Episodes 7 & 8
It turns out looking at wedding venues, learning an atonal modern aria, and writing a double-episode Bachelor recap do not go together well. I'm very sorry for the extreme lateness.
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"I'm trying to be tough through this whole entire situation. I only get to fall back on the fact that I get to spend time with six of the most incredible women I've ever met." —Chris, on the agony of letting Megan, the seventh woman, go.
There's been a lot of focus on Britt and Jade in these episodes, but I'd like to shine some light on Megan's pre-departure speech...
"I feel like I've been clear, like how I feel and putting my heart out there, and there hasn't been any progression. I don't feel like you really know me. And then I hear [about] the other girls and the other relationships that they have with you and they just seem more so. So, I was curious to see how you felt."
That has to be one of the most honest and up-front assessments this show's ever seen. And kudos to Chris for not leading her on.
Even though Megan has gone, Chris Harrison surfaces to keep the girls in check...
... though it's totally unnecessary since Bachelor Chris ends up canceling it anyway. And considering we're at six girls and the pre-hometowns Rose Ceremony almost always goes from six to four, I can't help but wonder if the facade of there still being a Rose Ceremony was just to get shots of the girls looking stressed out.
I had to chuckle whenever they showed shots of Britt (who we've established is touchy-feely) draped over a not-so-reciprocal Whitney:
My heart really went out to Chris during this date. He obviously feels simultaneously proud and embarrassed by where he's from. He's not in the clouds about what he and where he lives has to offer a woman. It struck me during this date that Chris really is what this show is—or rather, should be—about. It is probably super tough meeting women anywhere near where he lives, so he could benefit from this "method" of dating far more than anyone who lives in any major (or even only relatively urban) city. I had a moment where I thought: I really hope this works out for him.
Plus, he's adorable when he cracks jokes. I find his subtle facial expressions funnier than the jokes themselves:
This is one of the best one-on-one date activities this show has seen, in my opinion. These two walking around a city with a camera is romantic without being over-the-top, and taking photos provides a nice, non-passive activity for them to focus on and get to know each other doing. Thumbs up.
Back at the house, Jade describes her Arlington date to the girls, prompting a fairly extreme jealous reaction from Britt, considering it's Week 7 and there are still six women in the game. My favorite part was Kaitlyn's carefully still face as she watched on:
Every girl who goes on a one-on-one returns and has to tell the other girls about it in a girl chat. In a sense, it's routine. Yes, it's SUPER weird that it's the same guy you're also "dating", but it's the name of this very strange game. It's normal to find it uncomfortable; it's not normal to start hysterically crying in front of them.
Carly, Kaitlyn, Becca, and Britt
are told to spontaneously decide to take a road trip to discover Arlington for themselves. The trip is amusing and can be summed up with:
Afterwards, they discuss Arlington with Jade, who I presume was forced to sit in the hotel in her jammies all day. Here are my thoughts on this whole segment: Britt just talks WAY too much.
I have a hard time imagining the other girls were super gung-ho about Arlington either, but they were smart to keep their thoughts to themselves to marinate with.
Here's the thing: If you don't first say you can't ever picture yourself living in Arlington, you don't later have to say, "But then we were driving back and the sun was setting and I was like, 'This is gorgeous country though... I don't know, I kind of changed my mind on the way back.'" That one-eighty is only going to (understandably) elicit:
Now, I don't know if the above expression was actually in reaction to Britt's dramatic change of heart, but it was edited that way and is too funny not to include.
Sometimes silence is best.
Back on the Des Moines one-on-one, Chris and Whitney really seem (and look) like a full-fledged couple.
My favorite moment was when she shared her family situation with Chris and said one of the things she looks for in a man is that he has a great family. Chris reacts with a series of expressions that encompass pride and compassion and everything in between:
At the beginning of this date, Britt says two very true statements that can be said about "dating" on the Bachelor:
"I don't know how to act on group dates anymore, because I feel like he's my boyfriend when we're alone but when we're together [on a group date] he's this other thing, and I don't know how our interactions are supposed to be."
"I need to know where I stand, because it is 'Chris is choosing me' with a rose, but it's also an invitation on my end into my home."
And then just as I start to think Britt might be more reasonable than I thought, she greets Chris like this in front of the other girls:
Kaitlyn, our resident Smart Chick, gets it: "I don't think Britt is being honest with herself. I think she's just confused in her own brain of what she wants... She's moulding herself to be that person that Chris wants her to be." I completely agree with this assessment. I don't think when Britt tells Chris she loves Arlington that she's maliciously trying to deceive him. I think she's just telling him what she thinks he wants to hear (when what he really wants to hear is honesty) and in the process, perhaps seems to convince herself of that fantasy.
Watching Kaitlyn become more vulnerable with each passing week is precisely why I watch this show:
It's so much more interesting to see a hard-shelled person develop feelings than someone who seems determined to fall in love no matter what. (Compare Nick to Marcus from Andi's Bachelorette season. Love him or hate him, Nick's evolution was far more interesting from a viewer's perspective.)
The things Britt said in her meltdown would make a lot more sense if they came from anyone else. To say she was "begging for validation" after the Big & Rich group date incident last week is... well, rich.
I also suspect, in the same way Carly has it out for Britt, Britt has it out for Kaitlyn. We first caught a glimpse of her disdain for Kaitlyn's wild side in Episode 4 when she said to another girl, "It's all Kaitlyn, Kaitlyn, Kaitlyn" and spoke to Chris about his "validating her behavior". And now, this is the only time other than the zombie paintball group date where Kaitlyn gets a rose in front of Britt, and this is how Britt reacts. Call me crazy, but I have a hard time believing she would have been so livid had Carly, who I'd wager she considers less of a threat, received that same rose.
I completely agree with the following statement of Britt's: "I don't want my husband to see me as, like, second, third, or fourth down the line... I want my husband to really, really want me." However, it doesn't comply with the entire concept of this show and therefore doesn't give her much to stand on. Her use of that argument struck me as an excuse for her in-the-moment bout of jealousy.
This date felt a bit rushed since they focused so heavily on Britt in Episode 7 that the pre-hometown Rose Ceremony was bumped into Episode 8. That said, it was further confirmation that Becca is indeed the black horse of the season. These two seem to fit. I can actually picture her moving to Arlington and being content, which is something I still struggle with imagining Whitney, career woman and my personal frontrunner, doing.
My favorite line of the date was Becca's: "I don't think it's realistic to say that if you proposed today that I'd say yes." And Chris responds with an understanding chuckle. Can you imagine that being shown in any former season? Rather, can you imagine it being shown not when that same contestant was about to leave on their own? It was just nice and realistic not only that Becca said that, but that they aired it.
Back at the house, Britt says she's already packed up her things and may leave before the Rose Ceremony, which is code for, "I think I'm being sent home and I'm going to beat him to the punch." Jade's response is exactly right: "I feel like it's so crazy, if you feel like you guys have a really good connection, one rose would change that for you."
Kaitlyn says, "She definitely wants him to, like, fight for her" and yet again, I agree. It's a manipulative technique that I think any woman who has dated her share of men (yours truly included) would be lying to say she'd never tried. Here's the thing I've learned in my thirty years, though: If you have to passive aggressively threaten an ultimatum (the ultimatum being, fight for me/beg for me to stay or I'll walk), the two of you are just not right for each other. 'Nuff said.
Side note: Is it just me, or does is seem like Becca's consistently shielded from all the Britt drama? The Big & Rich group date and now this. Her one-on-ones are nicely timed.
Fun Fact #1: They've not shown a lot of the girls packing their suitcases this season, but it's an ever-present chore when you're filming.
In former seasons, it used to be stressed that if you went on a one-on-one, your bags had to be packed beforehand, since if you didn't get the rose you'd be leaving immediately. (And I do mean immediately. You can't say goodbye to the girls or anything. This is more upsetting than you'd think; you've become very close.) You're whisked off for ITMs or limo ITMs and then to a hotel where you eat room service and talk to the show's shrink, who's available 24/7. (Have I mentioned I loved her?) Anyway, my point is, there hasn't been a lot of emphasis on that this season, but it is very much required. One thing they've never really shed light on: You must pack up everything before every Rose Ceremony as well, also in case you don't get a rose. Considering the amount of stuff you've brought and how much you're traveling, that is a lot of packing and unpacking.
There's no cocktail party (DUH DUH DUHHH) so Britt interrupts the festivities for "like, two seconds" of Chris' time.
She told the girls she'd be telling Chris she's leaving but the actual conversation sounds more like apologetic damage control. Chris is like:
Here are my feelings on Britt: She reminds me of the "drama" kids in high school. You know what I mean. The ones who lived and breathed drama classes and who starred in every year's school play. Even back then I had a saying about them: when I spoke with and interacted with them, I felt like I was playing an extra in the movie of their lives. To me, they always seemed to over-emote, which was something I couldn't and still can't relate to.
This is an example of subtle over-emoting of "listening", "hurt", and "surprise":
Now, this is coming from someone who performs for a living, so I'm the first to admit I might be hyper-sensitive to it. Don't get me wrong; while I can be an introvert and hard-to-read at times, anyone who knows me well knows that I'm actually very facially expressive and animated as a person. I get very excited about certain things, like the perfect ramen or an amazing score at Bloomingdale's. But I don't move through life reacting BIG to everything, particularly in human interaction. I'm not saying one is right or wrong. It's just a way of communicating, and just as my occasional stoicism may irritate some people, Britt's constant "on"-ness irritates me. Just my two cents on the topic. Those rabidly #TeamBritt needn't egg my house.
Again, as I said above, I don't think Britt does any of this maliciously. Some have said she just seems like an extreme people-pleaser and I don't disagree with that assessment.
Britt's departure focused heavily on Carly's betrayal, but it shouldn't have. Carly telling Chris what she did had little to no effect on what transpired; Britt had lost her cool and put her own self in that position. For the last words of Britt's shown to be, "I really trusted Carly" victimized Britt, and wrongly.
Carly's gotten some flak for her harsh ITMs regarding Britt, but I still have a soft spot for her. That is most likely because I can relate to Carly's perspective and her commentary often voiced what I was feeling watching at home. Yes, her ITMs veered mean at times, but ITMs are dangerous that way. They feel like a venting session with a friend. I'm sure Carly had a hard time watching her own commentaries, just as I'm sure Britt had a hard time watching her own meltdown. They'd both take those moments back if they could, I'm sure.
I think Carly is sharp and good-hearted, but honest to a fault. (I can relate.) She also strikes me righteous, valuing justice and fairness highly—again, possibly to a fault. (And again, I can relate.) Carly's a catch and I am positive she will find what she's looking for.
I'm going to be very brief with Hometowns since I'll never finish this endless recap otherwise.
This date can be summarized with the following golden quotes of Katie, Becca's sister:
- "Becca's not an intimate person by any means."
- "I guess she doesn't feel the urge or want to."
- "She's not one of those people who will be affectionate in public."
- "[In the fantasy suite] if you decide to order room service... the sugar donut is gonna be the excitement of the evening."
You guys, did you know Becca's a virgin?? You heard it here first. And by first I mean for the 7000th time.
I was legitimately super into Whitney's job. It just seems like an interesting and rewarding way to spend one's time and to make a living. Plus, her passion for what she does is infectious.
I loved the prank where Whitney directed Chris to the "man room", saying she wanted to test his sperm, and he was like:
As I said in my Flare recap, heading into meeting Whitney's family, Chris pulls Whitney aside to ask her who he should ask for consent to propose. Something about the way he says, "This is the last time I'm going to see your family until that day", seemed very telling to me. I just don't get the sense he'd say that to someone he planned on sending home any time soon.
Chris asks the designated blessing-provider, Whitney's older sister Kimberly, for her consent to propose to Whitney. She's a stick in the mud and I love it. She says she won't grant consent until Whitney is the last lady standing, not one of four ladies standing. Can anyone possibly disagree with that? I know I don't. It's a super practical and appropriately skeptical response, and very similar to what I would expect my older sister, Meileen, to say.
Chris was endearingly bad at rapping but really went for it. For me, rapping on national television would be nothing short of terrifying, so I've got to give him credit; he's not afraid to make a fool of and laugh at himself.
Kaitlyn's parents being divorced but still getting along fine is actually referred to as "unconventional". Considering 40-50% of marriages end in divorce and I'd wager at least half of those couples harbor little hostility towards one another, particularly when there are children involved, I wouldn't call Kaitlyn's family situation unconventional.
I LOVED the fire pit dinner setup:
For me, the highlight of Kaitlyn's hometown was her chat with her mom, Leslie. She opened up with her mother in a way we haven't seen in many ITMs. As I said above, Kaitlyn comes off like such a tough cookie so as a viewer it's always extra interesting to see someone like her allow her walls to crumble a bit.
Jade's hometown was nice—I particularly liked her father and his obvious desire that his daughter be embraced and accepted for who she is—but I'm going to go a little off-topic.
Jade—or rather, what Jade represents—is such an interesting addition to this show. What I mean is, The Bachelor, for all its bikini dates and races for attention and multiple women kissing the same dude in the same night, pretends to be pretty traditional in its values. So to cast someone like Jade, who is a fascinating dichotomy of shy girl and wild child, is both open-minded and strategic on the part of the powers that be. Open-minded because I honestly doubt that even a few seasons ago they would have cast someone with readily google-able nude videos, and strategic in that they know it gets people talking.
And talk they do. I like the conversation Jade has started. I'm intrigued to know how that sort of past would affect a man's interest in a woman he really liked. And I don't mean conservative men, because it's safe to assume they'd not be okay with it. But, any particularly liberal and open-minded male readers, please sound off below. I don't judge Jade for her choices at all, especially since she seems really level-headed about the consequences. But I can't help but imagine that while men probably like the idea of a woman described as a "wild mustang", they probably would prefer that side of her to be kept in the bedroom. But I could be totally wrong about that.
Side note: I would bet everything I have that it was not Jade's own idea or choice to actually show Chris her photos and videos.
As always, more thoughts and my predictions can be read on my Flare recap here.
I really dug Britt's "I'm packed up and leaving" sweater:
Simple with a twist. I love the popped collar on her and the asymmetrical zipper. Sadly this Club Monaco "Josette" coat is long gone in-store but there's an XS selling on eBay here.
I have two runners-up for Best Dressed. First is Britt's Non-Rose Ceremony dress from the start of Episode 7:
The girl sure can dress. That cutout bodycon dress is both sexy and interesting. The exact same thing can be said for my other runner-up, Jade, in her departure dress:
The dress is one part goth and two parts sexy. It reminds me of something Morticia Addams might wear, in a good way. I love this dress and would wear it in a heartbeat.
Kaitlyn won Best Dressed this week with her white hot skater dress, also from the Non-Rose Ceremony:
I love the ladylike circle skirt silhouette balanced with the edgy waistline detail. White is striking on her. I only wish I could have seen more of this dress. Her Guess by Marciano dress is long gone but I found a somewhat similar, equally cute one here.
Since this recap was a beast, I've scrapped Worst Dressed this week in the interest of saving time. (Nothing really stood out as terrible anyway.)
Until next week, fellow pandas!