Despite the popularity of the NFL’s Sunday finale of “The Passion of Peyton,” Monday stole the crown for the week’s most gut-wrenching television as “The Bachelor” traveled from South Korea to Vietnam for the second leg of its journey through 20th century war zones.
As is any story about Americans in Vietnam, this week’s episode is about the duality of man. Juan Pablo, torn between desire for booty and duty to his daughter, continues to become less likeable and more interesting.
The episode opens with what appears to be outtakes from “Platoon:” Chicken in bamboo cage, jungle, conical hats, rice and boats, more rice.
Then Juan Pablo, the Venezuelan single father and 18th season bachelor, emerges on a boat proceeding up river for his mission, one that does not exist, nor will it ever exist…Two one-on-one dates, one group date, and a rose ceremony that will terminate three girls’ hopes for love –with extreme prejudice.
As the philosopher-poet Pat Benatar wrote, “Love is a battlefield.”
The girls, as always, are ecstatic about the new location as they arrive at the elegant InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort. They rate Vietnam “unbelievable” compared to South Korea, which was only “incredible.”
Sixth, First Date: “I worry that my son might not understand what I've tried to be.” – Colonel Walter E. Kurtz.
Single mother Renee is desperate to kiss Pabs and she’s had to travel to the other side of the world to get the chance. Her lust is so severe that it’s apparently making her ill. She hasn’t felt this “weird sensation” in a long time and it’s making her palms hurt.
Pabs takes Renee on a truly unremarkable date, even by tenth grade, T.G.I. Fridays date night standards. They shop, she buys a dress, they buy souvenirs for their kids, Pabs wheels her around on a bike like she’s his daughter.
In talking head interviews, Renee confesses that she’ll be really disappointed if she doesn’t get a kiss on the date, while Pabs says that its not going to happen because he wants to respect their children.
Renee basically has a heat stroke over dinner in anticipation of the kiss as JP cools her by blowing hot, mouth air at her.
In the end, Renee gets the rose, but misses out on the kiss.
Group Date: "Never get out of the boat. Absolutely goddamn right. Unless you were goin' all the way...” – Captain Benjamin L. Willard.
The girls pair up for a river ride in traditional bamboo boats, but oh wait, Clare is conveniently left alone because she has no friends because she has vomit breath and makes out with Pabs all the time and is totally awful, but now that works in her favor as she gets to ride with JP!
Shortly into their voyage, Pabs and Clare get stuck in a swath of shoreline trees.
“There’s no bottom!” Clare says paddling, which of course makes Pabs immediately think of her bottom, prompting him to dive in for an unwarranted make-out.
“So, why not?” Pabs says.
It’s good to know Pabs is still using his daughter, and the onus of parenthood, as a meat shield, forcing that titanic weight of responsibility on Renee and others when its convenient, while absolving Clare of it completely. JP’s impulses clearly get the bets of him when he’s with Clare. She’s his temptress and he’s officially off the boat.
Back at the Resort: “I'm glad I ain't going with them. Somewhere out there is the beast and he hungry tonight.” – King
Pabs grabs Clare first for one-on-one time like a kid in Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. The ten other girls are left discouraged at the continuation of the Clare-athon.
“Should we just take the rose down there and give it to her?” Kelly says.
“Are we noticing a theme?” Danielle says.
Pabs leads Clare to his suite. They strip down to swimsuits and go in the pool.
“Let’s not kiss tonight,” Clare says facetiously.
They kiss. They make out. They wrap around each other in PG-13 positions.
After Pabs is finished with Clare, he moves onto making out with Sharleen (who “feels like a panda in a room full of brown bears”) and Andi (“Sucking face again. Sorry mom”).
After Hours: “Charlie don’t surf.” – Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore.
After receiving the group date rose (no surprise) a jubilant Clare decides to visit Pabs for a nightcap ocean dip at 4 a.m.
“I wanted to see if you wanted to do one more first thing in Vietnam,” Clare says, gushing subtext.
Of course he does, because she’s his temptress.
“Oh my god, Clare is on fire!” Pabs says.
The two wade out into the moonlit ocean. Ambiguity and long shots ensue but the suggestion that they had sex is overwhelming.
AWKMO: The Awkward Moment of the Night goes to…Clare, who describes her “experience” as feeling like a newborn giraffe, all wobbly legged and weak. The ambiguity morphs into a euphemism.
Second Date: “Somebody once wrote, ‘Hell is the impossibility of reason.’ That's what this place feels like. Hell.”– Private Chris Taylor.
In this symbolism packed date, a guilty Pabs takes Nikki to “hell,” which is clearly where he is fast descending. More specifically, they’re going cave jumping into a big hole called a hell cave. Nikki, of course, is terrified of heights.
“I either live or die or I poop my pants,” she says. Ooh! Ooh! The third one!
She begrudgingly makes it down and is overjoyed to have JP alone to herself.
“I feel like I just stuck my finger in the light socket,” she says, which might have just been the adrenaline.
They chat, the date goes well and she gets a rose.
[Obligatory Golem joke].
Rose Ceremony: “He's out there operating without any decent restraint, totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct.” – Corman
Clare, still floating on cloud nine, toasts to “finding love, being loved and making love.” The ambiguity ends here.
Pabs makes the usual rounds, which include finally kissing Renee, who dances around afterward. Her twisted Disney moment bleeds into a serious talk with Clare about what happened last night.
Pabs goes full-on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with Clare. He explains that what happened was a mistake, that it wasn’t fair to the 10 other girls, that he doesn’t want his daughter to see those kind of things.
Clare, awestruck and teary eyed, apologizes. She falls for the daughter bait.
“That was never my intention, to disrespect his daughter,” she says.
Furthermore, Juan Pablo tells Clare to “delete it,” forget the entire thing.
When Clare pushes the agenda and asks, “Why didn’t you say no?” Pabs unloads the burden on her.
“I didn’t want to take away your emotion.”
At the ceremony, Clare lives to see another week, because kicking her totally to the curb would have been too cold-hearted even for “The Bachelor. Alli, Kelly and Danielle are terminated, but its Clare left wallowing in prejudice.
“I think now, looking back, we did not fight the enemy; we fought ourselves. And the enemy was in us.” – Pvt. Chris Taylor, 25th Infantry Division