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Still better football than what the city of Cleveland is used to.

"The Bachelor" recap: The best thing to ever come out of Cleveland

Sometimes you watch an episode of television that's simply perfect, that even twist and turn is a work of mad genius, that each moment tops the next in terms of hilarity or drama. And on Monday night, perfection thy name was "The Bachelor," providing a deliciously entertaining episode and easily the two most enjoyable hours anyone's ever spent in Cleveland, Ohio.

That's right: Cue the theme song from "The Drew Carey Show," because we're going to The Land, everybody! Harrison pops in to talk to the ladies and announced they're going on a whirlwind adventure across the globe, with their first stop dropping them ... in Cleveland. And he might as well have told these women they were going to Siberia or the lobby to literal hell, because they were NOT THRILLED. You see these faces?

These are the faces of women who did not go onto the show to discover the underrated charms of the 10th largest city in the Midwest. They heard they were going to experience a city of art and culture, and they all started having visions of Paris or Rome or LITERALLY ANYWHERE THAT'S NOT CLEVELAND, OHIO. That's OK; they're going to love checking out all of its empty streets as well as the beaches on the shore of Lake Erie – perfect for enjoying during both of Cleveland's annual sunny days.

Obviously the Cleveland Tourism Department paid good money for this realty TV show stop, so "The Bachelor" does its best to find the most exciting parts of the city, which include a bridge, some bars and a big work of public art that just says "Cleveland" in the Cavs' font, an NBA team whose only highlight this season has been its best player trying to drill one of his own teammates with a basketball because he hates being there so much. At one point, a contestant talks about how she's excited to "feel the warmth of the city," and I hate to break this to you, but it's Cleveland; all the warmth left with LeBron James. This is the Midwest, where heat is a theoretical concept and our flag might as well be an image of a 55 degree overcast day. (I hate because I love, Cleveland!)

In conclusion, this episode was pretty much this video but made with a straight face.

Victoria F. – aka the contestant who had a crying fit at the fashion show, then rocked the fashion show because she's literally a model, then cried again because she lost – gets the first date, with the clue that their love will "soar to new heights." Just one problem: Victoria F. is afraid of heights. Well, that's OK; at least your potential boyfriend's ENTIRE SHTICK ISN'T FLYING AIRPLANES. So they fly around the city and admire all of its building before touching down at the famed Cedar Point amusement park, which they have all to themselves. It's like the end of "National Lampoon's Vacation" minus the hostage-taking.

So what do they do, given free reign over the entire park? They go on the slingshot ride that you can find at literally any state fair across the country. You're in the roller coaster capital of the world; there's a ride there that goes more than 400 feet into the sky at 120 miles per hour ... AND YOU GO ON THE FRIGGIN' SCRAMBLER?! "Bachelor" producers, I expected better of you. Then again, maybe they couldn't go on any of the fun rides because it was drizzling and 50 degrees outside, so much so that Peter and Victoria F. have to go inside a Johnny Rockets to have a romantic heart-to-heart.

There's one more part to their exciting date, however – one that Peter's very excited about because he knows that Victoria F. loves country music. MORE THAN YOU KNOW, PETEY PROPELLERS! Indeed, they arrive at Surprise Country Concert #27 on the season so far – but this is no standard show, because the star performer is Chase Rice, aka Victoria's ex-boyfriend. "BACHELOR" PRODUCERS, I CAN'T BELIEVE I DOUBTED YOUR WONDERFULLY DIABOLICAL POWERS! So Chase Rice is on stage smilingly attempting to be professional, Victoria's unbelievably uncomfortable and Peter's just big ol' dumb smiles, wholly unaware he's being romantically serenaded by his girlfriend's recent ex. It's the most awkward ten minutes of television since ... well, since two weeks ago on this very show when Hannah B. dropped by to tell Peter's new girlfriends how much sex they had in a windmill in intimate detail.

After the show, Victoria F. and Chase Rice clear the air a bit while Peter's all giddily talking about how cool it would be to someday have Chase Rice singing at their future wedding. Oh, sweet precious Peter. You know nothing, Petey Propellers. But eventually he learns as Victoria F. finally reveals to Peter that she used to date the country star – which feels needlessly dramatic on some level. Like, why does she have to apologize for having a love life prior to the show? Why does she seem so embarrassed that she dated before? Peter did too; hell, HE BROUGHT HIS EX BACK TO TALK TO EVERYONE ABOUT THEIR SEX LIFE. It's excellent silly drama – and thankfully, once Peter finally grasps that when she says she dated Chase Rice, she means she dated Chase Rice (it takes about five attempts), he laughs it off and finds it amusing, as any good and normal human being should. And she gets the rose.


Next up is the group date, which takes Peter and the women to the home of the Cleveland Browns, which seems cruel. Not even Cleveland Browns fans want to go to the Cleveland Browns stadium more than they have to. They were all excited for this previous football season, even having dreams of the Super Bowl, and then the team's most noteworthy moment ended up being their star defensive player trying to club an opposing quarterback with his own helmet. Never believe in the Browns. I would not want to bring a date there; I'd be afraid the depression that building holds would be contagious. And you know what, considering how this episode goes for Peter, maybe that's exactly what happened!

Anyways, they've all come to the Browns stadium to, of course, play football. So after the ladies practice running drills and catching passes (or, in Mykenna's case, having passes painfully spike off her chest), all of the contestants gear up for a full-on tackle football game with the winning team getting date night with Peter. Well, almost all of the contestants; Tall Demi pulls some clever strategy and says that her back hurts, meaning she's just gonna have to spend the whole game standing next to Peter and flirting with him. Excellent strategy. Also excellent strategy on Kelley's part, playing quarterback and conveniently passing the ball to Hannahannnannah so she kept getting tackled and hopefully concussed. As for the game itself, it's an amusingly entertaining affair, and even though it ends in a tie, it's probably the best football that stadium's seen in decades.

Covered in bruises and likely concussed, both teams head out for date night with Peter, where Shiann is sulky because she feels pushed aside by Tall Demi, who already had all day on the sideline with Peter because of her "back" "issues." She finally gets time with Peter, but spends it all complaining about how she doesn't get time with him. SEEMS LIKE POOR USE OF ONE'S TIME! She's going to super regret using that time to be sad, though, because the next person to interrupt her time with Peter isn't even on the show anymore. Indeed, it is the ghost of Alayah – and the ladies are, in the words of Tammy, "shooketh to the core." (Honestly, Tammy, you the real MVP, and I need about 30 more minutes of you each episode.)

So why is Alayah back? Apparently she's not happy with the reasons for why she was kicked off, so she returns to set the record straight with Peter – mainly that she and Extendo-Demi were indeed friends back in the day, so much so that they planned a trip to Vegas together. And Extendo-Demi ... doesn't deny this. In fact, instead of discussing the supposed lies and truths being passed back and forth, she kind of pulls a crappy move and cries about how she opened up to Peter and now he's not trusting her. BOO, USING YOUR TOUGH PAST AS AN EXCUSE TO NOT ADDRESS YOUR ACTIONS IN THE PRESENT! Meanwhile, back with the rest of the ladies, the contestants are all gossiping and saying that Extendo-Demi would never lie – to which one hero at the end of the couch casually sips her wine and goes, "Oh, she wouldn't lie, huh?" like the human embodiment of the Kermit sipping his tea meme. I have no idea what this woman's name is, but she should have a statue built in her honor after that A-grade reality drama move.

After spending some time with Cleveland's only shark, Peter comes to the most logical conclusion to this Alayah/Extendo-Demi drama. No, he does not decide to send both of them home, even though that would make his life and the lives of his girlfriends much easier. Instead, because he feels like he was deviously influenced into kicking Alayah off the show last week, he invites her back – and she says yes, though honestly girl, maybe don't? Last I checked, he broke up with you because he believed literally anyone who said crap abut you without a second thought. Maybe that's a sign that he's not particularly the one – or at least certainly not somebody you trust in return now.

Because Peter's mind contains one working brain cell and some "Top Gun" clips, he ALSO decides to give Alayah the group date rose. A reminder that this group date featured women beating each other up and brushing one another for the right to that rose ... only for Pete to hand the rose off to somebody who literally just showed up and wasn't even supposed to be there. WELL CERTAINLY ALAYAH WILL HAVE LOTS OF FRIENDS NOW! Oh, and as a bonus, Alayah definitely read some Reality Steve while she was off the show because SHE KNOWS THINGS – like how Victoria F. once dated Chase Rice, who performed awkwardly at their solo date. Is Alayah like some sort of sleeper agent, returning to tear this season down from the inside? Because YES PLEASE I'M GOING TO CACKLE FOR DAYS.

Before we address all of that, Peter still has another one-on-one date tonight, this time with Kelsey the champagne problems girl. Together, they explore the contrived and clearly pre-arranged wonders of Cleveland – such as the one random little pierogi cart sitting on the sidewalk or the polka dance party breaking out at, like, 2 p.m. on a Wednesday. Or this random box car racing derby down another street. Truly every corner in Cleveland holds a new adventure! There, Peter and Kelsey win a race against some poor kids who just wanted to have fun and now their big awesome trophy has been stolen by some guy and his 16th girlfriend. As if it wasn't hard enough having to grow up in Cleveland.

After a stop at the arcade, Kelsey and Peter have their romantic dinner time, during which she opens up about how her parents got divorced – and she found out before her mom. Apparently her dad left a note and his wedding ring on the table, and Kelsey found it first – which, gotta say: Kelsey's dad, you suck! Peter says the requisite polite empty words about how she's so strong and how he thanks her for telling him her sad backstory. It's all pleasant enough – though Kelsey's doomed because the top three are still clearly Hannah Ann, Madison and Kelley. At least she gets some fireworks, though – sorry, I meant to say ALL OF THE FIREWORKS as the "Bachelor" producers light up the sky with seemingly endless fireworks. I guess we know where the budget for this date went – it's all exploding in the Cleveland sky.

Speaking of exploding, things aren't going great back at the hotel. Victoria F. is mad at Alayah because she showed up and gossiped about her previous relationship with Chase Rice before she could tell anyone else in the house – so mad that she's going to have CHOICE WORDS with Peter when he returns for the cocktail party. (No, really; she says that she has choice words. She's going to make a great "May I speak with the manager" lady in the future.) She's not alone in having choice words, though – and not just for Alayah, but for Peter. Tall Demi, for instance, is angry because, in bringing Alayah back, he outed her as the reason for why he kicked her off the show in the first place ... when actually it was your own lack of personal convictions and decision-making skills that caused that, Petey Props.

As for literally everyone else on the show, they're suitably pissed because many of them concussed themselves for the right to get a group date rose, only for Peter to hand the rose off to a woman he already kicked off AND didn't compete in the day's brutal activities. A lot of these ladies have literal bruises from it all (including Mykenna, who vigorously nods in agreement with this whole rant because she's bruised from having all those passes ricochet off her body) and he chose somebody who wasn't even supposed to be there.

It's very clear that Peter's spine is made of Jello that hasn't been in the fridge long enough and that he has no idea what he actually wants. (Remember: we're not even two weeks away from him almost shutting down the show to get back with the woman who dumped him in the first place.) What he definitely doesn't want is everyone mad at him, but he's impressively pulling that off with this Alayah nonsense – when, again, the obvious solution was just sending her and Tall Demi home because they're clearly more trouble than they're worth. There's other women there that are just as lovely but without the duplicity. But while he's refusing to send Alayah and Tall Demi both home, I think some of these women might send themselves home – to escape Peter's self-made hurricane of drama and maybe to escape Cleveland, too.

But while they're having a rough time, dear reader, I could not stop cackling this entire episode. Normally half of a "Bachelor" episode is fun, perfectly silly reality show drama and the other half is tedium – but this week, it was all gold, with each plot line giddily ridiculous and filled with goofy details. I can't wait until next week to see how Peter's self-created nightmare comes to a close – and which emotional pothole he drives into next. Plus, I've gotta see what exotic locale is next on Harrison's romantic whirlwind tour. Next stop: Winnipeg!


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