Kristen Baldwin
August 26, 2010 AT 06:19 PM EDT

Greetings, fair rose lovers! This week, I found myself wondering if a rose by any other name would smell as sweet in the Bachelor Pad, or if it would smell like a toxic mixture of champagne, tears, and betrayal. Oh, if only there were a modern-day Shakespeare in the house to clear this mystery up! Alas, asses are made to bear, and so are we, if we choose to watch this show.

The episode opens amidst the tension and anger of last week’s rose ceremony. As they stroll dejectedly back into the Pad, Gia asks Nikki if she was the one who foiled the ”outsiders”’ plan to oust Kiptyn by voting for McAngry. Thinking on her feet, Nikki comes up with a clever lie to save herself… oh wait, sorry, no — she decides to be honest instead, because that is totally how you win a reality TV show. Gia, who has apparently been taking confessional lessons from this season’s Big Brother cast, laments that there’s a ”huge target on my back,” and decides to fight for her survival… by telling everyone the truth, because that is totally how you win a reality TV show…? ”We all decided that we were going to vote you off,” she reveals to Kiptyn. ”But Nikki decided to go against that, and that’s why you’re still here.” Elizabeth and the rest of the ”insiders” look on smugly as Gia and Nikki commence fighting about whose idea it was to boot Kipper. Eventually, a glum looking Natalie floats away on her pink tutu, and Gia makes a last-ditch plea for her safety: ”Maybe now you can respect that we don’t want this to be a couples thing,” she says to Kiptyn. It’s amazing to me that the Bachelor Pad did not crumble to its foundations when the word ”respect” was spoken inside its walls. Anyhow, the evening comes to a somber close when Gia poses this question to the house: ”Anybody else want to put anything out on the open and be honest with each other from now on?” Cue the crickets.

The next morning, Harrison — looking resplendent in a bright pink shirt — greets the contestants with an ominous query: ”Did everybody brush and rinse this morning?” Awww, yeah, it’s time for a kissing contest!! The ”ladies” will be blindfolded and then forcibly smooched by each of the ”men,” and vice versa — once the kissing is done, the bachelor and bachelorette with the most votes get the roses. This news sends a nervous murmur through the Bachelor Pad, as the Weatherman tells Gia she shouldn’t feel ”pressured” to kiss the boys. Actually, she should. Natalie, take it away! ”Don’t come on the show when you know there’s going to be romantic challenges if you have a boyfriend, and then cry about something that you think is unfair. It’s completely fair… Just get over it and make out.” Preach it, girlfriend. Elizabeth is the first smoochee, and though she flinches nearly every time one of the guys approaches her, she makes an approving ”mmmm!” sound after nearly every kiss as well — except, of course, when the Weatherman lays one on her. (She clearly knows it’s him, given that he’s a good 12 inches shorter than every other guy in the house.) ”I just realized how gross this is,” she chirps.

NEXT: More bodily fluids exchanged!

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