Recap: The catfighting begins in earnest on 'The Bachelor'

One girl complains to Ben about another - and it might cost her a rose

"The Bachelor"

 "The Bachelor"

Credit: ABC

Catfight in Park City, Utah! Or at least it looks that way from the promo. We’re getting tears, insults and death threats, which means “The Bachelor” has just hit its stride. It’s hard to believe these girls are willing to take one another out over a dork like Ben, but anything is possible when you lock a bunch of women in a suite without phone, Internet, fashion magazines or basic cable.

Anyway, we go through the usual steps that come with a change in location. The women swoon over their new suite, Chris Harrison plugs the joint, and he explains that there will be two one-on-one dates and one group date. Yada, yada, yada. Now, let the whining and mooning begin!
 
Kacie B. will be hurt if she doesn’t get a one-on-one. She needs to see Ben. She loves Ben! She doesn't say that, but come on, it's pretty apparent. I actually think Kacie B. has a good shot at being one of the final two. I just hope the other woman in that equation isn’t Courtney. Ben, who had initially promised to be a little smarter than your average bear, seems to be thoroughly simple minded when it comes to this overbite-sucking, baby talk-spewing man eater.
 
Rachel gets the first date. She is invited to let nature take its course, which is usually what you’re told when you need to pass a kidney stone, I believe. But in this case, it means Ben picking up Rachel in a helicopter, which doesn't seem exactly natural, but whatever. All of the girls watch enviously, wishing they'd had the foresight to cut Rachel's seatbelt and tip the pilot to make a hard left over a lake. 
 
Ben thinks Rachel is super mellow. They go rowing. They kiss in the middle of the lake. It all seems like hearts and flowers, but wait! Rachel doesn't like to talk. Her last relationship ended because she has trouble communicating. What? I'm not sure I've ever met a woman who can't communicate, unless she was mute or a professional mime or something. 
 
Meanwhile, Kacie B., who can't stop communicating, tells Monica about the hell she's going through. She wanted that time with Ben! She can't stomach the idea of him being with other women! Monica tells Kacie B. she thinks Rachel could go home, so she shouldn't feel so bad. Monica has somehow become the house mother for "The Bachelor" this season. 
 
Time for the group date names to be announced. Jamie, Casey S., Blakeley, Lindzi, Samantha, Nicki, Courtney and Kacie B are invited to prove their great catches. So, fishing. Yeah, nothing says romance like gutting a dying fish as your guy asks you if you've ever eaten eyeball.

Back on the one-on-one, Ben seems conflicted. What if this isn't working? What if Rachel's just pretty and that's it? Something isn't clicking! Rachel, come on, spew your guts! Finally, Rachel opens up and, more importantly, tells Ben she's not a great communicator but will always tell him what's on her mind if he asks. Ben is relieved. She gets the rose. Phew! I really don’t see Ben kicking someone to the curb on a one-on-one unless things go horribly wrong, and luckily Rachel saved this date before it went down in flames. He foresees a slow burn with Rachel.

Ben wants to show his country side on the group date. He rides a horse, and the girls swoon. They’ll be going horseback riding, too. And then, he promises the date will be rad. Wow, pretty much any cool factor he accrued from the horseback riding, woosh, vanished. But Nicki is entranced. There are no words!
 
As suspected, once they're done with the horses, they’re going fly fishing. And they must catch their lunch. But, as Courtney says, it’s not about catching fish, it’s about catching Ben. I will hand it to Courtney -- she's mean as a snake, but she doesn't lack for focus. 
 
Ben has some time with Kacie B., as he teaches her to fly fish. But Courtney doesn’t care. She’s going to turn this group date into a one-on-one. Cue ominous music. Mwahahahaha!
 
Courtney lures Ben upstream and, as the other girls seem to think it's important to catch a fish (it's not), she accomplishes her nefarious goal without anyone else seeming to care or notice. Arrgh! Ben thinks Courtney has a natural fishing ability. Well, that's one way of putting it. He loves spending time with her. She just gets it. The other girls have wine and beer and wonder where Ben is. Once Lindzi realizes he's off with Courtney, she decides to crash their party. It's a good plan -- right up until Courtney catches a fish. She kisses the fish and squeals like a bratty little girl. I am really, really tired of her infantile Daddy's widdle baby routine, which I would think would be instantly transparent (and gag inducing) to most men, but no, Ben thinks she's chaaaaarming. And she's a model! Wow!
 
Finally, it's time to get out of the waders, and Ben proposes a toast over drinks. He spends quality time with Casey S. He tells Nicki he always notices her, even on group dates. They bond over the fact her boss recently died and a friend of his recently died, and it's a poignant, kissy moment. 
 
All seems to be going well. But then, Samantha demands one-on-one time with Ben. Samantha is not "cool" and "chill," which seem to be Ben's main requirements in a woman. "See this fish? How its floppy and mostly dead? That's what I want in a girl!" Anyway, Samantha starts in with the questions, but in such a way that it feels like an interrogation. What are you THINKING of me, Ben? I need MORE TIME with you! Why do you keep sticking me on GROUP DATES? Ben looks around desperately, as if he's afraid Samantha has a small handgun on her. Samantha, though, wants him to know she REALLY LIKES HIM. He points out she’s been highly emotional on the group dates she's been on, and he suspects she’s not there for him. He tells her he doesn’t see the two of them going anywhere. And then he lowers the boom -- he tells her he thinks they should end it immediately. Samantha looks shell-shocked as Ben walks her out.
 
Monica feels for poor Samantha, who honestly seemed to be more in love with the idea of being in love than she seemed to think she was a fit for Ben. She cries as he carries her suitcase. Courtney is so happy to see Ben sending girls home! She didn’t like Samantha anyway. Then, she cackles a bit. 
 
The other girls are a bit shaken, so Ben explains himself. He wants to be honest, and he honestly wasn't feeling it with Samantha. They tell him they respect him, their eyes wide with fear. 
 
Finally, the last one-on-one is awarded -- and it goes to Mandy Moore, I mean, Jennifer. Elyse is crushed. She thinks she's going home. I didn't realize she was still on the show, honestly. 
 
Ben takes some time on the group date to snuggle with Kacie B. She admits it's hard to watch him with other women, but it's all worth it to be with him. Kacie B. should become the textbook model for women who want to get the ring on "The Bachelor." Honest, but open about her feelings. And she's cute. 
 
Then, Ben grabs Courtney. She whines about Lindzi ruining her fish catching moment. I'd think Ben is getting tired of reassuring her of his feelings, but then he gives her the stupid stinking rose. I’m appalled that her stupid baby voice and four-year-old preening is actually working on him. I’d also be perfectly fine without her saying “winning” ever again, although she may want to know Charlie Sheen has an opening for a godess. She's be perfect. Kacie B. is frustrated. How could Ben want her AND this baby-talking idiot? Good question, Kacie B. Alas, she's a MODEL. 
 
Ben wants to see if Jennifer is an adventurous soul, so he takes her on a hike. First, he makes her hop over a fence with a No Trespassing sign, then he informs her they will be jumping into a crater so that they can splash around in the water 300 feet below. Jennifer is freaking out because this sounds DANGEROUS, but she wants him to think she’s game for anything. Hope you can fit all that on your tombstone, Jen. 
 
Still, she’s thrilled once they drop into the water. It was fun! And it's so peaceful! And no one can tell that she totally wet herself, because she's in the water! Next, they take a ski lift gondola to the top of a mountain and sit by a fire for dinner. Ben needs someone who’s understanding. He needs someone who's flexible. I'm waiting for him to ask her how she feels about swinging, but then they get rained on and have to run for cover.
 
The girls in the house talk about Jennifer. Courtney thinks she’s not right for him. Of course she doesn’t!
Blakeley highlights Emily’s hair, and Emily wishes Ben KNEW how evil Courtney is. Oh, no. Don't waste your time, Emily! Why does someone make this mistake EVERY season? If they hadn't called this show "The Bachelor," they could have called it "Shoot the Messenger," because it ALWAYS HAPPENS. 
 
Ben tells Jennifer he wasn’t sure if he saw a future with her, but he felt so comfortable on their date he gives her a rose. He likes the fact that she’s go with the flow. I'm just saying, when the cameras are off, Ben's going to reveal some freaky stuff. Just saying.
 
Ben and Jennifer take the gondola down the hill and see Clay Walker having a concert just for them. Well, them and a bunch of other people. They dance on a platform and Jennifer swoons. She knows she would be the perfect partner for him for life! Ben could see himself with Jennifer. I wonder if Jennifer actually likes country music. 
 
Cocktail party time! Ben thanks the women for being open. Oh, Ben, they’ve hardly started being open. Ben is sure his wife is in the room.
 
While Ben talks to the other women, Emily starts thinking she may spill the beans to him about Courtney. Oh, Emily, don’t do it! This is like watching a very slow moving car wreck. But she does. She tells Ben there’s one girl who’s very different around the girls than she is around him. Ben tells her he doesn't expect her to toss someone under the bus (read: DON'T TOSS SOMEONE UNDER THE BUS). Then, Emily doesn’t name Courtney, but basically tells him it’s Courtney. Do you hear that sound? It's my head hitting my computer, over and over again.
 
Ben delicately warns Emily not to focus on Courtney (or anyone else) when she could be focusing on the two of them. Only after her conversation does she realize, oops, she could go home for her little gripe. Really? It only JUST occurred to you, Emily?
 
Emily then continues griping, and yet again, to the WRONG PEOPLE. She tells Casey S. that Courtney is a horrible person, but guess what? Casey S. is Courtney's only friend in the house! All those girls, and Emily has to complain to this one? Casey S. defends Courtney to Emily, then excuses herself to go tattle to Courtney. She sucks on her overbite and is quietly incensed. She’s a nice person! Don’t bleep with her! She wants to shave Emily’s eyebrows. What?
 
In another, saner part of the house, Nicki and Ben catch snowflakes with their tongue and kiss.
 
In the main room, Courtney talks crap about Emily as Emily talks crap about Courtney. Courtney decides that she has to have a little backbone and stand up to this girl. Really? She’s been lacking backbone?
 
The face off is afoot! Courtney joins a gaggle of girls that includes Emily. Kacie B. asks who has learned more about themselves in the last two weeks than in the last two years. Courtney hasn’t. She knows herself really well. Then, she laughs at Emily and tells her she KNOWS about her plot to make her look bad. Emily Emily plays dumb and tells her they’re not in 5th grade anymore. I really wish Emily would just own up to talking smack about Courtney, but that could end in blows and hey, this isn't "Rock of Love," after all.
 
Still, even though this was a non-confrontational confrontation, Emily is freaked out. She isn’t used to people being aggressive to her. She didn't come to the show to make enemies! Hey, you may want to remember you came to the show to get a guy, hon. Why does Courtney have to be one of the few women who can actually focus?
 
Time for roses! Ben tells the girls it’s a turning point for him. It’s a smaller group and feelings are real. Okay, okay, let's get to it!
 
First rose goes to Lindzi.
Second rose goes to Jamie.
Third rose goes to Nicki.
Fourth rose goes to Kacie B.
Fifth rose goes to Elyse. Shocker! Seriously, I'm surprised he knows her name.
Sixth rose goes to Blakeley.
Seventh rose goes to Casey S.
The last rose goes to… Emily. Whoot!
 
Monica looks surprisingly broken up to be going home. Why? Because she had to say goodbye to Blakeley?
 
But amazingly, she cries in the limo. She wants a marriage with kids, but she wants it to be right. And she’s skeptical that that guy even exists anymore. Color me shocked. I haven't seen Monica make a single comment to Ben, about Ben, or even kiss Ben in the last few weeks. Maybe all of that ended up on the editing room floor. Eh, doesn't matter. You know the final two have got to be Kacie B. and Courtney, just for the sake of a good vs. evil plotline.
 
Next week, Puerto Rico! Courtney has to mention that she was JUST there two weeks ago. Shut up, Courtney! And apparently she goes skinny dipping with dumbass Ben. Unreal.
 
Were you surprised to see Monica go home? Do you think Ben is snowed by Courtney, or is she just misunderstood? Do you think Samantha deserved to go home the way she did? 
Liane-bonin-starr-sm
Liane Bonin Starr is an author, screenwriter and former writer for EW.com. Her byline has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Variety and a lot of other places. Her last book was called "a scandalously catty, guilty pleasure" by Jane magazine. Expect the same from Starr Raving.
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