Bachelor Pad: Synch or swim (spoiler alert)
If what I think happened on Monday's Bachelor Pad really happened, then we've lost one of the things that was keeping this season interesting.
Yes, I'm talking about the tension between Jake, ex-fiancee Vienna and her new boyfriend Kasey, and also between Kasey and Vienna because of Jake's presence in the mansion.
With Jake gone home, what are we left with? Kasey and Vienna getting so turned on by their triumph over Jake that we get endless shots of them slobbering all over each other? The terrible twosome coasting to the finale as their allies cheer them on and their enemies get picked off two by two? How boring is that?
Jake was basically a dead man walking after last week's episode, saved by a rule twist that saw only women get sent home, but he was certain to go this week unless he won the challenge or some woman took pity on him and gave him a rose.
He didn't win the challenge Monday, a synchronized swimming competition (more on that later), but the tide began to turn for him when Erica, mesmerized by his "big package" (her words, not mine), decided to join Team Jake.
Offering crazy Melissa a shoulder to cry on gained Jake another ally.
And with Chris Harrison revealing the latest twist -- no women would be sent home, just one man, but both men and women would vote -- Jake recruited Blake and William by arguing that the surest way to the $250,000 prize was to break up Vienna and Kasey.
Ella got on board the "get Kasey" train too. Just one more vote was needed, Kirk's, and Jake would vanquish one of his enemies.
We never saw how Kirk voted. We saw him talking to the camera about how he was the swing vote and "it really makes sense to vote off Kasey," but we didn't see whose photo went into the slot.
At a more tense than usual rose ceremony, Jake was vowing to "take some people out with me" if he went and Kasey was considering punching Jake in the mouth (which would be much more effective than punching him across the face).
It was "the closest vote we've had on Bachelor Pad," Chris said.
"The next name I call out, please step forward, you're safe," he said, as Jake and Kasey waited anxiously with just rose on the table.
Finally, he spit out the name: "Kasey." And then the screen cut to a commercial. When the break was over, we got no fisticuffs, no bitter words, no limo ride of shame, not even any promos to next week, just Jeff, the masked man from Ashley's Bachelorette season, doing a very poor synchronized swimming parody in the pool.
Some fans were speculating Tuesday that Chris was messing with Jake and Kasey, and that Jake was actually safe. I'm pretty sure he's gone, but the producers want to prolong the suspense.
I'll tell you what makes me extra certain about this. ABC has already posted photos on its website of the challenge from next week's episode. Jake isn't in them.
In the meantime, here are other highlights from this week's show:
The Challenge: This week's was weirder than last week's but less humiliating depending on how you feel about men in banana hammocks, and women in bathing caps with plastic flowers glued to them. The men and women had to separately learn synchronized swimming routines and perform them for a panel of judges that included Season 1 winners Dave Goode and Natalie Getz, and gold medal synchronized swimmer Karen Rosolowski. Surprisingly, the men were better than the women, whom their trainer compared to "broken, lazy marionettes." They couldn't even dive. "The closet thing I've done to synchronized swimming is laying out by a pool," said Erica. Vienna and Holly both got props from the judges, but it was Michelle who won the rose. On the guys' side, Jake put his Dancing With the Stars training to work and threw himself wholeheartedly into the routine. But the judges apparently weren't as impressed by his "big package" as Erica was and the rose went to Michael, who's a breakdancer (seriously?) in his non-reality TV life.
Date No. 1: Michelle got to take Kasey, Blake and love interest Graham on a wine-tasting date. Silly, deluded Blake actually thought he stood a chance of getting the date rose. That is, until Michelle took him aside and let him know she had her girl Melissa's back. You'll recall that Blake made out with Melissa on last week's episode just so he could get a rose but got caught flirting later with Holly, which sent Melissa into a jealous fit of anger. "I'm here to tell you, you need to fix that and if you can't fix that and make amends, I think you're in trouble," Michelle said. Luckily, Graham didn't get lectured when she grabbed him for some one-on-one time. Instead, she confessed that she had a crush on him, which seemed to be okay by Graham judging by the smooches he laid on her. It was no surprise that he got the date rose.
Date No. 2: Michael's turn. He chose Ella, Vienna and ex-fiancee Holly, duh, for a horseback riding date. How obvious is it that he's still crazy about her? But while Michael rhapsodized about how much he loves hanging out with Holly, Holly was secretly complaining about how draining she finds it to be around Michael. Less draining than hearing Vienna complain non-stop, about the helmet she had to wear on the horse, how hot it was in the sun, how much she was sweating? Surely not. Luckily, Michael and Holly got to escape Vienna for some one-on-one time. Michael confessed that he misses Holly; "I constantly want to touch you and I just want to go back to the way we were," responded Holly. And of course, Holly got the date rose. Happy ending right? Maybe not. Holly also said in one of her confessionals, "Deep down, I don't think we're supposed to be together." When you've got that kind of ambivalence, there's only one thing you can do: call in a (sort of) rock and reality star like Bret Michaels, who in an absolutely genuine, 100 per cent unscripted moment just happened to invite the couple into his trailer, pull out his guitar and sing "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," because he had to, uh, rehearse. And Holly and Michael were putty before the power of the ballad: they smiled at each other, they cuddled, they marvelled at how much the lyrics related to them and then they hugged in front of a camera-worthy sunset.
The Bumpy Path of True Love: Kasey and Vienna took a break from their PDAs to have an equally public spat. Kasey started it because Vienna was nice to Jake after the swimming challenge: she (gasp) smiled and said thank you to Jake in the kitchen. And since Vienna's supposed to be terrified of Jake, which would help convince the other housemates to get rid of him, she was messing up her and Kasey's strategy. "I don't see why you keep throwing the Jake thing at me," whined Vienna as teammates looked uncomfortably on. "You keep throwing it in my face like I'm the one who wants him here. I don't want to be in this house with him. You need to stop. You need to be protecting me and you're not." Kasey's response? "You want another public breakup on TV?" Ouch. When they took the argument somewhere a little more private, Kasey complained that Vienna was playing "the sympathy card." "I get that he's your ex-fiancee. I get that he physically and mentally abused you and whatever. That was a year ago. Get over it. Do you understand what I've gone through? I protect you so much. You're so unappreciative of everything I've friggin' done." Well, okay, then. But you know, no biggie, because Kasey made it all better later with a promise ring to celebrate his and Vienna's six-month anniversary as a couple. "What is that?" Vienna asked as Kasey pulled out the box. "It's something that means a lot to me. Every time it's on your finger it will reassure you that I love you and my love for you is infinity." Vienna: "I don't want it be an engagement ring." Kasey: "It's not an engagement ring, it's a promise ring." And then she giggled,
"Okay." And Kasey sealed it with a song (and if you remember his song to Ali Fedotowsky, this would have been a good time for a bathroom break). "I gave you a promise / I put it on your finger / and all I know now is / that you are mine forever / So when you're feeling blue / just know that I love you." Is it too late to bring back Bret Michaels?
Fake Hookup No. 1: So as I've mentioned, Erica was awfully impressed by what she spied in Jake's Speedo and followed him to the designated flirting bed after the challenge (here's hoping they wash the sheets between visits) where they held hands and she rubbed his thigh with her foot. Jake's stated goal at this point was to win women over to his side, so I'm guessing he was about as much into making out with Erica as Blake was Melissa. Nonetheless, they met up for another strategy session outdoors and ended up swapping spit. "I think my kiss with Jake was a long time coming," said Erica. "It was definitely hot. I definitely have good lips that I maintain with getting injections every six months and I am a good kisser." (My other favourite Erica line of the night: "I don't think Vienna and Kasey are good people. They're all about themselves and they're not even cute.")
Mental Breakdown No. 1: Melissa was still furious with Blake for hooking up with her and then flirting with Holly. Holly's defence when confronted by Melissa was that she flirts "with all the boys." But Blake wasn't getting off the hook so easily. Melisssa wasn't buying his story that he had no designs on Holly. "She's a live wire flailing around on the ground waiting to zap somebody," he complained. Even more charmingly, he later referred to her as "this shrew of a bitch." And yet, Melissa started to soften when Blake apologized and told her he'd been "clueless" about how his chat with Holly would be perceived. What put Melissa over the edge again wasn't Blake but Erica, who spied Melissa talking to Jake in the pool and told everybody they were talking strategy. Melissa ended up crying and running into the house, and was advised by Michelle to "let it go, it's driving everyone crazy." But then there was another blow to her fragile self-esteem when Blake told Melissa he wanted their partnership to stay platonic. A sobbing Melissa seemed to be on the verge of quitting the game until Jake talked her down. "Melissa is aching for some comfort. That's all she cares about. Anybody that's gonna give her comfort she's gonna follow," said Jake. "She wants to be loved and accepted more than she wants $250,000." That's probably just as well, since I doubt there's a chance in hell she'll get anywhere near the money. But if she did, I'd highly recommend a good therapist.
Those are the juicier bits from Monday's show. Now all we can do is wait till next Monday to see how the Kasey/Jake rose ceremony showdown played out. I'll be watching at 8 p.m. on Citytv and recapping it here.