WOW. Just WOW. What an episode. As I said in my “precap“, the Fantasy Dates episode is often my favourite, and this season it really was. Tears (theirs and mine), giggles (or wiggles) and even some gasps… this week had them all. I loved it.
Before I start typing a (hopefully for you) hugely edited version of the 7 pages of scribbles I made once I finally got to see this latest episode, I have 2 warnings:
1. I am BIASED. There. I said it. Because of what I see, but also because of personal reasons (and no, you can’t ask).
2. If you feel I am judging the girls, you will be wrong. I absolutely adore all 3 of them. They are wonderful women in their own, very different, ways. What I am judging however is how they fit with Sean, how I interpret the body language of what I am shown on-screen (which is hugely edited, yes, but it’s all I have to go on) and the variations in Sean’s words (I have become deaf to “I’m crazy about…” or “I can picture her as my wife…”).
That said, let’s discover Thailand with Sean and the final 3 ladies… or in hard-core fans’ cases, rediscover! (So many fantastic JASH memories, but more on that later). The crew really gave us some magnificent shots worthy of the beautiful region that is South Thailand.
As Sean talks us through some of the highlights of his relationship with each of the women, the words he uses struck me as telling. Here are some I jotted down (in the order the girls were mentioned on screen):
– Catherine: “we have something that I don’t share with the other 2 women”, “I feel I can be myself 100%”, and a lot of “her and I”. In total I counted 7 “we” and 2 “she” in that one segment…
– AshLee: “probable the strongest relationship” but… “she has all those amazing qualities that any man would want” (yep, to me the bolded is telling!). A large part of the segment was also used to show us AshLee talking about her abandonment issues, rather than focus on Sean’s feelings. The “we” count from Sean’s voice-over about AshLee? 0 (yes, ZERO). “She” count is at 9.
– Lindsay: “spark into a massive flame” (good) and “never has a bad day” (mmm… maybe not so good. Happy is fine, but is that realistic?). When I started counting the “we” (or her and I) versus the “she”, the result was pretty much as I expected: 5 “we” and 6 “she”.
So, listening to Sean before the fantasy dates, I think that it is already clear that although he does respect AshLee hugely, and is in awe of her qualities, he doesn’t see himself with her, not really. As for Lindsay and Catherine… well definitively more “wes” on Catherine’s side, but Lindsay’s qualities seem to match what he wants. On paper anyway.
On to the dates, but not before we get our weekly ration of “beef”…
Watching her and Sean together makes me smile. It’s easy, relaxed, nauseating… I mean when they are eating bugs! Lindsay is a true champ! Her face was hilarious, but I am so amazed she didn’t actually gag (although I did on her behalf!).
They seem to have a good time together and Sean reiterates that they “want the same things”. He describes their relationship as being “high-school sweethearts”. But they’re way past high-school…
As they get to the beach and feed the monkeys (seriously, how cool is that?!), then cuddle and canoodle in the sea, I think we all have to agree their physical chemistry is very very good.
On to dinner, and the setting was beautiful. So were the dancers, although I’m pretty sure Lindsay would have preferred their timing be better! Way to kill an “I’m working my way to declaring my love for you” moment! But I did love Sean’s “Will you dance like this for me later?” 🙂
Except for the awkwardness of Lindsay saying “I love you” to Sean for the first time, the whole date seemed very easy. No huge discussion before accepting the Fantasy Suite key, no big flags being raised. Easy as pi(e).
So beautiful, sensitive and way too intense (for Sean) AshLee and “the love of her life” are off on “adventures and fun”… or so she thinks. Definitively nothing easy about this date. The chemistry is off (their time on the boat going to the cave shows a lot of space between their bodies compared to with Lindsay and Catherine!),
… he takes her (too) far out of her comfort zone (OK, she said she trusts you about 50 times in the last 3 episodes… did you really need to test her again?) in the cave, and their (filmed) time in the fantasy suite is spent discussing ring sizes… ouch. Seriously though, if screaming “I love you” on a beach during your what? 2nd date? was not enough to scare Sean away, I think picking out wedding flowers, or in this case diamond cuts, will certainly do that.
They talk a lot about how “compatible” they are. Not how they make each other FEEL. I want to SEE their compatibility, not just hear about it. And sadly, I really don’t! (BTW, I do think a less intense AshLee – probably from having learned from this experience – would be a great, slightly more mature Bachelorette!)
Much as I love Catherine, we almost don’t need to see her date to know who is going home at the end of the episode. But, since I do love Catherine, let’s continue 🙂
OK, let’s be honest. I love Catherine and Sean together. But more importantly I love Catherine. Because she is not perfect. She is (according to her sisters) messy (so am I, so what?), geeky and weird (I married a geek and he thinks I’m weird, ah!), but mostly, she feels. And she shows it. Her excitement at seeing Sean is unmatched by the previous 2 girls (Lindsay gave us a “hi” and a pretty standard walk into Sean’s arms, while AshLee trotted to an unmoving Sean). And that makes me excited for their date.
Although the start of their date did not feel as “real life” as with Lindsay, their comfort level is off the chart (kisses in the neck, face, hair,…) and I like that they addressed the issues raised by Catherine’s family head-on, and that Catherine had no hesitation about a potential move to Dallas (pretty sure she could blog about how to be a vegan in the beef-state, right?). They discuss their mutual geekdom and weirdness, and Sean tells her he loves it. So do we Gaya!
Now, as we get ready to watch the evening part of their date, I get flashbacks. To JP and Ashley. You might think I am a lunatic, and you would be right. But hear me out:
1. Kisses. In Thailand. In the rain. (Hot dang Phuket!)
2. Disapproving older sister (initially…).
3. Leap of faith (or this time around, in Catherine’s words, “make that jump”)
BONUS! Here is a deleted scene just released by ABC, and uploaded so even non-US viewer can see it by my friend Lily from the Bach/ette Fans and Sleuthers Forum:
Dinner time (was there a huge chunk of meat of Catherine’s plate?) and Catherine breaches the subject of the Fantasy Suite before getting the actual card. Which takes courage. But it also shows that she has seriously been thinking about it, first as a notion, and then as a reality. No surprise when she accepts! And once inside, she proceeded not to decide on a ring design (if she is the one and Sean picks a crappy ring, he can blame her!) but instead to open up further by telling him her insecurities about her appearance. To me it did not feel like she was fishing for compliments, but rather that she was again trying to show him a different side of what makes her who she is.
Finally we get to the hot-tub/cold pool, a requirement on FD episodes 🙂
Shameless “OZ” plug aside (seriously, how WEIRD was that?), we get to Sean making his decision on who to send home. Or rather telling us he has no doubt who he is about to send packing. (Don’t worry Sean, we have no doubt either!). Surprise element of his conversation with Chris Harrison… he is in love. I guess we can either assume he is in love with 2 women. Or that he already is in love. With the One. I’ll go with the second option, despite what we might be led to think during the final episode. Why? Well, apart from the part that I do see and think it, I think he reiterates it when, looking at the 3 photos, he says “…proposing to the woman that I love“. Look at him glow:
The video messages… I won’t go into too much details, except to say that Lindsay’s and Catherine’s made me smile, and that AshLee’s made me both tear up and cringe. All I could think watching it is “Ouch, this is going to hurt”. And it did. And it probably will again when Sean and AshLee get to chat on next week’s Women Tell All. I can’t wait, but I also wish I could fast-forward to the 3-hours live Finale…
Final words from Ashlee are that it’s not all about fun. My final words? AshLee, life is sucky enough as it is. Everyone needs more fun!
So, to tie you over until the (hopefully) proposal, here are the newly released pics of the final 2 approaching Sean at the Final Rose Ceremony:
What did you think? Am I way off, too harsh? Delirious and living in a pink-tinted world of
Mike Fleiss’ my own making? Let me know in your comments, or on Twitter!
Remember, to download your very own copy of this and previous episodes, click here!