This week, Brad and the remaining three women went to South Africa to face big fears, big dreams, and even bigger bottles of wine. As a shaky camera followed Brad onto the plane, he confided "I thought I had things under control, not a clue. I have no clue what I'm doing right now." Despite this, Brad did seem happy about one thing. He was excited about the upcoming overnight dates, because he'd get to spend "time" with the women. And by time, he meant Fantasy Suite time. And by Fantasy Suite time he meant -- well, you know.
Brad and Chantal went on a safari and saw all kinds of animals. Brad found the giraffes particularly "pretty". Although they were out in the wild, Chantal felt safe with Brad, adding, "it's really a metaphor for what's going on in our relationship". Brad asked her if it was weird that he missed her family. She said it wasn't, but it definitely was. Then they made out while a hippo watched.
At dinner, Brad told Chantal he "would love" for her to meet his family. She told him she took engagement "very seriously" and was happy to skip right to the wedding. Brad said he loved that because "I need that spontaneity badly". (Spontaneity or desperation?) When the Fantasy Suite card arrived Chantal, in classic desperate -- I mean spontaneous -- fashion said, "I think we should hurry."
"It's like Vegas" Chantal explained, "what happens in the Fantasy Suite, stays in the fantasy suite" ...and forever enshrined on television. Brad led her to a tree house, which was literally a bed in a tree, but Chantal thought it was "like an adventure, fairytale, love story, like everything all mixed into one." They sat on the bed drinking wine and making out (because that is what they do on every date) and whatever else happened in the Fantasy Tree is going to stay in the Fantasy Tree.
At the start of their date, Brad made Emily wait for him outside and she feared she'd be eaten by a lion. Luckily, before that could happen Brad returned. The two of them rode an elephant (which has apparently always been Emily's "dream") and dismounted to have a heart to heart. Brad told Emily he missed her daughter and wished she was there with them. (Challenge!) Emily asked if he was really ready for a 5-year-old and he said "yeah" but look pretty uncomfortable. Then they made out as dramatic music played and the elephants nearby made their own dramatic noises.
At dinner, Brad seemed a little too anxious to down his wine and explained to Emily
"I think I need it". Emily was also nervous, because she couldn't summon the nerve to say "I love you". She finally said that if Brad chose her at the end, "I just wanna do it." Speaking of doing it, when the Fantasy Suite card arrived Emily said she wanted to be a good example to her daughter... but accepted the invitation to "just talk".
At the Fantasy Suite -- this one had a roof and walls and everything -- she finally told Brad "I am absolutely, completely falling in love with you". Brad avoided eye contact, stumbled over his words and eventually said "I'm falling in love with you too". (Another broken Bachelor rule?) Then we faded out on them kissing -- I mean "just talking".
At start of the date, Ashley felt confident, while Brad had concerns. They went for a helicopter ride, even though it was apparently Ashley's "biggest fear in life". She seemed to recover pretty quickly and Brad was "so happy" to witness her confronting her "number one fear". (I can't figure out if they only choose women who are afraid to fly, or if once you go on The Bachelor you develop a fear of flying.)
Brad and Ashley landed in a field where they drank wine and Brad made a toast to Ashley's family and said her dad was a good guy. (Even though I'm pretty sure her dad and her are estranged, but maybe the mystery Mike was a step-dad?) Brad worried about Ashley's "budding career" as a dentist. He said she reminded him of his workaholic 20-something-self 10 years ago. Ashley agreed one of her faults was "needing to achieve" (That's a fault?), saying "oh man you're making me think" and it was "a huge wake up call." Brad was concerned that they never discussed how their futures would be "meshed together."
At dinner, Ashley told Brad she wanted the same things as he did. Brad was upset she hadn't brought up moving to Austin earlier (and didn't seem as prepared to drop her life -- or lack thereof -- as Chantal). Ashley said she would move to Austin and wanted him to have faith, but he kept "freaking out" about their future. Holding a wine glass in front of her face, Ashley said "I just feel like, what I feel for you is like chemistry and like sparks and like I feel like you're just like looking for a wife and you're like looking for something that'll just kind of fit what you want."
This frustrated Brad, who responded, "I'm not looking for a perfect situation, I'm just looking for a perfect situation for 2 people, whatever that may be. I don't know." (Got it, Brad.) Ashley expressed her concerns about his concerns and he kept chugging the booze. Then they went to the Fantasy Suite where Brad hoped they could "talk in complete privacy and just try to reconnect". At the suite, they moved on from wine to champagne, kissed awkwardly and cuddled silently.
Chris Harrison Time
For the billionth time Brad said he felt different than the last time he was on the show. He told Chris that he had chemistry and could be himself with Chantal and felt like he'd known Emily "for a decade if not longer." He said his date with Ashley broke his heart because they had a connection he hadn't found "with anyone else in my entire life".
Chris told the women "You've all experienced things that up 'til now, you've only dreamed of." They all nervously flipped their hair, perhaps recalling some experiences they wished they'd left to their dreams. Ashley wore a terrible tight brown dress that she had to keep tugging down. Chantal wore a passable pink wrap-thing and needs to learn to stand up straight. Emily wore a green dress and won again by default.
Brad took Ashley aside to talk to her. He apologized for the bad date and Ashley started to cry and asked what happened. Brad did not answer her and said he had questions (but did not ask them). Ashley said she wished she "could just sit down and answer them". She lamented that they "could have something so good", but there was nothing she could do anymore. Brad was upset that he was counting herself out and said "I need to tell you goodbye." Then she got up to leave and Brad said, "That's it?" She said she wouldn't beg him, and that made him "confident, in the decision". Sensing she was upset, Brad asked what was wrong and Ashley explained she was "just a little bit hurt." (Really, Brad? Three years of therapy and you couldn't you figure that one out?)
He went back to the Rose Ceremony and told the Chantal and Emily he wanted to see if they would "even accept the roses" and (surprise!) they did. He told them there were beautiful and gave them hugs while hippos swam by.
Booted: The last Ashley standing. (Yet again, the worst dressed at the Rose Ceremony was sent home. It's a pattern!) She said she wished she'd "gone into it knowing how to do it better." Foreshadowing that that the spoilers are true and she's the next Bachelorette? If that is true, she'll be following in Ali in a trend of reformed career girls who realize they made a mistake not dropping everything in pursuit of a husband, and get a second change to overcome that fatal flaw of "needing to achieve". Yay?