Stop reading now if you don’t want spoilers on episode 2 of The Bachelor with Ben Higgins (original air date: Monday, January 11, 2016).
Welcome back rose lovers, you adorable Monday night binge drinkers (yes, this is how I will refer to y’all for the balance of the season).
The ladies who made it past week one are toasting their joy with mimosas (I never presume pure OJ first) and settling into the house. The first group date card arrives with a voice-over from Lace (who got faced on night one) admitting she got too drunk and declaring that she is looking for redemption. I want to hate Lace but she’s really good at steaming her clothes before dates and that speaks to me.
The first group date crew of 20-something funemployed gals meet Ben at a nearby high school, with JoJo getting the first hug in. Host Chris Harrison is dressed up all nerd chic and announces that the woman will be competing for the role of homecoming queen. Lace is partnered with Jubilee and they head to test #1 which is making a volcano but with ingredients called Communication and Trust. They can’t find communication, so their volcano doesn’t explode, so they get eliminated. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write. Next is some ridiculous apple bobbing passing thing and Ben’s handsomeness distracts Jackie. Round 3 is geography. Oh god they have to locate Indiana on a map and it’s a shit show. Everyone’s hair looks great though. Becca and JoJo are eliminated at this point. Next is basketball. Kooky Mandi is not in her element here but still wins thanks to her swishy partner Amber. There’s a not at all shocking twist of the ‘there can only be one’ variety of course, with Amber and Mandi challenged to a good old fashioned foot race (with hurdles) to win the title of homecoming queen and some alone time with Ben. Mandi wins by a landslide. Ben, to his credit, manages to seem excited by this fact. Their alone time mostly consists of slowly riding a lawn mower around the track while the other women watch them forlornly.
Later that evening Ben and his harem meet on a rooftop and Becca is the first to pull him away for a solo chat. They talk while shooting baskets, and Becca (who is really good at basketball) gushes about how excited she is to be here and open herself up again after appearing on Chris Soules’ season. Ben seems equally thrilled that she’s giving The Bachelor another go.
Jennifer tells Ben they could be a “really great match” which leads to the first official kiss of the season. Well played, Jennifer! Immediately upon rejoining the other girls she is grilled and admits to the kiss, sending Lace’s face into a a bitch twitch.
Back at the house, Olivia has (privately) declared herself the front runner but it’s chipper cutie Caila who receives the first solo date card. This gives Olivia jealousy eyes (but props to her for going makeup free on camera).
Back on the group date , Lace will not be ignored. She grabs some alone time by force and apologizes for her night one “negative” behaviour. Ben says he did “feel attacked” by her outburst but emphasizes his lack of eye contact at the rose ceremony was not intentional. “Crazy right?” she half laughs, sounding like she’s maybe calling herself crazy first to beat everyone else to the punch. “Ben is so forgiving,” she purrs later during her private interview. Jubilee swoops in and Lace sees this as kiss-interruptus, but it didn’t look to me like Ben was interested in locking lips. Hasn’t Lace learned from night one not to try and force him to touch faces? Down girl.
Jubilee has “a lot of layers” that Ben finds intriguing. She tells Ben she was born in Haiti and was adopted out of an orphanage, and he is into her military background and calls her “incredible.”
Lace uses math to attack Jubilee and insist she deserves more time and is all “fuck these bitches” and interrupts Ben saying “I’m not crazy but…I just need one more minute.” Hey Lace, maybe try starting your conversations with Ben some other way. I would suggest that we turn her saying “crazy” into a drinking game, but it’s probably best that I don’t spend Tuesday mornings vomiting in my office trash bin. “I’m getting that rose tonight!” Lace shouts into the camera before heading back to the other women where her return is met with warning blinks and barely contained disdain.
JoJo is nervous about her zero alone time this evening but Ben comes and gets her and they make their way to a private area where he raves about her “energy” on their date and she twirls her hair and they kiss finally. Can I just interrupt and say how cute Ben is? A basket of puppies cute. Ben presents JoJo with the group date rose and Lace throws her off the roof (with her eyes).
The next day, Ben arrives at the house to pick up Caila in front of all the other women (awkward), and we learn that Ben picked the woman to go on the date with but host Chris Harrison organized the date. It’s a ‘Ride Along’ with Kevin Hart and Ice Cube (see what they did there?). Fun fact: in high school I used to casually refer to Ice Cube as my husband. Cube and Kevin are all “let’s do a cheap date and tag along and see how she deals”. Caila squeals like she’s never seen a classic car before and off they go, this weird, weird foursome.
Ben tries to buy Caila roadside flowers while Kevin barters the price. Then they narrate from the back seat and are generally the worst when it comes to romance. Case in point: the most romantic thing Ice Cube has ever done for a woman is “married one.” Next stop: liquor store. Ben is looking for “light” alcohol (you know, because it’s the morning) while Ice Cube suggests cond0ms. Groan, Ben actually asks her what her favourite colour is (unrelated to condoms). It’s yellow, by the way. Their next stop is a hot tub store where they test out the merchandise and Kevin shows his junk. Caila is a great sport and finally the duo are left alone to chat while Caila tries her darndest to not get her hair wet.
Meanwhile Amanda is missing her two young daughters and hoping for a date card to make it all better. When the group date card is read aloud, Olivia hears her name and gasps and falls back on the couch like she just won Powerball.
Back to Ben and Caila. For the evening portion of their date, they meet in a restaurant and her amazing smile and Tia Carrere hair have Ben captivated. Caila confesses she met her last boyfriend on a plane and randomly ran into him on the street a few weeks later and thought it was fate but her “heart never caught up.” What she doesn’t say (but we know thanks to week one interviews) is that Caila sent that dude to Dumpsville when she got a chance to meet Ben. Ben is “excited” to get to know her better and offers Caila the date rose. They head to a nearby theatre where Amos Lee whom I’ve never heard of is on stage. I had never heard of any of the musical guests who have appeared on this show in over six years, probs because none have opened for Taylor Swift or had beef with Nicki Minaj on the internet. They make out on the dance floor while Amos sings Ben’s favourite song. It’s all mad eye contact and Ben even sings a bit. Overall, the date was fine but they lack some of the chemistry he has shown with Lauren B., Jennifer and Olivia. The song helped, but is it enough? I think Caila will definitely be around for the foreseeable future though.
Olivia and her mouth are Uber amped for the second group date of the week (she would not have lost the bobbing for apples challenge).
The women arrive at the Love Lab and are greeted by a white coat-clad Ben and a team of ‘Love Experts’. “I want to see if science can help me find love,” Ben says. The women are outfitted in all white and it’s time to explore their cortex (not a euphemism). They are put through a retinal tracking test, including one where the woman view a side-by-side of Ben and former Bachelor Sean Lowe to see where their eyes go. Then they get to run on a treadmill so that a blindfolded Ben can perform a sniff test to test suss our some pheromones. “Beachy!”or “flowery!” Ben declares. Olivia’s rear has a “fruity aroma” while Samantha is “more sour.” Ouch.
Last is a thermal energy test that each women participates in while the others watch from another room. Olivia has no fear when it’s her turn and she pushes for a kiss but Ben gently turns her down because he knows the other women are watching. In the end, Samantha has the lowest score and the highest score is Olivia. So, confidence and science for the win!
During the evening portion of this second group date, Olivia’s high score (and huge mouth) gets her pulled aside first by Ben who brings her to his Bachelor Pad. She tells Ben she “feels compatibility” with him so science just confirmed what she suspected. They share a “magical” first kiss and she experiences “heat in her stomach area” which I totally heard as “diarrhea.”
When Olivia returns she keeps close-lipped on where she went with Ben which sets Amanda off because she already had “bad vibes” about Olivia.
“Group dating is hard,” moans Captain Obvious. Samantha gets another sniff test during her alone time with Ben and receives the all clear this time. Shushanna, we learn, came to America on a hunt to buy a car. There’s something about her having one pair of shoes and two bottles of vodka. I like that strategy. Single mom Amanda, like, tells Ben, like, that she has two young daughters who are, like “cuter, cooler” versions of herself. Overuse of the word “like” aside, Amanda is totes adorable. I bet her kids would love to tell Ben their favourite colour.”She makes so much more sense now,” Ben says after learning she’s a mom. He seems all aboard the mom with kids train. “Kids don’t scare me,” Ben tells Amanda, and they kiss.
Later, Ben rejoins all of the women on the group date and declares that “today’s date was great for me, but tonight is better.” He presents the date rose to a haughty Olivia.” Olivia Higgins…let’s just end the show now!” she laughs in her private interview. And Amanda becomes the season’s first crier, saying she’s not sure if it’s worth it to be here.
By now someone has created a Twitter account for Olivia’s mouth, right? And there are probably 18 memes about her pulling out “winning!”, Charlie Sheen styles after receiving the rose. Hey, villains gotta vill (I’m sorry, that expression makes me throw up in my mouth too but it’s now synonymous with this Bachelor/Bachelorette world). I can’t say I hate Olivia but she could be less abrasive and maybe close her mouth like 32% more.
On cocktail party night, Ben shows up wearing the shit out of a 3-piece gray suit. Gosh darn his handsome, handsome face. He’s got some decisions to make and I start to worry that some of the woman (Leah, for one) are wearing too much lipstick for Ben to risk a kiss (but as a non-makeup person I could just be projecting).
Olivia spends her evening hovering nearby Ben and when she does get him alone she says, between kisses, “I just want to say thank you for yesterday…you give me butterflies.” While this is going on, the other women gather ’round and bitch about Olivia butting in all the time. Whoa, has Olivia eclipsed Lace as the new house villain? “I’m done, now everybody have at it,” Olivia announces upon her return.
Lace pulls Olivia aside and I can’t tell if the moment they share is bonding or a “step off because I am gonna win this.” They are both very confident that they are the woman for Ben, and I can’t tell if they’ve just bonded in their villain-ness or laid down the gauntlet but, like, while smiling real pretty.
Lace and Ben are alone again and, again, Lace refers to herself as crazy. “I have a very bold personality…I’m a lot to handle,” she announces, to which Ben responds “um hmm”. “I know I’m coming off a little crazy to you…” SHE KEEPS TALKING. Lace then launches into some slurring lame story where she describes some photo that exists of her as a youth that proves she’s a nerd or maybe a raptor? I think? Thanks god she is interrupted before she goes on to describe, like, what she ate for breakfast or calls herself crazy for the 19th time. She keeps moaning after about screwing up her time and how she didn’t want to be like this (like herself, I presume) around Ben. I guess some crazy just can’t be contained.
The mostly silent until now LB is feeling the pressure to talk to Ben and Amber is also starting to panic that she won’t have enough time with our Bachelor to secure a rose tonight. Nearby, Ben presents Lauren B. with a photo of them on night one sitting on the steps where he has brought her now. ”I don’t know how to make you feel special but I’ve been thinking about you a lot,” he tells her. Awww!
Next, we see Ben giving schoolteacher Lauren H. a ribbon for having the biggest explosion in the volcano contest. Random! He also brings Amanda to (happy) tears when he asks if they can craft barrettes with flowers for her daughters. Some producer is high-fiving herself behind a potted plant somewhere on set for coming up with this too-cute bonding idea.
But the fun and crafting must come to an end. Host Chris Harrison is all “sorry (not sorry) to break up the party” and Ben laments he didn’t get to talk to everyone tonight but it’s time to send some ladies packing in the Limo of Mascara Tears™.
Time for the rose ceremony. Olivia and Caila are odour free as they have nothing to fear with their safety roses in hand. Amanda receives the first rose while Lace has a silent breakdown. LB gets called to receive a rose but she asks to speak to Ben privately and tells him she is leaving. “This is a two-way street and I want everyone here to feel empowered,” Ben says, upon returning. When the dust (rose petals) has settled, Lace does have a rose (gack) but Samantha, Mandi and Jackie do not. Ben walks Samantha out and I expect a longer goodbye but it’s pretty cut and dry. Samantha probably hates science now. A lot. So basically, Amber was saved by LB’s departure, right? She’ll have to make a big impression next week to make it through another rose ceremony.
Thanks for reading! I’ll be back next week.