After last week's Cray Cray Festival involving bikini skiing, bridge climbing, bitching and spontaneous fainting it's hard to believe The Bachelor could get any more nutso - but then Ben flies on in a helicopter and announces he's taking everyone to Utah.
Utah? Maybe he's going to marry them all in one big, mormon ceremony and we can finish this shit right now!
Sadly that turns out not to be the case, but having Utah as this week's setting does mean we get lots of the following:
a) twangy guitar
b) sweeping landscape shots
c) wistful staring at said landscape
d) boot wearing.
So, you know, silver lining.
"I want The Women to experience the outdoors, the outdoors are a big part of my life," explains Ben, as if up until now they've all been stuck inside knitting.
As a side note - Ben may well be the only man ever to want to take 13 women who are all gagging for it OUTSIDE.
"Whenever I look outside I think this is the perfect place to fall in love," sighs Nikki, staring wistfully at the Utah landscape.
Millions of Mormons know this to be true.
But this isn't all majestic mountains and doe-eyed puppy love - THIS IS SERIOUS BUSINESS. Enter host Chris Harrison to outline the rules of the day, the most important being: "If you get a moment with Ben, don't talk about the weather".
WEATHER TALK MAKE BEN ANGRY.
Time for the first solo date of the day, for which Ben has thoughtfully chosen washed-up movie star Tara Reid. Aw, that's nice of him, that will make her feel better.
Oh wait, it's actually Rachel.
Rachel is just one nip slip away from a perfect Tara Reid impression.
While perpetually hoarse-voiced Rachel heaves and hacks her way through explaining how excited she is to be going on a date with Ben like she's just smoked 20 packets of Lucky Strike, Kacie B retreats to the balcony for a picturesque whinge about how Ben didn't pick her. Again.
CUT AWAY TO GRATUITOUS SHOT OF ACCOMMODATION. CUT BACK TO KACIE B, CRYING. AGAIN. THIS TIME IN A DIFFERENT OUTFIT.
"I don't want to see him in a helicopter with another girl," wails Kacie B.
What about a hovercraft, Kacie B? Could you see him in a hovercraft with another girl?
Or a hot air balloon? Would that be OK?
What about a unicycle?
Before we get a chance to determine which modes of transport Kacie B would be content with Ben to use on his date with Rachel, Ben has zoomed off in a helicopter on his date with Rachel. Oh well.
They go to a secluded spot by the river where the only sounds are the trickling of water, the gentle swooshing of the amber trees and the chirrip of birdsong. Which is a pity, because it means Ben and Rachel's stupidly boring conversation is clearly audible.
Actually, it's less of a "conversation" and more of a "totally boring running commentary on how things are pretty and nice", to wit:
BEN: This is nuts.
RACHEL: God it's so pretty out here.
BEN: This is our lake for the day.
RACHEL: God this is too pretty. I'm so happy.
BEN: I'm glad that you're here.
BEN: It's so... nice.
RACHEL: Mmm, for sure.
BEN: It's so... romantic.
RACHEL: It IS.
RACHEL: This IS nice.
Eventually Ben whispers "peace and quiet!" and kisses Rachel, presumably to stop her from musing on how nice things are. There's one way to get a kiss - just be so boring that there's literally nothing better to do with you.
Back at the Pinot Palace some amazingly unexpected things are happening, like the fridge is making things cold, water is making things wet, and Kacie B is whingeing. Again.
"I guesss I didn't think it would be this hard so soon," wails Kacie B, as millions of viewers around the country shout "THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID!"
Back on the most boring date ever, Ben and Rachel have finished their dull conversation in the boat and have begun scene two on land.
BEN: You've been on dates every week!
RACHEL: Yeah I've been on group dates, but now I'm on a real date.
BEN: A real date.
RACHEL: A real date.
A conversation so dull, even inanimate objects can join in.
They drink some champagne in desperation for something to do, before staring awkwardly at each other for a while and talking about squinting. The dialogue is so sparkling, it could win a Tony for best stageplay:
RACHEL: I like how you're giving a little wink.
BEN: Am I? It's more like squinting right now.
RACHEL: No it's just like, cos I dunno, the sun... I've got the sun...
BEN: Yeah, you've got the worst of it. I have a hard time with my... my eyes.
RACHEL: I'll have nice... um... lines.
BEN: Really? Crow's feet?
BEN: God, it's nice out here.
RACHEL: It IS.
"Can we go home yet?"
"Rachel is beautiful and we have good chemistry, but the conversation was kind of lacking," says Ben, simultaneously winning both the "Least Accurate Description of Chemistry" and the "Understatement of the Year" awards.
"LOOK A BEAVER DAM!" he says, pointing at a pile of wood in a desperate effort to inject some excitement into the proceedings.
Ladies, if you're on a date with a guy and the most exciting thing that happens is that he notices a pile of logs, you're in trouble.
Meanwhile Rachel sadly misses an opportunity to make a joke about beavers and instead returns to blinking.
"She's tougher to read than the other girls," Ben says, charitably.
DO YOU MEAN BORING, BEN?
I'm assuming about 11 hours pass over the adbreak because by the time we return it's pitch black (Christ knows how they filled that much time with only one bottle of champagne and a beaver dam) and Ben is leading Rachel through the woods, perhaps to a clearing where he will behead her while shouting "A REEEEEAL DAAAAATE!" before disposing of her body in the picturesque river, purely for something to do.
But no, he takes her to a log cabin to indulge in some more awkward banter.
"This is the first one on one date where I'm a bit confused, it's not that my guard's up with Rachel there's just something I can't put my finger on," muses Ben.
HOW MANY CLUES DO YOU NEED, YOU IDIOT? SHE'S BORING.
Time for Act 3 of "Awkward Date", in which the repartee can be summed up by this one picture:
Back at the Moselle Mansion The Women are all getting excited about the next group date, except for Patti Stanger who is annoyed everyone is constantly breaking the two drink maximum rule at the mixer.
"I could organise a better date than this guy."
"What do you think he's looking for from us on a group date?" asks Kacie B, in a rare moment of not whingeing.
"I think he's looking for someone who can be friendly with everyone," says Emily.
"YEP THAT'S ME ALRIGHT. NOW HAND ME MY KNIFE."
Back at the Cabin of Boredom, Ben is struggling so hard to continue a conversation with Rachel he's practically yawning in the middle of sentences. Which is OK, because Rachel is only talking in non sequiturs anyway:
I can't wait to see this on Broadway.
The conversation turns to bad relationships and Rachel starts explaining her worst flaws, which is always a good way of winning someone's heart.
"For me in past relationships it's something I'm not good at, it is something I've struggled with," she says.
"What is?" asks Ben, completely confused.
"Communication," she says, thus somewhat proving her own point.
Ladies, if your date makes this face at you, start talking about football.
Clearly this is not going well. But still Ben avoids hitting the ABORT button on this date, or the EJECTOR SEAT button next to it, which would have been more interesting to watch. No, in fact he gives Rachel a rose, which at least means we can finish this arse-tearingly boring evening and move on to the group date which today is taking place in a field.
"The group date card said 'let's see if you're a good catch' and I absolutely think I'm a good catch," says Blakely, who has seemingly forgotten that she is a 34 year old Hooters waitress.
Suddenly Ben gallops up on a horse, sending The Women into paroxysms of hysteria, not least of all Lindzi who, in case you've forgotten, loves horses.
"My heart kind of melted when Ben rode up on a horse, I mean clearly I like horses so..." begins Lindzi.
But this date's not about horse riding. No, instead the Benchelor and his harem will spend the day indulging in that romantic, age-old sport - FLY FISHING. Not only will they all spend a magical day half submerged in water throwing sharp hooks around, they also get to wear fashionable fishing gear like this:
On a positive note, this is more clothing than Blakely has worn in about 25 years.
"It's really hard for me to see Ben with other women, because we have a connection," starts Kacie B. AGAIN.
Because she can't be left unacknowledged for longer than 30 seconds, Kacie B calls Ben over to teach her how to fly fish.
"See how your wrist is going? Not a whole lot of arm, just give it the right amount of wrist," says Ben, as Blakely runs over shrieking "PICK ME, I KNOW HOW TO DO THAT!"
"Oh, you were talking about fishing."
"I know this is a fishing day but let's be honest, it's not about catching trout, it's about catching Ben," drawls Courtney The Model who, if nothing else, proves that she recognises a good visual metaphor when she sees one.
"I've never fished before but catching a fish is probably not a whole lot harder than catching a man," she slags, simultaneously making herself look like a harlot while denigrating the global fishing industry.
"I love spending time with Courtney, I don't know what it is - she just kind of gets it," says Ben, completely oblivious to the fairly obvious fact that Courtney is utterly hideous.
But at least they have one thing in common - their love of intellectual discussion. From the "you have great hair, no YOU have great hair" conversation of episode 1 to the "you look hot, no YOU look hot" discussion of episode 2, when Ben and Courtney are together it's like a veritable meeting of the minds.
"Mustard's my favourite condiment," he says.
"Me too - dijon," she says.
"Oh it's got to be spicy or dijon," he says.
"I was going to say that," she giggles.
SUDDENLY - the score swells with dramatic violins, the sky darkens and people turn in shock, horror registering on their faces. Somewhere deep in the bowels of the Pentagon lights start flashing and a siren wails. A security operative's mobile phone beeps with a message. His face freezes in abject terror but he pulls himself together, racing down hallway after hallway, barking orders like "ISOLATE SECTOR H!" and "LOCK IT DOWN!" to various terrified personnel before bursting through a door marked "DO NOT ENTER". Six marines draw their revolvers on him and shout "FREEZE!" but he knows this message is too important to worry about his personal safety - he pushes through the angry men and thrusts his mobile phone into the face of the bespectacled chief officer behind the desk.
As the US Armed Forces prepare for their raid on Utah, Courtney perfects her "I'm a cute wittle five year old" routine which, inexplicably, Ben seems to find attractive.
"Yay, I caught a weally big fishy wish for Benny Wen! Yummy num nums!"
Everyone manages to avoid punching Courtney in the face and they all move on to a hotel for cocktails and canapes, and a chat with some girl I have never seen before in three whole episodes. Ben decides to impress her by telling her he's been in love FOUR TIMES.
"FOUR? You're 28, what the fuck is wrong with you?"
"That's a lot, do you fall in love easily?" she asks, reasonably.
"Nooo!" he laughs, as if it's completely normal for someone to have fallen in love FOUR TIMES by the time they're 28.
"I mean that's since high school so that's 15 years, carry the two... that's pretty normal, I think," he says.
Just to be clear - THIS MEANS BEN IS COUNTING RELATIONSHIPS HE HAD WHEN HE WAS 13.
Suddenly Samantha, aka Lady Gaga, bursts in to lodge a formal complaint with Ben about not having had a solo date yet.
"I have such CRAZY feelings for this guy, I feel like I should already have a RING on my FINGER," she blurts in what could be mistaken for an audition for Fatal Attraction 2.
"I've been on THREE group dates, what are you OBSERVING?" she trills at the Benchelor, more than a little hysterically.
"To be honest, the group dates you've been on, you've been highly emotional," he snaps in what is obviously a complete lie - if Gaga had been anywhere close to "highly emotional" she would have taken at least some of Courtney's screen time.
"I'm wondering if you can continue to hang and be a part of this, I'm wondering if you're even here for me," he continues, as it dawns on Samantha that perhaps her strategy has backfired.
Trying to keep that p-p-pokerface.
"And THAT'S why you continue to be on group dates," he concludes, like an angry stepfather punishing his teenage daughter for drinking nanna's whiskey.
To hell with the rose ceremony, Ben, let's just punt this pop star right now.
"Based on your track record, I think we should probably end this," he says, somewhat mystifyingly.
Has anyone even SEEN Samantha on screen in the last three episodes? Has she even done ANYTHING? It can't be that she's boring - Rachel talked about crow's feet for 20 minutes and got a rose, for christ's sake.
Nevertheless, the die is cast - Samantha complained about not getting enough attention from Ben so he punished her.
THIS sort of complaining, on the other hand, is OK.
And so off trundles Samantha in a flurry of hysterical tears. Let's just hope Ben doesn't have a pet rabbit.
Meanwhile, Courtney seems to have really made herself at home in Utah.
Undeterred by Samantha's recent dismissal, Kacie B has YET ANOTHER whinge about having to share Ben with the other girls, and he somehow manages to not push her off the balcony and move on with his life.
"Today I wanted to kiss you so bad in the river... er, the creek... er, I mean... VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA!" shouts Ben.
Not to be outdone in the moping stakes, Courtney combines both of her superpowers - behaving like an annoying five year old and acting put out - and managed to beat Ben into complete submission.
The whole "creepy towel" thing probably helped, too.
"I had a weally gweat day today," she says, sucking her fingers.
"I was surprised at how well you did!" smiles Ben, not at all minding the weird father role he's worryingly slipped into.
"I caught a fish!" she giggles.
Then Ben reads her a story, rubs her tummy and tucks her into bed with her favourite teddy. But not before she launches stage two of her attack, titled "When I'm not with you, I feel funny in my tummy".
"I'm having a rough time, I'm feeling down a little bit, I've lost sight of us a little bit," she whinges which, translated into English, means "GIVE ME A GOD DAMN ROSE, MOTHERFUCKER."
The deal is sealed when Courtney pulls her classic power move - the duck face:
"See how badly my self esteem is hurt? SEE IT?"
It's an impressive performance from Courtney, but her powers must be waning as it takes her at least eight goes at the duck face to get Ben to fetch her the rose.
Wow, she really IS a model.
Fortunately, Ben is a total moron so dutifully gives Courtney the rose in order to stave off her pending mental breakdown.
Things are getting far too exciting here, let's move on to Ben's solo date with Jennifer, a contestant absolutely no one cares about.
Continuing in the tradition of "Dates that could be the basis of a scene in Mission Impossible", Ben takes Jennifer to a giant underground cave and makes her rapel into it.
And here you thought bikini skiing was the worst date ever - try tandem bikini spelunking!
"I'm scared of heights," says Jennifer, displaying something of a lack of understanding of what a cave is.
Come on now. Scaling bridges, skiing down streets, rapelling into craters - who the fuck IS this guy? James Bond?
But Jennifer has to TAKE THE PLUNGE and DIVE INTO THE UNKNOWN to impress Ben, so with bad metaphors and dreams of quadraplegia dancing in her head, she strips down, straps up and jumps into the abyss.
Remember girls - if you're scared for your life, just ignore your own instincts. As long as it impresses the guy you're with. You can deal with the medical bills and life long debilitation later.
"I need someone who is flexible," says Ben, as Blakely divebombs from the top of the cave shrieking "I CAN PUT MY LEGS BEHIND MY HEAD!"
Meanwhile, if you thought this date couldn't get any worse, they then go to dinner in the middle of a rainstorm while discussing their "daily structure" ("I'm a nine to five girl, eight to four," Jennifer says) followed by a country music concert.
Would rather do this.
Of course he gives her a rose.
"I have a little piece of Ben that no one else does," swoons Jennifer, which explains why there's blood dripping from her jeans pocket and why Ben is now screaming in pain. It's only little, he won't miss it.
Back at Goon HQ, Courtney is beguiling everyone with her unique and original tales of how she "has heaps of guy friends" and is "more comfortable around guys than girls", which will certainly help cement her position as female viewers' favourite character on the show.
"I'm just not used to being around SO MANY WOMEN," sighs Courtney, who clearly
a) lives on the mythical planet of Testosteronia where women don't exist, and
b) takes longer than three whole weeks to get used to new situations.
I understand though because, for models like Courtney, it's really unusual to be around lots of women all the time.
Really very unusual.
I think it's just about time for the rose ceremony party, don't you? In a (large) nutshell (like say, a coconut):
- Emily wages war on Courtney, describing her as "a statue made of marble. It's really beautiful but it's cold and it's hard on the inside." Other similes Emily could have used include: a statue made of ice, something else made of ice, a badly microwaved frozen burrito.
- Emily sits down for a chat with Ben and, remembering Chris Harrison's warning, avoids discussing the weather. Sadly though she forgets the warning of all sane women everywhere: "Don't bitch about the girl the guy you like likes because he'll hate you for it". Her thinly disguised whingeing about Courtney's two-faced behaviour makes a huge BANG! sound as it backfires spectacularly.
- Courtney hears that Emily has bitched her out and spontaneously turns into Charlie Sheen, shrieking "WINNING!" at various intervals and angrily spitting tiger blood.
- "She talked about ME? I wanna rip her head off and verbally assault her," says Courtney, a plan which raises two potential problems:
1) Ripping Emily's head off would constitute ACTUAL assault, rather negating the need for any verbal assault, and
2) Ripping Emily's head off would kill her or, at the very least, render her unable to hear anything, making a subsequent verbal assault somewhat pointless.
And of course, this is ignoring the fact that Courtney already launches a verbal assault on EVERYONE every time she opens her mouth.
- "She's on my LIST," threatens Courtney, leaving everyone wondering who else is on there.
She REALLY hates Kool Aid.
- "Can you just look at the craziness outside?" exclaims Rachel, staring at the rainstorm. Unfortunately everyone is too distracted by the craziness inside to give a shit.
- "I don't start fights, I finish them," says Courtney through gritted teeth as she storms over to Emily's couch and commences a session of heavy staring.
"Your girlish ways are no match for my duck face."
- Sadly Emily proves herself to have no cajones whatsover, and starts fretting and crying and OH GOD GIRL, GET A GRIP, YOU'RE BEING THREATENED BY A FIVE YEAR OLD WITH A DUCK FACE.
- Time for a drinking game! Down a shot every time someone says "emotions run high", "the stakes have been raised", "it's getting hard", or anything other than a straight "yes" to accept a rose, ie: "absolutely", "of course", "definitely" or "JUST GIVE ME THAT GOD DAMN THING!". Drink a double every time a woman whispers sub-audibly when accepting a rose.
- For some reason known only to the producers, Blakely gets a rose. As IF Ben is going to marry a Hooters waitress. No one marries Hooters waitresses, that's why Blakely is 34 and on a televised dating show.
- Everyone is shocked when Emily gets a rose. Oh MAN, now she'll just keep fighting with Courtney every episode! Oh, right...
Everyone gets a rose except Monica who is kicked out into the snow - bur not before grabbing Blakely's number on the way out.
Of course she did.
Now that's over, Ben can reveal the next exotic location on the group's itinerary - PUERTO RICO!
"Oh, I was just there two months ago," says Courtney, disappointed at receiving a free tropical holiday to somewhere she's already been.
"Well... we're all going back," says the Benchelor, prompting another round of cheers and glass clinking.
"I can go higher than anybody!" gurgles Courtney, raising her glass.
Let's just hope someone has the foresight to slip some arsenic into it.
WANNA RELIVE THE PAST? GO BACK AND READ Episode 3 | GO FORTH AND READ Episode 5