Episode 5

Thank you all for your support this week. I was honestly overwhelmed—and, yes, #grateful—for all your kind words in the comments section. I usually try to respond to a few but there were so many that I thought it best to just tell you here: Thank you. I know I myself am not much of a blog commenter (I tend to be the silent, lurking type) and I truly regard my loyal readers as kindred spirits (several of you said it was your first time commenting anywhere EVER), so thank you to all of you for taking the minutes out of your day to express such kind words of encouragement. I always read every single comment and this turned out to be quite the feel good week for me, thanks to you. ♥ 

In Mexico City, Becca reads Amanda's date card. Olivia appears livid—which she may well be inside—but showing this clip of her in this moment isn't even remotely believable...

 direct-look-into-camera!

direct-look-into-camera!

There are many, many clips of Olivia I could dissect but it's like beating a dead horse at this point. YES, I understand (and believe) that where there is smoke, there is fire. Obviously Olivia must have rubbed the girls the wrong way to some extent for three of them to separately mention it to Ben. But she's in no way the worst "villain" we've ever seen on this show—she hasn't said awful things about any of the girls in ITMs (Courtney) or had full-on screaming matches with other girls (Tierra)—and the bulk of her edit can be chalked up to a lack of self awareness and trusting the wrong people. I will resist letting the topic of Olivia take over my blog the way it's taken over the show itself.

Every season there's some sort of "wake up" segment where the producers deem it necessary to wake up all the girls at an ungodly hour to take only one of them on a date. Perhaps Ben feels more at home in hotels than me, but I suspect he has a very different idea of what a woman's "element" is...

 it's what he's here for.

it's what he's here for.

Every woman watching fell in love with and wanted to be friends with Lauren H in this moment...

 notice the air quotes. Lauren H gets it. 

notice the air quotes. Lauren H gets it. 

 

AMANDA'S ONE-ON-ONE

Ben takes Amanda on a replica of the date Chris took Britt on last season. No, seriously. It was also Episode 5, he woke up all the girls (unnecessarily) at 4:30am, the lady in question awoke with a full face of makeup on (I suspect they had a head's up) and was taken on a hot air balloon ride. The only difference is Amanda was cool as a cucumber and isn't phobic of heights, which made me wonder JUST WHY she chosen for this date in the first place?!

In the evening Amanda shares the details of why her marriage didn't work out. Wow, talk about one blow after another.

  • "He has a very addictive personality and wasn't always the nicest person to me."
  • "He always had other priorities other than me and the girls... He wanted to be doing something else with his life."
  • "I found an old cell phone of his and there were a bunch of text messages from ex-girlfriends and girls he was meeting on online dating sites... It wasn't easy. I didn't want to break up our family. That was the hardest point in my life. I was just so unhappy."
  • "I never wanted to be, like, a single mom. I always had this picture in my mind of being this perfect family and I wanted it so bad."
  • "There was a time when I was embarrassed, because I felt like such a failure and, like, somebody thinking I was married and didn't take it seriously."

I've got to give this girl MAJOR credit. She is such a self-assured and confident person, you would never know what she's been through, especially at 25. It would be difficult enough to have dealt with that sort of crumbling relationship without two children. I honestly can't even fathom it. She tells her story matter-of-factly but never coldly. She's sensitive sans the self-pity. Her eyes say it all here...

I adore Amanda. She's very Emily Maynard-esque in the likability and head-turningly hot departments. As I said in my Flare recap, though, I just don't see a unique chemistry between her and Ben. I think she'll stay around for awhile but I don't see her "winning". Which is fine by me because, well, Emily Maynard was one of my favorite Bachelorettes of all time. ;)  #AmandaForBachelorette?

 

GROUP DATE

Ben greets the girls and gives them the usual ambiguous Group Date opener, and here, I think, is a bit of evidence as to why the women might not be Olivia's biggest fan. It's not necessarily because she's aggressive or intimidating or difficult to get along with, but compare her reaction here to what Ben says versus Jubilee and Jennifer's reactions...

I would absolutely assume her expression might be in reaction to something else, but the other two girls' expressions, followed by Jen's nod in response to "Let's go upstairs", tells me Olivia may be—duh duh duh—an over-emoter. Of course, take this with a grain of salt knowing this critique is coming from this person:

I don't think that necessarily makes Olivia an actress-y type or "there for the wrong reasons". She can't have been aiming for, say, Bachelorette with what we've seen of her so far and certainly can't be accused of always saying the right thing at the right time the way I felt Britt did. But, in an environment designed to make you irritated with each other, it's a potential clue as to why other girls may be targeting her.

The girls take part in a pretty uneventful Spanish class and then are paired up to cook Spanish dishes. But—WHAT A COINCIDENCE—the date that "requires" pairs has an odd number of girls. Drama ensues, as it always does, over who gets to be teamed up with Ben. Despite my telling Olivia via telepathy NOT to dig in her heels over this one, she says...

 Note ben's body language. it's over.

Note ben's body language. it's over.

Presumably as an explanation, Olivia says in an ITM: "I came in today knowing that I need a rose. If we have one-on-one time, it's gonna solidify everything." (I listened carefully and it wasn't spliced up) The thing is, this statement couldn't be more misguided. I don't believe the "going after what you want" behavior ever, ever works in this setting. (Actually, I don't even really think it works with men in real life either, but that's a topic for another day.) The contestants the lead is drawn to are going to stand out to him regardless of how aggressive they are, and he will make time for them. In fact, the more aggressive Olivia got with Ben, the less likely he was to make time for her. (Case in point, no one-on-one by Episode 5. Have we ever seen that from a First Impression Rose recipient?) So in a sense, with this theory in mind, one could argue that the best way to know where you stand with the lead is to remain a quiet wallflower.

While I do like Emily and think she's very funny, there is no excuse for her saying Olivia's breath is bad and saying her mouth smells like...

 too far.

too far.

If what Olivia has done rubbed Emily the wrong way, her criticism of Olivia should have focused on solely that with specific examples. Picking apart irrelevancies just takes away her credibility.

I discussed this in my Flare recap, but I do feel like Jubilee, in her inability (or unwillingness) to shrug off the hilarious polyamory which is such an integral part of this show, she's left unable to really enjoy herself...

There is so much to Jubilee we haven't seen and probably won't see, but I for one can relate to her. I know in my own experience, as the weeks went on and my best friend in the house was sent home, I got more and more homesick (not to mention more and more doubtful of why I was even there), and I became a sort of shadow of myself. It's not that I was a bitch or a bad sport, it's just that I felt like I was in a permanent state of being emotionally drained. I know Jubilee and I did not have quite the same experience, particularly since she obviously felt a strong connection with Ben, but I can see how this environment could make someone behave like a recluse.

Speaking of Jubilee, in reaction to this gem, she couldn't have said it better if she'd used words...

In the evening, while Jubilee expresses her frustration with this nonsensical process, there is the usual montage of one-on-one times. Though we of course know there was more to their conversation, the fact that this is all that is shown of Becca's one-on-one time cracks me up (true LOL!) as it reminds me of SNL's recent "Bland Man" sketch...

 I like this.

I like this.

I love how at ease Ben is with Jojo. They seem like an actual couple in a world where cameras and microphones don't exist. Plus, the fact that Ben can joke around about having to break up with girls—with a girl who, odds are, he will also break up with—speaks volumes...

 

LAUREN H'S ONE-ON-ONE

Lauren’s date is pretty par for the course and drama-free. They're the "normal people" who walk in a Mexico Fashion Week show with actual models (very Sex and the City) and Lauren H is totally charming the entire time. As with the retainer clip above, she’s just so modest and self-deprecating. Never mind that she fits right in with the 5’10 models and looks fantastic. She’s so sincere I almost, ALMOST believe her when she says she thinks Ben looks good in his outfit...

 Lauren H is not fashion roadkill.

Lauren H is not fashion roadkill.

At the hotel suite, during one-on-one dates, girls at the hotel are made to have Girl Chats. A producer typically peppers them with topics, usually pertaining to the girl currently on a date and whether or not they think she and Ben have a “connection”, whether or not she’ll come home, etc.

Amanda and Lauren B are very PC, not dissing Lauren H in any way, only carefully saying that since Ben sent Jubilee home the night before he must (must!) mean business. I don’t know this for certain, but since the producers are in constant text communication with each other, I strongly suspect the questions they ask the girls at home are linked to the topics being discussed on the date. For example, on my season, before the evening part of my first one-on-one, I was encouraged to discuss how I’d dated someone with a child before and how it was something I’d struggled with at that time. Meanwhile, I’d be shocked if Juan Pablo wasn’t told to ask me if I could see myself becoming a stepmom. Meanwhile, back at the house, the women were having Girl Chats about how maternal (or lack thereof) I seem...

Those girls and I had never discussed kids before, so I can’t really imagine that topic coming up by pure coincidence. My point is, there are middle men puppeteering the whole thing. 

Back at “dinner”, Lauren H tells Ben about when and how she decided to choose not to be sad and guarded after her past relationship...

This is a fantastic statement and something I’m working on myself. I agree that we should take responsibility for our own happiness and that it’s something we should actively nurture, just as we would our careers and friendships.

 

ROSE CEREMONY

At the Rose Ceremony, Jojo says that she just wants to be kept in the loop. Ben then drops this doozy…

So either Ben has to pick Jojo, or he’s pulled a Gary Johnston.

Last week’s preview made it seem like Teem Mom-gate was going to be the focal point of the episode, but beyond Olivia learning that…

… not a whole lot happened. Oh, that and Emily pulling a Jojo and giving #truth:

The episode ends in a cliffhanger with all the girls wondering if Ben will do as no Bachelor has done before (egads!) and revoke Olivia's rose. Honestly, I feel like Ben hopped off the Olivia train awhile ago. Even their time together this week leading up to the Group Date rose seemed strained. Nikki Delventhal, with whom I watched the episode, suspected Ben's giving Olivia that rose was a producer push, and I'm thinking she might've been on to something. It was guaranteed drama, especially since a confident Olivia naturally makes a better villain than an insecure Olivia.

To see this week's frontrunners, as well as some thoughts on Jubilee's "journey", head over to my Flare recap.

 

BEST DRESSED

So much good fashion this week! First up is Jennifer with her Rose Ceremony hot pink maxi... 

It's very easy for a bright pink like this to spiral down the wrong path, but this color flirts with being neon while not going too far. It also works really well with Jennifer's dark features. Basically all this dress needs is some vibrant turquoise and it's good to go. I've been kind of obsessed with pairing hot pink with turquoise ever since seeing Emily Maynard slay the combo on Kimmel a few years back:

Jennifer's Amanda Uprichard silk maxi is unfortunately sold out (HERE), but there's a super similar dress by newcomer Saylor (a brand I've been watching and that I love), selling HERE.

On the Group Date, Olivia wore a leather jacket that caught my eye...

I dig how this jacket is draped and the fact that the leather itself is almost like a textured print. Every woman owns (or should own) a black leather jacket, yet I've never seen one quite like this. Olivia's BlankNYC faux leather "In The Moment" (😁!) jacket sells HERE.

There was a bit of a fashion showdown between Jojo and Lauren B this week. Exhibit A, Jojo with her laid back Group Date ensemble...

I'm one of those girls who's always on the verge of being too cold, so I love outfits where there's the option of another layer without having to carry it around on my arm or derailing the look. Jojo's outfit perfectly executes that convertible outfit concept. Best of all, depending on how she wears her button-down, she balances the look by covering up a bit where needed. (That ribbed dress might be a little skimpy on its own but the shirt keeps things tasteful no matter how it's worn.) If you want to recreate this look, remember that the shirt needs to be a slightly oversized and not too tailored, allowing tie-ability. Jojo's ribbed slip dress is from Urban Outfitters and sells HERE. Her exact shirt is by Pull & Bear and sells HERE, though because I'm not sure they ship to the States, I'm including very similar options HERE, HERE, and HERE

The other Group Date standout was Lauren B in her floral romper...

It would be SO easy for an off-the-shoulder, frilly, floral romper to look juvenile, but Lauren's keeps things sophisticated with a mature color palette. (Remember when I talked about sexy silhouettes in mature colors?) She looks breezy and ladylike. Lauren B's exact romper is by Winston White, is currently on sale (!), and sells HERE.

Jojo's Rose Ceremony dress was a showstopper...

It's not even so much that I want to run and buy this dress (I'm still debating that), but I respect this choice. It's ballsy in its differentness. I like the nude sheer dress movement that's been happening lately (indisputably led by For Love and Lemons) because it plays with something traditionally reserved for pageant dresses and figure skating costumes and somehow reinvents it as romantic and whimsical. Jojo's dress (yes, by For Love and Lemons), sells HERE. There's also a fantastic mini version in black HERE.

And the winner is... Lauren B! She's Best Dressed this week with her Rose Ceremony dress...

This dress, too, is different, but understated at the same time. There are many surprises in this dress. First, it takes crochet (which often looks old-fashioned or frumpy) and transforms it into something super sexy. Bell sleeves are usually full length but this 3/4 length subtle bell sleeve is fresh. Plus, if you know me, you know I love a bold slit, especially in an otherwise dark piece. I'm in love. Lauren B's Eyes Of Simone crochet dress sells HERE

 

WORST DRESSED

It was a solid week, and even the weaker looks weren't bad. No Worst Dressed for the third week in a row!

 

Until next week, fellow pandas!

Sharleen Joynt29 Comments