The girls are taken out of their element this week on Tough Love and shipped off to the bayou to commune with nature, with their dates, and also with their dates’ fathers. Surprise!
They all survive the swamp-boat ride out there, but Steve informs them that they’ll be crawfishing, crabbing, and hunting for river rats as part of this week’s challenge. Danielle, who walked out on her date the last time she met him because she had soup dumped in her lap, rants about how grossed out she is by the dead fish and she’s a little complain-y.
And a little swear-y. When she gets frustrated, that’s when she tends to cuss more, she explains. She must be really frustrated. Corey, super-sweet, nice Corey, says that her potty mouth is something he wants to help her work on.
Despina is also out of her element, she’s weirded out that her date’s dad plays banjo on their trek through the swamp, and she literally holds Austin at arm’s length because she’s grossed out by the crawfish.
“Guys don’t usually take me home to meet their parents,” Stephanie says, but she and John and John’s dad make a great team, she exceeds all expectations on her trek through the low country, grabbing crabs by the claws and keeping the shrieking to a minimum, unlike some of her fellow bootcampers. She even got emotional because meeting John’s dad was such a big step for her, and it was definitely a sign of progress.
Shalana also had a positive experience in the swamp and says she, Aubrey, and his father were one big happy family, but the weird thing was how comfortable she and Aubrey were making out in front of his dad. “There’s a time and a place for everything,” Steve says, and in my opinion, in front of a dad and also after you’ve gone crabbing is not the ideal time to get handsy. Crab hands are gross.
“I am not an outdoors girl, no,” Elizabeth says when Carl takes her swamp rat hunting. Already I feel like she should win this challenge just because of who she is and what she’s doing. “I don’t know what an anxiety attack or a panic attack is, but I was having one,” she says when they catch their first squirmy, slimy swamp rat and it wriggles around on their boat. I can’t say I blame her. She’s shrieky, but I think any of us would be, coming face to face with that thing.
Melissa, lucky girl, doesn’t have to participate in SwampFest 2012 because she has a more depressing task at hand. Steve is making her have a heart-to-heart with Chris and basically break up with him.
She is so nervous, but eventually on their bowling date she’s able to tell him she’s not feeling a spark, despite their connection and the friendship they’ve formed. He takes it well and appreciates the honesty. And that’s it for Chris, thanks for playing, buddy.
Challenge number two for the week is a cooking challenge. The women are going to be cooking for their dates, and surprise, surprise, the twist is that they’re also cooking for their date’s mothers. Elizabeth is the least equipped to handle this challenge. “I don’t cook! I don’t cook! I don’t want to learn!” she says. After asking “This is a pot, right?” This is going to pot, that’s for sure.
She burned her first batch of sauteed vegetables that formed part of her etouffee recipe and had to scramble to create batch number two in like ten minutes and miraculously finished. Honestly, watching her cook was more entertaining than Top Chef, so at least that made up for her complete lack of ability.
When Elizabeth learns that Carl’s mother will be eating her dish, and that she actually cooked the mom’s own personal recipe, this is her reaction:
but Carl’s mother assures her that the meal is delicious. Better than her own version, even. Elizabeth and I are shocked. Carl’s mother ends the meal telling Carl “She’s very pretty and very nice. I like her a lot.”
Elizabeth cries and wishes this was her own mother.
Danielle overcooks her rice (“It’s kinda mushed together,” Corey’s sister tells her), Stephanie gets pelted with religion questions but doesn’t crack under pressure, and Melissa is set up with a new guy, Ryan, and immediately she sizes him up to be not her type. “Unbelievable!” Steve says. Seriously. What does a guy have to do to win over Melissa?? Steve threatens to shake things up in group tonight, and I have a feeling it’s going to be tearful and not pretty.
Back at the house, there’s a knock at the door for Despina, who accepts a delivery of a dozen roses and a keychain with a computer chip in it. Her date, Austin, is actually Airline Pilot Austin, and he has sent her a message from the cockpit asking her to come to the airport for a date. Commence shrieking in the Tough Love mansion…NOW.
Despina meets Airline Pilot Austin at the airport where they enjoy an adorable meal inside the airline hangar, and then Austin asks her about her long-term relationship plans. And for once, she opens up about her feelings and tells him she wouldn’t be there if she wasn’t thinking long-term.
Commence shrieking in the Tough Love mansion again (except that you can’t hear it, it’s all just hypothetical for now).
At group, Steve tells Elizabeth she has done the best this week and after watching Carl’s mother rave about her on the video, she cries and says that nothing can break her down right now. She’s gained confidence and happiness over the past few days, finally. Stephanie’s feedback is more upsetting, because even though she has a great time with John’s dad this week, his mom was tougher, and the feedback she gave was…not nice.
You could just tell that John’s mom wasn’t feeling Stephanie, she made digs at her makeup and her insecurity and her food, and Stephanie cried after watching her comments. But at least John stood up to his mother and had Steph’s back.
Melissa has ended up in the hot seat this week because she is impossible to please, so Steve makes good on his promise to empty his bag of tricks. In walk the last eight men left in Louisiana that Steve has not already matched Melissa up with, and he asks her to choose the ones she likes and ask them some questions.
“What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done” Melissa asks, and everyone in the room is like “Really? That’s how you start this off?” She doesn’t actually look interested in any of the guys, so again Steve sends them away, and she takes a perch on the hot seat so Steve can try to get at the root of her problem. She calls herself picky and shrugs off what just happened, but Steve pulls out the big guns and tells her “Your entire personality is helpless. Hopeless.”
She’s been on more first dates than anyone in Tough Love history, eight in all, plus the seven additional guys Steve tried to set her up with moments ago. She tells Steve that she’s used to everything good in her life going away, and breaks down, saying “I liked Chris the best, but I dumped him!” So…is Chris back in the picture? Or is Melissa destined to leave bootcamp just as virginal and awkward as when she arrived?