'The Bachelor' recap: The race for Sean's heart

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"The Bachelor" -- "Episode 1702"
"Episode 1702" - Sean whisks Sarah AWAY via helicopter to the top of one of Los Angeles' highest buildings. He holds out a sweet reward: a romantic picnic - but only after the couple free-falls 300 feet to the ground. Despite the difficulty of having one arm, Sarah is ready and willing to attempt the perilous fall. Later she shares her emotional story about being physically challenged and how she strives to overcome this hurdle, on "The Bachelor."

After one week, some of the "Bachelor" contestants are already proclaiming that they are in love with Sean. That's not a surprise.

What is a surprise is Sean and Robin's frank discussion of race. "The Bachelor" has been dinged (and sued) for its lack of diversity, so it is refreshing to see several women of color in this season's cast. Kudos to Robin for being brave enough to address the issue, and kudos to Sean for his forthright answer. We'll get to that conversation later.

With women already believing themselves in love with Sean, you know what that means: territorial glaring and sniping. It's not "The Bachelor" without someone saying, "She's not here for the right reason."

Falling for you

Sean's getting pumped (literally) for his first one-on-one date. If you're playing along with a drinking game, all that shirtless action will leave you passed out before the rose ceremony!

The lucky recipient of the date card is Sarah, whom Sean picks up in a helicopter (as all the other women swoon or pout in envy). He whisks her away to the top of a building -- yep, it's time for that most sacred of "Bachelor" traditions: the daredevil date.

This one drops Sean and Sarah 300 feet in free fall. Sarah screams all the way down but is exhilarated. At dinner, she tells Sean that she was prevented from ziplining in Las Vegas because she has only one arm. After that, she wanted to find someone who was "strong and caring and embraces me completely for who I am."

A jubilant Sean remarks that he's never felt such an immediate connection on a first date. They kiss, and Sarah gets a rose.

Take that, biased zipliner guy!

Jimmy Kimmel's "amazing" count:

True romance

Time for the group date! The ladies meet Sean at a mansion, where they are going to participate in a steamy photo shoot for Harlequin Books. One of them will win a three-cover deal with the romance-novel publisher.

As they primp and change into various costumes (cowgirls, vampires, etc.), Ford model Kristy feels that she has this in the bag. "I'm getting the rose and the books," she predicts confidently. She ends up being right; after a sizzling-hot photo session, Kristy does end up winning the cover deal.

Meanwhile, Tierra is not having a good time watching these other women paw at (and kiss!) Sean. "I'm not here for dress-up. I'm here for Sean," she huffs.

Later, at a pool party, she tells Sean, "I'm a little out of my comfort zone." Uh, who isn't? He assures her that he's been in her shoes, because, duh, he was on "The Bachelorette."

[Related: Sean tells Yahoo! TV he 'won't be pulling a brad']

Sean also goes off for a rendezvous with Kacie B., and they have another conversation about how crazy it is that she's there. They've met before and clicked, but can they get out of the friend zone and into the girlfriend zone? He definitely wants to explore the possibilities.

But someone who doesn't want to explore the possibilities with Sean is Katie. She's supremely uncomfortable about "competing" for a man's attention. Sigh, what's with these girls who sign up for this show and then whine about the show's premise? Katie tells Sean a version of the "It's not you, it's me" speech and goes home.

Sean doesn't seem too bummed. He goes back to the group and gives the rose to Kacie B.

Candid camera

Desiree goes on this week's second one-on-one date, and Sean's got a special surprise in store for her: a prank! Because pranks are so romantic?

Anyway, the production set up a fake art gallery, including an expensive piece of art. Sean leaves Desiree to conduct an interview, and while she's alone in the room, the artwork crashes down! Meanwhile, Sean and Chris Harrison are watching on a monitor nearby; and to his credit, Sean seems to feel guilty about doing this to her.

Desiree is telling the "artist" that she didn't do anything to make the artwork break, when Sean enters to tell her it's all a big joke. She laughs and is generally a good sport about it.

To make it up to her, Sean takes her back to his house for a romantic evening by the hot tub. Their easygoing, natural rapport is apparent as they talk about their respective families and hopes for their future spouses. "You've seen 100 percent of me, and nobody's brought that out in me yet," he tells her.

They make out in the hot tub, and she gets a rose.

"I already feel like he's my boyfriend," Desiree sighs.

Oh honey, they all do. They all do.

Cocktail party

At the usual cocktail party before the rose ceremony, Sean makes a point of talking to the women who didn't go on dates this week, such as Lindsay (the woman who wore the wedding dress). She apologizes for getting a wee bit tipsy last week, but he likes her joie de vivre.

(But he also likes Catherine. And AshLee. And pretty much every woman there.)

Then comes his discussion with Robyn. What kinds of women is he attracted to? He tells her that he's looking for someone who's sweet and fun -- color doesn't matter. He's says he's dated women of diverse backgrounds, noting that his last girlfriend was black. After that, Robyn can't stop gushing about him. Sean's just collecting hearts left and right!

[Related: Read our recap of Sean's first meeting of the ladies]

There's only one dark cloud over the evening, and its name is Amanda. She sits in the corner, ignoring the other women. Of course, that means she's not there for the right reasons and should go home. But it's not up to the other women; it's up to Sean.

Rose ceremony

With Katie already out of the competition, only two women are going home.

The ladies who get roses are AshLee, Lindsay, Robyn, Jackie, Lesley M., Selma, Catherine, Kristy, Leslie H., Tierra, Taryn, Daniella, and … Amanda!

Sean says farewell to Brooke and Diana.

Watch the full episode: 

Check out what "Bachelor" fans said about the episode; then sound off in the comments below.

"The Bachelor" airs Mondays at 8 PM on ABC.