07/10/2012 04:59 pm ET | Updated Sep 09, 2012

'The Bachelorette' Episode 9: Emily Maynard Goes To An Island, But Doesn't Get Lei'd

"I'm on a boat! I'm on a boat! Everybody look at me 'cause I'm sailin' on a boat" is what I imagine Emily Maynard was thinking as we began our journey through episode 9 of "The Bachelorette." Ladies (and the estimated five Gentleman reading this post), we're not in Europe or Charlotte anymore. Welcome to the Caribbean island of Curacao -- and the "most emotional" episode yet.

The show opens with aforementioned shots of Emily on a boat. Then we get the obligatory pensive walk along the beach where our fair heroine draws her name in the sand with a question mark next to it. Oh boy, we're down to the final three men, and it's officially crisis time.

(Photo Credit: ABC)

This week is going to be HARD, everyone. And to underscore that, Emily wistfully recalls her journeys with Sean, Jef and Arie. Sean makes her feel something "deeper than butterflies" (is there even such a thing?!), Jef really "gets" her and Arie "would adore [her] forever." All three guys are pretty great -- at least by reality TV standards -- but unfortunately, one's gotta go.

After eight long weeks of helicopter-barren dates, Em and Sean got into the cockpit and flew off to a private island. Nothing says romance like a relationship talk had via giant headphones, yelling over the whir of a propeller. Sean is in love with Em, but he's the only remaining guy who has yet to say it. Therefore, most of their date is spent with Emily trying to coax those three little words out of him. Things get increasingly uncomfortable as Sean tries to speak diplomatically about his ex-girlfriends and tries to find the "perfect moment" to confess his love. "I forgot what I was going to say," says Sean. To avoid an awkward silence, they decide to go snorkeling. This gives the audience -- and Em -- a chance to gawk at Sean's well-developed musculature.

That evening after the pair walk along the sand to dinner, Sean finally hits his stride. He whips out a multi-page letter -- because clearly there haven't been enough of those this season -- and proceeds to read aloud a truly aww-worthy message to Ricki. Then he tells Em that he's fallen in love with her. "Thanks for that," says Emily, echoing the words everyone wants to hear when they drop an L-bomb. Sean doesn't seem to be too bothered though, because he goes right in for the make-out and the thigh grab. For Sean's efforts, he gets invited back to the Fantasy Suite, which everyone knows is code for Sexy Time.

Sean and Em's date already fulfilled the helicopter cliche, but they decide to hit it out of the park by delivering the obligatory hotel hot tub scene as well, along with another shot of Sean's pecs. "Sean is so hot and manly," says Emily. (So many deep feelings going on here.) Then just when she can't keep her hands off of him, Em remembers that she's a mom, she "believes in" things and needs to "set an example," so she calls the night quits and sends Sean on his way without an overnight stay. Sean walks off into the night and tells the camera that he "knows" he's gonna marry Em. Uh oh, Sean. How do you not know that predictions like that never play out well on reality TV?

When we hear the words "You look amazing," we know we're on a Jef date. Although Em's date #2 is easily this season's most endearing contestant, he really needs a new opening line. The pair goes sailing on a yacht, and Em says she's concerned that Jef's gazillion-acre-ranch family didn't approve of her. Luckily, Jef puts those fears to rest and says that even his "charity work"-loving parents want to meet her after his siblings' glowing review of her Utah stay. Jef and Em agree that they really "get" each other. Jef also says he "loves parents and loves hanging out with parents" -- Em included -- and spins an awful metaphor about how their relationship is like a master painting or something. I'm too distracted trying to figure out what the tattoo on his wrist says to care. Later they return to dry land -- via a surfboard, of course -- and Jef waxes poetic about how he's "so confident" and how "a whole life is starting" for him and Em. (Reminder: They've been dating for eight weeks.)

Bathing suits are generally pretty sparkle-free, including the one Em's had on all day, so she really pulled out the stops for dinner with Jef. (A girl can only go without sequins for so many hours.) As they gulp down white wine and don't touch their food, Jef decides that he has some questions for Em -- small "details," really. NBD. Ya know, like: Where would you want to live? Will I be a good father? Why are you still single? Inconsequential stuff like that. (Is anyone else annoyed that all of a sudden Emily is willing to leave her beautiful home in Charlotte, uproot her daughter and live anywhere that these dudes she's known for eight weeks want?)

After Emily sidesteps Jef's question about her still-single status and picks up his habit of saying "like" way too often, the couple gets cute again. Em admits that she thinks about Jef when she makes Ricki's lunches. Jef thinks that's the "best feeling ever." Then Emily brings up the Fantasy Suite, and before she can go all "I'm a mom so I can't sleep with you" on him, One-F Jef beats her to the morality punch and says he respects that her daughter and his family will be watching the show. "There's a time and a place" for such things, says Jef. And apparently national television is not one of those times. (Since when did "The Bachelorette" get so G-rated?) Em is slightly disappointed that she didn't get to turn him down, but she admires his white knight tendencies and invites him back to her room for some light making out and thigh-grabbing anyway. He accepts, but makes sure to tell America that "now is the time for us to bridle these passions." Oh Jef, wherever do you get your one-liners? On his way out, we discover that this is the best date he's ever been on -- even without a hot tub.

Arie shows up for his date with Em... and they immediately start making out. Variations on a theme, people? After they stare at each other's lips for awhile, it's time for the pair to go swimming with "wild" dolphins. Emily is scared, but Arie is a big strong man and, according to Em, he "isn't scared of anything" -- even dolphins. Afterward, they hang out on a boat and talk about their "journey." "It's no secret that I love kissing Arie," says Em. (Duh.) But she isn't sure whether there's more than physical chemistry there.

At dinner -- sans sparkles -- she's determined to find out. Turns out, Arie's just a regular dude with a very shiny forehead who gets up at 9am and goes out to dinner with friends after work. But he knows he's good with kids, and would want to be Ricki's "buddy" and build up to being a father-figure. This exchange, and Arie's very full lips, seem to satisfy Em's qualms. But since she doesn't trust herself around a hottub and Arie's push-you-up-against-a-wall make-out moves, she decides to cut off the date after dinner. "I won't let myself go there," says Em. "But good Lord, he's hot."

Back at the hotel, Em has no regrets and an insanely sparkly skirt on. Chris pops by for a chat and asks her if her dates helped her get "clarity." Em says no, probably because she didn't get enough hot tub action. As Em starts to cry from confusion, Chris announces that each dude has made Emily a very special, personal, only-shared-with-her-and-a-nationally-televised-audience video message. She watches each one and gets all weepy.

In case we've forgotten, Chris Harrison and the Curacao Tourism Council remind everyone that everything we see is transpiring on a tropical island. The three remaining suitors arrive dressed to impress -- Jef needed an excuse to pull out his skinny tie -- but Sean really should tuck in his shirt. This is a formal event, fella. After a ton of super intense music, silence, fiddling with roses and platitudes about how all three of them are just so great, Em makes her decisions:
SAFE: One-F Jef gets called first, then after a .... very .... long ... pause ... .... ... Arie.
ELIMINATED: Sean. Poor, poor Sean, who "never saw it coming."
Emily walks Sean out and it's (obviously) very awkward. They sit on a bench while Sean tells Emily that he feels stupid. "I think you should know it's gonna hurt me," he says. Em bursts into tears. "I wanted it to be you so bad," she says. "She sounds like Meg Ryan in 'You've Got Mail,'" my friend and fellow HuffPost editor, Taylor, announces. "But he is NOT her Tom Hanks." Very astute observation.

Sean keeps it classy during his exit and manages to avoid last week's "I'm better than all those other dudes"-type outburst. As a plethora of Twitter users pointed out, Sean will be just fine. He's good-looking and has recently achieved D-List, reality TV fame without looking like an ass. Life is good.

Men are back! From the most emotional season ever! Is Chris heartbroken? Maybe! Does Ryan think he's the one? Maybe! Kalon! The dudes confront Kalon! Kalon and Emily see each other! Sean comes back!

Most dramatic television event! Journey comes to an end! Neon skirt! Em's parents! She doesn't know where her heart is! Mom says she should wait! Em doesn't know what to say! Tears! Em needs to say the words! Her mind is made up! More tears!

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