On Monday night, the six remaining ladies and Juan Pablo spent a few days in his hometown during the episode before "hometowns" (cue "My Hometown" by The Boss to make this a hometown trifecta). There were low cut tops, a cat fight, and repeated proclamations that NOW things are really, really real (for real).
The episode started off with Johnny Pabs surprising Camila and telling his family about his travel and adventures. He chats with a braces-clad friend/brother (did we ever find out?) and reveals that Sharleen might be "the one," so you know that their relationship is doomed.
Meanwhile, the ladies are settling in at their gorgeous penthouse in Miami. Juan Pablo arrives with a date card for Sharleen and he tells her that she has ten minutes to prep. She dons a school marm flowy dress over a bikini (more on the bikini below) with frumpy sandals and they board a yacht.
Everyone is bewildered by the Sharleen/Juan Pablo dynamic, including Sharleen. She repeatedly says that she and Johnny Pabs are missing a "cerebral connection" and a "mental connection" and that "we don't get each other" but she CANNOT stop kissing him. To his credit, Juan Pablo likes her sophistication and isn't threatened by her brains and vocabulary. She calls him "trouble" which he doesn't seem to understand. Their dynamic reminds me a lot of the Andrea Zuckerman/Brandon Walsh relationship of classic 90210, but if Brandon had pined over Andrea (rather than the opposite). In a moment that will go own in the annals of "Classic Sharleen" (if there were such a thing), she says that Johnny Pabs "makes me feel happy... which is something I don't allow myself to feel very often." Oh Sharleen, why don't you go edit an edition of the West Beverly Blaze, get a milkshake at the Peach Pit, and loosen up a bit.
JP and Sharleen hit the beach where she wears a red swimsuit with odd panels that must give her nightmare tan lines, as she talks about professional ambition and change. Later that night she dons a fantastic white dress with sheer panels, but we'll later learn that there's trouble in Panel City.
Meanwhile, back in Cougartown -- I mean, the suite where the ladies are putting back wine like a hilarious but underrated TBS sitcom -- the ladies are still flummoxed by the Sharleen/JP connection, since her "type" is usually the intellectual more than the jock. Post-date, Sharleen confides in pledge mom/house therapist Renee that she feels torn.
The next day is a one on one date for Nikki and the events of that date turn her from a sort of smug chick whose roots are pretty bad to an insufferable brat whose roots I simply cannot tolerate (all in a few short hours!). Nikki and Johnny Pabs buy some flowers then head to Camila's dance recital ("I'm kind of speechless mind blown" -- Nikki) where Nikki meets Juan Pablo's parents, brace face brother/friend (WHO ARE YOU?), and baby mama, all while the cameras are rolling and the other parents are staring. Does it get more awkward than that?
That night, Nikki and Johnny Pabs "eat dinner" (sit on a picnic blanket and talk) at Marlin Park ("my office!" -- Juan Pablo) then toss the baseball around (that's not a euphemism for sucking face, though they do that, too). Nikki is rocking a tiny, black skirt and a white, backless top with a V-neck so deep that I had flashbacks to that Versace dress on Jennifer Lopez circa 2000 (remember when she dated Puff Daddy? Remember when he was called Puff Daddy? There are no guarantees in love or names!).
Back at the suite, Sharleen's hair is curled, make-up is perfect, and she's ready to dump Juan Pablo. She says goodbye to the ladies then heads to his suite where she cries, whispers, and says that this is "excruciatingly difficult" which seems to bewilder JP. She apologizes and explains that she's not really feeling it and she'd hate to take the spot of a girl who really wants to marry him (very noble) and JP responds that "you cannot be sorry for something that you feel" which is also very sweet. Hold up -- a moment of rational thought and complete candor on The Bachelor? What's going on here? Sharleen and her unfortunate formal shorts hop in a cab and drive away.
Up next is a group date for Chelsie, Renee, Clare, and Andi. Johnny Pabs and the ladies board a sea plane and head to a private island where they drink and talk. Chelsie shares notes from her parents, Andi says that she feels vulnerable and anxious, and Clare talks about her late father and the video that he made for her eventual husband and sealed in a vault (the Disney vault? Grab me a copy of Fantasia while you're in there!).
The rose on this group date means a nighttime one on one date with Juan Pablo and definite hometown trip, and who gets it? Ombre DA Andi (who has been rocking a fish talk braid this episode and it's very cute). Clare is frustrated that Juan Pablo is giving roses to women who aren't that sure about him. Sweet Clare, relationships are a lot like sorority rush in that way: It's not a contest of who wants it the most and often wanting it too much will get you shut out (now give me the secret handshake, PLEDGE!).
Back at the suite that night, Clare and Nikki throw down in a fight that ends with Clare calling Nikki and "piece of work" and Nikki calling Clare "f-ing crazy." Ouch -- Nikki fights dirty. The back and forth "who was talking shit?" portion of the fight had so many bleeps and fuzzed mouths that I thought to myself, "Wait, is this The Bachelor or Rock of Love? Either way, it may be setting society back 40 years, but I'm lovin' it!"
Finally it's cocktail party time and Nikki is rocking a killer, hot pink dress (that carefully masks her horrible personality, bad roots, and crummy attitude). Chelsie says that dealing with Nikki feels like high school ("Nikki doesn't willingly participate in any conversation") and ladies have split into two crews: Nikki and Andi (they must bond over the shared final vowel of their names) and Clare, Renee, and Chelsie (the nicer of the crews, it seems). The cocktail party is boring and awkward, but it's about to get more awkward because it's rose ceremony time!
Andi already has a rose, so she's definitely bringing Johnny Pabs home to her unwelcoming father. Who else is going to drag their family into D list celebrity folklore?
-Nikki (first rose! Oh man, this will only further contribute to her smug attitude!)
-Clare (hell yeah! She might be a lil bit intense, but I'm on #TeamClare for sure!)
-Renee (she said 3 words this episode and I think her days are numbered, which is sad because she's super cool.)
That means that Chelsie will be packing up her assorted cards and heading home to root for anyone but Nikki. Chelsie handles the news with aplomb, telling JP that she had a great time and that they both deserve good matches.
Next week, ABC gives us the television event of the year! Yes, this will be more crucial than the Sochi Olympics because the only kind of curling I watch involves hair and preferably my 1.5 inch barrel iron: TWO NIGHTS OF BACK TO BACK BACH! We'll experience hometown dates (Clare and Andi's families are NOT lovin' it), guns (America! America! This is yoooou!), and fantasy suite-related drama (STD? UTI? DTF?).
In the meantime, who are your best for final 2? I've got my money on Andi and Clare. A blonde vs. brunette match up for the ages! Who ya got?