This is the big week -- not only do we have the final three in a warm, exotic setting (goodbye, parkas; hello, bikinis), we have the dreaded Overnight Dates. This is all about the ladies having to decide between what they want to do (get naked with Sean) and what they should do (look like proper young ladies on a television show their families, their bosses and anyone they ever hook up with in the future can see for all eternity on the Internet). You can practically see the little angels on one should and the devils sitting opposite. Darn you, long arm of network television!
Anyway, it's a long time until overnight datedom. Sean thinks So Kao, Thailand is gorgeous, which, hello, it is. He's so excited to spend this week with Lindsay, AshLee and Catherine. They're all so unique! And he's friggin' crazy about all three of them! That's a quote, by the way. He's friggin' crazy about all three of them. I'm not convinced, as I think Sean has to say this or there's no show.
I love that Sean is so convinced that this vacation in Thailand could change the course of his life. Yes, all these girls seem great. Yes, he seems great. But after seventeen seasons, no guy has married the person he picked last on "The Bachelor." "The Bachelorette" is a different story, of course, but still, not exceptional odds. Any of these girls would probably be better off with a subscription to Match.com.
Before Sean can go on dates, he must mull over our final three. Sean has had a good time with Catherine. He feels so connected to her. Plus, he loves that she's got a mean side, though he won't say that. He says he has the strongest relationship with AshLee (which means he'll send her home; aren't I cynical?). He loves that she's such a good person. Also, he loves that she's a control freak with issues, though he won't say that. He has a spark with Lindsay, even though he though she might be crazy. He really likes kissing her, though he won't say that.
Finally, Sean is at the resort, getting all geared up for his date-a-thon. First up, Lindsay. They get into the cutest moto-cab ever! They're going to the market, and Sean hopes she's into adventurous food. She is! Just not bugs! Yeah, that means bugs.
The market is full of cuteness. Sean and Lindsay handle tiny, little dyed chicks. They're so cute! And I suspect they're sort of poisoned by the dye. But cute! The market is full of tasty things. Dragon fruit! Mango! So why do they need to eat bugs? Because Lindsay said she wouldn't, THAT's why!
Sean and Lindsay toast one another with bugs. They eat bugs. They move on from small bugs to bigger bugs. They eat chicken feet. He seems to like all of this more than she does. He feels like he's with his high school sweetheart! I think Lindsay would have said no to all this crap if she had been in better, more equal circumstances and not worried the two other girls were eagerly lapping up bowls of worms and asking for more.
Sean tells her she's the best friend he's looking for. His best friend who eats bugs! Isn't that sweet? Sort of?
They go to Yong Ling Beach and feed monkeys. Cute overload! Sean thinks Lindsay has it all. Could this girl be his wife? The answer is yes!
Did you know traditional Thai floats have Christmas lights? Me, neither! Anyway, Lindsay and Sean have dinner in front of traditional Thai floats that glow like Vegas in the moonlight. How romantic! Anyway, it is romantic, because these two are together and it's dark and, hey, if they can get used to a camera crew in their faces, a little neon lighting isn't going to slow them down. Sean would so love picking out a house with Lindsay! He makes her so happy! She has to tell him she loves him. And she builds up to it… and builds up to it… and is just about to say it… when a bunch of Thai dancers show up to completely kill the moment.
Then, she accepts the overnight date. Time to say it or… well, not say it, Lindsay! Finally, she says… Iwovyou. Or something like that. It sounds kind of strangled and miserable. But she spits it out, and that's all that matters. The kiss. They snuggle. Propinquity erupts.
The next day, Sean moves on to AshLee. Sean loves challenging AshLee! He's going to drag her through the Emerald Cave to get to their private beach. Is it deep and dark? Yes, yes it is. She'd like a floaty. Sean wants to test AshLee the way he's testing all of the women. I am starting to think Sean is a little weird, and not in a nice way.
AshLee reminds us that she has issues about rejection. And being abandoned. Because her parents abandoned her. We KNOW, AshLee. Stop using "The Bachelor" as talk therapy.
Sean wants to know that AshLee can let go. I'm thinking AshLee will only be able to let go while she's on a reality TV show, because she knows Sean can dump her and trot off with either of the two other women without missing a beat.
They enter the cave. As promised, it's dark and it's deep. AshLee is freaked out, Sean is freaked out, though AshLee isn't as freaked out as you'd expect. I mean, Sean is the one swearing. And then, they find the light at the end of the tunnel. Ha! It's so symbolic! If they're meant to be together, it's great!
Sean loves feeling like AshLee's protector. Yeah, we've definitely gotten that impression of Sean. They get out of the cave, all smiles. AshLee has no doubt in her mind that she loves this man.
She knows the overnight is up for discussion. She's not morally ready to put herself out there when he's potentially putting it to two other girls. They talk about being single at their advanced ages.
She's so glad she waited to get married! If you ignore her quickie marriage at 17! I know, I know, she means not getting a second marriage under her belt in her twenties, but still. Sean tells AshLee that if he proposes on this show, he intends for it to go all the way. AshLee is so in love with him! She's having such a good time! But she keeps thinking about the overnight card. She wants to do what feels right to her.
AshLee reads the card. Sean knows he's fallen in love with her, and he wants to put her at ease. The perfect ending would be staying up all night… TALKING. His intentions are pure! AshLee says her only worry is that she doesn't want to come across as crossing that boundary. They know where the other stands… so it's fine, she'll do it. They'll hold hands and behave. She's so glad he's so respectful! I'm glad, too. On previous seasons of "The Bachelor," I've felt terrible for some of these girls, who were SO clearly compromising their personal beliefs on national television -- only to get dumped. Sean's a nice guy. But whether or not he sleeps with any of these girls, someone is getting their heart scrambled like eggs.
AshLee is so happy. This man has literally healed AshLee's broken heart. But what if he breaks it again in a few hours? I am just not optimistic enough for this show.
Finally, we have Catherine. He still has questions about Catherine. Well, so do I. She thinks it's a dream to be in such a beautiful place with such a handsome man. She tells Sean she's super silly, but she's super serious, too. She's so glad he can handle how weird she is! He loves her weirdness! He just needs to know if she can see herself settling down in Dallas and having a family. She can. She thinks Sean has everything she's looking for in a man. She hasn't told Sean she's falling in love with him. It's a scary thing. You know, if we just ran the same segment over and over again, the female voice over could be interchangeable. Actually, no, AshLee has been prattling on about how much she loves Sean for a few weeks. But seriously, I could just dub in any random woman from previous seasons for Lindsay or Catherine and you'd never know.
Catherine and Sean snorkel. Then, they kiss in the rain as a thunderstorm closes in. Is it bad that I'm hoping they get hit by lightning for no other reason than it would REALLY make this an unpredictable season? Just kidding.
Sean tells Catherine he can see himself marrying her. But, she's traditional in relationships. She wants to be seem like a lady, but she wants to spend time with him. He just wants to spend time with her alone. So, she agrees to the overnight date. I'm getting the impression, at least while the cameras are running, Sean is going to be a nice guy and keep things PG-rated.
Catherine now understands she deserves a guy like Sean. She's always seen herself as chubby or not cute, and she's never spent so much time in a bathing suit as she has on this show. He feels lucky. She feels safe. She wants to be intimate tonight. Uh, interesting. We know he didn't get far with AshLee, and I'm not sure about Lindsay. But Catherine seems more open to getting jiggy with Sean, all her lady talk aside.
They make out in the pool. Huh.
Back to Los Angeles! And a plug for "Oz the Great and Powerful." What?
And, after we've been pelted with advertising, we head back to Thailand. Sean is filled with dread. He was shocked she he was sent home. This will be harder than sending home Des. She's so sweet and so full of love! And he's in love. He's met his wife.
But never mind! He has to hear from the final three via video message. You know, just to drag out the agony.
He knows who he's going to send home, but he's not 100 percent sure. Oh, yes he is. I am hating how Sean has to babble about how he could flip flop at the last moment when we know that's not true.
Lindsay is walked to Sean like a prize heifer. Not that she is a heifer, not at all. Just there's a certain formality to this that feels like Chris Harrison just bought livestock. He does the same with the two others, Lindsay and Catherine.
Time to run the video! Linsday looks forward to wearing a wedding dress for him again. Catherine tells Sean he gives her the wiggles. Sean swallows hard, so I'm guessing he's feeling Catherine. AshLee tells Sean she's the happiest she's ever been in her entire life. She can't imagine not having one day without him! I am so afraid for AshLee. She gets weepy. She believes that together she and Sean are whole. She wants to cry. This is awful.
All through this, we see Sean looking enigmatic but vaguely happy. Until AshLee starts crying at the end. Yeah, this is going to suck no matter who gets sent home. I know these shows are highly scripted and manipulated, but I've never doubted that what these women experience is, to some extent, real to them. I mean, no one wants to ugly cry on television.
It rains. Sean is sad. He's worried that the dumped girl in question won't be okay once he dumps her. I'd say that's hubris, but if the Internet rumors are true, I think Sean's right.
Chris Harrison talks to the three women and makes them nervous.
Sean tells the women he feels really bad about this, but he got dumped by Emily in the exact same week of his season, so he feels their pain.
The first rose goes to Lindsay.
The second rose goes to…Catherine.
AshLee blinks. AshLee pulls back her hair. AshLee stares at Sean and shakes her head. She heads for the exit, and she looks pissed. She doesn't even say goodbye to Catherine or Lindsay; she is THAT mad. She tells Sean to just stay and stop talking.
Finally, just before she gets in the car, she lets Sean babble. He thought it was her from the very beginning. But… this was the hardest decision he's ever had to make. He thinks the world of her. She looks ANGRY. She is not crying. I am so impressed with AshLee! She has every right to be angry, really, because it was pretty clear (at least to us at home) she was madly in love with him, and, as we know, AshLee has a MASSIVE Fear of Abandonment.
He keeps talking. He didn't want to hurt her. She gets in the car and says NOTHING TO HIM. I am loving this. Good for her, really. She deserves to be pissed. Yes, everyone signed on for this reality silliness, but I think Sean should have seen a mile off that AshLee was totally invested in this and should have, to be kind, sent her home before Thailand if he didn't want to marry her. I guess it may have taken him a while to rule her out, but he owed it to her to figure it out quickly.
"This wasn't a silly game to me. This wasn't about a joy ride and laughter and joking and having fun," she says. And she STILL doesn't cry. Okay, finally she gets a little weepy. She let him in and she loved him. Okay, it's dark outside (so it's taken a while for her to get upset, which suggests some show employee has been poking at her for a while) and she looks weepy, but actually turns AWAY from the camera. She refuses to cry ugly on television and I am so, so impressed with AshLee. Okay, she does cry, but she isn't letting us see her tears. Good for her! I don't know why I'm so happy that AshLee is walking out on her own terms, but I am.
Next week, the women from the most Dramatic Season Ever (really?) is back for the Women Tell All next week. Sarah will talk about getting dumped, Des will talk about being dumped, and AshLee will talk about being dumped. I cannot WAIT for AshLee talking about being dumped.
Oh, and Tierra will be back to be a bitch.
In two weeks, it's the emotional season finale "we won't believe!" Really? They always say this, and I always believe the emotional season finales. Anyway, Sean's mom doesn't want him to propose to either girl. And that would be... shocking?
But there's a letter! I can't wait to see this letter! I am sure it isn't anywhere near as dramatic as editing suggests!
What did you think of AshLee's exit? Who are you excited to see on the Women Tell All episode? And who are you rooting for? Remember, no spoilers!