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'The Bachelor': Jake enjoys the Fantasy Suites while Ali wallows

February 15, 2010 | 11:51 pm
118249_D_0668_pre Now that we're down to three women, it's time for the infamous "Bachelor" Fantasy Suite episode.  Jake has invited Vienna, Gia, and Tenley down to beautiful St. Lucia to sweep them off their feet and into his rose-petal laden bed.  There's an certain creep factor to the entire Fantasy Suite practice.  As if it weren't weird enough that Jake is falling for three women at once, the women get their Fantasy Suite key along with a letter from Chris Harrison... because there's nothing more romantic than a reminder that there's a reality show host calling the shots.

Before we get into the dates, we have to check in with Ali, who left Jake last week to return to her job at Facebook in San Francisco.  Couldn't the producers have at least put some effort into making this vignette look realistic? They show Ali lying in bed at a hotel, wearing a hotel-issue bathrobe, staring longingly at some promotional photos of Jake that are arranged on the nightstand.  Please. They could have at least shot the contrived scenes at an actual apartment. I can practically hear the director telling her to try to look regretful and pensive.

Back in St. Lucia, Jake takes advantage of the island flavor on his date with Gia.  It's nice to see them get away from the touristy, luxe comfort of the resort and mix it up with the locals.  Gia's fun side really came out while they drank coconut milk directly from the source and danced to some live music.   Jake mentioned that it was nice to see her more down-to-earth side, since she's usually in thousand-dollar shoes, but after meeting her family last week, he should know that she's not exactly an Upper East Side princess. I'd guess that Gia's actually tougher than he thinks. 

That night, at dinner, Jake and Gia had an intimate conversation in which they kept telling each other how "deep" they are.  Did I miss something? Neither of them revealed anything particularly profound on that conversation.  As the night wound down, Jake (er... or Chris) invited Gia to the Fantasy Suite, where they get cozy in the bathtub before shooing the cameras out of the room.

For the next date, Jake took Tenley on a rain forest hike with a picnic lunch.  Watching Tenley and Jake flirt is almost painfully boring. She's sweet, but her Paris Hilton baby voice is grating, and her wide-eyed innocence grows tiresome quickly.  They remind me of the quarterback and the head cheerleader in the most trite high school story ever told. Even when they're making out, there doesn't seem to be much sexual chemistry.

Additionally, it rubs me the wrong way when Tenley tells Jake, "Thank you for giving me this opportunity, even with my past." Her husband cheated on her; he's the one with the sordid past, not Tenley.  She acts as though, because she's already been married and wronged, she's somehow tainted goods. I think Tenley needs to develop her own self-confidence before she throws herself into a serious relationship.

It was sweet of Jake to work some after-dinner dancing into the date, because he knows Tenley is passionate about dance.  Unfortunately, the romance of the moment was ruined because she couldn't stop giggling and chattering like an adolescent on her first date.  I have to admit, I was surprised when Tenley accepted the invitation to the Fantasy Suite. Of course, she didn't do it without reminding Jake of how weighty the decision was, considering that he'd only be the second man to spend the night with her.

Finally, Jake took Vienna out on her date.  I know that the general consensus among Showtracker readers is that Vienna is a bad choice, but I really like watching her time with Jake.  He seems more engaged and enamored by her.  With the other women he occasionally sounds like he's reading off a script, or saying exactly what he thinks they need to hear, but with Vienna, Jake always seems genuine.  They're both energetic and flirtatious on this pirate ship date, and Jake seems more like a person and less like a Ken Doll.

That night, Jake does something he hasn't done with any of the other women: he asks Vienna to describe her dream engagement ring.  She wants a thin platinum band, with a princess cut diamond, and maybe some excess "bling," too. When she asks Jake if he can see himself marrying her, he says "Yes," very confidently. It's not until later that he reminds her that he's also falling for two other women - it makes me wonder if the producers slipped him a note to dial back a bit. After all, they wouldn't want to ruin the surprise.

Back in the fantasy suite, Jake and Vienna barely glanced at their dessert before she slipped into something more comfortable and the cameras got the boot.  "She makes my heart glow," Jake says. Aww.

Up to that point, the episode had been devoid of drama... and who better to crank up the theatrics than Ali?  She calls Jake while sitting in a corner on the floor, and at first, she doesn't even speak, she just makes sad noises in her throat and pouts.  After watching his dates with Gia, Tenley and Vienna, I wasn't surprised at all when he told Ali not to come to St. Lucia.  She sure did give it her best shot, though--she offered to fly out just long enough for him to see her, and then he could send her home. Still, Jake wasn't willing to sacrifice one of the other girls in order to have Ali back. I wouldn't be surprised if Ali returns as next season's Bachelorette.

I have to say, I wasn't expecting him to send Gia home at the rose ceremony; I thought the plane ticket had Tenley's name on it.  Gia took it very well, though, and for the first time this season, I genuinely felt sorry for the eliminated bachelorette.  At least now she can take the ugly necklace he gave her off of her wrist.

Take it to the comments, Showtrackers!  Were you surprised by Jake's decision? Did you think Ali deserved another shot? Let me know below, and don't forget to check back in next week to discuss the Reunion Special!

--Carina MacKenzie (follow me on Twitter @cadlymack)

Photo Credit : ABC

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