Warning: This recap contains spoilers for the Oct. 18 episode of Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After?
Welcome back, Bachelor fans. After two weeks, I think it’s safe to say Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After? certainly isn’t bound to be the “most dramatic reality series … ever,” but at least now we’re seeing Ben and Lauren hit a few bumps on the road to wedded bliss.
The episode begins with JoJo and her new beau, Jordan, joining Ben and Lauren for brunch. The foursome dine over sushi and mimosas — a combination that makes about as much sense as having brunch with your ex and her new man. Following an awkward silence, Ben stresses the importance of the group moving forward. While Jordan doesn’t have much to say, JoJo stresses how she understands what Ben experienced, as she too was torn between two men by the end of her season. She then changes the subject to ask if Lauren has ever farted in front of Ben. Of course, eager-to-please Ben immediately spills the beans (so to speak), and though Lauren is visibly uncomfortable, she puts on a good face.
After the painful brunch ends, Ben is interviewed outside the restaurant by TMZ. He gives very thoughtful answers about the challenges he and Lauren face as a couple in the public eye, and ends the interview by saying he hopes to be at JoJo’s wedding, and vice versa. I’m pretty sure I saw Lauren hold back a grimace, but maybe I was just projecting.
Back at home, the doorbell rings, and when Ben opens the front door he finds a “date card.” Reality stars — they’re just like us! The card requests that Ben and Lauren meet Chris Harrison at a nearby location. “Why didn’t he just text us?” wonders Ben. (Because it’s TV, silly!) Ben is convinced that Chris is going to ask him and Lauren to be on Dancing With the Stars, and he tangos around the kitchen, shaking his butt by himself. (Lauren, ever dutiful, begrudgingly gives in and joins him.)
When the two meet with Chris in a nearby hotel lobby, Harrison proposes that the couple have a televised wedding. Although Lauren is thrilled with the idea and the unlimited budget the couple would have to work with for their “special day,” Ben looks like he might be physically ill. Chris can’t help but notice this, so of course he probes and asks Ben if he’s ready to get married. Cue the drama! Ben explains that he’s been stressed out by timelines a lot lately, and Chris adds to that stress by telling Ben that not only will he need an answer soon, but the wedding would also need to take place within the next few months. This stresses Lauren as a result, as she wonders why Ben isn’t ready to marry her and feels he needs more time instead.
Time to seek some outside opinions! Lauren reunites with her sister to talk while Ben meets with his newfound friends, Denver Broncos players Derek Wolfe and Brandon McManus. They discuss some hard-hitting matters, like toiletries: Although Ben had thought he had enough room in his one-bathroom Denver home, he was proven wrong when he witnessed how many things “girls do to get ready.” The men then complain that they have to put their protein powder and vitamins away now that they live with women, rather than leaving them out on the counter. (Didn’t any of these people have sisters? Or girlfriends? Or mothers?) The men finally provide some useful advice as they encourage Ben to embrace this time in the relationship and that he and Lauren should really get to know one another. As a result, Ben decides it’s time to reveal his “dirty little secret” to Lauren.
After telling his fiancée that he values honesty, Ben informs Lauren that he has a secret to share with her. He then hurries to the other room … and returns decked out in Renaissance Faire attire. Lauren is clearly a little weirded-out that Ben has been keeping boxes of armor and toy swords in the basement and dressing up when she’s not home, but she decides to embrace this quirky trait and attend a Faire with him. The two end up having a great time, especially when Lauren — done up in full costume herself — gets to throw tomatoes at Ben’s face. Ah, young love.
The remainder of the episode focuses on a cruel prank Lauren decides to play on Ben. Ben has expressed that his biggest (and strangely particular) fear is singing the national anthem in front of a crowd. Ben is scheduled to throw out the first pitch for the Colorado Rockies in a few days, so Lauren persuades the team’s management to convince Ben that he’s also going to have to sing the anthem. Ben (again, always the people-pleaser) reluctantly agrees, and we’re then treated to a montage of the poor guy practicing over the next few days. (We also learn that ABC does in fact keep a camera in Ben and Lauren’s shower.) Needless to say, he’s a terrible singer — a fact Lauren doesn’t hesitate to point out frequently.
On the day of the game, we learn that Ben hasn’t slept in two days because he’s been so stressed about his upcoming performance. He even has to perform a practice run-through on the field, and he doesn’t learn the whole thing’s a prank until after throwing out the first pitch. Ben either has a great sense of humor or must be madly in love, because he laughs it off with his fiancée and says he appreciates that she’s such a little “jokester.” Personally, I’d be beyond furious if a prank drove me to stress out to the point of no sleep — but as we know, Ben doesn’t do rage.
Anyhow, what about that televised wedding? The episode ends with Ben and Lauren making their decision. Though Ben wants their wedding to be about them, of course, he ultimately agrees to make it about them … and a national viewing audience. After all, Ben “wants the world to see we’ll be spending forever together.” It looks like we might just have our season finale.
Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After? airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.