Welcome to The Bachelor Season 16: On the Wings of Love … Again! — a not-so-special revival of The Bachelor Season 14.
As you’ll see in your programs, the Jake Pavelka role of the guy who likes the girl no one else likes will be played by Ben Flajnik. The girl no one likes, Vienna Girardi, will be played by Courtney Robertson. The role of the girl who can’t stop harping on the one no one likes, Ali Fedotowsky, will be played by Emily O'Brien. The one girl who defends the outcast, Gia Allemand, will be played by Casey Shteamer. The sweet fan favorite who’s just a touch too emotionally fragile, Tenley Molzahn, will be played by Kacie Boguskie.
In Episode 4 of this update of the classic 2010 story, Emily will come off as the truly fake girl who can’t stop talking smack behind Courtney’s back while Courtney is the one who is at least willing to share her opinions — positive or negative — to people’s faces.
You may be on Team Emily, but right now we’re on Team Casey. (We can’t fully be Team Courtney until she stops saying “winning!”) Emily needs to get over her obsession with Courtney — or just propose to her already. (There’s a thin line between love and hate.)
Ben took his beauties to Park City, Utah this week and the two one-on-one dates were pretty much chemistry lite. They were also kind of glossed over in favor of the much more dramatic group date and cocktail party. Kacie got jealous and needed reassurance. Courtney got tired of the drama and needed reassurance. Emily got upset and wanted reassurance... but got a full SIT DOWN from Ben. And Samantha Levey randomly got dumped (although there’s more to that story than they showed).
Overall, it was a sad episode with too few glimpses of actual romance. Ben probably should’ve sent more girls home than Samantha and Monica Spannbauer. (Who else was surprised by the random brunette at the cocktail party? No, that wasn’t a producer... that’s Jamie Otis. And she’s still in the running.)
One person who probably loved this episode — Blakeley Shea! The pressure is totally off the VIP cocktail waitress. The other girls act like they never bashed the heck out of her as a cougar whore only fit for motor-boating mere episodes ago. But they’re not fake at all! No, no. That’s all Courtney.... Right.
Read on for a full recap of Episode 4:
WELCOME TO PARK CITY, UTAH
Home of every color of the rainbow, Ben notes as he flies over the lovely fall trees. Ben is bringing the ladies to the outdoors because the outdoors are a big part of his life. He has fond memories of hanging out with his grandpa. (Grandparents are the LBDs of Season 16.)
PICNIC DATE WITH RACHEL... GETS AWKWARD
Date card: “Rachel, Let’s let nature take its course.”
Kacie is (way too) emotional about Rachel Truehart getting a date with Ben, as if she would be getting another one-on-one date already when several other women haven’t had individual dates yet. She reveals to the cameras that she always said when she found love it would be instantaneous. Is that even a fair thing to expect? Isn’t that more infatuation rather than love? Anyway, she needs to pull it together. It’s The Bachelor. He’s gonna make out with a lot of ladies before the end. If she wants to make it there, she’s going to have to take a deep breath and accept that.
Rachel and Ben take a helicopter ride to a little lake where they go for a canoe ride and have a picnic. Ben likes these low-key dates, and they are a good indication of what real life would be like. The location is upstaging them. They kiss in the canoe but the chemistry isn’t translating.
For some reason, instead of focusing on Ben and Rachel, we have to go back to the house and deal with Kacie’s jealousy. Want to love Kacie but this isn’t going to work if she keeps the “Great First Date Syndrome” going.
But then again, the Ben/Rachel date is awkward so maybe we’re better off staying in the house. Like, we hear crickets... and not just because they’re in the great outdoors. Yikes. At least Ben recognizes the lack of conversation. He thinks Rachel is a tougher read than the other girls, which means she’s reserved and not throwing herself at him. Maybe he’s not used to the chase. (Even Jennifer Love Hewitt flew to him.) But that Emily Maynard-Brad Womack “slow burn” kind of love could be something worth chasing... (We’ll just ignore the fact that the fire died soon afterwards.)
That night, at dinner, Ben decides he is actually willing to do a bit of work instead of having the woman throw themselves at him. Rachel talks about her last relationship and admits it’s hard for her to open up. To the cameras she reveals that she’s falling for Ben, which seems very quick and based on very little.
Ben tells us something important — that in the past he’s ruined relationships because he’s listened to his buddies instead of going with his gut. So Ben doesn’t want to hear your complaints about girls he likes. Don’t even put them in the suggestion box.
Eventually, Rachel does open up and Ben thinks there’s a “great little vibe.” He learned patience from his slow-burn (there it is!) relationship with Ashley Hebert. Sometimes it’s important to let love blossom. So maybe we shouldn’t read into his insta-chemistry with other ladies (*cough*Courtney) as meaning it’s a done deal.
Ben says he likes kissing and spending time with Rachel. She gets a rose. Still not seeing it, but Benny knows best.
FLY FISHING GROUP DATE
Date card: “Jamie, Casey S., Blakeley, Lindzi [Cox], Samantha, Nicki [Sterling], Kacie B. (ahem) Courtney, Let’s see if you’re a great catch”
Courtney says the other girls don’t get it. They want Ben to hate her and see the side of her that shuts down around them when she blossoms around Ben.
Emily says Courtney is condescending and self-centered. She thinks it will be an eye-opening experience for “Mr. Flajnik” to see Courtney on a group date. She thinks Ben wants someone who is friendly around everyone. But why would he need his Chosen One to be great friends with his ex-girlfriends from the show? Why is that vital? Sorry, Em, you’re not “winning” this round yet.
Out on the range, Ben rides his horse over to the ladies. Blakeley thinks Ben looks like a knight in shining armor. Do you think he rode the horse to impress Lindzi? She said her heart melted when she saw him on the horse. Samantha seems like the city girl who does not belong on a horse. Nicki loves Ben’s hair blowing in the breeze. It’s like something out of a movie.
The ladies see waders and for some reason start cheering as if that’s exciting. They go fly fishing to catch their lunch. We get more of Kacie’s insecurity and need for reassurance. Then, when she has time with Ben she reads a lot into it — that he makes her feel like herself.
Courtney has a nice mustard-colored beanie on. (Ben is a mustard guy. Cue Jillian Harris’ hot dog topping theory!) She compares catching fish to catching a man. She’s not seeing a lot of moves being made toward Ben. She thinks the other ladies should step it up and have their eyes on the prize the way she does. So is she just “in it to win it” or is she developing feelings?
Courtney calls Kacie B. cute and sweet and kind of annoying. (Uh, thanks?) Courtney doesn’t feel threatened by the other girls. She’s going to turn the group date into a one-on-one date, which is the objective of every group date.
Back at the house, Emily and Monica can’t wait for Courtney to sabotage herself.
Meanwhile, Ben loves fishing with Courtney, who is a natural. That’s all that matters. If the women really want Ben’s attention, jump in! Courtney catches a fish. She is on a roll! Kacie doesn’t trust Courtney and her fish/man catching. (This Anti-Courtney Crusade is starting to feel like pure jealousy and not really based on legitimate stuff.)
Ben (finally!) talks with Casey S. She thinks four times is a lot to fall in love, which is fair. She’s sweet and soft-spoken and if she believes Courtney is “misunderstood” then there’s probably something to it. Nicki steals Ben away from Casey, but isn’t vilified for it like Blakeley once was. Ben said Nicki thrives in the group setting. Nicki reveals that a week before she came, someone close to her passed away at age 49. Ben said he lost a friend two days before he came onto the show. This convo gets really depressing really fast BUT... they have a cute bonding moment that ends with a sweet kiss from Ben on Nicki’s head.
SAMANTHA (RANDOMLY?) GETS DUMPED DURING THE GROUP DATE
After Nicki, Samantha comes over and steals Ben away. She’s not sure why she’s been on three group dates instead of an individual date. She tells the cameras she has crazy feelings for this guy and should already have a ring on her finger. Is she talking about Ben or someone else? Ben says he hasn’t liked her behavior on group dates. In her actions, he doesn’t see her connection with him. He wonders if she’s really there for him. (*cough*) “From what I’ve seen up to this point, I don’t see this going much further, to be completely honest with you. I wonder if you take this seriously enough.”
Samantha gets dumped. The girls seem surprised but not too sad since she seemed to be abrasive and dramatic. Also, it’s one less woman standing in the way of them and Ben!
Maybe the show just wanted to create the storyline that Ben dumped Samantha to illustrate the seriousness of the show, when the spoilers out there said that Samantha had feelings for one of the show’s producers.
KACIE VS. COURTNEY FOR THE GROUP DATE ROSE
Kacie gets her “special” time with Ben. She needs reassurance every now and then (just like Ashley Hebert did in Season 15 with Brad). Ben tells her, “Today I wanted to kiss you so bad in the river.” Awww! But he didn’t because he wants the girls to get along. (Talk about Mission Impossible!) That’s a big point for Kacie. “I’m in trouble with Kacie B.,” Ben admits to the cameras. His relationship with her is growing faster than most. Ben says she’s wonderful and “I might end up with her”... but he looks miserable while he says it.
Courtney steals Ben away and also quotes Brad Womack’s “don’t poke the bear” comment. He grabs her face when he kisses her. He kisses her like a boyfriend to a girlfriend. He was surprised by how well she did on the group date, like she’s a child who behaved in the supermarket. She’s having a tough time. She feels strongly for him but when she’s not with him, she’s down. “I have feelings for you and I genuinely like you,” Ben said. Nothing’s changed. And she gets the ultimate reassurance: the group date rose.
(It reminds us of the Ashley Hebert/JP Rosenbaum exchange during the wedding photos date where he got a little jealous and she gave him a rose to reassure him of her feelings. Remember?)
Kacie is ticked to be denied a rose. So blame Ben, not Courtney. Are they really mad at him but can’t take it out on him so that’s why they turn on each other?
CONCERT DATE WITH JENNIFER
Date card: “Jennifer [Fritsch], Let’s pick our love song”
Three cheers for the ginger girl! She hasn’t been on a first date in a very, very, very long time. Courtney is worried about Jennifer because she’s cute, but she sees Jenn and Ben being more friends. She doesn’t think Jen will get a rose, which means she has no idea Ben called Jennifer the best kisser in the house.
Ben thinks Jennifer is more reserved than a lot of the other girls, but she also has an adventurous side. They trespass into a rusty cage area covering a hole. Is he going to bury her in the ground? She’s scared of heights and they are going to drop 300 feet into a cave. With almost no clothes on. So romantic? What happened to the normal, low-key dates?
Later, Jennifer tells Ben her last relationship lasted four-and-a-half years but he wasn’t going to marry her so she walked away. She loved him. Ben wants a woman who is independent but needs and wants him. She’s used to an 8-5 lifestyle and he needs someone who understands a flexible schedule.
They get caught in the rain. They kiss and she gets a rose. Then they go to the Clay Walker concert. Ben doesn’t seem like a country music guy. Jennifer brings out the good in him. She does seem like a good egg, but the sparks aren’t quite there... yet.
ANTI-COURTNEY HAIR SALON BITCH SESSION
Back in the house, the ladies trash talk Courtney, saying they don’t see it with her and Ben and can’t believe she got the group date rose. Because they think Courtney is “cold” to them, they interpret that as “fake” with Ben.
They hang out having a mean girl hair session and insult Courtney behind her back, again. And yet they all think that they are the nice ones. Emily says the bitch session is giving her ulcers, but not because she’s not comfortable trashing Courtney behind her back. “I don’t want to see him fooled by the vegan rod doe-eyed model who doesn’t really know which way is up.” Nice. It’s worth noting that Blakeley is doing Emily’s hair while this conversation is had in the bathroom. Remember when they trashed the heck out of Blakeley? Does she know that? These girls are cruel and fickle and they pick a new victim every week. And yet America seems to be siding with them. Sad.
(Side note: The Bachelor needs more from quiet Casey and sweet nurse Jamie. Where are they? Why do we have to hear from the mean girls when nice girls are being ignored?)
COCKTAIL PARTY TURNS INTO COURTNEY VS. EMILY
Ben is finally ready to say he can see his wife in the room. So he must have a frontrunner in mind.
Emily has decided to talk to Ben about Courtney, which is dumb, dumb, dumb. That never works. It just wastes his time and makes the narc look bad. Emily keeps saying Courtney is cold, but she just doesn’t like the other girls. Why would she? The other girls stop speaking when she enters the room.
Emily gives Ben her “I feel like there’s one girl here who is very different around you than she is around the rest of the girls” speech. It does NOT go well. At all. Ben said he doesn’t want Emily to have to throw someone under the bus but she’s DYING to, so she does. Ben warns Emily that letting “this person consume everything that you’re doing” it’s going to be her own demise.
For some reason, Emily then trashes Courtney to Casey, who is Courtney’s best friend in the house. Casey defends Courtney (Go Team Casey!) which Emily ignores since she’s clearly not used to her opinions being challenged.
So... Casey tells Courtney about the trash-talking and Courtney is shocked that Emily would bother to talk smack about her to Ben. AND HERE’S WHERE EMILY REALLY LOST US: Emily decides to feign ignorance when Courtney calmly confronts her about her tattle-telling ways in front of the group. Emily clearly isn’t used to speaking honestly to people’s faces. To her, “social etiquette” seems to mean being nice to someone’s face and insulting them behind their backs. Why play coy? Why not just have it out? Instead, Emily pretends she is the mature one and Courtney is in “fifth grade.” Time out for you, Emily.
NICKI HAS A MOMENT
Somehow, in the middle of all that, Nicki announces she is head over heels for Ben. They kiss by the snow. It’s pretty. Next week Nicki is supposed to get a date, which is good. We need more romantic sparks in these episodes.
Rachel, Courtney and Jennifer already have roses.
2. Jamie (We need more from her)
4. Kacie B.
7. Casey S.
*The final rose*
8. Emily (She played up worrying she’d have to go home, but the promos have shown her in exotic locations, so it’s not exactly a shock to see her get a rose)
Going home: Monica. Not exactly a shocker or an emotional exit. She’s crying, but probably not because she loves Ben. Maybe she’ll miss Blakeley? He’s just kind of narrowing the field at this point. Honestly, he probably should’ve let a few more girls go.
Ben announces that they are going to Puerto Rico, to which Courtney responds by saying she’d just been there recently. Yeah, she can definitely be annoying, but she’s hardly the most annoying person in that house. Looks like Emily will keep harping on Courtney to Ben, even after her failed talk. De-mise.