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'The Bachelor,' Season 20, Episode 5: Everybody hates Olivia


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Everyone on the show seems to be crazy town, but none more so than Ben Higgins himself for expecting to meet someone genuine in this pressure cooker of expectations.

He eliminated Jubilee in the middle of a group date because she had withdrawn considerably in the past two weeks. Jubes started as outgoing and bubbly – the way all the girls are expected to be – but her early one-on-one date got her invested in a possible relationship with Ben. She said it got harder to watch him go on dates and make out with others. Outside of Olivia, she seemed like the only other girl deeply invested in relationship with Ben. Not a relationship with The Bachelor, but one with Ben Higgins.

Because who would really be comfortable with watching the guy they like make out with someone else and then jumping in his lap to make out with him five seconds later?

If no one else understands Jubilee, I sure did. It doesn’t mean anything to stand in front of a Spanish class holding Ben’s hands while he says, “Te amo,” if you’re the fifth person he’s said it to. It’s always fun and games until someone catches feelings.  That’s a genuine reaction, Ben. You’ll realize that once you’re dating in real life again.

This week took the girls to Mexico City where Ben set up his first one-on-one date with single mom, Amanda. He thought it would be cute to wake the girls at 4:30 a.m. and see their non-makeup faces, but it was not. Do not be that guy, Ben. Ten of these women have to date after this, and you are exposing their horrid sleep faces to the world. Have you no sense of decency?

Amanda woke up looking date ready (thanks for the heads up producers!) and headed off on a hot air balloon ride over the Mexican ruins. They picnicked in a random field and then had dinner at a fancy hotel. She got a rose for admitting that her marriage ended after she searched her ex’s phone and found texts from other girls. Ben’s all about the sympathy roses.

The group date took Jubilee, Emily, Olivia, Jennifer, Caila, JoJo, Becca, Leah, and Lauren B. to Spanish class to mangle one of the romance languages for our amusement. Hands down worst was Emily. Her attempt to roll her tongue sounded like she was going into epileptic shock. Caila, Olivia and Lauren B. all spoke some Spanish and were able to rise above the group when the teacher had Ben confess to each woman in front of the class.

After a crash course, the women and Ben went to Carbon restaurant to get instructions from brother and sister chef team, Nico and Lula. They were told they’d be working in teams to shop and cook from a recipe written in Spanish.

Professional gamesman Olivia realized before everyone else that nine girls equaled someone gets to partner with Ben and jumped on that bus before it even arrived at the station. Jubilee tried to force her way in, but Olivia was having none of it. Ben did nothing, further validating Olivia’s roughshod style and pissing Emily off past the point of rationality.

Jubilee and Lauren B. had the best dish, while the chefs said Ben and Olivia’s mole looked like dog food. Crazy Olivia didn’t care though because he essentially got the week’s second one-on-one date while she shopped and cooked with Ben.

At the cocktail party, each girl got her time, but Lauren B. got a romantic walk through the city to make out in front of a series of ancient doors. The long wait put Jubilee especially on edge and when Ben returned, she didn’t even want to hold his hand in front of the other girls. Ben took that as a sign that she wasn’t into him because he is not living in reality right now. It is infinitely weirder to kiss the guy who just kissed another girl for 20 minutes than it is to pass on those sloppy eighths.

He validated her growing fears by admitting that he couldn’t see a relationship with her, but he framed it in the nice guy Ben way that it was about her recent withdrawal and not his initial attraction.

Here’s an observation, presented without further comment.

Ben Higgins began his season of The Bachelor with 24 women vying for his love, 17 of them not blonde. Of the 10 remaining women, only three brunettes remain.

Ben eliminated Jubilee. She cried real tears of rejection. We all immediately started rooting for her to not do anymore reality TV dating ever because she does not have the proper constitution.

JoJo tried to turn Ben’s rejection of Jubilee into a chance for herself, and got blindsided when he gave the group date rose to Olivia. Her face was priceless.

Lauren H., the kindergarten teacher, got a shopping date that turned into walking in a show in Mexican Fashion Week. She wasn’t terrible but he probably shouldn’t be putting application in at Ford or Elite anytime soon. Ben accused her of being closed off at dinner, the same quality he ascribed to both Amanda and Jubilee this episode. So she told him about moving across country for her boyfriend of four years to get unceremoniously dumped. Turns out guys hook up with other chicks during long-term, long-distance relationships. Bummer.  And a sympathy rose goes to Lauren H.!

At the rose ceremony, everyone was tense. Three roses were out of the running and Jubilee was already gone. Amanda talked about her custody struggles with her ex-husband and Olivia made an off- hand quip, “I feel like I’m watching an episode of Teen Mom.”

The needle scratch was heard around The Bachelor Universe. You could literally see the wheels turning. Emily was almost triumphant in her “Got ya!” face. Unleashed from the constraints of twinness, Emily’s inner mean girl could rival Olivia in pettiness any day.

Poor Liv tried to course correct by apologizing and fake crying but she knew they were coming. Emily started it off with fake tears of her own when she sat with Ben to “expose” Olivia. Amanda said she’d felt targeted since the beginning and Jennifer chimed in because why not?

The show ended without a rose ceremony. Ben asked Olivia for a conversation in The Breezeway of Regret TM, but then we ended with a “To Be Continued…” title card.

Earlier in the night, Olivia didn’t honor any of the complaints – brushing the girls off like so much dirt on her shoulder. And she’s right. Not one of these women is acting as they normally would in a dating relationship because the show asks you not to. Bless her heart, Olivia’s chicanery is a strategy just like Amanda’s vulnerability and Lauren B.’s bubbly acceptance. It’s effective. The Bachelor is not a sorority house, making lifelong friends isn’t the end game. As much as we hate her, being aggressive and forcing Ben to examine his relationships with the other girls is the only way to win this stupid game.

Miss Congeniality usually winds up as The Bachelorette. If you’re aiming for being well liked with that hope in mind, as Chris Harrison would say, “You’re not here for the right reasons.” Olivia’s single-minded pursuit of being Mrs. Ben Higgins at all costs to her reputation and career might be the most genuine thing happening on the screen.

Can we all pause just to feel a little sad about that?

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 2, 2016 11:52am]


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