Monday night’s episode of The Bachelor was exceptionally good television. It was not, however, exceptionally good for the lives of the women participating in creating that television.
It’s safe to assume that all episodes of the show are highly manipulated, but this one was so jam-packed with drama that it was quite easy to see the work done to make it so—which didn’t make it any less interesting to watch. Let’s explore.
The episode picked up where last week’s left off, and we learned that Olivia was not sent home, despite Ben being told by multiple girls that she was not to be trusted. This caused frustration among the women, who didn’t understand what had happened, but the viewing audience saw Olivia deftly explain how she had a “target” on her because Ben had shown the other women that he liked her so much. She then undermined not only the women she was competing against but seasons upon seasons of former Bachelor contestants.
“Everybody here’s like really into like, you know, painting their nails and doing each other’s hair and that’s great but I’m just different. Like I like reading books in my room and you know, thinking and that’s what I do. And I want to talk smart things.”
Who is Leah? Until last night, I couldn’t have told you. But this quiet blonde seemed to snap when the group traveled to the Bahamas and she learned that Caila was getting a one-on-one. “I am crossing my fingers that I will finally get a chance to have some quality time with Ben,” she said before she found out she would not be getting that time. “I don’t know why I’m here,” she said after.
During the group date (more on that genius later), Leah tried to talk to Ben about her frustrations, but he wasn’t having it, so, during cocktails afterwards, she did something that can only be described as drastic: she lied to him, suggesting that his favorite lady Lauren B. was different in the house than she is with him, a classic Bachelor maneuver that (I am sorry to say) rarely works in the long-term.
“He says he wants to get to know me but tonight’s the only night I’m going to have for him get to know me and it’s not going to be enough and I’m trying to figure out what to do to save myself,” Leah said of her move.
“Lauren B. is confident, it just shows, and that’s scary, because he could very well end up with her,” she added. “I’m not going to let Ben’s relationship with Lauren B. stop me from what I want.” The camera showed Leah telling Ben that the person she was speaking about was “the one person in the house you have the strongest connection with,” before showing her denying to Lauren B.’s after Ben confronted her and she was distraught that she “didn’t say anything.”
“I would never be the type of person to single someone out, to be like, yo, Lauren B., whatever.”
And frankly, it doesn’t sound like Leah did explicitly single her out—though she clearly implied it—as much as Lauren’s name was dubbed over to make it sound to the viewers like Leah was being that clear. Regardless, the damage was enough that Lauren and the other girls clearly figured out it was Leah who had talked to Ben.
Leah doubled up on this a second time, secretly heading to Ben’s room later that night to talk to him again. Instead of using this time to, I don’t know, make out with him alone? she brought up other women again. Ben did not like that, and sent her home.
Why would she do this? Even Leah wasn’t clear on that one.
“I would never have said anything had I known he was going to say goodbye to me tonight. I literally did not see that coming. He’s so confusing, I don’t understand. I feel foolish but I think Ben is a fool for letting me go.” Do you smell producer involvement? I do!
“I’m just giddy because this is kind of my first almost one-on-one with the man that I think I’m gonna marry, that I know I’m gonna marry,” said Olivia. That self-admitted confident streak got the best of her during a very windy, sea-spray filled two-on-one date with Emily (twin). After telling Ben she was in love with him, he then pulled her aside with the rose, making her think she’d gotten it, while Emily sat alone. But then, he switched things up, dumping Olivia, who stood alone on the beach as the producers did some helicopter shots and Ben and Emily drove off in a boat together. It was highly reminiscent of a scene from Chris’s season and equally as devastating.
Whatever producer thought it would be a good idea to put the women together feeding (chicken) hot dogs to pigs while splashing around in bikinis is a genius. On the flip side, I can’t believe it took the show this long to do this.
Looking ahead to the rest of the season, the show teased both the Bachelor 20th anniversary special on Sunday, as well as Ben being highly conflicted about who to pick at the end and crying a lot. Most of that is probably bullshit, but the way they’re marketing the anniversary special is fascinating. Jade and Tanner of Bachelor in Paradise will get married, and the producers have turned their wedding into another Bachelor fuckfest, an opportunity to get a bunch of past cast members together to flirt and gossip. “It’s the most romantic Valentine’s Day special ever.” Sure it is.
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Images via ABC.