S16E9: Shows like The Bachelor pride themselves on one simple thing: drama. And if love happens to be discovered along the way then so be it, but it is certainly not a top priority. Kacie B.'s shocking departure (tear) is proof of that all by itself. So it's not a huge surprise that Courtney has lasted as long as she has, given her ability to manipulate Ben in every way, shape, or form. She's what networks call "Reality Show Gold."
But now that we're getting down to the final episodes of the show, it's become evident that Courtney could very well win this thing entirely (insert major concerns here). It's one thing to keep this girl around for entertainment purposes, but it's another to actually let her get the guy, yet that seems to be an ever-growing possibility. In fact, it's actually becoming a probability. And now that the overnight dates are up for grabs, there's no telling how far she'll go to get her man. Is anyone else seriously concerned about Ben's lack of judgment?
"There are things i need to find out about these women because I'm falling in love with all three of them." - Ben
Ben takes his final three women to the spectacular land of Switzerland, where he continues to explore his feelings for each of his remaining bachelorettes. However, this time it is Ben who is under some pressure. At the end of each evening he must offer each woman an invitation to spend an intimate night with him in a "fantasy suite," which they can either accept or reject entirely. Of course, we all know by now that these girls are completely enamored with Ben, so this really isn't much of a risk, but it still leaves him a little vulnerable to rejection.
The first date goes to Nicki and the two of them share a romantic picnic atop the Alps. It's clear that Nicki is completely infatuated with Ben and has no regrets about telling him that she loves him back at her parents' house last week. To say that Nicki wants to marry Ben is a complete understatement. Heck, she would have married him on that very mountain top if the show would let her. By the end of the day, they both seem really happy with each other and feel like they're on top of the world (literally and figuratively). And come nightfall, Ben gives Nicki the option of staying in a fantasy suite with him, which she readily accepts. From that point forward there's a lot of kissing, hot-tubbing, and Nicki constantly telling Ben how much she thinks about him. She may want to dial it down a notch on the over-sharing portion, though. We all remember Blakeley's little scrapbook collection of Ben didn't really go over too well. He sent her packing that very same day.
"I don't want to lose him because he doesn't know exactly how I feel." - Lindzi
Next up is Ben's date with Lindzi, with whom his relationship has significantly progressed since the hometown visit. Their date consists of rappelling down a 300-foot rocky ravine, which creates quite the adrenaline rush for both parties. It's certainly scary, but their ability to conquer such a big fear together only makes their relationship stronger and leads to a steamy soak in a hot tub (apparently that's the common thread for these dates). But Lindzi is the only girl left who still hasn't said the big, bad L word to Ben. After getting hurt so badly in her last relationship, she's left herself guarded, however, during their romantic dinner together she finally reveals to Ben her true feelings and admits she's falling in love with him. Of course, Ben doesn't say it back to her, but he does privately confide to the camera that he can see himself spending his life with this woman, which is always a good sign. So once again, Ben offers up the chance to spend the night with him in the fantasy suite and Lindzi graciously accepts. It certainly looks like there could be a future between these two, especially now that Kacie B. is out of the picture.
"Looking back I feel bad for treating the girls the way that I have...I hope it doesn't get in the way of the best thing that's ever happened to me." - Courtney
And last, but certainly not least, there's Courtney. For their date, Ben takes her on a scenic train ride to the town of Wengen, where they set up a picnic in a serene meadow. Everything seems to be going fine between the two of them, until Courtney's previous drama with the other girls comes up and things start to get a little awkward. Ben is still very concerned about Courtney's past behavior and it's making him unsure about their entire relationship. Upon realizing this, Courtney begins to feel terrible about her actions and she's worried that it will affect Ben's feelings for her. But once they talk it out and she (cough) apologizes, Ben feels much better about the situation and offers her an invite to the fantasy suite (just when you think he's starting to wise up). Of course, Courtney, being Courtney, wants to know if he would like to spend the night with her first before she fesses up to it on her own. And surprise, surprise -- he wants to stay together, so they head over to the fantasy suite for some hot tubbing and who knows what else -- with this girl it could be anything.
"I feel like if you were to choose Courtney you would get your heart broken." - Kacie B.
But this wouldn't be The Bachelor without a few twists. Kacie B. shows up at Ben's door in Switzerland looking to find answers as to where their relationship went wrong. And being that this is a sufficiently awkward situation, Ben tries to explain things as delicately and vaguely as possible, but she seems to understand (like most of us did) that it had a lot to do with the visit to see her parents. Either way, she remains broken-hearted. However, that's not the only reason she decided to come see him. She also wants to -- once again -- warn him about Courtney, who she feels will eventually break his heart. Even though she's hurt, she still loves Ben and doesn't want to see him get hurt no matter who he's with. Kacie tells Ben that Courtney is just "in this to win it" and recalls the time Courtney said if she can't have Ben then there are other fish in the sea. This new-found information seems to throw Ben for a loop and once again make him second guess his feelings for Courtney. It's called common sense, Ben. Just go with it.
To help him find clarity, Ben has a little pow-wow with Chris Harrison before the rose ceremony, however, he still feels completely torn about what the right decision is. In the end he chooses to send Nicki home. That's right everyone, even though several contestants have advised him to do otherwise, he's still keeping Courtney around, which means she has a 50/50 chance of getting a proposal from Ben. It's insane! But I digress: afterward, Ben and his remaining two ladies (Lindzi and Courtney) toast to their final destination: the snowy village of Zermatt, Switzerland, where the bachelorettes will get to meet Ben's family.
So what did you think of tonight's episode? Do you think Ben made the right decision? Can you believe Courtney is still in the running? Sound off in the comments or get at me on Twitter @KellyBean0415.