We’re back for part two of our Most! Dramatic! Fantasy Suite! Episode! Ever! The previews have promised us beautiful St. Lucia scenery, lavish tropical dates, and most of all, tears and recriminations, which are the best parts of any Bachelor episode. So onward and downward!
We open on bugs, lizards and frogs…is this a metaphor for anyone we know? We interrupt JP in the middle of an intimate conversation with…the island. “Oh, St. Lucia…you are so pretty.” No, seriously. He finally turns to us to explain that he’s excited about this week because he will finally get to talk to the girls in privacy, for as long as they want. “Talk”? I do not think it means what you think it means.
First up is Clare, who as you’ll recall, is coming off of a pretty awkward family visit, since her hometown is apparently Crazytown, USA. JP seems unfazed by the experience, however, and greets Clare with kisses and hugs. They take a motorboat out for a tour down the coast, and JP is squinting at her and giving tiny kisses, which is a change from their usual sucking face. Although Clare has been enjoying the rustic boat ride, they round a corner where of course there’s a luxury yacht waiting for them. They come up to the foredeck where there are pillows and drinks arrayed in almost a carbon copy of JP’s last date with Sharleen. Awk-ward!
And wow, Clare’s not holding back, asking JP what he thought about her family. Don’t ask questions unless you’re sure you want the answers, girl! JP says he loves all her sisters, and even Clare looks at him like, “girl, please.” Apparently Strangely Hostile Laura kept insisting, “It’s TV, it’s TV, it’s not real.” Which, in her defense, is true. But Clare and JP are not dissuaded, and they do the “King of the World” Titanic pose to celebrate. Clare tells us in a talking head that she’s ready to tell him she’s falling in love, and wants to do it tonight. Then it’s time for swimming! I’m sure it’s lovely, but the lighting on my TV is weird so everything looks dark and ominous. I hope they aren’t eaten by sharks. (Who am I kidding? That would be awesome TV.)
That evening, they head to an intimate dinner set up on a lanai, and JP is doing another talking head about how there’s an invitation to the fantasy suite that night. He again underscores the point that there will be no cameras, and it’s starting to sound like he has something to hide! Clare tells us that tonight, she wants to talk about Camila. She begins with this question: “If things work out between you and I, is it weird that I want to meet Camila?” Um, I’d say it’s weird if you didn’t want to meet her but planned on marrying her dad. What is this, a V.C. Andrews novel?
She’s going on and on, and JP is making supportive noises, but honestly she’s not really making sense. When she takes a breath, JP says, “You’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I like that.” Yeah, he’s all about the thinking girls. But it’s enough for him to pull out the Fantasy Suite card…so is she in or out? Clare claimed to be on the fence at the beginning of the date, and she hedges now–she reminds him of their argument in Vietnam, and says that she’s being mindful of his concerns about how they behave on TV. JP sounds like, “Yeah, but, that was then…” I genuinely can’t understand right now if she’s saying no, or he is, or what. Finally, she says, “I really really want to spend that time with you, as long as we’re on the same page.” That page is surely blank…but the Fantasy Suite is on!
The suite is white and bungalow-ish and there are a zillion candles and champagne. JP’s toast: “Thank you for agreeing to spend the night with me. And in the morning, we will wake up, and we will definitely know about each other…a lot more.” Such a romantic, this one. Then he says, “Ay, Clare!” She’s glowing, but he seriously seems more distant from her than he used to be. I think he still wants to sleep with her, but knows he’s not going to pick her, and is wondering how he’ll be able to bail out on the crazy when the time comes.
After some more giggling and kissyface, in which her voiceover suggests she’s going to tell him she loves him, but the tape doesn’t actually bear that out, they move to the hot tub. Clare thinks this is momentous because their relationship started in a hot tub, and has come full circle. She wants to have his babies. (No, literally, she tells us that.) But that’s all we get! After commercials, it’s the next day, and JP is waiting for the next of his ladyloves. He does tell us in voiceover that his sleepover was great–no cameras (did he mention there were no cameras?)–and they lay in bed “talking, and talking, and talking.”
But today is Andi’s overnight date, and he can’t wait to see her! He says, “I’ve liked Andi since week 2.” Oof, what about week 1? Andi tells us that “despite the fact that [she] could see the concern in her family’s eyes,” she had a great time with him in her hometown. This makes me question Andi’s judgment. And now we’re at the requisite “Bachelor couple stumbles upon ‘impromptu cultural festival’ at which there appear to be no other attendees.” They listen to a steel drum band and then play a little steel drum themselves.
Then they stop at a beachside snack stall and pick up some food, asking some little pre-placed urchins if they can share their picnic table. This is apparently time for JP to show that he’s good with kids, but the kids don’t seem to have gotten the memo. This whole scene feels sort of weird and exploitive and colonialist, especially when Andi and JP are like, “We’ll buy you food!” and I see no adults in the area. They find themselves playing soccer with the kids and assorted locals while jolly music plays. Andi professes to have had a great time, but I would have preferred the luxury yacht behind Door #1.
After the soccer game, they jump into a “land buggy,” which looks like a Transformer. Apparently it goes off-road, because JP drives it down a jungly road to a narrow path. And there’s a waterfall! And the requisite picnic blanket plus fruit nearby! I wonder if Andi is thinking, “Dude, we already did a waterfall in New Zealand.” But it is very picturesque. While they sit and eat fruit, Andi tries to pick JP’s brain about what her family asked him, but JP doesn’t say much. He does, however, relay Hy’s answer to JP’s request for his blessing, and it’s pretty funny.
Now it’s time for swimming, and BLAM! Andi is in another one piece split down to there. They sit under the falls, posing on rocks and shnoogling, and it’s all lovely except that the pool the waterfall pours into looks brown. (I’m just not good with nature. If this were me on the date, I’d be all, “I’m not putting my feet on the bottom, you’ll have to carry me. Is that a bug?!?”)
Dinnertime! I hope they put the couch on a different lanai for Andi. (But it doesn’t look like they did!) JP tells us that last week, Andi told him that she “badly wanted to fall in love,” and he wants to make sure tonight that she’s not forcing her feelings. Oh, this is gonna go great. He asks her in more or less those words to talk to him about what she said, and that he doesn’t think love should be forced; she’s unfazed, because she’s miles smarter than he is and as an ADA, probably talks for a living. She assures JP that she takes this very seriously, because she’s mindful that there’s a child involved in this decision, and promises that no matter how badly she wants something, she’s not going to force it. JP tells her, “That’s good,” like he’s a teacher praising a star pupil.
Andi takes a minute and then tells him, “I’m glad you said something about Atlanta, because it means you were listening.” JP says that he listens to every word she says (a snarky recapper might observe that listening is not the same as understanding). And he tells her that he thinks about how she’ll fit into his life, and rattles off a bunch of practical issues that I wish we could actually hear the answers to–will she be a good mom to Camila? will she move to Florida? will she take the bar exam there? (JP knows about bar exams?) Andi then fishes for him to tell her she’d be a good mom, and he hedges by saying, “I don’t know, you’re not a mother,” but that he trusts her and she wouldn’t be here if he didn’t think she would be a good complement to his life. And that he wants them to talk about this even more in…the Fantasy Suite!
Having these notes signed by Chris Harrison makes him seem a little pimpy. No need to hem and haw here…we know from the previews that she says yes. So they head off to the suite to “talk” even more. There are smooches as they go, but they’re all little pecks. This suite is more jungle than beach, with chestnut-colored wood and lots of shutters. They toast, and then lie on the couch for some serious making out. In voiceover, JP tells us that Andi “could be the one. She could be my wife.” OR COULD SHE???
The sun rises the next day, and JP is lying on a (made) bed, fully clothed, in a room that is decidedly not the room they went to last night. (For starters, it seems not to have a wall.) He says that waking up in the morning, he was thinking they’d had a great night, talking and laughing for hours. He likes the ease of their connection, and says he’s very happy. However, Andi’s telling us a different story…
“Waking up this morning, I could not wait to get out of the fantasy suite,” she tells us in an interview. She’s even wearing a black maxidress to express her displeasure! She tells us she saw a side to him that she didn’t like, and that the whole night was a disaster. In an awesome “hellz no” tone of voice, she says, “I hope he did not think that that went well. I hope he did NOT think that was a good date.”
It appears that Andi’s walking up to JP’s hideaway to confront him? In her interview, she’s telling us that she had some great dates along the way, but that last night, she realized that every time she tried to tell him about herself, or bring up her feelings, he would interrupt and start talking about himself. Ultimately, she realized that he didn’t seem to care about her thoughts or wants. He had no questions for her, he was a name-dropper, and worst of all, he told her that he’d had an overnight with Clare! Andi acknowledges that of course, she knows the drill, but it adds insult to injury for JP to talk about it without even being asked. Ultimately, she thinks that JP has no filter, and that comes across as him not caring about his companion. And to that I say: DUH. But better late than never!
Wow, this interview is still going on? Andi is rewriting romantic history as fast as she can, but she’s likable while doing it. “It sucks to have wasted all this time and emotion. Was I an idiot? Was I blind?” Heh. You were probably drunk, bored and exhausted, given what they put you all through on this show, honey. She tells us that she knows it’s not going to work (even as she tears up), and that she can’t fake it. She says, “It’s not even like I’m unsure. I know I wouldn’t end up marrying him, I know that he’s not the one.” Woo! Excellent Bachelor twist, producers!
But instead of going to meet Andi on the Terrace of Broken Dreams, JP is saddling a horse for a trail ride with Nikki. (OK, technically, the horse is already saddled, and JP’s hanging a tote bag on the saddle horn in a manner that will prevent him from actually mounting, but whatevs.) Our first glimpse of Nikki is a pair of atrocious–atrocious!–flowy print pants, and some very flat sandals that aren’t appropriate for riding. And a too-small FRINGED bikini top. It’s like she’s trying to be Cher or Pocahontas. It’s so, so bad, y’all. I just looked for a photo, but it’s not online yet. I’m coming back to put one up when it’s out there.
They mount up and head off for the beach. This is totally the date I would want, being a horse nut. Looks like Nikki’s ridden before, and JP doesn’t really know what he’s doing. They joke about what would have happened if Nikki hadn’t worn pants, and it gets a little lame/dirty, but Nikki sees that as “honesty.” They get down to the beach, and JP is being run away with by his horse (heh). Their picnic blanket is laid out on the beach, possibly a little too close to the tide line. Nikki asks what JP talked about with her dad, and he tells her that her dad said he’d better be 100% sure if he proposes to Nikki. She tells JP that she’s fearful of getting hurt, and has gotten close to telling him she loves him, but gets scared. So time for swimming!
They’re at a different hotel for dinner, but the couch still looks the same. Nikki is visibly thinking, though she has to stop in order to explain to JP what “see the wheels turning” means. She’s looking for reassurance, but he mostly just wants to play with her hair. He doesn’t really give her much encouragement, but pulls out the fantasy suite card. Nikki doesn’t hedge before telling him that she’d love to spend the evening with him. As they walk up to the suite, JP tells us in voiceover, “Neekee could be a good partner for me because she’s honest, she’s very pretty, she’s sexy, and she cares about people.” One might wish that the list were a little more…specific?
Their suite looks a little bigger than the last one, but is decorated in similar fashion. Very nice, lots of louvers, couch and champagne, four-poster bed. JP just wants to fool around for a while, but he can tell Nikki’s still preoccupied. This finally leads to Nikki telling him that she loves him, rather sweetly. JP is muttering something back that she seems to be enjoying, but I literally CANNOT hear him because the damn tree frogs are cheeping about three times louder than he’s speaking! Let’s assume he’s happy to receive the news.
Ah, his tongue is happy, anyway. He’s gone for the patented head-grab, deep eye contact, tongue kiss subroutine. Fade to black…let’s leave these crazy kids to their suite.
It’s the next morning, and finally we’re getting some resolution on the Andi date! Or at least, JP is wearing the yellow shirt we saw in the previews. At the moment, he seems to think that he’s prepping for a rose ceremony. In a talking head where he’s wearing a different shirt, he tells us that he still doesn’t know what he’s going to do, and it’s horrible to be this undecided and have three girls all waiting on his decision. But Chris Harrison feels his pain, and is going to do some patented Bachelor therapy.
Chris asks how JP feels at this point, and says, “How have you advanced” since the hometown and overnight dates. JP says he’s feeling “good,” and Chris doesn’t want to let that lie. He’s basically like, “Maybe something’s getting lost in translation, but when you say you ‘like’ someone, to us that means [punches JP in the arm jovially].” Then JP is apologizing for his English again (which is nonsense! Dude lives in Miami! He speaks English!) and basically doesn’t say “I’ve picked her.” In fact, he claims he has no idea what he’s going to do.
To sway him, the women have each left him videos to watch before the rose ceremony. I wonder if Andi’s is just her flipping him the bird?
Nikki is first, and recounts their happy history in case JP couldn’t remember what they’ve done together. She also throws in “I met your family and got to see what a great dad you are,” just to underscore the point. She can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Clare is next, and basically does the same thing. She’s felt their chemistry from Date 1, and she comes right out and says “I’ve fallen in love with you.” She can’t wait to see where this goes.
Andi is of course the last to go, and unlike the other two women, who get shmoopy soundtracks behind their professions of love, she gets no music at first. Her voice is matter of fact as she begins her own recap, but when she gets to the fantasy suite summary, she says that she left with “a lot of thoughts, and I want to share those thoughts with you in person.” Somehow, JP knows to turn from the TV to greet Andi, who’s coming up the walk. Almost as though this were staged! (Say it ain’t so!) She was smiley in the video, but she’s mopey here. And no sexi maxidress or plunging swimsuit…it’s a big button-down and cutoffs for her breakup ensemble. THAT’S the sign of a woman who truly doesn’t care what you think. [Ed. note…they’re lace tiered shorts, as it happens. Still not great.]
Andi’s telling us in the same talking head interview from before that she has no doubt it’s over with JP, and she’s not in love with him and she’s not gonna be. Hmm, seems like this show might not be the best way to make a lasting connection with someone after all! JP is his usual brain-trust self: “She wants to talk to me before the rose ceremony. Maybe she has concerns. Maybe…she wants to tell me something.” Um, yeah, genius, that’s what “wants to talk to me” means.
She joins him on…wherever he is. There’s a bench, and a stone wall, and a view. Let’s call it an extinct volcano. They sit down together and he asks how she is, and she says, “I’ve been better.” Even as he’s asking, “What happened?” he starts touching her face and playing with her hair. Jeez, buddy, give it a rest. She tells JP that over the course of the show, she’s felt lots of emotions, and was giddy and excited on their dates, but that after the overnight, she realized she wasn’t in love with him. Before she can even finish her sentence, he says, “That’s good, that’s fine. If it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be.” And here is the mistake that I think is the match to the tinder: he does not seem even the tiniest bit upset by this news.
Andi’s voice starts to shake as she says, “It’s not OK. It shouldn’t be fine,” and tells him that his nonchalance seems like he doesn’t have any feelings for her. He blames it on ESL, and then tells her that while she only has to think about one guy, he had to think about 27 women, and he had to just learn how to…let them go? Something? But lest she be worried, he still respects her as a woman. She has a look on her face like “WTF?” but he goes on: “Am I gonna die right now? No. Is it sad for me? Yeah, because I do like Andi. If I didn’t like you since week 2, you wouldn’t be here.”
Andi tries to explain that he doesn’t actually know anything about her, and his need to always say, “It’s OK, it’s OK” is actually preventing them from getting to know each other more. He’s now hit the “I’ve stopped caring” portion of the breakup and goes to “What do you want me to do?” She’s begging him to show her any emotion at all–this from the guy who wept at every fricking rose ceremony this season–and then tries a different tack by asking him how HE thinks their overnight date went. He says, “I like talking to Andi. I had a good time.” I am unclear why he has begun speaking about her in the 3rd person.
She brings up the fact that he tells her he had an overnight with Clare, and he expresses surprise that she took his honesty as offensive. Then she says, “You joked about me being here by default.” Ooh, ouch–is this at the root of the issue? We didn’t see it ourselves, but Andi insists he said it, and JP is denying it (mostly by claiming he wouldn’t use that word, which I kind of believe). Oops, but then he over-explains by saying, “I said you barely made it here.” Um, not really helping your case there, Webster. However, the larger point is that his “honesty” is her “being an asshole.”
He doesn’t like all this messy emotion, so he goes for #457 in the Breakup Playbook: “I’m rational, you’re crazy.” Andi hangs on for a bit longer–her ADA is showing!–but eventually moves on to the larger point, which is that he never showed any interest in getting to know the real her. She asks him, “Do you have any idea what religion I am? What my political views are? How I want to raise my kids?” and he has to admit, “I have no idea about any of that.” Mark your calendars, people–this may represent a seismic shift in Bachelor history! Either this will take down the franchise, as its inherently bankrupt premise is exposed…or they’ll just stop casting smart girls.
JP tries to go on the offensive with, “Well, why didn’t you say any of this last night?” which she glosses over a little but acknowledges that she perhaps should have, if she’d realized it. He then tries to turn the tables by asking her, “What’s my religion?” But he’s nonplussed to have her fire back “Catholic,” and the look on his face says, “Shoot, I should have asked a harder question.” He keeps saying “if that’s the way you take it” and then is kind of teasing her now for trying to get him to stop saying “OK.” But ultimately, he either refuses to listen to her or can’t understand that she’s saying he’s not listening, and now he’s just winding her up while she sits there and looks bored and pissed. That’s OK, Andi, now you know he’s an asshole, so you should be able to rebound right quick.
JP gets the face-saving talking head, because it’s his show, so he says, “If Andi had come to me and just said, ‘I thought about it and it’s not going to work,’ I would have been crushed. I would have been very sad. But the arguments…just disappointing right away. She’s a lawyer–I’m not gonna argue with a lawyer. Honestly, putting words in my mouth just killed it right there.” He walks her to the van (no limo) with an arm around her (awkwardly), and as the car pulls away, Andi’s sneering in the back seat. “He doesn’t get it. He never will–it’s not a language barrier, it’s that he doesn’t see it.” It’s all good, Andi–file this one under Dodged a Bullet and don’t look back.
Man, this speech is still going on. Will she ever find love, yada yada. I think this is all ATTENTION THIS IS OUR NEXT BACHELORETTE fodder. Man, this is a long drive.
When we come back from commercial we’re STILL looking at the van driving away! JP is watching another car, pensively. It contains Clare, shrink-wrapped into a black-and-fuchsia bandage dress. We’re cutting back and forth to Andi continuing to talk about how much JP sucks, as Nikki is also escorted to the rose patio (in the most demure dress we’ve seen on her).
Nikki and Clare stand on the patio, slightly confused to be missing one girl. Chris Harrison arrives and says only, “Andi’s no longer here…” as Nikki’s face falls. She wants answers, dammit! Chris lets JP do the honors, and in his sorta-defense, he just leaves it as “she decided she didn’t have strong feelings for me and she wanted to go home.” He does seem to be digging a hole for himself as he says it was sad, but he’s overcome bumps in the road, and I don’t understand why he’s not saying, “But you two were the ones I wanted anyway!” He observes that there are two roses and two ladies, but reminds them that they can say no if they’re not feeling it.
JP calls Nikki first, and she accepts her rose with alacrity. Nikki tells us she’s sad, and misses her friend, and that she felt that she and Andi were “kind of the same person–but not in this case.” Clare also accepts her rose, and observes in a talking head that now that it’s down to her and Nikki, the two of them are completely different, so…
In the ad for the Women Tell All episode, it looks like we’re getting all the tears and drama we mostly didn’t get among the bachelorettes when they were in the house! And Andi’s not done talking shit about JP. And in two weeks, we’re promised “a Bachelor finale that no one will see coming!” They make it look like another “he chooses no one” season, but I assume they’re just messing with us.
Until next week, make sure you actually listen to your partners…and remember, “It’s OK!”