So the brunette vs. blonde battle between Team Courtney Robertson and Team Emily O'Brien has officially gone to the “dark” side. (Winning! Cue Courtney’s auto-tuned “I got the roooooose...")

The Valentine’s Eve timing of The Bachelor Season 16, Episode 7 probably left Courtney haters broken-hearted, since the previews made it seem like Court would be swimming with the sharks back from Belize, when instead Ben Flajnik chose to dump gangsta epidemiologist Emily — once a major front-runner — and Rachel Truehart, who was just barely hanging on anyway.

Interestingly enough, the two ladies who picked up Emily’s anti-Courtney baton, Kacie Boguskie and Nicki Sterling, were not only kept around for the all-important hometown dates, but Ben actually took the initiative to confront Courtney himself — even though he seems afraid to tick her off. The one lady still staying out of all the drama completely is Lindzi Cox, who also made it to Ben’s final four and is one step closer to NOT returning to Dumpsville.

If Ben isn’t into drama — and he says he isn’t, but his actions suggest otherwise —  Lindzi is his girl. Loving Team Bendzi right now. But we’ll see.

Read on for a full recap of Episode 7:

Credit: Francisco Roman/ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney Photo: Ben Flajnik Toasts With Rachel Truehart, Nicki Sterling, and Kacie Boguski on The Bachelor Season 16, Episode 6

WELCOME TO BELIZE

Where the most beautiful settings can be spoiled by Ben’s tragic tank top. How’s the humidity going to be this week? That’s an issue for Ben’s and Kacie’s hair. No rain, sleet, snow or hail can stop Emily from continuing to diss Courtney, this time comparing her to a shark. Apparently Emily’s gonna need a bigger boat to contain her Courtney obsession, which she’s always on the verge of dropping before picking it up again. Meanwhile, Kacie and Nicki are both talking about how much they love Ben. When did Nicki develop this deep connection? That must’ve happened off camera.

DATE WITH LINDZI

Date card: “Lindzi, two halves make a whole … Ben”

For some reason, Lindzi getting a date launches a Nicki breakdown. Ben comes to pick up Lindzi for her date and, as he arrives, she’s sitting talking to Courtney.

• Worth noting: Lindzi has not joined the anti-Courtney brigade.

• Also worth noting: None of the other girls (Nicki, Emily, Kacie, Rachel) seem to move from their lounge chairs when Ben arrives. They just scowl with jealousy. That’ll win him over!

• Also worth noting: This episode is being brought to us by Emily’s commentary. She loves to make analogies (like comparing Courtney to a shark and Ben to cheesecake) and, like a couple of weeks ago with Courtney, she is dominating the “In the Moment” interviews.

Lindzi and Ben take a helicopter ride and their body language is VERY good. He has both arms around her and they look comfortable — like a natural couple. They go to a Blue Hole coral reef. But, of course, they can’t just enjoy themselves. They have to jump out and Lindzi is afraid of heights. They overcome that fear, which maybe displaces the fear-of-heights moment Ben had with Emily earlier in the season. Lindzi makes a “falling” in love with Ben pun. 

Credit: 5min.com Photo: Watch Ben Flajnik and Lindzi Cox Fall Into the Ocean (and in Love?) on The Bachelor Season 16, Episode 7 (VIDEO)

We skip the rest of the day portion of her date and go straight to dinner. They kiss a lot. She tells the camera he’s sexy and she can’t take her eyes off him. She’s falling in love but she’s worried about his five other girlfriends. Ben tells Lindzi each date is getting better and if they continue down this path… “it’s great.” (Um, OK.) He can’t really say more than that. They talk about hometown dates and that this is a two-way street. He won’t be handing roses out on the dates this week but he does want to see if she’s ready for him to meet her family.

However, he does have something (please don’t make a scrapbook!). It’s a note! They write a letter to put in a bottle and send out. Aww. There’s a cute illustration on one side and something more serious on the other. That’s their relationship — the best of both worlds. They do a “Once upon a time...” fairy tale message. (Love these two. Feel good about these two.) Ben says he could see himself with her for the rest of his life. “I feel like I’m falling in love with this woman.”

Credit: ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney Photo: Courtney Robertson Vs Emily O'Brien

DATE WITH EMILY

Group date: “Emily, do you Belize in love?” (Cheesiest date card yet? We think so.)

Before the date card arrives, Courtney is talking to the others about wanting another one-on-one date. You know, like they’ve all said at one point. “Courtney sucks,” Kacie tells the camera. “‘We’re in a relationship,’” she mocks in her best Courtney voice. “What do you think we’re all in? I have never heard such a conceited person before in my life. Never.” OK, hold up on that. Wasn’t Kacie the one breaking down because she had the first date of the season and got jealous because her boyfriend was dating other women? Pot, meet kettle.

Emily getting the date card triggers Courtney’s emotional breakdown. She cries for the first time — that we’ve seen. It stings Courtney to see the woman who scorned her get more time with Ben. “It would really make my day if he sent Emily home.” (Congrats on that, btw.)

Ben and Em go for a bike ride through town. It’s easy-peasy, as Ben puts it. He just seems to want to hang out and Emily happens to be there. Friend zone. They decide to torture lobsters by grabbing them from the water and eating them for dinner. That night, they go dancing and talk about hometowns. “I can see myself loving this woman,” Ben says, which sounds better than the body language he’s showing. She’s giving him bright eyes and smiles but he’s not really showing the same.

Emily brings up Courtney AGAIN and says she feels like they lost time they could’ve spent talking about themselves. She makes a speech about their great time that day and extends Ben an invitation to meet her family. Ben toasts her as a beautiful woman as well as a smart woman. Emily decides she’s falling in love with Ben, too. Great timing.

COURTNEY HAS HIT A WALL

Back at the villa, Courtney talks to Lindzi about the Emily situation and how much it hurt. So it looks like Courtney got along with someone other than Casey Shteamer. That bodes well for Courtney since Lindzi is zero drama. If she’s OK with Queen Court, she can’t be that bad. We also see more of Courtney’s vulnerable side, crying in confessionals.

Courtney says she’s not sure she’s ready to bring Ben home to meet her family. It might be too late for them, she thinks. “It sucks. I really liked him.” At least she’s not saying she’s in love after only one individual date. She says if she doesn’t get a one-on-one date, she may not accept a rose from Ben because she hasn’t had that private time since Sonoma. What she’s saying actually makes more sense than all the gushing from the other ladies. She’s at her wit’s end. Maybe she’s just going stir-crazy in the villa?

DATE WITH COURTNEY

Date card: “Let’s take the next steps in our relationship … Ben”

BUT FIRST, SOME CURSES FROM KACIE

Of course Kacie goes nuts at the idea of Courtney getting another date with Ben. “That f--king b-tch. ‘He knows what’s good for him. He knew I need it.’ It took every freaking fiber of my being to not spring across the room and punch her in the face.” Charming! It’s not ‘cause she’s jealous of Courtney, Kacie says, “it’s because she is the [bleep] piece of person I’ve ever seen in my life.” OK then! “Here’s Courtney, she’s a black widow. This is what I want to do to her.” She slaps her hand. Wow. Thank heaven Courtney is already the accepted “villain” of this season or people might actually notice how Kacie and Emily are the ones saying the meanest things.

BACK TO COURTNEY’S DATE

On their date, Ben tells the camera when it comes to Courtney he thinks “big picture.” He can see himself with her longterm. He apologizes for how long it’s taken him to give her another date. She tells the camera she felt really strong for Ben in the beginning but “the spark has fizzled a little bit.” They sit down and talk about Emily. So now it’s Courtney’s turn to talk about her. She subtly plants the seed of “You’d better not give a rose to Emily or I won’t accept one myself.”

Ben isn’t a guy very used to the chase, but with Courtney he’s willing to chase. “I lost the spark, babe,” she tells Ben. She’s open about having lost that loving feeling.  Ben finally has to work to woo a woman. He consoles her for having to put up with the other women who clearly don’t like her. “Out of anyone that’s been here you’re the one that consistently seems to care.” She’s not just going to give him the classic gushing “I see myself with you” speech. As he puts it so well, “I want a woman with a little bit of edge. I want someone that’s a little bit weird.” Ha! “I think I’m kind of strange. I’m kind of a weird guy, you know, I feel like you are nicely — I don’t know how to put it — unique. Very unique. I like those little things about you.” This might be the most romantic thing Ben has said this season so far. She says not everyone gets that.

So they are falling back into a love pattern. They take steps up the temple and with each step she left behind the hurt and drama. So she’s not above the cheesy analogies either. “Oh my Dad,” Ben said, because he was that happy, it made him think of his dad. Aww!

The rest of their date is cute (to a point). Ben talks about believing in soul mates. She invites him to meet her family. People may think Courtney is fake or playing Ben, but she has been honest with him — about not feeling it and having him either bring her back to reality or send her home. He’s dumped other women for a lack of connection, it just so happens he’s willing to fight for this girl. Good sign.

BEN AND COURTNEY TALK ABOUT HER TROUBLE WITH WOMEN

Then they talk about the other women in the house. Somehow Courtney thinks she’s been nice to everyone from day one. Hmm. Maybe not, hon.

But then she’s honest with Ben again. She’s kind of delusional one minute and then brutally honest the next. “This is the thing — these women, I’m so bored by them. These aren’t people that I would be friends with in my real life. They’re just so vanilla and they don’t really — they’re very into themselves. It’s exhausting when you don’t really enjoy someone’s company and you have to sit there and live with them every day.” They feel the same about her, of course. She has good friends, she tells Ben... but they are guy friends. Red flag? Even Ben seems taken aback but that one. Courtney says there are things she could say, but she’s not going to sit there and bash Emily to him because she knows he cares about her, “I’m not going to waste my time with you.” Ding, ding, ding! Emily, that’s what you should’ve done.

But Ben is worried about Courtney not getting along with other women. He’s worried about her not getting along with anyone. Ben doesn’t want to push her, but he’s worried that, with Courtney, he’d be with a woman that others don’t like. Oh Ben. You have no idea.

Credit: Francisco Roman/ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney Photo: Kacie Boguskie and Ben Flajnik Cozy Up in a Hot Tub in Belize on The Bachelor Season 16, Episode 7

KACIE GETS GROUP DATE ROSE

Date card: “Rachel, Nicki and Kacie, “Let’s sea whose family I will meet”

Ben wakes them up at 5 a.m.

They go swimming with sharks and it makes Rachel nervous causing Ben to direct more attention towards her. Kacie gets jealous (what are the odds?). She says she doesn’t normally think of herself as a jealous person, but she’s pretty much been jealous all season. She’s worried that Rachel is going to get the group date rose for monopolizing Ben’s time. 

Nicki talks to Ben and makes her pitch for him to come home to meet her dad. She tells Ben she’s falling in love. She also tells the palm trees, the bleeping water, etc. Is she drunk or just high off love?

Kacie tells Ben her mom would be super excited to meet Ben but her dad might be concerned. Kacie also tells Ben she’s falling in love with him. So they are all giving him the hard sell, as opposed to Courtney who showed some concerns. Is it really playing the game and “manipulating” Ben to share some real-world concerns? If it is, then Emily Maynard totally manipulated Brad Womack, ‘cause her reserve won over Chantal O’Brien’s open heart gushing.

Kacie gets the rose for putting her heart on her sleeve. Not that she has sleeves on that bikini. (Cue an auto-tune version of “Kacie got the roooooose!”) Courtney says Kacie is not competition. “She’s just like a little girl in like a little boy’s body.” Ouch.

Nicki and Kacie decide to use their date time to talk to Ben about Courtney. Enough time hasn’t been wasted on her, it seems. “We want you to be cautious about Courtney,” Nicki says. “Tread lightly.” To Nicki, when someone cares about someone it’s evident in how they speak and she can’t say she’s observed that in Courtney. 

Credit: 5min.com Photo: Kacie B. and Nicki Warn Bachelor Ben About Courtney — New EXTENDED Season 16, Episode 7 Sneak Peek!

NO COCKTAIL PARTY FOR YOU!

The night of the rose ceremony, Courtney tries to lighten the somber mood by not drowning in the other girls’ fears and neuroses — and by drinking. “Ben is not the only guy in the world. The spark is there or it’s not.” Emily whispers in HORROR to Lindzi — and everyone else — “Did she just say Ben’s not the only guy in the world?” OMG! Maybe because he isn’t the only guy. Courtney does have the spark with Ben and she’s kind of sugar-coating it for the other girls because… they don’t have the same spark.

Chris Harrison comes out to say Ben’s mind is made up. He knows what he wants. No cocktail party.

ROSE CEREMONY

Kacie already has a rose.

Ben stands in front of the girls and tells them this has been the best week for him so far. Then he asks to pull Courtney aside. Courtney says she’s not there to win the girls over and make friends. If he puts himself in her shoes, it was easy for her to be distracted by their drama. But she thinks she and Ben could make each other happy in life. She doesn’t want Ben to question her because she’s been nothing but honest and open with him and she kind of has: She told him she was losing her spark, just like she told the ladies, but then they got it back on their date. Just ‘cause these other girls don’t like her doesn’t mean they’re right.

1. Nicki
2. Lindzi
3. Courtney

Eliminated: Emily — ha ha, hater — and Rachel.

Rachel cries. She feels very rejected. Emily says Ben deserves someone who is honest and worries about him as much as herself. (But Ben also deserves someone who doesn’t always think she knows what’s best for him instead of listening to what he says he wants.)

 

BONUS SCENE

Courtney and Ben spot a tarantula on the steps of the temple. She’s never seen a real-life tarantula — so it makes it funnier that Kacie compared her to a black widow. 


COMING UP

Hometown dates! Nicki’s parents are very protective of her. Kacie’s father doesn’t seem to give his blessing. Lindzi’s mom talks about how she was hurt not that long ago. Courtney’s father seems to compare marriage to life’s greatest gamble.

Credit: YouTube Photo: Hometown Dates Preview! Ben Flajnik Meets the Families of His Final Four Women on The Bachelor Season 16, Episode 8 (VIDEO)

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