Do you non-sci fi nerds know what a “red shirt” is? In OG Star Trek, they’d always put the unknown, fresh actors in red uniforms whenever they’d beam down to a planet and those dudes always, always, always got killed. Since then it’s become a term for any character in a story who’s sole purpose in the plot is to die. Directors will even acknowledge this by putting the soon-to-be-killed in red clothing (ex: Lost). Anyway, the point is that this is the part of the season where we know pretty much who’s going to make it to the end and who’s pretty much just a red shirt, that is, filler—girls just waiting for their turn to not get a rose.
And because of this, this week was incredibly boring and unsurprising. There was what, like 14 girls at the start of this episode? Pretty sure Emily, Michelle, Chantal, and Shawntel are going to the end, so we have to sit through filler episodes while Brad kills off the girls we all know don’t stand a chance. The only surprise was how bad Ashley H seemed to do this week. Kind of spazzing out. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We start with another early, makeup-free morning, and again I think how almost all the girls look better like this. For no reason at all Michelle has a black eye, although with none of the requisite swelling. It’s very odd. No accusations. No paranoia. Just, “weird, I got a black eye, I must be beating myself up in my sleep!” Even Michelle hates Michelle.
First one-on-one date is with Chantal. The invite says “How Deep is Your Love?” And I’m hoping for some sort of Bee Gees date. Not so. They chopper to Catalina. Side note: The producers continually cut to Michelle’s interview so we can hear her spout hate about Brad and the other girls. It’s manipulative and annoying. I’m sure all the girls are coaxed into saying bad things, but they want Michelle to be the villain so we have to listen to it over and over again.
Brad and Chantal are going to walk on the sea floor courtesy of goofy helmets. Chantal says that one of her deepest fears is deep water. I swear, Brad could take a girl to a bowling alley and it would turn out that her dad had lost his hand in a horrible bowling hustle gone-wrong. Tearful confession ensues. Anyway, here are the two skipping along the sea floor, destroying the fragile eco-system for a view of some kelp and three or four fish:
They go back to a tent on the beach and dig each other until it starts to rain and then they go inside, but not before Brad hands out a rose. Brad says that it’s like having a girlfriend. He also says that the day feels like any other day in his life. Dude goes on some really expensive fancy dates in his day-to-day life.
Straight to the next day and the group date (it’s a group composed entirely of women that aren’t going to win). They’re all going on Loveline so Brad can share his love of therapy in an open, judgement-free environment. Note that they aren’t actually ON the show Loveline. Dr Drew doesn’t even talk into a mic. They talk about cheating (only one girl has and it was back in college) and how Brad is just looking to get to know the girls and wants them to know him. The best part was a girl talking about getting to know Brad that I’ve never even seen before.
After Loveline they go back to Brad’s house for some jacuzzi action. The girls all think Brad’s a really great guy for being so brave on Loveline and talking for the one millionth time about how he just wants a girl to open up (cry and/or make out) with him. They then take turns stealing him away and complaining about having him stolen away.
Meanwhile, back at the house, Michelle finds out that she’s finally getting her one-on-one date (girls, lesson: pouting, bitching, and acting entitled WILL eventually pay off). Chantal does the most awesome thing I’ve seen all season (not saying much) when she points out that Michelle’s invite is the first not to mention “love”. This causes Michelle to freak out while the production team in the back of the house is like, “Did you realize we were always using the word ‘love’ in the invites?” “Never even occurred to me. I thought you were just a shitty writer with a limited repertoire and a love of bad romance puns.”
Back on the date, Britt finally meets Brad and then puts her tongue in his mouth for a while. Ashley H can’t handle sharing Brad hanging out with other girls and bitches and argues openly about it. Brad’s about to give Ashley the rose when she goes, “I HATE this it’s so awkward.” And Brad kind of gets pissed. “What’s so awkward? I’ll wait.” It gets really quiet. Ashley mumbles something while the jacuzzi groans and bubbles and everyone looks around uncomfortably. Brad responds by taking Brit aside (who he’d never even seen before today) and giving her the rose.
The next day, Brad shows up for his date with Michelle and instead wants to talk to Ashley H. Mega burn. Michelle is pissed. Like, really pissed. Me, me, me, me, me. Anyway, her mood improves once they get to Brad’s house and the helicopter shows up to take them downtown. The producers have totally solved the Los Angeles traffic problem.
They land (just once in my life I want to land in a helicopter on the roof of a building. Just once.) and have to repel down to the pool for dinner. Michelle’s afraid of heights. Of course. To be fair, I think most people are rationally afraid of repelling down the side of a high rise. She cries a little bit. Nice of Brad to make her go through this. She does though. Trooper.
They spend the next 4 to 5 hours in the pool drinking champagne and making out. Michelle goes, “I am confident in a future with him solely from repelling off a building.” Pretty sure her delusions had her prepared to spend her life with him already. She says, “The other girls can’t even compare to what I’ve been able to share with him today. Boom!” and then does an awkward white girl fist pump. It’s embarrassing.
They have dinner and get in the hot tub. Brad gives her a rose, of course. Brad seems to like her. He says he can see himself taking care of her daughter (he seems strangely interested in her daughter). Michelle might be around for a while…
The next day Brad visits with his therapist, who’s sole job is to validate Brad’s actions. He actively encourages Brad to make out with as many women as possible.
As usual, the girls all sit around and realize that they all feel special and all feel like they’re the one which means they aren’t special and they aren’t the one. It happens every season. Love it. In order to really slap the girls in the face, Brad decides to have a little picnic with Emily in the middle of the cocktail party. Say what? Dick move! Emily looks like she applies her make up with a spackle knife and air brush.
Chantal starts crying and almost quits because clearly Emily is going to win (or is she?!). Then she talks to Brad and he smooths it over.
He hands out roses and there are no surprises. He gives Ashley H hers last to let her know she’s on thin ice. Meghan, Stacey, and Linda all get the boot. Don’t worry if those names aren’t familiar. Meghan does this bizarre, half-run, shoulder-stooped, arm-swinging exit like an old school WWF wrestler prancing around the ring.
Stacey is pretty chill about it. Linda seems cool about it and then breaks down in tears and says that her dad will be proud of her. Oh God! Enough with the daddy issues!!!
Next week Brad brings Emily to the race track. I’m not kidding.
Birthday shout out to friend and reader Liotte!