Hello, dear readers!
Next, this one was a bit of a beast to write. I’ve rewritten some parts a few times, slept on my thoughts, added things here and there. So, with that said, I want to emphasize something I’ve mentioned before but only in the comments: Until my mailing list notification goes out, you can consider what you see here a draft. Case in point, I published this last night but intentionally didn’t mail it out. I thought about it through a movie (Apollo 11—highly recommend!), got my sister’s opinion, thought about it while I laid in bed, and popped out of bed this morning with a few things I wanted to add. This sort of hemming and hawing is rare for me at this point and I never want to hold up a recap for it because 9 times out of 10, I don’t change anything. I just want to explain why there are a few changes (and one extra .GIF!) since I published this last night.
Thank you as always for your dedicated readership and articulate, thoughtful responses!
Tayshia: “I’ve never been on a helicopter before!”
Only on The Bachelor.
LAST WEEK, CONT’D
We pick up at the tail of last week’s Rose Ceremony, where Colton has just returned after sending Caelynn home, toasted the ladies to hitting up Portugal next, and then suddenly disappeared for a Chris Harrison pow-wow. I made a .GIF of the conversation had by the women here for two reasons. First, their reactions to the Fantasy Suites feel appropriately disturbed given it is goddamn WEIRD to imagine ALL THREE of them having Fantasy Suites with the same guy and to be standing in a circle discussing it…
Second, note how Tayshia speculates that Colton leaving means he might want to talk to them. He was just with them yet presumably would need clearance before discussing something off script. One of thousands of examples of how the lead isn’t really in control.
After their helicopter ride above Algarve, Portugal, Colton and Tayshia naturally must discuss their relationship post-Hometown and what better place to do so than sitting on a bunch of jagged rocks…
When Colton said the following, I wrote in my notes: “You don’t say this to someone if you don’t plan on proposing to them”...
… and that was BEFORE I saw how Cassie left, making Colton saying the above that much more messed up. I mean, I know the Bachelor has got to lead on his finalists to some extent, but sentences like the above if you don’t mean them just seem unnecessarily cruel.
In the evening, we’re treated to a surprisingly funny moment, the type normally reserved for closing credits. What I dug here is not only the realness of a contestant having a boob tape malfunction (because let’s be real: NO WAY is this the first ever mention of boob tape on this show—I alone must have gone through a year’s supply), but further, the meta-ness of Tayshia referencing potentially flashing the “whole world”…
Colton presents Tayshia with a Fantasy Suite card and it appears Chris Harrison has been attending the School of Comic Sans Handwriting…
Finally, while a ripoff of Ravel’s Bolero plays, we watch Tayshia and Colton get ready for sexy time. I had a giggle imagining those in the editing room amusing themselves with voiceover placement…
Colton takes Cassie for a leisurely day in Tavira, Portugal. At one point, they have a moment in an alleyway that immediately stood out to me. Notice how the cameras are at either end of the alley (it would be pointless to be in there with them since they’d be in each other’s shots). You can see Colton and Cassie feel alone for a moment, and there’s a great Direct-Look-Into-Camera of Cassie’s where she clocks the camera ahead and opts to remain in this location of “privacy”...
This reminded me a bit of when Arie and Lauren ran away from their camera in Machu Picchu.
What’s interesting about shots like this above is how there’s a sense of the cameras (and naturally, the humans attached to them) being the enemy. On my season, in Vietnam, I remember leaving an ITM in tears with an “I can’t do this!” and went to the room I shared with Kelly and Nikki and proceeded to bawl alone on our terrace. I was horrified when I spotted a camera way off in the distance, filming me crying when I thought I was in a safe, private space—they clearly wanted to catch me melting down and obviously the producer I was just speaking with had orchestrated this, down to knowing where the terrace of my room would be from the outside. After retreating back into my room to hide, I remember feeling such disgust towards this camera person (and the producer, too—that was the last ITM I did with him), despite the fact that I’d signed up for this and these people were only doing their jobs. (None of this made air, by the way.) Anyway, long story short: There’s certainly an us-against-them mentality at times.
The day portion of this date ends on a slightly soured note as Colton tells Cassie her father—gasp—did not bestow Colton with his Fatherly Blessing. Cassie takes it really poorly. Now, I understand her reasoning that it’s perturbing to not have the approval of someone whose judgment you value and trust, but to me her frustration felt more like anger. Anger towards her father for leading her to believe everything was fine but then not giving his blessing (or rather, “permission” as Max rightly put it in the comments last week), anger at Colton seeming happy with the conversation at the time, anger at Colton for not telling her sooner, anger at Colton for not being more upset about it. Especially given Cassie had been pretty openly “not sure” leading up to this point, this felt like a too strong, almost juvenile reaction to me. I understand feeling deceived, but that doesn’t account for her giving Colton a hard time for not being more upset. For what it’s worth, I realize my perspective is possibly on the harsh side. On the HTMF podcast, Claire saw it as a woman feeling left out of a discussion among men over her future and happiness. (I agree this is possible, but given Cassie’s clear dependence on her father, I think it’s more about feeling left out in general and less to do with gender.) Meanwhile, Emma saw it as an already on-the-fence person clinging to an “out” (I can also see this being the case). Thoughts?
Naturally, because this is The Bachelor and any ex, friend, or family member game to be flown across the world for a potentially drama-inducing conversation promptly will be, Cassie’s dad comes knocking. It’s weird to consider that he had probably already been staying in the same hotel as her for at least a night, but she never would’ve known and he’d have no way of finding her.
Now, I personally really liked the following exchange because it rings entirely true to me…
The concept of never doubting things was something neither Claire or Emma agreed with. I didn’t voice it on the podcast (to be honest, it felt like an obnoxious thing to disagree on 🙈), but, well, I do respectfully disagree. Before meeting Andy, and being a hyper analytical skeptic, I thought I’d never not have doubts in any relationship, much less the one with my future husband. But, I can honestly say, from my experience, “when you know, you know”, and Andy and I have been doubt-free from the get-go. I spent my entire life not believing in that so I know full well how unbelievable it sounds, but it’s the truth. Now, granted, I wasn’t 23. I was 29 and, between the ages of 23 and 29, had broken up my biggest relationship (my first serious boyfriend, the guy I at one point thought I might marry), had had several relationships (two serious boyfriends among them), and had moved abroad. Andy had had countless relationships, one of which involved an engagement, and two careers under his belt. So I do think there is definitely an element to having enough experience to be ready to know. Every person and every relationship is different, but of course, my opinion is derived from my experience, so this is my humble take on it. In other words, I agree with Cassie’s dad on this “no doubts” front.
In the evening, Colton wants to smooth over the Fatherly Blessing conversation, while—understandably, given the conversation she’d just had—Cassie isn’t really down to let it go. But, I didn’t love the following exchange…
After watching the above, in my notes I called Cassie “a bit of a brat”. To me, this one little exchange made her seem like she’d be a pretty difficult partner (at least at this point in her life), the kind who’s easygoing until she’s not, the type to pick fights for the sake of fighting. Given Colton cannot CHANGE whether or not he got Cassie’s Fatherly Blessing, he responds kindly and as well as he possibly can. He’s not deterred by this roadblock and expresses it well. But it’s not enough for her. Or rather, it’s nothing she didn’t already “know”. I can’t help but wonder what the point of her question was if not to passive aggressively pick a fight. Now, I will add it’s possible that a) this response was edited in there (it does feel a bit strange), and b) that in light of all her “I don’t know”s, this is something she does know (hence the emphasis on “that”). But it still doesn’t feel like an appropriate thing to say to the kind response Colton just gave her (hence option a) ).
Cassie finally reveals that her father casually swung by her hotel room earlier, and in this moment, everything changes…
I touched on this on The Morning After, but not only is this the moment where you can see Colton realize he, too, is a lab rat, it’s also the pivot in terms of his eventual “fuck it” attitude. Up until this point, Colton had not done or said any faux-pas from a production standpoint, but to me, this is where it becomes a full-blown free-for-all. And understandably so. After all, if they’re going to go behind his back and fly in his number one girl’s dad to potentially change her mind for the worse, he’s sure as hell allowed to kibosh the “rules” about getting engaged and telling his favorite she’s his favorite.
The best “rule” broken? It’s having THE LEAD HIMSELF bluntly deem the strict timeline of this show unrealistic…
From the perspective of this show having a ridiculous timeline and in many ways dooming its own love stories, I LOVE Cassie’s argument in the above .GIF. Remember, I too couldn’t see myself “getting there”, so I have a deep appreciation for Cassie shining a light on how something we’ve all come to accept as normal is actually just the opposite.
That said, Cassie, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be at the point in her life where she can really appreciate and reciprocate the sort of feelings one is supposed to go on this show to find. Upon hearing Colton’s following declaration of love, hopefully, the object of his affections might reciprocate that declaration. But if she didn’t reciprocate those feelings, you’d hope she would be moved by the words. But even if she weren’t moved, you’d hope she’d at the very least be empathetic. But even if she felt no empathy, you’d hope she’d at least be polite.
But NOOOOOO. Not only is Cassie not reciprocal, not moved, not empathetic, and not polite, she responds by deflecting, even becoming a bit accusatory in the process…
I know she’s only 23, but I don’t think age is an excuse here. You can be 23 and still not respond so dismissively (and almost cruelly) to the declaration of love of someone you purport to care deeply about.
Now, I realize she could be caught off-guard, that maybe she didn’t know where he stood up until this point and just didn’t know how to respond. But remember, the above was not the first time Colton told her his true feelings. This was the third or fourth time in this conversation. She never responded to a single “ILY” appropriately. Second, while I’m sure she wasn’t expecting Colton to fight back with “I’m choosing you”, I don’t think she could have been THAT surprised from a validation perspective. They’re at FINAL THREE—that alone is validation—and there’s a producer with her all the times telling her how special what they have is and how he’s totally going to pick her. (This is IN ADDITION to the two of them clearly having a super strong connection.) My point is, you can assume most final three-ers think they have a very good chance of winning. Remember, they’re being built up to believe this specifically, and this mindset is kind of necessary to fathom being engaged in a matter of weeks. Nonetheless, even if she was completely caught off-guard (something I’m not writing off as a possibility), it doesn’t really excuse the dismissive responses to his desperate pleas.
An overriding frustration of mine throughout this whole scene was how self-centered Cassie came off. (I already discussed it over at Flare so I won’t repeat myself.) BUT, I realize I’m dissecting this from a very black and white, standards-of-behavior perspective. I had a harsher take on Cassie in this scene than either Claire or Emma, which surprised me. So, lest you think I’m being too hard on Cassie, I’ll provide some interesting food for thought from reader Anna:
“From what we hear, Cassie grew up in a very conservative household. As someone who has also grown up in a strict, Bible teaching house I understand her dilemma with some things. For myself, I grew up with high standards and was always told what those standards and convictions should be and given Biblical reasons for why it has to be that way. After college, I really struggled with who I was as a person and whether I should continue in the standards and expectations set for me or if I should find my own path. I chose the latter and in the process, deeply struggled with those convictions and especially with what I would look for in a partner, not what I was always TOLD to look for. I see that exact dilemma with Cassie. While her father talked, I saw my own father in every bit of that conversation. There was some key terminology her father used that showed his thinking is a very strict Biblical mindset.
First of all, it is clear she has not held herself to the standards taught growing up. This is a wonderful growth in a person, however, she most likely feels guilt for stepping away from those high moral standards. Additionally, since she is only 23 years old and still finding herself, she is still learning what her personal convictions and beliefs are, and therefore, is unsure what her non-negotiables are when looking for a life partner. To me, it seems clear there was a non-negotiable that came up in her relationship with Colton and she felt torn whether that should in fact affect the relationship or she should re-think her initial standard. And I feel her saying she “didn’t know” to Colton was more she didn’t know what her standards should be.
I know these are very typical feelings for every young adult, however, due to her upbringing, that adds an extra level of internal turmoil, that others who didn’t grow up with such strict biblical teachings don’t deal with.”
I appreciate this insight. I was not raised in a conservative, religious household and cannot know how it might have affected Cassie’s decision-making (and possibly her behavior) during this break up. Obviously there are countless ways to analyze and present this, so let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Poor Colton. I had to make a .GIF of him holding Cassie while he shook. You can see in his eyes the moment he realizes it may be the last time he holds her…
I do think Cassie’s general approach was to go into this with a “this is for YOU” vibe, making it more about Colton finding what he’s looking for and less about her needs. But this backfired big time, obviously. So, to me, it felt like as we watched Colton scramble to disprove her arguments, she scrambled for new ones. She began with “not knowing” if she felt she could get there, to it being about the timeline and how if she had more time she might feel differently, to finally, the only argument Colton couldn’t refute…
Colton proved what a consummate gentleman he is by, once hearing this, dropping it completely. He shelved his heartbreak and instantly went from trying to change her mind to respecting her decision. I know I’ve harped on his youth a lot this season, but the way he handled himself here showed maturity and strength beyond his years.
Finally, we get The Fence Jump, a physical feat so impressive and graceful, it simply doesn’t get old. I originally didn’t have much to say about this beyond the fact that Colton was clearly furious with production and was like 🖕🏼(Exhibits C through Z of the glorious “fuck it” attitude), but my sister Andrea had a VERY interesting take on this scene. She is completely convinced that Chris Harrison’s scenes were not actually shot until later and that he’s just a decent actor…
I mean, she’s got a point, right? Let’s dissect:
We know Chris Harrison can act. Think about his decades’ worth of straight faces when you KNOW he’s been smirking or laughing on the inside.
The voiceover of a producer calling in Chris Harrison would be redundant if he were actually there. Think about how many times we’ve seen Chris Harrison arrive to talk to Colton. We didn’t need to be told he’d arrived, he just DID. This feels more like a narration than an action, like our hand is being held into thinking he was there.
There are NO shots of Chris Harrison and Colton together, something I have a hard time believing they wouldn’t capture if it were an option.
I’ve mentioned before that, as a contestant, the most surprising thing about Chris Harrison was—other than how insanely funny he is—how uninvolved he was. Like, it was surprising when he DID show up, not when he didn’t. So, it seems highly unlikely that he’s just on call 24/7 like this, on every portion of every date. I realize this wasn’t just any date, so maybe he was nearby, but still…
… even if Chris Harrison were somehow on site, for everyone to have reacted fast enough for him to have somehow caught up to be mere meters behind is highly unlikely, especially given Colton was really moving.
More powerful than all of the above reasons combined: Andrea IS a television producer. We’ve got her production eye in our corner.
In conclusion, I am 100% certain Chris was called in later to shoot "following Colton”, calling after him, saying “he just jumped the fucking fence”, opening the fence, searching for him, etc. Color me convinced.
Whew, what a doozy of an episode. I’m particularly curious about your thoughts this week, so please share your two cents!
Finally, ICYMI, my Flare recap of WTA can be read HERE. (I don’t do Pretty Panda recaps for Tell Alls!)
Cassie’s BDG grey carpenter jeans sell (on sale!) HERE. For those asking about her black boots, I ID them below.
Tayshia’s Victoria’s Secret Shine Pleat pant sells (on sale!) HERE.
Runner-up for Best Dressed goes to Cassie with her 1-on-1 daytime look…
I am in awe at how adorably this came together. As we discussed on HTMF, it seemed an unlikely, possibly frumpy combo to layer a turtleneck with a oversized grandma sweater, yet paired with a mini skirt and exposed legs, it somehow worked. She looked cute and effortless. She gets additional props for the color of the cardigan—the red really breaks everything up and elevates the look while still remaining decidedly casual. Cassie’s UO “Colie” open-front cardigan (in Maroon) sells (on sale AND in 3 other colors!) HERE. Her H&M black denim mini skirt sells HERE. I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten as many requests as I got for these black boots! Cassie’s UO “Alex” square-toe Chelsea boots sell (on sale!) HERE. I already picked up a pair for myself. :)
Best Dressed is also Cassie with her departure dress…
This dress was HOT. As I said on HTMF, it was almost mean to wear this dress to leave in. This dress is obviously sexy but it’s also unexpected. We’ve all seen mini wrap dresses but few of those are off-the-shoulder, and even fewer are knit, and even fewer are METALLIC. Do I wish her hair had been back somewhat, in a tousled low-do? Why, yes, yes I do. One should not wear the same non-hairdo with a hot metallic mini dress as they would a grandma cardi. But that gripe aside, this look was a win. Cassie’s Akira “Another Fabulous Day” metallic mini dress (in Mocha Silver) was sold out but is now available for preorder, HERE.
Nothing offended me this week! No Worst Dressed. :)
Until next week, fellow pandas!