Another week, another exotic location for Juan Pablo and his would-be brides. Anyone else think some of these ladies are just in it for the travel perks? Episode six of The Bachelor's 18th season takes place in Taupo, New Zealand, which is apparently famous for its gorgeous volcanic landscape. (Prepare yourselves for lots of metaphors about things "erupting.") Click here for more key moments from Monday night's episode.
Everyone is super psyched about the new locale — everyone, that is, except Clare, who's still a little miffed about Juan Pablo telling her that their late-night romp in the ocean was a mistake. "New Zealand is definitely a romantic place," she says in a confessional. "But for some reason, there's kind of that little dark cloud over it. Last week in Vietnam, everything kind of blew up in my face. I don't know where we stand now."
"The pressure that I'm feeling is just building and building and building, and I really feel like things might just erupt in New Zealand," she adds, noting that a one-on-one date with Juan Pablo would go a long way to ease her mind. "I want to feel secure again. Getting the first date in New Zealand is crucial."
Unfortunately for Clare, the first date goes to Andi, the only remaining bachelorette to not have a one-on-one date with Juan Pablo. Clare's not thrilled — and neither is Cassandra, who has a tearful conversation with fellow single mom Renee that night about how hard it is to find a man who loves both her and her son. Emotions are running high all over the place, and though Andi is excited about finally having some alone time with the Bachelor, she also knows what's at stake. "We're here in New Zealand, in the land of volcanoes. And we all feel the pressure," she says. "We all feel like emotions are bubbling."
The next day, Andi and Juan Pablo strip down to their bathing suits and wade through cold, waist-deep river water to find someplace called "the Squeeze." After inching through increasingly narrow crevices and over several slippery rocks, they find themselves in a secluded hot springs pool, where they waste no time before making out under a waterfall. "I feel like the trust between Juan Pablo and I is growing stronger the further and further we go into this kind of scary unknown territory," Andi says in a voiceover. "It's kind of like the Squeeze. And I never know what's around that next corner."
Dinner that night takes place in front of a huge, steaming geyser, which quite literally rains all over Juan Pablo and Andi's good time. The meal is a little hard to enjoy soaking wet, so the budding lovebirds decide just to watch the geyser erupt from afar while talking about their hopes and dreams for the future. "I just want that great love in my life," Andi says. "Like, if I had nothing else, if I didn't have a job, if I didn't have nice things in life, I would be okay just having love…I can't wait to have a family." Congratulations, Andi — those are the magic words! You get the date rose.
The next day, Cassandra's 22nd birthday, Kat, Renee, Sharleen, Cassandra, Nikki, and Chelsie join Juan Pablo for a picnic in the hills of Rotorua. The picnic is just the prologue, though — the main event is an extreme sport called Ogo, which involves the group donning their bathing suits and rolling down a hill in a giant, wet hamster ball. It looks like a lot of fun, especially for Nikki, who brags later that she kissed Juan Pablo in the Ogo…twice!
Once everyone is dry and dressed again, they head to Hobbiton — home of J.R.R. Tolkien's Frodo and Bilbo! — for the cocktail party. Renee is the first to get some one-on-one time, during which she tells him about her heart-to-heart with Cassandra the night before. "To be experiencing all this with you, it's like, 'Oh my gosh, okay, this is real. And there are men out there — hello! — that don't necessarily look at me and Cassandra as having baggage,'" she says. "You look at us like we're a package…It gives us a lot of hope."
Nikki's time is next, and she uses it to tell Juan Pablo that she's "totally falling" for him. He loves how open she is about her feelings — but he also loves Sharleen's "hard-to-get" routine. Within 10 seconds of sitting down with the coy opera singer, he goes in for a kiss, prompting her to joke, "You cut right to the chase, don't you?" Mid-makeout, she stops to tell him she's having doubts about their connection again. "I sort of feel like this process is just a little inorganic for me," she admits. "I kind of question where I'm at a lot, and where you're at, and where we're at, versus where everyone else is at."
"Just live this, enjoy this, and make the best out of this," he tells her, going back in for another kiss. "Don't question."
Birthday girl Cassandra pulls Juan Pablo aside next, and tells him that coming here has made her realize she has enough love for both her son, Trey, and a husband. It's actually kind of a sweet moment — but it's short-lived, since Juan Pablo decides to give the date rose to Sharleen. (Even Renee wanted Cassandra to get the rose; "If it's not me, I want it to be her," she says.)
After Sharleen accepts the rose (by barking out an awkward "Yes, sir!"), Juan Pablo takes Cassandra outside for another chat. Nikki optimistically speculates that he's just wishing her a happy birthday, but it's clear from his hemming and hawing that he's just gearing up to send her home. "I've been thinking a lot. It's been so hard for me, because you're gorgeous, you're funny, you're so nice," he begins. "Honestly, Cassandra, I wish we were in the same chapter. I thought a lot about it, and I don't want you to wait two more days to see your son." Translation? The Jeep will take you home now.
The next day, Clare gets ready for her second one-on-one date — and a confrontation with Juan Pablo about the events of the previous week. "There's a difference between being honest and hurting someone's feelings," she explains. "And it hurt my feelings, what he had to say…It makes me want to crawl back in my little turtle shell."
Juan Pablo's "apology" on their date doesn't really do much to make her feel better about the situation, at least initially; it's mostly just him talking more about how he doesn't want his daughter, Camila, seeing any PDA. (He says he's never even held hands with a girlfriend in front of her.) When he tells her he was "pissed" at himself for making her cry, though, she melts enough to make out with him. "Was that our first fight?" she coos.
At dinner that night, Clare tells Juan Pablo that she admires the way he handled himself. "I think you took it like a man and, like, came back and made it right," she gushes. "And we, like, worked through it. Little things like that just show that you care." They then proceed to change into sweats for an ultra-casual night in, capped off by a slow-dance to the song they danced to on their first date. "It's one of those moments where, if you see it happening, you're like, 'I want what they have. I want that feeling,'" she says. "And tonight, I had that feeling."
The next day, Juan Pablo sits down with Chris Harrison for a little pre-cocktail party heart-to-heart about the remaining seven women. "I'm thinking of being down on one knee proposing," he tells Harrison. "To who, that's the question."
That is indeed the question. Andi, Sharleen, and Clare are definitely still in the running, and Chelsie is pretty sure that Nikki and Renee are getting roses, too — which leaves just her and Kat to fight over the final flower. With that in mind, she uses her one-on-one time with Juan Pablo at the cocktail party to tell him how much she wants a family, and how much potential she sees for them to have one together. He, in turn, assures her she's there "for a reason." And unless that reason is to get her heart broken, that means Kat is heading home.
Kat makes one last-ditch effort to bond with Juan Pablo by telling him a story about her first memory — having to crawl into her baby sister's crib to comfort her because their dad was passed out drunk on the bed — but in the end, roses go to Nikki, Renee, and Chelsie. Kat manages to smile when Juan Pablo says goodbye, but she breaks down in tears in the limo. And she's not the only one crying.
Sharleen is feeling pretty emotional, too, because she's not sure she should still be around when other girls who actually want to be there (like Kat and Cassandra) are getting sent home. "Instead of feeling more certain, I'm sort of feeling more doubtful each week," she confesses. "I don't want to hurt Juan Pablo. I'm going to give it another week and see if there's something that I'm missing. If I absolutely cannot see myself with Juan Pablo, I think it's best if I leave."
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