Episode 9

Once again, I apologize for taking so long with this recap. As the seasons progress I always get more and more bogged down with real life commitments. Determined… to… finish… 

Also, just a reminder that if you or a friend have a relationship question in need of answering, my column over at Flare does just that. Send your questions to: editor@flare.com (Please, not via the contact form on this site!) Thank you! 

JAMAICA

Every Bachelor/ette ever has said every locale they go to is a “great place to fall in love.” I had to laugh when Ben grinned his way through this line with an emphatic “Honestly!"...

This episode opens with a B-ROLL BONANZA. Ben and the final three are made to put on their most pensive, reflective faces and ponder the meaning of life by lagoons...

... with wind in their hair...

... and the old standby, in a jewel-tone robe with a trusty mug in hand...

Or, for the more advanced, in a jewel-tone robe, trusty mug in hand, AND wind in hair...

 

CAILA'S OVERNIGHT DATE

Caila's date starts out to a bit of a rocky start. I found it interesting how suddenly, when there was no activity to DO together, it suddenly seemed Ben and Caila had nothing to say to each other...

First, I take everything I see on this show with a grain of salt. It's possible they had plenty to talk about but their conversations weren't relevant, so all Editing was left with was a lot of silence. From there, it's possible said silence wasn't awkward, but golden. (But adding awkward music is a surefire way to convince viewers otherwise.)

All that said, I did feel like what we saw between Ben and Caila here was stilted and dry. Yes, it was blamed on there being a lot on Caila's mind, but I'm not sure I buy that. On their first one-on-one, they had Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in tow cracking jokes. On their second, they went swimming and deep sea fishing in The Bahamas. On their Hometown, they built a toy house, talked to her family, and talked about talking to her family. As for all those little pockets of one-on-one time on Group Dates, those are easy to fill with conversation because they're so short and usually the day has provided enough fodder to work with. Also, remember a producer primes you for every interaction: What do you want to talk to him about today? What do you want to tell him about yourself? So, strip away all the activities and have all day to just be together, and suddenly you can be faced with the realization that you truly have nothing to say to each other. (I remember feeling this way on our yacht in Miami on my second one-on-one, and I think we can all relate to that feeling at some point in real life.)

It comes out that Caila has been struggling for the first time with knowing there are other potentially strong relationships in the mix. Both Lauren and Jojo express the same fear later, which makes me figure that—as they all become gradually more confident in where they stand with Ben—they're made to hash out (more than ever) how they feel about there being other women. And instilling that fear in the women provides the perfect conflict in these later stages, as Ben shows with that Bachelor cadence I mentioned a few weeks ago...

 it  will , dammit!

it will, dammit!

The L-bomb is always encouraged as soon as possible but is typically on schedule if it's dropped during Fantasy Suite dates. Caila (... and Lauren... and Jojo... what a coincidence) was no exception, but I had to laugh at the no muss/no fuss transition from profession of love to makeout sesh...

The fireworks cracked me up in the Fantasy Suite segment. How very Bachelor. But I have to say, knowing Ben sends Caila home this very same episode (and therefore definitely knew at this point that he just wasn't as into her as the other two) makes the following statement—excuse my French—pure and utter horseshit...

 lies.

lies.

Remember, though: I never blame the lead for this. I've spoken with enough of them to know that they don't want to lead people on. It's just part of the gig.

 

LAUREN'S OVERNIGHT DATE

One of the biggest misconceptions about going on this show (to me, anyway) is that it's a big vacation and "you get to travel". Don't get me wrong; you do indeed get to travel. But it's not like once you're in your exotic locale that you're actually allowed to stroll around and see any sights. (Unless you're on a date, of course, which is one of the main reasons you get so excited to go on them.) To me and most contestants I've spoken to, the real draw is the experience, and this is where production really shines. They may not let you leave your hotel room for days on end, but when they do, they usually have something waiting for you that you truly might never have been able to do on your own had you booked a flight and gone there yourself. A few examples from my season were playing soccer at the LA Galaxy stadium, performing with a K-pop group in Seoul, riding water buffalo in Vietnam, and visiting Hobbiton at night when it was closed to the public. Lauren's turtle date is an example this season. Yes, you could book a trip to Jamaica in turtle season in the hopes that your vacation will align with a nest of hatchlings' journey, but there are no guarantees, and it certainly wouldn't be private with just the two of you. Lauren's date activity was supremely cool and special, and to me was one of those unique experiences synonymous with The Bachelor

Plus, it gave the producers another cheesy, if tenuous relationship tie-in...

Ben and Lauren share a conversation about how each of them feels the other is too good for them. Lauren says it's a good thing and I have to agree. That sense of feeling lucky to have the other—as long as it is truly reciprocated—is how it should feel in the beginning. They celebrate this conclusion by frolicking in the ocean under a DOUBLE RAINBOW:

Right on L-bomb schedule, Lauren reveals...

... which, as I said, is standard Fantasy Suite fare. BUT WAIT!

Isn't he not allowed to say that?! More on that later.

 

JOJO'S OVERNIGHT DATE

Jojo starts off her date referencing The 5 Love Languages, which I've also mentioned (in my column and in my interview with Kaitlyn)...

I don't actually think the book in its entirety is a must-read (it's pretty self-explanatory once you know the names of each "language") but the gist is great. I learned that, like Jojo, I too am a Words of Affirmation girl.

Jojo, also on Fantasy Suite date schedule, tells Ben she officially loves him and he—STOP THE PRESSES—tells her as well...

So. Rumor has it this episode aired the Overnights out of order and that Jojo’s date was actually filmed second and Lauren’s was last. From what I’ve heard, that rumor is indeed true, so it’s interesting to consider that it changes who Ben said “I love you” to first. I have a theory that this is more producer planted than it appears. We know this show has to continuously evolve and deliver more and more drama in order to keep its viewers guessing. 

I personally think there are two scenarios. Scenario A is that Ben blurted out the L-word to Jojo first and then the producers said, “You love Lauren as well; you have to tell her.” (Which wouldn’t have been difficult since it’s clear Ben feels strongly for Lauren as well.) But since that scenario would have left a lot up to chance, I happen to think it’s scenario B. Scenario B is that Ben likely said in an ITM that he is in love with both women (I personally do think he feels that way—he wouldn’t be the first lead to) and his producer nudged, “Well, why don’t you tell them, then?”, essentially greenlighting it. After all, they knew it’d be guaranteed buzz, as evidenced by those little ABC captions. 

It’s clear there’s no way for Ben to win here. If he’s in love with only one woman and thus (even if only the tiniest bit) leads the other woman on, he’s an asshole. But if he truly falls for both women, he of course eventually has to ax one of them, also making him an asshole (especially after making her feel safe by telling her he loved her). It’s also a testament to how confusing the Bachelor bubble is. 

Jojo’s date closes with an ultra-zoomed in makeout...

These always make me laugh imagining the cameraman/camerawoman standing there, clad in black, completely expressionless, watching people make out passionately. I don’t know why but that image will never be unfunny to me. 

 

CAILA'S DEPARTURE

When Ben breaks the bad news to Caila, I thought it was a teensy bit unnecessary for him to reveal that he loves not one, but TWO women and that—goshdarnit—she just ain’t one of ‘em...

 insult upon injury.

insult upon injury.

Whatever happened to an ambiguous but genteel, “Other relationships have just moved faster”?

I was thrilled to see Caila drop the shit and reemerge from the car to ask:

Most of what we've seen of Caila has been very sunny and polished, so to see her show even the most contained, civilized anger actually warmed me to her, not the opposite. It was that "real" moment I've been waiting to see from her, and I dug it. 

I mentioned in my Flare recap that I think, in terms of blow to the ego, this is actually the worst week to get eliminated. I like that Caila stood up for herself without becoming an ice queen, yet mourned without becoming a blubbering, self-pitying mess. Special props to her taking this with grace.

 

UM, ROSE CEREMONY?

I know that Rose Ceremonies are part and parcel of this show, but just what was with this Rose Ceremony?! Two women + Two roses = One big happy family:

Traditionally when this happens there’s at least a flimsy speech about how accepting the rose means you’re in the driver’s seat as well and that you shouldn’t take it if you’re not ABSOLUTELY SURE. At least then there’s faux suspense. 

As always, head over to my Flare recap for my initial thoughts on this episode.

 

BEST DRESSED

Before dates, a producer will tell you more or less what you need to wear. Nothing that will give away the activity, but vague things like, “Something comfortable you can walk in”. But my LEAST favorite wardrobe tip was when they’d say that we needed to be wearing our bathing suits under our outfit. For some reason I loathed this. To me, bathing suits are NOT undergarments. They are separate suits for water activities. I would rather run off to a bathroom or even into the bushes and change than attempt to incorporate a bathing suit into my daytime outfit. (I realize I’m being dramatic about this... If you share this unreasonable aversion please do share, if only to make me feel better.)

 HOW I FELT TO HAVE TO WEAR A BATHING SUIT UNDER THIS DRESS.

HOW I FELT TO HAVE TO WEAR A BATHING SUIT UNDER THIS DRESS.

 HOW I FELT TO WEAR A BRA UNDER THIS DRESS. (THIS WAS A PICK-UP)

HOW I FELT TO WEAR A BRA UNDER THIS DRESS. (THIS WAS A PICK-UP)

With that said, I have to give the ladies credit. They were definitely told that very thing, and they all looked very cute in their respective outfits. 

Caila made the choice to wear an interesting high-neck of bikini top as an actual top, which I thought worked well for her...

A triangle top would have been a tad explosed for the whole day, but this looks cute and casual and like she didn't try too hard. And I LOVE the necklace. It goes weirdly well with that top and makes me want to start always wearing necklaces with bathing suits. Caila's reversible (!) bikini top is by Billabong and the style is "Gypsy Dreamin'" in color "Black Cherry". Her exact top is sold out (HERE) but there are similar-ish ones HERE and HERE. Caila's same print also comes in a triangle bikini (HERE) as well as a one-piece (HERE). If you're more hell bent on Caila's bikini's exact cut than print, there are also very cute ones HERE and HERE. Her necklace is by Madewell and sells HERE.

She did a similar pairing for her departure outfit, and while I’m on the fence about this bikini print (I think my beef is with the noncommittal watercolor theme?) I’m strangely obsessed with this skirt...

I love unexpected marriages of silhouettes and materials, so a pencil-y skirt but with drawstrings and in sweatpants material pleases me greatly. Caila's bikini top is also by Billabong and the style is "Gypsy Dreamin'" in color "Honey Do", but it's sold out everywhere. However, it too comes in a triangle bikini style HERE. Her Athleta skirt is also sold out, but there are a few in various sizes on eBay HERE, and very similar one by the same brand sells HERE, as well as a few in various sizes on eBay HERE. (Also by the same brand: a mini length HERE and a maxi length HERE.) 

This week’s runner-up for Best Dressed is Lauren with her evening two-piece dress…

You’ve heard me sing praises for Lauren’s talent for bold but feminine colors before. This coral looks effortless on her but I know from experience that this is NOT an easy shade to pull off. This dress could easily look cheap and Forever 21-ish but on Lauren it looks like something you'd see in the window (aka full price) at Intermix. My only wish is that Lauren might have worn her hair in a bouncy ponytail with this dress, since I feel like that would let the dress pop more (her beachy waves wear it down a bit) and but that’s just me being super picky. Lauren's two-piece dress is from Lulu's and is sadly sold out (HERE), but there's a one-piece in the same color with cutouts selling HERE, and a very similar two-piece in white HERE (top) and HERE (bottom). In my research I also found a floral version (which kind of marries this dress with Jojo's dress) that I had to link out because it's just so pretty (HERE).

Best Dressed this week is Jojo in her “Rose Ceremony” floral dress…

Jojo has mastered the art of va-va-voom. (Who could forget her red dress at last week’s Rose Ceremony?) She’s not afraid to show off the girls but keeps the dresses structured and the hemlines sensible. The results are ladylike, never hooch. (That line can be fine sometimes!) This whole look is feminine perfection. Jojo's dress is by Bebe but is unfortunately sold out. (Bebe currently sells a dress with the same cut but an entirely different print HERE.) The most similar floral bodycon dresses I could find with that plunge in the neckline are HERE, HERE, and HERE. Her wedge sandals were a last minute purchase before heading to Jamaica and she doesn't remember the brand, but I found a super similar pair HERE.

 

Until next week, fellow pandas!