The Bachelor, Season 20, Episode 6: Finding sense in the senseless
What are the rules to this game, Ben?
I'm asking because, as the officiant, you've been sort of arbitrary lately.
This week's four eliminations make perfect sense and no sense at all if you measure them against everything that happened up to this point.
Jennifer got cut because she hadn't spent enough time with Ben, but Leah, who'd never had a one-on-one date remained. Leah got cut because she spent her precious time with Ben ragging on Lauren B. instead of making her case, but Emily, who started the Olivia witch hunt, got to stay. Olivia got cut because she said she was in love with Ben and he couldn't reciprocate, but every girl has said this in some form for the past two weeks and most of them got another shot. And Lauren H. got eliminated for reasons unknown because Ben couldn't even dignify her with a cocktail party or proper explanation as he walked her to the car.
It was all very dramatic and anti-climatic at once. The longer the show goes on the more the editing betrays who has got Ben in the bag and who is just hanging around for the craft services spread and free vacations.
Seriously, brunettes. This is not a test. Buy all the souvenirs you can and take all the selfies you please at every stop. You are not long for Ben's world. Kaitlyn Bristowe may have ruined the game for you before you even got started.
But let's try and parse this out by acknowledging what Ben does like.
1. Ben likes confidence (to a point).
He pulled Olivia aside before the first rose ceremony to hear her out after she got called fake and rude by Emily, Amanda and Jennifer. She made the case that he put the target on her back with the first impression rose and the rest was natural selection. Why should she force herself to be friends with people she wouldn't befriend in real life? She returned and Jennifer got eliminated, surprising no one and pissing off everyone.
2. Ben likes being led on.
Caila got the first date in the Bahamas, the trip's only one-on-one. She smiled, they fished and made out, and the day was all great until dinner. Ben pulled out his producer hat and asked Caila if she was ready to be vulnerable and emotional with him instead of always smiling. Caila correctly identified that as her cue to tell a sad story and cry and then, in the ballsiest move of the season, refused to do so. She instead went the Pick-Up Artist route and negged Ben. "Your biggest fear is that you're unlovable and I'm afraid that I might hurt you." Still, she closed with the idea that she might be (maybe, sort of, if you squint real hard) falling in love. Ben gave her a "challenge accepted" rose.
3. Ben likes Lauren B.
Lauren B. was one of several girls on a group date to swim with the pigs, but she might as well have been solo. Apparently, there's a rock island in the Bahamas where pigs swim to and people feed them. Initially, Leah, Lauren H., Amanda, Becca and JoJo were equal parts thrilled and terrified. Then Ben broke off for alone time with Lauren B. and stuff got awkward. Everyone withdrew from Ben, just like Jubilee did last week, and he pretended to be confused as to why. Pro Tip: Group dates only work when you distance yourself from everyone or spread your attention equally. Ben should brush up on his harem anime.
4. Ben likes a tattletale until he doesn't.
Leah chose the group date cocktail party to throw Lauren B. under the bus as a possible avenue to saving herself. News that Lauren B. might not be there for "the right reasons" shocked Ben and made him scrutinize her for about 10 seconds. Asking Lauren B. if it was true did give her a reason to cry and "be vulnerable" with him. And Leah won the round because the group date rose went to Amanda instead of the obvious choice. Then Leah must have saw the Mortal Kombat "Finish Him" signal because she unwisely sought out Ben for a late night chat about Lauren B. The impromptu bashing session got her sent home immediately, no ceremony required.
5. Ben likes the idea of a relationship more than actual relationships.
Arch nemeses Olivia and Emily were asked on the week's final date, a dreaded two-on-one where one person automatically goes home. Nothing in the run up to this date would have led Olivia or us to believe that Ben was more into Emily than he was into her. During their alone time, Olivia talked about herself because he asked her to and then said she was in love. Emily talked about how she is growing from the experience and she wants Ben by her side as she experiences more. He sat between the women, grabbed the rose and led Olivia away by the hand. When he returned to Emily and presented her with the rose, it confirmed that he has already decided who to propose to and he'll just keep knocking them off as we get down to the inevitable blond finale. Emily remained because she'll make the final elimination easier.
6. Ben likes to avoid looking shallow.
Since there was no way to justify Lauren H.'s elimination other than the obvious "I'm just not that into you", Ben canceled this week's pre-ceremony, last-chance couch rodeo. It allowed Lauren B. and JoJo to sweat for two seconds before the inevitable elimination of the kindly, kindergarten teacher. She didn't cry until the producers egged her on in the loser van. Still, it wasn't as heartbreaking of an elimination as Olivia's.
Lauren H. knew Ben fancied other girls more and her days were numbered. Olivia was blindsided because regardless of how much he connected with Lauren B., he had never shown more interest in Emily than he did in Olivia. Either every interaction with crazy Olivia was a lie or a ton of Ben and Emily footage has been left on the cutting room floor.
Olivia was left alone on a windy beach, ocean spraying toward the heavens, crying miserably. I felt as if I was right there with her. Ben is proving to be much more Rubik's Cube than jigsaw puzzle.
The big question: Do all his sides really add up to the guy we adored during The Bachelorette?