The Bachelor Fantasy Suite Episode Recap: Who Will Go Horribly Unloved??
This is the week, people. The week where everyone tells Ben they love him. The week that Ben tells two-thirds of those everyones that he loves THEM. The week that three girls file, one by one (presumably), into a little thing called the Fantasy Bang Suite, they cut the cameras off, and Ben shows them how an uninterestingly handsome high school quarterback from Indiana who consider himself to be unlovable DOES things.
Let’s get right down to the dates that Sallah from Raiders of the Lost Ark would surely refer to as “bad dates”, and are likely also capable of killing monkeys.
The Caila FBS Date
“You look incredible!” That’s Ben’s opening line. Of course it’s Ben’s opening line. Ben’s only slightly veiled existence as a dangerously surface-level valuer of women has been well-documented in these recaps, and will be documented even weller right now. Of course all people enjoy being told they look incredible; that in itself is not a bad thing. But never once has Ben greeted one of these women with, “My sweet muse, how I’ve missed your recitations of Chaucer,” or a simple, “How abundant is my desire to hear your educated position on the ongoing crisis in Syria,” or even, “cool pants.” Never once. Just: “you look hot, sheeeeeeeeeet, grrrrrl.”
Despite that, this date starts out really well! Well for the Jamaican guy driving the weird boat made of bamboo, who prefers silence, so he can more deeply ponder the mysteries of this earth. Because while on the boat, Ben and Caila don’t talk, at all. The producers can’t even stitch together 45 seconds of them commenting on how watery the water is here in Jamaica. Let’s recap this part of the date in greater detail:
And there it is! Fast forward to the night date!
Alright, we’ve got a huge problem already: they’re at Sandals, and Ben is wearing close-toed shoes. At SANDALS. Save those things for when you’re visiting the exotic New England vacation resort paradise Loafers, Ben. But guess what: talking is happening again. Caila runs down how she feels weird because the other two girls are falling for Ben too, and talks about how in every other relationship she’s had, she’s had doubts, and it’s felt wrong... but this just feels right! More importantly, part of her -- likely her mouth -- has wanted to tell Ben something for a long time. And that something is unsurprising, since the previews already told us. She loves him. HEY GUESS WHAT GUYS CAILA LOVES BEN!!
How does she know she loves him so? She feels it when he looks in her eyes, because eye contact is a positive sign of love. The majority of people who have looked each other directly in the eyes are in love with each other. This does not apply to staring contests, of course; those people are hardened competitors, and hate each other viscerally. But for everyone else: pure love. Visibly unsure of how to respond, Ben says nothing and reverts to his safety zone: making out.
The Fantasy Bang Suite Card comes out, Caila says yes without even pretending to hesitate, and they go in. Before you know it, he’s got her stripped down to a bikini, then the lights go out and the shades go down as fireworks that quite bluntly represent sexual intercourse explode in the background. There is zero question that they did the ol’ Horizontal Electric Slide all night long.
Oh, to be the first girl to the FBS. It actually seems almost easy. There’s very little to think about, except for stuff like “what will my parents think of me doing sex with men on national television?” and “does Chris Harrison make you use condoms?” The best part is, you know with pretty solid certainty that the guy hasn’t engaged in the Semi-Vertical Macarena with anyone else in nine weeks, so you just go for it. Your mind is blessedly clear. The other girls have to drink enough light Jamaican lager to forget that Ben’s done the Prostrate Carlton Dance with at least one and possibly two different women not named them within the last 48 hours. That said, her parents still essentially saw her have sex on national television.
The Lauren B FBS Date
On this date, Ben will feed his ever-growing God Complex in a new way: freeing thousands of adorable baby sea turtles that were absolutely supposed to meet their immediate demise at the claws of crabs, and sending them into the sea, thereby disrupting the will of the actual god who created a delicately balanced ecosystem. They dig the turtles out of the sand with a kindly nature-thwarting gentleman and wash all the sand off them. Then they put them BACK ON THE SAND, where they get extremely sandy all over again, before going into the ocean to spend the next century posing for photos for the NatGeo Instagram account.
After standing under a double rainbow that might indeed be a triple rainbow, and going to a reggae concert where they look a touch out of place, it’s time for Love Admission Dinner. The FBS card comes out, Lauren B accepts immediately, and guess what: there’s been something she’s been meaning to tell him! What could this be?? Oh, she is completely in love with him. Which, again, we already were clued into. “I’ve known I’m in love with you for a while as well,” Ben tells her. Lauren B did not expect this! She is overjoyed!! She smiles, they make out, and our two newly minted love-turtles spend alllllll night saying how much they love each other, and possibly also doing the Recumbent Chicken Dance.
Quick side note: as noticed last episode, Ben has a giant tattoo with words about god on his oblique. Words about the very god he just played by allowing adorable tiny turtles to live, instead of being eaten by crabs on a beach. Isn’t anyone thinking about the crabs here? What the hell happens to the crabs when they can’t eat delicious baby turtles?? They die, probably. We live in such a blindly turtle-focused world I can’t even believe it sometimes. Sickening.
The JoJo FBS Date
Let’s do another! JoJo meets Ben, and tells him that she wishes there were more words than “happy” to describe how great she feels around him. She’s right. It’s really too bad that words like blessed, blest, blissful, blithe, can't complain, captivated, cheerful, chipper, chirpy, content, contented, convivial, delighted, ecstatic, elated, exultant, flying high, gay, glad, gleeful, gratified, intoxicated, jolly, joyful, joyous, jubilant, laughing, light, lively, looking good, merry, mirthful, on cloud nine, overjoyed, peaceful, peppy, perky, playful, pleasant, pleased, sparkling, sunny, thrilled, tickled, tickled pink, up, upbeat, or walking on air don’t exist. This show would be a lot more interesting if they did. One day!
The two head over to a waterfall, which JoJo should NOT go chasing, as it’s clear that the rivers and lakes to which she is accustomed are what she should adhere to. Even knowing this, she chases anyway. JoJo tells Ben that it’s so hard to say “I love you” because she’s scared. Although everything that she’s said makes her feel like she does love him. Except “I love you,” of course. She’s really hedging her way into this one. But then: “I DO love you! It's weird that i just said that because i've been so terrified about saying that.” Well that’s just what you have to say at this point of the show, but what does it matter, because Ben is already madly in love with Lauren B, so... ”JoJo, I LOVE YOU TOO.”
This just isn’t something you do, if you are a normal person who has a thing the Russians -- even the Russians! -- call empathy.
JoJo is flummoxed. She did not expect this response. Not because she is privy to the fact that Ben told Lauren B the exact same thing 24 hours earlier, during which time many poor, hungry crabs have starved to death. But because she knows that Ben is absolutely not allowed to say those words to girls until he has proven said love by giving them a Neil Lane ring he didn’t pay for.
And yet he has, twice. There’s a lot to unpack here. First off, we already know he’s barred from saying this stuff, and is just doing it anyway. What a bandit. Deviating from the Chris Harrison Process to Finding Love will almost surely result in the kind of Bachelor Karma that nobody wants, and almost always ends up with you living in the same junior-one-bedroom apartment as Vienna. Secondly, most men who are in love with a woman do not tell another woman that they are in love with them, too, shortly after. There are a few possibilities for why this is all going on: 1) Ben has a rare disease that causes him to forget all the times he’s ever said “I love you” to someone. 2) Lauren B’s reaction when she was certain he wasn’t going to say it, but then he did say it, was so intensely satisfying to Ben's baser women-control serotonin distribution system that he just had to do it another time, because he knows he’ll never feel such power again. 3) Ben is a horrible person who likes to fuck with women on grand stages because of, again, power.
Even if you really, really like both the ladies, this just isn’t something you do, if you are a normal person who has a thing the Russians -- even the Russians! -- call empathy. Both girls must now be convinced that they’re the one-and-only anointed winner, which is a really nice way to feel right up until the point where one of them finds out that no, he actually told the other girl the same thing AND MEANT IT, and then gets sent home ringless in a Jamaican dinghy.
But then there’s the other-other girl! The one who won, and of course presumes she got the lone love profession from Ben, and then has to watch this episode in the midst of being physically separated from him by ABC for between four and six months while the show gets produced and then airs. How the hell do you explain this all to her? And really, why say anything at all?? The girls know you’re not supposed to! And won’t leave if you don’t. It’s the easiest and safest way to do this, and really, the only classy, smart manner in which to do what The Show wants.
To wrap this all up: Ben and JoJo go to the Fantasy Bang Suite to do the Supine Walk Like an Egyptian, and love might finally be dead.
But then something else crazy happens
Man, this Ben can guy sit on deck furniture and pretend to think. Right up until the part where Caila sneaks up on him to see if he’ll tell her he loves her, too! Then things immediately go horribly. Ben clearly had no idea she was coming, which is the best move by the producers in weeks. He smiles all big, then gives her a hug and, once his head is out of sight to her, gives the kind of look you give when you’re hugging someone you hate and you know they can’t see your face. It’s a mix of fear, exasperation, bewilderment, and looking like you think they smell funny.
Ben doesn’t know how to deal with this, clearly. He’s exposed, and goes somberly on and on about what a great and crazy experience this all has been, but also that he realized... that he's in love with two women here. And that he just couldn't say it back to Caila, too. He didn't know why he couldn’t, other than the fact that everyone knows being in love with three women you’ve spent a total of six hours with is even more impossible than being in love with two. “It's really hard to imagine saying goodbye to you.” “That sounds like a line,” she fires back. It is! It’s a line from Airplane 2: The Sequel, which the producers feeding Ben his lines have clearly been watching a lot.
Here’s where Caila blows it. Let’s count her blunders. She’s rightly upset, and says she’s going to just go right now, which would be a strong move! But then she allows Ben to walk her out (Blunder 1). Out by the car, as Ben stares off like the sociopath this show has molded him into over just nine short weeks, she for some reason feels the need to tell him “I really did love you” (Blunder 2). She throws herself into the car, and is ready to drive off and get a good cry in, but then she hops out and says that she might as well take advantage of this time and get any answers she can. This has SO much potential to be fantastic for her and smited women everywhere. Give him the business!
She asks, in the most delicate Bachelor-friendly terms, if he knew she was going home, and did the Parallel Cotton-Eye Joe with her anyway. Ben tells her that all three women shared the same feelings as him -- LOOK AT ME I’M BEN ALL THESE BRAINWASHED WOMEN BE IN LOVE WITH ME I’M SO HOT!!! -- and that he couldn’t hold back, on telling the other two the same. Caila seems oddly ok with this (Blunder 3). And instead of just getting back in the car, she tells him that she will miss him (Blunder 4) and turns back to hug him one more time (Blunder 5). Oh man, what a missed opportunity. This could’ve gone so differently. Caila had the right intentions, which were becoming the feminist icon this show needs by savaging Ben and standing up for every woman who’s done the Languid Whip My Hair Back and Forth with a Bachelor, then got cut the next day. But The Show’s indomitable grip on her mind re-asserted itself, her resolve fizzled, and she became yet another cowering, slavish victim. RIP girl power.
Ben fake-cries for a while while Caila real-cries
He’s really bad at it.
The Rose Ceremony they still do, because order-supporting procedures must be followed
Chris Harrison is here to look surprised when the girls both tell him that Ben told them he loves them. And boy does he do a great job. Maybe he knew already, maybe he didn't, but the looks of “but…but…those AREN’T MY RULES” are wonderful and priceless. Ben tells JoJo and Lauren B that Caila is not indeed showing up, and they do the roses. Is there any symbolism to JoJo getting the first one? With zero evidence in front of me I’m gonna say yes. Maybe because by this point, Ben has forgotten that JoJo wore a gigantic rubber unicorn mask when she got out of the limo on the first night.
Ben makes them do the most awkward group hug in history, including the one I was forced to do by a swarm of 35 Burning Man People at a party in San Francisco one time. In the confessional interviews following, both JoJo and Lauren B seem to have an inkling that Ben is also in love with the other one, too. I have no idea how they’re onto him here, but they just might be, which, if this all goes well, could lead to tough questions and Ben’s ultimate demise next week. Oh, to see him falter, to see this all disintegrate, to see him ask for Chris Harrison’s phone so he can call Olivia when the other two leave, and propose over FaceTime.
It’s the Women Tell Some episode! Normally these things are just the girls screaming at each other, which is certainly fun, and will happen with Olivia at least. But this time there should be a lot more love-related fireworks, too. I’m pretty sure they throw this episode in now to give Neil Lane two additional weeks to polish his head, which is totally reasonable.
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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.