Finally! Sean Lowe's clear-headed decision-making on this week's episode of The Bachelor may have just redeemed him for all the bruises and near-hypothermia he's imposed upon the women thus far this season.
In a move that likely prompted plenty of wine-glass clinking from fans of the show at home, the easygoing Dallas native finally came to his senses and sent Tierra-ble Tierra packing -- and sniffling, no less. Ah, karma.
But before the bachelor pulls the plug on his relationship with the surly singleton, he and the remaining six women -- Tierra, Lindsay, AshLee, Desiree, Catherine and Lesley -- ditch chilly Canada for sunny St. Croix, where beautiful beaches and blue skies await them. It's the perfect setting for romance, and a considerably happier Sean is confident, once more, that his "wife is here among these women."
And the ladies are feeling the love too. As AshLee so aptly sums up, "I want to look into his eyes, I want to be out in the sun on the beach, I want to be in my swimsuit and I want him to be in his."
The only gal who still manages to have a dark cloud hanging over her head is Tierra, who pouts that she just doesn't see the point in being "friends with girls who like my boyfriend." The idea bothers her so much, in fact, that she opts to sleep on a pull-out cot in the living room rather than bunk up with the other women.
"I want to roll away her rollaway bed into the ocean," Lesley quips at one point.
The first one-on-one date of the week goes to AshLee, who looks positively thrilled to spend more time with her "future husband."
"Every time I'm with Sean, I get carried away, if not physically then emotionally," she sighs wistfully. Tierra, naturally, manages to ruin the moment by dissing the Nashville native about her age behind her back.
"When I'm 32, I want to be married and have kids and have everything set," the Las Vegas native scoffs. "Why hasn't she found that? She's 32!"
For those keeping track at home, however, AshLee and her bikini body don't look a day over 25. The personal organizer flaunts her figure as she and Sean frolick on the beach and get to know each other better. And everything seems to be going smoothly until Sean brings up the "T" word while the two are lying on the sand making googly eyes at each other.
"So…has the drama subsided?" he ventures to ask. "Or are people just not telling me?"
AshLee pauses briefly before giving Sean her honest assessment of the 24-year-old troublemaker.
"It's awkward. It's weird," she says carefully. "Who you get is a completely different girl than who the house gets." Sean listens, nods, and actually seems to absorb the information this time, not as quick to dismiss her words as idle gossip the way he did with Kacie B.
That night, the twosome have a romantic oceanside dinner, and it's time for AshLee to make a few confessions of her own. Turns out the demure, poised bachelorette has a few skeletons in her closet -- including being married (and divorced) at 17.
Sean tries on his best poker face as she explains that she dated her ex in freshman year, got hitched junior year, and then broke up their senior year. And despite her teenage bride tendencies, Sean hardly seems deterred.
"I think you're perfect the way you are, and I certainly don't think you're broken because you're not," he gathers his thoughts as a million women at home swoon. To show her appreciation, AshLee decides to declare her love for him in a pretty gutsy way, by her standards: By standing on her chair and yelling "I love Sean!" at the top of her lungs.
"I love this man and I will never stop telling him," she says dramatically (perhaps a bit ominously?).
AshLee's poignant date over, Sean braces himself for his next one-on-one the next day -- with Tierra-ble Tierra herself. Perhaps taking a cue from his one-on-one with Selma, wherein he took the glam gal out of her element by going rock climbing, he takes picky Tierra to just walk around the city and take in the culture.
"I'm hot and gross and thirsty," she mutters during her confessional. But, on the upside, she does love shopping, and is positively radiant when Sean purchases her one trinket after another. The pair even stumble upon a parade in the middle of the day (what are the chances, producers?!) and dance and smooch in the streets.
Later that night, the two have a heart-to-heart of sorts, and Sean broaches the topic of house drama. Tierra acknowledges it, but blames the other gals for ganging up on her, but the gears in her head are already turning. Who is sabotaging her? She shakes away the thoughts long enough to admit to Sean that she's falling in love with him and he smiles, perhaps a little grimly. Foreshadowing!
Next, Sean takes a break from the heartfelt one-on-one's to take Lesley, Lindsay and Desiree on a group date that starts -- literally -- at the crack of dawn. He surprises the trio at their hotel before they have makeup on or, in Lindsay's case, shaved her armpits.
"I was pleasantly surprised!" the prankster bachelor grins. But there is a method to Sean's madness, and he drives the women to Point Udall, "as far east you can possibly go in the United States," to be the first people to see the sunrise. Swoon, ladies, swoon. The foursome then hop back in the jeep and take a road trip around the island until they finally reach a beach on the other side of the island, where they splash around in the water as they wait for the sunset.
And, in typical Sean fashion, he takes the opportunity to have some sandy chats with each of his special ladies. His connection to Lindsay is palpable (in spite of her wedding gown prank from the first night), and Desiree tears up about how much she loves her family.
But it's usually giggly Catherine who seems to have made a breakthrough, finally feeling comfortable enough to let down her guard with Sean, telling him about her estranged dad. Still, it's Lindsay who gets the rose -- and a guaranteed hometown date -- for "never wavering a bit" in Sean's mind.
The bachelor's next one-on-one date, however, is still a little shaky at best. He picks Lesley up for their second one-on-one date with no plans other than wandering around the jungle and picking fruit.
"I just light up when I see him," the Arkansas beauty says, practically glowing. And while the pair really do have a fun, flirty vibe to their relationship, Sean is worried that it just isn’t enough to make him want to move on in the relationship. Add to that the fact that the nervous bachelorette can't even look him in the eye or say "I love you," and Sean seems to be on the fence about the political consultant.
Confused, Sean calls upon his sister Shay to offer him some words of wisdom. And the woman -- clearly a longtime of the Bachelor franchise -- gives him some straight talk, speaking in sound bites as she tells him that she and their parents' "biggest fear is that you get hurt." Good lookin' out, sis!
Shay shakes a bit of sense into him, insisting that any woman that can't get along with the other women is trouble. Sean then gets an idea -- to go get Tierra and introduce her to Shay and see how it all shakes out.
But the feisty Las Vegas bachelorette is already having a pretty intense conversation of her own, going toe-to-toe with AshLee as the two women argue over what’s been happening in the house. Tierra repeatedly plays the age card, while AshLee insists that Tierra is just a rude little girl.
"I hope that when I'm 32 years old I don't have to sit around 20 year olds gossiping," Tierra snipes at AshLee, claiming that the other women in the house feel the same. Five seconds later, however, she denies having ever said that, despite the many cameras and mics that have already picked up her nasty comments.
It's around this point that clueless Sean pops by the house and finds Tierra in tears. The man can only take so much, and after a few moments pacing aimlessly outside the house, his mind is made up: Tierra must go.
And go she does, though she manages to get one last pot shot in at him as she departs unceremoniously in a minivan.
"I think the world of you," he attempts.
"Obviously not enough," she scoffs.
With all of that drama behind him, Sean is (not really) looking forward to the rose ceremony that night. He confesses to the women that he wants no cocktail party and instead jumps straight into the anxiety-inducing ceremony.
He calls Desiree, Catherine and AshLee -- sending his slow-moving love with Lesley packing.
"Rejection hurts, you know? Heartbreak hurts," a teary Lesley sniffles as she rides away into the night. "Rejection doesn't feel good, it sucks. … I hoped it would be Sean, but unfortunately it's not what i think, it's what he thinks."