The episode began like all great television does -- with pretty people dressed like pirates.
Hold onto your eye patches and peg legs, dear viewers -- "The Bachelor" returned Monday night with more action and adventure than our virgin rose peddler Colton Underwood could handle.
In addition to swashbuckling on pirate ships, spit-swapping on rollercoasters and overseeing a strong-woman contest hosted by Terry and Rebecca King-Crews, Colton found himself caught between two pissed-off pageant queens--and one of them literally went into beast mode right before Bachelor Nation's eyes.
The episode began like all great television does -- with pretty people dressed like pirates. Colton invited Demi, Caelynn, Hannah B., Katie, Heather, Courtney, Kirpa, and Tracy on this week's group date at a place called Pirate Dinner Adventure (think Medieval Times, but with pirates).
When they got there Colton was already dressed up like Orlando Bloom's character in "Pirates of the Caribbean." Armed with terrible pirate puns, he invited the women to get in costume and learn to swordfight with pugil sticks and perform a few pirate-y stunts.
Demi was the first to embrace the theme. "It's perfect for me because I'm a cutthroat kind of chick," she said. "The job of a pirate is to steal and I'm here to steal Colton's heart. I don't want to be another one of those 'yo ho hos.'"
As abrasive as Demi is, it soon became apparent the real cutthroats were former pageant queens Hannah B. and Caelynn. The two brought an uncomfortable fierceness to the date, and the rising tension eventually got under Hannah's porcelain skin.
"I'm trying my hardest to not get upset, but then Caelynn is just everywhere. I didn't come here to compete in another pageant,” the Alabama gal offered at one point, seemingly unaware she most certainly did.
While Hannah B. proved herself to be the most competent swordfighter, it was Caelynn who somehow wound up getting crowned top pirate. The decision was nonsensical, but the results were great: Caelynn got a congratulatory smooch while a seething Hannah B. glared at them from behind an eye patch.
"You've got to be kidding me," Hannah B. said, adding "If Colton knew the truth about Caelynn I think he would feel differently about her."
When the group date progressed to the point where each girl steals Colton away, Demi did what any girl in her position might do to stand out: She blindfolded him, bent him over, spanked him and then felt him up with a mannequin hand.
Hannah B., meanwhile, took a different approach. Instead of planting a kiss on Colton's mouth she buried a hatchet in Caelynn's back, telling Colton vaguely disturbing tales of their previous run-ins on the beauty pageant circuit.
But Colton did not respond as she hoped. He ditched Hannah B. while she was begging for a kiss and made a beeline for Caelynn to get her side of the story. Caelynn was smart enough to play it cool. She didn't say anything mean about Hannah B. and she earned sympathy points by breaking down in tears.
Colton responded by immediately giving her the group date rose.
For his solo date Colton chose Elyse, the 31-year-old redhead who last week became our front runner. He whisked her away to a theme park in San Diego where they met up with a group of somebody else's kids and played games, ate ice cream and rode all the rides.
While their excursion involved helicopters, rollercoasters and enough eight-year-olds to run a sweatshop, Colton and Elyse's date was decidedly light on high-stakes drama. The two hit it off right away and, unlike last week's nearly disastrous one-on-one date with Hannah B., there was never an awkward moment.
They eventually kissed on top of a roller coaster, enjoyed a romantic dinner together and then got the VIP treatment at a random concert where they just made out the entire time instead of listening to the music. And of course Colton gave her a rose.
Colton transformed into Shirtless Colton for his final group date of the episode with Catherine, Sydney, Onyeka, Tayshia, Nina, Cassie, Nicole and Caitlin. The excursion was essentially a glorified trip to the gym with actor Terry Crews and his wife Rebecca King-Crews helping to whip the women into shape, so they could compete against one another in a "Strongest Woman" contest.
"I thought we'd get a little sweaty," Shirtless Colton told the ladies upon arrival.
With color commentary from the indelible Fred Willard, the women pushed around 100-pound wedding cakes, flipped over tires painted like wedding bands and pulled entire limousines behind them.
Well, they pretended to anyway, but Twitter sleuths are rarely deceived.
While the fast and fit Onyeka took home the "Strongest Woman" trophy, Shirtless Colton gave the rose to Nicole, the Cuban-American social media coordinator who displayed all the athletic prowess of a Sears mannequin. "Gracias, papa," she told him after they shared a kiss.
Shirtless Colton turned back into normal Colton when he got dressed for the cocktail party portion of their group date. He grooved with nearly all the gals except for Caitlin, a realtor from Toronto most everyone had forgotten was on the show.
Colton tried to get her to open up, but he didn't have much success. "I haven't had anything happen in my life that I want to share right now with you, other than today's great," she told him.
Always a good sport, he asked another question about what she's looking for in life.
"I want someone who's happy to go out with me and my friends and have a really ridiculous, silly evening," Caitlin responded.
It was a record scratch of a response and Colton's face immediately went pale. He stopped the conversation and told her right then and there she wasn't the one for him. Then he walked her over to the exit and kicked her off the show.
"This is hard. This is really fucking hard," Caitlin told the cameras during her exit interview. "It feels like throwing me away this early was a really big mistake."
Anxious, probably, to get a last look at everyone in a bikini, Colton opted for a pool party instead of a cocktail party before the rose ceremony. While all the girls were excited to show off their assets and get a little more facetime in with Shirtless Colton before he made some tough decisions, things once again did not go as planned.
Instead, the afternoon was dominated by another back-and-forth between Caelynn and Hannah B., and boy oh boy did Hannah B. give Bachelor Nation a glimpse of some of the crazy notions bouncing around inside her head.
"There's a beautiful monster inside of me, and I'm going have let it out," she told Heather after watching Caelynn walk by with Colton. "There's a tank of rage. Right now it's full. And the beast is about to [roar] ... I'm so fed up."
Oh. So the "B." stands for "beast"? That actually makes sense.
Rose Red Flag Ceremony
Hannah B(east) wasn't the only one fed up with the beauty pageant drama. Colton went back and forth with her and Caelynn during the pool party. He eventually grew so frustrated by their answers he flagged down one of the show's producers and forced a sit-down with host Chris Harrison.
He told Chris he was feeling uneasy about falling for the beauty queens and Chris smartly changed the subject, essentially telling him to get on with the rose ceremony. And get on with it he did. He handed out roses to everyone but Faux Australian Bri, Catherine the Dog Owner and Nina. Hannah B. earned his last rose of the night.
Biggest Let Down: Colton. He can't get sucked into this kind of drama with two girls when there are still so many potential women left for him to fall for. We realize pageant gals are pretty, but he's not doing himself any favors by keeping them both in the picture.
Creepiest Line of the Night: "You never wanna see your boyfriend kissing another girl in front of you," Sydney, the NBA dancer, commenting on Colton, who is most definitely not her boyfriend.
The Front Runner: Elyse pulls ahead even further after a seemingly perfect one-on-one date.
Rose-Budding Storylines: Heather played the game perfectly these past two weeks. First, she revealed her secret about having never been kissed in a way that ensured Colton would likely give her a rose. This week, she played Hannah B. like an Alabama fiddle, convincing her to essentially go to war with Caelynn.
Is she the one who ultimately drives Colton to hop the fence? Tune in next week, perhaps we'll figure it out together!