On this day in American history, February 1, 2016, about a dozen people — most of whom are Caucasian and slightly unhinged — fought for attention, scrounged for validation and angled for victory. Nope: not talking about the Iowa caucus (which, to the dismay of “Bachelor” Nation, interrupted the first few minutes of this week’s episode for a special report). “The Bachelor” is back with another two hours of paint dryingly boring, yet indescribably captivating television.
This week, Ben Higgins and the remaining 11 ladies hightailed it to Mexico City, which Ben explains is the “political… and… cultural capital of Mexico?”
“There’s a bidet!” Olivia exclaims.
Before we get to the dates, it seems necessary to offer up a formal apology on behalf of “The Bachelor” to Mexico as a whole for the assault on our ears that resulted from everyone’s slightly offensive attempts to imitate local dialect this episode. Great. So now that that’s out of the way, “Viva Meh-hee-coooooh!”
Date 1: The Not-Teen Mom
Definitely-not-a-teen-mom Amanda gets the first one-on-one date with Ben, and he barges into the girls’ suite at 4:20 a.m. to whisk her away.
“I had just been dreaming of him,” Olivia swoons.
“Whose weave is this?” Ben wonders.
Most of the ladies get embarrassed about how ugly they look first thing in the morning, except for Amanda, who looks flawless. The two go on a hot air balloon ride over the ancient Mexican city of Teotihuacan, where Ben suddenly becomes a scholar. “That one took over 300 years to build,” he says, pointing to a pyramid with one hand, and to an official Mexico tourism brochure with the other.
Amanda’s sob story, baby voice and excessive use of the word “like” are ultimately enough to earn her a rose. She lives to see another ancient pyramid.
Date 2: The Most Unlovable Person in the World
On this food-themed group date, Ben tells us he’s no longer the “Bachelor.” He’s the “Spachelor,” which is equally embarrassing regardless of whether he came up with it himself, or a producer fed him the line.
Before competing in a cooking challenge, Ben and nine girls take a Spanish language lesson. As expected, they are, with some exceptions, abysmal at speaking the foreign language. But they also have trouble with English, so really, what did we expect?
At the cook-off, the girls pair up (Olivia chooses… Ben!) to compete for the bachelor’s heart and stomach. “Ben already tasted my taco,” JoJo says in a gem of a sound bite (which most likely involved some producer coaxing, but honestly, bless them for it).
Jubilee and Lauren B are declared winners. But in a shocking twist, Ben sends Jubilee home at the cocktail party because, unfortunately, winning the Quickfire Challenge doesn’t grant you immunity in “The Bachelor.”
He mostly sends her home for reacting to situations like a normal human, which is something this show does not stand for. “I’m like the most unlovable person in the world right now,” she cries, trying to cop Ben’s narrative. I was rooting for you, Jubilee. We were all rooting for you.
Ben, clearly unable to think straight, gives Olivia the group date rose — aka the Rose Heard Round the World, as the War on Olivia commences, and millions of viewers are unable to stop themselves from shrieking “Noooooo!”
Date 3: The One Where We All Fell Asleep
After so much commotion, Lauren H’s one-on-one really screeches the show’s momentum to a halt. The producers certainly want us to believe she has a shot at winning, but is anyone buying it? The two walk the runway at Mexico City’s Fashion Week, and we’re happy to learn that Ben’s smize is on point. After, the lesser Lauren opens up about her past relationships. It’s the kind of segment where you find yourself saying “aww, so sad” through yawns.
Rose Ceremony Cocktail Drama
In a roller coaster pre-rose ceremony, Amanda starts talking about her kids. “I feel like it’s an episode of ‘Teen Mom,’” Olivia says. After her remark is greeted by stunned silence, she misreads the room and tries to explain what “Teen Mom” is. “You know, that show? Like…”
The comment sends the other ladies over the edge, and lone-twin Emily tries to rat out Olivia to Ben. Meanwhile, Amanda just misses the mark on an attempted sick burn. “It’s like, you remind me of Snooki who was on Jersey Shore, and she was a hot mess all the time,” she says. Nice idea, but the delivery could have been better.
The episode ends on a cliffhanger (almost literally as we see Ben in the “next week on” standing at the edge of a cliff staring out over the roaring seas). Will Ben take back Olivia’s rose? Or will the first-impression-winning she-devil be reunited with her precious bidet? We’ll have to wait a week to find out.
“The Bachelor” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.