After 20 seasons of The Bachelor, producers may be running out of gimmicks.
Case in point—on episode 5 of Ben Higgins’ season Monday night, when Ben and his ladies traveled to Mexico City, Ben barged into their hotel room and woke them all up at 4:20 in the morning. Commence shrieking, squealing and frantic removal of orthodontia.
Bachelor fans will remember that something almost identical happened on Chris Soules’ season, when he whisked contestant Britt away for a hot air balloon ride, and on Sean Lowe’s season, when he dragged his contestants out of bed for a group date.
Similarly, mom-of-two Amanda, the lucky recipient of a one-on-one date, also got a hot air balloon ride after Ben interrupted her beauty sleep.
Shockingly, there were no hot tubs on this episode, but there was another recurring theme—it seems like almost all of these contestants have been cheated on in previous relationships. Amanda, who is divorced, spoke to Ben at length about being cheated on by her ex. So did Lauren H., the kindergarten teacher who got the other one-on-one date in the episode. Is this now a prerequisite to appearing on The Bachelor?
Both Amanda and Lauren H.—whose one-on-one involved her participating in a fashion show in Mexico City—got roses, so something must have clicked.
For the group date, contestants cooked Mexican food because, according to one chef, “if you know how to cook, you’re ready for marriage.” (What year is this?) In some of the most cringe-worthy moments, Ben declared himself “the Spatchelor,” while JoJo made an unintentional sexual innuendo about tacos.
But the drama really began to brew later in the episode, when war veteran Jubilee began to visibly pull away from Ben as he and the other girls practiced saying “I love you” and other romantic phrases. “You just said that to four other girls,” an unimpressed Jubilee said.
A little later, Ben sent Jubilee home after she admitted she was struggling with the competition aspect of The Bachelor.
It always surprises me when a contestant freaks out over the fact that she’s competing for The Bachelor’s affections with a bunch of other girls. Is it totally weird? Yes. But do you know what you’re getting into when you go on the show? Also yes.
Still, Jubilee’s unique background—the Haiti-born veteran was adopted after her biological family died when she was young—won her plenty of fans in Bachelor Nation. Some are calling for her to be the first black Bachelorette.
It's kinda funny how there's never been a black bachelor/bachelorette. I think that #Jubilee should break that streak. She deserves it!
— ∞•∞?υ?ι¢.?αgη??∞•∞ (@SunshineZoeSun) February 2, 2016
#Bachelor jubilee insecurity got the best of jubilee. Given her past, I get it. The best man will help her forget her insecurities.
— SerenaQuaye Imani (@LisaLisaQuaye) February 2, 2016
Just gonna say it: Jubilee can do better. #Bachelor
— Damian Holbrook (@damianholbrook) February 2, 2016
But the tensions didn’t end after Jubilee left. News anchor Olivia, whom all the girls love to hate, flippantly told Amanda that listening to her discuss custody arrangements for her children “reminded her of an episode of Teen Mom.”
Amanda and the others were outraged, and several of the women vented to Ben about Olivia’s behavior.
The episode ended on a cliffhanger, as Ben wondered aloud if Olivia – who already had a rose from the group date earlier—really belongs there.