Competition lingered large in the hair on this week's "Bachelor," as the eyes became starrier, the sighs got heavier and the claws grew longer. Starting with an ominous Kacie B. voiceover along with a shot of an ambulance, it was sure to be a cold, dangerous reminder of the champagne-soaked, high-stakes reality of the "Bachelor" fantasy.
The sagely Chris Harrison appears, offering timeless advice, somewhere between "Remember to breathe" and "Don't stab him with a stiletto": "When you see him, make it the best time you can."
The first date this week features Leslie, who has sort of emerged as the early front-runner. He takes her to the Guinness World Records museum or something, where he reveals that his dad set a record for wasting gas driving around the continental US faster than anyone else. Congrats, Sean's dad. Anyway, Sean has decided to embark on his own noble record-setting endeavor with Leslie: setting the world's longest on-screen kiss. "I'm proud of you, son," says Sean's dad, somewhere, I imagine.
Brought in front of a whooping mob, Leslie accepts the "very intimate moment that's not so intimate." So they dive in, trying to go one three-minute, sixteen-second round of tonsil hockey that will immortalize them forever in the record books, or until someone breaks their record. Until then, this will surely be an obnoxious, frequent conversation for Sean to endure when he's not married to Leslie in like two years.
Anyway, under the close scrutiny of a Guinness records guy who looks like a sleazier Charlie Sheen (somehow possible), they kiss and laugh and kinda touch each other in TRIPLE SPLIT SCREEN MODE for the full time, tearing their lips apart only after the record was torn down.
For a more intimate intimacy, the pair heads to a rooftop, where they wax romantic about how uncomfortable they make each other, and Sean basically challenges Leslie to kiss him ("I'm waiting for you to take control back.") Soon after, Leslie proclaims she's "falling in love" with Sean, and they make out under the beam of a spotlight on massive rooftop while confetti intimately falls on them.
The only ones not invited on the next day's group date are Ashlee, Sarah and Selma. The rest get to head to the beach, where they are there for a suspiciously innocent "hangout." Their suspicions soon prove correct, as a fully-clothed, creepy looking dude suddenly appears and--oh, wait, that's Chris Harrison, here to announce they will be playing beach volleyball in two teams, and, here's the cutthroat, the losers get sent home. As the girls bumble through point after point, it comes down to the final serve. Desiree tells us how nervous she is. The camera steps back. Desiree, armed and ready, crushes an overhand serve over the net. The other team whiffs unceremoniously. Game over. Thrilling.
As punishment, all the girls from the losing team must board a rape van and go home without any supper. Desiree says, "The other girls are probably at home crying in their beds because they lost." Cut to the other girls at home crying ON THE COUCH, thank you very much. Tierra prepares to announce the last date, and it goes to Ashlee and Selma. "JK, JUST ASHLEE," says Tierra, flashing that playful sense of humor of hers--"Wait, that was, like, not cool," Sarah says. In any case, Ashlee prepares for her date.
Back on the beach, Desiree lacks no confidence, bragging heavy about her volleyball exploits, and, wow, Sean loves her confidence, dropping what's becoming his signature phrase: "I love that." Tensions are running high between Des and Amanda, who has screwed up her face into kind of a disgusted arrogance that's really quite impressive. The girl has no facial filter in relation to her mood. When she gets Sean, she tells him, "you know everything you're looking for in a wife?" and points to herself, and he loves that too. Did I mention she's not lacking in confidence either?
Des, however, does not approve, bitching to Kacie B. about "questionable" Amanda's two-faced-ness. "I don't know if she's here for Sean... She's just kind of dark and just kind of creepy," she says. As Des ponders what the scary, gothic fit model Amanda is really here for (my money is on the hors d'oeuvres), it's Kacie B.'s turn with Sean, and, you know what? She's going to be a little selfish, she tells us.
Apparently, Kacie B.'s definition of selfish means "narking about other people's problems in a way that makes you look really bad," which is sort of weird, because that's not what I thought selfish meant at all. "I don't think he'll tolerate drama," she says, before unloading a bunch of tedious bullshit drama on Sean, who is extremely confused as to why she's saying something to him. "More importantly, why are you involving yourself?" Always with the irony, Kacie replies, "I'm not a drama person... I just can't be myself," and with that, she has fallen complelety head over heels onto her own sword and is now just kind of really letting it gut her. "I want you to act like Kacie, not like this crazy person I'm seeing," Sean tells her. Yikes.
Lindsay actually steals the rose, much to the chagrin of Des and Amanda. She has a nice little talk with Sean at the beginning of the date that was so forgettable, I felt like Amanda's face when Lindsay received the rose. Nice girl, though.
Just before the next day's date, Tierra steps her game up and "falls" down the stairs, prompting an ambulance appearance and some time with Sean. Ashlee is NOT pleased.
When they get the date going, they go to Six Flags, where the amusement park has been shut down so that Sean and Ashlee can join Brianna and Emily, two teens with a serious mitochondrial disease, for a day of fun, because Sean enjoys charity work.
Quick aside: I joke about Sean's blandness but he really does seem like a good dude. Can you imagine Ben Flajnik helping two seriously ill kids? Is Ben aware that illness exists in the world?
The date comes off well; the pair is equally impressed in the character of one another. When they get alone time, Ashlee unspools a very intense story about being abused in a foster home and subsequently adopted by her parents that brings Sean to tears. Her optimism and perseverance moves Sean, and she nabs a deserved rose.
On the last night, Sean wants to reassure Sarah, so he has the show bring her dog to the house in its own limousine, obviously. It's pretty cutthroat from there, as Tierra starts the night with Sean, then Desiree steals him, and Tierra steals him back, infuriating the other girls, who one-by-one steal Sean away from one another while Des sits on a bench assuming he's going to come back. Ashlee, who already has a rose but apparently gives no fucks, cuts off Kacie B. trying to redeem herself. The games have certainly begun, and the long faces are showing it. As they gather to say goodnight, Sean describes the night as "incredible." That's certainly one way to describe it, Sean; there are some lethal strangulation-in-your-sleep vibes going on in that room right now.
At the next night's ceremony, with rose in hand, Sean asks Kacie B. to leave the room, and her fate has been sealed. Sean has failed to develop romantic feelings for Kacie as she gloriously self-destructed in front of his very eyes (but NOT in a dramatic way, because she is NOT a drama person.) He sends her home. "Last time I left here with no regrets," says Kacie B., "And this time... there are regrets."
He picks Tierra first (gross, dude), and Amanda's expression goes from terrifyingly sly when Kacie leaves to terrifyingly terrifying when roses aren't going to her to terrifyingly happy when she is picked. The last three standing are Desiree, Kristy and Taryn, among which he obviously picks Des. Taryn learns the classic "Bachelor" lesson of "don't be too guarded," and Kristy just gets a bad rap. It's hard to see how hard some of these girls take elimination when it's not really their fault.
"Falling in love with him" count: 3
Running tab of things Tierra is "not here to do": make friends, get hurt, lose the competition, play dress up.
Quotes without context
"She's fun to interact with."--Sean
"We had so much fun breaking the world record for longest on-screen kiss."--Sean
"I'm glad I'm not going on the group date, because it's going to be some kind of activity."--Ashlee
"I need more time with Sean."--everyone
"Don't ever joke about my name on a date card."--Sarah
"I'm not supposed to cry this early."--Kacie B.
"I think Tierra is the boy who cried wolf."--Ashlee
"I wanna see if she's got some kid in her."--Sean