I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so uncomfortable watching an episode of The Bachelor as I did last night, when Ben Higgins took three girls to the “fantasy suite,” told two of them he loved them and dumped a third.
I realize the entire premise of this part of the show is awkward—man in a relationship with three different women shares a night of intimacy with each of them, and all of the women know about it and are, ostensibly, OK with it.
But this was on a whole other level.
The trio of overnight dates took place in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and the first date was with perky Caila, who normally has been quite a bubbly chatterbox throughout the season. Not so here. Ben took her on a rafting trip, where he and Caila barely spoke. Caila later confessed to the cameras that she was fixated on the fact that there are two other women still remaining (duh), and that was why she was withdrawn. When Ben prodded her about it later, she told him the same thing, then told him she was in love with him.
Ben took her to the fantasy suite, where no cameras are allowed (but use your imagination), and the next morning, we heard her tell Ben again she loves him. He didn’t say it back, but that didn’t deter Caila, who said she can feel it “in his breath” that he feels the same way.
Flight attendant Lauren, who has seemed to be Ben’s favorite for weeks, got the second overnight date and honestly, it was the coolest one. They rescued baby sea turtles on the beach! Cutest thing ever. To no one’s surprise, Ben also invited her to the fantasy suite, where Lauren told him she loved him.
And he said it back.
“I’ve known I’m in love with you for a while,” Ben said.
This is significant because show leads never say “I love you” until the very end, when they’re proposing. I thought saying those three little words any earlier was actually not allowed, but maybe producers made an exception here—because this made for some really good TV.
Especially because, on his date with the third girl, JoJo, he told her he loved her, too.
She couldn’t believe it, and probably neither could most people watching at home.
“Wait, what?” JoJo said after Ben said I love you as they sat on the edge of a waterfall.
Obviously, he brought her back to the fantasy suite.
Like I said, great TV, but horribly awkward. Assuming Ben does propose in the end, what is his now-fiancee thinking? She just watched him say “I love you” to another woman. Ugh.
It was pretty clear by then that Caila was going home, since despite what she smelled, err, felt in his breath, he just didn’t feel it.
The awkwardness factor was upped significantly when oblivious Caila decided to surprise Ben with a visit, as he contemplated how to send her home. Ben decided right then to let her know it’s time for her to go, rather than putting her through a rose ceremony.
He’s in love with two women, he explained, and he just couldn’t get there with her.
A teary Caila, whom many are eyeing as the next Bachelorette, turned snide when she asked Ben when he knew he was sending her home.
In other words, did he know he wasn’t picking her when they spent the night together?
Honestly, good for her for laying that out there. He assured her he needed that time with her to really be sure, and I don’t know if she believed it. Not sure I did, either.
Ben then held a pointless rose ceremony, since we all knew at this point that JoJo and Lauren were the last two girls standing, then enveloped them in a group hug that had to have been weird for everyone.
Ben will hand out his final rose in two weeks, and it remains to be seen whether Lauren or JoJo receives it—or neither of them. Next week’s episode is the Women Tell All, where Ben’s ousted contestants dish on the season and confront Ben and each other.
Watch next Monday at 8 p.m. on ABC2.