In his Bachelorette blog from week 2, right before evil bachelor Bentley ditched the show and broke Ashley's heart into a million pieces, Chris Harrison warned us of the coming storm: " You will see the wheels completely come off this ride for Ashley – so much so we came very close to having to shut down production on our show." Whoa. I love how willing Chris is to compare the star of his show to a sad, broken-down old vehicle.
Ashley, I have a message for you: you are not a Ford Pinto. You are a cute girl who is almost a dentist. And you are plucky, dammit. I have never seen anyone so plucky. So chin up. And look! I made you a drink.
I'm actually pretty excited about this week. No lies. No masks. Just the good old-fashioned drama, backstabbing, and cheesy romance you have come to expect from this show. Let's get to it!
Previously on the Bachelorette: Ashley's love train was nearly derailed by the scheming schemes of evil schemer Bentley. This is important to know, as it will be alluded to approximately 5,000 more times this episode. Even though Bentley himself is gone, his evil specter still hangs over Ashley and her Journey. But she has resolved to forge ahead. With any luck, she can manage to fall in love with one of her 12 other boyfriends. Hope springs eternal!
L.A.! Chris appears to the dudes at the MANsion to tell them the rules of the game, just in case they slept through the last three weeks. But wait, there's more! All the dates this week will be in...PHUKET! All the dudes high-five and man-hug and crap their pants with excitement. Wait, where is that again? Oh yeah...THAILAND!! Chris gives the guys two hours to pack, which is totally absurd because any straight man I know can pack a suitcase in under half an hour. (Feel free to leave indignant counterexamples in the comments.)
Sunshine Ryan's heart is going to beat THOUGH HIS CHEST. Dead wife West literally runs out the door. These guys are CRAZY PSYCHED about going to Thailand. WesT is worried that Ashley's still upset about Bentley. Fun game: take a drink every time the name "Bentley" is mentioned! And then call me from the ER.
In Phuket! (Prounounced "foo-ket", not "fuh-kit". In case you were wondering.) Ashley rides in in a boat, all sexylike. She has never been to Foo-ket before. Not even to Asia. This would be a great time to talk about Bentley, ad nauseum. Oh, Ashley. You have your tragic lost love, I have a generous pour of red wine.
Ashley's first date is with Constantine, and she has planned some awesome boating trip to a deserted beach. Unfortunately, the weather looks terrible, and their Thai guide knows enough English to convince them this is a crap idea. The ABC producers' plan B: Phuket.
That is, Ashley and Constantine wander the streets of Phuket. They gawk at temples, shop for scarves, ask the locals for relationship advice, and drink beer at a local bar. Warmed by the sweet glow of the alcohol, Constatine waxes philosophic: this is not about traveling halfway around the world. It is not about winning. It is not about drinking Thai beer from a giant coozie. it is about FINDING LOVE. Ashley: Something something BENTLEY BENTLEY BENTLEY. Holy shit, woman.
Ashley and Constantine have dinner in a pillowed cabana on the beach, just like all of my first dates. Suddenly Ashley's insecurity rears its ugly head. She is worried that Constantine thinks they have a friend vibe. Constantine is quick to reassure her. He is "literally, like, having a good time." Whew.
Back at the resort, the man-harem speculates about what Ashley and Constantine are doing RIGHT THIS VERY MOMENT. The guys decide they must be like, totally making out, because Constantine is the man. J.P. goes all Spanish Inquisition trying to figure out who has kissed Ashley. It is an impressive list:
Mickey (did he actually kiss her, or just say he did?)
(And Sunshine Ryan, although maybe J.P. doesn't know that yet? And, of course, J.P. himself.)
J.P.: "it seems kinda like, par for the course now, at this point." Oouch. Poor unkissed Blake hangs his head in shame.
J.P. is not okay with all these dudes going after his woman. Blake: "That's the nature of this whole beast, is everyone's kinda going after the same piece of fruit." But a really awesome piece of fruit. Like a watermelon full of beer.
Ben: "Just be patient. Otherwise you'll drive yourself crazy."
J.P. is already halfway there: "This isn't normal for me. It chaps my ass, man." Anytime you wanna talk about your ass, J.P...that is fine by me.
Back on the beach: WAVES CRASHING, like the torrent of jealousy washing over each poor bachelor's soul. Ashley asks Constantine about his relationship history. He has always had good Connections in the past, which is devastatingly ironic considering that right now, Ashley is sitting about as far from him as she possibly could without falling out of their love-cabana. Constantine's relationships have always had one devastating flaw, which is that he was afraid to get too close. Then one day, during an especially moving episode of Gilmore Girls, Constantine realized that he was doing it all wrong. He wanted to love recklessly, stupidly. Without regret.
Everything changed. Constantine is so open now. He is more open than a 24-hour Wal-Mart. Ashley looks mildly enthused. She offers him the rose, and they clown around in the waves a little. But no kissing. How is Constantine gonna tell the dudebros that he didn't even get to first base?
On the next date, Ashley and the bohunks fix up an orphanage for some adorable Thai children, just so you can feel like this show is a little bit less of a crime against humanity. Ryan proceeds to irritate the hell out of the other dudes by trying to make them actually do stuff. Ashley and J.P. have a moment with a pepto-bismol pink wall.
Then the adorable Thai orphans come in, squealing with delight over their newly be-pinked orphanage. And there are bicycles! And hula-hoops! It is the best day ever. Even your hardened, cynical Bachelor blogger tears up a little. Don't tell. (Click here to find out how you, too, can help adorable Thai children.)
Just in case all that do-gooding wore you out, there is an after party! With booze, and shirtless men, and DRAMA. Ashley and winemaker Ben slink off like a couple of high-schoolers and make out while all the other guys bitch about how Sunshine Ryan is soooo bossy. What did he mean, trying to get them to paint the whole wall? What an asshole. Willz, in a rare moment of perceptiveness, thinks the other guys are just hating on Ryan cuz they're jealous.
Cut to Ashley's alone time with Ryan. She's had enough of guys saying nice things to her. She wants something physical. I.e.: "sweep me up in your evil clutches like he-who-must-not-be-named." For now, Ashley will have to be content with Ryan's hand caressing her leg. They have a Connection. Or something.
Outside, by the pool, a gathering storm of MAN-DRAMA. J.P. observes to Mickey and Blake that if Ryan gets the rose on this group date, some of the guys may just up and leave. I think he is joking, but Blake and Mickey and Mickey's razor-sharp hair look ready to cut someone. Watch out, sunshine.
J.P. takes Ashley out to beach, under an umbrella, so I can fall in love with him some more. Ashley apologizes for being super lame on their last date. J.P. does not apologize for being SUPER HOT. They make out. On the beach. In the rain. I have never wanted to be a 97-pound dentist so badly. Dear Bachelorette producers: less stupid drama. More of THIS.
Back at the resort: a date card arrives for my man Ames the genius. Maybe it's just the wine talking, but Ames is looking slightly less orange today and mighty fine.
Ashley hands the rose out to winemaker Ben, and with that out of the way, it is pool time! We get about 3.5 seconds of shirtless men before cutting away to commercial. This show is such a tease.
Ames date! On a boat! Ames has been to Thailand before, once to climb mountains, and once when he jetted off to Thailand on a lark to go to Thai cooking school. I like Ames. Ashley and Ames are cruising the islands of Thailand on a yacht, and if that were not romantic enough, they decide to get into a giant banana and go sea-spelunking. Ames, king of subtlety, compares navigating sea-caves in a banana to navigating the rough waters of LOVE: "around every corner, you don't know what to expect, but often, there's something beautiful." Or SUDDEN DEATH.
Ames has been to been to 70 countries, because he is better than you, but this is the best of them all. Actually - it is pretty cool. They pull up on a deserted beach and drink champagne and eat fancy cheese, cuz that's what you do when you're this snobalicious. I wish I were drinking champagne on a beach right now.
Dinnertime! Ashley and Ames have something that's even rarer on this show than TRUE LOVE: an interesting conversation. Never leave me, Ames.
Turns out they were both nerds in high school. Ames has an apartment full of wipe boards. Ashley has a whole closet full of dentist stuff. Kinky. She wants her kids to travel a lot, and have family dinners. When it comes to relationships, Ames has decided to throw out the list and just go with his feelings. It's...like a first date. Ames is so refreshingly smart and normal I want to kiss him. Ashley gives Ames the rose. But she does not kiss him. Lame.
Cocktail party time! It is raining, like at every cocktail party this season. They are really laying the symbolism on thick. Ashley doesn't want to wind up with another Bentley (drink) who will just love her and leave her. With that in mind, it's time to interrogate dead wife West. She's worried that he isn't quite over his wife. Ashley: Do you really feel like you're ready? West: Um...
This speaks volumes.
West goes on to say that he is "very much ready to move on", but the damage has been done: Ashley's worried she cannot fill his dead wife's shoes with her tiny, tiny dentist feet.
Ashley talks to Lucas for a while, because the producers have realized that we have no idea who the hell he is, but nobody really cares because just then we interrupt this broadcast for some breaking MAN-DRAMA: Dentist Blake confronts Sunshine Ryan about why some of the guys in the house don't like him. Like how he is too damn happy all the time. Ryan thinks this is bullshit. Some guys are overseas, serving our country in the military, while he is overseas, romancing a teeny tiny would-be dentist while being plied with free alcohol. Yeah. He is pretty damn happy.
Blake is still pissed. He thinks Ryan is DIFFERENT around Ashley than he is around the guys, because Blake's champagne flute is always half-empty.
Ashley, totally not prompted by the producers, confronts Ryan about the exact same thing: why is he always so freaking happy? Ryan: "I'm bursting with a lot of love in my chest". For serious. That was his actual answer. I'm beginning to think Ryan is a real-life care bear. The hometown date at Care-a-Lot is gonna be TV gold.
Contemplation time! BFF Chris would like to reprise all this BENTELY bullshit. Blah blah blah. Dot dot dot. Ashley: "I'll never know what could have been." Gahhhh.
While still being totally hung up on Bentley, Ashley is worried that being totally hung up on Bentley will make her pass up someone else who is totally awesome. She asks Chris if she can have an extra rose for this ceremony. Sure!, says Chris. Here, rules mean nothing. Everything is at the mercy of Ashley's tiny dentist whims.
Chris addresses the bohunks. Ashley's BREAKING THE RULES means that the ONE man who leaves broken-hearted tonight can feel like an especially huge loser.
Ames and Constantine already have roses. The rest go to:
Hottie McHotHot J.P.
Monster Abs Nick
Smarmy Hair Mickey
Willz the Unfunny Comedian....
FINAL ROSE TONIGHT.
And it's...NoLa Ben!! Louisiana!!! Widower West gets a fauxhug from Ashley and then drives sadly off into the dark, stormy night.
Next week! Ashley and the bohunks head to Cheng Mai!! Where is that? Who the hell cares? It is gonna be AWESOME.
Also...Bentley the Evildoer is BACK. Gross.