Episodes 4 & 5
"AshLee has a guilty conscious." – Lacy
Michelle is having a very, very emotional night. First, Chris B "saved" her. Now, there's a date card waiting for them with Robert's name on it, which seems rather uncanny, timing-wise. As the producers probably expect, Robert takes Sarah, which sends our already-emotional Michelle down a strange spiral of self-doubt and feeling like she'll be alone forever.
Note that had Robert taken Michelle, Sarah would have also had some quality upset ITM material to choose from, so Robert's name being on that date card was a no-brainer.
Two more things about Michelle. The first is, she looks more beautiful with no (or very little) makeup:
Second, she thinks the fact that she's a single mom is daunting for the guys. I think in the real world this is possible, but not in Paradise, where I doubt many people are really thinking "forever."
Cody arrives and despite that fact that I sometimes feel like he's a cartoon character, he's actually very likable. After Clare rejects his date offer, instead of behaving like all the women there are interchangeable, he forfeits his date completely and gives it to his buddy Marcus. I was SUPER impressed with this move.
Marcus naturally takes Lacy for a night on the town. One thing I do like about these two is the completely mutual feelings. I like that Marcus tells Lacy she looks beautiful when it's obvious they're past the point where that's all that matters. Some men are reticent with compliments like that, wanting to play it cool and keep some cards to themselves. I can't stand that.
Zack was in the doghouse for not being "sure" about Clare but mends things by telling Clare what she wants to hear. (I still don't buy these two) While they're make-up making out and the camera is super duper zoomed in on them, I can't help but imagine the camera man/woman's expressionless face while they steady fifty pounds and watch this:
Kalon, who arrives to the beat of percussive villain music, likens being in Paradise to "being an alcoholic who doesn't drink for a couple of years and then you, like, go to the bar for the first time."
Michelle loathes Kalon but when Kalon asks Michelle on his date she says yes. Oh-kay...
I'm becoming more and more convinced Michelle is "in on it" somehow. Like, she's a paid actress, or a producer on the other side. It's too convenient that this unbelievably beautiful girl also provides the show with so much girl time, tears, and critical, expressive, honest ITM time to the point where if she wasn't there, there'd be no show. Her agreeing to go with Kalon on the date only to bail right before they're meant to depart supports my theory.
Kalon gamely plays the part of villain, throwing out semi-offensive quotes and calling girls "sun lizards", which is apparently a no-no. In case his edit hasn't made it abundantly clear how DREADFULLY UNAPPEALING Kalon is, Sarah chimes in to drive it home:
But just when you might think about starting to know how to feel bad for him, Kalon:
Interesting how words like "shit" and "tits" are bleeped and blurred out but the above quote was considered totally acceptable.
A refreshingly hairy man arrives and his name is Jesse. (Seriously, what is with all the hairless chests on this show??) He asks Jackie on his date, she says yes, and Marquel feels the sting he so casually inflicted upon Danielle last week.
Jesse and Jackie's date consists of Jesse talking while weird, porn music plays in the background, and of the two awkwardly dancing on a rug in a cave while a band you've never heard of plays three meters in front of them.
This episode was pretty boring until AshLee accidentally let her other face out while a hidden camera she didn't know about captured everything. While what she said drove me crazy (more on that in a bit), I appreciated the attention it brought to the cameras themselves. As I said in my Episode 4 Flare recap, there were no fixed or hidden cameras on The Bachelor. If you were miked, you knew cameras were either already around or were going to around shortly, always with a human being attached to them.
I've made fun of Lacy in the past but I can admit when I've been wrong about a person. In this case I've got to give the girl MAJOR props for standing up for Clare to AshLee's face (which would be damn scary):
Lacy: "She [Clare] did not have sex with Juan Pablo in the ocean. And we all know that's not the case."
AshLee: "But I don't."
AshLee: "I don't know that."
Lacy: "What do you mean, you don't know that?"
You guys, AshLee kind of sucks. Yes, she's possessive and a bit crazy, but more upsettingly, she's judgmental. I personally have very little patience for judgmental people. Whether or not Clare had sex in the ocean – which, for the record, she didn't – but again, EVEN IF SHE DID, it is none of AshLee's business and she can keep her unkind, unwelcome opinions to her herself. Another high horse.
And you know what else? She can't be wrong. She somehow thinks she is a kind person:
AshLee: "I've been nothing but super nice to her [Clare], super sweet with her, beyond what my head's really thinking. Well beyond."
Meanwhile, Graham and Robert hilariously discuss being a "total wuss" when it comes to "the piercing, the fierce look" girls can sometimes get in their eyes:
I thought Clare was understandably upset and was glad she didn't let AshLee off easy. AshLee came at her with a very insincere "I can tell something's a little wrong and I'm not sure what." UGH. Even her apology, which was fake, was still not an apology. It's a peeve of mine with people apologize like this:
AshLee: "We were just two friends talking, and if you took offense by that or if I hurt your feelings, Clare, I honest to God am very sorry for that."
That is not an apology. Apologizing IF you hurt someone is not apologizing FOR hurting someone. It's passive aggressive and not actually taking any sort of responsibility.
Episode 4 concludes with a DRAMATIC CLIFFHANGER. In Episode 5, AshLee stands expressionless and motionless as her beloved Graham runs out of the room with a panic attack. The food in Paradise is so good that Lacy needs to be whisked to the hospital for ingesting it.
But, there's love in the air, and tinkly music plays as Clare assesses the couples, and editing cleverly reminds us that Clare hates AshLee:
Masterful mixing, right there.
Christy arrives to stir things up and I'm going to put it out there right now that I adore Christy. She truly is one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet. She's kind, surprisingly shy, a good listener, open-minded and not at all judgmental. She's obviously gorgeous but not at all the dumb blonde her edit painted her to be.
Because this is Paradise – which, in case you'd forgotten (because I know I did), the Oxford Dictionary defines as "an ideal or idyllic place" – Christy has to take someone on a date but doesn't really have a choice who she takes. Sounds pretty idyllic to me.
Christy tells Jesse she found a bra in her ex's bed. Jesse's expression was probably aiming for disbelief but it mostly looks like reminiscence:
Sarah and Robert go on a date. Not much else to report there except their chemistry isn't entirely convincing and Sarah was wearing a seriously badass one-piece. (See Best Dressed, below)
Zack tiptoes back into a conversation with Clare about their relationship. In my opinion, it's obvious Zack has been far more passive in their relationship. Even when he has said quotables like, "I've put all my eggs in your basket", it's never been without prompting or prodding of sorts. Zack mumbles something about their relationship being very intense and Clare is not cool with it. And then her edit is downright mean as they make it look like she's running through the forest crying to raccoons.
So. My thoughts on Zack and Clare: Zack likes Clare but never did and never will see anything long-term with her. That much is clear. To call him indifferent might be a bit strong, but his feelings are leaning in that direction. However, he is attentive and kind to Clare. She likely notices those qualities but doesn't read between the lines as closely as she should. When leaving, she herself says her biggest regret is not paying attention to her gut.
I know I'm not alone in thinking Clare's farewell speech was also a threat of sorts. It came off like she wanted him to beg her to stay. It's possible that wasn't her intention but that's how it seemed. Regardless, Zack totally called her bluff and made zero attempt at changing her mind.
I was not cool with the crazy psycho-killer music as she crept up to his room to say goodbye. Poor Clare. :( I think the takeaway is that Clare should pursue non-dating reality television shows:
Lucy comes to town! She takes Jesse on her date which frustratingly makes Christy's confidence waver:
Michelle and Cody embark on the most idiotic date of the episode: a wedding photo shoot. The only memorable thing to happen was Michelle shouting at passersby, "IT'S FAKE. IT'S NOT REAL. IT'S OUR FIRST DATE, ACTUALLY. THE FIRST DATE. THINGS AREN'T WEIRD AT ALL. TOTALLY NORMAL."
Aaaaand... I still love Michelle.
AshLee and Graham go nighttime race car driving which is actually a pretty cool date. Too bad I can't concentrate on that because I'm distracted by the bad taste Episode 4 left in my mouth for AshLee. Graham is just too nice and normal for her.
Lucy leaves as swiftly as she arrives, which is a shame. As I've stated in my Flare column, what I loved about Lucy's appearance is that she treated the show like a joke and something not to be taken seriously. Lucy is a smart cookie who happens to enviably love her own birthday suit. (I think we could all use a bit more self love in that department) She's analytical and revels in pushing the envelope and people's buttons. There's never a dull moment in her presence.
I wasn't into any of the Rose Ceremony outfits in either episode, but there were a few fashion wins...
I think Lacy consistently looks more beautiful when she's dressed down, with less makeup, and bumming around the house. Case in point, this lovely striped maxi:
It just fits her so well and looks cute and comfy. The back has a nice detail but overall it's simple and wonderfully wearable.
Sarah's one-piece L*Space swimsuit on her date with Robert had me drooling:
I. Love. It. You know I'm a fan of one-pieces and this one is demure while still managing to be super sexy.
As I said, nothing at either Rose Ceremony did it for me. That is, other than AshLee's perfect topknot:
I love this bun. It's not oversized or filled with a sock. It's not too perfect. It's just simple and undeniably chic.
LESSONS LEARNED THIS WEEK
1. There are three fixed cameras in the main living space of Paradise.
DRINKING GAME WORDS OF THE WEEK
Until next week, fellow pandas!