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'The Bachelor,' Season 20, Episode 9: Those words don't mean what you think

Ben trying to dump Caila while she curses her luck.

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Ben trying to dump Caila while she curses her luck.

1

March

Can we address the tiny budget on this season of The Bachelor?

It says a lot about the casting that the most exotic trips the writers could dream up were Mexico, the Bahamas and Jamaica. *sad trombone noise*

Farm boy Chris Soules got to take his ladies to Indonesia. And jerky, soccer hunk Juan Pablo Galavis had dates in South Korea, Vietnam and New Zealand. Even Kaitlyn Bristowe got to take her guys -- including Ben -- to Ireland.

ABC couldn't even get Ben Higgins and co. out of the hemisphere. It's always been an unwritten contract on this show that in exchange for the parade of humiliation, there would be awesome vacations. Now, even that's a lie. 

Poor Caila. She fell for the guy with the smallest season budget. She got her heart broken on national television and doesn't even have multiple foreign language stamps in her passport to show for it. 

In Ocho Rios, she got the first date and the longest wait for the the hammer to drop. On a raft ride down the river, she and Ben sat awkwardly trying to make conversation without talking about the the things that mattered like if she should just pack her bags after breakfast the next morning. Caila said she was quiet because she felt the nerves of wanting to tell Ben she loved him but being scared he wouldn't reciprocate. She should've trusted her gut. 

Instead, she confessed her love over dinner and then spent the fantasy suite getting more and more confident that Ben loved her back. By the time, she was waving to him from balcony, America collectively wanted to slap her and say, 'Wake up girl!"

Blauren took a trip to the beach to help conservationists release baby sea turtles. Ben got pinched by a crab, which was probably the universe's punishment for what he was about to do next. Lauren finally admitted that she's known she was in love with Ben for awhile. He said he's also known he was in love with her for a long time too. 

If you knew, Ben, why did you put her through that uncertainty a little while back when Leah told you she was phony? Are all your non-Lauren interactions lies? Why haven't you just proposed already?

Blauren woke up to breakfast and kisses and whispered love confessions. 

JoJo's date started with her second helicopter ride. This time, Ben took her to a waterfall and got her to jump from a cliff into the unknown. That metaphor come to life manifested itself again minutes later when she confessed her love, and Ben reciprocated. *Needle scratch*

Say what now, Ben? You love JoJo, do you? What about Lauren? Didn't you also love her last night all the way into the morning? Does your love depend on the day? Or do you not know what that phrase even means?

He pretended to have reservations about JoJo based on the the totally reasonable reaction of her handsome older brothers during hometowns. Who really wants their little sister to date The Bachelor? Who is that guy who just blindly accepts the words of a man who has made out with more than 20 women in eight weeks? It should be more concerning that there haven't been that many disapproving older brothers in past seasons.

One thing was clear, since Caila was the only girl who didn't get a prize in her cereal box, she'd be heading home soon. 

Ben spent the day walking from scenic location to location on the Sandals resort and making broody faces about confessing to two women and having to eliminate Caila. 

Our charming half-Filipinia told the producers she missed her man and wanted to visit him on his requisite brooding day. This wasn't the act of someone confident, no matter how big her smile was on the ride over. She had a feeling and decided to confirm it before she got to a rose ceremony with two other women. 

After finding Ben on the beach posing, Caila took her final walk with him to hear things he didn't mean. 

"I'll miss you," he said. 

"You don't have to say that," she reminded him.

Caila calling Ben on his malarkey was so cathartic, I'm glad she's the likely Bachelorette. Even after being eliminated, she jumped back out of the vehicle to do a post-mortem and ask the question we'd all been asking, "When did you know?"

Ben came up with some half-baked response about not being sure until this week, but as always, I call shenanigans. We've known that we were heading into a JoJo and Lauren B. finale since Olivia was left being sprayed by the ocean. 

Ben's been so obvious with his affections from isolating Lauren on the pig date in the Bahamas to giving JoJo a Mrs. Higgins jersey at Wrigley Field.

The slow march toward this inevitable finale has been interminable for those who long for the exciting days of nine weeks ago when everything was new and weird and interesting. Like so many relationships, as time has marched on, the feelings have changed. It's hard to pretend I still get starry eyed when Chris Harrison says "Tonight on The Bachelor..."

It's not you, Ben. It's me. 

I'll miss you, and I know I don't have to say that. But I just think there are more exciting things in my future than our relationship. I wish you and your eventual ex-fiance nothing but the best. I wanted to say I loved you, but my feelings just never caught up, you know?

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 1, 2016 9:21am]

    

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