What is forged in ice cannot but melt, and so it is with The Bachelor Winter Games, a strange and sometimes upsetting two-week experiment that always feels like it’s going to end with broken hearts and broken bones. As we contemplate the future of this beloved franchise, we wonder how we even got to the point of watching 20 or 20,000 lovesick reality stars fail at winter sports and love for a week-and-a-half. Don’t they know that love and skiing are best left to the actual Olympics?
The final challenge is announced, and thankfully I don’t have to worry about this becoming one of those very bloody Swedish murder mysteries, because all they have to do is ice-dance.
Rehearsals go well enough for most of the couples, but Jordan and Bibiana clash on the ice, and it doesn’t get any better as they head back to the house. Jordan starts to push Bibi on what they’ll do after they leave the house, and Bibi panics. Suddenly, she’s struck by how fast this is moving. You’re just now realizing how quickly this is happening? Jordan tries to be understanding and give Bibi space, but she can’t get out of her head and decides to leave the house separately from him.
Before the final skate, each of the couples gets a one-on-one date with the option for a night in the Fantasy Suite if they feel like they want to move to the next level. First, Lesley and Dean address her double mastectomy on their date. We already know that Lesley is the baddest, but is Dean mature enough to treat this lady the way she needs to be treated at this point? He comes through with a solid line about how she’s the bravest woman he knows, so DING, it’s Fantasy Suite time for them.
It’ll totally be Fantasy Suite time for all of these crazy kids, right? Turns out, Europeans aren’t quite as sexually free as we might think, because Stassi can’t bring herself to do the Fantasy Suite. Those Belarusian-Swedes don’t do it like the filthy Americans do! Luke, ever a sweetheart, tells her he understands and still wants to see where it can go with them. Similarly, the Oceanians, Courtney and Lily are head over heels for each other, with Courtney telling Lily that he’s falling for her. Lily won’t spend the night with him, though. Dang, y’all! Way to make your new American friends feel like trash!
Before decisions about the Fantasy Suite, Ashley and Kevin talk about her virginity and Kevin continues to be the most caring and understanding Canadian gentleman aboot it (okay, last one). Ashley is 100 percent down for the Fantasy Suite, but the next morning she says she wants to keep what happened between her and Kevin because too many people have talked about her virginity. Huh. I mean, I don’t need to know what went down, but… oh, never mind. You have much more important things to worry about. As Kevin goes out onto the ice later that day, he takes an awkward spill and hurts his knee. Who cares about love and virginity when they might lose Winter Games?!?
Lesley and Dean are up first and it’s just as awkward and forced as their kissing contest performance. Is it just me or is there nothing particularly fun about watching A-for-effort ice-dancing? Do special guest judges Nancy Kerrigan, Tai Babilonia, and Randy Gardner actually enjoy judging this? Courtney and Lily manage to be less terrible and slightly more charming while Luke and Stassi skate slower than I ever thought was possible. Finally, Kevin and Ashley do better at kissing than skating. While Kevin is clearly the strongest skater, Ashley’s knees are locked tight the whole time. Or maybe she did so much better in Nancy Kerrigan’s esteemed opinion, because Ashley and Kevin win the whole thing. Wow. Truly anything can happen on The Bachelor Winter Games.
Of course, no Bachelor franchise, no matter how short and kind of painful, can end without a surprise engagement on a reunion episode. First, Chris Harrison lets us know that we might find out what happened in the Fantasy Suite between Ashley and Kevin, because this whole thing hasn’t really been gross enough. We get to relive the heartbreaks between Jordan and Bibiana, the latter of whom says that he was on Chapter 10 of their book while she was reading the title. Gurl, he was just asking if y’all were still going to be dating two days later. How is that Chapter 10?
Luckily, it did work out for some folks. Courtney and Lily took an RV trip across this beautiful country of ours and decided to live in Los Angeles together. Dean and Lesley are going strong and he gets down on one knee to give her… the key to his house. Cute.
Shockingly, not only did it not work out between Luke and Stassi, but Luke turned out to be a total jerk! We get to watch awkwardly as Stassi says that she never heard from Luke after the cameras were off and he didn’t even get her phone number. Sometimes we have to be reminded on this franchise that love is truly dead.
Or is it?!? All is well with Ashley and Kevin, and they have both decided to not talk about their sex lives on television anymore. Take that, Chris Harrison! They’re certainly the success story of these bizarre Winter Games but SHOCKER, it turns out someone else is going to have an even happier ending! Clare may be kind of the worst, but Benoit couldn’t get her off his mind when she broke his heart, so they stayed in contact and now it’s on for real. Like, so for real that this Franco-Canadian sweetheart gets down on one knee and proposes after, like, a month of knowing her. From Bachelor to Paradise to Paradise again to a failed jacuzzi date to engagement, Clare is truly an inspiration for all of us who want to find love on television.
(photos via ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua + ABC/Paul Hebert)