And, naturally, as the premiere came to a close, Soules had to say goodbye to a few of the hot eligible group of 30 bachelorettes vying for his heart.
But tonight's episode kicks off with a boomerang girl. Kimberly, the yoga instructor, is literally willing to bend over backwards to make Soules give her a second chance.
After a pep talk from host Chris Harrison — he tells Soules, "It's your life," and I really feel like producers missed an opportunity to blare some Bon Jovi "It's My Life" here — the bachelor makes an exception and brings Kimberly back into the hulking fold of his "I've been hauling bales of hay all day" biceps.
The other girls in the house are super excited.
Soules gushes once again about being the luckiest man alive and it's like, dude, we get it. You're surrounded by 30 hot chicks who want to bone you. Stop bragging before you lose your male viewership (I'm looking at you, Jason Biggs).
Gearing up for his first group date, Soules heads outside to take a shower. Because, muscles.
And while I normally wouldn't condone a dude wearing an electric blue hoodie zipped halfway with no shirt underneath for a date, I'm going to go ahead and call it — this works for him.
The invitation for the group date goes to Jade, Tandra, Ashley I., Mackenzie, Tara and Kimberly, and the cryptic note simply reads, "Show me your country."
Mackenzie gets an A for effort, because she manages to scrounge up jort overalls, which she quite possibly went back in time and pulled from my questionably unfashionable adolescence.
Drunk Tara isn't drunk (yet), but she does fan her armpit sweat pre-date. Man, that's one classy broad.
Kimberly the Boomerang Girl steals the first private moment, and Soules offers to start over with her. Bless his heart. She then gives him a succulent or some other manner of potted flora, telling him, "Hopefully it will grow, like our relationship."
Next thing you know, she'll be calling him Benny Boo-Boo-Boo-Boop and sneaking into his room to leave Carly Simon albums and stuffed animals.
Meanwhile, Megan, the makeup artist, and Jillian, the news producer/bodybuilder, decide to sneak into Soules' house and partake in some classic girly shenanigans. Like putting on a helmet and ramming a brick wall. And the fridge. And wood.
Oh, honey... save those brain cells. You're probably gonna need them later. (Maybe?)
For some reason unbeknownst to me, Jillian's bikini area merits a censor bar. Does she have a wardrobe malfunction? A Pepsi log tattooed on her vadge? What?
Back on the group date, Mackenzie is super confused because Soules parades the ladies down the L.A. streets in bikinis and boots as passing cars honk. This is a real treat for Soules, since people only blow the horn where he's from for bumper stickers that say, "Honk if you love Jesus." I should know. I used to have one.
The women round the corner and — lo and behold — there are a bunch of tractors, which they are going to race in downtown L.A. And by race, we obviously mean barely idle fast enough to cross the finish line.
Formerly Drunk Tara, the sports fishing enthusiast from Florida, is feeling pretty cocky, since being in a bikini tractor race in L.A. was on her bucket list. This is the saddest thing I've heard all
day week year.
Ashley I., the journalist, wins the tractor race and gets some alone time with Soules. In this case, that means "try not to get chiggers while resting your nearly bare ass on a hay bale."
Back at the house, things take a surprisingly serious turn when Juelia — whom I'm 76 percent certain I've never seen — tells a gut-wrenching story of her late husband and father of her daughter. Sadly, he committed suicide and, well, it's sad.
Like, really sad.
On the group date, though, just as Mackenzie laments to the camera that she is feeling "so insecure" (which is pretty common for a teenager, er, 21-year-old), Soules picks her for a one-on-one date to finish out the night.
Formerly Drunk Tara feels the sting, saying, "It hurts walking away empty handed, like always. It just seems like Tara always walks away empty handed." Does Tara have some deep-rooted issues with self-worth that are going to bubble up later?
And, more importantly, why does Tara refer to Tara in the third person?
Just watching Soules flirt with Mackenzie the Child Bride makes me feel seedy, and not in a sex-in-the-grain-bin kind of way. In a pervy old man who calls you "Shug" and swats your butt when he hugs you kind of way.
Mackenzie is far too anxious to tell Soules about her 1-year-old son, Kale, right off the bat, so she does the only logical thing: In rapid succession, she points out he's had his ears pierced, tells him she likes his big nose and asks him if he believes in aliens.
Thank God she had those casual conversation starters to buffer the daunting task of revealing she has a sweet little boy.
Still, Soules gives her a rose and steals a page from the junior prom playbook by giving her a dipping kiss during a slow dance. And, like, six others. Like, yeah.
Megan, the 24-year-old makeup artist from Nashville, snags the first official one-on-one date invitation, which she claims to think is just a love note. Please, this girl is Jessica Simpson-chicken-of-the-sea-ing her way into Soules' heart.
He shows up and whisks her away in a plane, which takes them to a helicopter, which takes them over the Hoover Dam and into the frickin' Grand Canyon. Well played, sir. Well played.
I know what you're thinking... "There's so much room for activities on a helicopter. Neato!" Nailed it, right?
While seated on their blanket overlooking a gorge, Soules tells Megan she has the most beautiful blue eyes in North America. Sorry 'bout your luck, sistah — your eyes might be the bee's knees in the U.S., but they don't rank internationally.
Then, in yet another bizarre turn, Megan divulges she almost didn't come on the show because her father unexpectedly died right before filming. Um, wait, what? We're gonna need a minute to process this information.
Soules seems strangely turned on by this news and feels this is the perfect time to move in for a make out sesh. Ick. I so don't want to dip French toast sticks in his syrupy dimples right now.
They climb up a ledge to
make out some more take a selfie, and all I can think about is that episode of Dateline where the husband took his wife for a scenic walk and pushed her off a cliff. Luckily for them, I'm pretty sure I'm not clairvoyant.
Back at the ranch, the final date invitation of the night is extended to, well, pretty much everyone else. When it reads, "Til death do us part," I wonder if perhaps my cliff premonition wasn't so far-fetched after all.
But I digress. Amber, the bartender, says her heart pumps every time a date card comes, which is super... someone should probably tell her that if it wasn't pumping, she really would be dead.
When the limos pull up to a dark, nondescript area, mass hysteria ensues and they all freak out. In their defense, apparently undead people are attacking the car.
And oh my gosh, y'all, it's zombie paintball. Soules just earned back the points he lost for making out with Child Bride.
Everyone is concerned that Ashley S. — remember Surprised Girl? — doesn't understand the game because she wants to shoot people on her team, but hello ladies, let's just focus on the fact that someone gave Surprised Girl a gun.
The visions of her double-tapping the faux-lifeless body of paintball zombies will haunt my dreams.
Back at the house, Mackenzie and Megan are having a facial party, while Drunk Jordan is getting drunker and drunk-yoga-twerking on the wall. Which, admittedly, is also kind of impressive. I can't even hold my balance in Downward Facing Dog sober sometimes.
And then. There are no words.
Only there are. But they are drunk Jordan's, and almost too scandalous to repeat. Almost. "Jillian's got the hairiest ass I've ever seen on a woman." She then pantomimes a weedwacker.
Reality TV, meet new low. New low, reality TV.
On the group date, Kaitlyn, the
aspiring comedian, dance instructor scores some alone time with Soules, who calls her a firecracker. She admits her last relationship failed because she couldn't live in Germany her whole life with him, so obviously moving to Iowa is going to work out way better. They kiss and, ironically, no fireworks.
Ashley S. — aka Surprised Girl — starts marveling over a candle and posits that perhaps an angel will get the rose.
She then tracks down Soules and incoherently asks him if he wants to play hide and seek. To which the answer — if you are speaking to anyone over the age of 5 — should always be hide.
As Soules tells the camera he is worried about her, she wanders into the frame and starts waxing poetic about how great his leather smells and how he doesn't want to lose the whole world but doesn't want to gain it either.
Soules is definitely concerned. "How ya doing? Ya holding up OK? Off your meds again?" Haha, J/K. That last part was me.
God, I hope this never ends. He looks like Matthew McConaughey, and she sounds like the True-Detective-award-show-speech-Lincoln-commercial version of McConaughey. Per-fection.
Britt finally squeezes in some alone time with Soules, and he gives her a coupon for a free kiss. Which, let's be real, at this point is kind of like getting a trophy even though your team came in 14th place — everybody wins!
Kisses Trophies for everyone!
When it comes time to hand out the rose, Soules follows his gut and gives it to Kaitlyn. Poor Britt looks bummed out, and I kind of feel for her. She's growing on me, that one.
Just when you think this episode has out-crazied itself, Ashley I. reveals she is a legit virgin, to which Mackenzie the Child Bride replies, "I'm jealous... I swear to God I'm jealous right now. It's going to make you stay here that much longer. I can't even use that 'cause I have a kid."
Bolstered by Mackenzie's creepy confidence in her virginity, Ashley I. rocks her best Jasmine-once-Jafar-gets-ahold-of-her-look and — get this — tells Soules her belly button ring will grant him wishes if he, um, rubs it.
Because Soules is a horny farm boy his first wish is to make out, so they start going at it pretty voraciously. I saw a documentary that started like this a few weeks ago... it was called Eaten Alive. For real, though — at one point I thought Ashley I. might actually unhinge her jaw and swallow Soules.
Not wanting to be left out, Amber makes out with Soules.
Then Drunk Jordan tries to.
If you're counting, that brings the kiss tally for this episode to five. That we know of.
And, finally, rose ceremony time!
Jillian jumps forward when Soules calls Juelia, causing her to trip on the rug and almost bust her
hairy ass. She astutely notes that it was "doubly embarrassing."
Formerly Drunk Tara (along with Alissa, Kimberly and Drunk Jordan) is sent packing, breaks down in tears over never being anybody's No. 1 and generally fills my heart with sad emojis.
So in summation, Soules is starting to come off a little pervy, the Child Bride believes virginity is a viable marketing strategy, I'm legitimately concerned for Surprised Girl and Formerly Drunk Tara, my spirit animal, is no longer with us.
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