Episode 5

“I’m not spreading rumors. I’m literally telling him something that I was told.”

Onyeka, who may need a refresher on what a rumor is and how it gets spread



Week 5 brings us to Thailand, where Heather—whose profession, according to producers, is having Never Been Kissed—finally gets her very own 1-on-1 date. A predictable will-they-or-won’t-they-kiss edit, complete with zoom-ins of Colton’s mouth while he chews, ensues. The daytime of this date felt pretty dry and awkward, like there was nothing to talk about…


… additionally emphasized by Heather saying “Mmm” more than once, seemingly to fill those awkward silences…


But listen to the audio of the above two moments. Here’s the first clip…

… and here’s the second…

As you can hear, Heather’s “Mmm” is the exact same audio clip. It was clearly inserted to make the date sound more awkward than it actually was. Just imagine how much conversation was omitted entirely for the same effect. Given the thought that had to have been put into this editing choice, you can’t help but wonder WHY.

After Heather’s date, Elyse is escorted by a producer to finds her way to Colton’s suite to tell him she can’t deal. I covered this in The Morning After so I won’t repeat myself here, but MAN I loved this. It was damn refreshing to hear someone, WHILE ON THE SHOW, specifically point out how and why the format of this show in no way supports its supposed premise of finding love and getting engaged: “I can’t call Chris Harrison and say I want every 1-on-1 for the next year. I want the time and attention a relationship deserves.” 👏🏼👏🏼

While Colton for the most part GETS IT and is, in my opinion, very good at empathizing with and listening to his many women, he misses the mark here. He doesn’t seem to get Elyse’s issue with not feeling their relationship has the time and nurturing it needs (possibly because he feels more strongly for other people, in which case I think he should have just made this easier for her and told her this). He contradicts himself within a 5-second span, first telling Elyse it’s not about competing for his affections, but then not understanding why Elyse feels the way she feels if not for that very reason…


All in all, it’s safe to say Elyse made the right choice as Colton, while evidently into her, was hardly torn up about her leaving. (You know what they say: If he can’t live without you, he won’t.) There was an interesting inconsistency here, where we see Elyse crying, torn over the decision at hand, and then the next shot of her is not only sans tears of any sort, it’s also sans her earrings…


If anything, she looks visibly irritated in the second shot. To me, it appears as though, after doing her earrings-less post-departure ITM…

Screen Shot 2019-02-09 at 1.44.23 PM.png

… there was possibly a need to reshoot her physically leaving his suite. It seems like the entire situation was actually revisited just to get a “closure” moment, with Colton saying “alright” and escorting her out. I don’t actually know but this is my guess.


The Group Date ladies are taken on a jungle survival-themed date and poor Colton is required to give the requisite flimsy reasoning as to how this is in any way conducive to his finding his life partner. We get one of those moments of Colton’s where he reminds me of Chris Soules, in that tendency to begin a sentence without really having a plan of where it’s going, both in terms of meaning and grammar…


Naturally, any and all phobias are exploited to the fullest possible extent…


As Tayshia steals Colton away for some jungle kisses, we get a rare mention of how weird it is watching the guy you’re pursuing kiss your friends


We get mentions all the time about how weird/uncomfortable/awkward it is to watch your communal boyfriend kiss other women, but rarely are those women, in that context, referred to as your friends. I appreciated Nicole’s honesty here as you can see how trading “other women” for “my friends” in this sentence ups the weirdness factor substantially.

In the evening, in his 1-on-1 time with Tayshia, we get the most obvious proof that Elyse made the right decision for herself by leaving…


As I said above, if he can’t live without you, he won’t. Conversely, if he mentions your leaving in the context of “as hard as it was…”, with the conclusion being how it reflects his potential to find (or not find) love for himself (in other words, making it about his experience and not involving her or their relationship whatsoever), RUN. You did good, Elyse.

Meanwhile, before Onyeka launches her unfounded, under-researched attack on Nicole, we get the first suggestion that Onyeka may not be wrong. The context is clearly meant to make it sound like Nicole’s focusing more on “how far” she’s making it on this show rather than her relationship with Colton…


But seriously, if you take Nicole’s sentences out of the specific context of how few ladies there are left, I see nothing wrong with them. To me it’s clear she IS talking about her relationship with Colton and how emotionally invested she is. I just thought it was interesting how the context was used to make her sound worse than she is, and as though Onyeka was really onto something by throwing her under the bus.


Cassie’s date pretty much solely revolves around the fact that she and Colton have a ton of chemistry. I don’t generally mind this sort of thing as there really is a magic to watching a young couple in the early stages feel such a magnetic attraction to each other. However, it was almost TOO much…


As I said over on The Morning After, I watched this part of this episode at a café during dinner break from rehearsal and was literally trying to shield my screen from other café-goers. It was mortifying. At least in a public setting, it felt like I was watching some soft-core shit. Also, I imagine both Colton and Cassie would have preferred to have a bit more actual conversation shown (because we all know it had to be there). The extent to which their making out was shown and having that alone described as “an amazing first date”, in my opinion, actually cheapened their connection.

Back at the hotel, we get a hilarious conversation involving the ladies trying to remember what the date card read…


I love moments like this because it shows how aware the ladies themselves are of how silly everything is. Like, clearly Tayshia couldn’t remember what exactly Colton and Cassie were meant to “dive deep” into, but it was a reasonable assumption that it was probably something cheesy, like “love”. There’s a subtly meta, teasing tone to this Girl Chat that I appreciate.

In the evening, we’re reminded, in case you've forgotten, that Colton and Cassie have great chemistry. So much so that the editing department deemed it necessary to include a Night One Pick-Up of Cassie’s just so we could get her calling him hot….


Remember that Night One dress, and remember that same Pick-up session all way back from the first episode…


Further, pay attention to the hair, makeup, and lighting between the two Pick-ups in the above .GIF. It looks an awful lot like the exact same Pick-up session, just with a wardrobe change. I still think this ITM room is in our future. Given the four ladies we’ve seen in that room—Cassie, Caelynn, Tayshia, and Hannah G—and the fact that we’ve ONLY seen them in it, I’m increasingly thinking they could be the Final 4 ladies (hence my frontrunner predictions) and that that room is from somewhere during Hometown week. We’ll see if I’m right about this.


The Onyeka vs Nicole feud promptly resumes at the next Cocktail Party. As I mentioned this over on The Morning After, I strongly suspect there was some sort of a basic resolution between these two, because it doesn’t make sense that Onyeka would be SO offended by Nicole’s retaliation. It makes more sense that Onyeka, after learning from Tayshia what was said in the conversation with Elyse, might have backpedalled and even apologized, and thus was more upset that Nicole would throw her under the bus at the next opportunity.

Their ongoing fight aside, my big takeaway with Nicole is that she is CRUMBLING in this environment….



The above encapsulates how everyone hopes to feel in the honeymoon stages of dating, I’m sure.

Colton handles Nicole’s talking about Onyeka the only way he seems to know how: By promptly pulling Onyeka aside and immediately telling her exactly what Nicole just told him. Naturally, the two ladies resume fighting, and it becomes so loud and heated that poor Katie has to miss out on more scintillating conversation of this variety…


As Colton leaves to make some effort to mediate the very fight he helped spark, we at least we get a great trying-not-to-laugh Direct-Look-Into-Camera of Katie’s out of the whole thing…


And alas, the episode ends there with a cliffhanger.
As always, ICYMI, my first impression takeaways and frontrunner list can be found over at Flare.


The fashion section was a BEAST this week. I wasn’t able to get to all of your requests up because of time constraints and the sheer volume of them all! I try to avoid holding up the recap itself for fashion requests, so what I have currently will have to do. I’ll add new IDs either here or in next week’s recap!


First up are some belated requests from Episode 4…


Hannah B’s Shalla Wista extra long gold shimmer earrings sell HERE. I reached out to them to get a discount code for you guys—they’ve agreed to give 30% off the entire site with the code “PRETTYPANDA”, from today (02.09.19) until Valentine’s Day at midnight CT! Yay!


Hannah B’s Bailey 44 “Shoot The Tube” choker top sells (on sale!) HERE and HERE. It also comes in a cute striped version, HERE.

And now for this week’s requests…


Katie’s Vestique “Hawaiian Punch” romper is sadly sold out (HERE) but there are bunch of good alternatives out there. There’s a similar one HERE, one with a neat maxi overlay detail HERE, and a sleeveless option HERE.


Heather’s Victoria’s Secret swimsuit is sadly discontinued (Victoria’s Secret has stopped making swimwear), so I found some super similar options HERE and HERE. There’s also cool one with a strap down the back that I’m eyeing, HERE.


Elyse’s Vici Collection “Antonia” dress is sadly sold out in White (HERE) but there’s an identical one selling HERE. (Thanks, Jane!) I received a few requests for her ring but Elyse couldn’t remember where she got it.


Elyse couldn’t remember the brand of her ring or where she bought it, but I found an identical one selling HERE. In my search I also found a cool, similar-ish option, HERE.


Demi’s Nasty Gal “Together Or Apart” bandeau top and skirt set sells (at an insane price) HERE.


Sydney’s H&M earrings are sadly sold out (HERE) but I did locate a pair selling HERE.


Caelynn’s Urban Outfitters “Serene” dolman wrap dress sells HERE.


Katie’s Blue Life “Wild and Free” romper is sadly sold out (HERE) but I did find one selling HERE. Her Shira Melody “Julianna” necklace sells HERE.


Sydney’s Jay Godfrey “Alma” gown (in Lilac) sells (super on sale!) HERE and in Black (also super on sale) HERE. It’s also available to rent, HERE.


Hannah B’s Shalla Wista oxidized opal earrings sell (in multiple lengths) HERE. Again, use “PRETTYPANDA” at checkout for 30% off until Thursday.

Best Dressed

I have a couple of Honorable Mentions this week. First up is Demi with her Group Date Cocktail Party dress…


Demi has a great eye for budget finds and making them look more expensive on. Like, on her, I thought this dress looked like it could be from Revolve or Shopbop or something. It’s simple with a few twists, the color is unique, and she just looked pretty and feminine in it. Demi’s Chelsea & Violet lace detail maxi dress is sadly sold out (HERE) but I did find one available HERE.

My next Honorable Mention is Tayshia with her Rose Ceremony dress…


Tayshia continues to reign with pieces that fit her unbelievably well. Seriously, that dress fits her better than the MODEL in the above photo! She has a knack for choosing simple silhouettes that look made for her and are elevated in some way—in this case, with the pop of color. She just looks so elegant. Tayshia’s dress is once again a bridesmaid dress from her friend’s bridal boutique, Styled by TC! It’s the Jenny Yoo “Kayla” gown—it sells HERE, and is available in Tayshia’s Chartreuse by special order only, HERE.

My second Runner-up is Caelynn with her Rose Ceremony jumpsuit…


Gosh, I love this. It’s a bit slouchy yet somehow feels dressed up. It’s billowy and covered-up in a lot of ways, then has that completely open back. There’s a feeling of having not tried too hard while still having personality. I do think I would’ve preferred a low, tousled side braid or fishtail, to tie in the casual vibes but while still highlighting the hero detail here (that open back), but overall I’m still a fan. Caelynn’s jumpsuit sells (super on sale!) HERE.

My Runner-up is Hannah B with her Group Date Cocktail Party dress…


I may be a bit biased here as I’m having a bit of a moment with bright orange and this is the same color as a dress I bought for a wedding in the Summer that I’m obsessed with. I really dig this dress and that color on Hannah B—it feels like a refreshing update on the bright, almost neon pinks that have been popular lately. The details are fun but without going too far, and overall it’s a great, flattering (love the corset waist), and interesting dress that gives you a double take. Hannah B’s Ramy Brook “Audra” corset dress (in Tiger Lily) is sadly sold out (HERE). I’m afraid I couldn’t find one selling anywhere, nor could I find any decent alternatives. :(

Finally, my Best Dressed of the week is Tayshia with her jumpsuit from the arrival-in-Thailand B-rolls…


THE QUEEN OF FIT. 🙌🏼 This jumpsuit could look totally average on the next girl, but the way it looks MADE for Tayshia’s body, and with her great eye for styling (that necklace, the lace bralette), makes this a knock out of the park. It looks effortless and practical, yet feminine and fun at the same time. Tayshia’s 12th Tribe “Sail to Positano” jumpsuit is sadly sold out (HERE). I found a S selling HERE, and in my search I also found a cute striped alternative, HERE.

Worst Dressed

This week’s Worst Dressed is Colton with his Group Date look…


This bewilders me. I don’t understand the use of a button-down (especially a thin, cotton one—not a warm, flannel one) as a sort of open cardigan, especially over a long-sleeved henley. First, wearing a shirt open like this is innately casual, meaning the sleeves should be at least partically rolled up and the henley a bit unbuttoned. It’s like this is both strangely formal yet totally casual at the same time. And second, if the goal here was layering, it makes way more sense to wear the button-down UNDER the henley. 🤔

Until next week, fellow pandas!