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‘The Bachelor’ Recap: Hurricane Olivia Makes Landfall

There’s a point in almost every season of “The Bachelor” — before we get down to the last few episodes when it becomes “romantic,” but after the first few installments when we’re done laughing at the fact that someone’s occupation is “Chicken Enthusiast” — when the remaining contestants become weirdly melancholy. Maybe it’s because they’ve been trapped inside for too long. Maybe they reconcile themselves with the fact that they probably aren’t going to win. Maybe they suddenly realize they’re trying to marry a complete stranger on a nationally televised dating show. Whatever the reason, this week, the ladies get uncomfortable, boring and sad. But it also turns out that stir-craziness and self-awareness happen to be the perfect recipe for desperation and drama. Who knew?

This episode picks up where last week’s left off with the lingering question: Will Ben revoke Olivia’s rose? The answer is, of course, no. However, Jennifer, one of the few remaining brunettes, is sent home.

The remaining ladies head to the Bahamas. When Chris Harrison walks in to outline this week’s dates (a one-on-one date, a group date and… a dreaded two-on-one date) it seems pretty likely that the whole first 90 minutes of the show are going to be all buildup.

A two-on-one date is the Bachelor Nation’s Super Bowl. Lest we forget Season 19, when Chris Soules sent both aspiring Kardashian Ashley I and “panic attack”-prone Kelsey home during their two-on-one in the desert/the surface of Mars. Two-one-ones are the ultimate showdown: our Mozart vs. Salieri; our Jets vs. Sharks; our Hamilton vs. Burr. This episode all comes down to twin Emily vs. Olivia. And it’s really good.

Date 1:

But first, there are some emotions to unpack to give Hurricane Olivia time to reach full force. First, Ben takes Caila on a one on one, which sends Leah into a tailspin. If at this point you’re thinking “Who is Leah?” you’re making her point — she feels overlooked. But more on Leah later.

On the date, Caila tries to express something, but fails miserably. In the end, she says that she’s falling in love with Ben because she’s “being understood,” and we’re all very happy for her because not a single person watching the show had a clue what she was trying to say. Ben buys the nonsense babbling and gives Caila a rose. In a cutaway, he says it was one of his favorite dates “in the weirdest way possible.”

Emphasis on the weird.

Date 2:

The group date is a big downer, despite there being a herd of swimming pigs involved. But really when you think about it, what are swimming pigs, anyway, beyond the initial shock value?

Ben and Lauren B start to hit it off, and it’s the last straw for Leah. She throws Lauren B under the bus by telling Ben that the frontrunner is two-faced (which, as far as we can tell from the edits, is baseless). Someone should have reminded her that people — including everyone on the show — can watch her and see that she’s lying. It’s a blindside that would make Jeff Probst blush. Can’t wait for “The Women Tell All” episode!

Amanda, the victimized mom, gets the rose. Leah’s evil scheme backfires and Ben sends her home. Whoops!

Date 3:

Throughout the first two dates, we keep cutting away to check in on Olivia and Emily, as if the producers want to say, “Remember why you’re still watching?” Eventually, at long last, the two-on-one date between Emily and Olivia begins.

There is a literal storm brewing (Get it? Foreshadowing). The girls’ hair whips in their faces and water sprays everywhere. Huge shout-out to nature for cooperating with the production to achieve maximum drama.

Ben talks with both girls. “Deep, intellectual things are my jam,” Olivia tells Ben, which we hope he can’t hear over the howling winds. Emily has straightened her hair for the date, taking her from “Our Song” Taylor Swift to “Trouble” Taylor Swift, which we all know is a vast improvement in every way. He grabs the rose, and takes Olivia aside. Emily assumes defeat, but in a shocking twist, Ben sends Olivia home.

Emily gets the rose, while Olivia watches mournfully from a distance. The camera pans out on Olivia alone on the beach, and for all we know she’s still there. Here’s to hoping she at least found a swimming pig to keep her company, or ride back to safety. If Kelsey/Ashley I’s two-on-one date was the desert, and Emily/Olivia was wind and water, can’t wait for next season’s elimination by fire.

Rose Ceremony:

Ben knows what we wants, and skips the cocktail party (sadly, he doesn’t skip all the way to the final two). Although 10 girls remained at the beginning of this episode, only six are left standing at the end. Kindergarten teacher Lauren H is sent home.

The previews for upcoming episodes insinuate that this season’s “sad” phase isn’t over yet. Ben questions everything, including if his soulmate is on the show. It also hints that he will bring back one of the eliminated women. From experience, it’s safe to say the previews are far more dramatic than the show itself, but, with the first impression queen ousted from the house, it will still be interesting to see how the remaining episodes play out.

Did Ben make the right choice sending Olivia home? Who, if anyone, do you think he will bring back?

“The Bachelor” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.

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