Tonight! Emily and race car Arie are on the fast track to love, while single dad Tony is on the fast track to an emotional breakdown. Several of the other guys turn out to be douches, while Emily turns out to be - surprise! - pretty likable. And Dolly Parton is there!
Seriously, Dolly Parton.
The morning dawns clear and bright in Chahhhlotte, North Carolina. Chris Harrison is looking a little off his game, but he manages to do a passable job of explaining the rules, lest some hapless fool stumble across this show by mistake and become hopelessly confused by its many twists and turns. The first date goes to Chris, best known for showing up at the first rose ceremony with bobbleheads of himself and Emily. (Seriously.) Chris confuses me. I think he is technically hot, but every time I see him on screen I just get a sleazy vibe. I think I've figured it out, though. I think it's that Chris has tiny eyes, which make him look perpetually drunk.
Nancy Mitchell, explainer of mysteries.
So drunkeye and Emily are just walking around Chahhhhlotte, having a grand old time, but you know the ABC producers are not going to leave it at that. Sure enough, this date involves a time-honored Bachelor pastime - climbing up the side of a building! Chris sees this as a fitting opportunity to honor another Bachelor tradition: making stupid-ass metaphors between extreme sports and TRUE LOVE.
"Climbing a building is definitely...like love. You gotta start somewhere, and we're starting at the bottom. We're gonna work our way up, and uh...we'll end up at the top."
Drunkeye and Emily begin the ascent. Crowds gather, a storm blows up, Emily has a near-breakdown, metaphors are made, everyone survives. "Thanks for not ditching me," Emily says, conveniently forgetting that the only alternative to sticking around with her would be FALLING OFF THE SIDE OF A BUILDING.
During dinner, Emily finds out that Chris is 25, and she is SHOCKED. This could be a red flag. Um...what? Aren't you like, 26? Emily is worried that Chris is not ready to be a dad.
Cut to the manse, where single dad Tony is one the phone with his wee son. He misses him so much. FORESHADOWING.
Back on the roof! Drunkeye Chris assures Emily that he wants to fall in love, and that he is here for her. Also, he may be 25, he says, but he is a man. Emily is convinced. Drunkeye gets the rose, and then there's Luke Bryan, and he gives them a private concert of the streets of Charlotte, and they dance and kiss and a bunch of people cheer, and Chris says it is the best moment of his life. Normally, I would find this deeply sad, but Drunkeye is all hopped up on adrenaline and wine and country music and tiny blonde Emily's tiny blonde kisses, so we'll give him a pass.
So then there's a group date with like, a billion dudes, as you do, and the date card says, "Let's Play", and for a while the guys hang out at a park and throw a football, but it's all a cruel deception because the REAL date is getting grilled by Emily's girl friends, who are hiding out at the park, waiting to spring upon the unsuspecting bachelors at any moment. The ladies ask some tough questions, like, "are you ready to be a dad?", and, "what is up with the guy with the egg?"
Pink Sean wins real points by talking about his dad and his faith. Then he wins even more points by taking off his shirt and doing push-ups. Pink Sean is a pink shirtless hulk.
Now that the interrogation is over, it's time for a further test of the bachelors' dad-worthiness. Somewhere, an ABC intern has assembled a van full of children, and they are all unleashed upon the bachelors in a screaming horde. These kids look waaaay too excited to be playing with some random dudes, which makes me think they must have been promised money. Or popsicles. Or maybe a playstation. Everyone passes the test, I guess, by not being totally repulsed by the children. Hooray!
Ryan sneaks off to spend some alone time with Emily, but he is foiled by the girl friends, who ask him the hardest question of all: would you still love Emily if she got fat? "No," says Ryan.
While Emily's friends murder him with their eyes, Ryan attempts to explain: "I would still love you, I just might not love on you as much." Emily kinda thinks this is bullshit. I might be starting to like her.
At the PLAYGROUND INTERROGATION WRAP PARTY: Emily and pink Sean have some alone time. Pink Sean is ready to have a relationship like his parents' relationship. Single dad Doug's mother left him, and his dad died, and then he grew up in foster care. This is some serious stuff.
Unfortunately, none of the dudes can really focus on the business of macking on their mutual girlfriend, because poor single dad Tony is so sad he can barely function. Single dad Doug assures Tony that his son has an attention span of approximately 7.5 seconds and will barely remember that he was gone, but Tony is unconvinced. No consoling words can reach him in his abyss of sadness. Is finding love even worth it?
Single dad Tony calls his son. The kid sounds pretty okay to me, but even after hanging up, Tony stares at his phone with a sorrow that words cannot reach. Into this mire of emotion walks Emily, totally not prodded by the producers. "Tony? What's wrong?" she asks. Tony pours out his heart to her. Emily understands how he feels. She missed Ricki a lot during Brad's season, and, she says, if Brad had known for one minute that she wasn't The One, she would have wanted him to let her go. With that said, Emily is not 100% sure about her feelings for Tony, and she feels she needs to send him on his way. Emily is so kind and gracious about this rejection that I'm not even sure she's rejecting him until we see him stepping into the cab. (What, no limo?) Emily may not have been my first choice for this season, but this? This is classy. Respect.
Emily explains to the assembled clusterchump that she sent Tony home so he could be with his son, and they are all like, serious, and they understand. Puffy hair Ryan and the WOLF are wearing identical lavender shirts. Date rose goes to...pink Sean! Ryan and his increasingly douchey facial hair are concerned...but not that concerned. He's confident he's going to be around for a long time.
John WOLF: Dude, I thought we agreed lavender is MY thing.
Next up! Emily and race car Arie go to Dollywood, which is like Astroworld, but with more country kitsch and less people. (Oh, and uh, still open.) Arie passes the amusement-park test, I guess, by riding a roller coaster and playing darts, and Emily decides he "might have a little country in 'im." Speaking of country...race car and Emily go to the stage where Dolly Parton performs, where they find a piece of paper with the words "write a love song". Oh. no.
Emily and Arie's song blows. It goes something like this:
Roses are red
Violets are blue
This show is stupid
This song is, too.
No, actually, their song was worse than that.
While they are engrossed in writing their terrible song, who should appear on the stage but Dolly Parton herself. Suddenly we are confronted with that holy grail of reality television...genuine emotion. Dolly Parton is like, Emily's idol. "I could die. I could dieee", says Emily, approximately 4,000 times. I've never seen Emily look at anyone like she looks at Dolly. Dolly Parton, will you accept this rose?
Dolly sends Arie away so she and Emily can have a little heart-to-heart. Dolly tells Emily she hopes she finds true love, and then plays for Emily and race car a song she wrote for her husband of 47 years. Arie and Emily slow-dance while Emily gazes, enraptured...at Dolly Parton. Or maybe at Dolly's giant, sparkly boobs. Dolly thinks Emily and Arie have a little somethin goin on. We'll see about that.
Emily and Arie have dinner and talk about some serious stuff. Like: Arie's ex-girlfriend, who had two kids. He was ready, he said, to have more children with her, but she wasn't, and things kinda fell apart. That's when Arie brings up....BRAD. "I don't know if Brad was quited ready for...marriage, and babies, as much as he said he was." Emily wants to know if race car Arie is ready for this. Arie is so ready. Emily picks up the date rose. Arie is so brave, and so fun, BUT...
Arie is sweating bullets.
But it's all a joke! Emily, you're such a ham. Arie gets the date rose after all. WHEW.
Now that that's over with, these two crazy kids can make out on a carousel. HOT.
Back to reality, which is that Emily has to eliminate two more of these losers before this farce is over. At the pre-rose ceremony cocktail party: Kalon's hipster glasses and Ryan's newly douchey facial hair are filling me with rage. Emily pulls "Kalon" aside for some alone time. Emily compliments "Kalon" on his glasses, which is great opportunity for "Kalon" to act like a whiny bitch about not getting a date this week. Apparently he has been hanging around the house all week, contemplating frames. Maybe he could've picked a pair that made me want to murder him a little bit less.
"Kalon" likes to talk a lot. At some point in a conversation about whether or not "Kalon" is willing to accept Ricki as part of his life, Emily attempts to say something, and he interrupts her with this gem: "I love it when you talk, but I wish you'd let me finish." Emily calls "Kalon" a gentleman, but I think what she means by this is "creepy, controlling sack of crap". With ugly glasses.
Travis, having been convinced by Emily's friends that the egg is a dumbass idea, is ready to let it go. While Travis watches, Emily SMASHES THE EGG on the perfectly-watered driveway in front of the house. Wait...doesn't this egg represent like, Travis' willingness to love and care for Emily and Ricki? If so, this does not bode well for Travis' ability to commit. He could've at least made an omlette.
The dudes have a toast. To Shelley! (Shelley is the egg's name, naturally.) I guess they do have a little personality, after all.
Meanwhile! Emily has a chat with Alessandro, who has the worst hair and the worst word choice ever. He keeps saying, over and over, that he sees being with a woman who has a child as a "compromise", and I think he means "sacrifice", because marriage means making sacrifices for the other person, but that is like, kind of realistic and not romantic at all, and apparently Alessandro has not seen this show before and does not realize that realism has no place in reality tv. Before you can say "language barrier", Portuguese
Alessandro the grain merchant is in a limo on his way home.
The trauma of sending Alessandro home sends Emily straight into the welcoming arms of race car Arie. They make out, and all the other boyfriends are jealous. Especially puffy hair Ryan, who doesn't understand why Emily would want to make out with "dainty" Arie and not a big, strong, manly man like himself. By "dainty", I think Ryan means anyone whose neck has a smaller circumference than his head.
Sorry, Ryan. I used to like you.
Emily and pink Sean have a pow-wow. He is ready to be a father. If he and Emily were to be together, he says, he would think of Ricki as his own daughter. Emily sees though Sean's hotness all the way to his kind, pink heart. He is so sweet. They make out, too. Emily would not want pink Sean to feel left out.
Thus reassured, Emily summons the strength to move on to the rose ceremony. Since Alessandro was sent packing, only one guy will be going home broken-hearted. Will it be Stevie, aka DJ 90s? That one dude we have never heard of? Increasingly douchey Ryan? Or "Kalon" and his awful glasses? I am on the edge of my seat.
Roses go to:
Anthony Michael Jef
head injury Charlie
single dad Doug
floppy hair Michael
Travis formerly of the egg
Alejandro the mushroom farmer
increasingly douchey Ryan
shiny, smarmy "Kalon" (seriously, look at this guy. don't you want to punch him?)
Chris makes his solemn pronouncement. FINAL ROSE. It is down to DJ 90s, and...some other guy. And the rose goes to...other guy! Goodbye DJ 90s. We hardly knew ye.
Next week! Bermuda! Cliff jumping! Yachts! Fireworks! Actual fire! And DRAMA. Lots of DRAMA. Don't miss it.