By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Jan 30, 2018 at 2:46 AM

Is this season of "The Bachelor" working for anyone out there? Actually?

Last week, for me, was anomaly of entertainment in a sea of blandness, but for others, it was a pitiful episode where the poor women were being tricked into drinking their own urine and eating worms in the name of dating a slightly graying mannequin. But it's back to the blandness – and now that Arie's making bad choices (aka the producers' choices), it's getting harder to rationalize why any of these women are putting themselves through this for the charisma and charm of a dressed-up Teddy Ruxpin. 

But this wasn't merely a bad episode of "The Bachelor." By its own low standards, Monday night's episode was bad television, two hours where a major source of drama somehow took place offscreen and whose resolution was accidentally spoiled with an hour to go by an ad played in the middle of the show. 

I should've known we were in for a rough ride when we headed down to the warm, sunny weather of Florida ... for bowling. We left Lake Tahoe for this? There better have been a hurricane howling around outside for bowling to be your ideal Florida date.

Anyways, yes, Arie brings most of the girls on a group date to bowl – but first, he must recreate some "Big Lebowski" by licking his ball like John Turturro's Jesus Quintana. Except there's no way that ball isn't a rental, so how much Purell was slathered on that ball before Arie felt comfortable licking it? Answer: still not enough.

Things do not improve from there, as a clearly well-served Jenna slops herself all over the bowling console and fails to lead the women in a sports chant, Krystal gives her 274th de-motivational toast and, most embarrassing, they open the game by having their three lanes all roll at the exact same time. DID NO ONE TREAT YOU PROPER BOWLING ETIQUETTE?! There is no doubt all of the families and 80-year-olds also occupying the bowling alley that day didn't complain to the manager. 

The girls are split into two teams, The Pin-Ups and The Spare Roses, playing against each other with the winner getting bonus Arie time in the evening and the losing team getting no Arie time whatsoever. You can imagine that these rules go over poorly, and after the match is over, the losing team has an angry closed-door team meeting in the locker room while Arie sulks looking sad by the lanes. So Arie changes his mind and lets all the women go to the afterparty, which makes everyone happy ... except Krystal, whose brain literally snaps right then and there in a Fort Lauderdale bowling alley.

Her brain breaks so much that supposedly she goes nuts on the bus ride back to their hotel suite, calling Arie a liar and other angry names. I say supposedly because somehow none of this made it to air. The key part of the episode's big drama failed to attend, and boy, does that make for some unspectacular television, as people tell us about the loud, exciting drama none of us get to see. Krystal is already a peculiar type of villain, one whose act is often unconvincing – her sassy snaps and "that was glitter" attitude later in the episode clanged as fake, like the producers were feeding her villain material – and frustrating on an unenjoyable level. Having her biggest moment of cattiness happen without a camera around does her no help. 

What we do see, at least, is her deciding that Arie's "lie" about the bowling game means that she's not attending the rest of the date, instead deciding to lounge in her robe at the hotel room. Honestly, this is the most relatable thing she's done. I would much rather chill at home than be forced to flirt with a person while eight other women do the same. Maybe the hotel room even had "Thor: Ragnarok" on one of the pay channels. That sounds like a great night!

Arie, however, does not approve, so when he sees Krystal has stayed back, he heads over to her room to chat. And he is NOT PLEASED ... though this Arie, so angry Arie just sounds like a mildly annoyed parent. He was one sentence away from saying, "I'm not mad; I'm just disappointed." He did have his first decent zinger of the season, however, swatting away Krystal's cutesy diversion that this was their first fight by retorting, "It might be our last fight." OH SNAP!

The talk works as Krystal eventually gets dressed and comes to join the rest of the date, but after five minutes of the girls asking why and what's her deal and just generally being understandably annoyed, she retreats back to a night of hotel robes and movie rentals. Honestly, Krystal had the better night – even if it means her bags are already packed and she's heading home at the end of the episode. 

Or, at least, it seemed that way ... until ABC then ran a promo midway through for next week that explicitly showed that Krystal was still around for another episode. Oh. OK then. 

So the entire drama of the second half of the episode died before it barely started, leaving the audience wading through a bunch of uninteresting bickering, featuring a villain who only seems half-committed to being villainous and has nothing fun or evil to do or say, while waiting for the inevitable to happen. ABC, did we learn nothing from announcing Rachel Lindsay as the next "Bachelorette" while she was still a contestant on the show?

Outside of the infuriating Krystal bowling fracas, there were also two one-on-one dates that were fine. No date with Arie can really rise above a rating of "fine." His interactions all range on an "eh" scale, ranging from "bleh" and peaking at "meh." First up was Chelsea, who was excited to show Arie that she was more than just a single mom while they sailed around on a yacht failing to reenact "The Wolf of Wall Street" (not a single lobster thrown; damn shame). They do at least imitate the most famous scene from "Titanic" at the bow.

Later, after saying the word "fun" back and forth seven times in a row, they head for dinner at a retro car museum. With all those old cars around, they thankfully do not imitate the SECOND most famous scene from "Titanic," but they do have a mild heart-to-heart about Chelsea's past relationships and being a mother. (Arie insight: "That must've been, like, so tough.") They also walk in on another random concert night, and Chelsea is so excited, she starts analyzing the lyrics. Then again, she also says the singer's name like those prerecorded Madden play-by-play announcers: "A deep bomb by TOM BRADY puts the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS ahead of the TEAM NAME."

The other one-on-one date goes to Tia, who goes for a ride through The Everglades with Arie. There, they find an alligator and a kooky old man who runs a nice little shack in the middle of the swamp where he invents things like deep fried corn on the cob. THIS MAN'S A GENIUS! Also a genius: Tia, who went to college for seven years and now has her doctorate. Meanwhile, Arie points out that a boat engine is just like a car engine, causing Tia to say that she could never see him racing cars. I don't think that was the desired effect of Arie's line. Still, she admits she's starting to fall in love with Arie, and the two make out against a pillar next to a neon sign for bait. 

Tia and Chelsea obviously get roses from their one-on-one dates, while Lauren B. gets the group date rose for busting out some real basic trivia questions like, "What's your favorite color?" and "How do you like your coffee?" Seems more like a week two questionnaire, but whatever works, Last Surviving Lauren. Kendall the taxidermist, meanwhile, sees these questions and ups her small talk game at the cocktail party, asking Arie if he would eat human flesh. Maybe not the wisest question when your shtick is already a love for dead animals – if her crawl space is full of dead bodies, we can't say the signs weren't there – but hey she gets a rose.

Krystal – after inviting all the women over for one-on-one chats that just become exercises in confusion and irritation – also gets a rose. Because obviously she gets a rose, because we all saw the ad you played an hour ago, "The Bachelor." But really, why is she still around? This is why you don't take a first date home to meet your parents and watch home videos, Arie. You get attached to people you shouldn't get attached to. And also you let the producers dictate who stays and who goes, which is clearly what's happening here – despite the fact that the Krystal drama is no longer fun, its juiciest material never happened on screen, and she's just repetitive and frustrating.

I don't get to say this often, but Nick Viall is right:

I say we throw Arie and this entire season back into the woods next week – preferably without a map. 


This show done you dirty, Maquel. After leaving last week due to her grandfather's passing, the photographer returned this week ... only to be unceremoniously sent home again. Hey, but at least she got to bowl in Florida! Marikh and Ashley, people who were on this show, are also gone.


1. Becca K.

I know Bekah M. gets all the attention, but I feel like the show's quietly keeping Becca K. around for the long haul – though let's not talk about the serial killer approved line, "I was his first date, and I plan to be his last."

2. Chelsea

In many respects, Chelsea would be a very mature and appropriate choice for Arie. So it probably won't happen. 

3. Tia

Yes, Tia is more likely a contender for "Bachelor in Paradise" than Arie's heart. But she's definitely making it to the final three at least. And frankly, she deserves better than him anyways. Find a different fella to go froggin' with. 


1. Krystal

Should've been gone this week – for Arie's sake, for entertainment's sake, for humanity's sake.

2. Kendall

Kendall is this season's requisite kooky spice – and we're now reaching the point where kooky spice is sent home. 

3. Jenna

Anyone else think she looks like Cersei from "Game of Thrones"? Be careful if you kick her off next week, Arie ... 

Line of the night

Anytime Bekah M. busted out her Krystal impression. Even the 22-year-old is routinely dunking on you. 

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.