The Bachelorette – Season 8, Episode 9 – Emily arrives in Curaçao with her three remaining suitors. (ABC)
Last night’s episode of The Bachelorette saw Emily Maynard struggle with choosing her final two amidst a sea of questions.
There were questions small, like Sean’s “Do you want to go snorkeling (to break up the awkward silence of my not saying ‘I Love You’)?”; questions big, like Jef’s “do you want to meet my parents (since they’ve finally agreed to acknowledge your existence)?"; exclamatory questions that were Tuesday-specific, like Emily’s to Arie: “I don’t even know what you do on a Tuesday morning?!”; and questions drawn in the sand in moments of forced introspection, as in Emily’s Curacao beach stroll in the opening gambit, when she dutifully scrawled a tortured, high school-nostalgic “Emily + ?”, so that the “?” could be dramatically washed away to fulfill the director’s From Here to Eternity inspired vision.
But the answer to the “?”—as to which bachelor would be dramatically washed away by the episode’s end—was yet to come. First, there was the matter of avoiding sex for three nights in a row in this Fantasy Suite–themed installment (because single moms with a 6-year-old at home don’t have sex people! Er, well, maybe just the one time…).
Sean, aka the man who gives Emily “butterflies in her heart” (which sounds like something she should maybe get checked out) kicks off the overnight island date circuit. And despite Emily’s insistence about his all-around flawlessness, the Bachelorette has a bone to pick with Mr. Perfect, due to the fact that he has yet to utter the words "I love you." Apparently a girl likes to hear this sort of thing—from everyone—just like Christina Aguilera on The Voice.
Conversation is strained as Em does her best to coax the words from him, stopping short of a game of charades (three words, second word rhymes with glove…) but it isn’t until dinner that she gets what she's looking for—when Sean reads a heartfelt letter he penned to Ricki and punctuates it with the much anticipated profession. “That makes me so happy to hear,” she responds, adding a passionate, “Thank you.”
See, was that so hard Sean? We can’t imagine why you’d be so hesitant to say it. Now head back to Em’s room for some chaste cuddling and retire to your own bunk like a gentleman who feels misguidedly confident.
The Bachelorette – Season 8, Episode 9 – Emily shows Sean the door. (ABC)“I walk away knowing that there’s no doubt about it, I’m going to end up marrying that girl,” Sean enthuses after Emily pushes him out the door.
Jef is next, and Emily can’t hide her excitement at being reunited with Mr. Funtime Now. He is, after all, in Em’s words, “the man who could make going to the grocery store an adventure,” which reminds us of this lady we know, Mrs. Doubtfire, who as it happens, is very good with kids.
Turns out Jef is in a Burning Man state of mind: tripping out on mathematical impossibilities like “I’m 100% that I want to be with her, but its not 100% that it’s going to work out,” and the mysterious nature of his relationship with Em.
“The way this thing has come together has been like this crazy painting that I didn’t understand at first because I was just seeing the beginnings of it," he says, "and as I’ve seen it develop and I’ve taken a step back, I see the masterpiece that’s being painted.”
Sounds like someone had an adventure in the impressionist wing!
After spending a day lounging on their own private boat, Emily slips into that geometric patterned sequin All Saints minidress everyone’s so crazy for, and the pair sit down for dinner served with Jef’s own question-fest: questions like "Will your kid like me?" and "why do you think your reality TV relationships haven’t worked so far?"
Sadly, he leaves out what, in our minds, is the most crucial question of all: "Where did you get that honking turquoise ring because it’s freaking amazing?"
The Bachelorette – Season 8, Episode 9 – Emily shows off her ring during dinner with Jef. (ABC)
Emily satisfies Jef by telling him that she imagines him in her kitchen while she’s making breakfast, and it’s time to present him with an invite to the Fantasy Suite, which he turns down by making her sort of think it’s her idea, and reminding her that there will be other fantasy suites—because he lives on a gigantor ranch in Utah, which probably has fantasy suites that have little baby fantasy suites with lots of brother and sister fantasy suites, so no big.
“I think it would be awesome to forgo our individual rooms, but I completely understand and respect that your daughter is going to be watching this… there’s a time and a place, and I plan on spending every night with you in our own little fantasy suite,” Jef says, adding with a Jane Austen flourish, “Right now is a time for us to bridle these passions.”
Sleepover potential squashed once again, it's time to bring on Mr. Unbridled Passion himself, Arie. Emily greets him in a gauzy rainbow-hued cover-up ornamented with seedbeads, and urges her man to run down the dock to meet her, such is her pent-up sexual frustration excitement to see him.
“It’s going to be really hard not to have an overnight date with Arie, because I love kissing him, because it’s that good,” she confesses, stopping short of ordering a pint of ice to chew.
The Bachelorette – Season 8, Episode 9 – Emily and Arie lock lips, again. (ABC)The pair make out on a boat then jump in the ocean for an impromptu swim with dolphins, which judging by Emily's look of horror at up-close contact with the world's friendliest sea creatures, is her own version of Jaws.
All that death-defying activity only adds fuel to Emily's inner fire, and by the time dinner rolls around and she's changed into a Halston-esque white wrap dress with a mega-slit, she decides it's best to forgo the Fantasy Suite question entirely, choosing instead to steer the conversation toward what time Arie wakes up in the mornings, that sort of thing.
"I’m just not going to give him the Fantasy Suite card. At the end of the day, I don’t trust myself, I won’t let myself go there, but good lord he’s hot," she drools.
Finally, it's the moment the Bachelorette had been dreading—time to send one of her suitors home. Donning her Madonna ponytail (for strength!) and her most fashion-forward ensemble to date—a tight fitting tank paired with a dramatic floor-sweeping sequin skirt—Emily faces her hopeful suitors, awarding roses to Arie and Jef, and opting to send Sean home.
The Bachelorette – Season 8, Episode 9 – Emily says goodbye to Sean. (ABC)The aftermath isn't a pretty picture, what with Emily sniffling mournfully and Sean staring, stunned, into the distance until his ride arrives. But such is the price you pay for letting two other guys beat you to the "I Love You" punch.
The real question, of course, is who will Emily pick in the end? Will it be late-sleeper Arie, or the man with the camera-shy parents? Tune in next week, when nothing will be revealed, because it's the "Men Tell-All" episode.