This tortuous montage easily segues into the latest beef between Nick and Shawn, the latter of whom is having none of Nick's excuses.
During a heated confrontation, Shawn tells Nick — in no uncertain terms — that he thinks Nick is a dillhole with a capital D. Nick is all, "With all due respect, you don't know me, and I don't care what you think." Which makes me think, "with all due respect" is the non-Southern equivalent of "bless your little heart."
After Shawn storms out, presumably leaving Nick to debate over which pair of jeggings he'll wear that day, we cut to Kaitlyn. She is in transit to meet Ben H. for their overnight rendezvous.
As can be expected, he is adorable, and his sweater game is on fleek. I'm starting to wonder if these two are going on a date or shooting a J. Crew commercial.
Surprise! If they are shooting a J. Crew commercial, it'll be on horseback. Kaitlyn wonders if Ben is familiar with these mythical creatures. "Yeah, we have horses back home," he says with, at the very least, an implied eye roll.
Kaitlyn has never been on a horse and looks understandably dubious. "Can they smell fear?" she wonders. Ben's horse, Archie, "the feisty one," hears this and flashes them some crazy eyes.
Kaitlyn follows suit. The list of animals she is freaked out by is growing larger by the minute: birds (tattoos be damned), monkeys (during her fantasy date with Chris Soules) and now horses. For a gal who considers herself outdoorsy....
The couple charts an idyllic course through the woods. Ben thinks she's a natural and belongs on horses. What career would that be exactly? No worries — I'm sure she can fit it into her flexi-résumé (flexumé?) along with would-be barber and purported dance teacher.
In no time, they've arrived at their destinations, and Kaitlyn is being chased by a pack of asses. No, really. ABC made it far too easy to make this date a metaphor for the entire show. At some point while fleeing, Kaitlyn drops the bucket she is carrying. Let's hope it didn't contain that infamous list she's always talking about checking things off of.
Ben facetiously notes that the aggressive donkeys have sick haircuts. OK, which wisenhammer gave Kaitlyn the clippers back after she butchered Josh's head?
They arrive at their lunch destination, which is a scenic overlook just shy of a beautiful castle. Kaitlyn informs Ben that it was built by the same architect who built Buckingham Palace. Since architects design and generally don't do the building portion, this is like one of those fun games of, "Which of these statements is a lie?"
Ben adorably opens up even more to Kaitlyn, telling her that he's throwing skepticism to the wind. "When you find that person, why hold it back? Why not start with the memories, and dive in and start a life today?" Kaitlyn gives a noncommittal, "Mm-hmm." It's not looking good for our hero.
Anxious to cut to the chase, and by chase I obviously mean sex, Kaitlyn tells Ben the castle behind them is theirs for the night. Sweet Ben says, "Tonight will be a night we learn more about each other, and I'm excited about that."
They have a little Romeo and Juliet meets Rapunzel moment outside the castle, as Kaitlyn calls down to Ben from a turret, and he tells her, "Let your hair down!" Does anyone else wonder how long they made poor Ben stand out in the cold to get this shot?
Once inside, Kaitlyn muses that she feels like there are 200 years of love in this castle. Let's just hope the medieval maid service was on point and that there aren't 200 years of love on this castle.
Kaitlyn and Ben have another heart-to-heart, after which she tells the camera she knows Ben would be a good husband because he would make her laugh and lift her spirits, and try hard to make a happy life. Which, let's face it, sounds like a lot of work for Ben.
Ben lightens the mood by telling Kaitlyn he turned 26 years old while here on the show. Not that he thinks it's an issue, he tells her. This is guy code for, "I'm a cute little cub looking for a cougar."
She thinks he is a super mature person, and she is not bothered by his age or his fanciful Irish sweater. She gives him the Fantasy Suite invitation, and he accepts. Possibly because if he doesn't take off that sweater soon, his body will spontaneously combust due to impossible-to-sustain inner temps.
He isn't scared or nervous, he says. After all, he did ace the sex ed date. Rather, this will be "the best sleepover ever!" Again, not looking good for our hero.
The next morning, they lounge near the window together in a Valencia-filtered haze before saying goodbye to one another.
Next, Kaitlyn meets up with Shawn for their date. He is beaming when she arrives, and I forget all about the past two weeks of suffocating neediness and overbearing jealousy from him.
Particularly when he comes out sporting the tight blue pants and hot pink shirt ensemble Kaitlyn picked for him to golf in. "Be honest, do these pants make my butt look big?" Hard to tell, Shawn — flash us that fine fanny one more time, and we'll let you know.
Kaitlyn, reminding me of the Kaitlyn of old, makes my kind of bet, "If I win, I get whatever I want. If you win, I get whatever I want." Game officially on.
He thinks Kaitlyn's swing is a turn-on. She likes the way he crushes the ball off the tee. I never knew golf was an aphrodisiac, but even I'm feeling a little frisky listening to their banter. There is some serious "fore-play" going on.
Soon, though, Shawn makes friends with the water hazards. Kaitlyn describes the "bloop, bloop" sound of his balls dropping into the water, and I think, "She's going to look back on this moment and realize she's the girl who made potty noises on national TV. How unfortunate."
Shawn has lost the bet and, on a dare, must strip down "full nakey." He de-pants, only to reveal he is wearing Under Armour beneath. He's like an X-rated version of those gifts people give you with a box inside a box inside a box inside a box. Get to strippin', guy.
Ahh, yes, the black box. How we welcome your arrival. Dear Kaitlyn, you deserve all the applause for this brilliant date.
Particularly when you steal Shawn's clothes while he sinks a putt (clearly the clothes were affecting his golf game, and he should always golf naked).
And Shawn has to chase her, bare-assed, all over the golf course. Good times. Shawn, your black box was sufficiently impressive. We hope to see more of it in the future. Or less, perhaps, wink wink.
Later at dinner, Kaitlyn kills the naked buzz by bringing up Nick. "What is it about him that you don't like?" Am I getting déjà vu, or has she asked this and Shawn's told her already? Like, a lot.
Kaitlyn says that talking about Nick is the last thing she wants to do, so obviously she must do precisely that, and recounts the Eskimo brothers story. Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for someone to explain to me what an Eskimo brother is.
Understandably, Shawn is pissed.
Kaitlyn really thinks it would be better to have this conversation and figure this out off camera, so she pulls out the Fantasy Suite card from Chris Harrison. This brings up two points: No. 1, the intern who wrote this card has impeccable penmanship and, No. 2, Chris Harrison needs to step up his note-writing game.
The next morning, a disheveled Kaitlyn bids Shawn adieu. Clearly, she got Shawn all fired up before going into the Fantasy Suite because, angry sex. Amiright? She's definitely sportin' some angry sex hair.
In a moment that we all oddly hope was staged — lest he may actually be a serial killer — Nick is waiting around the corner for Shawn. "Hey, Shawn. Can
I wear your skin we talk?"
Shawn wants nothing to do with him, but Nick follows Shawn to his room regardless. They fight, it's tense, the end. Shawn kicks Nick out. "I don't care if I ever see you again." Well, that may be a tall order, bud. You are on The Bachelorette together.
Later, just before the rose ceremony, Kaitlyn converses with Chris Harrison. Harrison, who so rarely makes an appearance this season, must stir the pot where he can. He probes about Shawn's jealousy and Nick's intrusion and Ben's... oh wait, we all know Ben is perfect.
Facing the guys, Kaitlyn says, "her heart is beating outside of her chest right now." Someone get this girl to a cardiologist — her heart is forever bursting outside of her body.
I half expect this to happen every single rose ceremony:
Well, you get the gist. She excuses herself for a moment, saying she's terrified
of her tattoos. Harrison gives her a pep talk, a swat on the butt (all right, I'm editorializing a little) and sends her back to the mound.
Kaitlyn hands the first rose to Nick — for shame! — and Shawn scores the second one. Which means sweet angel Ben is going home. Alas, it really doesn't look good for our hero.
Ever the gentleman, Ben literally tells Kaitlyn she looks pretty while she is breaking up with him. Oof, it gets ya right in the feels. She then sends him packing in a minivan. A minivan, y'all. Ben H. deserves better. Perhaps the 20-something limos filled with women when he's The Bachelor will console him.
Thus begins the most awkward three minutes of television ev-er, as Nick and Shawn are left standing in the deliberation room alone. They start drinking, we start drinking, everyone is drinking.
Thank God for a commercial break. When we come back, Kaitlyn is pumped to be arriving in Utah. Somehow, I missed the memo that mentioned hometown visits this season was code for, uh, Utah.
First up is Kaitlyn's "hometown visit" with Nick. Before they meet the family, he tells Kaitlyn he is totally in love with her. He cries because, well, he's a bit of a crier.
"I'm totally in love with you, more than I can say in words." He obviously decided the best way to transmit those feelings was to morse code them to Kaitlyn in loud kisses.
In the hotel room pinch-hitting for Nick's hometown, his family does not look psyched. His mom is crying, his little sister is crying — dear God, why is that little girl there? Hopefully, ABC will pony up for the inevitable therapy she's going to need in the near future.
Nick introduces Kaitlyn to the fam, and then they inexplicably start doing The Carlton. What show am I watching? Someone hold me, please.
After getting the seal of approval from Nick's older sister and brothers, Kaitlyn sits down with little sister Bella. She's all, "How's Vancouver? Uh, huh, do you love my brother?"
Kaitlyn gives an appropriately bubbly response that dodges the question just enough, to which the little girl responds, "I actually can picture you as my sister-in-law. We'd do fun stuff." Baby Bella FTW.
Nick's mom totally drops the guilt bomb on Kaitlyn, saying she's sure Kaitlyn wouldn't have put Nick through all of this again just to break his heart. Right, Kaitlyn? Right?!
Five seconds later, Nick tells his mom Kaitlyn is great at making out, and I wish they would go back to doing The Carlton.
Before Kaitlyn says goodbye to Nick, the two share an admittedly sweet moment alone. I can't decide if I think Nick is a sociopath or if he's starting to win me over. This is never a good combo.
But I digress. Ladies, say hello to Shawn's pregame.
Kaitlyn is kind of precious at how excited she is to see Shawn, who tells the camera, "Today could be the first time that I tell my wife I love her."
Shawn's mom couldn't make it, but Kaitlyn still met a whole gaggle of people. His sisters obviously adore him, and they "aren't surprised at all" he got the first impression rose. Who knew it was possible to like Calvin Gosling even more?
Kaitlyn sits down with each of Shawn's sisters, after which Shawn asks them for their honest opinions. He's super nervous to hear what they have to say, and it makes every woman in the world want to straddle, er, hug him.
The sisters, who confirm to Kaitlyn that Shawn's heart is indeed made of gold, love her. They think she feels like one of the family. Shawn's dad, on the other hand, is skeptical.
"What the hell's going on? This is nuts," says everyone everywhere watching this season, er, I mean says Shawn's dad. But after hearing Shawn gush about Kaitlyn, he gives his blessing.
Once the two are alone, Shawn steals a minute to tell Kaitlyn he lied to her — he wasn't falling in love with her, he is in love with her. She responds with copious amounts of loud kissing. Apparently, she learned morse code for emotions from Nick.
When the dust settles, and she is finally alone in her hotel, Kaitlyn starts crying. 'Cause, well, she's a bit of a crier, too. Come to think of it, she and Nick kind of do have a lot in common.
Unfortunately, we won't know if she picks him or Shawn for two more weeks. Happily, though, we've got the reunion special next week to keep us company. Is Ian still a tool? Are Clint and JJ dating? Stay tuned for the answers, kiddos. And, rest assured, there will be tears.
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