So, the promo for this week’s episode is all about Bentley and his stupid dot-dot-dot. I am so tired of Bentley. He's not even on the show anymore, and yet he lingers like a chunk of moldering bleu cheese left in someone's sock drawer. And, the more Ashley moons over him, the more I’m getting tired of her, too. Can't the producers just show her, say, five choice minutes of him talking about how he'd only ever see her as a second string booty call so that we can all move on?
Anyway, things start off well enough in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The guys will be staying at the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Devi Hotel. It’s amaaazing. Ashley feels like she’ll have a new beginning in Chiang Mai. So far, so good. Chris informs the eleven remaining guys there will be a one-on-one date with Ashley, a group date and a two-on-one, otherwise known as Dating Deathmatch. No one wants that two-on-one. Although it sounds like a set up for a porn movie, it’s really just two guys fighting for one rose – and the loser has to go home immediately. Ben F. gets the one-on-one date. He says there’s a 100 percent chance Ashley is getting kissed. Well, duh. At this point, if you’re not trying to make out with the girl, you’re just not trying.
Ashley wants to see if Ben F. can handle a mundane date which involves wandering around a Thai market, which still seems pretty exotic as they’re in Thailand, but close enough. They paint paper umbrellas and see sacred ruins where they can’t kiss. They share a mental kiss, which is surprisingly cute. You can definitely see the chemistry between these two.
They walk toward a table surrounded by flowers and candles and are awestruck. Yes, it’s beautiful, but this is a lot of gushing over a flower arrangement. Ben F. thinks there’s something happening between them and I don’t think he’s wrong. She tells him she loved the wine he brought her on the first night, fluttering her eyelashes at him. Of course, she may just be trying to remember if he’s Ben F. or Constantine. I’m sorry, but those guys look like they were hatched from the same egg. Anyway, Ashley seems utterly charmed as he talks about picking grapes. She wants to help pick grapes. Ashley, the farm laborer! I wonder if she’ll still think it’s romantic after fourteen hours in a field, sweating like a pig with grape juice stains all over her fingers.
Anyway, Ben F.’s dad died four years ago. He was an emotional zombie until last year. He’s grown and matured. He started taking down emotional walls. And now he’s ready to turn his entire romantic life into reality TV fodder!
Nobody wants to go on the two-on-one, so for once everyone is really eager to hear their names called for the group date. Constantine, Ames, Nick, Blake, Lucas, Ryan, J.P. and Mickey are going on the group date, so the two-on-one is William and Ben C. William and Ben C. are not thrilled, but William is determined to pulverize Ben C. I have to say, I like William a little less with each episode.
Back to Ben F. and Ashley. They talk about wine parties. And travel. Ben wants to spoil a girl. Ashley can see a life with Ben. She’s feeling hopeful. He gets a rose. Blah, blah, blah. Ben F. seems perfectly nice but he’s not exactly a firecracker in the personality department.
To cap off their romantic date in the middle of an FTD bouquet, beautiful women walk toward them holding torches, which they wave around. Fire hazard! A flame thrower spites fire. I hope everyone has excellent personal insurance! Ashley and Ben kiss. These two do seem like a good fit, have to say. And if Ashley marries Ben F., she’ll have all the wine she can drink until her liver gives out.
The next day, Ashley goes to the house to inform her group daters they’re going to be working with muay thai boxing trainers. Ryan P. thinks this is so great! Ryan P. thinks lots of things are so great! Ames has never been in a fight. I suspect this is not going to end well, although last week’s promo suggesting someone gets carted off in an ambulance was a pretty good hint.
So they train, and it’s so fun! It’s a great workout! They do lots of push-ups! Everyone is having a great time, so that means the date isn’t over yet. And we soon find out what the sadistic twist is -- they’re going to fight. In a ring. In front of witnesses. While Ashley assesses their manhood. It’s no surprise that none of the guys are too revved up about this.
J.P. is the smallest guy in the group, but he doesn’t want to show fear. I had no idea J.P. was the smallest guy, actually. But now I’m worried for J.P. Cover your head, J.P.!
Blake and Lucas enter the ring. Blake thinks it’s his day to shine, but Lucas has been in street fights. This could go either way. As the pummeling begins, Ashley is starting to think the date might be too dangerous. Too late now! The winner is Blake. The win puts some bounce in Blake’s step. I’m not sure I want Blake to be too bouncy, I have to admit.
Mickey and J.P. are next. J.P. says he’s okay with taking a beating like a man. And at first, it looks like J.P. is going to have to take his beating in a decidedly less impressive manner, as Mickey beats him into a corner. But then J.P. comes back in the next round and wins the whole thing. Go little guy!
Ames is wearing pink. I fear bad things for Ames. He’s going to fight Ryan P. Ames isn’t wrong about not knowing how to fight. Ames doesn’t even seem to have common sense about fighting. You know, like don’t let your arms flop around by your sides and make absolutely no effort to protect yourself, that sort of thing. Ryan P. lands a series of punches to the head. Ames does not look well. Ryan P. wins. Ames staggers. Oh, Ames! All that booklearnin’ and look whut it done got you! Brain damage on a reality TV show!
Ryan P. notices that Ames is not doing too well. Ashley notices, too. Dramatic music plays. Ashley runs to get help for Ames. Ames gets in an ambulance. Ames feels weird. Ashley is scared for Ames. She had no idea if would go this far. Really, Ash? It never occurred to you someone might get hurt MUAY THAI BOXING? Sigh.
Time for group date drinks. But Ames isn’t there. Morale is low. Ashley tells the guys she feels really bad. She feels like there’s a dark cloud over the night. Ryan P. feels bad about pummeling Ames. Wow, this is shaping up to be a bummer night.
Finally, Ames shows up. Ryan P. is glad to see him. Ashley has to go talk to him. He’s dizzy, so Ashley holds his hand. Ames could make this work for him if he wants to, but I think he’s still too foggy to do more than concentrate on not collapsing into a fetal position. Ames has problems speaking to her because his head isn’t working. But he can’t be too out of it, because he tells Ashley he was diagnosed as being in love. And he has a concussion. Work the sympathy angle, Ames!
Ben C. and William talk to Ben F. about their date. William calls it the Thunderdome date. William is super confident he’s knocking out Ben C. Shut up, William. Go roast somebody.
During the cocktail hour of doom, Blake decides he needs romance with Ashley. Yes, nothing to make you get into the mood for love than one of your housemates getting a concussion. Blake tells Ashley love is a marathon and not a sprint. He tells her he doesn’t trust relationships that are hot out of the gate. She thinks of Bentley. Ashley always thinks of Bentley. Ashley is exhausting.
Lucas shows Ashley how to pretend golf. It turns her on. If golf turns Ashley on, I hear Tiger Woods is on the market. Anyway, Lucas asks her what her type is. She doesn’t have a type. He thinks she does – Bentley. Okay, even when Ashley isn’t dwelling on him, someone else has to bring him up? Really? She admits she thought he was hot. She really likes Lucas. But she gives the rose to Blake. They kiss. He thinks if they get married, it will be great to tell their kids everything started in Chang Mai. Blake may have to kill Ben F. to make that happen, but I’m not sure he wouldn’t.
Ashley prepares for her two-on-one with Ben C. and William. Ben C. feels confident things will work out as they should, which sounds very Zen and makes me suspect he’s not as into it as he should be. But I still think he’s a better choice than William, who came out of the gate strong and has been limping along ever since that horrible roast.
The guys punt a raft down a river while Ashley sits blissfully in the middle. Elephants spray water at them. William tells us he can be the biggest dick in the room. I believe that. William thinks it’s time for Ben C. to go home and tells Ashley that Ben C. has told the guys in the house he can’t wait to hit the dating websites when he’s off the show. He feels really bad for making Ashley feel insecure by telling her this. She doesn’t think he’s malicious at all!
Ashley declares that she wants to send Ben C. home immediately. Wow. Ben C. informs her that he was just kidding around, but Ashley doesn’t care. I’m hoping Ashley was planning to give Ben C. the boot for other reasons, because she doesn’t even ask him for an explanation, which seems truly unfair.
Back at the house, the guys are shocked that Ben C.’s luggage is picked up. Ben C. is shocked he’s off the show. So am I. Ashley is letting her insecurity rule her decisions – so much so that she’s overlooking huge problems. Like keeping around a guy who insults her, refuses to comfort her when she cries and sulks about it. Oh, yeah, William.
Ashley is hoping that sparks will fly again with William and they’ll be able to get past that terrible roast. He’s so glad she trusted him! Since he wasn’t exactly lying but it sounds like he was misinterpreting for his own benefit! William thinks he’s getting a rose. Ashley actually isn’t sure. William says he likes to act like a little kid. He’s a 30-year-old boy. Ehhh, wrong answer. Ashley realizes she’s never going to feel as great with William as she did on their first date. She doesn’t feel the spark. He’s going home. No rose for William. She wants a man, not a boy. Finally, Ashley makes a smart choice!
William feels like a loser. He admits he’s the world’s biggest jackass. His life is full of expletive. He’s going back home to nothing. He’s going to slip into the black hole he was in. He wants to go to sleep and not wake up. Whoa, this is getting dark fast. William, it’s a reality TV show! Although yes, you did blow it, let’s not get carried away.
Cocktail party. Ashley wants the guys to be true to themselves. She’s feeling weird and sulky. Ryan P. tells Ashley he’s totally into her. Ashley nods sadly. She’s happy with where they are, although I get the impression she’d like that to be Facebook friends. She’s definitely more into Constantine. He admits he feels closer to the guys than her. She gives him props for honesty. That’s a little too honest, if you ask me, but okay.
Ashley is acting SO weird. She basically doesn’t trust any of these guys. She’s scared to get hurt. And she’s STILL THINKING ABOUT BENTLEY. She needs closure! Oh Lord.
Time to talk to Chris Harrison. Ashley is feeling more certain about her core group of guys, but there’s something on her mind. What is it, Ashley? Stupid jerkface Bentley, of course! Chris grimaces. I’m grimacing, too. I think Chris Harrison wants to shake Ashley. At least I do. Chris tells her she’s not being fair to the guys still on the show by mooning over Bentley. She agrees. Chris tells her she’s not going to have a happy ending if she keeps mooning over this dumbass, though Chris doesn’t say dumbass or any of the other choice words that apply to Bentley. Ashley feels there was something there with Bentley. She needs a clean break with Bentley in order to move on. She doesn’t know what to do! Except talk to him and ask him questions! If he would only tell her he didn’t want to stay with her, she could move on! She’d be so respectful of that! Really, I give Chris Harrison big props for not shaking the crap out of her.
Rose ceremony. She’ll need to cut one guy. But first, Ashley natters on about Bentley and closure and other crap. I know, I know, it’s not really crap, but I can’t stand to listen to Ashley torture herself over Bentley. It’s just depressing. If you’re going to pine for someone, it would be nice if he wasn’t the devil incarnate. Just a thought.
Nine guys left. Ben and Blake have roses, so six guys will get them.
Ashley talks about honesty with the guys. And how she’ll be honest. I honestly hope she’ll keep her mouth shut about Jerkface. There’s honest and there’s stupid, Ashley! Know the difference!
Constantine gets a rose.
Lucas gets a rose.
J.P. gets a rose.
Ames gets a rose.
Mickey gets a rose.
The last rose goes to… Ryan. He looks hugely relieved. Nick is going home.
He says it’s hard to say goodbye to love. And he thought that’s where he was headed with Ashley. Poor guy. He seems stunned. He thinks Ashley is missing out on a perfect husband. She probably is. He’s definitely cuter than stinky old Bentley.
They’re off to Hong Kong. Whoot! In the preview, we see Ashley loving Hong Kong. And Chris Harrison telling her Bentley is in the hotel. And telling the guys that Bentley is back in the picture. This is apparently not a big hit with the guys. I am hoping that in the next episode we see Ashley deprogrammed, even if that involves propping her eyes open with toothpicks a la “Clockwork Orange.” I mean, someone has to do something.
Do you think Ashley will take Bentley back? Do you think he’ll come back even if she asks? Were you surprised to see Ben C. and William go?