A somber Clare, Renee, and Chelsie file back into the hotel suite and plop down on the couch dejectedly. "There's a rose, and whoever got it got to stay [on the date]," Chelsie explains to Nikki. "So. It is what it is. Awkward, I guess?" Everyone sits in silence for a few seconds, and eventually Clare admits that she's disappointed. "I guess Andi needed that reassurance," she reasons glumly. Nikki snaps, "That's so stupid!" and then huffs back upstairs, leaving all the other women confused. Or confused and annoyed in Clare's case. "I feel like Nikki always gets away with just being a bitch," she gripes. "I'm not okay with that." So Clare follows Nikki upstairs and demands to know what crawled up her butt and died. (In so many words.) The nurse says she didn't want to listen to the women "talking s---" about Andi, which of course gets Clare all riled up – but when she tries to clarify who, exactly, was "talking s---," Nikki stops her with some patronizing upspeak: "You interrupted? You interrupted?"
After that, things escalate quickly, and pretty soon the "ladies" are sniping back and forth about who's cutting who off, and who's laughing at who, and who doesn't like who, and who can excuse herself from whose room. Eventually it devolves into a kind of contractual dispute about land rights -- "Do you sleep in here?" "Did you pay for it?" "Do you sleep in here?" "Did you pay for it?" -- and then Clare and Nikki finally retreat after taking one last parting shot each. (Clare: "You're a piece of work, Nikki." Nikki: "And you're f---ing crazy.") "Ladies," please! Can we not behave like animals? If you ask Nikki, the answer is no. "Clare is like a dog. She peed on him first," she sneers. "The fact is, she claimed some territory that might not be hers."
The digs continue at the cocktail party, though at least they have the decency to do it behind each other's backs. "If Juan Pablo goes to Clare's hometown, he has a giant crazy family to meet," sniffs Nikki. "She didn't get crazy, like, all on her own." Clare gets a confessional jab in too -- "There's quality, quality women here who aren't brats" -- and then the camera zooms in to record the two women sitting in icy silence for a full 53 seconds until the other "ladies" drift back in. (According to Chris' blog, the icy silence lasted a lot longer.) Chris, thank God you and your Butter Knife of Bad News are here! Let's do this.
The final three hometown dates go to... Nikki, Clare, and Renee. Sorry Chelsie, but the fun stops here. A weepy Juan Pablo takes her by the hand and leads her away, as Clare mutters "Such a mistake" under her breath. Chelsie keeps it positive until the end, telling the Bachelor, "It was nice to date a good guy for once!" (Have a glass of bubbly, honey -- you've earned it.) And then it's all over but the balcony cry.
I don't know about you, rose lovers, but I have a lot of questions. Who do you think would have gone home if Sharleen hadn't left? (My money's on Clare.) Are we seriously not getting a two-on-one date this season? And what the hell went down in the fantasy suite between Andi and Juan Pabs? Post your thoughts now! Be sure to check out Chris Harrison's blog over on PopWatch, too. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to look for a cheap ticket to somewhere warm.