Did you forget this show is still a thing that is happening? Because I sure did.
A few major things have occurred in the Provo’s Most Eligible world since the last time we talked. For one thing, I dug deep into Ellie’s YouTube channel and found a “My Morning Routine” video that was so inspiring I attempted to go for a run at 6 o’dark in the morning like some kind of sociopath.
For another, our good friend Daniel came out on social media. I’ve been a Daniel fan from the very beginning, and I wish him all of the love and support in this next stage of his life. I maybe should have guessed he was gay by the fact he dressed better than any of the other dudes on this show, but that’s neither here nor there.
We have now come to the most heartbreaking and excruciating part of PME: the Daniel-less part where we all have to third-wheel our way through six one-on-one dates in a row. It was an act of pure malice the way the producers edited this episode, but come hell or high water, I will get us through.
First is Bee and Keaton’s wakeboarding date.
Watching Bee and Keaton attempt to wakeboard takes me back to my first and last time water skiing. I was with my friend and her family in a dirty marina that smelled like rotting carp. Rumor has it farmers would occasionally dump cow corpses in this particular body of water, a juicy piece of gossip I would prefer to never have confirmed, since I ingested half the swamp the day I tried skiing on it.
The tips of my skis were rising above the waves and the boat was revving forward when, before I knew what was happening, I was slapping the water face-first with my eyes wide open and being dragged through like one of those salmon being sucked up a tube. I didn’t let go of the rope for what felt like a good 20 to 30 feet because I was an idiot with no business being on water skis. Look closely and you can probably see the swamp/cow carcass water sloshing around behind my eyeballs to this day.
With that image in mind, I watched Bee and Keaton repeatedly fall into the water with a healthy dose of anxiety. I don’t think an episode of this show has gone by where I haven’t had to do the “4-7-8” breathing technique.
After a beautiful ballet of biffs, the two of them are finally able to stay upright.
Bee zips happily through the water while Keaton does the wakeboarding equivalent of the Deacon Shuffle.
Then Keaton starts doing something unexplainable and completely insane to me: he starts climbing up the rope like he’s frickin’ Tarzan of the Apes.
Listen, I know .2 things about wakeboarding, but I feel like a fast way to turn yourself into a human seafood market is to climb up the rope and wakeboard THIS CLOSE TO THE BACK OF A MOVING BOAT.
Who allowed him to do this?! What kind of insurance policy did these people sign when they signed up for this? If he eats it, the rudder will literally eat his face. I cannot stop THINKING about this moment.
Thankfully, for everyone involved, Keaton and Bee make it out alive, though it’s questionable whether or not their relationship will. Bee says that when they first started dating, she and Keaton had a strong connection and she was excited, but then she didn’t see or hear from him for several weeks and says her relationship with Walker grew stronger in that time. I’m vibe checking this conversation for you, and the vibe is NOT GREAT.
Keaton and Bee talk about their relationship--how easy it’s been and how much they’ve appreciated the other person--and Keaton reminds all of us this show will eventually come to an end (thank the heavens). Because of this, Keaton says he’s held back, not wanting to be hurt or to hurt Bee. Bee tells Keaton she “thinks” she can see them dating after the show, and Keaton says he doesn’t see why they shouldn’t.
Shhh. Do you hear that? That’s the sound of the great ship Beaton slowly sinking beneath the alluring golden waves of Walker’s hair.
Speaking of sinking ships, Ellie and Josue’s date is up next, and no, I’m not talking about the canoe.
Ellie and Josue are a complete mystery to me. On the one hand, they seem like a bad match, because neither of them seems to give a crap. On the other hand, they seem like a good match, because neither of them seems to give a crap. Can you have a healthy relationship on the foundation of shared apathy? Idk. Regardless, I have no clue what either of them wants out of this, and it’s confusing they’re still trying.
The two of them go canoeing without incident on a duck pond for their date. Ellie’s dates are kind of adorable to me, because while the other girls are jumping out of planes and whipping through the forest in ATVs, she’s enjoying gentle canoe rides, picnics, and crafts like a 70-year-old woman.
Ellie says she did all of the work on their date while Josue relaxed in the back of the canoe, and there is photographic evidence to prove it.
This feels like a metaphor for the entire female experience.
After canoeing, Josue takes Ellie on a picnic where he presents her with a box of random food items that look like they were scrounged from the dregs of someone’s refrigerator and thrown haphazardly together inside a fancy box. Who allowed those circles of salami to ooze their juices into the fruit like that? We are watching a crime happen.
Ellie tells Josue that she takes dating seriously and doesn’t date for fun, which comes as an earth-rattling shock to me, because a) Ellie is NINETEEN YEARS OLD and b) neither of them seem serious about any of this. It begs the persisting question: has Ellie ever fully realized she is in fact on a dating show?
Ellie tells Josue one of the things she likes about him is how chill he is. Then they share their thoughts on marriage and kids.
Josue tells Ellie he’d like to have four to five kids, because he has two sisters and no brothers, and he was sad about it growing up. May God bless Josue and whomever he marries (after this part of his life is over) with four to five beautiful daughters.
With Ellie and Josue’s date behind us, we move to Lauren and *checks notes* Jake’s sushi date (I had forgotten this man had an actual name, to be honest).
This date is big for Lauren, because she’s planning on opening up more about her divorce. Jake, meanwhile, just wants to know if Lauren is 100% committed to their relationship.
In the most relatable statement he’s ever made, Jake says, “I have to be confident, or else I’m just going to cry.” Welcome to the human race, Jake.
Lauren tells Jake about some of the good things that came from her divorce, such as growing closer to her family. Jake asks her for the specific reason why it happened. Kudos to Lauren for feeling brave enough to talk about it on camera, but it definitely feels like a conversation that should be happening offscreen because Lauren doesn’t seem at ease going into detail. What we do learn is, according to Lauren, she wasn’t being treated well by her ex and she learned some things over time that taught her it wasn’t the best situation to be in. She also drops this heartbreaker: her ex served her divorce papers on Valentine’s Day of last year. That is savage.
In response to all of this, Jake says “um” and sits there staring at the table while Lauren looks like she’s falling apart on the inside wondering what he’s about to say. After pausing for an anxiety-inducing amount of time to collect his thoughts, Jake tells Lauren that she’s better and stronger for having gone through what she did, and that’s the Lauren he’s interested in.
Lauren is relieved. I, too, am relieved, having zero desire to watch this woman’s heart get smashed in the public eye. Then, right at the heels of this heavy conversation, right when I’m expecting the producers to whisk us away on a mediocre hike or pony ride to lighten the mood, Jake drops the “L” word all over that sushi table.
For viewers like me still recovering from the shock that it happened, Jake repeats himself: “I love you a lot.” While I’m gaping and writhing uncomfortably like one of those salmon being sucked up a tube against their will again, Lauren grabs Jake’s whole head and kisses him straight on the lips.
It's too much.
On week three of this show, Jake said he realized he was “falling in love” with Lauren. For those doing the math, it is week six, and they’ve been on approximately two one-on-one dates this entire time. Not to be that salty single woman who doesn’t believe in love, but I’m gonna be that salty single woman who doesn’t believe in love: this is why people say what they say about dating in Provo.
While I’m still processing Jake’s audacity, the scene shifts to Jake and Lauren riding in the back of a truck, where Jake feeds Lauren another line that makes me shudder in horror: "Adventure is out there. Let’s go find it." Y’all realize you don’t have to say your Mutual bios out loud to people, right?
They both flash the unholy hand gesture Jake kept whipping out on their last date, a sad sign Lauren is in deep with this dude and whatever cult he’s part of. R.I.P.
Then suddenly they’re attached to parachutes and drifting through the sky, leaving all of the implications of Jake’s hasty “I love yous” unpacked behind them as the episode comes to a close.
Now feels as good a moment as any to mention that in the time since I started recapping this episode of PME, I binge-watched all twelve of the Disney+ original films and television shows, an episode of Kim Possible and Lizzy McGuire, watched The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the freaking original Muppets movie so as to avoid recapping this single episode. It is not good for woman to watch this many one-on-one dates alone. I am suffering, and I hope you are grateful.
All of my personal gripes aside, we take to the skies again in part two of this episode to watch Bee and Walker go skydiving. Remember when this show was filmed in some dude’s basement? Ah, the good old days.
Bee gives an apt portrayal of what it feels like to leap from a plane and also how I feel trying to make myself enjoy any of this.
Afterward, we meet Bee’s skydiving instructor, who, like everyone else on this show, is half in love with her.
“I gotta say, I haven’t seen anybody dry heave quite as much as Bee did without puking. It was amazing,” he says.
While Bee goes into down-to-the-decimal level detail about how many times (fourteen, to be exact) she about lost her guts, Walker is losing his mind.
He’s barely out of the harness when he starts heel-clicking in the grass and shouting, “Let’s go! We just skydove!”
I hate to say it, I really do, but there is no way Walker won’t be the last man standing on Bee’s team at the end of this show. I don’t know how it happened, but it did, right under our Keaton-loving noses.
Bee and Walker go to a fancy sit-down dinner after their skydiving adventure and (ideally) after Bee has stopped dry heaving. Once they sit down, Bee asks Walker for more detail about his dating history.
“Did you come back one of those missionaries that had a date twice a day, every day--except for on Sundays--for weeks and then ghost a lot of girls and play the field?” Bee asked.
“You’re so funny,” Walker responds dismissively before confirming he did in fact go on a date every single day for a month after he got back from his mission. This is why I am concerned about Walker.
Lest we think Walker enjoyed himself too much while being a player, he tells Bee his dating life got “really mundane” and boring and never went beyond a surface level because the girls he wanted to have a deeper connection with always broke things off.
Bee asks Walker if all of those girls were eighteen, and Walker says it was the eighteen year-olds who wanted to rush into dating. An image of Ellie telling Josue she doesn’t date for fun is repeatedly flashing across my retinas right now.
Walker says he’d be ready to continue their relationship beyond the show, and in a private interview held in the restaurant’s fanciest closet, Bee says that after five weeks, Walker has proven to her that he can be trusted. Walker’s secret girlfriend is going to emerge from the wallpaper and interrupt this thing at any moment. I can feel it in my bones.
True to form, 70-year-old Ellie slows things down to school zone speed by taking Scott to the Gem Studio to make rings for their date.
Scott is bouncing on his toes with excitement over the idea of using the blow torch. Meanwhile, it just occurred to Ellie that making rings might actually be an extreme sport.
Ellie confesses she’s been surprised by how much she likes Scott. That makes two of us, as I didn’t realize Ellie had strong feelings for anything except picnic baskets and crafts.
On their date, Ellie broaches a subject I had completely forgotten about since this show started: the fact that Scott was almost engaged once.
Scott tells her that he had his first serious relationship last year, and it was leading to marriage, but ultimately, he and his girlfriend decided they weren’t the best fit for each other. When Scott asks Ellie how she feels about that, an experience that was personally difficult for him, Ellie ignores just about everything he says to ask if he’s afraid of commitment.
At the end of the date, while Scott tenderly shares with the cameras that he's developed real feelings for Ellie, Ellie gushes about her true love: crafts. I tell you, this girl is more committed to indoor recreational activities than she is to any man.
Finally--FINALLY--we’ve reached the final date between Lauren and Austin. I could kiss the ground, I am so done.
Lauren and Austin are going four wheeling, but before the date even begins, Austin makes sure we all know he has zero chill about Lauren’s driving. He says he’s scared to let her drive, and he later asks if she’s sure she’s ready. Lauren says she’s driven a bigger ATV than this one before and is a “way good driver,” but Austin continues to sweat bullets about her being behind the wheel. Either Austin knows something we do not, or nobody has told him yet that it is the year 2019 and women can literally do anything.
Unsurprisingly, we discover that Austin only recently learned how to drive one of these things himself. He then whips out of the parking lot like a complete maniac. Continue to go off about Lauren’s driving, Austin. WE’RE LISTENING.
When Lauren gets behind the wheel, she gives Austin the sweet revenge he deserves by Danica Patricking all over that trail. At one point the camera falls off the dash, and we get an up close view of Austin’s sheer terror.
Then Lauren drives through a massive puddle and completely drenches him. Twice. It’s glorious and deserved.
After their ATV ride, Lauren and Austin go out for crepes to talk about serious stuff. Austin, at this point, doesn’t even know about Lauren’s divorce.
Watching Lauren navigate this conversation is pretty sobering, because you can tell she’s had people in her life who have not responded well when she’s talked about her divorce. She eases into it slowly and tells Austin it doesn’t feel like she was married for 2 1/2 years. She also tells him it’s been a dealbreaker for some of the guys she’s dated, which has made it hard to talk about.
The way Austin responds is incredibly kind. He doesn’t ask Lauren why she was divorced. He doesn’t tell the cameras “there’s two sides to every story” like Jake does earlier in this episode. He simply asks Lauren how she’s been doing since her divorce and says he’s proud of her for opening up to him about it.
“Seeing you and the way that you have come out of it is such a positive thing, and there’d be no reason for me to judge you because of that or to think any differently,” Austin says, begging me to forgive him for being low-key sexist about Lauren’s driving earlier.
Lauren ends the episode by saying she appreciates the way Austin handled the conversation, she likes how mature he is and that he’s goal-oriented.
With that, the one-on-one dates have come to a close. All we have left is the finale. Bee, against all reason, will probably choose Walker, Ellie will definitely choose Scott, and although Lauren could go either way, my guess is she’ll pick Jake and Jake will promptly yeet himself into the sun.
Emotionally and mentally destroyed, a husk of the woman I was before, I now hand the next recap off to Meg. Get us through this alive, Meg.
(Design: Josh Fowlke) (Editor: Rachel Swan)