"Group dating is hard." —Ben
The second episode always opens with a flurry of snippets where the Chosen 18 discuss how hot and perfect the lead is. Leah calls Ben "to the T, the perfect man". Jojo says, "If you had a list, he would check off every single list." It's safe to say, however, that the biggest compliment came from Emily...
A good example of frankenbiting is when Olivia is shown saying, "Getting the First Impression Rose was proof that that chemistry was there." (A totally reasonable thing for someone to say at this point.) The camera cuts to another moment of her making a somewhat bitchy-looking expression (which could have been to anything), with her voice saying, "I want Ben Higgins to be my husband." This line could have come from Week 7. It's possible she never even said those words in that order...
What bothers me about this is it perpetuates the widely-believed impression that all the women on this show are crazy and man-obsessed and want to marry the Bachelor after having met him for 5 minutes when, frankly, it's just not true. To drive that point home, the segment closes with a large group of the girls shouting in unison off a balcony, "BEN, WE'RE COMING FOR YOU!!!" As if that were their idea.
FIRST GROUP DATE
Social media informed me that people hated this date but I thought it was totally entertaining. How is this worse than a turtle-paced tractor race in the streets of LA? Chris Harrison must've gotten paid overtime since he isn't usually so involved in the early group dates. I've mentioned before that I happen to find him hysterically funny, and he didn't disappoint, particularly in the "Science Fair"...
In the evening portion, Lace commits the crime of referring to herself in the third person. She’s concerned that Ben "didn’t get the first impression of ‘Who’s Lace? What’s she really about?’” but he got a “different Lace” that she “didn’t want him to see.” Something about that line makes me sad. It’s like she knows she has a tendency to behave erratically but can’t control it.
In her time with Ben, she starts out with good intentions and apologizes. However, whenever Ben tries to express his feelings, she interrupts him, presumably to sound like she understands but it comes off like she can't take criticism. What’s especially unfortunate is she would always interrupt with mindless chatter, like to say she was glad she was aware that he had felt attacked (instead of just LETTING HIM SAY WHY HE FELT ATTACKED) and to reiterate that she was indeed apologizing. (It was easy to forget)
The following is taken verbatim from their conversation...
Lace: I feel special.
Ben: Well, I hope so. I’m very happy you’re here—
Lace: I love it.
Ben: Um, this—
Lace: I’m here for you.
Ben: And, this is what, you know, matters.
... If that's not love, I don't know what is.
Later on, Lace continues to excel in the social grace department...
Jubilee's body language says it all.
And if there were any doubt that Jojo's a frontrunner, just look at Ben's body language in their one-on-one time...
Caila was the lucky recipient of this season's movie promo one-on-one. But unlike Jade's impossibly blatant Cinderella plug one-on-one from last season, this one was pretty subtle. Or rather, so shrouded in self-aware mockery that it was totally fine with me.
Seriously! This is how you plug a comedy about cops and drug lords on a reality dating show... Unlike with Cinderella, I am somehow more inclined to see this movie after their appearance.
Oh, and apparently hell is a swear word...?
SECOND GROUP DATE
On the next group date—on a show where the happy ending famously means an engagement with a diamond ring typically valued in the 6-figure ballpark—the women are condemned if their retinas hover for too long on the lower half of the following photo...
They are made to run on treadmills in skimpy white outfits and then stand still while their sweat is sniffed by their communal boyfriend. What, that's not your dream date scenario?!
They're then forced to wait in a room and watch each other, one by one, get physically close with aforementioned communal boyfriend on a television screen. Note the approximate time of day when they enter that room...
Now note the approximate time of day when Haley (I think it's Haley?) is shown looking pissed off by what she sees on the screen...
Never mind that her expression is likely less about what's on the screen and more about being bored out of her skull, since they've spent HOURS waiting in (and have watched the sun go down from) that room.
Much of the evening's drama revolves around the fact that Olivia interrupted Leah for time with Ben early in the evening when she already had a rose. I've mentioned before that no producer can force a contestant to do or say anything, but there is a lot of strategic suggestion and encouragement. It's not like the producers didn't know that Olivia spending time with Ben would provide all the drama they'd need for the evening. I'm not excusing Olivia completely, because you still do have the ability to just say "no"—I know because I said it many, many times—but there is no way she wasn't nudged to steal time with Ben, or even outright told to.
LB chose to go home (despite getting a rose) and I love what she said in her ITM leading up to that decision.
"It's just hard because, while I'm interested in him, I haven't gotten to know him well enough because being in a group of girls, it's hard to stand out. You see people who have different personalities that he's really connecting with and then it makes you question your own personality, or what you could do differently. You overthink things, too. Comparing and overthinking is all you do. And that's what I think is really hard for me."
THIS. LB speaks the truth and I adore her for it. But now she's gone. :(
As always, my Top 4 predictions as well as overall thoughts on this episode can be found in my Flare recap.
While none of the many jewel-tone cocktail dresses we saw this week stood out to me, there were still some solid fashion choices.
First up is Mandi with her group date bell bottoms...
I love that this cardigan is simultaneously glam and subdued. It brings the glamor without being the slightest bit over the top. I have a similar cardigan from many moons ago that I'm glad I kept; I plan on dusting it off after Caila reminded me of its existence. I couldn't find her exact top, but there are very similar ones selling HERE and HERE.
Jubilee's Rose Ceremony maxi caught my eye...
As with last week, Jubilee knocks in out of the park in a long-sleeve dress which manages to be both skin-baring and modest. She understands that if you do a plunge neckline or an open back, you balance it by covering up elsewhere. I love this dress and would wear it in a heartbeat. The most similar one I could find is by Forever 21 and sells HERE.
I'm really feeling the sequins this week. Amanda is this week's Best Dressed...
This is one of those pieces that I would never typically pick out off the rack but looks fantastic on. To me, the stock photo looks stiff and somewhat 80s, but the dress on Amanda looks feminine yet edgy. (A testament to Amanda's shopping skills.) My only wish... (you know what's coming)... is that she had put her hair in a loose, low chignon or something, to elevate her hair to the dressiness of her outfit. But the look is still an overall win for me. Amanda's Dress the Population "Lola" sequin bodycon dress sells HERE.
Until next week, fellow pandas!