We’re roughly halfway through season 19 of The Bachelor, and while it’s been highly entertaining thanks to an immense dose of crazy, it hasn’t really lived up to what the show is supposed to be about.
We’ve been severely lacking in the love and romance departments, with our attention instead diverted to drunks and virgins and several woman still mourning dead people. It’s been pretty ridiculous, as there are only three girls left who aren’t essentially standing on a mountain waving their red flags in the wind.
Kaitlyn, Jade and Whitney remain the normiest of the normal, but the way things are going, I’m not optimistic that there isn’t a skeleton in one or all of their closets. And then you have to wonder if that skeleton was put there by Kelsey.
Ahhhh, Kelsey. The original widow. She hid her true self for an amazingly long time, but her obsession with her “story” and the effect loving it might have on Chris has prompted a panic attack, which also might be manufactured in an effort to stick around. We got so close to the edge of the cliff last time that we skipped over the rose ceremony.
Things are about to heat up in what is being called the most dramatic two-on-one date in Bachelor history, because, you know, it’s just not The Bachelor if it’s not the most dramatic something ever.
On a side note, all three shows that I covered for BuddyTV recently — this one and two episodes of American Idol — all ended with someone fainting. Really? Can we get a new form of theatrics please? I mean, c’mon. Now let’s get to the catfight.
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A Phony Baloney Bounceback
We pick up right where we left off, with Kelsey in a crumpled, wailing heap while medical technicians hold her hand, sure to wear protective gloves in case crazy is contagious.
While Kelsey gets some much-needed oxygen, the other women eye her suspiciously, especially after she asks for Chris to be rushed to her side. Ashley is totally freaking out because she is like an original Nintendo controller and only has two buttons. If you press B, she talks about being a virgin.
Chris apologizes to Kelsey for telling everyone about their conversation, and she is correct in that her actions now require a rose, as Chris has proven time and time again that he waits one week before dismissing someone who subconsciously opens up about needing to go now. So was her collapse real? Or concocted? The world may never know.
The War of the Roses
And now, the rare show-opening rose ceremony! Carly, Britt and Whitney are safe, and the flowers go to:
Ashley (who was a bundle of tears and freaking out that it wasn’t going to end well for her because she didn’t have a sad enough story)
That means it’s the end of the line for kale- and alien-lover Mackenzie and Samantha, the one person we never learned a single thing about.
Samantha has apparently also had terrible things happen that have shaped her life, according to Jade, but in typical fashion, Sam says nothing on the way out. Neither does Mackenzie.
Back on American Soil
Chris, ever the wordsmith, describes the night of the rose ceremony as a “tough, crazy, mentally- and emotionally-challenging experience that I could never have imagined.” But he’s not here looking for drama, he wants a wife. So it’s time to get back to having fun, and nothing screams fun like South Dakota.
The women arrive in Deadwood and learn that there will be one group date, a one-on-one and the dreaded one-person-must-go-home two-on-one. Britt grills Kelsey about her relationship with Chris, which she describes as “wonderful” and claims to be in “disbelief that it’s actually as good as it is.” Or to the casual observer, not either of those things.
Kelsey believes that everything she has gone through has earned her a one-on-one, but the date card — Let’s give love a shot — goes to Becca. I’m guessing it’s a shooting range or some sort of crazy vaccine. Kelsey is not happy and ceases to smile, because if she’s going to fall for Chris, she needs reassurances. And that means no attention to anyone but her.
Annie Get Your Gun … and Shoot Chris’ Laugh Away
Becca is the only girl Chris hasn’t kissed yet, and I’m not sure who that’s grosser for, but I doubt it lasts very much longer. They hop on a pair of horses, with an ass lugging their gear, and the ride to a ranch where they sit by a fire and roast kebabs in what is definitely the kebabiest season to date.
As they talk about growing closer on what Chris calls the most real date so far, we get a epic glimpse of Chris’ high-pitched hyena laugh. Then they discuss five-year plans, which for Chris began 10 years ago. They both want a family, and a big one at that, rolling five kids deep.
Becca feels comfortable being vulnerable, so she opens up about a serious on-again, off-again relationship in which she had stronger feelings that weren’t reciprocated. And that has made her hesitant to dive into relationships, but Chris assures her he’s full of daily “I love you’s,” and he wants the same in return.
He makes her feel safe and gives her butterflies, and a rose turns into the first kiss that she dreads her dad seeing. It’s not a bad-looking kiss, per say, but it looks like two people kissing who have never kissed anyone but family members before.
The Death Match is Set
Back at the hotel, some of the girls have had just about enough of Kelsey’s crap and decide to confront her. Whitney leads the way as she, Kaitlyn and Carly go on the attack about their belief that Kelsey is milking the dead husband cow for all it’s worth. Kelsey, however, has a totally different take on their motivations, and it’s worth quoting verbatim.
“I get it,” she says. “I am blessed with eloquence, and I’m articulate, and I use a lot of big words. Because I’m smart. I didn’t go through all this sh*t, death of a spouse, loss in numerous ways, ganged up on by some girls in the house. I didn’t go on this show to be defeated and to allow my emotions to get the best of me or to lose sight of my ultimate dream. I came here to win it.”
The date arrives, with the women all hoping Kelsey gets the two-on-one. It’s the group date card — Let’s make sweet music together — and it goes to Whitney, Jade, Britt, Kaitlyn, Carly and Megan. After they explain to Megan what that means, it dawns on them that Kelsey and Ashley will be squaring off in the elimination round. But Kelsey decries that she views it as a one-on-one date before unleashing one of her diabolical, house-shaking villain laughs.
Big, Rich Country Songs
The date starts off at the stockade, where Chris admits the shameful truth that country music is a big part of his life. And they’ll be getting some help from Big and Rich, of “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” fame. They’ll each be writing a love song, which goes over better with some than with others.
Carly is a singer, Britt goes with the flow and Whitney and Megan are huge country fans. But Jade is struggling with the challenge, so either Big or Rich (which one is which?) takes her under his wing and runs her around town to loosen her up.
She’s feeling better about the day, until she eyes Chris and Britt holding each other at the bar and smooching. In front of everyone. How is he still such a rookie at this point? The other women on the date see his chemistry with Britt and immediately begin to doubt their own relationships.
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Suds and Songs
They toast giant beers, and to make it easier on the girls, Chris is performing his song first. He’s hilariously awkward warming up the crowd, and then he launches into his original song with banjo accompaniment. It’s terrible — or, as the girls call it, adorable.
Britt is up next, and who would’ve thunk it, she has a pretty darn good voice. I understand a word or two of her ramblings, but a near-tears Chris believes her lyrics match how he feels when he’s with her. Whitney’s is cute but not great, and then Kaitlyn launches into a profanity-laden rap.
Megan’s song is super serious and emotional, while Carly serenades him up close in a song that could be on the radio. Then poor Jade, who is overwhelmed with anxiety, goes last. She thinks it’s going to go horribly wrong, and while she certainly doesn’t have the best voice, it’s endearing like karaoke in My Best Friend’s Wedding.
Britt Runs Away with the Group Date
Chris and his six dates share drinks at a saloon, and he praises them for putting their hearts and souls into the songs. He was especially impressed with Jade, knowing how she was affected by her nerves. They’ve shared conversations, but not feelings, and so that was the goal of her song. She tells Chris that their relationship is developing emotionally and that she can see herself with him and living in Idaho. More kisses follow.
They all want the rose, but they notice there’s no thorny flower of acceptance in sight. Chris has similar conversations with Kaitlyn and the others, and everything is going swimmingly before Britt takes over. Overwhelmed by chemistry, they run off to another bar, where Big and Rich are performing.
They make out while enjoying their own surprise concert before joining the band on stage, while the other five ladies sit back at the saloon like a quintet of schmucks. Chris gives her the rose in front of a roaring crowd, leaving Britt feeling special and honored while Big and Rick croon “Save a horse, ride a farmboy!”
When the happy couple returns all Smiley Cyrus-like after being gone for more than an hour, the other women are obviously not quite as happy. Chris says he felt it was appropriate to give Britt the rose in seclusion, and he tells them all to enjoy the rest of their night before getting the hell out of Dodge. Kaitlyn describes the feeling as “humiliation,” Carly feels invisible again and the group collectively closes its collection of 10 eyes to slits as they glare. Then the insecurity-driven waterworks begin.
The Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For
The two-on-one date card finally arrives — “Two girls, one rose, one stays, one goes: Let’s have good times in the Badlands” — and Kelsey takes the early lead by claiming to love the Badlands. Meanwhile, Ashley is excited to kick Kelsey’s ass, the Wicked Witch to her Glinda.
The date starts with a helicopter ride over Mount Rushmore, and as Kelsey correctly identifies the four presidents carved into the rocks, an annoyed Ashley wonders if Kelsey’s plan for the date is just to driver her bonkers. This is about to get ugly.
They land at a canopy bed in the middle of the desert, where they share drinks in awkward silence. Ashley snags (or snogs) the first alone time alongside a bluff, and it’s more gross face sucking. Chris asks how things are in the house, and Ashley makes the fatal mistake of throwing Kelsey under the bus.
Everyone knows you don’t talk smack about another girl, lest ye appear to be more concerned with the game than the player. He needs to find these things out on his own, but instead, Ashley says that Kelsey is fake and the only one not gelling with the group.
The Talons Come Out
So how will Kelsey react to these claims, that Ashley is real while Kelsey is fake? That Ashley, while a virgin, is sexy while Kelsey is not? Because you know Chris is going to be dumb and tell Kelsey everything Ashley just said. It’s the farmer way.
Kelsey gets her alone time, and Chris asks the same question about how things are going in the house. And while Kelsey gives a genuine-sounding answer about being a wife, Chris responds that he wants his betrothed to be someone who can handle social situations. And the fact that Ashley just told him that Kelsey isn’t getting along with everyone in the house (D’OH!) scares him.
Kelsey feels betrayed because she thought Ashley was someone she could trust — why, I have no idea — and so she reiterates that she’s not here for the competition, but in it for him, and she hopes he wouldn’t throw it all away because of girl talk. And cue another quote.
“She’s a Kardashian who didn’t get to go on her princess date, who has way too much makeup on to be genuine.”
Then she babbles on about her tale of woe and that she’s a woman, and while Ashley is playing a game, she’s not. She sits down on the canopy bed and pierces Ashley with a hate-filled gaze that contains the white hot intensity of a thousand burning suns. “I know what you did,” she seethes, before they argue about who is more intelligent. Here’s hoping that Chris sends them both home.
A tearful Ashley stalks off to Chris, grabbing his hand and demanding to know why he would tell Kelsey what she had said to him in confidence. I mean, otherwise she could’ve just saved everyone a lot of time by airing the allegations in front of everyone. Chris clearly does not understand how talking behind someone’s back works.
Chris comforts her and asks that she not be upset with him, and he details the conversation, telling Ashley that Kelsey thinks it all stems from a difference in maturity. Ashley doesn’t understand why she always has to cry around Chris, and she believes she cares so much more than Kelsey does.
Still, Chris is about to lay the gauntlet down. He doesn’t feel like Ashley fits into his life, and he doesn’t think she’d be happy in Iowa. Her response is to point out that Britt wouldn’t fit into the life either, before stalking off in a hysterical fit. She sobs so hard she might need her own bit of medical attention.
Back at the house, the rest of the women are shattered when a producer comes in and takes Ashley’s suitcase from the suite.
Who Needs a Rose Ceremony?
Chris returns the canopy bed and breaks the news to Kelsey that Ashley is taking a magic carpet ride to Loserville. “I’m so sorry,” she coos before embracing him. “It’s a loss.” But he’s like, hold up, sweetie, you’re not working out for me either. She takes the news better than Ashley did, and then, in true Scrooge McDuckian fashion, Chris saunters off to his private helicopter and flies off by his lonesome self.
The producer returns to the room and removes Kelsey’s suitcase as well, and the women explode in a fit of hoots and hollers. Apparently, Ashley was an acceptable casualty if it rid them of their plague.
It was the virgin versus the black widow, and the winner was Chris. The losers? All of us.
Kelsey offers some parting words of wisdom: “My story is amazing. It’s tragic, it’s inspiring, it’s beautiful. I’m immeasurably blessed.” Yes, blessed that her husband passed away. You have to appreciate the positive attitude, though.
The other women mock her departure with a toast to being immeasurably blessed.
A Two-Night Bombshell Bonanza
We’re down to seven women, though at least one more will be going home at the rose ceremony that will kick off the next episode. (My guess is Megan, based on the women they show in the preview.) I’m not a fan of this new structure and hope it’s temporary, as I’m a guy who likes my roses at the end of the date, not the beginning.
It’s off to Iowa, where Chris will confront his greatest insecurity about a potential wife fitting into his everyday life. Britt has a breakdown, women lie and cry, and Jade reveals that she did some nude modeling for Playboy. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that my original nickname of “Playmate turned adorable Jade” is actually 100% accurate, with no prior knowledge of that fact. Go me!
The credits show a shooting contest between Chris and Becca that finally makes the date name feel appropriate, and that’s it for this one. Which of the seven do you think is the best fit for Chris, if any of them? Will he end up engaged, or will he be headed back to Podunk, Iowatown, alone, as he was when he left?
Were you surprised with how things played out in the Badlands? Should he have given Ashley or Kelsey another shot? And did Kelsey get even weirder when she promised that it will be a crucifixion when she sees Ashley again? There will be some fireworks as the women tell all, that’s for sure.
Catch The Bachelor every Monday night at 8pm on ABC (with a special Sunday night episode airing on February 15).
(Image courtesy of ABC)