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'The Bachelor': The Road Rules elimination round

January 26, 2010 |  7:40 am
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I have been getting tired of all the scenic helicopter rides, and it looks like Jake has too! When Monday night's "The Bachelor" kicked off, Chris Harrison surprised the bachelorettes with two giant RV buses.  Time to hit the highway. Get ready for "Road Rules: Wine Country."

Once they reach their destination, it's time for Jake's date card, and this time, it goes to Gia.  They frolic around in the vineyard for a while -- Jake spends a lot of time carrying Gia around like a giant toddler. Perhaps her stiletto heels were not the best idea?  I think it's cute that after Gia confesses that her first kiss was a spin-the-bottle disaster, she and Jake hurry through their first bottle of wine and then gave it a whirl.  I don't know how suspenseful a two-person game of spin the bottle can possibly be, but Gia and Jake really seem to be connecting.  I'm not surprised when he untangles himself from their little cocoon under the stars to give her the episode's first rose.

The next day, Corrie, Vienna, Ashleigh, Jessie, Tenley and Ali (whom I am tempted to start referring to as Regina George) are asked to join Jake for a group date.  This leaves Ella and Kathryn back at the RV, fretting over their upcoming 2-on-1 date, where one of them will get a rose and the other will get sent home immediately.

Jake presents the rest of the women with some huge dune buggies at Pismo Beach.  Of course, they can't all ride shotgun, so Ali locks her arms around his waist early on to claim her spot.  "I'm going to marry him," Vienna says with confidence. "So have your thirty minutes on a dune buggy."  Try as I might, I can't help but like Vienna.  She's unpolished and badly in need of a makeover (I'm pretty sure that shade of blond doesn't occur in nature), but she hasn't let being the subject of mass scorn slow her down.

After the dune buggies get sand in everyone's "every crevice," they all head to the Madonna Inn to get cleaned up.  Jake asks each of them to take a few minutes with him one on one. Ashleigh is first. Has her wine gone to her head? They're sitting on the couch and she's rubbing herself all over him like a cat in heat, while he looks like he'd like the earth to open up and swallow him whole.  Sometimes I have difficulty feeling like Jake is genuine -- but then there are moments like these when he's completely unable to hide his distaste.  He might as well have "I am not your jungle gym, spider monkey!" written all over his face.  This is absolutely mortifying to watch.

Once he untangles himself from Ashleigh, Jake asks Vienna for some solo time. I think he needs to cleanse himself with a girl he actually likes after being molested. Unfortunately, Vienna's not having it: She curtly says that she wants the last moments with him.  OK, then. It's starting to become a little more obvious why she's rubbing the other women the wrong way.

When Vienna's turn finally does roll around, Jake admits to the camera that he's been "pumping the brakes" with her.  It looks like having everyone on the planet warn him about her evil, wily ways is starting to give him pause.

The next night arrives: the dreaded two-on-one date duel to the death.  Jake only has one rose, and whoever doesn't receive that rose gets sent packing immediately.  Kathryn and Ella join him in a little cabin for a quiet dinner.  Yikes ... talk about awkward.  Kathryn has made absolutely zero impression on me so far, and the only thing I know about Ella is that she's got a cute kid. When Jake, looking miserable as ever, asks Ella to join him on the porch, it is obvious from the get-go that she is going home.  But what is less obvious is that when Jake goes back in to sit with Kathryn and she starts consoling him, he isn't done with his kiss-offs.  His heart isn't in that one, either.

Across the grounds, the other girls watch in horror as both women's bags are retrieved.  They're not so much sad about Kathryn and Ella leaving as they are furious that, yes, Vienna is still here.  Meanwhile, Jake throws the unused rose into the fire melodramatically.

Finally, it's time for the pre-rose-ceremony cocktail party.  Jake takes a quiet moment outside with Jessie, who would've looked nice if her dress had been an inch longer and if she'd used one less pint of bright green eyeshadow.  I just do not understand why these women continue to spend their one-on-one dates trashing Vienna.  Do they think it's attractive to Jake to see how desperately they want to tear her down? Vienna has obviously established herself as the biggest threat in the house. If they were all soooo convinced that she's not the one for Jake, wouldn't they want her to stick around? Less competition for them in the end!118339_0970_pre

At the rose ceremony, Jake gives a rose to Ali and one to Corrie.  While Ashleigh, Vienna and Jessie wait anxiously, he twirls the third rose like a baton for a while and then asks to talk to Chris. Production assistants scurry about frantically. This is not in the script!  Stuttering and stumbling, Jake asks Chris if he can throw yet another rose away.  There are two women standing up there whom he's not going to marry, period, and he doesn't want to keep them hanging around

It makes for good TV, so Chris gives the OK.  The final rose goes to Vienna (shocker!) and everyone is stunned.  Ali seems particularly distraught, pacing around, tearing her hair out over his decision.

If he keeps sending extra women home in every episode, this season of "The Bachelor" is either going to be over really quickly, or we're going to get a couple of episodes where nobody leaves the mansion.  Jake is certainly throwing a wrench into the game.  The best thing about it is these aren't "twists" cooked up by production, they're just based on Jake being picky and having the courage of his convictions. I'll give him this much: It makes for great TV.

Take it to the comments, Showtrackers!  Were you shocked by Jake's decisions tonight? Are you as mad as Ali is that Vienna seems unsinkable? Who are your favorite and least favorite bachelorettes?  Let's discuss it below, and don't forget to come back next week for more drama!

-- Carina MacKenzie (chat with me on Twitter @cadlymack)

Photos: Top, from the dune buggy, Ali watches Jake adjust his helmet. Bottom, Ashleigh, Ali, Tenley, Corrie, and Vienna wait uncomfortably. Credit: ABC

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