"I invited Ian over to a mansion in Old San Juan," Meredith tells us as we're treated to shots of Ian walking up to Meredith's door. Oh, stop implying all of this autonomy, for crying out loud. You didn't invite him to anything. "I'd just seen him, but I missed him already." A short-term memory like that and this new couple is going to be doomed to having their first date...fifty times! Cue "Hey Ya" and a vomiting walrus and Rob Schneider getting poked with a pointy stick. The end.
A gaudy live-action pink flamingo in a Meredith costume pulls open a giant wooden door behind which is usually a hunchback mispronouncing "Dracooooooooolya." But behind this door is the answer to why Meredith isn't often seen in bright colors or feathers or ice-skating costumes from primetime ice-skating specials enjoyed by our grandmothers and slightly gay uncles. What the hell is she wearing? Ian asks the same question, but in a much more please-sleep-with-me kind of way, noting through poorly concealed horror, "Wow, look at you." Dude, she must be feeling self-conscious enough already. Don't rub it in that you get to wear your own drab street clothes and she's product-placing for a lawn furniture retailer on Daytona Beach.
"Being with Meredith here in San Juan is the best of the best," Ian says, a real stickler for the dialect of the words "Sahn" and "Hwon," the latter of which blows me backwards off my chair like a strong gust among otherwise light tropical breezes. He and Meredith retreat to an outdoor deck, and as they sit down to dinner, Ian speaks of their "strong connection." Can we have a thing where if someone busts out with one of the Bachelor/ette buzzwords, I get to skip recapping the whole scene?
Dang. That was good, albeit somewhat short-lived. Anyway.
Ian: "Well, the only thing that worries me is that one conversation we had early on -- your first day on this journey -- what were your expectations at the end?" That didn't make any sense, didn't start off as a question, and used the word "journey." But Meredith's one sip ahead of him, so her sweet, beautiful drunk talk takes the form of, "I just didn't expect, y'know, you," because they do have chemistry and Ian is the winner. Ian reminds us in a confessional that he's totally falling for Meredith, but wants to make sure the moment is right. Right, like The Hand Of Non-Commitment on which he's going to be slipping the ring? "It's not my way to do things publicly," Ian tells Meredith, just to make sure that we're set up for the reasons that the end of this season is romantic, even when Ian is declared the winner and declines to pin the pin on because he was too shy. "I want to have my private life," he declares on television. "It's gonna be private." They gaze for a maddeningly long time and the audience is charmed. Except for one person who, somewhere in Vail, mumbles a put-out "Gimme the remote, fire-boy; that blond boy said a word I didn't understand." But all of the things that make Meredith so uncompelling also make her so damn real, and so she tells us, "You have to have love first before you have the ring. I don't want the ring just because. Both would be nice but, y'know, what's better than love?" Maybe nothing, but not having to watch Ian and Meredith trade a Caribbean Sea's worth of swapped spit comes in a real close second.