.”
Brad: “Nice cheetah dress Chantal.”
Chantal: “Thanks. I need to tell you something.”
Brad: “That you’re a part of a modern Stone Age family?”
Chantal: “Not that. I’ve fallen in love with you Brad. Since I have a rose, you know this is from the heart. I don’t have anything to gain. My love is real. I love you.”
Brad is contractually obligated to give a goofy grin and than her for her honesty.
Our Host Chris Harrison makes his way into the party looking a mixture of bored, irritated that Chantal hasn’t returned his best white button down and adorable all at the same time. A feat only Harrison could pull off. He clinks his champagne flute, and reminds the ladies that for the first time, only one girl will be walking out alone.
Along with Chantal, roses are handed to Ashley, Emily, Britt, Shawntel and Michelle. Jackie is escorted out to the limo where she cries off her mascara, wondering where it went wrong. Brad bounced back quickly and begins toasting the remaining women because this journey is about to take them to Anguilla. Which he once pronounced “An-gwilla” and then “An-jill-ah.” I soon lost track of translations because I was distracted by the Sports Illustrated swimsuit photo shoot teases from next week.
You know what that means…BRAD SHIRTLESS!
Until then, I’m all about the shame, not the fame,