Episode 3

I want to thank those of you who reached out after reading my Instagram post about having a hard week. Just so you know, my grandmother very recently passed (my mom’s mom—we grew up calling her “Po Po”, Mandarin for grandma). We just lost my grandpa (Papa, my dad’s dad) two months ago so this was a blow. Making matters worse, there were difficulties with the opera company I’m with now to get away for the funeral. It’s finally been sorted but it was just a really emotional and tough week.

I want you to know that your messages meant SO MUCH. I seriously teared up reading some of them. It’s amazing how much folks you don’t even know personally can feel like friends. I want you to know that I really value you guys and what we have here. Thank you.


“It would suck if, like, he sent me home before her.”

Hannah B, not sounding very Right Reasons-y

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GROUP DATE #1

The selected ladies are taken to a Medieval Times-esque pirate-themed show where they compete for the title of best “pirate”. There was a ton of unsubtle, choppy editing on this date. Pretty much everything we were shown was meant to reinforce the fact that DEMI AND TRACY HATE EACH OTHER, OKAY??

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I’m not saying Tracy didn’t make this face at Demi at some point (she sure is not afraid to dole out the ol’ stink eye) but given the girl on Tracy’s left (I’m 99% sure it’s Caelynn) is turning towards Demi during her “Shakira” dance (and not wearing the same top when Tracy’s stink eye is shown), then shown facing away during Tracy’s stink eye, it’s safe to say this reaction does not match this moment.

There’s more of this, because in case you’d forgotten, HANNAH B AND CAELYNN HATE EACH OTHER, TOO, OKAY???

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Did anyone actually believe this thumbs-down was in response to Caelynn?? Note how Katie and Courtney are both also giving (albeit quieter) thumbs-downs. It’s clear there are either teams for each woman, or there was some intro where a “bad guy” was introduced (presumably the character from which Colton needed to be “saved”) and the audience was meant to boo him.

I can’t stand editing like this. It’s so insulting to our intelligence, like watching the TV show version of a picture book. Like we can’t decipher relationships based on subtleties and actual interactions so we need to be LITERALLY SHOWN a girl giving two thumbs down for another. Ugh.

In the evening, there is a fantastic Direct Look Into Camera™ of Tracy’s. I’d say it even flirts with being ATPP’s first ever Stink Eye Into Camera…

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For her 1-on-1 time, Hannah B somehow thinks it’s a good idea, instead of basking in her post 1-on-1 date glory, to talk shit about one of the girls Colton REALLY likes. What struck me here was what she muttered before doing it. I’ve mentioned before that producers are always chatting with you about what you plan on talking to the lead about next. Which, by the way, I was never into. I wanted to go and just let conversation flow naturally. I learned quickly that this is not kosher. It’s not acceptable to just go and NOT have a plan. And to, of course, disclose said plan to your producer so that they can plan.

So, for Hannah B to say “I think I have to talk to you about something”, it really feels to me like she had a conversation with a producer about this very thing and that she was (obviously) encouraged to go for it…

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Something about the way Colton looks at her as she says this, it’s like HE KNOWS. He’s been there, and you just get the feeling he knows something’s about to go down.

Finally, I have to point out an ITM with Caelynn where she says she feels Colton’s being lied to…

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Note the simple top and more importantly, that familiar background I pointed out from a bunch of Pick-ups in Episode 1….

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In fact, based on her hair and makeup in this Pick-up, the positioning and framing, and even the way the light is hitting her face, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the exact same session. Also, I could be wrong but, given the fact that we haven’t gotten many ladies with this ITM background, I strongly suspect this room is from way later in the season.

ELYSE’S 1-ON-1

Can I just say, it is SO NICE to have a woman like Elyse on this season. A season that feels… young. And I use the word “woman” intentionally. Elyse is all woman. She is mature. She is gracious. She knows how to take a compliment. She listens and can recognize when she’s listened to. (She called Colton a “good listener” which I happen to think is a huge compliment as listening is a dying art.) She really is the cream that has risen to the top of the season and I’m so glad we’re actually getting to know her, that she’s not one of the many invisible women of any given season. And credit is also due to Colton here for recognizing and valuing her understated elegance.

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There was no .GIF to be made of this date. There was no strange editing (I looked), no annoying moments, nothing. The big reveal here was clearly Elyse’s story about her sister. As someone who has two sisters, I found this devastatingly sad. I can’t even imagine what she’s gone through and the strength it takes to be able to tell that story with her level of poise. But she wasn’t TOO poised either—with a lot of folks on this show, moments like this can have a “I’m going to share my sob story with you now” feeling. Not so with Elyse. I said in my Flare recap last week that it’s so nice to have a contestant to really root for, in more ways than just as a romantic lead for the partner. Elyse is IT.

Also, she gets bonus points for WEARING HER HAIR IN MORE WAYS THAN JUST DOWN. Be still my heart! ♥

GROUP DATE #2

The ladies compete for the Bachelor’s Strongest Woman trophy, something I legitimately enjoyed because it was a damn impressive showing on some of the ladies’ parts. In addition to the trophy, some panda bonus points go to Onyeka for racing so hard that her mic pack literally dragged on the ground behind her…

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In the evening, things come to a head with Canadian Caitlin, who doesn’t come across super Canadian to me. Not denying her Canadian-ness or anything, and I’m not saying she’s how she came across on this episode. But in terms of what we SAW, she didn’t show one ounce of depth, she didn’t appear to ask a single question (it’s a social peeve of mine when people just wait to be asked things), yet didn’t seem like she’d thought through what she wanted to say to questions asked of her either. Remember when I said a producer prods you about what you want to share and talk about? Caitlin is evidently the type of contestant who should heed that “have a plan” motto…

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What bothers me so much about the above (enough for me to make a .GIF of a moment Caitlin probably isn’t super proud of in real life) is that it’s a complete and utter cop-out. I don’t care if you haven’t experienced some sort of tragedy as some of the people on this show have—you can still have an opinion, you can still stand for something, you can still have and show some personality.

Further, the way it was worded feels like a subtle reference to those who have experienced hardships of sorts in their lives. Like, I myself have had a pretty good and, in some ways and on paper, a relatively easy life as well (knock on wood). But that doesn’t mean that when someone asks me, “What makes you you?” (a favorite question of Colton’s), I can’t think of a response because there’s no tragedy of which to speak. Just TALK ABOUT YOURSELF. Share a fact about yourself, even a mundane, insignificant fact. Anything that can propel conversation forward. Caitlin’s response just stops the conversation dead in its tracks. There’s nothing to work with. 25 is way too old for this sort of ditzy response, or for stating that what you’re looking for in a partner is someone who can have a “silly, ridiculous” night out with you and your friends. I realize this line could have been taken out of context and maybe she did share other more meaningful traits she's looking for, but based on her multiple facepalm-worthy quotes in this conversation alone, I somehow doubt it.

I laughed when, after Colton walked Caitlin out, there was a voiceover of him pretending to show remorse about it…

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He wasn’t struggling with it! He easily could have waited until the Rose Ceremony to end it. I get that it looks better on him to feel a sense of loss over every woman but… come on… he couldn’t send her packing fast enough.

POOL PARTY + ROSE CEREMONY

Chris Harrison arrives to share the now standard Episode 3 news that there’ll be a pool party instead of a cocktail party. I laughed SO HARD when he came and the mood was all jovial, until he drops “Until Caitlin goes home” with a thud…

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Way to ease the forced tension, Chris.

During this pool party, we see a kiss between Hannah G and Colton. Now, I know I’m certainly not one to be critiquing kissing chemistry on The Bachelor, but this felt very off to me. Doesn’t it feel like Colton is NOT into it, like he’s even retreating?

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Meanwhile, as the ladies engage in what appears to be not remotely dangerous poolside behavior…

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… we continue to get more of the Hannah B vs Caelynn saga. It turns out anyone Hannah B touches turns to sloppy editing gold, because even innocent bystander Heather’s words get all chopped up. First watch the following…

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Now listen to the audio…

Heather’s question is cut up as follows: “Are you gonna tell him / the truth / about the situation / with Caelynn?” The only thing we actually see come out of her mouth is “with Caelynn”.

Also, I didn’t pick up on this until I was working on this audio, but listen to the first few sentences they exchange with each other...

THE VOICES ARE WRONG. The first “So, have you talked to him” is Heather’s voice, and the “No” is Hannah B’s, even though it should be the other way around. Editing always gets sloppy but it’s rare that voices actually get mixed up like this. (And obviously, even Hannah B’s “But I’m ready” is also totally frankenbitten.) Just a reminder that anyone can be shown or heard saying ANYTHING.

Finally, the big moment that was teased in all the previews. Hannah B’s roar, which was evidently done as a joke, likely to entertain a producer’s requests. I can just see him or her jokingly asking Hannah B, “So what does the beast look like?” And again, there’s more of that out of whack editing, since the shot of her roaring is taken from a totally different moment with totally different lighting…

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Now let’s scroll back to the previews. Note how not only is it flipped, but how we’re cropped differently on Hannah B’s face, allowing for a glimpse of Heather, who’s laughing along and facing the same way as Hannah B, presumably at that producer…

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Of course, I wasn’t there and don’t know for sure, but that sure as hell looks like a silly joke to me. Pretty awful for it to be used over and over again to make Hannah B look crazy.

Colton is surprisingly distraught by the beauty queen drama. Like, I get that it would leave you torn on who to believe, but to essentially leave the entire pool party hanging felt a bit extreme. I’ve mentioned before that the worst part of filming as a contestant on this show is the waiting, so I really felt for the ladies as they just sat around and waited all day for their respective 10 minutes with Colton that never came. Anyway, his distress wasn’t entirely for naught as we got a fantastic peek behind the production curtain, with solid Producer Watch™ sightings…

Megan ’s on the left and  Caitlin ’s on the right.

Megan’s on the left and Caitlin’s on the right.

What I find funny about the above clip is it proves how uninvolved Chris Harrison actually is. It’s clear Colton was in there to vent and talk with the two female producers, while Chris Harrison was sent in to get some of that valuable discussion on camera. But note how Colton is incredibly unresponsive to Chris. He responds to Chris with a sulky, “Yeah.” The above 3 seconds to me really shows just how for-TV-only their relationship is.

Finally, at the Rose Ceremony, note how any two women with conflict are coincidentally next to each other. Tracy and Demi, Onyeka and Sydney, Hannah B and Caelynn…

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Gotta get those tense side by side shots!

As always, my frontrunners and first impression takeaways can be found over on my Flare recap!

THE FASHION

Requests

First up are two requests from Episode 2…

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Hannah B’s earrings are by Cindy Moore Designs but there doesn’t appear to be an online store. According to this post you’d have to DM her to order these hoops. If you mention All The Pretty Pandas when ordering you’ll get 10% off! :)

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Bri’s Faithfull The Brand “Beau Rivage” top sells (on sale!) HERE.

And now for Episode 3 requests…

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Demi’s Becca by Rebecca Virtue "Floral Cottage” off the shoulder bikini sells (majorly on sale!) HERE (top) and HERE (bottoms). If you like the print but not the style, it comes in a tankini, HERE. And if you like the style but not the print, it also comes in black (HERE), and as a one-piece (HERE).

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Heather’s distressed denim jacket is by Love Tree. It’s sadly sold out (HERE) but they’re a near identical one by the same brand HERE.

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Caelynn purchased her cross ring at Ballantyne Jewelers in Charlotte, so since there wasn’t really a brand to work with, I’ve found dupes HERE (budget-friendly) and HERE (real deal).

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Demi’s NBD “Marvin” mini dress sells HERE.

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Caelynn’s Show Me Your Mumu “Rene” sweater (in Palmtini Knit) sells HERE and HERE. The same print also comes in a mini dress (HERE) and shorts (HERE).

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Caelynn’s Sundari Swim “Prana” bikini sells HERE.

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Demi’s Billabong “Easy Daze” Pin-Up bikini top sells HERE. The bottoms sell HERE.

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Cassie’s & Other Stories ruffled dotted bikini top sells HERE. The matching bottoms sell HERE.

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Hannah B’s AQ/AQ “Dakota” keyhole jumpsuit is sadly sold out (HERE) but I found a few selling in the Wine color (HERE and HERE) and in Black (HERE). The brand has a mini dress with the same style selling (on sale!) HERE.

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Bri’s The Fifth Label “Nash Check” dress sells HERE. The same print also comes as a top (on sale—HERE) and skirt (on sale—HERE). Her B-Low The Belt “Barcelona” belt sells HERE and HERE.



Best Dressed

I have a few honorable mentions this week. First up is Bri with her pool party look…

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I LOVE this bikini and its retro yet somehow modern vibe. It’s refreshingly simple and is balanced nicely with the great jewelry and bandana. Bri’s Triangl “Kody” bikini (in Nude) is sold out on the website but I managed to find one selling HERE. Her bandana is from Target and sells HERE. I ID’ed her earrings and necklaces last week!

Next up is Heather with her cool swimsuit…

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I’ve never seen anything like this and immediately loved it. I got a lot of requests for this as well. It’s got fabulous nautical vibes and is a completely new is-it-a-one-or-two-piece silhouette. It too has retro vibes—that Baywatch high-cut look is officially back. Heather’s Kendall + Kylie x Revolve cutout one piece swimsuit sells HERE. It also comes in black and white, HERE.

Finally, Elyse with her pool party look…

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I LOVE Elyse’s style and this is a great example. She easily could have worn her hair down like everyone else and still looked great, but she WENT there with her styling. That incredible, almost mohawk-like ponytail/braid hybrid not only looks great on her but shows major skill, too. The bikini is simple but with a twist, and even a functional black sarong feels badass on her and with this look. Elyse’s bikini is by Beach Bunny but I could not find it online to save my life. (In my search I did manage to find a very similar option, HERE.) She got her sarong on Amazon and it’s a fantastic budget find, HERE. (I will definitely be buying at least one of those.)

Tied for runner-up are the two ladies in red. First up is Elyse with her strapless number…

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This is “less is more” at its finest. This dress is nothing crazy (we’ve all seen strapless red gowns before), but it’s how impeccably it fits and how she slicked back her hair that makes it remarkable. This is the difference styling and fit can make! Elyse tells me she’s an avid thrifter which is fantastic but not great for us wanting to buy pieces she wears; she got this dress for $5 at a thrift store! I was able to find a pretty similar gown (HERE) but, sorry, I couldn’t also get a similar price tag!

Next is Bri with her one sleeve mini dress…

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I will miss Bri! We hardly got to see her yet she was a fixture here in the fashion section. Imagine all the looks we’re missing out on now that she’s gone. 😩 This dress is eye-catching and, while obviously sexy, still feels powerful. (It somehow doesn’t feel like a sartorial choice made for men.) I LOVE that she wore her hair in a high pony and kept the jewelry simple to let the neckline shine. Great styling all around. Bri’s h:ours “Morgan” dress is sadly sold out (HERE) but there’s a good dupe (and look-for-less) HERE.

Finally, Best Dressed this week is Tracy with her Rose Ceremony look…

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Gosh, I love this dress. Given Tracy’s a stylist, I’ve been keenly watching her looks. But while her style thus far has indeed been very stylist-y, it hasn’t really been my taste. THIS, on the other hand, is gorgeous. It’s dripping with sex appeal yet feels so elegant. The color is perfect. I even love that she didn’t wear the accompanying sash, which in my opinion cheapens the dress. Bonus points for wearing her hair in a low, slick pony tail. This was a top to bottom win for me and feels like red carpet material. Tracy’s Solace London “Laryn” pleated gown is sadly sold out (HERE). I wasn’t able to find anything quite like this, though the same dress comes in a print, available to rent (HERE) or buy as a mini (HERE).

Worst Dressed

The title of Worst Dressed this week unfortunately belongs to Nicole with her Rose Ceremony look…

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Agghhh… I actually adore Nicole (she is spunky and hilarious) but this dress is not good. It looks not only super dated in an 90s prom way, but also cheap, bordering on costume-y. Like, my actual opera costumes look richer and higher quality than this. On top of it all, the fit is terrible, with weird puckering happening in the boob area. In general, the boob area confuses me because it should have a sexy cleavage situation with the plunge, yet with the bridal-esque embedded cups, everything is propped too high and rigid-looking. Plus the the color…. sigh. I’ll drop it, but you get my point. Not loving this. Sorry, Nicole!

Until next week, fellow pandas!

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