Until Monday's episode of The Bachelor, Kelsey Poe was the quiet one. A guidance counselor, she was best-described as demure, with a short bobbed haircut, subtle makeup and a penchant for tank-tops and jeans. Her look matched her tragic story: she's a widow, who lost her much-older husband a year and a half ago, quite suddenly. But if there's one thing we know about The Bachelor, they love a curve ball, and we really should have seen Crazy Kelsey coming.
Until this week, Kelsey had gotten limited alone time with Chris. Anyone who pays attention to promos could tell she'd go far, but it was difficult to tell exactly why, other than the fact that she was too nice to send home. But in this episode, The Bachelor's crack team of editors did a great job working their way up to making her seem totally nuts. They started with very basic stuff, like how last week she was just a little bit of a princess on her group date; this week, she found it "unacceptable" that she had to go on another one.
Understanding Kelsey's behavior is easiest when you contrast her with other contestants, like Ashley I. Ashley I. is typical Bachelor crazy: constantly crying, upset that another woman who was eliminated might get a chance to come back to the house, worried she's not getting enough time with Chris. All her lines could have been said by any other contestant in any season. (Except for those where she's obsessed with the status of her own vagina.) Even comparing Kelsey to another "crazy" contestant, like Ashley S., Kelsey comes off as the scary one. Ashley S. was regular Bachelor crazy – she was just plain weird. But Kelsey's behavior is crazy because she seems so unaware of how many rules of the show she's breaking.
"What happened tonight just made me totally question how serious he took the relationship I had with him and the relationship he has with the other women," Kelsey said after Britt returned from a very successful date with Chris. "It's possible that they grew really really close today by taking a 'nap.' Or it's possible that they continued to delve into the wondrous lands of physical affection and smashing their faces together." On this note, Kelsey headed to Chris's room ("I know what I need to do") to tell him about her dead husband, Sanderson Poe. And it was at this point that she made her tragic, fatal error, saying to the camera:
I'm just...isn't my story amazing?! It's tragic but it's amazing. I love my story.
Kelsey's sickly sweet tone of voice, the way she over-enunciates and the creepy music these words were set to didn't help her while she was breaking the fourth wall, but she did get her first kiss with Chris over her "amazing" dead husband story. This meant that going into the cocktail party before the Rose Ceremony, she was "very calm, very confident" as Whitney pointed out, despite "not having a rose and not having a one-on-one this week."
"I can't pinpoint it but something's just not adding up," Whitney added, at this point unaware that Kelsey had shared her amazing dead husband story with Chris.
But Chris blew up her spot, telling the women that it had been an emotional week and that he'd had a deep conversation with Kelsey. He then asked them for a quick break. Carly–whose date with Chris that episode had involved a love/sex guru and lots of heavy breathing–was not pleased. "Kelsey was probably going home tonight and she went to Chris's room and now someone else is going home," she said.
The women scrambled to figure out what Kelsey could have said to throw Chris for such a loop, and she rose to the occasion, sharing her wisdom like the prophet she thought she was. "I'm going to have to say goodbye to people," she said, slipping up. "I'm not going – I don't know if I'm going."
On Kelsey's Facebook page, she's written emotional things about the episode, crediting a sympathetic blog post for shining a light on "manipulative blog editing." She's also written this kind of stuff:
I wear widowhood as a badge of honor. I was there until death do us part. No one can take that away from me.
Sander's death was absolutely devastating, but finding a way to live through it and my strength to survive is amazing.
Insinuating that I would dishonor my husband is ripping the scab off an unhealed wound. The pain is tortuous.
This episode was edited brilliantly. It ended on a cliffhanger, with Kelsey lying on the floor, apparently in the midst of a panic attack. We don't know yet who will go home. What we do know is that Kelsey could be just as normal (or abnormal) as any other contestant who goes on this show, yet her craziness stems from something far more sinister in the world of reality television. In just one episode, she managed to break multiple cardinal rules of the show: Never break the fourth wall. Always be aware that you will be badly edited. Don't think for a second that you can stop keeping up the charade.