This week's episode of "The Bachelor" started with a look at Lauren and her time with Joey. America's Sweetheart was apparently waiting for a red velvet cake to arrive, cursing up a storm, and bringing general displeasure to those around her. Joey says, "I'm sorry that a lot of this has been tough on you." He eventually leaves her with her cake, she takes a bite and chucks it at the ground saying, "It's not red velvet." Yikes.
Gina: Talk about a "sweet" tease! I can't wait to see what leads up to that moment.
Earlier in the week, we see Joey giving Jesse a tennis lesson. Just two dudes, batting the ball around. "This is why you are 'The Bachelor,' you're a great communicator," Jesse said. They seem to have a sweet friendship. So, we know Joey will at least leave with a friend out of this whole situation.
Gina: can we take a moment to talk about Jesse Palmer? I feel like he's really settled into his role as host, but also a friend and confidante of our leads. It all comes very naturally and organically, our leads appreciate his input and I'm really enjoying him on the show.
It's time for the first group date of the season! A card arrived at Bachelor Mansion and it read, "Rachel, Taylor, Kelsey T., Lexie, Evalin, Erica, Maria, Lauren, Jess, here come the brides. You can't wear just anything on your special day. Head to the other room and select the perfect gown for our wedding."
There was a mad dash to the other room and a lot of screaming and grabbing. The dress rack even fell over on Rachel. Daisy was bummed she didn't get on the date, but thought maybe it was a blessing in disguise because it's bad luck for the groom to see you in a wedding dress before your big day! Maybe! The ladies all looked beautiful though!
They loaded into two waiting limos with tin cans tied to the bumpers wearing their gowns. They all gushed about what they wanted at their future weddings, and Lauren got sad because she and Allison's dad recently passed away. It sunk into her that he wouldn't be there when she gets married someday.
Joey was there waiting in a tux! He looked very handsome! They had a fun reception where Jesse was the best man, but only one woman would get to be the bride for the first dance. They had to play musical chairs to see who could sit next to Joey. Evalin dove onto the table! Joey took some time to meet their "guests" with the brides, cut the cake, have some drinks, and even share some sweet kisses. Lauren, however, hung back. She was in a funk. She was really missing her dad.
Gina: First, we need to talk about Evalin. That jump over the table was fantastic! And props to the producers for showing it over and over and in slow-motion. 10/10 - no notes! As for Lauren, this is one of those moments where I felt empathy for her. I lost my dad three years ago so I understand those feelings. It makes the loss that much more clear and painful.
In the end, Joey picked Rachel to have the first dance! Grammy winner Michael Bolton was there to perform "When a Man Loves a Woman." Wow! That's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for sure! He had recently announced his brain tumor diagnosis and had surgery - so prayers to him for a speedy recovery.
That's not the end though - the second part of the group date is the cocktail party for him to talk to each woman, one-on-one. Maria pulled him first to chat and then slipped into a lingerie-style dress. Wow. She was definitely trying to seduce him and it was working. He was blushing like crazy. He really seems to connect with Maria. She went back out to the group of ladies wearing her seductive outfit. They were all like...why did you change? Um, isn't it obvious?
He kissed Kelsey T. and called her his rock, but Jess was getting in her head. Not getting immediate validation from Joey was hard for her. She used her time to talk to Joey about her past relationship and how her ex was unfaithful to her. It's hard for Jess to see him with other women. Joey was very receptive and very reassuring. He hugged her, and then they shared some kisses. Joey said he liked seeing her be so open with him.
Joey finally had some time to talk with Lauren. She explained about her father and how much she's going to miss him at her future wedding. Joey said that he wished he could have made her feel more comfortable and he was sorry she had to deal with it alone. He said he loved that they could actually have a conversation about everything. In the end though, he gave the group date rose to Jess.
Gina: I am glad that Lauren told him how she was feeling about the loss of her dad. Speaking from experience, you just never know when you're going to be hit with a wave of grief or how you're going to handle it. Joey was so sympathetic and sweet about it, which is one of the things we all love about him. He does care about people and how they're feeling in the moment. As for the group date rose, I feel like he thinks he has a better connection overall with Jess, so even though Lauren finally opened up, I don't quite see it there between her and Joey.
Another date card was delivered and it read, "Daisy, I want a love that hits all the right notes." She revealed to the other women about her hearing loss. She said she's nervous because she's only been on one date since getting her cochlear implant.
Gina: One thing I noticed is that Daisy said she is discovering new sounds every day and I find that to be fascinating. The Bachelor experience overall is so different than any other as well. I can't imagine how overwhelming it all must be for her, but her demeanor is always calm, cool and confident. Gotta love that!
Upon arriving at an airfield, they boarded a helicopter and that gave Daisy a moment of pause. She was worried that she might not be able to hear him due to the loudness of the helicopter blades. But, it seemed like the headphones and microphone they were provided did the trick. They didn't need to talk very much anyway, they did a lot of kissing!
The helicopter landed at they were at BeachLife Ranch where they could go have some fun! She did have to ask him for clarification a few times while they were talking, but it was definitely loud there. As they sat down, music played in the background, and they talked about their jobs and passions. She talked about starting a non-profit but didn't clarify that it was for kids with hearing loss.
Then, they got welcomed on stage by Bahamas! They sang to Joey and Daisy and they shared a kiss in front of the cheering crowd.
At dinner that evening, there was a rose waiting on the table. Daisy admitted to Joey that she was nervous about the helicopter, but had a great time. Joey didn't really waste any time in asking her about her non-profit. She said that she had to explain her story. It was emotional as she described getting diagnosed with Ménire's disease and eventually Lyme disease too. She had to go to Germany to be treated. She said she's healthy now, but her hearing suffered. Joey was happy and relieved she was doing so well now. She even showed him the implant.
Her news only made Joey like her more. "It's beautiful," Joey said. "Are you real?" Daisy replied. They definitely made a big connection on this date. "I can see Daisy being someone I can end up with at the end of this," Joey said. This could be a case of love at first sight in many ways! He offered her the date rose and she happily accepted.
Gina: Want to go in on a wedding gift with me? I feel like this could be our end game. I watched Joey watching Daisy as she told him her story and he was hanging on her every word and totally invested. He is locked in. As I mentioned before, Daisy talks about overcoming adversity so calmly and with an air of confidence that is truly lovely and inspiring. I really look forward to watching this relationship blossom.
Cut to Joey working out shirtless with a giant tire. You're welcome America. It's all part of his next group date! He told the women he loves to break a sweat and he brought out Jubilee and Demi! The "Bachelor" alums were there to give the women some "tough love" to get them to be fit for Joey. Boot camp is tough!
Demi told them that they were going to have a paint war battle. The winning team would get extra time with Joey. The date card said, "Love brings out your true colors." The pink team consisted of Katelyn, Allison, Marlena, Chrissa, and Autumn. The blue team was made up of Madina, Starr, Edwina, Kelsey A. and Jenn. These girls were brutal! They were slamming paint bombs into each other and Joey got to sit back and watch it all. Kelsey and Edwina brought home the win for the blue team. Then, they found out that only one woman from the winning team would get to spend time with Joey that evening. What a bummer for them!
Gina: I was invited on this group date and thankfully did not have to participate in the actual paintball fight (whew). It was my first time meeting Joey and I was immediately impressed. Being "The Bachelor" suits him.
Joey told me that he was looking forward to this date because he could see the women were excited about it and he knew they'd be bringing it. The group of women on this date are pretty dynamic and he was looking forward to getting to talk to them and see them again because they're exceeding expectations. We also talked quickly about the experience so far and he told me that he's had his eye on a few girls since night one (but wouldn't tell me who). He said, "I do believe in the idea of 'if you know, you know,' and I already felt like I know about a few of these girls, so it's exciting."
Before the paintballing began, I pulled three of the ladies for a chat. Chrissa told me the pink team was ready for anything and she was just going to put it all out there. She also told me about the basic vibe of the house. She said they are a supportive group of women. "I feel like Joey is such an empath and they cast such empathetic women." She also said she's looking forward to more time with Joey, saying she loves good banter but looks forward to having those bigger conversations with him as well.
Jenn is apparently one of those empathetic women. She told me she really cares about people (she is in the medical field!) and she likes that she and Joey have similar morals and values. She also said that being on the show is a surreal experience and that it's bringing her out of her comfort zone.
Katelyn told me she is a pretty drama-free person and likes to avoid conflict so she's trying to steer clear of any drama. Except of course, in paintball. She said she was ready to put it all on the line for Joey!
I walked away from the interviews really liking all three women, who were unique, bubbly, and really fun and sweet. We didn't get to see the entire battle, so I enjoyed watching it all play out and that everyone took the "the rules are there are no rules" mentality to heart. I think this is the kind of messy that they enjoy, as opposed to messy house drama.
Later, a card arrived and it was for Edwina. "Well, I'm happy!" she said. She said she didn't want to feel bad about it. I kind of felt like she was rubbing it in the other women's faces a bit. But, she got to meet up with Joey in his room. Joey wanted to know why Edwina felt like she didn't want to be vulnerable. She said in an African household you have to be the mother of the house at a young age. She's from Liberia. She has a very strong work ethic. Edwina said that her parents sacrificed for her so it's the least she can do for them and failure is not an option. "I'm sure you are making them proud every single day," Joey said. He offered her the date rose!
Back at the house, the blue team talked about their disappointment but were still looking forward to the cocktail party the following day. Madina shared that she "doesn't have time to waste," because she's 31. Oh honey, you have time. But of course, it never feels like it in the moment. Maria said that she doesn't feel weird that she's older. But then she started blabbing about it to everyone about what Madina said. Sydney went and gossiped to everyone about Maria talking about Madina. She said she wanted to talk to Joey about Maria. It's so incredibly silly. Bachelor 101...you don't use your time to talk about another woman. It's as simple as that.
Gina: Could not agree more. As someone who is, ahem, older and still single, I found myself getting increasingly annoyed by this conversation. We've all grown up with this notion that we have to be married and have children by a certain age and sometimes life just does not listen! Putting pressure on yourself, especially in an already high-pressure situation like "The Bachelor," doesn't make things any easier. It also doesn't make the journey to love any faster. Madina said she regretted saying it out loud and I don't blame her. Ladies, take this adage to heart, "age is only a number!" And if you don't believe me, go watch "The Golden Bachelor."
Lexi told Joey that she has a history in art and she wanted to make a portrait of him. It was a little clown painted with watercolors. They talked about how they had crushes on each other and they shared a kiss!
Kelsey A. also got a kiss and he said she is someone he needs to keep an eye on. Katelyn is a self-proclaimed nerd and he really loves her energy.
Meantime the drama continues to spin between Madina and Maria. Madina was setting up a beautiful blanket setting and Maria walked over to clear the air. She didn't want to talk about it then because she was waiting for Joey. But Madina said there's more to her "age" story. Maria spun out and asked the whole group who said that, and Sydney said that Madina is her girl. Maria got the group to agree that the conversation was completely crazy. "It was probably the dumbest fight in Bachelor history," Maria said. Sydney still feels that Maria is a problem.
Evalin gave Joey a beautiful jean jacket that has 4TRR - For the Right Reasons - embroidered on it. She said that she wanted to give him a piece of her heart. "I hope he wears it and feels like he is getting a hug from me," she said.
Allison was talking to Joey and Lauren decided that she was super anxious and needed to get some time with him too. She keeps telling herself to keep it light, so she wants to give him some cake and take a Polaroid picture together so that they can make up for what she missed out on during their group date. Lauren got progressively irritated. The other girls and Allison told her to calm down and stay positive.
Gina: I also noticed that when Lauren walked away, Allison sighed and said, "Oh, God." My guess is scenarios like this have played out many times throughout their lives. It must be exhausting.
Joey walked up to Lauren and she was a bit cold towards him and started crying.
"So I'm going to go home," she told Joey. She told him that she didn't even want to talk to him because "everybody and their mother" spent time with him before her. He said he had hoped to talk to her but he could tell that she had her mind made up. "Maybe this setting wasn't really the best way to get to know each other," Joey said. Then, the little wedding cake she ordered showed up, and it had the audacity to not be red velvet. She took a bite and chucked it into the bushes.
Allison cried when she found out her sister left. Honestly, she's probably better off! I don't think she realizes how much energy she was having to put into appeasing her.
Gina: Personally, I think this is the best thing that could happen to Allison. She'll be out of the shadow of her big sister and she can shine in her own way, without having to anticipate what Lauren will do or how she'll react.
1) Jess (group date rose)
2) Daisy (one-on-one date rose)
3) Edwina (group date rose)
6) Kelsey A.
7) Kelsey T.
12) Lea (she did not get a date this week at all)
That's a bummer. Sydney is stirring the pot. Taylor was one of those eliminated, so while half of the Jess drama was eliminated, we seem to have replaced her with Sydney.
Gina: I mean, we can't get rid of all the pot-stirrers, can we? The next few weeks will be interesting for sure!
There's a tennis match group date for the first-ever "Bachelor Open." Another group date includes some favorites from "The Golden Bachelor." Sydney and Maria's drama definitely ramps up. There's a lot of backtalk that gets brought up to Joey and he feels the need to address it with those involved.
Don't miss new episodes of Joey's season of "The Bachelor" on Monday nights on ABC and streaming the next day on Hulu.