Welcome back, rose lovers! If you've been holding your breath since the end of the last episode — when roseless Kimberly stormed back into the mansion to confront Farmer Chris — it's time to let out a long breath of relief. Aaaand: Action!
Chris and his tired, haggard harem have just hoisted their roses in the air to toast the sure-to-be "amazing" "journey" ahead of them (his words, not mine) when in strolls Kimberly. Oh my God, what's she doing? whisper the "ladies" as the Bachelor leads Kimberly outside for a last-chance chat under the rising sun. "I feel like I was supposed to be here," Kimberly tells him, her voice quavering. Though Chris is clearly thinking Oh for the love of all that's holy, I just want to go to bed!, he politely considers Kimberly's plea — and ultimately caves because he's really, really, really tired. The "ladies" pretend to be happy for Kimberly when Chris announces that she's getting a second chance, but I think we all know what they're really thinking:
The next morning (or, more accurately, later that morning), Chris-squared sit down for a casual postmortem over coffee. "How bizarre is it that just up your driveway are 23 of the hottest women you've ever dated?" Chris Harrison asks Chris, who finds the whole situation "amazing" (naturally) and "kinda awesome." About 15 yards away, the women are crammed on the living room sofa awaiting instructions from our fearless host. And instruct them he does: After revealing that the Bachelor is mere yards away, Harrison tells the women: "There's no rules here. When you get time with him, I urge you to use it. Create time. Find time." In other words: Please break into his house, OK? All of this is interspersed with shots of Chris preening shirtless in front of the mirror and taking an outdoor shower, you know, just because.
Date caaaaard! Jade, Tandra, Ashley Eyelashes, Mackenzie, Kimberly, and Tara: "Show me your country!" The bachelorettes are all, Ugh, Kimberly? Really?? She doesn't even go here. Simmer down, girls. It's time for a pool party! Thank God — a pool party is the only excuse for the hoodie-over-shiny-pecs look Chris is rocking right now:
Meanwhile, back at Casa Bachelor, Jillian and Megan decide to take Harrison's advice and create time with Chris — or, with Chris's possessions, to be precise. The duo breaks into the Bachelor's abode and proceeds to rummage through his fridge, crash-test his motorcycle helmet against several hard surfaces, and generally Fatal Attraction the joint. As a germaphobe, the sight of Jillian — wearing bikini bottoms so small that Team Bachelor had to cover her nether-regions with a black bar of shame — sitting astride the Bachelor's motorcycle without even covering the seat with a towel first… well, let's just say I had to breathe into a paper bag for a few minutes.
Back on the group date, Chris leads the bikini-clad "ladies" for a walk down a busy L.A. street to a block where several tractors are parked. Yes, in an homage to the soft-core subgenre known as Tractor Girls, the Bachelor is going to make his scantily-clad dates race heavy machinery down an abandoned street for his amusement. Yeeee-haw. It's deliberately anti-climactic, though, as the tractors are hilariously slow. Eventually, Ashley Eyelashes takes the W. Please enjoy your alone time with Chris, while we rejoin the action at Casa Bachelor, already in progress…
Juelia, who we didn't see much of on night one, is telling her housemates about the father of her little girl, Ireland. "He passed away when she was just born," she explains. "He killed himself." Oh, LORD. When will scientists develop the technology to allow us to hug someone through the television screen? "I feel so bad that I didn't understand [what he was going through]," Juelia adds, sobbing. Still, she bounces back with remarkable good humor, offering this warning to her competition: "Don't steal him away because I gotta tell him something!"
With the tractor-racing portion of the date over, the Bachelor announces that he'd like to continue that date with only one woman: Mackenzie. Sorry, Ashley Eyelashes, but your one-on-one time must have left something to be desired. The "ladies" pick the hay out of their short-shorts and hoof it to the Reject Limo, while Chris and Mackenzie head to a bar for a getting-to-know-you chat over beers. Unfortunately, everything Chris gets to know about Mackenzie falls into the "WTF?" category: She loves Chris's big "prominent" nose; she believes in aliens; she doesn't know if Chris has been to Los Angeles before… even though that's where The Bachelorette was filmed. But then Mackenzie tells the Bachelor about her adorable one-year-old son Kale (again: ???), and he's just too much of a softie to send the single mom home. "I feel like we have a lot in common," Chris tells her. "So, Mackenzie, will you accept this rose?" Somewhere, Marvin the Martian is smiling.
Ding-dong! There's a date card at the door! OK, Megan — you're up! Let's just hope Chris doesn't review the security-camera footage of his living room between now and the time that your date begins. What's that, sweetie? Yes, you are going on a date… The Bachelor interns didn't write you that note out of the goodness of their hearts. Megan's all:
The next morning, Mackenzie regales her housemates with tales of the five (or was it six?) smooches she received from Chris on her date while everyone waits for the Bachelor to pick Megan up for her one-on-one. The adventure begins on a private jet — "I love this!" Megan declares, grabbing Chris's hand and placing it on her lap — which takes them to Vegas. And we have our first helicopter ride of the season, rose lovers! Eventually they land at the base of the Grand Canyon for a riverside chat. (True story: For a split second, I thought the helicopter pilot was Jake Pavelka.)
Over champagne, Megan reveals to Chris that her boss put her up to joining The Bachelor… and oh yeah, her dad died of a massive heart attack right before she was due to set off for the mansion. Oh for Pete's sake, Team Bachelor! Can't you spread out the damn tragedy a little bit? We're still sniffly from Juelia's story. Do I even need to tell you that Megan gets the rose? Duh.
Moving on to the group date: Kelsey, Trina, Alissa, Tracy, Jillian, Becca, Amber, Ashley Onion, Juelia, Kaitlyn, and Britt, Chris has a message for you: "Til death do us part." You'd think they'd all be excited for a wedding-themed adventure, but immediately their minds go to a dark place. "I don't want to die today!" moans one of the women, before they climb into the waiting limos. Hours later, the "ladies" emerge in a spooky abandoned lot filled with rusty, corrugated-metal shacks. "This is literally my worst fear," moans Amber. Then, this happens:
No, it's not Amanda CrazyEyes back to beg for another chance with Chris. (Nor is it Ashley Onion, as the "Tonight on The Bachelor" tease suggested.) In fact, it's a pretend zombie apocalypse! While the other women scream and freak out on cue (except for Ashley Onion, who calmly tries to open the limo door, to no avail), in climbs Chris. The Bachelor to the rescue! He explains to the women that they'll be shooting the undead shufflers with paintball guns, and the object of the game is to reach the beacon. That's "a light in the sky," he adds helpfully.
And so the women gamely act out another of Chris's fantasies — girls with guns — and start rapid-firing rounds of paintballs at the makeup-covered day players. Ashley Onion, not content to let her pomegranate moment be the only crazy thing she's remembered for this season, takes it upon herself to fire extra paintballs into the prone bodies of already-"dead" zombies (you know those actors are thinking, "Geez, lady — I'm making $7 an hour. Will you cut me a break already?") and generally acting bats--t. Exhibit A:
At last, all of the zombies are vanquished and it's time to party! And not just on the group date. Back at Casa Bachelor, Jordan — who is apparently a woman on this show — is entertaining Mackenzie and Megan with her alcohol-soaked antics, which include upside-down twerking (Exhibit B, below) and trash-talking about Jillian's allegedly hairy hindquarters. I think Mackenzie sums it up quite nicely: "Cheers to Jordan! She's drunk tonight, she was drunk yesterday, she was drunk the day before, she's gonna be drunk tomorrow…" Well, at least she's consistent.
Meanwhile, back in Zombieland, Ashley Onion is wafting in and out of lucidity, one minute she's talking about angels and the truth and the next she's rambling on about her favorite place on earth (apparently): Mesa Verde. "She has moments of, like, saying really intelligent things — and then it kind of drifts off into something I don't understand," says Chris diplomatically. Is it all an act? Probably, but it doesn't really matter. Her job is to bring the crazy, and dammit, she takes that job seriously. Witness her marching into Chris's confessional shot clutching a tube of concealer and spouting some kind of New Age terrorist mantra: "You don't wanna lose the whole world, right? But actually, you don't want to gain the whole world… You don't wanna lose your soul."
But just as you think Ashley's done the only sane thing a person in this position can do — that is, leave — it turns out she's just walked outside the gates to commune with the stray paintball-park kitties. The good news is she no longer has a paintball gun in her hand, so the little fluffballs are safe.
I hope you've enjoyed our brief trip to Cloud Cuckoo Land. Let's return to the group date, where Chris and Britt are making goo-goo eyes at each other and talking about how great everything is between them. "I'm not worried, in the weirdest way," Britt tells the Bachelor. "I feel like the right thing is going to happen." Well, yes and no, honey. Chris does get to make out with you, but you do not get the date rose. (It goes to Kaitlin.) Somehow, I don't think Britt thinks that "Free Make-out Session With Chris" card is much consolation.
Keep that game face going, missy. It's cocktail party time — commence panicking, "ladies"! "I'm worried that I'm off of his radar a little bit," confesses Whitney, so she sets up a little backyard booze outpost for herself and Chris. Cheers to plying the Bachelor with hard liquor! Always a solid strategy.
Ashley Eyelashes has a surprise for Chris, too, but she's not sure it'll go down as smoothly as Whitney's gift. "I'm a virgin," she tells Mackenzie and Megan. "I don't know if he's going to like it or not." Mackenzie, who is just full of wisdom this week, assures her hymenally-challenged housemate that it's a good thing — nay, not just a good thing, but something to be envied! "Oh my God, I'm so jealous that you're a virgin right now!" OK, so Mackenzie may not know what alfalfa is, or that things that grow in the earth are organic, and she may believe aliens are real, but I am thanking the Team Bachelor gods that Chris kept this delightful dingbat around.
Emboldened by her friend's encouragement, Ashley Eyelashes marches off to find Chris and tell him the exciting news: "He knows a little bit about me, but let's just make sure he knows that I'm going to be a good time for the rest of his life." Step 1: Show the Bachelor your "magic lantern" belly button ring (klassy!) and ask him to rub the ring and make a wish. Step 2: Ingest his face.
All of that hot couch hanky-panky makes Britt feel sad inside. She may want to close her eyes then, because now Chris is outside smooching Amber, and dear, drunk Jordan is trying to plant one on Team Bachelor's camera. This is what Jordan refers to as "stepping up her game." Unfortunately, her woozy attempt to woo Chris into kissing her does not result in any lip-on-lip action (though it does remind the Bachelor to ask the producers why they cast so many hard drinkers this season).
Hang in there, Jordan — you only have to remain standing for a little while longer, as this week's rose ceremony is here. And the roses go to: Britt, Ashley Eyelashes, Trina*, Kelsey, Samantha*, Juelia… no, no Jillian, he said Juelia. Turn around, honey. That's it — Oh God, everyone look out! Almost as startling as Jillian's wipeout is the harsh, hyena-like cackling sound she makes once regaining her balance. One thing's for sure: That rug is a menace.
So yes, Juelia, Amber, Tracy*, Jillian, Jade, Nikki, Becca, Carly, Whitney, and Ashley Onion — I'll pause here while we all yell a collective "WHUUUT???" — join their sisters in safety: Megan, Kaitlyn, and Mackenzie. Ooof, that's gotta hurt, Kimberly — Chris has now picked the suspected lunatic over you twice. Also boarding the Ouch Train to Sadsville are Tara, Tandra*, Alissa, Jordan, and Tara. "I'll get used to rejection one day," sighs Tara in her heartbreaking exit speech. "I get a lot of it. I don't know why I'm not used to it yet." [Cue the muffled cheers from the non-rejects inside Casa Bachelor.]
Phew, that was kind of a downer. Also quite puzzling. Did Chris really give Ashley Onion a rose? (I wonder what part of her "you don't wanna gain the whole world" speech convinced him she was wife-who-won't-kill-you-in-her-sleep material.) Also, is it me, or does Britt look exactly like a Bratz doll? And for a nice boy from Iowa, Chris sure does put his tongue in a lot of mouths, doesn't he? Post your thoughts on Monday night's episode below, and don't forget to check out Chris Harrison's exclusive blog right here. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to wipe down my entire house with Clorox wipes, just in case Jillian broke in recently.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.