Warning: This recap contains spoilers for the Feb. 29 episode of The Bachelor.
Welcome to paradise, rose lovers! No, not Paradise — that won’t arrive until August. Today’s “paradise” is Jamaica. Just look at how happy our Bachelor is to be here!
And why shouldn’t he be happy? His three wife finalists are going to join him in this tropical heaven for a series of overnight dates. Speaking of which, time for the “lady”-by-“lady” recap!
Caila: “She has a… joy that just lights up a room,” says Ben. “My biggest concern about Caila is that she isn’t able to express… her true feelings.”
Lauren: “With Lauren, things just feel right,” admits the Bachelor. “I definitely question if this is too good to be true… because she may be too good for me.”
JoJo: “When I’m around JoJo, I feel more myself than ever,” says Ben. Still, “JoJo’s hometown date in Dallas added this level on confusion to our relationship that I don’t know how to handle.”
Welp, there you have it! You’ve got your work cut out for you, “ladies”! But first, be sure to stare pensively off into the distance (coffee cup optional).
The first date goes to Caila, and Ben’s feeling good: “Caila would be a great wife.” But as he and Caila cruise down the Martha Brae River on a raft, she’s unusually “quiet” and “melancholy,” and the Bachelor is concerned. “Caila’s not herself today,” he muses. “I think Caila has something on her mind today, and I don’t know what that is.” Really, though? You don’t know what she might be thinking about? No idea at all, sir? Does “she’s about to sleep with you knowing full well you’ll be boning two other women in the coming week” ring a bell? No?
Caila knows she should just be honest with Ben, but she doesn’t want to “ruin the rest of the day” by complaining about the presence of JoJo and Lauren. So the two of them sip their coconuts in silence while staring at a pile of jerk chicken bones.
Not sure what else Caila — or Ben, for that matter — expected. This is an unnatural, awkward, thoroughly uncomfortable situation, so why wouldn’t everyone involved feel distracted and a little off? Anyhow, by dinnertime the Sex Panther is ready to get things back on the marriage track by professing her love for the Bachelor. “It wasn’t until the last rose ceremony that I saw two other women who are probably falling in love with you too,” she tells him. “That scares me, which is understandable.” Words, words, more words, then at last, “Part of me has wanted to tell you something for a long time, and that is… that I’m in love with you.”
The music swells, Ben and Caila kiss and kiss and kiss, and then he hands her the Fantasy Suite card. All that’s left now are the fireworks and the perv-cam tour of Ben and Caila’s fancy boudoir.
After last season of The Bachelorette broke the morning-after-footage barrier…
…it looks like Team Bachelor is just going to go for it every season.
“Last night was amazing,” gushes Caila. “Ben can’t tell me that he loves me, but Ben didn’t have to say any words. It was just something I felt.” Uh-oh, did no one show poor Caila last week’s “coming up on The Bachelor” promo? Ben can — and will — tell two “ladies” that he loves them… so it looks like our perky little toy heiress may be the odd woman out.
For now, though, let’s focus on the next date. Lauren arrives, looking like she’s having a little bit of trouble walking in her hilariously short jean shorts. “I’m very nervous to tell Ben that I love him,” she tells us. “Even if Ben can’t say anything back… to get [these feelings] off my chest will feel really good.” But seriously, at what point do shorts just become underwear?
Ben — who says it’s “almost weird” to be heading to another romantic overnight date almost immediately after leaving a romantic overnight date with a different woman — puts his game face on and gets ready to give Lauren his full attention. But that may be difficult, because today’s date involves releasing a baby turtle nest as part of Jamaica’s Sea Turtle Project — and there ain’t nothin’ cuter than a pile of baby turtles.
After saying a prayer, Ben and Lauren release the cute little critters out into the wild — and then, because he likes to kill the mood, Ben brings up his insecurities, again.
Lauren admits that she, too, has had moments of “is this too good to be true?” panic, and assures the Bachelor that they are both, in fact, good enough for each other. If you’re keeping track, Lauren has not yet told Ben she loves him — which, of course, she thinks she does — and she’s still working up the courage, because to say those three little words is “as vulnerable as it gets.”
By the time she limps into Miss T’s Kitchen for dinner with Ben (seriously, did Lauren pull a muscle or something? Her walk is all kinds of weird this episode), the flight attendant is full to bursting with her love for the Bachelor. “It’s really scary to tell someone that you love them when you know that there’s two other relationships other than mine and Ben’s,” she sighs. Grammar issues aside, OF COURSE IT’S SCARY, WOMAN! Your fear is trying to tell you something, Lauren. It’s screaming, “Don’t tell a man with two other girlfriends that you love him!” but I have a feeling you aren’t going to listen.
Though Lauren tells Ben he is “legitimately the man of my dreams,” she does admit to feeling weird and icky about his relationships with JoJo and Caila. Of course, that doesn’t stop her from saying yes to the Fantasy Suite. And it’s there, dear reader, where she finally finds the courage to drop the l-bomb. And by the process of elimination, it’s pretty clear that Lauren is one of the two women whose love Ben verbally reciprocates.
Lauren can’t quite believe what she’s hearing, and the look on her face is a mixture of disbelief and “Holy sh*t, I won!” amazement.
Okay, camera nijnas, get thee out of the Fantasy Suite, because Ben and Lauren want to consummate their newly-declared love. Cut to:
After a leisurely room service breakfast with Lauren the next morning, Ben kisses her goodbye and heads back to his pad for a one-day sex detox before his date with JoJo. “Telling Lauren that I’m in love with her complicates things,” declares Captain Obvious as he heads to meet his third date. “But I need to explore where it’s at with JoJo.”
They board a helicopter to yet another completely gorgeous and scenic location, YS Falls, for a swim-and-smooch session. JoJo really wants to tell Ben she loves him, but she’s never said it first to anyone and that makes her nervous. Sorry, toots, but you know what they say on The Bachelor: Love is like a…
And so, perched on a rock with the Bachelor above YS falls, JoJo tells Ben, in a somewhat roundabout way, that even though it’s hard for her to say “I love you,” she knows she’s not just “falling in love” anymore. “That’s weird that I just said that because I have been so terrified about saying that,” she confesses. You wanna see weird, JoJo? Get a load of this:
Dude, WHAT? That is NOT HOW IT WORKS. Also, a moment of silence, please, for this one:
Like Lauren, JoJo can’t believe her ears. “What?” she says incredulously, clearly concerned she’s being punked by producers. “Are you allowed to say that?” He sure as hell is, honey!
Later that night, Ben’s starting to realize that he’s made a huge mistake. “After telling two women that I’m in love with them, I’m in a state of shock,” he says. But tonight is “about JoJo,” he continues, so Ben’s going to pull a Scarlett O'Hara and think about his present dilemma tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.
Over dinner he and JoJo discuss her “weird” hometown date, and Ben gives her more detail about his awkward encounter with her brothers. “A comment was made, like, ‘Well, you think you have a lot of power don’t you?’” he reports. “I felt like there was a lot of tension.” JoJo assures him that her big bros were just being overly protective, and that once they get to know him they’ll love him. So… Fantasy Suite then? You know it!
Everything seems to be going great the next morning. The watermelon is fresh, the banter is ridiculously schmoopy (“You’re so cute!” “You are too!”), and the validation is flowing. “We’re on the same page,” Ben tells JoJo, before heading back to his room for some alone time. All he can really think about is how he’s going to have to send Caila home. “For some reason, I can’t get there with Caila,” he says, bemoaning the fact that he’ll have to break her heart at the rose ceremony.
Or… maybe he’ll have to do it sooner. Caila decides that it’s been too long since she’s seen the Bachelor, so she summons an idle Reject SUV and has it drive her over to Ben’s place. “He might be waking up with these other women this week,” she says ominously, “but I want to be the woman he wakes up next to for the rest of his life.” So she sneaks up on Ben as he’s trying to relax outside.
Our Bachelor is a decent guy, and he knows what he has to do. “I know this is going to be painful,” he says. “But the right thing to do is to be honest with her about how I feel.”
Naturally, Caila is hurt and a little defensive, telling Ben it “sounds like a line” when he says he can’t imagine saying goodbye to her. “I really did love you,” she sobs as she hugs him goodbye. But the Reject SUV has barely driven six inches before Caila, in a flush of anger, bursts out of the truck to confront Ben.
Of course Caila wants to know when Ben knew that she wasn’t the one — the subtext being that if he knew before overnight dates then he was just acting like a dog. But Mr. Higgins is a gentleman of sorts, and he explains to Caila that he went into the week with an open mind, and it was only after all three women professed their love to him that he knew who had to go home. Caila accepts this, and climbs into the Reject SUV for a second time. “I was ready for our future,” she cries. “I thought this was it. I was ready.”
Welp, I think we all know what this means, rose lovers. Caila is on the shortlist to be the next Bachelorette. Does this please you? Hold that thought… because it’s time for the completely meaningless rose ceremony. Harrison, looking dapper in his island casual ensemble, escorts JoJo and Lauren to the courtyard where two roses await. “Where’s Caila?” whines a fidgety JoJo. “Is she here?”
We’ll let Ben answer that. “Obviously, Caila’s not here,” he announces, adding that he’s very “confident” in the final two women before him. “I honestly could not feel luckier,” he says, before handing out the roses — because Caila or no Caila, Team Bachelor still has a two-hour timeslot to fill.
“I’m in deep trouble,” sighs Ben. That’s for sure, pal. But we’ll have to wait two weeks to see how Ben gets himself out of this pickle, because next week is the Women Tell All. (Here’s hoping we finally get a good look at Olivia’s malformed toes.) While it certainly looks as though Ben pulls a Mesnick (or at least a partial Mesnick?), Team Bachelor can and has done wonders with misleading editing. What do you think happens? Post your guesses, hopes, and dreams — but no spoilers, please; let’s be civil — below. Check out Chris Harrison’s take on the episode in his behind-the scenes-blog, and take the Bachelorette poll below. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to look for a place that delivers jerk chicken.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.