With the season 20 premiere of ABC’s The Bachelor airing last week, Ben Higgins has been making the rounds, doing several appearances and interviews with various media outlets (such as Entertainment Weekly and Jimmy Kimmel Live!) However, in typical bachelor fashion, Ben has been keeping mum about any of the details surrounding his season.
Fortunately, the show returned on Monday for it’s second episode, allowing fans to get to know a little bit more about the new Bachelor and the group of women who are hoping to get the final rose.
The episode kicks off with the first group date. Here, contestants Jackie, LB, Lauren H, Becca, Amber, Mandi, Jojo, Jubilee, Jennifer and Lace all join Ben at “Bachelor High,” which is just a local Los Angeles high school that is getting the honor of being the backdrop for Ben’s first group date. When they arrive at the school, host Chris Harrison shows up in a whole teacher, sweater-vest get up and reveals that the girls will be competing in teams of two in a series of activities. Eventually, the final two girls will go up against each other, with the winner being crowned Ben’s homecoming queen.
Subsequently, Mandi the dentist and Bachelor alum Amber end up in the finals. Mandi comes out on top in a hurdle race and is crowned the homecoming queen. The other girls stare enviously, as Mandi is gifted some quality one-on-one time with Ben.
Afterwards, the ladies regroup and head out for the evening portion of their group date. One by one, each of the women pull Ben away from the group and try and sneak some one-on-one time. Jennifer is the first one to land an (intentional) kiss from Ben (recall: Lace tricked him into one when she got out of the limo).
Unsurprisingly, when Jen gets back to the group of women, she can’t help but spill all the details of her kiss with Higgins. And although all of the girls are clearly frustrated with Jen’s achievement, Lace seems to take it the hardest as she feels that she hasn’t been able to show Ben who she truly is (considering it’s only the second night, I doubt Ben can even tell half of the women apart from one another. So I don’t think Lace has too much to worry about – except for how drunk she allowed herself to get on the first night).
Lace manages to steal Ben away from Mandi and immediately apologizes for her behavior on the first night. She goes on to explain that he met “crazy” Lace – however, from her confessionals it seems like that might be the only Lace there is. Fortunately for Ben, just as Lace is ready to go in for yet another (most likely unwarranted) kiss, Jubilee walks in and steals him away.
Jubilee and Ben have the first real conversation of the season. Jubilee opens up and talks about her upbringing, as she was born in Haiti and adopted at a very young age. Ben is rightfully pleased to hear Jubilee open up and grants her the second and third…and fourth kiss of the season. Unlike Jen, when Jubilee returns to the group of ladies she does not kiss and tell. However, this doesn’t stop Lace from going on a rampage about how little time she has had with Ben. Already Lace has secured a spot for herself as the most hated contestant amongst the other women.
While the girls begin to gossip about ridiculous she is being, Lace runs off because she has to tell Ben something. This turns out to be Lace praising Ben’s hometown as much as she can and making him as uncomfortable as possible.
Despite her hardest efforts, Lace isn’t awarded the date rose. Ben gives this to Jojo – who won him over when they snuck away to the rooftop. Ben tells her it was her bubbly personality that really caught his eye – which makes it even more obvious that Lace is not the right girl for Ben.
The next day Ben takes Caila on their date – which turns out to be a “ride along” date with actors Kevin Hart and Ice Cube. After hitting up the local liquor store, the crew heads to a hot tub store where Kevin and Ice Cube let Ben and Caila have some alone time. Afterwards, the date gets a bit more intimate as Ben and Caila get to know each other over dinner. Caila winds up telling Ben about her previous relationship where she was “almost engaged’ to a man she met on a plane. Admittedly, she does do a good job explaining how her experience has helped her get to where she is now and this doesn’t go unnoticed as Ben comments that she has a likeable “depth” to her. And this turns out to be enough for Caila to earn the date rose. The night ends off with the duo being serenaded by Amos Lee, who is given the task of singing and watching Ben and Caila make out.
The next day Ben is joined by another big group of ladies for a date. Contestants Emily, Shushanna, Sam, Olivia, Haley and Amanda are sent to the “Love Lab,” where they meet Ben. Here, “scientists” help determine how compatible each of the women are with the bachelor. After a series of experiments (including one in which the ladies run on a treadmill and get sniffed all over by Ben), the head “scientist” reveals that Olivia came out on top (7.45/10) while Sam, unfortunately, wound up with the low score of 2.42/10 (in terms of compatibility). I actually feel kind of bad for Sam, as this obviously isn’t the best way to start off the competition – being told that you are “scientifically” not meant to be with a guy.
Later on, the girls get dressed up and join Ben for drinks at the hotel he is staying at. Right away, Ben asks Olivia to join him for some alone time – which upsets the other women. Ben takes Olivia to his hotel room where they both claim they were “not surprised” by their “scientific” compatibility and then, of course, make out. Not too long after, Olivia also takes the date rose, which further frustrates the other women who are beginning to feel that perhaps Olivia is the Shawn B. (Bachelorette reference) of this season.
Finally, the episode ends off with the second cocktail party and rose ceremony of the season. First, Ben sneaks Leah (who was the woman who hiked him a football when she got out of the limo) off to the side and tells her that he is confident in what they have, which is why she didn’t get a date this week.
Ben and Leah are interrupted by Olivia – who already has a rose – but is adamant on getting more time with Ben. Olivia is all over him, as she tells him “you make me really happy” and he half-heartedly replies, “that’s a good start.” Admittedly, I think Olivia did have an upper hand, but she is slowly sabotaging it by not being able to maintain her composure (she used to be a news anchor, she should be capable of this!)
When Olivia returns, Lace pulls her to the side and confronts her about taking up all of the alone time with Ben. Olivia tries to explain that even with a rose she wants to give it her all, but Lace kind of talks over her and continues to vent all of her insecurities. Following this, Lace steals Ben away and tries to once again explain her craziness. Unfortunately, she seems to dig herself an even deeper hole as she attempts to explain that there are reasons she has a “bold personality.” Yet again, Ben seems pretty put-off by Lace but tries to remain as neutral as he can during the whole exchange.
After Ben tries to reassure numerous women – including Lauren B and Amanda – that he feels something special with them, Chris Harrison announces it is time for the rose ceremony.
So who stays?
Amanda, Jubilee, Lauren B., Leah, Becca, Rachel, Lace, Jennifer, Emily, Jami, Lauren H., Shushanna, Haley and Amber
Ben also gives a rose to LB, but she declines and decides to leave the competition on her own. Also, I am not sure what he is thinking with Lace, but maybe he realizes that she is on the brink of insanity, and he doesn’t want to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
So who is out?
Sam, Mandi and Jackie (and LB by personal choice)
Unfortunately, Sam wasn’t able to recover from her low “scientific” compatibility score, and the girls who were given a rose are left wondering which one of them was originally meant to be sent home (in LB’s place).
Ben continues his journey as the Bachelor, where he takes numerous of the ladies on extravagant dates – including hot tubing in the desert, flying in an airplane and cruising down the highway. In addition, Olivia continues with her aggressive ways – as she claims that she wants to marry Ben and that he is basically already her man at this point; Plus, lots and lots of tears!
You can catch week three of The Bachelor next Monday, January 18 on ABC.