The Bachelor: Too many fish in the sea (spoiler alert)
Gather around everyone for tonight's episode of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.
Tonight, our quarry is the Courtney. It's a clever creature, one you'd best not cross in enclosed spaces. It becomes agitated in the presence of other mammals of its own gender and may strike out with its sharp tongue.
But let it roam around outside in the presence of the male of the species and it camouflages itself in baby voices and ingratiating laughter. It is highly adaptable and can learn seemingly difficult skills, such as fly-fishing. It will then use its cunning to pursue and trap even bigger game, such as the elusive group date rose.
Yes, this was the episode of The Bachelor where Courtney haters might have figured the model would get her comeuppance. Her enemies in the house, such as Monica and Emily, assumed that Ben would see the Mean Girl in Courtney when she was forced to hang with seven other ladies on a group date.
But Courtney hung back on the fly-fishing excursion - in the breathtaking wilderness near Park City, Utah, where Ben and the harem had decamped to - and waited for her chance to lure Ben upstream away from the other women. Lindzi tried to horn in but ended up awkwardly lurking as Courtney caught a fish. And then she had to watch Ben and Courtney play an adorable game of kiss the fish. "Oh Ben, he's so cute," simpered Courtney.
Alter-ego Courtney said of Lindzi, "She was so jealous, she probably would have caught that fish with her bare teeth if she could have," and that's probably about right.
But Courtney wasn't going to stop at just a fish.
I would have bet dollars to doughnuts that Kacie B. was getting the group date rose later that night at the Canyons Resort, especially after Ben brought Kacie to his room for some alone time and reassurance (mainly in the form of kissing) that he still had feelings for her.
Ben confessed he'd wanted to kiss Kacie in the creek earlier as he helped her fish, "but it's hard for me because there are all these other women just glaring. I want you girls to get along. I'm sorry."
Things were looking good for Kacie, especially after Ben confessed in a voiceover that he was "in trouble with Kacie B. ... I don't know, man, I might end up with her. She's wonderful."
But Courtney saw Kacie's neediness and raised her a threat of indifference.
She was having a rough time, Courtney told Ben when he took her aside for some alone time. In fact, having to share his attention with the other women, "I've lost sight of everything," she said.
"Of us?" asked a worried Ben.
"A little bit," Courtney replied.
Next thing you know it was "Kacie Who?" as Ben rushed off to retrieve the date rose and bring it back to Courtney.
"The rose was going to someone else," Ben said. "After speaking to Courtney, I realized things were not okay and she was not doing well."
Oh yeah? Funny, she looked just fine to me as she sat and channelled her inner Charlie Sheen for the camera, gloating, "Winning, winning."
Kacie, on the other hand, seemed inconsolable through much of the episode, shedding tears one moment at the thought of enduring endless dates between Ben and the other women, battling back an urge to barf when Rachel got the first one-on-one date in Utah.
I don't see Ben and Rachel as a viable couple. Sure, she's pretty enough and the nose piercing is kind of cute, but that date was positively painful to watch.
The helicopter ride, the canoe trip on a placid lake surrounded by mountains and multicoloured foliage, and the smooch in the canoe were all okay. Then they came ashore for a picnic lunch and we were treated to conversation like this:
Rachel (to Ben as the sun beats down on his face): "I like how you get that little wink."
Ben: "Really? It's more like squinting right now ... You get the worst of it. I have a hard time with my eyes."
Rachel: "Well, I have nice, um, lines."
Ben: "Really, crow's feet?"
Oh look, is that a beaver dam over there?
Rachel confessed that she had trouble communicating in past relationships. Really? No kidding.
She seemed to be within a squint of getting sent home without a rose when she decided to tell Ben about her communication problems and managed to choke out some words about how she really liked him and wanted to get to know him better.
So she got her date rose and a chance to feed roasted marshmallows to Ben and to kiss him some more, although it didn't look like very enthusiastic kissing to me. I don't expect we'll be seeing Rachel on any hometown or fantasy suite dates.
Rachel managed to avoid an early exit, but Samantha had no such luck.
Perhaps she discarded her subtlety along with her big floppy hat. She interrupted a moment of bonding between Ben and Nicki during the cocktail portion of the group date to complain she had only been on group dates so far and she needed some one-on-one time.
"I don't know what you see in these group dates," she said testily.
Samantha got an answer, but not the one she was looking for.
Ben said the group dates gave him a chance to watch how the women interacted and "the group dates that you've been on you've been kind of highly emotional."
Furthermore, Samantha didn't seem to be taking things seriously and "I don't see this going much further to be completely honest with you," Ben said.
So Samantha was tearfully sent packing right in the middle of the cocktails.
It was an interesting contrast with Nicki, who had just finished thanking Ben for taking her on group dates. She explained that her boss had died of a heart attack at 49, just a week before she left for The Bachelor taping, so she was trying to live every day as if it was her last.
And coincidentally, Ben lost a good friend just two days before coming to film The Bachelor and sat in the street crying. Of course, talking about death makes you feel like kissing, doesn't it? So Ben and Nicki were working up a good smooch when Samantha interrupted.
Samantha's exit had the other women feeling a little vulnerable, including Jennifer, who got the episode's second one-on-one date.
Seriously, there was no way Jennifer was going home. Ben really likes kissing her and he might as well get in all the lip-locking he can before he picks a bachelorette to propose to on national TV, because I'm pretty sure whoever that is will frown on kissing of multiple women at that point.
Jennifer, unfortunately, got the short straw for her date. No gliding across a lake for her. She had to rappel down partway into a crater, then drop into the water far below (Ben said 300 feet, but that seems like a pretty steep drop to me). And did we mention she's afraid of heights?
Saying "Are you f#&%ing crazy?" is not an option when there's a date rose on the line, so Jennifer swallowed her terror and did the jump, and then everything was beautiful and perfect.
That included a nighttime gondola ride to the top of a mountain where the date rose awaited, except a rainstorm drove Jen and Ben inside, so he had to run back out into the rain to grab the rose, which was even more romantic. The evening ended with a Clay Walker concert, which Ben and Jennifer got to watch from a platform above the rest of the crowd. Then the crowd parted for them like the Red Sea so they could walk right to the front of the stage, and Clay could sing to them, and they could kiss in front of dozens of strangers.
Finally it was time for the pre-rose ceremony cocktail party and all those good feelings Ben had about the week were about to be challenged.
Emily decided she couldn't let Ben be misled by Courtney's Jekyl and Hyde act, so she told him that "one girl" acted differently around the women than she did around Ben, but instead of being outed on the gropu date the "girl" got the group date rose.
Ben warned Emily rather ominously that focusing on Courtney instead of her relationship with him could drive her nuts and "end up in your own demise."
You just have to think back to past seasons. All that complaining about Vienna didn't dissuade Jake from getting engaged to her (although he perhaps wished he had listened to Ali and other women after the fact).
Emily realized she had overstepped her bounds. And things got worse after Casey S. tattled to her good friend Courtney, whom she called "one of the most genuine people here," that Emily was talking smack about her.
"I almost want to just rip her head off and verbally assault her, or shave her eyebrows," Courtney said.
Instead, she talked loudly about Emily within earshot of her, sat and stared at her, laughed at her and told her she was an idiot. Emily protested that "we're not in fifth grade anymore," but her bravado evenutally deserted her and she cried to Monica, whose response was a very pragmatic "F--k her."
Of course, we were meant to believe that Emily had put herself in jeopardy, so she had to wait till the last moment to find out if she was getting a rose. It was her good friend Monica who got the heave-ho, complete with tears and a limo lament for the marriage and kids that have eluded her.
There are now 11 women left in the competition, including Emily, Courtney, Rachel, Jennifer, Blakeley, Lindzi, Kacie B., Casey S., Elyse, Jamie and Nicki.
Next week, the action moves to Puerto Rico and there looks to be no shortage of drama. The Emily-Courtney feud continues. And Courtney and Ben go skinny dipping. Does that mean sex on the beach? We'll have to watch Monday at 8 p.m. on OMNI.2 to find out.
As usual, I'll have my recap here. And if you missed my video interview with Chris Harrison when he was in Toronto on Monday to announce The Bachelor Canada, please check out youtube.com/realyeo or visit my Facebook page. And keep the comments coming.