'The Bachelor': Matt Nathanson gig, Shawntel Newton's triumphant (?) return

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matt-nathanson-shawntel.jpgThe latest "Bachelor" episode sees the girls heading for San Francisco, which is where Ben lives when he's not filming romance shows for ABC. His sister Julia lives there too, so he gets to see and talk to her about the experience.

The girls who get mentions to Julia are Lindzi, Kacie, Courtney, Emily and Jennifer. He hilariously thinks his sister would hit it off with Courtney. Mmm hmm. We've barely seen his sister, but she seems cool and I think she would see through Courtney in about four seconds.

Emily's Date

Her date card clue is "love lifts us up" - I mentally add "where we belong! Where the eagles fly! On the mountain high!," so my theory is that they are heading to boot camp or perhaps a factory. "I got nowhere else to go!" Heh.

But it turns out they are climbing the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Um, yikes. I would be absolutely terrified. Like pee-my-pants scared. First of all, I don't love heights when I'm not enclosed in something (like a plane). I am also scared of suspension bridges. There's a recurring nightmare, it's a whole big phobia. If this was my date, I would honestly probably have to pass.

On the other hand, dates like this are the best way to get close to someone. Sharing an intense experience is a great date. I personally think 87% of the reason Vienna won Jake's season is because of that stupid bungee jump.

And then they have to UNHOOK their carabiners and move them [ incoherent babbling sounds]. Meanwhile, back at the Bachelorette penthouse, the girls spy the date on the telescope in the suite. That's kind of hilarious.

When Emily gets paralyzed by her fear of heights, Ben stops to give her a kiss and she then has the courage to continue. Which makes me want to barf, but he gets so many brownie points for his "Top Gun" reference ("Talk to me, Goose," for those of you keeping score at home).

Emily then gets a little carried away with her bridge metaphor. Some kind of "Up With People" organization should get a hold of her *eyeroll*.

That night at dinner, Emily shares a rather hilarious story about being matched up with her brother on an online dating site. That's so great. And they chat, things seem to be going well and she gets the rose. And Ben gets many, many more brownie points for saying he would love a woman who is smarter than he is, which he thinks Emily is. That's wonderful. And then there are fireworks and they make out a lot.

Group Date


The date card announces that Blakeley, Jaclyn, Kacie, Erika, Samantha, Jamie, Monica, Rachel, Nicki and Elyse. And then Casey S. It was really weird how Jamie held her name back, since on the card her name was between Erika and Samantha.

They go ... snow skiing? On the way, they do some product placement for whatever car that is. And Monica shows off her boobs. Seriously, she might as well have pasties on. Did you see that one talking-head where she looked topless except for a scarf? She should hook up with Vienna when this is over.

Anyway, so the skiing is on a steep hill where there is fake snow and the girls strip down to their bikinis, but put on ski caps and scarfs. If's ... kinda skanky. Most group dates are not this skanky, but this is kind of grossing me out. Am I being weird?

There are lots of thrills, chills and spills on the date. That would be me, I'm a terrible skier. Kacie B. is super cute about it. I still love her, even as she slides down the hill with her butt in the air.

After the skiing, Rachel takes some solo time at the cocktail party and she pretty much immediately starts eating his face. She say they "really connected." That's one way of putting it.

It is bothersome to Kacie, she's jealous. So they go for a walk and she confesses to how hard it is to watch him with the other girls. But they smooch and she feels better about it. Ben talking-heads about how much "trouble" she is for him (in a good way).

Blakeley gets some on-on-one time and just starts complaining about how everybody hates her. Ugh. Stop making this your own personal pity party.

Meanwhile, Brittney gets the second date card, so that leaves Lindzi as the only girl who hasn't had a date yet. And when Brittney gets the date card, she seems bummed about it. Which is insane, as Jennifer points out. Even if you didn't like Ben that much so far, the solo dates are always awesome.

But Brittney isn't feeling it in her heart, so she just packs her bags and leaves. Huh. Well, that's fair to the other girls if that's how she feels. Lindzi should get her date.

She finds Ben to tell him what's going on and tells him not to waste a solo date on her. Good for her. But I'm laying 3-1 odds she comes back later in the season after having thought more about it.

Back with the group, Ben gives the rose to Rachel. Yeah, because they "really connected."

Lindzi's Date

Lindzi gets the date instead, which is good. And she's PUMPED, y'all. Pumped! They hit up Swensen's for ice cream and then at the San Francisco City Hall, they get a private concert from Matt Nathanson. They dance and kiss (Ben and Lindzi, not Matt Nathanson).

Afterward, they go to very cool speakeasy where they have a private room. During dinner, she spills how the guy she was in love with dumped her via the "Dumpsville" text, which Ben cannot believe (and you know why, Ben? Because it's BS). But she gets the rose and they kiss some more, then they go to a piano showroom? That's ... weird. Though it's great that Ben plays the piano - there is just about nothing sexier.


Shawntel's Drop In

OK, here's how I feel about this before I see how it plays out. I was a huge Shawntel fan during Brad's season. I was very bummed when she got cut, even though I didn't really see a huge spark between them. She and Ben as a couple delights me to no end.

However. This is a ridiculous stunt and everybody knows the girls are going to go ape-crap over this. And I kind of can't believe Shawntel would be involved in this. But we'll see how it goes. Also - I will be so disappointed if she leaves after one episode. That's super lame.

Before she arrives, the cocktail party kicks off. Ben tells Jennifer that she's the best kisser in the house. She is understandably delighted at the news. Hee! She's adorable.

Shawntel arrives and Chris tells her she has to go into the cocktail party and talk to Ben before the Rose Ceremony. Dun dun dun!

Meanwhile, Nicki and Ben play a silly game as Courtney makes snobby faces and acts like a witch. But she then hilariously says that Blakeley is the type of girl your boyfriend cheats on you with. Ha!

Courtney then tries to stir up trouble between Elyse and Lindzi, and then huffs out of the room. Monica comes into the room and they start discussing Courtney - Casey calls her misunderstood, while Emily calls her bat-crap crazy. Guess who I side with?

But Ben takes Courtney up to the room for romance and kissing. Ughhhh. She makes me want to vomit. And who finds her pretty? She looks like Missy Pyle with brown hair.

Shawntel finally shows up and the girls predictably ban together and kind of go into crisis mode, while Ben reacts to her entrance with just a giant [ BLEEEEEP]. The girls immediately start dropping the b-word left and right. Classy, ladies. Classy. Does it surprise anyone else how many of the girls don't know who she is?

Lindzi is the only one who's actually slightly nice about Shawntel's arrival. Elyse chews out, "Who IS SHE?!" I can't believe fire didn't come out of her mouth on that. Anyway, Shawntel and Ben talk (they have apparently talked before) and she tells him she has to know if they have something. So she's just hoping for a rose, but she's very mature by saying if he's not feeling it, don't give a rose and they'll be over.

The cocktail party continues and Ben introduces her to the girls, then goes off for a minute to collect himself. He says he hopes the women are gracious and welcoming to her. Uh, yeah. Fat chance.

She does an OK job of introducing herself and some of the girls just immediately go off on her. But then Shawntel drops the word "insecure" - that was a mistake. And the catty remarks are coming from just about everyone. Wow.

Courtney and her square manly shoulders storm off and she acts like she's going to leave. Um, you're not going to leave, stop pretending. And Elyse, Jaclyn and Rachel get REAL ugly. I get the talk about it being unfair. It's not like she had to start from the beginning. That's not fair. But she's not a horrible person. She doesn't kill puppies with her bare hands. And meanwhile, Jaclyn - you look like a dude in drag.

Courtney once again threatens to leave and it's like - don't let the door hit ya, lady. We will not cry over you going home.

Rose Ceremony

Two girls are going home. I predict it's Elyse and Jaclyn, but that may just be wishful thinking. The girls who already have roses are Emily, Lindzi and Rachel, if you'll remember. So the 11 remaining roses go to: Courtney - but then. She says she'll accept it and then says that tonight was "a lot" and brings up "whats-her-butt" ughhh, shut up! - Kacie, Elyse (darn), Jamie, Jennifer, Casey, Blakeley, Monica, Nicki, Samantha and .... then Erika starts feeling nauseous and Jaclyn starts freaking out preemptively.

Ben takes a moment to make a speech and Erika kinda passes out. I suppose it's not that funny, but it's kinda funny. Heh. People are being all melodramatic, dropping the word "dying" and all this crap. Erika and Jaclyn, maybe you should just realize you're not very pretty. Sorry. But whatever.

All the girls are continually dropping nasty words about Shawntel. I mean, I get that they're upset, but do they realize how they acting? They should be ashamed. Obviously, some of them have not been trashing talking (Lindzi, Kacie, Casey), but the rest of them? Guh.

Ben then addresses each of the three remaining girls and gives the final rose to ... NO ONE! Wow. The girls are smiling because Shawntel has to leave. Jaclyn bawls and Erika has to sit down, it's kind of gross. Pull yourselves together, ladies. Jaclyn even goes into a bathroom to cry, so apparently she took her cue from Jenna.

Also, I'm so annoyed that Shawntel isn't sticking around. On her way out with Ben, Courtney cackles, "See ya!" I hope that shows to Ben what a witch she is. As she leaves, Ben tells Shawntel that he just doesn't think it's fair to the other girls. That's very gentlemanly of him, but I wish he would change his mind.

Next week: Park City, Utah

Photo/Video credit: Getty Images, ABC