But, for now, we're in Croatia. Dubrovnik, to be exact. Not "Brevnik" like Emily kept saying last week. Dubrovnik. A coastal town of about 42,000 people situated on the Adriatic Sea. Yeah, I totally Wikipedia'ed that. Also, until 1472, the official language was Latin.
It's just Emily this week, as little Ricki has flown back to the States with her babysitter. Babysitter? Hmmm. Normally I think "nanny" can sound a bit pretentious, but when you're putting your daughter on an international flight with a non-relative, I think "nanny" is the way to go. It just sounds fancier. And less like you left your child in the care of a 14 year old with braces and a Justin Bieber ringtone.
As for the guys, John says Croatia is "cool as hell". Which makes me curious if he knows a lot about hell, because historically it's not known for cool temperatures. And Jef loses a brownie point from me as he says that "Croatia is the perfect place to fall in love". In case you're new here, I hate that expression. If the only reason you fall in love is the surrounding geography, you're probably in trouble when you return to your normal geography. Like beer goggles, except for a vacation. Though vacation may involve a lot of beer for some people.
The guys hang out in their suite and Emily comes in to greet them. Is this a new thing? Chris Harrison gets a week off mid-season? It happened with Ben's season, too. I mean, the guy has two jobs... greet people at the beginning of the episode and tell them - for the eleventy-third time - how the dates will work, then preside over the Rose Ceremony and shout "UNO!!" when there's only one rose left. (Okay, seriously, who can I talk to about getting that to happen?) At any rate, Emily drops off the date card. She doesn't even explain that anyone without a rose will be on a plane back to America immediately. And this doesn't seem like the kind of crowd who can figure that out on their own. So the poor guys she didn't give roses to are probably still in Croatia like "Wow, we haven't seen Emily in a few months. I'm starting to think we don't get any more dates..."
The first date card goes to Travis. And also the giant zit on his neck. Not that I'm judging adult acne because I totally get it, but I also get concealer. If you've already lowered your standards enough to carry around an ostrich egg for three episodes, I don't think you should have any qualms about using a small amount of make up to cover your massive blemish.
Travis greets Emily and says "You look gorgeous!" to which she replies "You look nice."
At this point, I think we can just fast-forward to the part where she doesn't give him a rose. "You look nice"? Kiss of death! And, incidentally, the only kiss Travis will be getting from Emily.
But, in case you're just itching to know what transpired on their date, they got ice cream, Emily carried around a Croatian language book, they two-stepped in the street to some guy playing a stringed instrument while dressed like a court jester, and they gawked at the Balancing Stone.
Supposedly if you can balance on this little stone with a carved face jutting out from a wall and take your shirt or jacket off while doing so, you'll be lucky in love. (Believe it or not, this is a legit custom according to the Google search I did. Well, sort of. Here's what one website said: "It is a local custom, you have to balance, take your shirt off, put it on and after that you will meet love of your life.") Travis tries to balance but can't manage to remove any clothing while doing so. Emily tells the camera she's pretty bummed because she wanted to see what was under that shirt. Probably so she could say "Oh, you look nice."
At dinner, anyone want to guess what Emily asks about? Surely not the ex-girlfriend, right? Well, actually, right. Because it's an ex-fiancee in Travis' case.
"What did you do wrong?" Emily asks, obviously trying to win a Sensitive Date of the Year award.
"I don't think I did anything wrong. And I don't think she did anything wrong. It just wasn't right."
Hey, Trav, that's actually a good answer!! Emily agrees. But then seems totally put off that Travis hasn't gone on a single date in the two years since his engagement ended. It's been, what, about a year and a half since Emily and Brad broke up? Aside from any dating she did off-camera, she's already dated 25 dudes since Brad. Clearly, Travis needs to step up the pace.
In a somewhat cruel move, Emily picks up the rose and begins to tell Travis how she likes that he's always smiling... but that she thinks they just have a friendship connection, not romance, and she can't give him the rose. Okay, fair enough, but why pick up the rose and try to fake the dude out? Not cool, Em. Also not cool? Saying "You didn't do anything wrong..." Okay, honestly, I don't think she said that as a throw back to his earlier comment about his engagement. I don't think Emily is mean. It probably was just an honest answer and an unfortunate coincidence.
With that, Travis leaves. He says that rejection sucks, with a capital SUCKS. Then he cries a little. I think. I was distracted by his faux hawk.
That said, I actually liked Travis. Not for Emily, but for a regular girl. Funny, Southern, and relatively good looking. Egg carrying and giant zit aside, totally someone I would set a friend up with. Best wishes, Travis!
While Travis' date was going nowhere, the card for the group date arrived. It included everyone but Ryan, meaning Ryan got the last one-on-one. He tells us "I could manipulate any situations and get the girl..."
Okay, I'm not a Ryan fan, but I hate when they do this. While there's a chance Ryan actually said this about Emily, there's also a chance a producer asked him "If you were Superman and Lois Lane were in a precarious situation, what would you do? Could you save her?" "I could manipulate any situation and get the girl..." But we'll come back to Ryan later.
For now, the guys are off on the group date, which was billed as "Lasting love requires bravery".
John says he's not scared. The more scarier, the better. Really? And the badder your grammar is, the worser my head hurts.
Instead of doing anything actually brave (see: Superman saving Lois Lane), they screen the movie Brave. On one hand, I want to make fun of this. On the other hand, I really want to see Brave. I can't help it. It looks cool. But I will make fun of the number of lame parallels the guys were obligated to draw between the movie and their "relationship" with Emily. "The main character took her destiny into her own hands and I'm doing the same..." UGH!
The movie takes place in Scotland. To "win the hand" of the princess, potential suitors have to compete in some highland games. So, naturally, the guys must compete for Emily's hand in some highland games. In Croatia. For all the private planes and hoopla, it would have made a lot more sense to take a quick flight up to Scotland last week when they were in London and compete in highland games, you know, IN SCOTLAND... but whatever.
Plus, this is a chance for the guys to ride in on donkeys, which Emily tells us is traditional. Croatian men traditionally ride donkeys into battle.
*Cue screeching halt sound* WHAT?!
I was already suspect of the Balancing Stone, which turned out to be true, but this donkey thing seemed absurd. So, I contact the only Croatian I know... or, rather, his wife - my friend Beth.
Me: "Hey, ask Andre if he's ever ridden a donkey or heard of the tradition where Croatian men ride donkeys into battle."So, maybe back in the 1500s when all they had were donkeys, this was something they did because, you know, all they had were donkeys. But this does not appear to be a "Croatian tradition" taught to their students and practiced throughout the country to this day. Of course, what do I know? My people are Irish. We ride potatoes into battle.
Beth: "Nope, he's never ridden a donkey. And Andre just said, 'WHAT?! I've never heard of that. Tell Audreya it's a new tradition to me. Sometimes those shows make up $&@%. That is a new tradition to me!'"
Me: "This show in particular makes up a lot of $&@%!!" (Actual symbols used. No cussing transpired, Mom.)
For the actual highland games, there is archery... which mainly consists of Chris standing in a very effeminate way and shooting the arrow in the ground a few feet from the target. Then the caber toss, where the competitor takes a huge log and attempts to throw it end over end... which mainly consisted of Chris volunteering to go first in hopes to redeem himself from the archery but then being disqualified because the log never actually flipped in the air and just landed sadly a few feet in front of him. Finally, there was the maide leisg, which is sort of a like a seated tug of war. The guys have something like a fat broomstick between them and attempt to use their mighty strength to pull the other guy off the ground. Emily draws names and whoever she draws will pick their partner. Of course, Chris is drawn. He chooses Doug. He says he could have picked someone smaller like Jef, but he thought it would be braver to face Doug. Naturally, Chris loses. But all is NOT lost. Emily awards a tankard engraved with the word Brave to Chris, for being so, wait for it.... brave.
Sean was a little put off by this - in that 'cheery, smiley, not really all that put off by it' Sean kind of way - because he excelled at the caper toss. He even threw it with such force that the log broke. And Emily declared it to be "friggin' hot". But, today I guess she wanted bravery more than brute strength and athletic prowess. Or whatever.
At the after-party, she pulls Sean aside first and talks to him about staying confident in what they have and then they make out. Next, she and Arie talk a walk. He says he knows the Kalon thing last week left her "shooken up". I guess that's a mixtures of "shaken" and "snockered". I really don't know. What I do know is that Arie totally went for it with a "press her up against a wall and clean the plaque off her molars" kiss.
Watching Emily and Arie kiss is reminiscent of when Jason was the Bachelor and he and Jillian pretty much made low-budget porn in a hot tub. Which is to say, it's a bit much and kind of creepy.
Jef, on the other hand, not creepy. When he and Emily talk, he gives her his jacket. Then he tells us that it took him a while to get to a physical place with Emily, but now that he's over that hump... um, something. The word "hump" made me laugh. Jef then tells her that he gives her the kind of feeling that people write novels about. I hope he means romantic novels, but he didn't specify. Stephen King novels? Novels like The Godfather? 50 Shades of Grey? The rest of their conversation is pretty light and flirty. I still like Jef the best, with Sean a close second.
I wanted to like Chris, being that he's from Chicago and all, but that's not really working out. I mean, I think he's probably a decent person but he's kind of a dating doof. He gives Emily a long, rambling speech about if he loves her, he'll love her forever. Or something. Whenever I hear Chris talk, I get busy counting down the days until I'm next in Chicago and can get some proper pizza. It might surprise you to find out that rural Arkansas is lacking in the pizza department. There's one place in town, Joe's, that is actually pretty good and we have a Pizza Hut now, but it's not Gino's East. Or Angelo's in my home town. Mmm, spaghetti pizza! GET IN MY BELLY!!!! In 23 days.
Oh, she gives the group date rose to Chris. Blah blah blah. PIZZA!!!!!
The day of the date, Ryan does some more getting ready. There was another shaving shot. Not sure if it was another shave or just a recycled shot. But, it very well could have been another shave. The guys all jaw about how Ryan is annoying and takes three hours to get ready. Chris says he's kind of a jack--- and that he shaves his legs and plucks his finger hairs. I can absolutely picture Ryan doing this.
When Emily arrives, she sits on the couch and visits for a minute. The date card said "The world is our oyster". Ryan says "The world is our pearl... no, oyster. See! I'm always looking for the good in things and assuming there would be a pearl. You're the pearl!"
Mostly I'm just impressed that Ryan knew the correlation between pearls and oysters. The guys keep their composure (I'm not sure how. I would have LOST it!) until Ryan and Emily leave. Then they literally fall over laughing at his "smooth" speech. Jef does a perfect Ryan impression. +1 more for Jef.
Emily and Ryan drive up the coast and talk, mostly about how he's a douche. When they arrive at their destination, they board an oyster boat. They attempt to eat fresh, raw oysters. Ryan says something about it being an aphrodisiac. Emily ends up spitting hers back out. So, there's that...
After the oyster adventure, they walk the streets. A man shouts at them in Croatian and shows them a picture of himself. And a woman, I think. It was very odd. Speaking of odd, she and Ryan sit down to chat.
Emily brings up that she doesn't like that he is looking for a trophy wife. He talks some more about God and how any man should think his wife was a trophy and some other stuff. At this point, my dad would lift his arm in the air and say "Save your watch! It's too late for your boots! It's getting deep in here!" Full of crap, you see.
At dinner, Emily shows up in a crazy gold dress. Honestly, I think the wardrobe department borrowed it from a petite drag queen. To Emily's credit, she didn't seem too excited about wearing it. She made a comment about "Well, I'm dressed like a trophy, so..."
And Ryan was dressed like a, well, I don't know. He had on normal clothes and what appeared to be blue suede shoes. But big, clunky shoes. It wasn't stylish, in my opinion. Just weird.
At dinner, Ryan reads a list to her of 12 qualities he wants in a wife. I won't list them all because most were pretty generic (Loyal, logical, etc.) My favorite was "Magnetic... this is good... someone people are drawn to"
"This is good?" Stopping mid-sentence to compliment your own writing is like "liking" your own Facebook status. Of course you think it's good. You wrote it. No need to toot your own horn. I don't walk around saying "In my blog, when I wrote about Jef's name missing and F because Kalon took it with him when Emily said 'Get the F out'... that was so good!" I mean, obviously I crack myself up. But pointing it out to others is kind of lame.
Emily isn't impressed by the list. She tells Ryan that she feels like she has to be perfect around him. She also says that the top thing on her list would be a loving family and there was no mention of that on his list at all. So, she can't give him the rose.
Next, for reasons I can't explain, there was about 10 minutes (literally) of conversation shown between Ryan and Emily. He says it's "very shocking". She says it's the first time she hasn't been 100% confident in her decision, but that she has to trust her gut. Basically, this is on a repeat loop with a commercial in between. In the end, he says one more time that she's making the wrong choice. Then he leaves. And tells the camera he doesn't think she'll find the right guy in this process.
The whole time I was watching, I thought maybe she was going to say "Well, now that you've gone on and on and on about why you think I'm making a bad choice, I've decided not to give you the rose but to let you stay through the cocktail party. I'll think it over and make my decision at the rose ceremony." That would have justified all the time spent on Ryan's exit. But, instead, he just got dumped the regular way. No plot twists. I don't get it. Maybe he'll show back up in an episode or two as the token "guy who tries to convince her to take him back". I really don't know.
I do know that the guys were very excited when the suitcase retrieval specialist came and took Ryan's bag away. (Yes, I gave him a fancy title. He deserves it.)
In the car, Ryan talks about how losing sucks but he's still a winner. Then, talking to the camera guy or his producer, he says "I hope I'm portrayed the way I really am. I pray your guys cutting this up will do a good job and portray who I really am and not an arrogant a$$." Well, Ryan, either you really are an arrogant a$$ or the guys cutting this up did not heed your request because you were certainly portrayed as an arrogant a$$. I don't care one way or the other. He really might be a decent guy who got a bad edit or he might be a complete doucheface. Based on the Emily's body language and the things she said in response to him, I'm not inclined to blame a bad edit entirely. He's at least a little douchey.
Back at the suite, Arie comments that if Ryan is the next Bachelor, the Bachelorette will be a mirror. I don't like laughing at Arie's jokes - since I still don't like Arie and since someone probably told him to say that - but, in spite of myself, that made me laugh.
Furthering my dislike of Arie, he was selected as this season's "person who gets to sneak out and visit the lead". Once again, NO, he could not have done this without permission. Whether it was his idea or someone else's, it was planned. If one more person says how romantic it is when someone sneaks out to see the Bachelorette, I swear I'll throw my shoe at them.
Upon arrival, Arie says he's glad she sent Ryan home because he would not have been a good husband. She gives Arie a placeholder rose... the rose she would have given Ryan... and says she'll give him the real one the next night but that he's safe for the week. Then they make out in her bed. Very slurpy, handsy kissing. Very awkward.
In a terrible voice over, Arie says he is definitely in love with Emily and could ask that girl to marry him tomorrow. Again, I refer you to my previous Ryan / Superman / Lois Lane scenario.
At last, the cocktail party. Emily arrives wearing a white dress with sizable sparkles. I knew it looked like something... maybe that epoxy people put on their garage floors? Maybe the sink at Walmart? NO! I know!! A school lunch tray!!
To confirm my suspicious, Laura tweeted me "Her dress looks like a sparkly school lunch tray!" So, that settles it. Emily was wearing a backless school lunch tray. Only not entirely backless because there was a weird bra strap going across the middle... out of the same material, but still.
Right away she tells us that Doug and John are on the bubble tonight. In her first conversation of the night, she and John chat. He opens up a bit and says that he still keeps the prayer cards from each of his grandparents' funerals in his wallet because their love was so incredible. I want to make fun of this but I also have a prayer card in my wallet and, to the best of my memory, it's been in every wallet I've owned. It's not my grandparents', but, you know... I get it. Emily gets it too. She and John kiss.
Next, Doug. He gets really shy and awkward around her. She finally convinces him that he needs to step it up a little, so he puts his arm around her. His hand rests near her hiney. Like, low hip / high cheek area. Nothing racy. But, since it's all Doug has given us all season, the camera zooms in on his hand about 12 times. Whoa! I know we practically watched Arie and Emily do it, but this... this is too much! A hand on the hip? Someone alert the church elders!
At some point, Doug gives an interview which mostly amounts to him crying a lot and missing his son. I want to dislike Doug because he seems a bit unstable and he looks like the love child of Bo Brady and my cousin Jason, but I just can't. He's still soooo in the friend zone, but that's beside the point.
It's time for the Rose Ceremony. Chris Harrison finally decides to grace us with his presence. He prattles on about how serious this is, it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, blah blah. Emily says a lot of the same stuff before she hands out roses. Then, the rose fun begins...
Chris is already safe.
Sean: If I ever need any landscaping done at my house, you can just throw the trees around. That would save me a lot of money.
Jef: I like, still, like, like you. And I like that I, like, say "like", more when we're, like, talking.
Arie: Act surprised, okay? No one can know you "snuck into my room" last night.
To justify his paycheck, Chris steps back in to remind us there is only one rose left.
Emily fondles it for a bit, then says she can't give out the final rose. She retreats outside to find Chris. In case you were wondering, Chris was talking to Cassie Lambert - Emily's producer and Arie's ex-girlfriend. (More on that in a second.)
Emily says that she knows what she wants to do, blah blah. Chris says "You can do whatever you need to. There are no rules."
Chris joins her inside and says "Emily, here is the extra rose you requested..."
I must admit, I wasn't really expecting that. I guess maybe since she axed both guys on the one-on-ones, she needed a few more people heading into next week? Or maybe she genuinely does want to get to know John and Doug more, like she said. But probably it's the first thing. * Update: To clarify, she gave John and Doug roses, so no one when home during the rose ceremony this week. Only Ryan and Travis on their one-on-ones. I can see where I might have worded that confusingly. I was getting kind of bored with my own recap at that point. :-) *
Everyone gathers around for the traditional, pointless toast. Emily says "Next week, we're going to..."
And that's when my DVR stopped.
Luckily, Laura still lives in the Mountain time zone, so she filled me in on the rest.
Next week, they're going to Prague. And next week it comes out about Arie's relationship with Cassie. Considering all the making out Emily and Arie do, I don't think she'll can him right then, but a girl can dream. At best, I hope it will plant some seeds of distrust in her head and she'll get rid of him eventually. If she picks him after that, I'd be a little annoyed. Not at her, per se, but at the show. No matter how it plays out next week, it's pretty obvious to me that they wanted a race car driver on the season because of Emily's ties to racing and Cassie had a connection to Arie, so, there you go. Ostensibly, the show is really about casting people that would be a good fit for the lead... but since half the time the casting is well underway before the Bachelor/ette decision is finalized, I think we can say a good bit of it is about casting people who will fit storylines and various token roles. And I'm under no illusions that there isn't producer input in who stays, at least in the first half of the season. But if Arie wins, that's just going to seem waaaaay too contrived to me. And also, I still hate his face.
So, needless to say, I'm pretty curious about how next week will go. And what non-traditions we'll learn about in Prague. "This is the, um, Praguean River. Legend has it that if you take off your shirt, dip your fingers in the river, make the Sign of the Cross backwards, then spit, you'll be lucky in love. But first, you have to make a wish..."