The week leading up to hometown visits is always a nail-biting one for the women of the "The Bachelor," and this week was no exception. Tensions were high as the six remaining ladies duked it out for Ben's love against the stunning backdrop of beautiful Belize. A quick rule change amped up the suspense -- no roses were handed out during the three one-on-one dates, which left the final lineup a question mark until the last minute.
Professions of love, leaps of faith, and several colorful animal metaphors targeted at villainous Courtney made for a lively episode that revealed a lot about Ben's priorities (and showed off his extensive swim trunk collection). Here are the week's top five highlights:
5. Lindzi Makes the Leap
Lindzi caught Ben's eye on Day 1 when she was awarded the coveted First Impression Rose after riding in on horseback. She proved that she's still got it by utterly enchanting Ben on their one-on-one date, which kicked off the episode. The twosome took a helicopter that hovered over the Great Blue Hole, a deep ocean pool ringed by a coral reef. Lindzi was all giggles until she discovered Ben's penchant for leaping great distances into bodies of water (like most of the women he chooses to jump with, she's terrified of heights). A smooch from Ben gave her the courage to make the leap, and the payoff was worth it -- a deep-sea make-out session awaited her below.
Their connection only deepened during the dinner portion of their date, where Lindzi revealed that she's falling for Ben, and Ben speculated that he might be ready to reciprocate. We like these two together -- she makes him laugh and seems to genuinely appreciate his goofiness.
4. Emily Falls Hard
Emily, who hit a rough patch with Ben after establishing herself as Courtney's main antagonist, managed to snag the second one-on-one date, which was fortunately free of extreme sports. Ben took her for a stroll around the island for an idyllic day of sightseeing and spontaneous lobster diving, when Emily got the chance to show off her fearlessness and spunk.
Emily was clearly hooked and revealed that she's falling for Ben and itching to take him home to meet her parents. Although Ben seemed to be feeling the chemistry as well, the specter of Emily's former cattiness toward Courtney hung over their head. At the cocktail party that closed the episode, Emily was sent packing, despite her complete confidence that Courtney would be going home instead.
3. Kacie B. Discovers Jealousy
Cute, naïve Kacie B. quickly established herself as the sweetheart of the season, winning Ben's heart week after week with her sincerity and enthusiasm. She seemed unflappably classy, but this week she surprised herself with the severity of her emotions toward her competitors, especially conniving Courtney. She expressed a desire to "spring across the room and punch her in the face," squash her like a spider, and even used the "B" word. We didn't know the baton-twirling beauty had it in her.
Kacie B. was clearly uncomfortable with her new emotions and worriedly wondered whether she could be a jealous person. Despite her inner turmoil, she charmed Ben into awarding her the rose on the final group date, securing her a spot in the next episode.
2. Courtney Spins Her Web
Courtney continued her reign as one of the worst "Bachelor" contestants in history, eliciting unforeseen aggression from the other girls and even some concern from Ben. Emily compared her to a shark, and Kacie B. called her a black widow, both apt descriptors of her unabashedly bad behavior.
Feeling the sting of being overlooked week after week for a one-on-one date Ben, Courtney gave the cameras an ultimatum -- Ben picks her for a solo date, or she won't accept the rose. Unfortunately, we never got to see that temper tantrum. Courtney was selected for the third one-on-one after all and found herself with plenty of alone time with Ben while hiking a Mayan temple in the heat.
Courtney proceeded to do what she does best -- deliver a cocktail of false insecurity, exaggerated confidence, and repeated threats. She alarmed Ben by revealing that her feelings for him had fizzled during their separation and that she was considering refusing to take him home to meet her parents. As usual, Ben bought it and fell over himself rushing to reassure her of his devotion. Conveniently, a little pandering was all it took for her to declare that she had "refound the spark."
At their dinner, Courtney endangered her newly secure status by spending most of the evening complaining about the other girls, calling them "vanilla and very into themselves." Ben finally showed a little backbone by becoming concerned about her ability to connect with others and remarked on her defensiveness. Yet even this faux pas wasn't enough to seal her fate, and Ben chose her over Emily and Rachel at the rose ceremony.
1. Ben Makes a Tough Call
Ben wrapped up the week with a thrilling group date diving with sharks with Kacie B., Nicki, and Rachel. Rachel's phobia of the creatures resulted in her monopolization of Ben's time, which aggravated Kacie B.'s newfound jealousy. All three girls got a chance to deliver moving speeches about their growing feelings for Ben and their burning desire to take him home to meet their families. Once that task was completed, the women staged an impromptu intervention about Courtney, cautioning Ben to "tread lightly."
Ben chose to skip the rose ceremony this week, having made up his mind about whom he was sending home. Shockingly, Courtney received a rose over both Emily and Rachel, causing tears, disbelief, and more than a few dropped jaws.
Her wily ways will live to see another week, when Ben will meet his four remaining women in their hometowns and inch closer to his big decision.
"The Bachelor" airs Mondays at 8 PM on ABC.