This week I was presented with a tough decision: Should I keep up with the 2018 Winter Olympics or spend my time watching the 2018 Bachelor Winter Games? And no, it can’t be both—I need some semblance of a life, people. While the Olympics provides sexy skate tangos, Adam Rippon butt theories, and Chloe Kim’s hangry tweets—all delightful, to be sure—Bachelor Winter Games promises “The Canadian Ben Higgins” and Ashley Iaconetti’s mascara-stained tears. Guess which one I went with. Spoilers ahead, obviously.
The show’s intro tells us this will be “a global celebration of unity and love” but something tells me “a Vermont-based gathering of drama and lust” would be more accurate. I didn’t know what to expect going into this, but the teaser of what’s to come is certainly intriguing: There’s shots of Ashley weeping, of course, but also Luke Pell in low-cut spandex and some guy named Kevin who is being called “The Canadian Ben Higgins” even though the real Ben Higgins is also there. Will there be a fight to see who can stay? There can only be one!
If it comes to that, Canadian Ben Higgins might win because Real Ben Higgins seems very sad. He’s drinking cups of hot chocolate and wandering around alone in the snow. After his breakup with Lauren, his heart has frozen over because metaphors.
Bibiana (from Arie’s season) is also here, and she’s skating around in a one-piece with a cozy sweater and living her best life.
“I wasn’t crazy all the time. I just had one moment.” – Bibiana
Dean (from Rachel’s season and Bachelor in Paradise) gets an intro that feels very “boy band member audition tape.” We’re reminded that he was shady on BiP, but he promises he’s really a “good guy” who just made “questionable decisions.” That’s what they ALL say, Dean. He frets over whether he should make ramen or spaghetti, but eventually chooses spaghetti with great gravitas—signaling that he’s ready to make mature decisions now, I guess. Or maybe he just prefers spaghetti, who knows.
Now we catch up with Clare. You’ll remember her from that one time she told Juan Pablo off (“I would never want my children having a father like you!”) and the many many times she cried during Bachelor in Paradise. After those bad experiences, she swore she was retiring from the show…only to magically discover the Winter Games Loophole. Apparently, this is an alternate dimension where the choices you make after one too many margaritas don’t count.
Next up is Josiah, the lawyer from Rachel’s season of The Bachelorette. He swears he won’t be a jerk this time, foreshadowing an edit of all the times he behaves like a jerk this time.
Lesley from Sean Lowe’s Bachelor season is here too, but I have to admit: I watched that rotation and don’t remember her. Maybe one of the many Laurens took her spot in my memory bank? In her intro, Lesley reveals she tested positive for the BRCA2 gene, so she got a double mastectomy eight months ago. She hasn’t been with anybody since, but her new boobs “look great” and she’s ready for love. I genuinely hope she finds it!
“Heyyyyyy, I’m Ashley I.,” I hear, both from the TV and in my nightmares. “I have a big reputation for being dramatic”—an understatement—”[Also] being heartbroken. Crying. I’m going to be the opposite,” she promises. I’ve always appreciated Ashley’s self-awareness, so her claims that she’s ready to change rub me the wrong way. Just embrace yourself! You are a person who FEELS EVERYTHING SO MUCH. It’s who you are. Anyway, a psychic told Ashley she’s going to meet her husband on an international journey and this McMansion in Vermont filled with Canadians still applies. We then get a hilarious montage of Ashley trying to ski in the dirt of Los Angeles, and I’m reminded how funny this show can be. (Just don’t tell Chris Harrison or we’ll get 1,000 more scenes like that until the joke is dug into the ground.)
“Later: Winter tears are coming.” – OK, that’s pretty good.
Now that we’ve been re-introduced to some of the U.S. contestants, Chris Harrison reveals he has a co-announcer named, I am not joking, Hannah Storm. Is she a plucky Disney Channel character? Oh, she’s an actual legit sports television journalist and, as Harrison says, “legend?” My apologies! I don’t watch sports—unless it involves desperate Bachelor contestants of course—so this explains (but does not excuse) why I thought she was a fake. They also got reporter Ashley Brewer for this and I gotta say, I wouldn’t mind adding these women to the regular Bachelor franchise. Imagine a reporter live on the scene during a group date hot tub outing. So good, right?
Back to Winter Games: There’s a parade, and they’ve carted in tens of extras, a bored-looking marching band, a moose mascot, and an old-timey fire engine that says “Dial 9-1-1” on the side, probably because if you have a fire emergency you should call 9-1-1 and not rely on this clunker. It’s quite the scene.
“Luke, obviously some people thought he was going to be The Bachelor and it didn’t work out,” – Chris Harrison is secretly shady.
Now it’s time to introduce the international teams. This shouldn’t be problematic at all….oh look, there’s Japan being represented by a man in a Ninja costume. We’re introduced to Yuki, who was in the top five of Bachelor Japan. She watched the American Bachelor on YouTube, so these are the English words she knows: “Thank you,” “OK,” “Hello,” Goodbye,” “I love you,” and “Will you marry me?” Honestly, with some of these dudes that’s enough to communicate.
Moving on: Here comes two Canadian guys, represented by that moose mascot. Kevin, a.k.a. Canadian Ben Higgins, got engaged six months ago on The Bachelor Canada. We don’t get to know the other guy, but Google tells me his name is Benoit. Ooh la la, French Canadian?
Zoe from China is led by a group of white people in a Chinese dragon costume, so there’s that. We learn that on Bachelor China there was only ONE kiss the entire season. Can you imagine what life would be like if Arie spared us from his kissing bandit shenanigans? What luxury.
Laura from Bachelor United Kingdom is here, and Chris Harrison describes her as “very quirky” because she flipped the Bachelor off when she was eliminated. Love that. She’s already my favorite. “I don’t know why more people don’t do that,” Chris wonders. Yeah! Why don’t they?!
From Australia, we meet Tiffany and Courtney. Tiffany is the one who made a love connection with one of the other female contestants during her season and again I ask: Why hasn’t this happened before? Courtney, meanwhile, was on The Bachelorette and made it all the way to the final four before being sent home…to…the…outback? Sorry, had to.
Now we meet team Sweden, which is led by, what else, a viking in a bad Anne of Green Gables wig. Rebecca and Nastassia (Stassi) are blonde and beautiful, and the guys basically do that cartoon BOING-ING-ING-ING when they see them.
When we return from the commercial break, Chris Harrison informs us it’s no longer Bachelor Nation, it’s Bachelor World. So progressive.
Team Finland is represented by a reindeer, elves, and Santa because sure. Jenny says she wants a “Ryan Reynolds lookalike.” Don’t we all, Jenny, don’t we all.
Next up, New Zealand: Lily is here to “stir things up” because she “curses a lot.” Ally has a sloth tattooed on her behind, which is awesome.
Germany and Switzerland are represented by Christian, who was on both shows. Wait, so you can just change countries now?
Now that everyone’s arrived, Fionnuala Cree (what a name) sings the “Bachelor Winter Anthem.” “We want to see this through” is the main lyric, which just feels very anti-climatic. Like, that’s all you aspire to? Not even one rose pun? And, of course, Trista and Ryan are here. I’m pretty sure they have a Bachelor bat signal that alerts them whenever Chris Harrison whispers “rose ceremony.” “No other couple really embodies what this is all about,” Harrison says. I suppose that’s true considering they’re one of like three successful couples from this franchise. Christian, however, doesn’t know who they are, which is a fun little moment the editors kept in.
Somebody named Ruthie Collins performs, and then it’s time for everyone to head to their new digs. After picking their beds, they gather to have a drink and eye the competition. Benoit gives a toast in French, and all the women do that cartoon BOING-ING-ING thing. Then Chris Harrison sneaks in to explain the rules: The men will compete against the men, the women will compete against the women. Whoever wins each challenge gets a date card to take whoever they want out. There will be rose ceremonies, and some people will be leaving. At the end, they’ll crown two champions to be the first couple of Bachelor World.
Once Harrison leaves, everyone starts sizing each other up and pairing off. Lesley is into Dean. Bibiana is into Kevin. But of course Ashley is also into Kevin. Ally and Josiah start flirting and almost instantly start kissing. She describes it as “a real cheeky little snog,” which is one way you could describe that. The German guy just watches them from the other room. Not creepy at all…
The next day it’s time for the first game. The challenge: cross-country skiing, shooting at rose targets, and racing over a finish line. Ashley’s concerned that Kevin is spending more time with Bibiana because her skin is so dehydrated from the cold. My heart shivers.
Josiah’s hoping to score a date with Ally, but she falls on her “ass bone” right away, eliminating her from the competition. At least it gives Josiah a chance to swoop in with hugs and a kiss to cheer her up.
The guys are up first, and Benoit does a little trash talking. That seems fair—he is Canadian, so I assume he’s more skilled at winter sports what with all that Canadian snow available to him. Compare that to Josiah, who admits this is only the second time he’s seen it. Re: the competition, not that much happens so just know that Ben, Luke, and Benoit are moving on to the finals. In the second qualifier, Dean won.
As for the women, Stassi wins the first qualifier and Rebecca wins the second. Yuki thinks she won, though, and I vote they just give it to her. In the women’s finals, it’s Lily, Jenny, Rebecca, Lesley, and Bibiana all up for the date card. A screen of Bibi’s stats come up to tell us she’s “Livin La Vida Loca.” They describe Lesley as “Blonde Ambition.” We don’t see Rebecca’s stats but she wins by a landslide.
On to the men’s final: It’s Kevin, Luke, Christian, Benoit, Ben, and Dean. Dean’s stat says, simply, “undecided.” Poetic? Better than Kevin’s, which informs us he’s “Seen Nickleback 27 times.” And this is the man we’re all fighting over? Despite his taste in music, he wins the date card and almost immediately Ashley’s eyes light up. She’s fully aware that he has a connection with Bibi, but she’s not giving up just yet. Ashely, do you know he’s seen Nickelback 27 times? That might ease the pain when he inevitably chooses Bibi for the date.
Back at the manse, Bibi gushes about how hot Kevin is. I mean, if you’re trapped on a mountain with no other options, sure. Apparently earlier that morning she creeped on him when he was walking through the house without a shirt on. “I never have felt that in my life,” she says. What, a lady boner?
During his conversation with Bibiana, Kevin reveals he used to be a ski instructor. HOLD UP. This game is rigged! How does anyone else stand a chance at a competition based on winter sports against a ski instructor? Also, why is the Nickelback fact in his stats instead of this hyper-relevant information?
Finally, we are treated to a scene in which Ashley and Kevin finally have a face-to-face human interaction. We learn they had a great talk the night before, so, OK, I will give Ashley more credit that this isn’t entirely in her head. She flirts by telling him he looks like Tom Brady meets James Marsden. “I’m not very good at throwing a football,” he replies.
“If you know me, I zone in on one person.” – Ashley. Oh, we know you.
Ultimately, Kevin asks Bibiana out. They barely have time to celebrate their love before we cut to Ashley crying in a confessional. She recognizes this “pattern” of being friend-zoned, and I implore her to find a way to break out of that. Maybe don’t go on this show anymore? Just a suggestion. She bravely hides her tears from Kevin and Bibiana, who are happily leaving in their best date sweaters.
Meanwhile, apparently Rebecca invited Luke out. Their date involves sitting cozy by a fire, then sitting freezing under blankets while they watch fireworks. They make out. Bibi and Kevin also make out on their date.
Meanwhile at the house, Lesley and Dean talk about boobs and Benoit cooks dinner. Clare looks at him, not the food, like a tasty snack. Same! “Oregano, garlic powder,” he purrs. She’s overly impressed that he’s able to remove a yolk from an egg. But then! We see him in a scene with his glasses on and hellooooooo. Why are we all sweating over Kevin? There is a hot ass French Canadian wearing glasses and cooking eggs. Ashley, use your eyes!
“Ah-ha-ha-ha!” – Clare, fake giggling and touching her hair while Benoit cooks.
Benoit’s into Clare, too, but then she makes a joke that she’s not drinking because she’s pregnant and uses this as an excuse to lift her shirt up a little bit. Oh no. Is this how people look when they’re flirting? My God. It works, though, because suddenly they’re making out in the kitchen while people scream in the background. They move to the fireside to talk about the kiss, which seems strange at first until I remember that producers are likely involved. Clare tells Benoit to wear his glasses more often, and I appreciate her looking out for us with this suggestion. He’s what I’d like to call poutine, a Canadian-but-French-sounding snack.
He pulls her closer, and I find myself saying, “Oooh!” like a mom watching Fifty Shades Freed. They kiss again. I’m jealous and so is Christian, who watches them, creepily, from the other room. He’s worried about his status because Lesley and Dean are making out, Ally and Josiah are making out, and Courtney and Lily are making out. Who will make out with Christian?
“I’m really, uh, sad for this one.” – Christian
The next day, everyone’s putting on their best duds for the rose ceremony and wondering who will pick them. Yuki straight-up asks Dean to give her a rose, and it’s very charming. Do it Dean!
But then Chris Harrison stalks in to drop some news: Tonight three women and two men will be voted off, Survivor style. Luckily, they have a cocktail party that’ll give them one last chance to plead their case to the others. Everyone panics. Josiah seems to be in danger—for some reason, even though he’s super into Ally, people are questioning his intentions. Ashley’s nervous because she hasn’t talked to other guys much because she’s been so laser focus on Kevin. Clare confronts Christian because she heard he was going to vote her off—but, no, he actually thinks she’s the most beautiful woman here. You instantly see the light switch go off for her, and she moves straight into flirt mode. And so a love triangle is born.
Once everyone’s voted, the rose ceremony begins. I appreciate Chris Harrison asking Rebecca and Kevin to hand out the roses rather than doing it awkwardly himself. At one point, they give a rose to some man named Michael. Who is Michael? Where has he been all episode? Did he just crawl out from under a faux fur blanket? He’s here to stay, I guess, because the final roses are handed out and Jamey, Eric, Zoe, Lauren, and Laura say their goodbyes.
See you Thursday for more drama!