Contrary to what those lying islands will tell you, it is decidedly not better in the Bahamas. The stormy weather may be to blame, or maybe it’s the fact that one guy is trying to date 10 women and a few pigs at the same time? Hard to say. Probably the rain. Does it matter? Won’t we all die soon, anyway? Ben stands on a cliff, gazing into the abyss, echoing a thought we’ve all had, particularly on Mondays: “What if all of this is for nothing?” Tide pools of meaninglessness aside, we need last week’s cliffhanger resolved. The ladies have ganged up on Olivia for “being aggressive” and “getting roses,” so Ben leads her away for a perfunctory what’s-your-deal chat. Our anchorwoman extraordinaire is not surprised she has enemies. Unlike the rest of the harem, she happens to enjoy reading books alone and prefers to talk about “smart things.” Clearly out of his element, Ben’s had enough, but not enough to do right by the haters and rejoin the cocktail party with Olivia’s severed head on a stick. It’s devastating news for the peanut gallery: Olivia’s rose is still alive and so is she. Ben slays an undeserving Medusa instead: Jennifer, the brunette they never show, anyway. No one turns to stone. Her voice-over is very mature about it. Once the harem migrates to the Bahamas, Caila joins Ben for a one-on-one date centered around one of his favorite activities: clutching ladies’ thighs as he demands to know their feelings. There’s also deep-sea fishing for a few seconds, giving the Bachelor the perfect chance to help Caila reel in her expectations about finding love on a reality show — not that she needs it. “Your greatest fear is being unlovable, and my greatest fear is breaking your heart,” she confesses when forced to be vulnerable or else. “Like, it doesn’t feel right. It feels like I’m gonna hurt you.” This spiel strikes me as a giant red flag emblazoned with “SHE DOESN’T LIKE YOU.” But Ben wants to believe, so he keeps probing for the truth. Bottom line: She’s too hot to let go, and an “I feel like I love you?” from Caila will have to suffice. “It’s almost attractive that Caila can be confusing,” he insists after their “resonating” time together. This week’s ultimately miserable group date at least kicks off hilariously as the love boat drops anchor at Pig Island, a real place where chicken hot dogs and loose-fitting bikinis are offered up as equally fair game to the hungry locals. Desperate for engagement on any level, the ladies reluctantly enter hog heaven and play along. They’re screaming in fear, running away. They love it. But once all the snacks have been gobbled, and the group’s collective existential nightmare seeps back into the dating pool, things tense up. It’s that time of the season when the ladies remember how hot and powerful they once were back at home compared to how useless and ignored they feel on Pig Island. “Most of us, we don’t have these struggles,” explains JoJo. “We’re out of our comfort zone, fighting for his attention.” And to add insult to tragedy, Ben seems to only have eyes for Lauren B. and her painful-looking tan lines (from what appear to have been cutoff denim short-shorts along with a wine glass).
Denver-native event planner Leah has been beside herself all episode, awash in “I feel like the group date groupie” powerlessness, and the last thing she needs right now is Lauren B.’s confidence ocean-sprayed into her face. So during the ice storm following the miserable group date, she spends her precious Time With Ben bad-mouthing the front-runner in a last-ditch attempt to save/sabotage herself. But it’s not enough for Leah to watch Lauren B. cry, wondering if Ben’s impression that Lauren B. “acts differently around him than she does in the house” will affect her chances at lifelong love (NOTE TO LADIES: THE BACHELOR NEVER CARES). Leah means business tonight. She curls her eyelashes, dreaming of Lauren B. vanishing into a pile of denim, and marches off to pay Ben a late-night visit at his private vista.
Our bachelor’s actually thrilled to go off-script for a change. This suite has everything: wine, pillows, romantic lighting, a low-hanging fog of sadness in the air. They could finally get to know each other or at least start making out right now, but Leah has to ruin it by bringing up Lauren B. again! Thus begin the ramblings of the least self-aware person on Great Exuma Island: “I don’t want to sit here and talk bad things about Lauren.” Then: “I’m not here to sabotage what you have with somebody.” Leah re-scrambles the same lie so often that Ben detects “a disconnect” between the two of them (to say nothing of the one between Leah and reality) and dumps her on the spot. One more unintentional lie for the road, Leah? Pretty please? “I would never have said anything if I knew he was gonna say goodbye to me tonight.” And so the pretty blonde with the dark brows and extreme side-part wanders off, never to realize (until a parent or brutally honest friend informs her) that she did, in fact, mean to do this. Upset that a potential booty call turned out to be a loon, Ben prays for “some light in this darkness,” but he gets no such miracle the following day. Instead, there’s a rainy Emily vs. Olivia two-on-one-date — or as Olivia refers to it, “an almost one-on-one with the man I’m going to marry.” The weather is brutal for filming, not to mention everyone’s severe depression at having to waste away in the Bahamas off-season. Emily’s a mess as always, but hey, at least she’s here for the right reasons: “I’m going to fight this battle for everyone who hates Olivia just as much as I do.” Meanwhile, Olivia’s dismissal of the yappy twin is so perfect, I just might remember it forever: “She’s young. She’s like a bird. I just don’t give a shit.”
Both 23-year-olds get a few minutes to scream into the roaring winds about why they deserve Ben’s single rose on this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad date. Olivia gives him the “I’m not here to make friends” speech, which is superfluous considering her body language and track record. Let’s see, what else? Certainly nothing about him. She’s super grounded, REALLY confident, and best of all: “Deep, intellectual things are, like, my jam.” Also (frantically remembers this is ostensibly a show about Ben): “I’m in love with you!” The confession falls flat against the scene’s intense audio static. This can’t be good. Emily’s run-on sentence is much more Ben-centric. She wants today to be about him validating her, and “I know that I have a lot of growth and stuff in front of me, but I want you there.” It doesn’t really matter that this makes no sense, because Emily’s hair is whipping around with such gusto that it’s practically a deep, intellectual thing in and of itself. Ben DOES want something serious, so he’s quite moved. His eyes flicker with exhaustion. That’s how you know. Then, in what might be the cruelest fake out in Bachelor history, Ben tells a grinning Olivia — rose in hand — that he CANNOT return her feelings. So, as the underdog twin rejoices like a pig in heat now that Ben officially knows her name, Olivia the Great is left stranded on Loser Island, her fat toes grounded in unforgiving sand. Faint sobs ring out against the crashing waves, but the sea doesn’t care, either. It’s as confused as she is. You’d think three dumps would be enough for one episode, but nope, Ben must dispatch yet another gal he barely knows at the rose ceremony later on. “Why is it so hard to fall in love?” a dejected Lauren H. wonders in the reject van. Let’s hope she never tells her kindergarten students about the big, bad Bahamas. Only six women left! The previews for the rest of the season are captivating: Everyone’s in tears, and Ben apparently contemplates “something that would absolutely change everything.” A booze-free breakfast the morning after the Fantasy Suites? God, let’s hope not.