The BatchSlap Bachelor Episode 2 Recap: Olivia Is Scary, and Lace Is Insane
After the last week's first episode of Bachelor Season 20: The Ben-inning, we’ve established three things: 1) Lace's favorite pastimes are drinking and losing all respect for herself, 2) you can probably trust Mandi for a standard teeth cleaning, but if she starts talking about endodontics, pretend like you need to use the bathroom and just RUN, and 3) Ben is more boring than watching paint grow.
All traditional indicators reveal that the bulk of this season is going to be Ben attempting to remove entropy from all environments. This scares me, deeply, especially as only two girls of the 25 may even be legitimately crazy. This leaves us with some serious holes to fill! By the by, cavities are another thing you should not trust Mandi with.
The second week is always the toughest to recap, mainly because there have not yet arisen any patterns to these people's stupidity; they're all still blank slates, and I'm starting to fear that everyone forgot to bring chalk. Someone get Lace a spritzer!
We first meet Ben at the Four Seasons. He doesn't even have a house! They usually give them a house. Also, after years of waterproofing all the camera gear so they can get within centimeters of the dudes' side-abs in the shower, so far they're only showing us flickers of glimpses of Ben shirtless. Either he's not jacked enough, or he's got an array of Power Puff Girls tattoos on his back.
The First Group Date
Who we got? We got: Jackie, LB, Lauren H, Becca, Amber, Oh Mandi, ever K-Ci-less JoJo, Jubilee from X-Men, Jennifer, and…Lace! Gimme that Lace. “Let’s learn how to love,” the card reads, which is just great, as the only thing that can possibly be more boring than Ben is learning.
Welcome to Bachelor High! That second one is a word that’s never been used to describe Ben. Because he doesn’t smoke weed. Because he is boring. Professor Chris Harrison, who should clearly be Dean Chris Harrison, or possibly Regional Superintendent Chris Harrison, is dressed in intentionally over-dorky glasses plus sweater vest with buttons for fashion, tells them the deal: they will “take classes,” one team will be eliminated each class, and the winner will become homecoming queen. If The Bachelor is not solidifying archaic gender roles in highly transparent ways that will set women’s rights back centuries, does it even exist?
Class 1: Make a Volcano Erupt with Chemicals to Show Ben You Love Him
This one’s pretty simple: you are given an array of beakers full of chemicals, then you dump them into a volcano, and the volcano shoots out what look like those hilarious spring-loaded snakes that fly out of a can of mixed nuts when you open it. Most teams turn out to be pretty good at random chemical dumping! Lace and Jubilee are not. Lace admits her dark truth that nobody would’ve ever believed: she wasn’t no good at no school. Jubilee threatens to kill her, which is scary, because she can. They lose.
Class 2: Open Your Mouth as Wide as Possible, Then Wrap it Around a Red Apple, and Put that Apple On a Tray, Still With Your Mouth
Dammit, Lace would’ve gotten into Stanford if this was what high school was like, and then surely fit in very well. Gackie The Gerontologist is terrible at this and loses. She has the mouth of a 83-year-old man who himself has the lips of a 91-year-old.
Class 3: Place Indiana on a Map
They make them do this because 1) Ben is from Indiana even though he’s currently from Denver and loves pointing that out, and 2) nobody knows where things are on maps and therefore we can laugh at them. But then most do quite well, except they put Indiana where Illinois really is. Becca and JoJo fail the hardest by putting it sideways like it was Tennessee, where Ohio goes. Begone!!
Class 4: Make Free Throws In Gym Class
None of the girls get a note from their doctor saying they don’t have to do gym, but they all should’ve, except for Amber and Oh Mandi, who both have decent form on their set shots despite shooting with both hands. They win. These competitions are not very exciting. This is the sit-and-reach of Bachelor episodes so far.
Class 4: Race Over Tiny Hurdles to See Who is Prom Queen
It’s Oh Mandi vs. Amber, and Mandi clearly has the advantage here: she has the legs of a hurdler, even though these hurdles could be casually stepped over by Peter Dinklage. So she wins. Congrats, Mandi! You and Ben get to hop in a Mustang convertible and drive for at least 60 yards before stopping. Doesn't everyone wish they were back in high school?
Highlights From the Rest of the Party
- If Becca wasn’t terrible at her grain belt geography, she would’ve shown us that she’s got a mean lefty stroke on the hoops court -- she doesn’t miss a single shot, while Ben throws up a bunch of bricks that prove all he can do with basketballs is palm them and hold them out wide.
- The first girl to get made out with is Jennifer the Average Sized Business Owner. Then she tells everyone that it happened, to drive them into a rage the likes of which this world has never seen, unless they’ve seen that Nic Cage movie, called Rage. Don’t see that one, though, see Bad Lieutenant instead; it’s way better.
- JoJo also gets made out with, on a helicopter landing pad, because Ben enjoyed her attitude and her bubbliness. Still no actual helicopters yet this season.
- Ben is a real face-grabber when it comes to kissing. He’s latching onto whatever he can find -- a chin, ideally, but hey, a cheekbone or even nose will do -- and ensuring that things don’t move around too much before his mouth gets there. Way to play it safe, buddy.
- Jubilee: also kissed! Because as a child, she was abducted! Wait, no. Adopted. Before which she was an orphan. Ben’s into that, because she overcame risks. Nothing riskier than being an orphan, really. Sure, sometimes you get taken in by a really rich bald dude who tries to adopt you before Carol Burnett hatches a plan to drown you for relatively little money, but that’s only like 1/3 of the time. Generally it’s all sad rows of bunk beds and shitty gruel.
- Lace is definitely getting into the Zinfandel, and talks about eye contact some more. It’s very possible that she is a staring contest champion and wants to employ her skillset to earn Ben’s respect.
- I hope someone is continually feeding Lace lots of water and maybe some B-12 tablets, or she’s going to be really worn out by morning three of this thing.
- JoJo gets the rose! Great work trying super-hard and having a perfect hurdler’s physique, Mandi. But those will get you nothing tonight.
The One-on-One Date: Caila, Ice Cube, and Kevin Hart
You know this show is in trouble when any date requires bringing in extremely loud comedic actors to ensure Ben doesn’t have to say a word the whole time, so the outing registers as “entertaining.” And yet that’s right where we are already! On the very first one.
They’re gonna take them on a Ride Along 2 The Movie That Is in No Way Paying For Placement, Which Must Mean This is Just a Coincidence! All of the girls love Kevin Hart. All of them seem to be unsure who the fatter older black guy is. The four of them pile into a pretty fly ride, and Ben asks Caila the very exciting and telling foundational relationship question “what’s your favorite color?” while being clearly unsure if he’s supposed to laugh at Kevin Hart’s light racial humor coming from the backseat.
They hit a liquor store where Cube makes a pretty good joke about robbing the place, Kevin Hart claims to have made fried chicken in a crock pot, which is impossible, and NOBODY IS WEARING SEAT BELTS. Maybe Ben's loosening up a bit. Eventually Ben and Caila drink bubbly in a hot tub that itself is in a hot tub store, while Kevin Hart either 1) farts, 2) makes loud fart jokes but doesn’t actually fart, or 3) actually farts, then swiftly makes loud fart jokes to cover up all the farting.
With Kevin Hart and Ice Cube safely locked away in the plexiglass cube Universal keeps them in between movies so they don’t do anything interesting with their lives, the night portion sees Ben wear a leather jacket at an attempt at becoming not-boring. It doesn’t take. He talks about his highly substantiated fear of being unlovable, she recounts her “met the ex on a plane, saw him in Boston, and assumed that meant we should get married” story, and they go to a concert of a guy I’ve never heard of before, who sings Ben’s “favorite song”. I even tried to Shazam his "favorite song", three separate times, and Shazam kept crashing, which isn’t a great sign. They make out, she gets the rose, blah blah blah. All those blahs said, I think we’ve got a top-fiver here in Caila. She’s cute, she’s easy to get along with, she’s not an orphan, and like Ben, she also sells QuickBooks. Can’t miss.
The Second Group Date
“Are we a perfect match?” This is the date that will determine if any of these girls are indeed those strike-anywhere matches that cool guys in movies light on their stubble. Emily, Shushanna The Communist, Sam, someone else who clearly doesn’t matter, Amanda, and Local News Olivia: you’re up! Olivia keeps opening her eyes and her mouth really, really wide, making it very obvious that the alien lizard within is attempting to escape its feeble and pointless human shell way too early in this show’s lifespan, if it hopes to win.
This date is not interesting, but they try their damndest to pretend like it is. They pay a visit to the Love Lab, at which a guy (not; can’t be) actually named Dr. Love says that while people for a long time have chosen who they love because of feelings, he thinks it’s time to turn that all over to science. Perhaps seismology will determine who gets to marry Ben, then drop him after In Touch stops putting them on the cover!!
This whole charade quickly devolves into a dystopian future in which everyone has become as boring as Ben, and only wears matching white outfits issued by a totalitarian government that fears individualism. Then Shushanna speaks English (dammit!) and Ben smells the girls and decides that Sam smells “sour.” Local News Olivia ends up scoring a 7.45 out of 10, which, as everyone knows, means that Ben's now bound by science to be in love with an alien lizardperson, forever.
For the night portion they head back to the Four Seasons, where Amanda gets enough time to have Ben have the casual-est reaction to a contestant having two kids back home in the history of this show, and also just actual life. “Yeah man, that’s cool. So very, very cool. And look at how cool I’m being about it being cool. I’m as cool as your 2.5-year old daughter, who is cool.” Ben also kisses Olivia, creating heat in her stomach area. Olivia gets the date rose, and Amanda wonders why she had those kids in the first place if they couldn’t even get her a You Just Told Me You Had Kids So I’m Clearly Cutting You, But Here, Take This Rose So You Can Feel Good One Last Time rose.
Olivia’s being built up to be this huge villain, and obviously no lizard alien is going to be a good guy. But if she doesn’t start trying to be crazy around him way harder, this show is going to deteriorate into Ben being really nice to everyone and eventually finding a wife he will be happy with forever. And lord, we can’t have that. Olivia is the clear No. 1 here, which means she’ll be around -- which can’t necessarily be promised for Lace -- which means she should have time to terrorize these girls with time-stealing and vaguely grating comments, but I want her to go up about four levels next episode or ELSE.
The Cocktail Party Highlights
- Olivia steals time from Ben even though she already has a rose! Which is deplorable, yes, especially since I'm pretty sure that if they have, say, 15 girls, the producers tell them "only 12 of you are getting time with Ben and then we're cutting this thing off, so...go!!!" And this would eat into that total. But I don't feel bad when people get mad and complain but do absolutely nothing about it, which is what happens here. BE GREEDY, LADIES!!! “I need to borrow him”. That’s all you need to say. And he will allow himself to be borrowed. They always do. I can’t remember a time when the Bachelor ever said “no, you may not borrow me.” Ben is like a library book: beaten down by overuse, and possessing a questionable spine. Damn, that kinda worked.
- Ben does some repulsively thoughtful stuff for a few of these girls. He gives Lauren B the Stewardess a picture of the first time they met, by the limo. He gives Lauren H a blue ribbon for being the best volcano exploder at the science fair. He takes a whoooole lotta time away from the others to make hair clips with Amanda for her daughters, which involves the use of a hot glue gun and frighteningly innate knowledge of the word “barette”.
- But the best part, as always, is Lace. Lace keeps getting interrupted -- the Bachelor Sharing Economy at work! -- and so she counter-interrupts to get more time with Ben. Then she smartly ensures they’re in a place where all the other girls can hear her as she tells him that she knows she’s coming off crazy, that she has a bold personality, she was very dorky looking when she was a kid, and that her brothers denied to their friends that she was their sister. None of this goes very well. She runs off to cry in the bathroom and presumably switch her wine receptacle to a pint glass. All Lace needed to do was relax, be tall and attractive, and wait for Ben to come to her. Now she’s constantly playing defense, and although everyone knows the best offense is a good defense, that doesn’t seem to be working here, and you shouldn’t really be playing sports after downing three liters of wine, anyway.
Here we go again! Olivia, Caila, and JoJo are safe so far. A bunch of girls be going home -- they’ve gotta cull this thing quick if they ever want to have a foreign nation’s tourism board pay for travel for the second half of the season.
First up: Amanda. This is a classy gentleman’s move here. Even if you’re going to cut her within the next three weeks, there's no reason to make the Mom sweat. Jubilee is up next even though she’s clearly in love with Gambit. Leah and Becca get some well deserved roses, and then Rachel, who has been something of a non-factor so far but is pretty cute, locks one up too. Next up is…Lace! She did it. She is amazingly happy! This is all she needed. The best part is that she is millions of miles from realizing that tomorrow she will once again be miserable and insecure and doing incredibly desperate things all over again. She really thinks this just solved everything.
LB, come and get the next rose…but wait! She wants to have a talk with Ben outside. Um…she’s not feeling it! It’s not for her and she wants to go home. Where in the world did this come from? They didn’t even tease this with footage of her spilling her doubts earlier in either episode. And she didn’t even make a scene, so I’m not going to spend any more time on this at all.
This has to throw Ben’s decision-making way off -- you have to assume that he came into this knowing exactly who he was cutting, and isn’t making this up as he goes along, based on eye contact. So let’s see who slips in. Jennifer, Jamie, Lauren H: I’m not really sure who any of you are, but you’ve got roses. Emilynhaley: you are also way more boring than you should be, but have provided glimpses of comic relief, so you stay too. Shushanna is speaking English now, which is a shame, but she’s also got a rose. Which means the last one goes to…Amber! Amber? Why? Unless Ben is sitting in Chris Harrison’s control center watching tape of her complain about everything, it seems like they haven’t even seen each other. Oh Mandi is clearly insane, but she’s been fun about everything and beat the crap out of Amber in those hurdles...FOR WHAT??? Jackie and Samantha are unimportant as well, especially since Samantha smells distinctly sour, but still: I see no reason to keep Amber here. You can thank LB, Amber. I will not.
We get those WWI-era biplanes! They hang out in hot tubs that aren’t even in hot tub stores! Amber whines about getting time, which is new! Ice Cube goes back to being unknown by people under 27!!
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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.