Grab your safety helmet, Bachelor
Nation, because we're about to take part in some extreme leisurely bicycling in season 22 of The Bachelor
Arie Luyendyk, Jr. -- which I'm happy to report I can finally spell without cross-referencing -- is a mere six eliminations away from settling on a temporary fiance, possibly one who won't be the age he is now until the year 2032. But first, the then-to-be 50-year-old has four dates and a surprise visit in romantic Tuscany as he whittles his final seven down to the four whose hometowns he'll visit.
The promo insinuates that the blindsider is about to become the blindsidee, apparently at the hands of a bombshell delivered by tech salesperson and only Lauren Lauren B. But methinks there's fancy editing afoot, and I predict it will be favorite elephant cufflink Seinne who departs as Arie weeps.
We've known for weeks that she's too good for him, and I'm betting she's about to realize it herself. It's also possible that Jacqueline is on the outs, as she is the only one not partaking in a date. (And the more I think about it, the more this seems like the plausible answer.)
The post-Krystal era begins in the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and the wine capital of the world, as Americans prepare to desecrate both with our best realty trash. Who will provide the drama now that she whose statements sound like questions is gone? And can Arie's love carry an episode by itself?
The necessity of having one gal's ex show up is a telling answer to both questions, but that's a topic for a future recap. On a side note, though, how great would it be if whoever it is DeMarios him and is just like, yeah, I don't know this dude.
The pressure mounts as the women learn that there will be no rose ceremony, putting the onus solely on the dates. The first one-on-one -- Let's fall in love under the Tuscan sun -- goes to fake proposal publicist and emerging favorite Becca, who is somehow still "emerging" as a favorite in week seven after being relatively nonexistent since the inaugural solo date.
Remember when Chelsea was going to be the villain after nabbing the first-impression rose? How'd that work out?
Rekindling the Flame
Arie whisks Becca away in a vintage red convertible to the quaint medieval village of Barga, where they sample the local fare and picnic atop a hill overlooking the countryside. They've been missing the romantic connection since they played Cinderella dress-up, and this one is all about recapturing the magic.
It doesn't take long for the chemistry to manifest into seemingly endless kisses, and it's like, sheesh, get a fantasy suite already. The passion continues boiling over dinner, where Becca describes all the colorful hometown characters that Arie can wow with his one racing win and repetitive use of the word "awesome."
Becca admits that she's falling in love and sees a future, which makes Arie "feel happy," and she gets a ton more smooches and a rose. It means he's headed to Minneapolis, site of the historic Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl victory.
Testing the Connection
The second date card -- Let's break down our walls -- goes to Lauren, who also had a one-on-one last time. That, combined with Becca's safety, sends the remaining suitorettes into an insecure tizzy. No one is more confused than Jacqueline, who has doubts and admits that she held off on developing feelings until her own solo date.
Now something "doesn't feel like it's feasible," and she can't promise that she's ready for marriage or to introduce him to her family because she's uncertain if she's falling in love or falling in love with falling in love. She ironically points out her tendency to sabotage situations like this before paying Arie a midnight visit.
She plays with his hair while breaking his heart, and even though he assures her that this scenario doesn't have to play out like her worst nightmare, she's gotta bounce. He doesn't want it to end and offers that if she has regrets, she can come back to him. But they both end up in tears as she takes her leave.
The Hits Keep on Coming
Still reeling from Jacqueline's departure, Arie takes Lauren on a bike riding adventure around the walled town of Lucca. But this isn't your average cycling tour because "safe" is as foreign as the gelato.
Look at this goober. It's like Teen Wolf riding on top of the van but less cool. Doesn't he know that Bono nearly died riding a bike? There was a bone protruding from the man's arm! Doing this without a helmet is a path to a fractured eye socket.
As for the budding relationship, Lauren hasn't been able to conquer her nerves or allow herself to be vulnerable. She's intent on hashing out these issues, but Arie instead forces her to play soccer with some local kids.
They're both hoping for a breakthrough at dinner, but her admission that she's falling in love is too much too soon. He excuses himself, leaving her sitting all alone, and it's an even worse response to an "I love you" than "Thanks." Yet he returns, monotonously declares that he is "really happy" and "falling so deeply in love" before offering her the rose.
Wait, what? There is nothing there. "I am floored," Lauren coos, and my wife adamantly agrees, with her arms flapping. "He's going to end up with Lauren, and she's so boring." It's the first time she has spoken up all episode.
Now You Seinne Me, Now You Don't
There's only two spots left, and kudos to anyone who saw Lauren in the final four. The last one-on-one -- I'm searching for the one -- goes to Seinne. Arie is a fan of Lauren and Becca both telling him they love him, but that doesn't seem like Seinne's MO. Plus, Arie admitted that he doesn't like 'em smart.
They go digging for truffles with a local legend and his adorable pooches, followed by a home-cooked pasta and pizza lunch with the truffle hunter's extended family. The food is the absolute best part of this date. And should they terminate the relationship, at least she can go home with a full belly. I'm hungry now, but we haven't gone grocery shopping in, like, two months. Thank god for Seamless.
Seinne and Arie head right to dinner, where they discuss family life and their hopes for the future. He quizzes her, obviously fishing for an L-bomb that she can't deliver, and the best she can muster is, "I'm not ready to not have you in my life." He'd hoped they were further along and, as such, there will be no rose.
Don't sweat it, girl. You're better than this, probably too good for Bachelor in Paradise as well, but I still hope to see you there. If he wants Lauren over you, he straight cray.
A Foursome with One Too Many
The group date -- Meet me at Villa Real -- pits Kendall, Tia and Bekah, with two roses on the line. Kendall gets the first alone time, and they honestly discuss their potential without a single mention of her desire to fill their home with animal carcasses.
Bekah confides the anxiety she's feeling in Tia, who interprets it as a lack of seriousness and blabs to Arie. Bekah isn't ready, either due to a lack of experience or maturity, and Tia can't help but compare her own feelings and conclude that the deceptively sexy nanny belongs under the wheels of a bus.
In her defense, Tia does immediately come clean to Bekah's face. Still, the youngster is moved to tears because she's tired of being treated like a f***ing baby. Luckily for her, Arie's manly arms and pillowy lips are there to comfort her.
She handles the tough questions about her family and also points out a few gray hairs of her own that put Arie at ease about the age gap. Kendall gets the first rose, and the trio heads to dinner for more awkward moments.
Both Tia and Bekah tell Arie that they're falling in love, and the latter hopes he can ditch logic and have faith in her and the 22-year-old parts she hasn't yet shown him. Head trumps heart, though, and Tia bucks the inevitable doom that comes with tattling, at least for now.
And there you have it. Arie's final four consists of only Lauren Lauren B., Tia the Weiner Queen with a doctor degree, emerging favorite Becca and stuffed-animals-don't-say-no Kendall, which means I am 50% shocked. Is he really going to end up with the taxidermist? And who could have foreseen Lauren in this mix or Arie's dramatic declaration of love for the girl who doesn't talk?
Arie is off to hometowns, where he will be greeted by mostly standoffish relatives hesitant about a looming proposal. It appears that there's even a threat or two, along with the appearance of a most unwelcome guest -- an ex-boyfriend hell-bent on winning back his betrothed. Stay tuned.
Were you surprised to see Seinne and Bekah go? I was sure that the nanny was at least heading to the fantasy suite, but it apparently wasn't meant to be. Who do you think Arie will send home next and which woman do you hope is the last one standing? Finally, can you picture any of them as his wife or are we destined for another failed engagement? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.