the bachelor recap
Courtesy of ABC

This week, our bachelor, Ben Higgins, and the fourteen remaining contestants take a trip to Las Vegas, which we’re told by Ben is “a place where people do get married.” Losing Lace last week meant losing the bulk of this season’s entertainment value, but never fear—there’s plenty of Olivia (and her mouth) left to stir the pot. The girls get settle into the hotel and set their expectations (“I want a one on one [date] and I want to see Celine”). Before we know it, the first date card arrives with JoJo’s name on it.

Date 1: JoJo

It’s probably safe to say that, simply by being vaguely normal, JoJo is a frontrunner. The hundredth helicopter (approximation) of the season arrives to whisk the two away while the other girls watch from the hotel. “Jojo’s taking a helicopter… I knew it,” remarks one of the girls.

Pretty much all you need to know about this date is that JoJo gets a rose. Besides: JoJo’s one-on-one thunder was stolen by Olivia’s mental volatility. Throughout the segment, Olivia takes us on a confident, yet jealous, emotional roller coaster, despite her claim that she’s “Zen with Ben.” So let’s all say a collective “om” and get to the good stuff.

Date 2: Group Date

Everyone except JoJo and Becca is invited on a group date. The 12 girls have the chance to be the opening act for ventriloquist and comedian Terry Fator’s Vegas show—which is probably hoping to sell a lot more tickets after this promotional spot.

Every girl must perform a talent, which poses some problems. “Crap, I have no talent,” says Lauren B. “I have zero talent.” But while the girls scramble to put on strange costumes and grab props, Olivia hints that she has a trick up her sleeve (not a magic trick though because, remember, they don’t have actual talents). Suspense builds as Olivia rolls onto the stage inside a fake cake. She pops out in a feathery red getup, and reveals that her talent is — surprise! — absolutely nothing. She kicks around the stage for a while, and afterwards she gets embarrassed and has a “panic attack.” In the end, Lauren B. proves that you don’t need skills to win Ben’s heart. She gets the rose.

This season’s villain, Olivia, is easy to dislike. It’s easy to dislike her overconfidence, her gaping mouth, and the fact that she cries about her cankles and fat toes. Olivia probably makes you miss Lace because at least you could laugh at Lace — she had enough dignity to take herself off the show. Sometimes Olivia induces rage. Other times, secondhand shame. When she comes onscreen, you want to plug your ears and wrap yourself in a quilt until she stops talking. In a room full of talentless girls, hula hooping, pogo-sticking and balloon-blowing about, Olivia elicits next-level embarrassment.

But now, in defense of Olivia: she is passionate and determined. And when she goes through her peaks and valleys, they seem sincere. She seems sincere about identifying special leg touches, knowing smiles and whether or not a hug is laced with pity. Even her tears seem sincere. And her sincerity, at the very least, leaves no one confused about who she is. Which is more than we can say for Jen and Rachel (who might secretly be the show’s secret set of twins – secrets!).

Date 3: Becca

But before we get to the actual twins, Becca. In case you haven’t been reminded enough by the show, Becca made it to the final two on Chris Soules’ season, and is most notable for being a virgin. During her one on one, she stands next to Ben while he officiates weddings because we’re in Vegas, remember? Then the two go to the Las Vegas Neon Museum. Ben seems really into Becca— she’s definitely another frontrunner — and she gets a rose.

Date 4: Twins

Finally, Ben (or the producers… whatever) decide that the twin gimmick had been played out for long enough. “As my feelings grow, it’s getting harder to comprehend how I can continue on with two sisters,” Ben says. Since the twins, Emily and Haley, are from Las Vegas, Ben decides to do an early hometown date, meet their mom and their billion (OK, five) chubby dachshunds.

First Ben and Haley visit her room, where she has more than one picture of her ex boyfriend. “I don’t know why they didn’t take these down,” she says. “This is really embarrassing.” At this point we probably know she’s going home. Besides—we know a lot more about Emily, like the fact that she has a broken thumb and goes all-out during a soccer match. Important qualities in a future wife. A few moments later, Ben sits down with the twins and their mom, and cuts Haley loose. “I’ve had my heart broken a few times,” Haley says. At least she has all billion of her puppies, which will hopefully never break her heart.

Rose ceremony:

Before the ceremony, the girls get one last chance to talk to Ben. Jen (who?) swoops in first, but Olivia cuts in a few minutes later. “Next time I’m going to grab [Olivia’s] leg and be like ‘stop,’” says Amber, who, sadly will never get a chance to prove whether she was serious (spoiler: she gets axed).

The ceremony comes down to one lingering question: will Olivia get a rose? “I read a lot of romance novels where everything just comes together,” Olivia says. “That would be gigantor for me,” she adds, almost definitely not referring to the 60’s animated series. The roses are doled out one by one. Three girls remain (including Olivia), but only one will stay. “Benjamin. You’re sending me a message here,” Olivia says in a voiceover. “Best for last, right?” Maybe she’s right about that last part. Probably not. But Olivia gets the final rose, and will stick around to cause drama for at least one more week.

Did Ben make the right choice? Weigh in below.

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