Oh. My. Gosh.
I don't even know where to begin.
Just in case you haven't yet, but are considering watching the second half of this episode: It is terrible. It is so terrible that something like "trainwreck" does not even begin to describe it. Not even "shitstorm". It is like a trainwreck, inside a shitstorm, during an earthquake. While being attacked by zombies.
Seriously. It's that bad.
First up: the dreaded two-on-one, pretty much the most f-ed up idea for a date since your mom insisted on accompanying you and your 7th-grade boyfriend to the movies. And it's almost as terrible for Ashley as it is for Willz and Ben, what with all the painful memories of last season's Ashley-on-Ashley debacle.
Ashley: "I don't know what the dynamic between Willz and Ben C. is (hint: deep and abiding hatred), so it's going to be interesting to see how things play out today. "
Yes. If by "interesting" you mean "excruciatingly painful".
The Date of Doom is at some kind of elephant sanctuary. The elephants try their best, but it's pretty dull. Ashley seems checked out. Willz is increasingly drunk and obnoxious. NoLa Ben's jaw clenches tighter and tighter until his face is about to break in half.
Willz, you see, is in a precarious position. He made an ass of himself two weeks ago and hasn't really been able to rebound. He is growing increasingly desperate. Even his Dubya impersonation suddenly lacks a certain polish. It is time for...Operation Sabotage.
Dun dun dunnnnnnh.
Operation sabotage involves William playing Ashley's insecurity like a ten-string guitar. NoLa Ben, he tells her, is HERE FOR THE WRONG REASONS. He can't wait to get back to NoLa and resume hooking up with drunken coeds. No, wait - worse than that. NoLa Ben can't wait to get home and try online dating. Oouch.
Ashley: Why would Ben tell you that? Wouldn't he know that you would tell me?
Willz: Uhhhhhh...but we're like, uh, tight. Yeah.
Sounds a bit shady to me, but to William's delight and my increasing ire, Operation Sabotage is a rousing success. Ashley waits about 3.5 seconds before going up to Ben and being like, "you. leave. now." Ben is like, wtf??, so on the way out, Ashley confronts him about being like, NOT TOTALLY IN LOVE WITH HER. Or something.
Ben's explanation: the online dating things was all a joke. Which is a pretty weak excuse. But on the other hand, Ashley's dumping him pretty much only on William's word? Also pretty weak.
As Ben floats out of sight on the River Raft of Loneliness and Despair, Ashley stares morosely into the distance. Will she ever find a man who is Here for the Right Reasons? Will William ever tell a joke that is actually funny? What is Bentley doing right now? How many drinks will it take me to get through this episode? What does it all meeean??? William gloats drunkenly, and I imagine reaching through my TV and strangling him.
Dinnahtime! Willz is working extra hard, but Ashley has just lost that lovin' feeling. It is gone, gone, gone. And soon, so is our poor, sad, would-be comedian. Wait, what about that stupid Chris Harrison poem that they read before this date every season? "Two chumps, one rose, one stays, one goes"?? WHAT ABOUT THE POEM? I cannot believe the POEM LIED TO ME. WHAT IS EVEN REAL ANYMORE? Ashley throws the rose into the fire, Pavelka-style, and watches it burn with a sad, dead look in her sad, lovelorn eyes.
In the limo, William sort of falls apart: "I am the world's biggest BLEEPing jackass. My life is full of shit. I don't deserve anything. I don't deserve shit." His self-pity is almost as obnoxious as his misplaced confidence, but 100 times sadder. It's as if you had a kitten, that was an asshole kitten that bit you a lot and told stupid unfunny jokes that hurt your feelings, and then you yelled at your kitten and the kitten was sad, and even though it totally deserved it, you felt bad because it was a kitten and it was so, so sad. That's what this show has come to. I can't even make fun of how awful it is because it makes me so sad. This is a sad, sad, sad-kitten show.
Cocktail party time, and it is freaking raining, again. A wilted Ashley delivers a speech from the bottom of her poor, trampled heart: "I know that you guys might not, like, maybe like me that much, and that you're all polishing up your OkCupid profiles. But I just want you to be real, y'know? About how you don't like me. I think I'll go cry in a corner."
You guys, Ashley is bummed out. Bentley's departure and Ben's alleged foray into online dating and William's shitty jokes have turned her into a fragile husk of the sweet, fun-loving girl who once dreaming of finding love and being a dentist. This makes me so sad. I just want to reach through the screen and give Ashley a big hug, and an ice-cream sandwich, and maybe a strong drink. And possibly slap her and tell her to GET OVER THAT JERKFACE BENTLEY.
On to the cocktail party, because the show, it must go on. Ashley is so glum that even Ryan's solar-powered good looks cannot draw her out of her funk. She decides to grill Constantine (aka other Ben) about his feelings.
Ashley: Do you feel closer to the guys than you do to me?
NO, CONSTANTINE, NOOO! IT'S A TRAP!
Constantine: Naturally. but it's, you know, a different kind of close. Give me a rose, and next week...I'll show you close,
Ashley is charmed.
Then J.P. appears on my screen, like a shining ray of light amid the muck of this sad, sad show. Ashley: "do you think you could see like, us, in the future? like, in normal, everyday life." J.P., bless his heart: "like, I kinda feel like that's how it is now. It's so real." Apparently J.P.'s everyday life involves a great deal of cuddling with girls in cocktail dresses in ancient temples. He tells her that she looks beautiful, and that he's jealous of the other guys, and I want them to make out so bad, but they cannot because of freaking BENTLEY. Ashley needs closure to move on. That dot dot dot...it haunts us all.
Enter Chris, all clinkety clink with the wineglass, which means it's time to Think About Shit. A thunderstorm rages outside while BFF Chris, all concerned-like, encourages Ashley to bare her soul. Ashley has thinking about something, a lot, and it is...BENTLEY. Ashley needs closure. Her head says no, but her heart says yes.
Fact: This is hella annoying. If I hear the name BENTLEY again, I may scream.
Fact: I have totally been there. That guy? That you know is a jackass? That you always wanna text when you've been drinking? Yeah, totally been there.
BFF Chris is CONCERNED. If Ashley does not get closure with Bentley, her JOURNEY stands a good chance of being ruined forever. Ashley wants to be with a guy who also wants to be with her, but if Bentley does not come back and explain about the dot dot dot, she may be left wondering FOREVER.
Chris says he'll see what he can do. I.e.: Mike Fleiss is foaming at the mouth thinking about these DRAMAZ. Bentley is gonna be on a first-class flight to Asia faster than you can say dot dot dot.
As Ashley exits the Temple of Deliberation, she worries about leaving this experience ALONE. Because if you can't find love from a crowd of 25 hand-selected ABC bonunks...you are pretty much hopeless.
Ashley appears to the dudes, who are all lined up for the rose ceremony. HONESTY, she says, is so important, and honestly, she's only feelin it with...
(If you search for tenderness...)
(it isn't hard to fiiind)
(you can have the love you need to live.)
(if you look for truthfulness, you might just as well be blind...)
(It always seems to be so hard to GIIIIIIVE.....)
HONNNNNESTTTLLY...this is the last rose tonight.
And the rose goes to...RYAN. Nick and Nick's totally absurd abs...take a moment, say your goodbyes.
Personal trainer Nick is heartbroken. He though he and Ashley really had something. The next couple times he hits on women at the gym, his game is gonna be totally off.
Ashley is excited about the guys who are still here being still here. Next week! Hong Kong! And evildoer Bentley RETURNS. Look, I know they teased it last week, but this next week...it is totally gonna happen.