Hi! It’s Arianna again, and before we dive into episode four of Provo’s Most Eligible, I have a dark confession to make: I am really into this show.
On week one, I expected nothing but fake drama and shame, all of which the show delivered. By the end of week two, an unnerving suspicion the show’s creators were actually doing something started to bud in the back of my mind. Part way through episode three, I was gut-punched by something I never expected to have during this show: feelings. Then in a moment of debilitating weakness after episode three, I found myself curled up in a blanket on my couch like a sad, lonely burrito, staring up at the bumps on my ceiling, and scaring myself spitless by thinking the worst thought my neurons have ever transmitted: Maybe I should apply to be on this show.
I think I need to call my bishop. And a therapist.
Luckily, if anything could kill the temptation to be on PME, it would be episode four. I don’t know if I’ve ever had as bad and visceral a reaction to a show’s opening as I had to this one.
The short list of things I fear most in this world includes great white sharks, mass shootings, and karaoke--in no particular order. If Pennywise the Clown showed up on my doorstep, he would take the form of me singing Celine Dion at a place with “I LOVE KARAOKE” flashing in neon lights on the wall. Literally everything about this shot screams that bad things are about to happen.
That’s what we call “‘foreshadowing.”
At the start of the episode, we get a shot of Johnny the Dentist slumming with the peasantry.
Remington explains the men will be competing for the next team date by singing a song of their choice in front of a panel of judges, including Elena from last season and the Awkward Avoidance Viking from Studio C, who just lets the next twenty minutes happen instead of doing his one job.
Keaton didn’t get the memo this show is PG and no one on God’s green Earth, not even Macklemore himself, should ever sing Macklemore’s “And We Danced” out loud.
This is the moment Elena’s innocence was stolen from her.
Scott assaults a song from La La Land until it’s almost unrecognizable, and I start wishing Ellie had left him at a Greyhound station west of Santa Fe.
We get a refreshing breather with Mikey, who sings a honky tonk country song that ends up being one of approximately three passable performances on this episode. Honky tonk country songs are also on the list of things I fear most in this world, so you can imagine the state of things when I’m quietly begging the producers to never let Mikey stop.
Caleb also does a fairly good job singing “A Whole New World” and Lauren reacts like the mall Santa just promised her a pony. My ears did, too, to be fair.
Scott performs a budget version of the La La Land cast dancing on top of cars in L.A., and nobody looks remotely into it except Daniel.
I gotta give Scott some credit, because the more erratic his movements become, the better he seems to sing.
The guy who probably has #SponserMeNike listed in every Instagram caption sings Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” to brag again about the fact he planted one on Lauren. We get it, buddy. You touched lips.
Scott goes bolting out of the room at one point, which feels like the appropriate reaction to half of this episode.
Then Ben “sings” “God Bless the U.S.A.” and every non-American in the room immediately has a quarter life crisis wondering what the h*ll they’re doing in this country.
Elena’s like, “Take me back to England. Plz.”
Daniel is counting down the seconds until he can wake up from this nightmare and rightly judging every single one of us.
My roommate, who was sitting on the other side of the room, stopped doing her homework to ask, “Can they not hear themselves?” I think I heard the chink of several flags in my neighborhood getting lowered to half-staff and an eagle dropping dead on the sidewalk. A dog howled in the next yard over.
The real show here is the one playing out across Remington’s face, because he makes every single expression I’ve ever made while watching this show.
Remington is all of us.
This entire date fits well within Daniel’s wheelhouse. He puts his whole soul into “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and Bee, who joins him on stage, describes their duet as a transcendent experience, which I think is the best thing anyone’s had to say about any of these performances.
Finally, the judges announce the winning team and, with it, the return of my peace of mind.
Studio C guy Jason does the part where you’re supposed to compliment the contestants on their excellent work, except he leaves no survivors: “I always say if you don’t have the best voice, make them laugh, and you all made the girls laugh today.”
Ellie might be above participating in illegal activities, but she’s not above accepting a rigged vote, because her team somehow wins in spite of Ben disrespecting the military, this entire country, and my ears.
I deeply feel every single emotion crossing Daniel’s face right now.
Elena says she wishes she would have applied for this season because it’s been “a glow up and a half” compared to her season. Somewhere in Provo Colin Ross is weeping into his English and Science 1010 homework.
Things get spicy when the camera crew chases down Bee and Walker, who’ve gone from sharing a short kiss one week to sneaking out of karaoke to make out in broad daylight in the middle of Provo the next.
Then something terrible happens: the karaoke doesn’t end. In fact, the hottest drama of the episode and perhaps the season thus far begins.
Twenty one-year old Fantasy Sweets Austin, who’s had the hots for Lauren this whole time despite ending up on Ellie and then Bee’s team, decides he’s going to take a risk to win Lauren’s heart: he’s going to sing a song from Frozen, a move that’s wilted many a blossoming romance before this one.
Austin tells the crowd he’s dedicating the song to the person who will be singing it with him, then he surprises everyone except Lauren (who he’s talked to beforehand) by pulling her onstage with him instead of Bee.
Bee’s like, “What in the fresh heck is this?”
Lauren and Austin do a decent duet of “Love is an Open Door” and then in a completely Hans move, Austin changes the lyrics at the end of the song to say, “Can I ask you something crazy? Can I be on your team?”
Lauren doesn’t wait to read the room and squeals, “Yes!”
What follows is a tension thicker than Austin’s Harry Potter glasses and the lovesick fog around his brain, as well as several swear punctuated interviews with Bee’s other team members.
I try hard to never spend a minute more than I have to in Provo for my own sanity, but this seems to me to be the best place in town for some hot tea to be spilled, because every single room they interview these guys in looks like a Law & Order investigation at a seedy New York club.
Backstage, Lauren laments that she and Austin didn’t even get pity applause, not even validating the real offense of the night, which is that l’ll never get this chunk of my life back.
We learn Lauren and Austin went out on a date the night before, which, I dunno, seems illegal. Can you date off camera during one of these shows? I want my money back.
Lauren apparently told Bee about their date, and Austin told Bee he was interested in Lauren, but none of them thought to mention they’d be low key roasting her on stage during karaoke to publicly announce their developing relationship.
Austin will probably have a temporary “no ragrets” tattoo on his chest in the next episode, that’s how little he seems to care.
Bee, who has now had Austin, Josue, and the man formerly nicknamed Fanny-pack unexpectedly and publicly switch teams on her, is clearly hurt. “I feel like every week on this show is not what I signed up for,” she says between gum chews.
Me neither, Bee, but here we are.
“I feel like I have been embarrassed and disrespected by so many different people so many different times,” she adds. “I don’t really want to do it anymore.”
Keaton comes to Bee’s defense, and in an instant, I repent of every negative thing I’ve ever said about him.
“I’m frustrated because Bee’s gotten the hardest path,” Keaton says. “I think she’s the most down-to-earth, she’s the most natural, she’s the funnest girl here, and that’s frustrating because it seems like she’s gotten the most disrespect.”
Daniel, too, comes in clutch.
“I love Austin to death, but knowing how much Bee’s gone through in the show right now, I felt so terrible for her,” Daniel says.
If Bee doesn’t immediately date and eventually marry one of these men after this show then I will. You’ve been warned, Bee.
With karaoke blissfully behind us, episode four moves on to Team Ellie’s group date and the only thing Ben has loved more than himself this entire show: chocolate making.
“I think we won because I sang ‘God Bless the U.S.A.,'” Ben says, “America first.” So blissfully unaware that Provo, Utah, and this entire nation has, in fact, lost.
An energetic older man welcomes Ellie’s team to his chocolate factory and tells them that if they love chocolate, this is going to be “like heaven.” If this date ends with Ben stuck inside a tube and Oompa Loompas rolling all of the flagrant gum chewers out like beach balls, I won’t be mad.
The men must make Ellie their best chocolate creations, and she’ll pick the baker who will advance to Pastry Week. I think that’s how this goes.
Josue spends 80% of the date making sweet music with his chocolate like Ellie isn’t even there.
Mikey appears to be genuinely twitterpated with her. I’m not sure at this point if Ellie has even fully seen Mikey’s face because she’s so skilled at avoiding eye contact. Mikey could literally be Hannibal Lecter and Ellie wouldn’t know.
While Josue shows his chocolate how he rolls his Rs and Scott and Mikey vie for Star Baker, Ben’s at the end of the table performing open heart surgery on what looks like a cupcake.
The group date turns into a zoo when Josue feeds Ellie a piece of chocolate and Ben, thirsty for some drama, poorly pretends to be mad he didn’t get to feed Ellie chocolate first.
Ben slaps Josue with a face full of chocolate, and Josue smashes Ben’s chocolate in retaliation. Josue tells Ben his chocolates look like crap, then Ben repeatedly punches Josue’s chocolate with his fist. I’m very concerned about why the Provo’s Most Eligible crew allowed second graders to be on a dating show. There are several laws against this, I’m pretty sure.
Time runs out, and the men line up like a bunch of frat guys working at a soup kitchen to present their chocolates. Ben has clearly put blood, tears, and a lot of sweat into his.
Mikey presents Ellie with a chocolate that has the letter “E” on it, which he slyly notes can also double as an “M.” He tells Ellie, “I made these for you because I love you,” and you can almost see a shimmer in the air as Ellie’s ghost evacuates her body.
Mikey immediately backpedals and says he got the line from Julian Smith’s hot Kool-aid video. Suuuure, Mikey. We see you.
Scott makes Ellie some artisan truffles filled with mangoes, cranberries, and pineapple. He’s really trying to make up for murdering that La La Land song (which, by the way, I had to listen to on repeat all weekend to purge my brain cells of whatever it was that came out of his mouth during the karaoke date).
And then there’s Ben.
Ben has made what looks like piles of green and brown mush to wow Ellie, and each pile of green and brown mush represents a different person on the show who he promptly compliments or insults.
“This right here, this represents Scotty because he’s a cocky, stuck up, shriveled raisin. And these are all full of raisins,” Ben says, holding up a chocolate. Bold move to purposely make your girl terrible chocolates, Ben.
He literally has to cheer Ellie on as she struggles to eat one of them. This man is trying really hard to not be on this show next week.
Do we know for sure she is not eating a hockey puck here?
Mikey and Ellie do this, and I feel the ghost evacuate my body.
Then it’s time for the winner to be announced. I don’t know what the heck Ben put in that chocolate, but it’s apparently enough for Ellie to abandon all reason and pick him as the winner.
He spends the next few minutes throwing shade on Lauren for being surrounded by guys all the time and “loving the attention.” I don’t think a single word he says to Ellie in their conversation isn’t sarcastic. You might recall that on day one, Ben didn’t give a crap about Ellie or care to remember her name. At this point, she just needs to throw the whole man out. Please. Spare us.
The world is gifted a new unsolved mystery when Ellie says Ben is one of her favorite guys on the show and it’s impossible to understand why. Then the most insane line to ever escape any of these peoples’ lips--yes, this includes Bee’s baby comments on episode one--comes out of Ellie’s mouth.
“He seems like a good, genuine guy.”
Can someone please come and pick up Ellie before she gets herself hurt?
Following this chocolate making debacle, the women pick a guy from their team they’d like to get to know more during the next one-on-one. Bee picks Walker (who I’m honestly shocked made it this far), Ellie picks Mikey, and Lauren picks wannabe Nike Instagram ambassador Jake.
The date? Dancing lessons.
Bee and Walker are clearly miles ahead of the other couples when it comes to physical touch, so this whole dance lesson makes me feel like I’m watching an awkward blind group date set up by newlyweds who just want their friends to be “as happy as we are.”
Meanwhile, Bee and Walker look like they’re constantly on the brink of eating each others’ faces.
Bee has 100% rubbed Walker’s back during Sacrament Meeting already.
Turtleneck Niel from episode one makes a reappearance to show the women what they’re missing.
Probably the most exciting moment from this date happens during an interview with Nike Boy, when we get a glimpse of a girl in the background with what looks like a bag of trash and/or food in her hands.
I have a proposal for the PME crew: bag girl and trash boy. Season three.
Mikey says he’s pretty much avoided dancing his whole life until this moment. First of all, how. Second, what a way to make your debut.
Unpaid Nike Ambassador Jake makes sure we all know how good at dancing he is.
“Catch me at Fuego every Friday night,” he says while flashing signs I don’t think he is legally allowed to flash. I know very little about sign language, but something about this feels unethical, unholy, and bad.
He does it again after finding out Lauren plays Pokémon Go and makes sure the camera gets a good shot of his bougie CTR rings.
“I play Pokémon Go, too,” he says. “Let’s do this thing.”
You’re not hardcore unless you live hardcore, I guess.
The true triumph of this date is when Ellie finally looks Mikey in the eyes. This is the face of a girl who just realized she is in fact dating a man who has a head.
Bee and Walker are literally just posing for their engagement photos on this dance floor right now, and I’m mad about it because SHE’S SUPPOSED TO MARRY DANIEL OR KEATON. HOW HAS THIS GONE SO WRONG?
My heart begrudgingly grows half a size for Walker when he says Bee had a rough night at the ER and he’s trying to help her not think about it.
Jake, for unknown reasons, is wearing what looks like tattoo sleeves. It hit me like a bucket of rocks in this moment that he’s probably going to propose to Lauren with that pink Nike ring if this works out. Heaven help us.
As we slide into part two of episode four, we get gratuitous footage of the food spread. Several people mention the food. Lots of people react excitedly to the food. The creators clearly want to make sure we know that yes, they are in fact feeding these girls, and they’re feeding them better than the rest of us poor peons are fed.
Bee proves once again this is not Provo’s Most Eligible, it is The Bee Movie.
Then Daniel has to go and wear THIS. SUIT. Why is there any other man on this show, honestly.
Three men will be eliminated this week, and everybody seems to be on edge and also miffed at Austin for trying to jump ship to Lauren’s already packed team of four.
Then Ben asks Ellie if he can talk to her. The hairs on my arm stand on end.
We hear some lovely fluff about how nice of a person he thought Lauren was, but how glad he was to switch to Ellie’s team and how fun it’s been to get to know her. This man is a pile of self-contradiction wrapped in skin.
“As I’ve gotten to know the other girls, I think you’re, like, the most coolest,” he tells Ellie. The English major in me went pale and died inside. The me who had a bowl of soggy Life Cereal for dinner heard Ben compare Ellie to a Little Caesars pizza.
Ben lays on the compliments, a first for him--"I’m glad you picked me to be on your team” and “I had so much fun” and “I appreciate you cheering us on at Crossfit”--and at this point, I’m thinking, “This chump is really going to flatter his way into the next round, isn’t he.”
Little did I know.
Ben confesses to Ellie that about three or four weeks prior to the show, he was seriously dating a girl who wasn’t ready to commit to the relationship. Partway through filming the show, she reached out to him wanting to pick things up where they left off. Ben tells Ellie he feels like he should pursue that relationship.
Ellie, in true Ellie form, pats Ben on the back and tells him he’s got to do what he’s got to do.
Ben then tells Ellie that his girlfriend is there at the country club right now waiting to pick him up. He adds in an interview with the crew that THEY ARE PLANNING ON GETTING ENGAGED SOON.
I have been skeptical of every single move this man has made since this show began, so at this point I’m thinking, “Nah, man. You’re just inventing a fake girlfriend to stir up some drama. You’re going to hop into a car with blacked out windows and everyone is going to act like you were whisked away by another woman when your roommate’s in the driver’s seat taking you home so you can play XBox in your bedroom alone.” There’s no way this guy’s for real.
Ben makes sure to give Ellie some unsolicited advice before he leaves about who, besides himself, of course, he thinks she’d be the best fit for. Someone put me out of my misery.
Then, in front of the entire PME cast, Ben slips on his prescription sunglasses, runs toward a woman in a red dress waiting outside a car in the circle drive, and proceeds to smooch her like death is coming to steal them away to their graves and she’s the last woman alive.
Several circuit boards in my brain fried beyond repair at this point. I could literally not compute what was happening and why it was happening. My limbic system was an effing circus.
The other men are completely shook, including Josue, who keeps shouting, “I knew it!” like a member of Mystery Inc. pulling the mask off a bad guy to reveal the sketchy neighborhood hermit everyone suspected was up to no good all along.
Ben reaches into his girlfriend’s car to crank up the song playing on the radio, gives the guys a peace out that looks more like he’s flipping them the bird from this angle (which would honestly be a Ben move), and then zooms out of the drive like he’s Fast & Furious 14.
Listen. Having recovered my comprehension at this point, I’m still not convinced this man is engaged to this woman. I am 100% convinced she’s a random bystander they snatched from the sidewalk. It takes my co-recapper Meg tweeting that Ben is married and me looking at his Instagram account to realize this was an actual thing that actually happened.
HE WAS MARRIED IN AUGUST.
Did the PME creators intentionally seek out a guy who was on the verge of marriage to make things spicy? Did Ben behave like a total poser because everyone involved knew he was just a placeholder to make some tea in case the cast couldn’t do it on their own? New theory: Ben was a paid actor. A bad one.
The reactions to Ben’s stunt are mixed.
Walker turns into a complete fangirl, calling Ben “a legend.” Devin has no idea what’s going on. Keaton laughs and says, “That was really rude,” then adds that it was mostly weird. Walker continues to fangirl. Run, Bee, I whisper into the wind and blow in the general direction of Provo.
“I don’t know what he was doing around the whole season,” adds Keaton, voicing the thought I’ve had every second of every episode.
Ellie’s other teammates are mostly relieved they won’t be going home this week.
Everyone flocks to Ellie to grieve with her during this difficult time, and Ellie literally could not care less if Ben lives or dies. This probably makes me a bad person, but I’ve never stanned Ellie more.
Ellie shouts, “Have a nice life!” in the general direction Ben drove his girlfriend’s car. She confesses she was cussing out Remington when Ben first pulled her aside because she thought Remington sent him out to kiss her. I have now decided to adopt Ellie.
Now that Ben has sung his swan song, the women can get down to business: dating men who actually seem to give a crap.
Walker and Bee have a serious chat about where this is all going, and Walker tells her every relationship he’s had in Provo fails. Good, now do this one, my Keaton and Daniel loving soul screams.
Bee opens her heart to Walker about how her feelings are genuine, and Walker responds with, “Hey, thanks so much for telling me” like an automated voicemail before grabbing Bee’s face and kissing her like he’s checking off an item on a to-do list.
Lauren and Nike have apparently been having romantic tête-à-têtes behind the scenes to talk about her divorce and his dating history and what they want in the future and whether she wants the Nike swoop on her engagement ring to be black or white.
Scott steals Ellie away to the golf course and they thankfully do not kiss. I could live a happy life if I never see these two kiss again.
Johnny the Dentist, who is head over heels for Lauren, tells her he’s got a fun activity planned, and Lauren immediately makes the face pictured below. It sends foreboding shivers coursing through my body.
Johnny tells Lauren that after the first night on the show, he made a video of himself telling her his first impression of her. I’m very, very scared for Johnny.
Why does this look like a married couple Skyping their missionary son on Mother’s Day?
The Ghost of Johnny’s Past tells Lauren the friendship bracelet she gave him on episode one really meant a lot to him, that he’s looking for a best friend in a wife, and he wants to be that for her.
It’s at this moment, while watching Lauren’s cheekbones, that I know Johnny is dead in the water. She goes from smiling to pursing her lips to almost wincing. She lets out half-hearted “aws” that don’t quite reach her eyes. Her responses are clipped. She has The Look.
I know The Look, because I have given The Look. It’s the look of an impending doomed relationship and the death knell DTR preceding it. At this point, I’m screaming at my computer like a 1920s mob boss, “Get outta there, Johnny! It’s lookin’ bad, Johnny!” Johnny doesn’t listen.
He literally has an escape vehicle waiting for him in the background, and he doesn’t take it. This is not going to end well for Johnny.
As the great ship Johnny and Lauren starts sinking into the sea, Bee and Daniel decide they want to slip away from the convent for a breath of fresh Austrian air.
And grass clippings.
Daniel looks as though he might kiss Bee then immediately busts out laughing. Daniel, you fool, what are you doing?
Austin prepares a lovely easel and canvas for Lauren and himself. He tells her to paint whatever she feels like painting and instead of doing that, she comes back with what looks like a photoshopped picture of Turtleneck Guy she printed on shiny paper in a back office somewhere and called good. This wasn’t what the assignment asked for, Lauren.
Also: are we sure Lauren doesn’t have romantic feelings for Turtleneck Guy?
Keaton and Bee talk about the ups and downs of dating on a television show. Keaton tells her he’s jealous of Walker sometimes, and Bee tells him she thinks he’s cute.
Just when the chemistry starts to thicken, they end their conversation, stand up, and start walking away. Meanwhile, I’ve transformed into Sabastian the crab in my living room, sitting on the edge of my seat, drumming the table, and hissing for Keaton to just kiss the girl.
It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen, but then, in the middle of a happy montage of Caleb and Lauren singing another duet and Mikey taking Ellie on a picnic, Keaton stops Bee, cups her face, and kisses her.
And this ain’t the kiss of an amateur, friends. This man has done this before.
For a long, blissful moment, I stop feeling dead inside. I feel the delicate flap of a butterfly in my stomach. Then a wild Austin appears.
Austin tells Bee he didn’t want to hurt her with his stunt at karaoke and says “I’m really sorry if that hurt you...I genuinely hope that you understand that and feel that.”
That is a loud “if,” and Bee responds to it like a brick wall.
Meanwhile, Devin, desperate to stay on Lauren’s team, writes her what looks like a five page, SINGLE SPACED persuasive essay to convince her to keep him.
Lauren approaches Bee soon after Austin does and apologizes for humiliating her during karaoke. Bee responds significantly less like a brick wall.
Then it’s time for the elimination ceremony. Instead of calling the guys forward one at a time, the girls call out the names of the three guys they want on their team. Then their team is excused to go downstairs and party, make out, feed each other strawberries and grapes, or whatever it is they do down there.
Unsurprisingly, Bee calls Daniel, Walker, and Keaton forward.
Keaton is tickled pink to be here, and in full disclosure, I felt my heart puddle in my chest.
Ellie calls Scott, Josue, and Mikey to the front. No surprises there either.
Then it’s Lauren’s turn. Lauren is the only girl who gets to break some hearts tonight, as her team has five guys on it and two need to go home.
Lauren picks Jake first and then Austin.
Jake looks like he’s about to Nike swoop Austin in the jaw.
With three guys remaining, Lauren goes with her heart and her ears and chooses the only man on her team who could really carry a tune: Caleb. Johnny the Dentist and Devin the Epistle Writer are sent home.
I am unsurprised but devastated for Johnny. Lauren apparently told him before the ceremony that he was going to go home this week, which was kind, but what a blow that must have been. I think this man had the names of their future children saved on a memo on his phone.
Even though he’s been mad obsessed with this girl during the whole show, Johnny says he’s just happy to leave at a point when they can still maintain a friendship. Johnny is too good for any of us.
Letter writer Devin has nothing but good things to say about Lauren. He tells her to “call me” if she’s ever feeling sad or wants a cookie. Devin is hanging on until the very last thread of hope has broken.
After the flower ceremony ends, Johnny asks Lauren if he can talk to her privately. Prolonged agony is the absolute last thing in the entire world I want to see happen right now, and I’m mentally begging him to leave.
Johnny tells Lauren he thinks they’re on the same page, he wants her to find love with the right guy, even if it’s not him, and he wants to be friends with her always. Lauren tells him she’ll keep their friendship bracelet forever.
I need to go lie down.
Meg will take it from here in her recap of episode five next week.
(Design: Josh Fowlke) (Editor: Rachel Swan)