It’d be nice if Kacie — or someone — had “warned” Ben Flajnik about Courtney at least a dozen more times before Episode 9 overnight dates, just in case the messages got lost in his luxurious locks. ‘Cause Ben’s fiancee should obviously be chosen by American Idol vote or at least an informed committee. He should never be allowed to think for himself — no one should! Not Chris Harrison. Not the majority of fans at home, who have turned Courtney bashing into an Olympic sport. Not even sweet lil’ Kacie, who, after being dumped, returned for a free trip to Switzerland to stop Ben from making the wrong decision by picking Courtney in the end. Result: fail.
Oh, and Nicki Sterling is gone. But at least she wasn’t abandoned on the top of that mountain.
Ben is now down to Courtney vs. Lindzi Cox and there are probably people out there who never cared about the horse whispering first impression rose winner but are now Team Lindzi because it doubles as Team Not Courtney. But we hate to say it: If this were Lindzi vs. Nicki we could all sleep through the final episodes and not miss much. With Courtney there’s always more drama to come. Why be bored and apathetic when you can be incredulous and appalled? Besides, she and Ben are cute together. Who else is going to play “Hey, Cow” with him… besides his sister?
Read on for a full recap of the Episode 9 overnight dates:
BEN HANDICAPS HIS FINAL THREE
He’s worried that he’s going to “blow it” and pick the wrong person. The more he gets to know his final three, the more lost he becomes. He’s falling in love with all of them. He’s confused and cloudy and has a 60 percent chance of rain.
• Nicki: The first time he could see himself with Nicki was when the rain poured on them during their first one-on-one date in Puerto Rico. He liked how she turned rainy lemons into sunny lemonade. She’s open, gentle and caring and nurturing. “She’s super sweet, always has been, really kind-hearted. I like the way that she makes me feel.”
• Lindzi: She’s a little bit country and a little bit city, and she wears them both so well. He’s been attracted to Lindzi from day one. When he’s with her he’s happy. She’s funny and honest and herself. Meeting her family propelled their relationship to the next level. “I had premonitions of life with children with Lindzi when I was at her parents’ house and wanting to bring my kids to a place like this.” Wow! Is he falling in love with Lindzi or her family’s estate? (Her family is awesome, though.)
• Courtney: “There’s some kind of weird magical force that just kind of pulls us together and it works.” Courtney is “extremely unique” and “a little nerdy” and unlike anyone he’s ever met. He likes her weirdness and that’s why he holds her in high regard. She’s exciting and spontaneous and has a rebellious side. They have a chemistry that’s unlike anything he’s felt in his entire life. But he’s concerned about how she’s treated the other women. He’s been warned about things.
When he’s in love he gives the person everything he has. (Even if America turns on her?) He’s motivated to dig deeper and ask the questions he has been afraid to ask. Like “Do you even like me or are you just here to be winning?” Hopefully, anyway.
Interlaken, Switzerland is purrrrty! Nicki is perky and bubbly, as always. She takes her second helicopter ride ever as she and Ben fly over a glacier (hi, Kasey Kahl!) and have a picnic on a mountain. It’s worth going on The Bachelor just to do that. Their helicopter body language is not as good as his helicopter body language with Lindzi in Belize in a previous ep. (Just saying.) They’re more focused on seeing the sights than each other. Ben’s voice-over treats us to awful platitudes like “My relationship with Nicki is getting to new heights but at the same time it’s grounded. … When we hang out together you can feel the love. Relationships can be a wild ride.” Is he purposely saying these cliches just to laugh at them off-camera? Come on.
On the mountain, they talk about Nicki’s dad, who is awesome. He reminds Ben of his own dad. They kiss and then decide to yell. Nicki wants to scream how much she loves Ben. They are stranded on a mountain top and just seem to hug each other and look around. Do they not have much to talk about, other than trite relationship metaphors related to scenery? That night, they talk about how many kids they want. Ben wants four kids. So does his sister, in case you care. Nicki wants two kids. They talk about picturing each other together but they never really seemed to connect on a realistic level. They don’t seem to be a real match. They like each other, sure, and they have fun but… it’s not substantial. As Gertrude Stein said about Oakland, “There’s no there there.”
They break out the fantasy suite date card, as written by The Rosemaster Pimp (Chris Harrison), and Nicki does not hesitate. Ben is flattered that she said yes. Nicki is all in. It’s been a year and a half since she and her ex broke up. She’s not taking the fantasy suite lightly but... it does seem like she’s taking it seriously as a chance to have sexy time with Ben and his hair. “I am not a cocky person but I am confident that I would make you so happy.” She gives him a whole speech before they take hands and walk behind closed doors… and the cameras watch them take a bath together. He likes her confidence. Does he like that she can’t stop talking and selling him on herself? She’s giving job interview speeches so he really, really, really knows she cares and that he’s a good person and she’ll take care of him. But she’s not waiting for anything from him or even expecting him to say one word. Bad sign? Survey says, YES.
Lindzi doesn’t have a jacket, but she does have enthusiasm — and vertical jump skills — as she leaps into Ben’s arms. For their date, their mutual fear of heights is exploited when they have to rappel down a 300-foot ledge. She still doesn’t have a jacket, but she does have some killer boots. Lindzi makes the inevitable metaphor about a relationship being a leap of faith where you have to depend on each other, just like jumping off a cliff. But should a relationship be reminiscent of a terrifying brush with death. Ben says more “Oh my Dad!” comments with Lindzi, but he also tells the camera “I love this woman.” Is it the adrenaline talking?
Then we go from talking about Dumpsville for a minute to the two in a hot tub looking almost naked as they talk about Lindzi’s transformation to be more soft and vulnerable. (Er?) They talk about how they see their relationship not only working but working really well. He’s seeing a more “affectionate” side to Lindzi. They keep babbling about lasting love but it’s clear they really just want to get it on right now.
That night they have a very formal dinner. (Side note: Why does her hair ALWAYS look messy? Bed head can be hot, but permanent bed head? Does Ben like her because her hair is even wilder than his?) Lindzi talks about her last boyfriend. She felt like she settled with him. She didn’t realize completely, until meeting Ben, how bad that last relationship was. She’d rather be vulnerable and be hurt from that than have a relationship end because she wasn’t vulnerable. He said he’s loved watching her open up. Lindzi tells Ben she really likes him and she’s falling in love with him. She tells him she wants this to end with a proposal. Ben tells the camera he’s starting to love this woman, too. The fantasy suite date card comes out and it would be a better moment if he weren’t wearing that absent-minded professor bow tie. It’s not sexy.
Lindzi says she wouldn’t normally just go spend a night with a guy… but when that guy is also dating two other women and time is of the essence, OF COURSE she’ll do it. The word “vulnerable” keeps coming out. We see Ben and Lindzi kissing on a bed. Ben says he sees himself with Lindzi for the rest of his life. (Except by Lindzi, we think he means a Lindzi that looks, sounds and acts like Courtney.)
Courtney always gets the last date — final individual date in Belize, final hometown date and now the final overnight date. Her words are always fresh in his mind before Ben makes his big decisions.
Ben is worried about Courtney’s treatment of the other women, so it’s not like he doesn’t know. He’s been told it all. They take a train ride to a cute little Swiss town and go shopping for a picnic. Ben likes that Courtney likes to try new things and discover new things. They like that they are doing something they would normally do — travel together, go shopping for cheese, etc. They are cute together — both goofy and dorky but attractively so. Courtney says she feels lucky and happy. She’s glad she hung in there. “Looking back I feel bad for treating the girls the way that I have. I just hope that he knows that I’m a good person and I hope it doesn’t get in the way of what could be like the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
They have a picnic with cows. Ben and his sister used to play “Hey, cow” with cows, which the cows probably didn’t appreciate but which proves that Ben and Courtney are probably the most perfect for each other. They are bizarre. They talk about Courtney’s issues with the other girls. She says it’s all in the past now. Ben said he watched her and noticed at certain times she would “twist the knife” a little bit and in those moments he wished she had made things a little easier on him. She said she tried to be nice to them but it’s a really unique situation. She’d say something and they’d jump on her and have her guard up. “Maybe I said some things that were hurtful at times...” Ben said “regardless of the situation, it’s pretty messed up. I will say that.” He doesn’t want to get into it. He wants to enjoy the day. He hates confrontation. (Too bad who couldn’t skip The Women Tell All.) Courtney tears up telling the cameras it breaks her heart that she made it harder for him but seemed defensive when speaking to him.
That night they talk in a basement wine cellar. She’s worried that her trash-talking of the other girls will ruin things with him. She knows she could’ve handled things better with the other women. He only sees good things from her. She has trust issues and she’s had issues with women before. She doesn’t want Ben to worry that she’s fake or that he doesn’t know her. Does he worry that she keeps interrupting him? ‘Cause Jake Pavelka would hate that.
In order for this to work he needs support. So when he sees how Courtney doesn’t work well with other women, he wonders about how she’ll be with the other women in his life — his friends, his mom, his sister, etc. She apologizes for speaking too soon when her guard was up. She said she was excited when Emily O'Brien left and she knows that was mean but the words came out of her mouth. Ben is happy to hear Courtney apologize and hold herself accountable. Of course, that’s just to Ben not to the other women.
The fantasy suite date card comes out. “I feel good about us,” Ben said. After their difficult conversation he knows he wants to take their relationship to the next step. He wants uninterrupted time with her. He just hates confrontation and wants time to stroke her pretty hair.
Courtney says she hasn’t been in love in a long time and maybe what she thought was love wasn’t love ‘cause it didn’t feel like this. They, too, end up in a tiny hot tub. Three hot tubs in one day. Courtney feels like she’s in a fairy tale. Ben is the best thing that’s ever happened to her.
It’s great how, when Ben opens the door and sees Kacie, his reaction is the same as when Shawntel Newton showed up in San Francisco: “Holy sh*t!” That’s his go-to reaction.
Their meeting is awkward. His heart is racing. She sits down. “I have come here because I feel like when I left I was in shock and I didn’t know what to say.” She couldn’t even think at home or rationalize it and she didn’t know what happened to send her home. Um, your dad? And your mom? And your lifestyle? And your extreme reactions? Why didn’t she just wait for the Women Tell All to ask him to explain things better? Ben said, for him, he felt like they were “worlds apart” in where they come from. Different backgrounds. “Did I see you in the end? No.”
Kacie says what makes her parents happy doesn’t always make her happy. There’s an awkward pause. Then Kacie segues into warning him about/trashing Courtney, which is why she’s really there:
Kacie: “Because I do love you and I do care about you, I don’t want you to see you get your heart broken again. And I feel like — and I don’t know what’s happened, where you are with everybody — but I feel like if you were to choose Courtney you would get your heart broken.”
Ben: “OK. Any reasons why? I would love to hear them.” (Really? OK...)
Kacie: “I’ve watched her for a while. I’ve sat back and watched and observed things. It seems like She’s in this to win it and she has made comments like ‘If it’s not Ben there are other fish in the sea’ and it’s just hard for me to hear that knowing how I felt.”
She must be talking about that line Courtney gave in Belize about Ben not being the only guy in the world and that the spark is either there or it isn’t. But it’s obvious she has the spark with Ben and she knew it. The other girls didn’t. That was her way of sugar-coating it, in her snarky, confident way. Doesn’t feel like grounds for an emergency trip to Switzerland.
After she leaves the hotel room she lays down on the floor in the hallway, which is a great dramatic ending to the moment that’s trademark Bachelor.
After Kacie sticks her nose in things, Ben starts worrying again that Courtney is not a good person and he’s being played. He’s now second-guessing himself. He didn’t have any regrets until Kacie showed up and now he’s questioning everything. “Will I have regrets? I don’t know.”
Chris Harrison asked if Ben wanted Kacie at the rose ceremony. The ball is in Ben’s court. He knows as much as he can about Courtney and if he still likes her he has no one to blame but himself — or, preferably, no one at all since it probably means they are a perfect match.
She hopes he’s making the right decision. So does he. The way he stresses about making the right call does seem like he’s afraid to deal with the wrath of America if he chooses Courtney. “I cried a little bit today, I’m not gonna lie,” Ben tells Nicki. He sugar coats it for her. He’s started to have doubts. She cries. Her fear is that he will be hurt one day. She hopes she’s proved wrong. But what if Courtney or Lindzi ends up getting hurt? Will that be fine with everyone? Ben just feels stronger about two other women. Saying goodbye to Nicki was the hardest thing he’s had to do so far. Probably because they probably they had sexy time together, right? Her whole speech led up to it. That has to burn.
“I was in love with him and I’ve never been in love with somebody who hasn’t loved me back — and that really hurts.” She feels like a fool for falling so hard and so fast for someone. She thought she was ready to be a wife and mom but now it’s going to take a while.
Next week is the Women Tell All show. It will be good to see Shawntel Newton and Blakeley Shea confront the women who were mean to them, since so much time has been spent on Courtney. Courtney is also going to come out and talk to the ladies. Then, in two weeks on March 12, we’re going to get the finale we have to see to believe.