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I hope you've bid your friends farewell, kissed your significant other goodbye, and sent the kids to the neighbors, because the two-night Bachelor extravaganza is upon us, rose lovers — and we need to focus.
Despite the title, the Bachelor is not the first person in Chris Harrison's hot seat. Remember how excited we all were to see Kelsey get the boot last week? Well, I hope you enjoyed your six days of freedom, because she's baaaaaaack.
"Was I really that controversial?" she coos to Harrison, wide-eyed. Girl, please. Kelsey does, however, inch closer to honesty after the host asks her if she thinks she's smarter than the other girls. Her response: [Four seconds of silence that speak volumes] "No." Oh, so close! Anyway, let's just cut to the chase, Kelsey: You faked your panic attack. Discuss.
OK, whatever, of course Kelsey's going to say her panic attack was legit. The really shocking thing, though, is that she describes herself as a "mental health professional." I'm sorry — I thought she was a guidance counselor? You know, the person who helps you with your college applications and… um… hang on for a second… [Types "what does a guidance counselor do" into Internet search engine] Yeah, nothing here about "mental health." But I digress.
Moving on to the Battle in the Badlands. Though Kelsey pretends to take the high road, saying Ashley is "an incredible person" and she still has a lot of "respect" for her, Team Bachelor doesn't have to work too hard to undermine her revisionist version of history.
Welp, that's settled. Now it's time for the Bachelor to answer for his role in the two-on-one date travesty. "You totally ratted the girl out to Kelsey!" marvels Harrison, laughing. "What did you think was going to happen?" At least Chris owns up to being a complete idiot: "I clearly know less about women than I ever thought I knew."
Wait a minute — why have we spent this much time talking about Kelsey and Ashley Eyelashes when there is unseen footage of Ashley Onion wandering around the Casa Bachelor campus — and footage from her freakin' audition tape — to be enjoyed? Oh my gosh, look at her! Looking all fresh-faced and Carrie Bradshaw-like on the roof of her New York City apartment building. How did things go from this…
Really, none of these other "ladies" can follow Ashley Onion, so lets breeze past most of this the Greatest Hits montage — "Drunk Girls of The Bachelor," the Jillian's Black Box retrospective, Jimmy Kimmel redux, Becca and the runaway Burro — and get to the real reason we're all watching this hour of television.
Tell us, Andi: What went wrong with you and Josh? "We had struggled for awhile," says the former Bachelorette tearfully. Coaxed by Harrison to reminisce about the day she and Josh got engaged, Andi looks legitimately pained. "It's hard to even talk about because I can envision, like, sitting on his lap and laughing and kissing him," she says, wiping more tears away. "I finally was that person that people looked at and said, 'Look how in love they are!'"
It all started to fall apart, she continues, after attending the live Bachelor premiere, where lots of people asked about when she and Josh were going to tie the knot. "We actually had to, like, ask ourselves, like, 'Why are we not planning a wedding?'" In the end, they duo decided to call it off because, Andi explains, "We just didn't better each other."
"It breaks my heart to know that people rooted for us," sobs Andi. "And I feel bad that it didn't work out." What is this feeling tightening my chest? Is that… sympathy? For a fellow human being person who sought a spouse on a reality show with a 14 percent success rate? Hang in there Dorf.
Who's dream is next to be crushed? It's all coming up… right now. When last we left Chris and the "ladies," he was helicoptering the hell out of the Badlands to escape Ashley and Kelsey, and the women were getting turnt in their hotel room, poppin' bubbly, and drinking to their rivals' demise. Now, though, it's time to paint their faces and tighten their sequined corsets, because the Bachelor is waiting for them at the Martin & Mason Hotel.
And for some of them, of course, Chris doesn't have good news. At the cocktail party Megan, bless her heart, point-blank asks him if he's into her. I think you can guess what happens next.
Goodbye, you goofball! We'll always have New Mexico. (Am I the only one who wants her to be the next Bachelorette? Blondes need love too!)
Well, that certainly killed the mood. At least no one else is going home to… Clink Clink Clink! Oh no, Chris Harrison is here with his Butter Knife of Bad News. I guess someone else will be getting the boot. All of the "ladies" assume it will be Carly — including Carly, who feels like she's going to "frickin' puke… or cry." But before we know it…
That's right — Chris announces that he is bringing all of them home to Iowa. Carly can barely contain her excitement, even though Chris very clearly just said he is taking them all to Iowa.
Knowing that he's going to have to ease into the whole Arlington thing, Chris first brings the women to a legitimate city, Des Moines. Baby steps, you guys. Though the final six women all get along pretty well, the others can't help but be miffed when they arrive at the hotel and learn that Jade is getting her second one-on-one date — and this one's in Chris's hometown. "Why don't you just give her the ring?" scoffs Kaitlyn. Oh honey, didn't you watch the previews for this episode? Jade has a few obstacles in her path yet.
Past the cornfields and the grass and the cows and the cornfields, and Jade finally arrives at Chris's charming red-brick house with the expansive backyard.
Hopefully Jade likes cows, because judging from the tour she gets of Arlington's "downtown" area, people are few and far between. Most of the mom and pop businesses are closed ("Technology's kind of replaced people," explains Chris) and even the town's one bar has closed. While inside Jade's thinking this...
…she manages to keep smiling, smiling. And the good news is the town isn't completely devoid of people — it just turns out they're all at the local high school (go Starmont Stars!) for a football game.
And will you look at that! Chris is introducing Jade to his parents. (Ooooh, the "ladies" are gonna be so mad when they hear about this!) As the Bachelor gives Jade a tour of his old high school stomping grounds, she let's slip that growing up, she was a bit of a rebel. Chris is intrigued: "Jade told me she's got a wild side that I really want to see." As long as you have an Internet search engine, sir, that can be arranged.
But Jade's not quite ready to tell Chris about her past. Instead, the two of them decided to brush up on their French. (Good one, Team Bachelor.) Later they kiss in front of a bunch of children, and then Chris does his best Judd Nelson. (Do you think Jade gets the reference? I'm guessing no.)
The next day, Chris meets Whitney in Des Moines for the second one-on-one date of the week. Since Iowa is kind of a "make your own fun" kind of place, their date involves taking pictures of each other as they walk around the city smooching.
Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Jade is regaling the ladies with tales of her quasi-hometown date, and by the time she gets to the part about meeting Chris's parents, Britt's face looks like this:
Pull it together, missy! You're going to Arlington, too… just without Chris. There's a car waiting out front so the "ladies" can take a little reconnaissance road trip to Prince Farming's hometown. It's a brilliant move on Team Bachelor's part, because we can see how Britt, Carly, Becca, and Kaitlyn really react when they witness Arlington in all of its one-stoplight glory.
That's right, "ladies." If you marry Chris, you're going to have to drive a whole hour to go see a movie. Shiz is about to get REAL.
Back in Des Moines, local celebrity Chris dodges the iPhone paparazzi as he leads Whitney to a restaurant downtown. And wouldn't you know it — three of the Bachelor's best friends are there! I mean, we'll have to take Chris's word for it, because Team Bachelor doesn't see fit to tell us the guys' names or anything about them. Still, the whole encounter makes Whitney feel "really special" — even when the Nameless Friends start putting her on the spot: "Do you love him?" and "Do you have hesitations about moving here?" (Answers: None of your beeswax and No.)
Eventually Chris's friends leave, and Whitney decides it's time to tell the Bachelor about her family situation, which is "a little bit different": Her mother passed away suddenly from a blood clot, and she doesn't have a relationship with her father. "I don't have any parents," Whitney tells the Bachelor. Of course, being the Steel Magnolia that she is, Whitney isn't looking for sympathy or a pity rose — she just wants Chris to know that she hopes to marry a man with a great family: "I really can't wait to call someone 'Mom and Dad' again." Oh for Lord's sake, did I just tear up? Arrrgh I hate feelings.
The date concludes with one last surprise: Team Bachelor has arranged for one of the photos Whitney and Chris took of each other to be memorialized as a mural on a wall outside of the restaurant. OK, I've got a lotta questions: Did the Bachelor interns paint this? What happens if Whitney isn't the last one standing? Will someone come in and paint the "winning" woman's face over hers? Either way, Whitney — and the ever-present crowd of iPhone-wielding spectators — love it.
Speaking of pictures being immortalized, Jade has something to get off her chest. Let's listen in, shall we?
Carly, as usual, sums up Jade's predicament quite nicely. "It's one thing to be a guy, and to be like, 'Yeah, that's cool.' And it's quite another to be like, 'Hey Mom, don't Google my wife.'"
Before we get to the Big Reveal, though, it's time for the group date, with Kaitlyn, Britt, and Carly. They head to the Wells Fargo Arena for some hockey shenanigans on the Iowa Wild's home ice, and after a few fun shots of Chris falling on his keister, we get down to business. Britt — who feels all sad-face about having to share her "boyfriend" — grabs the Bachelor first, and gives him the whole "We snuck out to Arlington and at first I wanted to kill myself, but then the sunset changed everything!" speech. I think Carly's hand knows what we're all thinking:
If Carly knows what's good for her, though, she'll keep her mouth shut. What's the No. 1 rule of hating other women on The Bachelor?
Unfortunately, Carly just can't help herself, and she uses her entire one-on-one time with Chris telling him what a big liar Britt is and how she practically vomited when she saw Arlington for the first time, etc. etc. etc. "Be careful, Chris," she concludes, her voice breaking. "Because I'm really, like, freaked out for you."
That night, the Bachelor takes the "ladies" to a not-quite-romantic (yet very ecologically friendly) local business for drinks: West End Architectural Salvage. It's appropriate, I suppose, because the only thing on his mind is whether or not he can salvage his relationship with Britt after Carly's bombshell. (Heh heh — see what I did there?) And honestly, Britt doesn't do herself any favors when Chris gently asks her to reiterate her initial reaction to his tiny hometown. Not only does she deny ever having a "there's no effing way" moment, she also gives him a clumsily non-committal explanation for why she could see herself living there. "I like to reinvent myself," she says. "This is a good thing to try." To try? Honey, it's not 'Til I get bored do us part, it's 'til death.
Did Chris believe her? Hard to say. He and Britt spent a good amount of time making out after their talk — but then he gives the date rose to Kaitlyn, because he doesn't want her to feel "insecure" about her place in his heart. Congrats, Kaitlyn! You've made it to hometown dates! (But, like, she's not going to "win," right rose lovers? I just don't see him picking a girl who wrote a love rap that rhymed "fever" with "beaver.")
And just when you think this long, emotional episode is finally over, Britt decides to chew Chris out about giving Kaitlyn the date rose — in front of Kaitlyn and Carly. "I don't want my husband to see me as second, third, or fourth down the line," she grouses. "I just feel like I'm last in line." Naturally, this makes Kaitlyn feel really good.
The Bachelor, meanwhile, isn't about to play submissive to Britt's dominant. "I'm not sure of the position you're trying to put me in right now," he counters. "Out of respect for Carly and Kaitlyn, I don't know that this is really a conversation that I can say anything that really makes a difference." He bids them a curt farewell and leaves the junk shop. Though Carly clearly wants to strangle Britt with a length of her rival's unwashed hair, she chooses to see the bright side of the situation.
Welp, what say you, rose lovers? Is Britt going to get the boot (or leave on her own) Monday night? Carly and Kaitlyn sure think so. How worried should Jade be about her Playboy past? And would you voluntarily move to Arlington, Iowa if it meant landing a rich husband? Post your thoughts in the comments below. And be sure to check out Chris Harrison's exclusive blog, where he talks about his "cathartic" conversation with Andi. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go launch a Megan for Bachelorette Facebook page.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.