The midway mark of Shirtless Sean's "journey" to finding his wife is, without a doubt, a major turning point in the game. And on Monday night's episode of The Bachelor, the remaining 11 ladies didn't quite help their cases when they got wrapped up in some major drama amongst themselves.
In the center of it all? Tierra, of course. Or, as Catherine so cleverly coined on last week's episode, Tierra-ble Tierra. But before the real drama begins, host Chris Harrison pops by the Malibu mansion to say a few ominous words and tell the girls to pack their bags … because they're going on a trip! Where to, you say?
Bangkok? The Swiss Alps? Vienna? No.
The women travel this week to beautiful Montana, where the fresh air, blue skies and tall trees set a picturesque backdrop for Lindsay's one-on-one date with Sean.
The would-be runaway bride (who looks so much better sober and relaxed in a plaid shirt rather than drunk and sloppy in a poofy wedding gown) lands the first date with Sean, and is so excited by the news that she actually begins to cry after the date card is read aloud. You're not even at high altitudes yet, hon! Save those tears for the sweeping panorama view from atop Glacier National Park.
The pair travel by helicopter -- naturally -- and take in the views during the daytime. At night, they delve a bit deeper, with Lindsay opening up about her experiences as an army brat and how moving around so much as an adolescent affected her desire to settle down.
"You're pretty amazing, you know that?" Sean beams at Lindsay as she goes on and on about her daddy issues. They kiss in front of the fireplace and the substitute teacher gets the rose. But no night is complete without a musical serenade, and since Sean had to enjoy last week's alone after dumping Leslie H., he seems pretty keen on making the most of the night.
Meanwhile, back at the lodge, 10 women wait breathlessly to find out if they’re set to go on the group date or the dreaded two-on-one date for the week.
Selma, Desiree, AshLee, Robyn, Daniella, Catherine, Lesley and Sarah are summoned for the group date, while Tierra and Jackie are designated the two-on-one. Tierra, AshLee notes skeptically, is "as happy as a little bumblebee filled with honey" to hear the announcement when she should be "a bit more sober." Jackie, by contrast, keeps a straight face, but seems pretty confident -- as most of America would be -- that Sean will see right through Tierra’s fakeness and finally give her the boot.
But before Jackie and Tierra get the chance to passive-aggressively duke it out over their Texas heartthrob, the eight girls selected for the group date will get a chance to show off their own competitive spirits.
Chris Harrison takes a cue from Jeff Probst and introduces them to the day's date -- or should he say "challenge"? The eight women will be broken up into two teams of four, Chris explains, and then have to complete four tasks -- racing in a canoe, bucking hay, sawing a 12-inch log and milking a goat. And of course, drinking said milk.
Sounds easy enough. Selma, Desiree, Robyn and Sarah form the red team and AshLee, Lesley, Daniella and Catherine form the blue team. This week, there are no broken jaws to be had, which is not to say that both teams didn't fight hard. They did -- but ultimately it was the red team's determination -- and Desiree's willingness to chug warm goat milk -- that won them the evening with Sean.
"Weak people piss me off, losing pisses me off, and not spending more time with Sean pisses me off," Lesley says matter-of-factly during her confessional. The good news for her and her three blue team members, then, is that Sean recognizes just how pissed off the losing team might be.
And after a moment or two at the night's cocktail party, he decides to break the show's rules once more, rebel that he is, and invite the losing team to enjoy the spoils of the battle with him anyway. What the caring bachelor doesn't count on, however, is how his generous decision will ingratiate the losing team against the winning team. Oops!
At the very least, then, at least the night is Tierra-ble Tierra-free, right? Wrong. The sneaky Las Vegas native pulls another "scary hobo goblin" move on Sean (Chris Harrison's appropriately coined term) and inserts herself into the situation, proactively seeking Sean at the cocktail party to flutter a few eyelashes in his direction in hopes of ensuring her fate at the two-on-one date the next day.
"I worry about Tierra because I know she's having a hard time with how this works," Sean tries to justify his feelings for the on-screen villainess. His need to "protect" her, however, luckily doesn't quite stop him from spending some extra time with the rest of the ladies.
AshLee manages to steal him away for a sweet moment, and Catherine gets some time to giggle into Sean's ear. But poor Desiree, who had to chug warm animal fluids during the group date, hardly gets a word in edgewise before she's interrupted.
Soundbite maven Daniella, meanwhile, gets seriously upset after she sees Catherine and Sean comfortably flirting outside during the party, which in turn means that she gets the rose for the evening for opening up to Sean. The steam rising from Robyn's head could have started a campfire.
The next day, Tierra and Jackie join Sean on their two-on-one date, which is comically lopsided at the outset, with Tierra and "her husband" riding two horses side by side on the Montana trails while Jackie lags behind. But the auburn-haired Florida native eventually catches up, and when she does, she decides to share some of her concerns about Tierra with Sean.
"I would hate for you to fall in love with somebody who's not their true self," she begins cautiously. Sean's demeanor changes. Later, at dinner, a more contemplative Sean pulls Tierra aside, leaving Jackie to pick at her fish by the fireplace awkwardly.
"I get scared because I have the biggest heart," Tierra begins, knowing that she'll need to do damage control to counteract Jackie's accusations. "I want to love and I just want to be loved back."
"Do you care to elaborate?" a sharp-witted Sean shoots back. Turns out, Tierra has had her fair share of heartbreak after standing by her ex for five years while he checked in and out of rehab. Pity card, played.
And it works, much to the dismay of Jackie and later, the other girls in the house. Sean gives the rose for the night to Tierra, and the two snuggle up under the stars to witness a flashy fireworks display.
"He'll find who he's supposed to be with and Tierra is not who he's supposed to be with," she says as her car pulls away from the Montana lodge. "I don't know what he's looking for ...and maybe it's not me, but I know it's not Tierra."
And she's not alone in her sentiments. At the cocktail party the following night, the women are visibly upset that it's devious Tierra who got the rose from the two-on-one date. But no matter how many times poor bachelor Sean presses, none of them are able to come up with a solid answer for why Tierra just isn't the gal for him.
If only he could see what the cameras do! And then he does. Kind of. After Robyn spearheads a confrontation with Tierra-ble Tierra, Sean begins to question the process and whether or not any of the women could potentially be his wife.
"I don't want to be naive, and I don't want to be played," he tells Chris Harrison.
But in trying to nip the drama he senses in the bud, he ends up letting go of a fantastic catch. After a prolonged speech with the gals at the rose ceremony, he opts to let down-to-earth Robyn -- and Tierra's supposed nemesis -- go.
"What was he thinking? He sent me home over Tierra," Robyn says as her car pulls away from the lodge, echoing the thoughts of thousands of Americans watching at home. "He probably thinks I'm starting drama, but I didn't do anything .. if Sean ends up with Tierra, he better think twice about it."