I'm convinced the contestants don't watch previous seasons. The ladies all said how excited they were to see Ben standing in front of them when they exited their assigned limos on Day One, gushing things like "Ashley made a mistake, but her mistake is my opportunity."
And each and every episode makes it more apparent. The girls continue to write down their greatest fears, which the ratings-driven crew uses to their advantage and whips up the most fear-inducing dates they can think of. In turn, our bachelor and his nearly-paralyzed-with-fear date conquer their phobias together, spewing out ridiculous clichés about taking leaps of faith or crossing boundaries in their "relationship."
The ladies also continually talk smack about each other on their precious one-on-one times. Don't they realize they're wasting time bashing the others when they could be winning Ben over? They only get five minutes, if that, to sell themselves before
Courtney walks out in a bikini someone steals him away.
Besides, men don't like catty women. Dating 101, ladies (I actually took that gem from the same Dating 101 class Jamie attended, where she learned how to woo Ben by outlining step-by-step kissing instructions. Kidding!).
And the one that annoys me the most -- when the ladies complain to each other about how Ben is falling in love with other women. HELLO, it's called The Bachelor! Granted, Ben kisses one girl after the other (literally. So gross.) But this is the point of the show -- for Ben to see which girl he truly loves. He's obviously going to have feelings for each of them, especially towards the end, and the girls don't understand it. It just blows their mind that he is falling for multiple women.
Luckily for us, there was no interaction amongst the ladies tonight (Courtney said it best, she's so happy to be away from the girls). It's hometown date night!
A Day at the Races
First up was Lindzi. We're introduced to Devon, Lindzi's
brother most prized horse, who ends up costing the couple a win against her parents, Margee and Harry Cox, in a carriage race. Free rein here for any and all puns (I left you with so many good opportunities!). Do you think they have those cones set up for races like that all the time, or just when Lindzi brings boyfriends home? No wonder she doesn't bring guys home often.
On their picnic, Lindzi opened up about the one previous boyfriend she did bring home to meet Mom and Dad, who broke her heart, so she's nervous. Ben actually looked like his feelings for Lindzi intensified. Personally, I thought Lindzi's too-light lips intensified her orange hue, but he looked happy, so there's that.
All in the Family
It's raining, and Ben's hair is frizzing already. This can only mean Kacie B.'s hair is taking on a life of its own.
Enter Kacie, in all her baton-twirling glory, marching down the field that's been named after her grandfather. The two take cover out of the rain on top of the bleachers, and Kacie's conversation scares Ben right off the bat. Her non-drinking father is strict and skeptical of the whole 'boy dates multiple women and then picks his favorite' idea. Ben doesn't think he has anything in common with Kacie's dad, since he's in the wine business and Papa B. doesn't drink; yet he brings her parents a bottle of wine anyway. Mama B. is wearing a sweater decorated with roses in a subliminal attempt to convince Ben to offer her daughter one of the coveted roses.
Ben meets with Kacie's mom and dad, separately, and he looks like he might cry. Mama B. admits to Ben that she's watched the show and doesn't want them living together before they're married (at least someone admits to watching the show!), and Papa B. doesn't want to give Ben his blessing. This information makes Kacie frustrated and Ben uneasy. Certainly not the same kind of goodbye Lindzi had...
Ben. Loves. Texas.
We've arrived in Texas, the hometown of Nicki, whom I thought would have been sent home weeks ago. But Ben 'likes the way she makes him feel.' They spend half the date outfitting themselves in cowboy dress-up clothes. If this is what's to come in a life with Nicki, Ben should get out now. They seem to do an awful lot of shopping (I'm referring back to the Panama rain storm in which they needed new clothing that time, too...).
The two newly-decorated cowboy and girl have a drink at the bar and stroll around town in their sparkly new clothes, then quickly change clothes again and head out to meet Nicki's family, consisting of her divorced parents and a brother who looks alarmingly like Penn Badgley.
Nicki's mom tells her she is glowing with happiness while they chat like little girls with grade-school crushes, and her dad gets emotional while talking to Ben. Nicki says she's falling in love with Ben (again), and they say their goodbyes. I may just have had a change of heart for Nicki.
Here Comes the Bride(zilla)
I don't even know where to start. Courtney runs to greet Ben with her annoying baby voice, gushing about how much she missed him. She takes him to meet Mr. and Mrs. Roberts, making a grand entrance onto the patio like she was queen of the world. Khloe Kardashian, I mean Courtney's sister, essentially puts Courtney in the hot seat by asking her if she is falling in love with Ben. She replies, "I like-love him."
Courtney has a quick chat with her mom, and it's like she's looking into a mirror; vocal changes and facial expressions included. Her sister has never seen her happier, and her dad said marriage is like gambling -- there's only a 50% chance it'll work out. Way to think positively, Mr. Roberts! Ben admits he's ready for a relationship and is willing to provide grandkids.
The date is not over yet -- Courtney has a surprise for Ben! She's planned a faux wedding, complete with a clergyman, rope wedding bands, and a white dress (coincidence? I think not).
She forces Ben to sit down and write vows (even engaged men struggle with this task, yet Courtney turns on the charm and has Ben spilling his feelings onto paper within seconds) and then recite them to her at the altar. Courtney, completely ripping off Carrie Bradshaw's "I'm looking for real love" speech from Sex and the City, recites her [not-so-original] vows, and they are "fake married," driving away in a white Jeep with the words, "almost married," painted across the rear window.
If any other girl on the show, or in real life, pulled this stunt, Ben (or any man, for that matter), would have bolted in mere seconds. Not only was this super awkward and weird, but if -- if -- the two of them do end up together, won't their real wedding be less special the second time around?
Ben Reflects With Chris Harrison
Ben sits down with Chris for his weekly catch-up, and the camera revisits each of the hometown dates. The camera's view is quite foggy, but when you drink as much wine as Ben, every memory is probably a bit hazy.
It's Rose Ceremony Time!
Continuing with the wedding theme she had planned, Courtney accepts the first rose from Ben with an "I do." How cute.
The second rose is given to Lindzi, and the third and final rose of the evening is handed out to Nicki. The girls say their goodbyes to Kacie B., except for Courtney, who stands awkwardly to the side and smirks at poor Kacie's misfortune. Doesn't Ben notice this?
Ben escorts Kacie out and provides NO REASON why he he's letting her go. Of course, we all know it's because her parents were the only ones who gave him a tough time. Why would Ben waste his energy trying to win over Kacie's parents if he already has three other potential in-laws who are ready and willing to give him their blessings?
So, Kacie is sent home. She is trying so hard to keep a smile on her face while she departs but finally breaks down in the limo and ugly cries (another thing I'm convinced the contestants don't know to avoid). She dropped the f-bomb a couple of times, which surprised me, coming from this sweet, Southern girl, but it seemed forced and unnatural.
And then there were three. We're headed to the Swiss Alps for some skiing and more one-on-one time next week. I can't wait to see what shenanigans Courtney pulls and who stops by in those grey stilettos to make Ben's jaw drop like that.
So, Bachelor fans, are you sad to see Kacie B. go? What do you think about Courtney's antics? Drop a line in the comments section, and see you next week!