'The Bachelor': NASCAR punches in the stomach. And the heart.
The girls get a suite at the Aria hotel and casino and it's awesome. We aren't the biggest fans of Las Vegas, but if you get to experience it when money is no object, it's probably pretty fun.
Shawntel gets a date card, woo! Love her, Team Shawntel. They head to a posh mall and get to have a shopping spree, wow. Brad and Shawntel appear to be having a great, relaxed, chill time together, it's very fun. She leaves the mall laden down with many bags, so when she gets back to the suite, the girls are totally jealous.
Particularly Michelle, who she think "is not ready for someone like Brad." Whatever that means. Ashley S. and Marissa are also wearing envy green, heh. Shawntel can tell most of them weren't that happy for her.
Do you notice how the little advertisement for casting now just says "if you'd like to date the next Bachelor or Bachelorette," instead of wanting to be the next Bachelor or Bachelorette? Have we completely passed the point of using new people?
That night, Brad picks up Shawntel and they go to a roof-top dinner at the mall where they shopped earlier. It's lovely, very romantic. But it kicks off with Shawntel talking about being a funeral director/embalmer. Brad is pretty cool with it, though, and asks lots of questions. He seems to like how unabashed she is about her job, which she should be, but props to him for rolling with the details, especially as she eats her dinner and slugs down wine while she talks about draining fluids and molding people's faces like it's no big thang. Hee. Could we love Shawntel more? We could not.
The date ends with a rose, fireworks and smooching.
Jackie, Emily, Lisa, Marissa, Alli, Chantal, Britt and Michelle are the group daters, which means it's an Ashley thunderdome for the one-of-you-won't-come-back date. Can he pick neither? Because we aren't fond of either Ashley. And that way these two BFFs can stay together as eliminees.
But first, it's off to the races for the group date, which literally means a trip to the Las Vegas speedway to drive NASCAR cars. Chris Harrison tells us this date was planned long before NASCAR widow Emily was a contestant and the producers chose not to tell Brad Emily's full story or warn Emily because they wanted to let the drama play out naturally. Naturally.
Emily is putting on a brave face and it has been six years since she lost Ricky, but we imagine that would still be at the very least uncomfortable. Brad notices her discomfort (or the producers nudge him into noticing) and he takes her aside.
She tells him that Ricky was a racecar driver and that the Vegas track is what ended his career as a driver and turned him to the ownership side of things. Brad naturally feels super-guilty, but he had no idea so it's not like he did it on purpose.
So she puts on a helmet and gets in a car for her spin on the track, but she voice-overs that Ricky always wanted her to drive and she never would because she was too scared. Aw geez. So now she's driving for another man and that must be a lot of emotions for her. Even our cold, black heart can't take this. It might be silly manufactured "Bachelor" drama, but we still feel bad for Emily. She then says that the first few laps were for Ricky, the last lap was for her and she's ready to move on and find love again. Sheesh.
At the cocktail party, the ladies are starting to get annoyed at Brad's fawning over Emily. Chantal understands that it's 'cause he's a good guy, while Alli gets her b**** on by saying that just because Emily has the worst story doesn't mean she gets the most attention. Alli, meet "The Bachelor." "Bachelor," Alli. Clearly she had not met the show before.
But seriously, it's Brad being a good guy. Stop being so petty and jealous. Anyway, Brad doesn't quite know what to say to Emily because he's worried about having such big shoes to fill and Emily's heart drops, you can see it. She thinks he's trying to run for it now, but she tries to tell him she doesn't want it to be an issue in her life anymore.
After Emily's time, Alli is crying because she doesn't feel special enough. Oh, boo freakin' hoo! If you want to feel special, you make yourself stand out and you command attention. You don't just cry about it when someone else gets more attention than you. Grow up, Alli.
Chantal gets her alone time and she manages to not only come off talking about the Emily thing like a grown up, but she also slips and says "makes me love you all the more." And her backpedaling is adorable.
The group gets very awkward because the girls will not stop talking about feeling special enough, so Michelle steals Brad away for alone time and once again talks about how she's a woman amongst girls. He says he doesn't want to talk about the other girls and she echoes, "Yeah, me neither," but you know she does. She wants to bad-mouth everyone she can.
She then unhinges her jaw and swallows him whole.
After Michelle's alone time, Brad pours salt in all the girls' wounds by giving Emily the rose. Ha! Chantal compares it to being a creepy person watching Brad and Emily go on a date together. Heee.
The two Ashleys and Brad are participating in Cirque du Soleil's Elvis show, which is an awesome combo of acrobatics, sexy moves and great Elvis music. As they rehearse, the two Shanteals talk about which Ashley they want to return. In our head, the Shanteals are BFFs in the game and we want to be friends with them in real life.
Back on the date, the girls are competing for which one of them gets to perform "Are You Lonesome Tonight" in the actual show with Brad that night. And Brad gets to choose. Excellent. Maximum drama achieved.
So Brad gives the rose to Ashley H. and she gets to perform with him. We think we like Crazy Ashley slightly better than Ashley With the Baby Voice and Daddy Issues, so OK. Ashley S. sniffles, "I just feel really sad ... it feels like someone just punched me in the stomach. And the heart." Snort. She just keeps crying and says she has no fight in her. Oh, please. You're like 12. You will move on from this, we promise.
Brad and Ashley H. then get to perform their dramatic duet to "Are You Lonesome Tonight," which plays as Ashley S. cries in the limo. That is some excellent editing right there.
Ughhhhh. Nope, not gonna recap it.
Everyone is nervous if they don't have a rose yet. Lisa and Marissa should be sweating it, they haven't had a one-on-one yet. Chantal gets her alone time first and comes clean about feeling like a voyeur on a date between Brad and Emily. He reassures her and nothing of note really happens, except that he asks her not to give him such a hard time. She says she does it because she likes him.
Brad then tries to make Alli feel special with some alone time that involves a bottle of champagne and a cake just for her that matches her dress the first time they met. She's touched and yes, that's pretty great, but we think that had more to do with the production assistants than Brad's memory.
Marissa tries to make herself stand out by giving Brad an envelope full of random little notes that he can look at at his leisure, so it's like she's sending him the random texts or notes she would send a boy she was dating. That is cute, well done.
Michelle the Maneater takes Brad aside into a bedroom, shuts the door and tells him no talking. She then sits on his lap, runs her fingers through his hair and tells him the other girls don't appreciate him. She reiterates that she's different than the other girls (um, how?), kisses him and tells him to go start eliminating girls. Ugh, she is so gross. She thinks she's so bad-a** and sexy and some kind of temptress, but really she's just gross.
Shawntel, Emily and Ashley have roses. There are five roses to hand out and two ladies going home. Our money is on Lisa and ... Jackie going home. We think it was going to be Marissa and Lisa until Marissa's little note thing. Let's see how we do. Roses go to Michelle, Alli, Britt, Jackie and Chantal. We were wrong. It figures at this point that Brad wouldn't have a connection with Lisa or Marissa, that stinks for them not having had a one-on-one yet.
Lisa is upset, but it seems more because she wanted her chance to fall for Brad, whereas Marissa seems genuinely upset like she already had feelings for him. Hmm.
Coming up: This is the "most controversial" season of "The Bachelorette"? Hmm.
Outtakes: Ashley S., being 12 years old, brought a giant stuffed Mr. Bear along. Who is she, Stephanie Tanner? And she was worried about him being too big for the overhead compartment. John McClane made it work, you can do it.