If you’re a diehard fan of The Bachelorette, you already know about this season’s big twist. Two women enter, but only one stays. The ladies don’t hold all the power this time around because the men get to cast their votes to determine which former Bachelor reject, Britt Nilsson or Kaitlyn Bristowe, will become the one and only Bachelorette.

This has caused somewhat of an uproar among fans of the popular dating franchise, who, ironically, think this is degrading to the women. I say turnabout is fair play since either Britt or Kaitlyn will be judging the men for the remainder of the season. Are we really going to fault the show’s creators for capitalizing on the extreme popularity of Nilsson and Bristowe? I’m more concerned that not long ago, these women were supposedly head over heels for Bachelor Chris Soules, and now they are ready to put themselves through the emotional ringer, yet again, for the chance at “love.”

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The Twist

Since so many fans’ panties are in a bunch, host Chris Harrison addresses the “controversy” from the outset, stating that when the would-be Lotharios were being interviewed as to which woman they could fall in love with, the men were very divided. Harrison goes on to say that¬† “they” didn’t think it was fair to make this decision for the guys. Instead, the bachelors will get a few minutes each to meet Britt and Kaitlyn, and cast a vote for who they feel the deepest connection to. Or who they think is more bangable.

Harrison points out that this could be awkward and, yes, even painful, but by pitting the women against each other, once again, the last one standing will have a better shot at finding a long-lasting relationship. And we all know how often the odds are stacked in favor of these manufactured romances working out, so these lovely ladies need all the help they can get.

I say, when you decide to choose a life partner on a reality TV show, all bets are off. Kaitlyn and Britt could have walked but chose to let themselves be judged like heifers at the county fair, so let’s just drop the whole “degrading to women” argument. That ship has sailed. Or should I say that rose has already wilted?

We get a brief rundown on what Kaitlyn and Britt are like and how they differ. Kaitlyn is sexy and funny and, at times, inappropriate. Britt is sincere, emotional and very loving. As if all of these qualities are mutually exclusive.

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Two Bachelorettes, No Waiting

Both women are on hand to greet the men as they exit their limos, and the contenders have to choose which one to meet first, so you already get a pretty good idea of who has their eye on who. Ben H., a software salesman from Colorado, makes a beeline for Kaitlyn but later admits Britt left him speechless.

In fact, Britt appears to be the early frontrunner as the men flock to her. Britt feels an immediate connection with Johnathan, an auto industry executive from Detroit. He’s only the second dude out of the car, so girlfriend needs to pace herself. Britt is in her element. Britt knows how to make a lasting first impression; she proved that on The Bachelor. Kaitlyn is self-admittedly feeling nervous and awkward. Well, that’s the whole point of this, right? Mission accomplished.

Kaitlyn finally gets some love from Princeton grad and former track star Ian, who whispers in her ear that he hopes she’s chosen, and he’s going to do what he can to make sure that happens.

JJ, a former investment banker from Colorado, informs Kaitlyn that even though he isn’t from Canada, he’s played hockey his whole life. He then presents her with a hockey puck and says he “would love to puck her.” Bitt may be attracting the typical drones, but the Kaitlyn-ites are easy on the eyes and have some personality.

Joe, an insurance agent from Kentucky, brings Kaitlyn some moonshine, while a fitness trainer from Illinois, Justin, gifts her with balloons.

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Britt gets a token from Tanner, an auto finance manager from Missouri. He gives her a package of tissues. Guess he’s familiar with Britt’s tendency to burst into tears. Kaitlyn gets a little dig at herself when she asks if Britt received Kleenex or soap. Britt did have a reputation for not being keen on regular bathing during her stint on The Bachelor.

Both women get a G-rated, impromptu striptease from law student and exotic dancer Josh, and neither are overly impressed.

Shawn B., a personal trainer from Connecticut, registers on both Kaitlyn and Britt’s radar, but sadly for Britt, this charmer is Team Kaitlyn all the way.

Kaitlyn, finally feeling like she’s in the game and not sitting on the bench, decides to run inside to tell all they guys how great and handsome they are. She’s over the initial meet and greet and is ready to get the show on the road. Her actions don’t sit well with Britt, who thinks Kaitlyn might be trying to gain an unfair advantage.

One guy, who doesn’t have a preference, is Tony, a healer from Missouri. He utters the exact same platitudes to both women. Perhaps they need to light some Patchouli-scented incense and do a few yoga poses to help him make up his mind.

There’s always some over-eager, over-intoxicated guy in the bunch, and this time around it’s Ryan M., a junkyard specialist from Missouri. After the endless stream of introductions and debating amongst the men inside, I find his drunken antics a nice intermission. Ryan bangs on a window, trying to get Kaitlyn and Britt’s attention, and keeps saying he’s all “horned up.”

When Shawn E., an amateur sex therapist from Canada, shows up in a hot tub car — yes, the entire inside of the vintage convertible is a hot tub — Ryan M. really gets out of hand. He wanders outside and antagonizes Shawn E., who hasn’t even gotten out of his automobile yet. Ryan M. makes it known, loudly, he thinks the car sucks. Kaitlyn and Britt are unified in their horror.

The “car pool” doesn’t make as big a splash as the cupcake car driven by Chris, a dentist from Tennessee. He remarks that he wanted to do something sweet for the ladies.

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Let the Games Begin

The promenade of potential suitors finally comes to an end, and both Britt and Kaitlyn are in good spirits and feeling confident. Here comes buzz kill Chris Harrison to remind them that playtime is over, and they need to go inside and leave an indelible impression on each of the men in the hopes of securing votes.

It’s the usual fight to get one-on-one time, but the dynamic is different because it’s the women scrambling instead of the other way around. One thing is certain: if Britt is chosen, expect a much sappier, more teary, much more humdrum season because she has got her game face on, and this woman is all about someone putting a ring on it.

Some of the guys who were pro-Britt are now pro-Kaitlyn and vice versa. I will say the general consensus is that Britt’s the beauty while Kaitlyn is the one with the great personality.

After a bit of mixing and mingling, Chris Harrison announces that the voting booth is open. The ladies still have time to do some last-minute lobbying, but now the clock is really running and the pressure is on

Tony, who is sporting the remnants of a black eye (uh-oh alert), doesn’t have to be asked twice. The guy practically mows Harrison down to get to those voting boxes. Tony proceeds to place his hands on each of the ballot boxes and says the one with Britt’s name is pulsating some kind of positive energy. Good luck with that, Britt.

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The Bachelorette reminds us that it’s not just women who bring the drama. Ryan M. is hammered, and Shawn E. decides it’s the perfect time to pull the guy aside and have a chat about the arrival “incident.” Ryan M. doesn’t recollect anything other than being awesome and tells Shawn E. he sucks. The two retreat to opposite corners, but the trash talk continues.

Ryan M. eventually remembers there’s more to this party than the open bar and sits down with Britt. JJ determines that it’s a gross mismanagement of his future wife’s time to talk to Ryan M. and feels it’s his civic duty to shut it down. JJ tries to lure Ryan M. away with the promise of more booze but fails. The next knight up to the plate is Johnathan. When he tries to intervene, Ryan M. grabs onto the side of Britt’s face like she’s the last lukewarm beer. Johnathan must have found a way to tactfully free Britt from the death grip because the next time we see Ryan M., he’s fondling Kaitlyn’s ass.

Ryan M.’s behavior goes from bad to worse. He strips down to his underwear and hops in the pool. Afterward, he wanders around, running into furniture and knocking pictures down. Instead of placing a rose in one of the ballet boxes, he flings it against the wall. In the biggest WTF?! moment of the evening, he threatens to rape JJ after being confronted about being a half-naked douchebag.

Finally, Ryan M. is escorted out and sent home.

There’s more hand holding and heart-to-heart convos but, finally, the big moment arrives. Who will go home devastated, and who’ll be left wondering which guys voted for her competition? You’ll have to wait to find out.

Part 2 of The Bachelorette season 8 premiere airs Tuesday, May 19 at 8pm on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)

Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.