The rankings and the roseless for week two of The Bachelor.
One corner: Olivia – the poised, confident blonde and terrifying “obvious front-runner.”
The other corner: Lace – the generally-drunk, gossipy brunette and “definitely-not-crazy” challenger.
In my storied history of writing about this fine program, I do not remember a time when the production staff did this good of a job. I can’t remember them hitting these beats or orchestrating these storylines. Honestly, the episode played out like a drama with tip-top direction.
We started out with the Lace’s run on the “Bachelor High” group date. Despite her apparent inability to read and subsequent first-round elimination in the super intense team competition, she was still the no-doubt anti-hero of the first group date. She had a mission statement and would stop at nothing to accomplish it. Her mission statement:
“I’m gonna get that rose. And the ring. I want it all.”
Immediately, her potential to compete for Bachelor Ben’s heart took a huge hit due to an ironic first-round knockout by way of inability to communicate the word “communication” to her partner Jubilee. Jubilee was devastated; Lace was humiliated. Of course, when you have a competitor like Lace there is no chance that she will give up. Yes, she didn’t get to bob for apples or shoot some jumpers with the gals, but she did get to sulk.
And while she sulked, she planned.
After Mandi “absolutely dominates” the games at Bachelor High, Ben and the crew head down to a fire pit for some drinks and relaxation. Ben proceeds to kiss three different girls during their abbreviated one-on-one seshes. Did Lace get to kiss Ben? No, she got something better.
“He’s just making eye contact with me galore. Like, were just, like, almost eye-fucking. I’m very confident I could still get the rose. I. Will. Not. Lose.”
As we all know, nothing is more indicative of a true connection than almost eye-fucking outside of a high school. The other girls could clearly see her taking Ben’s heart and acted out. Jubilee called her out for not waiting her turn, Amber questioned Lace’s ethics and then Jojo stole the group date rose.
With one last “fuck these bitches,” Lace transitioned us into the other group date and the tyranny of Olivia.
Group Date 2: Love Lab
In a title that was more suited for the business of bumping birthday suits, Ben and the squad headed down to Love Lab for an analytical look at love.
Olivia confidently proclaimed, “The thought of the date card arriving is the only thing that has gotten me through today, honestly.” Look how bad she wants this! If that date card had just arrived minutes later then who knows if she would have survived? This is why she can so freely trumpet her front-runner status. She simply wants it more.
The Love Lab festivities consisted of three tests: physical attraction, smell attraction and then a body heat test. Some women smelled like the beach or like flowers and one smelled distinctively sour. Olivia and her championship-level scent makes Ben say “mmm.”
Olivia and Ben’s connection is deemed a 7.45 out of 10 from the folks at Love Lab. This is the highest number produced by any of the girls and we are told that this number is extraordinary at the stage of their relationship. None of this surprised Olivia, who noted, “Ben makes me feel heat in my stomach…area.” Yes, Olivia answered Ben and Lace’s eye-fucking with the perfect counter: an eye-impregnation.
Despite Amanda’s assertion that Olivia is “the worst” and Sam’s hope that Ben does not believe in science, Olivia and science prevailed. She grabbed some lip time, took home her second pre-rose-ceremony rose in as many tries, and we are sent to the cocktail party.
At this point in our story, Olivia and Lace have yet to interact. There is little to no sign that they are even aware of each other’s presence. Lace may not know of Olivia’s pole position and Olivia certainly does not know that Lace has reaffirmed that she is, in fact, not crazy no less than four times.
Then, this magical moment happened. As Olivia was passive-aggressively berated by her fellow competitors for grabbing extra one-on-one time with Ben, Lace called her out. She didn’t call her out in the usual way either; Lace asked for one-on-one time with Olivia.
The moment the entire episode was leading towards: Lace, the down-on-her-luck challenger against the clear-cut favorite Olivia. The build-up was palpable and beautiful. I was prepared for drink throwing and hair pulling as much as I was prepared for biological warfare. Anything is on the table when these two enter the ring.
Yet, when the all of this desperate train’s momentum was seemingly headed towards this astonishing crescendo, the conductor pulled back. The music slowed down and Lace’s character was given depth. She didn’t want to fight; she wanted advice.
“I just want to talk to you,” Lace said, “I want to get to know you. I wanna…I wanna talk to you. You did what you just did knowing that girls are gonna react.”
Olivia surveyed her rose as one would survey a gem.
“This…This doesn’t mean, really, anything to me. Sometimes in this situation, you have to go for what you want.”
Lace took those words to heart, found Ben, broke out her best line (“So, can I tell you one picture?”) and somehow snagged a rose during the rose ceremony.
The Lace and Olivia battle will have to wait one more week.
T-#1: Lace and Olivia (Last week: #1 and #5)
Why They’re Here: Come on.
Prediction: I’m probably asking too much for a two-on-one, but this is The Bachelor. This is a place where we can let our guard down, become vulnerable and dream big. Please put these two on a two-on-one.
#3: Shushanna (LW: 9th)
Why She’s Here: Okay, I’ll admit I was a little off on her in week one. Turns out, she does speak fairly decent English and does not have multiple sister-wives. I’m actually a huge fan. Two quotes, without context:
“I’m a little worried. I cannot possibly smell of cabbage, just cause I haven’t eaten cabbage for… two weeks.”
“I came here with four hundred dollars, one pair of jeans, two pairs of shoes and two bottles of vodka.”
Prediction: Top six and a great Bachelor Pad contestant.
#4: JoJo (LW: T-10th)
Why She’s Here: She mentioned that she had never been this turned-on in a school before. It’s not that I don’t believe her, but the fact that she had to mention this tells me that she was worried that people would assume the opposite. This is the equivalent to Ken Kratz going to high school and saying, “I’ve never sent nudes to any of these kids before.” It just sounds fishy.
Also, she got a group date rose and Ben seems pretty damn smitten.
Prediction: Top four and maybe more!
#5) Caila (LW: 4th)
Why She’s Here: I feel bad that Caila took a step back this week, but I just didn’t enjoy the Ride Along marketing plug with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube. Just like with Jimmy Kimmel last year, they spent their entire date budget on getting the celebrity guest. This forces everyone to go on a “cheap” group date instead of mountain climbing or helicopter riding or whatever. Just doesn’t seem fair.
However, the date went pretty well and she will be around for awhile.
Prediction: Second place!
#6: Jubilee (LW: 9th)
Why She’s Here: She is in every trailer, she is very attractive and she made out with Ben.
Prediction: Same as last week. I think she’s going top six.
T-#7: Lauren B. and Amanda and (LW: 3rd and T-10th)
Why They’re Here: These are two shining examples of how good of a bachelor Ben is this season. Both of these women were treated to special, little one-on-one dates that pertained to his relationship with the individual woman. I have never seen a Bachelor bring a picture of the first time he met a girl like he did with Lauren B. or make hair clips for Amanda’s kids. Dude is a real professional out there.
Prediction: Lauren B. will make top 6. I do not see Amanda getting too far simply because Ben is 26 and I doubt he wants two kids.
#9: Emily and Hayley (LW: 2nd)
Why She’s Here: They did nothing this episode besides complain about how dumb they are. Also, they will continue to be considered one person until I see a reason to separate them.
Prediction: The two-on-one would still be great, but I think they go out together unceremoniously before the top 10.
T-#10: I’m probably missing someone, but none of these people blew me away. I did write that Becca has a “silky-smooth, lefty jump shot” in my notes, though. So, there’s that.
Why They’re Here: Because I can only remember so many names.
Prediction: A lot of these women will go home soon.
What Went Wrong: Ben actually gave her a rose and she just bailed. Usually, the will-they-won’t-they of a potential deserter is highlighted throughout the ‘sode, so this must have been pretty spur of the moment.
What Went Wrong: I’m not sure with this one. Generally, the singular redhead from each season gets an episode or two, but Ben was not down for “Red Velvet.” Actually, that was probably it. That’s a weird name.
What Went Wrong: I think it was just a general lack of attraction. She won the extra one-on-one time in that first group date, but they never really showed us what happened during that time. It must have been so boring or cataclysmic that she was clearly done.
What Went Right: Let’s see, she had the lowest score in the Love Lab, smelled sour and questioned science. So, nothing. Nothing went right for Samantha.
See you next week.