No one ever pays attention to the referees in professional wrestling matches, so it shouldn't be surprising that Justin, wrestling's gift to this season of The Bachelorette, took it upon himself to violate one of the sacred rules of the game: no unauthorized visits to the girl of your dreams.
Concerned that being on crutches was costing him the chance to walk on wires and hot tub and all the fun things Ali Fedotowsky is getting to do with the other candidates, the man they call Rated R decided to simply sneak out of the mansion and hobble up the mountain road to Ali's abode, surprising her as she was conducting an interview for the show. She loved the gesture, and it's hard to see where the harm was (although now that Justin has shown how easy it is to get away, good luck to the producers keeping anyone happily waiting in that mansion from now on). He snuck back home, pretended he had been sleeping, and smirked his way through his interactions with the other guys without mentioning his leg up.
But Justin had already been the winner of this season's "not here for the right reasons" award, and he fielded a whole new round of accusations during this course of these two hours, even before Ali let it slip that he had gone to visit her on his own. This discovery just confirmed for the other men, most notably Ty and Craig the lawyer, that Justin is a Jekyll and Hyde figure. For his part, Justin sat around moping about how no one likes him -- maybe just a wee bit melodramatic considering that he admitted he's used to playing a villain as a wrestler. But Ali seemed to identify with his unpopularity, keeping in mind how she had been one of the ringleaders in trying to freeze out Vienna in her Bachelor season. Is Justin a misunderstood romantic, or will the men be proven right about him in the end?
The show implied that all of Justin's shenanigans cut into the date time of Hunter, who had his solo outing with Ali scheduled for later the same day, and likewise at her residence. Hunter expressed some concern that his preference to go slow in a relationship might not be well suited for this show, and in fact Ali suggested that her doubts about him were the reason for the date. He seems like an acceptable enough fellow, but he doesn't have strong conversational gifts or a great sense of humor, and doesn't have the looks to compensate (unlike Jesse, whose bod helped salvage a tongue-tied date last week). His alone time with Ali was a succession of nervous pauses, made all the more poignant by Hunter's realization that things were slipping away. Ali tried to let him down easy, but there's no good way to tell someone that he failed where all the other solo dates had succeeded.
Ali's first solo date of the week had been much more elaborate and successful, as she and Roberto took a helicopter ride downtown to their rooftop date -- which was only accessible by walking a wire that hung between two buildings. Ali had been nervous enough on the chopper, so even though she was well strapped in, the tightrope was a whole new level of OMG. Roberto, however, was smooth as can be, at one point directing Ali to pause during the walk so he could lean in for a kiss. He continued wowing her during the date, bringing up his knowledge of four languages and generally coming across as totally perfect ... so much so that you almost have to assume now that Ali can't be picking him in the end (more on that below). He got his rose, naturally.
Nine of the fourteen remaining dudes were part of this week's group date, which entailed a trip to the industrial side of town to help film the next video for Barenaked Ladies, a band that once sang about having a million dollars and now seems to be one step ahead of the county fair circuit. The song was forgettable, though that didn't stop Ali and the guys from imagining that the lyrics were all about their situation on the show. And the video, which featured Ali playing hard to get with all our bachelors, looked about as professional as you would expect from a film starring ten non-actors.
The comic highlight of the group date came courtesy of weatherman Jonathan, who seemed more interested in starring in his own Gossip Girl episode last week than in sparking anything romantic. He had the one scene in the video that called for Ali to be kissed, which every other man would have seen as a major break. Jonathan, however, fretted about the spectacle of a public kiss and even suggested to Ali that they could just skip it. Their first try had all the heat of a grandma/grandson smooch, and the weatherman's embarrassment was such that he actually started crying. Ali saved the scene by taking responsibility for making the kiss passionate, but the whole incident just added to the suspicion that before this season is over, Jonathan is going to become the first Bachelorette contestant to admit that he'd rather be a Bachelor contestant.
Kirk had a fairly heated scene with Ali during the video shoot, and followed this up with some kissing in the pool during the afterparty. That was probably enough all by itself to ensure that Kirk got the rose for that date, but even though they didn't seem to have any connection other than hormonal, it didn't stop jealous Frank from eating his heart out. "If Kirk gets the rose tonight, it's gonna kill me," said the man who told Ali last week that he already considers her his girlfriend. Frank is starting to look less like a pasty part-time screenwriter and more like a potential contender, but he's going to have to calm down.
With Hunter going home after his date and Roberto and Kirk already in the clear, that left nine of the eleven remaining contestants to get roses during the ceremony of that name. Jonathan gets to extend his awkward teenage phase a while longer, and Craig got a rose even though we've yet to really see him connect with Ali at all. At least we hear Craig slamming Justin on a regular basis -- I can't remember Chris N. speaking in three weeks, and he keeps getting by. Ty and Kasey didn't have dates with Ali this week, but had enough residual good will to make it to next week. Jesse got a rose despite showing up for the ceremony in a denim jacket. Frank was an easy call, and Justin got the last rose of the night despite all the drama. If there's a dark horse for the title right now, it would have to be Chris L., who seems to be building a rapport with Ali little by little, and opened up to her this week about the recent death of his mother. I'd rank him ahead of Roberto only because he's being portrayed as being way behind Roberto.
Not much surprise as to who didn't get a rose. Of the three who didn't have dates with Ali this week, Steve was the only one who was shown trying to make up for it during the cocktail party, but his inability to uncork their champagne bottle proved to be all too apt a metaphor. Despite his gymnast's physique, Ali wasn't impressed enough to keep him around. And the briefness of her scene with John C. in the music video (he was the only man who didn't have any physical contact with her) was a foreshadowing of her lack of interest in him.
Next week, Ali and the boys begin a round-the-world tour!