The Caila Hometown Date
In a fun twist, it turns out that Caila’s from the next town over from where my Mom grew up, in Ohio. I’ll bet Caila was too afraid to go off the high dive at the lake, unlike me, who would Greg Louganis that thing so hard when I was a kid, except not the part where he hit his head and bled everywhere. Also weird: Caila always talks about how she doesn’t have a hometown, and yet here we are, in one that she lived in all through high school. So she’s a liar. She takes Ben to said school, which is regal as all fuck and seems like it’s from A Separate Peace. Don’t trust her if she tries to get you up in that tree, man -- she’s going to jounce the limb. Just you watch, she’s going to jounce it!!
They make out on an amazing bench swing they just keep calling a “bench,” even while swinging on the goddamn thing, and take a trip to her Dad’s office for Take Your Bachelor To Your Dad’s Work Day. The office is actually a factory that makes small plastic houses for children, so her and Ben make one, and he immediately ships it to Amanda’s kids. Ben thinks it would be really fun to build a small plastic house with Caila one day, and live in it.
Time to go to a non-plastic house that Caila does not consider her true home! He’s gonna get the business from Dad Chris, Mom Mursana (sp????), and Brother Also-Chris. “Have you ever met Filipinos before,” Mom Mursana asks? “I don’t know! I don’t think so,” he replies. This is going well so far. Mom looks very young, and not just because of her very prominent braces. Dad describes what Ben’s got as “microwaved fame,” which presumably means that Ben’s fame is quick, will melt most softer plastics, and does weird things when you put CDs in it on high. Just give it a shot, seriously. It’s crazy.
Mom and Caila get some time together, during which Caila whispers that she loves Ben, and mom responds with her voice at a normal level. Has she told him yet? No, no she hasn’t! Mom says time is precious, so why hold back now. But does Mom think Ben is in love with Caila, too? Of course she does. She can just tell.
I’m all for positivity and everything, but this is somewhat terrible parenting. Knowing that Caila’s got, at best, a 50% shot at making this thing real, I’m not totally convinced that this is the right approach, and am in fact very convinced that it’s the wrong one. There’s no need to hop on the “Ben is tall and blandly handsome, so we’re all in love with him” train. That is a train with no brakes, and also no cafe car that sells Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPAs and microwaves cheeseburgers. It’s all about microwaves this hometown. Caila and Ben say goodbye, and she ALSO refuses to tell Ben that she’s in love with him. Seems like that would’ve sealed things up for her rose-wise, but no. Maybe they all hate him now? Maybe???
The JoJo Hometown Date
Ben is so into JoJo that he had the Bachelor producers send her roses and a love note! And as she reads said love note aloud, JoJo realizes that it is not in fact Ben who wrote the note and sent her flowers -- it was Chad, her ex. HE had the Bachelor producers send JoJo flowers and a love note! Then she decides it’s a good idea to call Chad, whose voice sounds like it’s coming out of one of those distorters that kidnappers use so you can’t figure out who they are, at least until Mel Gibson’s kid pees his leg right when he’s writing the reward check and everything makes sense all of a sudden.
I honestly think Chad’s getting a bad rap here. He seems like a swell dude. Hell, in all these weeks, Ben has only given JoJo seven roses, and here’s Chad, sending her 24, out of nowhere! And he’s great at apologizing without saying anything real or heartfelt. Also if he is a kidnapper, he’s probably doing pretty well financially. I wouldn’t be opposed in the least to bringing on Chad as a second Bachelor option for the homestretch here to mix things up a bit.
Ben of course comes in while JoJo’s on the phone with this charming devil Chad, and she assures Ben that Chad is OVER, although I can’t gather why. That settled, however wrongly, it’s time to go meet JoJo’s Dad JoeJoe, Mom Seraya, Sister Rachel, and Brothers The More and More Intoxicated and Useless Cross Examination Crew. The story here is that Mom has had some work done, Dad is won over way too quickly, and the Brothers are possibly in love in weird ways they shouldn’t be with their sister.
“We’re REALLY attached to Joelle,” they say, proving that they know her better because they use her full name she chose to abandon. “WE are her parental figures.” “Have you been coached to give these blandly meaningless answers?” “Joelle comes from a family that’s close. VERY CLOSE.” “Have you brainwashed her?” “Do you know which American Girl doll she had at age 7? Because we do!!!”
Ben seems on the verge of losing it, and attempts to turn the tables. “Am I that evil, where I have planned this all out, where I just want to get your sister to a point where she's falling for me, and then I would break her heart on purpose, just because I like to watch people get hurt??” he asks. And then never says, “no, no I’m not”. He just lets it sit there. Ben, who to this point has been incapable of evil because Ben is boring and evil is anything but, has realized that everything he just said was true.
Meanwhile, the brothers’ beloved JoJoelle gets more bad mom-advice. She tells Mom that she’s falling in love with him -- “him” somehow not being the very charming Chad -- and Mom says “you need to let yourself fall. You’re not going to get hurt -- you’re beautiful! If you like him you’ve gotta give 150% and just go for it.” No matter how confident and brainwashed a girl is at this point, a little hedging is in order here given the percentages. If you have a one-in-four shot on a roulette table, do you put 150% of your money down? Well, if you’re Wesley Snipes and you bet all your money on black, of course you do. But otherwise, terrible bet. It’s also worth noting that Wesley Snipes recently spent three years in federal prison for tax evasion.
They head outside, and make out, and JoJo ALSO doesn’t tell Ben she loves him! Man this is great. But let’s not forget: at least two girls have already told him that, and they were both sent home. Ben believes himself so incapable of being loved that when girls tell him they love him, he presumes they’re lying. I presume the same thing.
All the girls get dropped off in separate limos, and it’s game time. It’s become clear for the first time that Lauren B is significantly taller than the other girls, and in a last-gasp effort to ensure she can reveal them completely in the Fantasy Bang Suite next week, JoJo unleashes her substantial cleavage for the first time all season. Smart.
First rose: Lauren! She’s not even Lauren B anymore. How great would it have been if Lauren H had been camping out behind the pool house, and rushed forward in a haze of isolation and champagne from half-spent bottles and accepted the rose. I’m pretty sure that would’ve been legal.
Caila is up next! Ben can smell that sweet, sweet tiny plastic house money all over her. So we’re down to Amanda vs. JoJo: chase-happy kids vs. accusatory over-loving brothers with prominent Adam’s apples. Amanda has been abandoned once more. On the way out, she’s upset: why didn’t you just leave me in the OC, she asks? Why did you bring me ALL THE WAY 48 MILES NORTH TO LA??? But she’s right. Why did he do any of this? Why did he even keep her around until this episode, honestly, and force her to intro him to her surely very confused kids? What did he expect to hear from them that would’ve made him keep her around? “We don’t poop and we promise not to date, and we also have college funds set up”?
This cut was preordained, yet “superniceguy Ben!!!” decided to keep Amanda around juuuuuust long enough to make her believe this highly compromised fairy tale might actually be possible. Ben is the wolf in sheep’s clothing, from a place where all sheep wear those quarter-zip golfing sweaters. Ben is the bear that eats your kids while they’re eating delicious, healthy porridge, just because he’s too lazy to make more damn porridge for himself. Ben is the worst.
Amanda deals with all this in a remarkably composed and adult fashion, and whisks herself off with a strong face on. Ben’s face is much weaker; he cries for about three minutes, so we know he’s a “person.” We all know you’re the Pied Piper, Ben, and that you are terrible at playing the pan flute.
All the women uncompromised by pesky children will be Fantasy Bang Suiting in... Jamaica!! Everyone will lie and tell Ben they’re in love with him, and Ben will tell the truth and say he’s in love with two of them. And Lauren B might get topless in the ocean. Should be good!!!
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Ben Robinson is Thrillist's Editorial Director, and really does spend his Monday nights doing this. Follow him to hang out with Ames in Gstaad @BatchSlap.