January 17th, 2012
11:25 AM ET
Last night's "Bachelor" took place in San Francisco, which Ben called "home." Given that he considered Sonoma home last week, I'm a bit concerned that Ben can't stay in one place for a long period of time.
Ben starts off the show by chatting with his sister about what he's dealt with on the series so far. Ben proudly notes that his sister could get along with Courtney the model - perhaps his sis is a Katie Holmes fan.
The 16 remaining contestants check into their suite, which comes with its own telescope. I presume the telescope is for spying, not stargazing.
Host Chris Harrison, wearing quite the grandfatherly jacket, reminds the women that there's one group date and a pair of one-on-one dates for this week. Emily the epidemiologist gets the first one-on-one, and she's worried about soiling herself. Courtney predicts the date will be "boring," but nothing's dull when bladder control issues are at play.
Ben tells Emily they are going to do something "very different" on their date - climb to the top of the Bay Bridge. Both appear to be afraid of heights, but do they tell the producers to jump in a lake and opt to go to Fisherman's Wharf instead? Nope, we're going climbing.
A state employee tells Ben and Emily what to do as California taxpayers seethe at the money being wasted here. After what feels like three hours of climbing, Jennifer the accountant appears to find the dynamic duo via the magic telescope. Hmmm, I wonder how Jennifer knew where and when to look?
Meanwhile, Emily is frozen in fear on the bridge, and Ben resolves the crisis by kissing her. Ben should get a Nobel Prize for finding the cure for acrophobia.
Later that night, Ben and Emily have dinner by the bridge, and Ben gives the lady a rose. The two celebrate with a "private" fireworks show that the other women watch at the suite.
The group date consisted of several women going snow skiing down a random San Francisco street. It didn't make much sense, as part of the date consisted of Ben and the ladies pimping the automobiles they were driving.
After the date, Ben and the ladies head to the hotel pool (another date, another swimming pool) to determine the next rose recipient. Out comes Brittney, the "Grandma's girl" from two weeks ago who wasn't even on this date. In fact, she was supposed to be preparing for a one-on-one date the next day.
Turns out her heart's not into the competition, so she's quitting the show. Ben, who did not expect this development (and given his track record so far, he's not good at expecting anything), escorts Brittney to the "vehicle of defeat."
The one-on-one date then goes to Lindzi the horse lady, and she and Ben take a cable car ride to the ice cream parlor, followed by a stop at City Hall. Given that this is an election year, I applaud "The Bachelor" for taking the time to show the democratic process in action - perhaps Ben and Lindzi can sign random bills into law.
Nope, I was wrong - they danced to an "impromptu" Matt Nathanson concert.
Ben and Lindzi then went to a speakeasy where you need a password to get in. Alas, the password isn't "swordfish." After Ben asks Lindzi why she's still single, he gives her a rose.
Meanwhile, a mystery woman is driving to San Francisco, and she's talking to Chris Harrison on the phone (don't worry, safety fans, it's a hands-free phone). The woman says she's quite eager to get together with Ben, so we're safe to assume that Mrs. Chris Harrison is not the driver.
The woman arrives at the hotel for the cocktail party, and reveals herself to be Shawntel, the funeral director from Brad Womack's season.
Shawntel enters the party, and the women are not amused. Much name calling is thrown about, others threaten to quit the show if Shawntel sticks around, and one competitor, Erica, faints during the rose ceremony.
I'll say it once and I'll say it again - ladies, you knew what you signed up for when you agreed to do this show. There's only one "official" rule on this series, and that's to expect the unexpected. Don't be angry at Shawntel for crashing the party, be angry at the following...
After Erica recovers from her fainting spell, Ben is left with one rose and three women to pick from: Erica, Shawntel and Jaclyn. And in what may have been the worst case of post-production voice-editing in "Bachelor" history, Ben opts to boot all three to the curb, telling Shawntel that it wasn't fair to add her to the competition at the last minute.
Next week, the group heads to Park City, Utah, for more drama and hanging out at swimming pools.
What did you think of last night's "Bachelor" episode?
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