This week, Mike and Samantha snip, Miles and Heather pine, Ben and Erica behave like their usual delightful selves, and Steele must permanently smell like chocolate or something because he gets caught between two ladies again.
We join our heroes as they return from elimination to the cabins. (The show calls it “the couples’ choice ceremony,” but we all know the elimination factor makes it worth watching.) Kym, who snagged Steele away from Vanessa, is telling us that she “desperately” wants the pairing to work out. What is it about this guy that evokes feelings of desperation in women? If he’s the best guy they’ve ever seen, they must live in really small towns.
Meanwhile, Adam is depressed that Kym chose Steele over him, but still wants to give Heather, his new partner, a fair shot. You may remember that Miles and Heather had a good thing going last week, but Adam put it asunder. How does she feel about getting “a fair shot” from Adam? As she drags her suitcase to their cabin, she says, in the most dumb jock-like voice she can muster, “Yoooo, Adam! I got a little job for ya!”
Repelling Men 101: Do your best Peter impression.
She elaborates that Adam’s choice of her is “frustrating”; she feels like he “ripped her away” from Miles. Pity the girl for having two reasonably attractive men competing for her affections. Pity her hard.
For his part, Miles finds it “a little disappointing” that he’s been separated from Heather, but he’s willing to see where things go with Erica. Meanwhile, Erica says she doesn’t care if he has a connection with Heather already. I’m sorry, but she’s totally fucked married guys before. Why waste your time with a guy who prioritizes another woman above you? More desperation; she’ll be making passes at Steele within one sleep. Then Miles and Erica have an asinine conversation about hats, because Erica brought at least three of them on the trip. I’d hate to see how many shoes she brought.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mike and Samantha.
Also known as that couple.
They both jaw at the camera about connections and bonds and excitement and all that crap. I’m not describing it in more detail than that because there are just too many anvils in this scene to count.
(Anvil, noun: A hint that a plotline in a TV show will not develop the way the characters involved hope it will, brought forth with all the subtlety of an anvil falling on your head, despite the fact that you’re holding an absurdly tiny umbrella to cushion yourself from the inevitable blow. See also: Degrassi: The Next Generation.)
Ladies and gentlemen, Skippy Squirrel and Theresa.
You’re in bed and we can’t tell if you’re dressed or not, SO DON’T TELL ME YOU’RE JUST PECKING!
Skippy Squirrel says Theresa is “in-your-face beautiful,” which you don’t often see in Boston.
Greenbrook, New Jersey, on the other hand . . .
Seriously, boo, get a color consultation. You look like your mom let you play with her lipstick while she got ready for a party. Anyway, Theresa says she’s not very outgoing with men and feels very lucky to be with a guy like Skippy Squirrel, who is “one of a kind.” Well, he is the first guy I’ve nicknamed after a secondary character from Animaniacs, so I guess she has a point. Then Skippy Squirrel turns off the cabin lights. Awww, yeah.
The next morning, it’s Ben’s birthday! (Let’s ignore it.) Brandee, who has a charming Tennessee accent that makes her scenes with Ben slightly more bearable, has prepared a delicious, greasy breakfast just for him. “This looks like shit,” he tells her. Don’t get any ideas, kids: Birthdays do not give you permission to be a dick. Or, in Ben’s case, naturally. Brandee says there’s “something” about Ben that she likes, but she can’t put her finger on it. Yeah, neither can America. He then tells her that she’ll have to make him a birthday cake, and he’ll allow her to jump out of it (she asked . . . really) if she’s nekkid. Because women generally jump out of cakes with their clothes on.
Later, everyone meets the ever-chipper MacAussie at the base of the Arenal, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. The challenge: Find a map and canoe and use both to get to Snake Island. Which has snakes. I just wanted to clear that up in case Steele wasn’t sure. MacAussie adds that Costa Rican locals advised him “not to set foot” on that island, “so I’m not going to – but you guys are!” Oh, MacAussie, you cute little sadist. Once there, they will use the instructions on their maps to find “the plane wreck,” where they will pick up a crate and carry it back to him, through the jungle, and on their canoes. He does not mention what the crates contain, but I’m guessing it’s a mixture of the bones of a dead co-pilot and a pile of snake vomit.
After wasting about ten seconds reminding us of the game rules for the three hundred thousand millionth time, MacAussie sends them off with his standard “Vamoose!” (That word never gets less annoying with time. Some words never do, like “indubitably” and “behoove.”) Derek and Jess set off in their canoe first, followed by Steele and Kym, who are very proud of their rowing prowess. Jessica says Jason is “a nice person,” but she isn’t sure if there’s an attraction. According to bitter men everywhere, that’s just femalese for “I’ll keep him around for sex and consolation until I find my own Steele.”
And after this injury, she won’t even use him for sex.
Meanwhile, Brandee can’t find her and Ben’s map.
“This white scroll thing is part of the boat, right? Or is it a snake?”
Yeesh. This week, Brandee is at the top of the female half of the Love in the Wild leader board of stupid. Ben says his competitive streak isn’t a good match for Brandee’s “stereotypical girl attitude.” And what kind of attitude would that be, Ben? (glares) (slaps spatula in palm of hand)
Erica tells us, apropos of nothing at all, that she really wants to get to know Miles, not just through small talk and adventuring. OK, good for you, now stop not being Heather. Jess says she feels good about her partnership with Derek because he just wants to win. Heather is annoyed with Adam’s rowing noobery and hopes Miles finishes on top so he’ll pick her and they can “finish what they started.” Much to her luck, Miles is annoyed with Erica’s own rowing noobery; after all, he’s rowed on several of Minnesota’s 12,000 lakes. I immediately get excited because I love all things Minnesotan and hope to move there in a couple of years. Congratulations, Miles, you are now officially endearing.
Samantha gets annoyed because Mike’s “hunch” took them in completely the opposite direction of all the other teams. They both talk about trust and listening and frustration and all that crap. Those anvils I mentioned earlier? They’ve just landed. I have aspirin if anyone needs it.
Derek and Jess are the first to arrive on Snake Island, where Derek ties the canoe to one of the “totems” MacAussie talked about before, which turn out to be . . . sticks.
And you, sir, are definitely not like a totem.
After a moment of both of them freaking out at the prospect of snakes, we get another insightful commentary from Skippy Squirrel: “Theresa’s not the most athletic girl here. She’s more like a princess, which is fine. I’m more attracted to a girl that cares about her appearance than is, like, a tomboy.” Almost all of my guy friends prefer girls who don’t freak out about dirt and heavy lifting. They also believe such activities are not mutually exclusive from taking care of one’s appearance. They would also gladly take turns punching Skippy Squirrel in his preppy little face if I asked them to. I have awesome guy friends.
Derek and Jess reach the plane wreck fairly quickly ($100 bucks says it’s a broken prop plane from whichever production company is to blame for all this), and are about to pick up a crate when they notice that it’s covered with SNAKES!!!
If anyone compares him or herself to Indiana Jones within the next hour, they get one of these down their pants.
Of course, it’s never made clear if these are the kinds of snakes that actually harm humans, so they may be freaking out over nothing. Derek and Jess brush them off the box with twigs. That’s the great thing about snakes: They’re powerless in the face of being batted away. The two grab a giant crate and make their way through the woods with it. Jess promises Derek a massage if he does the heavy lifting. He agrees, of course. Honestly, after however much time spent with that on my back, I’d be pissed if she didn’t offer.
Steele says he and Kym work well together and she’s a “hot little thing.” I’m sorry, but she’s just not. Try again, Steele. Skippy Squirrel talks about how even though Theresa’s hair and makeup are perfect, “she’s really mentally tough.”
“Tough girls are icky.”
Actually, he seems to like the fact that she’s such a go-getter in this challenge. What was that you were saying about princesses, Skippy? Elsewhere, Jason complains about how heavy the crate is, even though someone with arms like his really shouldn’t be having a problem with it. Who knows, maybe they’re implants. Erica says snakes and spiders, et al, are her biggest fear, which is obviously why she’s spending these days in the Costa Rican wilderness. “Nobody likes snakes! Really!” she declares. Except, you know, herpetologists. And snake charmers. And Britney.
Mike complains that his and Samantha’s walk through the jungle wasn’t as “upbeat” as he would have wanted. Dude, you have a giant wooden box on your head and you have no idea where you are – now is not the time for chit-chat. “It doesn’t feel the same between me and Samantha,” he concludes. Samantha again complains that Mike isn’t listening to her. Does it seem to anyone else that they’re freaking out over nothing? I know from experience that you never want anything to change at the beginning of a relationship, but from an outsider’s perspective, it’s pretty sad. It happens, guys. One day you’ll look back on this and relay it to your grandchildren in that gentle, loving, cholesterol-medication-commercial sort of way.
Ben is struggling with his crate, at one point getting stuck in a large, hanging branch. Ha. Brandee feels bad that she isn’t able to help him that much, even though she freed him from the branch of death and is showing him which way to go. That’s about as much help as you can possibly give a man who refuses to admit that he needs it . . . in every possible sense.
Skippy Squirrel and Theresa move into second place and want to pass Derek and Jess on the narrow trail. Theresa is impressed with the Squirrel’s “move it or lose it” approach to the race and calls him a “badass.” That’s not badass, Theresa, he just wants to be winning.
Total freakin’ rock star from Mars.
Four couples reach the canoes at the same time. Steele has trouble getting the crate and his ass inside. “Unfortunately, I didn’t read the manual on getting into a canoe,” he cracks – like he can read. While the other three couples set off, Steele and Kym’s canoe is full of water, and Steele is neck-deep in the lake. Jessica describes him as “lost in the sauce.” One day she’s going to launch a handbag line called Lost in the Sauce. They move from fourth place to seventh quickly. “I kind of have a way of making adventures more complicated than they really are,” Steele admits. Good boy. The first step is admitting that you are powerless over your own dumbassness.
Elsewhere, Jess is impressed with Derek’s motivation, which is more than Samantha can say for Mike. He repeatedly says “Stroke!” She snaps back, “I’m stroking!” She then complains about the limited abilities of her “bony butt” and the soreness of her arm. “Let’s just stay positive,” Mike advises. That’s #7 on the list of Things You Should Never Say to a Frustrated Person, behind such chestnuts as “It is what it is” and “At least you learned something.”
Back to Erica: “The rowing? Miles did. The steering? Miles did. The reading directions? Miles did. The lifting the crate? Miles did.”
“The whining? Miles di– oh, wait.”
She feels like “deadweight” and has no idea why Miles would pick her after this. Um, we agree.
Derek and Jess land on the pebbly beach. He tells us they complement each other well. She tells him that he’s getting a massage. We know, Jess. They find MacAussie, who anoints them first and opens their crate by slashing the rope with a large knife, which is the most strenuous thing he’s done in five days. They open the crate and root through packing straw to find . . .
OH, COME ON!!!
Seriously? That’s pretty low-rent, MacAussie. They would have gotten champagne in the Oasis anyway. Jess is thrilled, though. It looks better to newcomers to the Oasis, I suppose. Meanwhile, Skippy Squirrel gets annoyed because he’s way ahead of Theresa, even though he has the crate and she has the backpacks. Again, Skippy, remind us what you said about princesses? But they make it into second place, followed by Mike and Samantha, both of whom hated the challenge. “It was a true test for us,” Samantha says. You want a true test? Try watching as he flirts shamelessly with Steele. That is a test.
Next are Miles/Erica, Jason/Jessica, Ben/Brandee, Steele/Kym and Adam/Heather. Adam feels bad. Heather still hopes Miles will pick her. Sweetie, your competition called herself deadweight. Shut up for a minute.
The online player I’m using to watch this episode plays TWO ads before clips, and half of them are advertising that stupid Friends with Benefits movie. I hate summer.
At the Oasis, Jess freaks out at the awesomeness of the room and Derek pops the champagne. As we watch them drink to their triumph, Jess tells us that she will use the opportunity to get to know Derek. This is important to note because I’m sure many of you expected her to use this gorgeous, romantic house to catch up on her Facebook. The two have fun together as they sit in the empty hot tub with their clothes on . . . and that’s about it.
No television screen on Earth is big enough to contain the fiery passion of Derek and Jess.
At the cabins, Steele and Kym joke about how they’re guaranteed freedom from elimination. (Anvil. Just saying.) Kym lurves Steele. Steele says he’s never had a serious relationship that lasted more than a few months (GADS! REALLY?!), but he’s open to trying one. Ladies, avoid the guys who are “open to trying” a serious relationship. They really have no idea what they’re dealing with. He adds that he isn’t sure what could happen romantically with Kym. Ah, this again. It never gets old, boring, repetitive, redundant, dull or formulaic. Ever.
Theresa removes acres of hair extensions from her head, much to Skippy Squirrel’s astonishment.
The sweetest bitch you’ll evah meet (but DO NOT fuck wid her).
Skippy Squirrel says he likes Theresa, and he shouldn’t have to tell her so because reading each other’s minds is the standard operating procedure. Damaged women everywhere would disagree with you thar, Skippy. On the other hand, they’re in the shower together, so they must not need words after all.
In the common drinking area, Heather jabbers away to Kym about Miles,while Kym jabbers away to Heather about Steele. This is the first time we’ve seen any significant same-sex friendship on the show, so preserve this moment for posterity. Elsewhere, Steele asks Miles about Erica, who says she’s cool. I can’t help but notice how enthusiastically he’s sucking down that wine, though.
“White, white wiiiiiiiine, it’s up to yoooouuuu . . .”
Steele is torn – TORN! – between Erica, who is hot, and Kym, who is cool. See, these are the kinds of decisions you’ll want to have.
Mike and Samantha have a talk.Thankfully, Mike’s shirt is off, which makes the following exchange a bit easier to swallow:
SHE: “I was frustrated and annoyed. Defeated. I thought we were way behind.”
HE: “Samantha, it’s pretty simple. The only thing I need to hear out of you is this: ‘I was having a hard time today. I’ll work better. We’ll work together as a team much better next time.’ OK?”
SHE: “Have I not said that already?”
HE: “No. Why does it feel like I’m twisting your arm right now?”
SHE: “Because I’ve already said it, and –”
HE: “Then why the fuck is it on my mind?”
Finally, she just shuts up and leaves. Come on, Samantha, even The Situation handled it better than this! Be the bigger person! He’s obviously slow on the uptake, so repeat the line and get on with it! Their cuteness is gone. Officially.
Back at the Oasis, Jess and Derek eat their dinner. None of them knows what it is, but they love it. (Imagine their shock when MacAussie will inevitably tell them it was made out of SNAKES!!!) To us, Derek says Jess is “phenomenal,” but it would be a “disservice” not to check out the other ladies.
“Disservice to them, I mean. I really have no right to deprive them of this peach fuzz.”
He adds that he would pick Samantha if he could. OK, I know I said her cuteness with Mike is gone, but I want them to stay together just so we can have some continuity for a change. And because they’re more capable of getting the cuteness back than most of the others. Derek and Jess have potential, but unless Derek decides to carry out his patriotic duty by flirting with the other women, it won’t happen.
They get into their private pool and have a splash fight. Derek says it’s not serious, but he’ll wait to see how it goes.
Well, you don’t waste any time, do you?
And then they move on to a discussion about relationships and intensity and pressure and all that crap. He hates it. She doesn’t realize that she’s bringing it. OLD. QUICKLY.
Back at the cabins, Jessica comes in to find Jason sleeping in the fetal position in some sort of wicker crib. WE GET IT. HE’S WUSSY. Hilariously, Jessica thinks he died. But he wakes up to give her this Hallmark-quality declaration of like-like:
“Do you realize that I’m obviously interested in you? I think you’re an awesome girl. I think you’re a sweetheart. You have all these amazing things that I can’t put words to yet. I’m trying.”
Ooooooooookay. Understandably, Jessica feels awkward, which she says is rare for her. She eventually spits out something about “going with things,” which makes Jason sad.
“Jessica’s a poopyhead. I was going to let her have my juice box at lunch!”
As she tries to fall asleep and forget that ever happened, Jason adds that he thinks she’s a badass. Too late, sweet pea. Saying “ass” won’t save you now.
At breakfast the next morning, Steele and Erica sit together and have a boring conversation about Erica’s hat. Steele described her as “hot, and her personality is kinda fun.” A true wordsmith, this one. Unfortunately for his limited cranial capacity, Kym is also hot. Oh, whatever shall he do? The suspense is unlike anything I’ve ever seen since Lauren had to choose between Jason and Paris.
“Look, Steele! Boobies!”
Somewhere else on the property, clearly after having violated the cardinal rule of “Never go to bed mad,” Mike sets up a picnic on the lawn and leads Samantha to it. You may remember Miles doing this for Heather last week, only that wasn’t a peace picnic – (switch to Barry White voice) it was a looooooooove picnic. In short, they kiss and make up (literally) and put the previous day behind them, which they could have done within 30 seconds last night. Samantha tells him she wouldn’t have wanted to do the adventure with anyone but him (are you surprised? He’s the only guy she knows!), and they predict they’ll have more fights in the future. Awww. They’re so cute. Sometimes you just want to squeeze their little faces right off.
During the dressing montage, everyone reiterates who they’ll be choosing between. Jessica tells us that she would stay with Jason to give her time “to connect with someone else. As messed-up as that may sound, it’s the truth.” Yeah, that does sound messed up, Jessica. You might be an awesome amazing badass sweetheart, but logical you are not. Meanwhile, Jason does this.
Earlier, while the cameras weren’t rolling, he sat up in bed and played with his Transformers.
At elimination, MacAussie repeats the rules again, as if they haven’t figured it out by now. Things get awesome as the first three couples elect to stay together: Derek/Jess, Skippy Squirrel/Theresa, Mike/Samantha. Next is Miles/Erica. Miles stays Minnesota nice and compliments Erica before dumping her ass for Heather, who gratefully accepts. Like-like conquers all!
Erica does Steele a service by picking him on the grounds that a) he hasn’t gotten to pick his own partner yet and b) he sucks at challenges. So he’s the best choice for a trooper like her? Apparently he thinks so, because he accepts her invite. It’ll be the most failtastic pairing of all. Thanks, guys.
Kym gracefully accepts her defeat. Jason, decked out in his finest Herman Cain wear, opts to stay with Jessica. Of course he does.
“I can dress myself!”
Jessica says she’ll stay long enough for them to “explore things,” which is her way of saying “explore the other guys’ things.” Finally, Ben and Brandee decide to “stick it out” with each other, probably because Ben amuses Brandee and there’s little chance of her murdering him in his sleep. That means Adam and Kym go home. She complains about Steele passing her over. (I just realized that she is the third girl in a row who was sent home after hoping Steele would go for her. Which means Erica will be gone next week.) And Adam blathers about finding love at home, but we don’t care what he thinks. Bye, Team Boston! We’d miss you if we gave a crap!
Next week: Heat! Caves! Horsies! Are you intrigued yet? Didn’t think so.