Monday night’s episode of The Bachelorette was bound to be the one when things would come to a head: Kaitlyn, already deemed by one gentleman to be only interested in making out with a bunch of dudes, followed the animal part of her nature and got busy with Nick Viall, setting herself up for even more cries of “Slut!” than she’s received thus far.
The show’s producers have been somewhat fair to Kaitlyn; they sent Ian, her critic, off with a bang, airing all the footage of him saying dickish things like, “I’m too deep a thinker, I’m too complex” to be on this show/with Kaitlyn, only to follow that up with “Oh man I need to have some sex.” They made it clear that while their chosen Bachelorette might be a sexual being, those criticizing her are no different.
But that doesn’t mean they’ve shied away from depicting the possible fall-out of Kaitlyn choosing to sleep with Nick, the reject from Andi’s season who she brought into this season late, despite the fact that it doesn’t look as though any of the men actually know at this point in the show, or will know for some time, how physical their relationship got. It’s sort of fascinating that the man Kaitlyn has so much chemistry with, who is part of the reason she’s been called things like a “ho” all season, is the same man who brought Andi a ton of criticism for sleeping with him when she knew she was in love with another man.
But in other ways, it makes sense: Kaitlyn likes Nick in part because he gets the Bachelor universe. “I think it’s probably good that you’ve done this before,” she told him, as they couldn’t keep their hands off each other during dinner in yes, a church. For Nick it’s certainly a good thing he’s been around the block, as he has a leg up on every other man he’s competing with. “He’s been in this position before,” competitor Shawn said. “He knows what to do.”
It also makes sense that Kaitlyn’s relationship with Nick escalated so quickly after she was basically called a slut by Ian. Nick was kind and understanding to her, the two of them bonding over the frustration of going through “this process.” “Ian shocked me with what he was saying, but after talking to Nick I felt better,” Kaitlyn said. So much better she decided to literally say, fuck it.
“To me intimacy is an important part of a relationship and I’m not afraid to say it,” Kaitlyn said. “I totally get it; I’m like a make-out bandit right now but I don’t judge any person how they go about a relationship.”
After her intimate conversation with Nick, the group traveled to Dublin, where she had an intimate date with Nick. (“Looks like I got lucky in Dublin,” Nick said after finding out he got a date, with apparently no understanding how lucky he was going to get.)
“[When I’m with Nick] I forget that there’s cameras, I forget that there’s people involved in this. It’s just him and me,” said Kaitlyn. “He makes me feel like a woman, like a desired woman.”
“The only concern I have with Nick is that our chemistry is too passionate. Is that a thing?
So she threw him a classic line, “Do you want to go back to my hotel and hang out for a bit?” And he said yes. And then they went into her room after some making out on the couch and stuff... escalated, if we are to believe the heavy breathing sounds the mics picked up, footage that was expertly edited between shots of Shawn, Kaitlyn’s other top paramour, talking about his issues with Nick.
But the next morning, things were different. Some odd footage of Kaitlyn talking to perhaps a producer, though it looked like she was just talking to herself, showed Kaitlyn freaking out a little. “Has this ever happened before?” she asked. “I do not want this to be an issue.”
“Nick telling them, that could ruin everything. That scares me, to think of the end of this, having no one,” she added. “I will fucking lose it if he says anything.”
“What was I thinking? I shouldn’t have done...ahhh...”
But Nick didn’t tell anyone. He told the other dudes they just hung out, describing their time together as intimate. He finds out that Kaitlyn’s also had alone time like that with Shawn, which he very calmly describes as “not my business, at least not now.”
But nothing happened with her and Shawn — nothing, at least, like sex. “She said you’re it. She said you’re the one,” we see Shawn telling a producer, it seems, while very drunk at a cocktail party. “And then we get to the Fantasy Suite and she bangs two other dudes? I can’t do it.” (We also see Kaitlyn apparently say of Shawn, “It’s gonna kill me if he doesn’t want to be here anymore because of a dumb mistake I made.”)
So the men are worked up, but they’re not actually worked up about anything that they know happened with Kaitlyn and Nick, at least not yet. What Kaitlyn’s dealing with now is the fallout of all of this being televised. “I was trying to compartmentalize relationships ... [and] focus on the one I was in at that moment,” she told People magazine.
“I was thinking, ‘What if I just ruined another relationship that meant something to me?’ So that’s where I got upset, and that’s what made me cry and break my heart – thinking about if I just ruined another relationship because it was hard to juggle all those relationships and know exactly what was right and what was wrong.”
“I always wonder if I would have waited ten days and it was the Fantasy Suite and I didn’t talk about it, would I be getting the same sort of response from people? Probably not,” she said on Good Morning America Tuesday.
Kaitlyn’s going through a hard time now for pushing the show to the realistic place it should always have gone to, allowing relationships to develop when they should develop, not when someone says it’s all right for you to be alone in a room with a man and do what you might want to do then. And to watch her grapple with the fallout from the other men she’s dating is also interesting, and also realistic; it’s hard for many people to find out the person they’re casually dating (or not so casually dating) has been feeling out other people too. That’s the beginning of many relationships.
But Kaitlyn’s hard time isn’t just dealing with the men she knows, it’s dealing with all the other idiots she doesn’t. Like all women on the internet and in real life, she’s facing a mob that was varying degrees of hard on former Bachelor’s like Ben, who got sexy with Courtney in the ocean, or Juan Pablo, who made Clare feel guilty for making out with him in the water. Even having Nick stand up for her on Twitter isn’t helping much.
It’s gonna get worse before it gets better, but if Kaitlyn can be a Bachelor trailblazer of sorts, we’ll be all the better for it. Even if it just results in really good TV.
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