Hello rose lovers! It's fantasy suite time already -- can you believe how far we've come in our "journey"? Before we begin with tonight's adventures, just a quick editor's note about last week's hometown date episode. I wrote my recap based on a rough cut that ABC sent me on DVD, and clearly the order of the dates changed before airtime. Sorry for any confusion, and I'm also sorry that the explanation does not involve me getting blackout drunk while playing a drinking game based on every time Ashley chewed her lips or fiddled with her bangs, as some of you suggested. Now, on to the "exotic" dates!
Splash! Ice-blue waves crash on the shore as Ashley arrives in Fiji on a pontoon plane. Fiji, as it turns out, is the latest in a long line of "perfect" places "to fall in love" and/or "get engaged" and find a "happy ending." Ashley reclines atop a pile of fluffy pillows on her hotel bed and narrates a recycled-clip flashback montage about the final three suitors. Ben is "goofy and silly and fun and playful" but also "sincere and honest"; Ben's doppelganger Constantine "has a really good head on his shoulders" and is "really smart," and their relationship has "so much depth to it" (see: their bonding session over a large plate of salad); and then there's JP, who "looked like a model" when he got out of the limo, according to Ashley. "Sometimes you don't need 20 dates with somebody to know how you feel about them," says the Bachelorette of Jape. (Ok -- but how about, like, 5?) And now, at long last, she gets to spend "private time with the guys alone," a prospect that's so monumental that she needs to curl up on the couch and journal about it. (Side note: Don't you hate it when people use "journal" as a verb, like I just did there? It's one of my top five pet peeves.)
But before Ashley and her boys can take it to The Next Level (honestly, someone needs to open a nightclub with that name -- "Hey baby, wanna go to The Next Level?"), first the Bachelorette is going to have to endure a visit from the Ghost of Rose Ceremonies Past. It seems Ryan Sunshine has made the trek to Fiji, because he feels there are "things unsaid and undiscovered" between the two of them, and he needs to "see it through." The flip-flop clad bachelor trudges sloooowly down a dirt road in the rain toward Ashley's Tatadra (dream house), looking like he's on his way to a lethal injection. Ashley greets him with about as much enthusiasm -- "Whyyy?" she moans. "What is going on??" -- but somehow manages to keep a smile on her face. Ryan launches right into his sales pitch, telling the Bachelorette that after she booted him, he flew back home and "got right back into the swing of things" at work... but he just couldn't approach solar panels and tankless water heaters with as much gusto as before. "I kept thinking, like, I didn't feel like we really had a chance to think things through," he tells her. So he picked up the phone and called Chris (Key: "called Chris" = "accepted a collect call from producers asking him to add some drama to an otherwise uneventful exotic dates episode"), and hopped the next pontoon plane to Fiji. "If you thought about me at all... then I want some more time with you so bad."
NEXT: Ben and Ashley hit the high seas