This appears to be the one season of The Bachelor where everything Chris Harrison says in promos is actually true. On Monday night’s episode, four of seven remaining contestants locked horns in a she-said, she-said, she-said, she-said battle to accuse their rivals of lying, a brouhaha that encouraged Colton’s growing paranoia over whom to trust. This season’s insult is to accuse other women of being “unready” for marriage, which seems to hit home for Colton, who has repeatedly said that his biggest fear is proposing to a woman who will leave him shortly after the conclusion of the season. But while Colton frets over a potential future dumping, he’s earned an unfortunate honor in the present: He has now been dumped more than any other Bachelor in the show’s history.
Last week, I wrote about how two of Colton’s contestants had quit the show in two weeks, putting him in unfortunate territory. Yes, from time to time, women leave The Bachelor, but they generally do so early on, when they realize they’re not cut out for reality TV. The only other Bachelor to lose two contestants so late in the season was Juan Pablo, who everybody knows was The Worst Bachelor. But Monday night, Colton lost a third contestant, making ignominious history. Heather—the contestant who famously had never been kissed before the show—told Colton that she simply didn’t feel their relationship was at a point where she felt comfortable introducing him to her family. It’s a conversation we’ve heard dozens of times on this show, but typically from the lead. Rarely has a contestant ever opted out of a hometown visit before even being formally invited.
On the one hand, I get it. Heather took 23 years to kiss a boy. Of course she’s not going to feel comfortable getting married to a guy after three months. I mean, we’ve already learned that this woman once was in a committed, eight-month relationship where she never kissed her boyfriend. (Eight months! You can grow most of a baby in that time!) But on the other hand … this woman finally decided she was comfortable making out with somebody, a stance she’d never even taken with her boyfriend of eight months—and then she instantly decided this guy, the one she’d been waiting her whole life to kiss, was meh and ditched?
To be fair, none of the three women who have broken up with Colton seemed likely to last long anyway. Heather was on a date where two women got roses and two women got sent home, and those roses seemed destined for Cassie and Hannah G.—i.e., the two women Colton has clearly been in love with all season. Colton hasn’t exactly tried to stop any of the three departures. But still, it’s striking how many women have been willing to leave. Ten percent of the show’s initial cast and 23 percent of his final 13 women have peaced out.
I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve come to like Colton over the course of this season—the worst part of his season has been the constant virgin jokes, most of which are beset upon him by producers and contestants. (And his virgin jokes are good! Monday night he pointed at his bedroom and said, “And that’s where the magic doesn’t happen.” Classic.) Colton himself has been likeable and earnest. He hasn’t made any obvious mistakes, he hasn’t done anything particularly mean, and he genuinely seems to be trying his best. It’s a bummer that he’s spending so much of his time worrying over which women are destined to break up with him—and that those fears seem to have a pretty decent basis in reality, from the fact that so many of the show’s contestants are already breaking up with him.
Most Dramatic Moment of the Most Dramatic Episode of the Most Dramatic Season Ever: The Tayshia/Kirpa/Cassie/Caelynn Kerfuffle
It’s time to talk about what everybody came here to read about—the drama! There was so much tea spilled in Monday night’s episode! Kettles of tea! It’s like the producers of The Bachelor ordered an Arnold Palmer—hold the lemonade! Folks, what is this, an episode of The Bachelor or the Arizona factory? So much tea! Colton? More like Col-Tea! (If I don’t write “tea” in a Bachelor recap at least 11 times, nobody will trust me. I don’t know why.)
Anyway, a summary of the drama: Monday night’s episode saw the development of two tag team factions, with Tayshia and Kirpa going head-to-head with Cassie and Caelynn. Tayshia fired the opening salvo by insisting that when other contestants told Colton there were “unready” women on the show, they meant Cassie and Caelynn. “Cassie and Caelynn aren’t genuine,” Tayshia said. “They’re talking about being the next Bachelorette, and they’re not ready to be engaged.” Caelynn, after shredding the gnar, then told Colton that this was total BS. And once she got back from her date, she told Tayshia that their “friendship was all a lie.”
Colton was unsure whether to trust Tayshia and Caelynn, but decided he liked both of them enough to keep them around for next week’s hometown dates. But it wasn’t over yet! Later in the episode, Cassie and Kirpa found themselves on a date with just one remaining rose, and Kirpa continued pushing the narrative that Cassie and Caelynn don’t belong on the show. It didn’t go well: Caelynn, suspecting that Kirpa might be up to no good, crashed the date to pull Colton aside to tell him that Kirpa was probably lying. And because Colton likes Caelynn (and honestly, Cassie) more than Kirpa, he ultimately chose to trust Cassie, sending Kirpa home.
So far as we can tell, Tayshia was straight-up lying—if two contestants had a public conversation about wanting to be the next Bachelorette, it was probably recorded by the omnipresent Bachelor cameras, and yet we haven’t seen any evidence Cassie and Caelynn had this conversation. So Tayshia fabricated this story and directed it at two of her strongest rivals, specifically attempting to prey on a fear Colton has publicly expressed multiple times. It’s brutal and incredibly shrewd.
But there’s a part of me that thinks Cassie and Caelynn did talk about this stuff and are just getting a beneficial showing on television. At first, Caelynn and Cassie steadfastly denied ever having any conversation that resembled what Tayshia was talking about, but later, Cassie hinted at the fact that Tayshia merely “twisted her words.” The Bachelor is known to be an unreliable narrator—sometimes contestants will reveal their true nationality, and the show will just leave that great footage on the cutting-room floor. And sometimes, certain contestants will get favorable edits to make the narrative more compelling and the show flow better. I genuinely can’t tell whether Tayshia just unleashed the most vicious slander in the show’s history or whether Cassie and Caelynn are benefitting from the friendliest edit in the show’s history. But it’s got to be one or the other.
Most Valiant Effort: Kirpa
It seemed odd that Kirpa launched herself so wholeheartedly into the fray here. We basically didn’t hear Kirpa talk until two episodes ago, when she gave Colton a dental inspection. She was such an also-ran that the explanation for her comically obvious face injury didn’t even make it into an episode. She seemed mild-mannered and sweet. And yet here she was dropping bombs down the stretch. She went all-in on hurling Cassie and Caelynn under the bus, telling the audience not to trust “people who resort to crying,” as if crying is a choice made by devious schemers and not people who are so upset that they experience a physical reaction. (This is tied for the meanest thing somebody said this season, up there with Onyeka saying she doesn’t feel bad about hurting Nicole’s feelings because Nicole cries every day.)
But I get it. We already mentioned that the climax of this episode was a four-person date with Heather, Kirpa, Cassie, and Hannah G.—and that Colton obviously loves Cassie and Hannah G. When Heather quit, Kirpa was left alone with two massive favorites. She realized she wasn’t going to win playing fair, and so she started hurling haymakers below the belt.
No, it didn’t work. But I have to give Kirpa credit. This date should’ve been one of the most predictable eliminations in recent Bachelor memory—but Kirpa stirred up enough emotions that I remained intrigued all the way until the final rose came out. I don’t think it was in her nature to go down swinging the way she did, but I’m proud of her for trying.
Biggest Snub: Thor, Colton’s Other Dog
The undisputed star of this week’s episode was Colton’s beautiful, ancient Labrador retriever, Sniper. Sniper’s been a part of Colton’s Bachelor stint ever since his introductory video on Becca’s season. At this point, any real Bachelor fan can recognize Sniper—although Colton himself did notably fail to recognize Sniper when a contestant presented him with a photoshop of Sniper and her dog.
With Colton back in his hometown, Sniper got to participate in the first date of the week. It was an all-time great dog day. He got scritches from all seven remaining contestants:
He got to go on a nice long walk with Colton and Tayshia:
He got to eat ice cream:
And perhaps best of all, he got a tennis ball.
This show supposedly is about love, and most of the time it fails. Remember, we’re on Season 23 of this show, and only one of the first 22 Bachelors is currently married to the person who won their season. I think it’s safe to say that Sniper and this tennis ball are the greatest couple the show has ever produced. That’s the type of love everybody on the show is hypothetically searching for.
However, one thing bothers me about Sniper’s perfect dog day: Sniper isn’t Colton’s only dog. There’s also Thor, a 2-year-old German shepherd. Thor is definitely Colton’s dog, as evidenced by endless Instagram posts. (Seriously, they’re endless.)
Why wasn’t Thor invited on Colton’s big date? Maybe there’s some practical reason—like that Thor is too energetic or unfriendly to be around lots of strangers, or that Colton didn’t feel comfortable going on a walking tour of Denver with two big dogs. But I believe The Bachelor should have worked around Thor’s needs, rather than the other way around. Until somebody can provide me evidence that Thor also received many scritches, a cone of ice cream, and one or more tennis balls, I will crusade in his defense.
A Toast to Hannah B.
Monday night’s episode took a disappointing turn when Colton eliminated Hannah B., my second-favorite contestant this season behind Demi. Sadly, it turned out there simply wasn’t enough room left on this show for two 2018 Miss USA contestants and/or two women from Alabama named Hannah. So Colton took Hannah B. to an airplane hangar and dumped her, although she didn’t quite seem to understand she was getting dumped for a solid 45 seconds. I’d like to say goodbye to Hannah in the only way that seems appropriate: a toast.
OK. Hahahaha, OK. Alright. OK, I have to start it.
What do I write? I have to write a bunch of words that sound good. Words that are real. Real words.
OK. Hahahahaha, I can’t do this!
Let’s make a toast to—first, Hannah B. made a lot of silly faces, so here’s to this amazing contestant. And um, yeah. Roll Tide!
Most Enjoyable Date: Colton and Ben H.
There comes a time in every season of The Bachelor when the Bachelor talks to past Bachelors about being the Bachelor. (Again, I’m not sure why this is supposedly helpful, because only one of 22 past Bachelors is married to the person who won the show.) Normally it’s in the first episode, but this year everybody was too busy telling Colton that he was a virgin to give him tips, so it had to wait until now, when Colton met fellow Denverite Ben Higgins for tips on the emotional last few weeks of the show. As you can tell, Ben and Colton are great Denver buds who hang out all the time.
I get why The Bachelor sometimes films conversations in completely empty bars—they want the ambiance, but bars are noisy and full of drunk people who might act like idiots around TV cameras. But there’s something deeply hilarious to me about this meetup. Because you know guys love to head down to the local watering hole at 9:30 a.m. in their dullest navy-charcoal outerwear to share some laughs with their best bros over a couple of medium waters.
I did say it was a “watering hole,” right?
Strangest Date Behavior: Everybody on This Sightseeing Train
The four-woman, two-rose date was up in the Rocky Mountains, where Colton and the women rode a sightseeing train together. However, it didn’t really seem like anybody actually saw any of the sights. Look at how these five idiots inhabited a totally empty train:
Heather and Caelynn snagged two window seats. Meanwhile, Colton, Cassie, and Kirpa all passed up dozens of empty rows so they could peer over Heather and Caelynn’s shoulders to sneak half-glimpses of the breathtaking mountain scenery they passed. I suspect Colton would actually value a woman who got really hyped about various mountain views over a woman who decided to take an aisle seat for better proximity to him during a five-minute shared train ride.
Classiest Moment: Colton
Colton’s a bit of an oenophile. When he’s not slamming agua with his bros, he’s sipping on white wine. So it makes sense that on his date with Tayshia, the pair went to what appears to be a wine tasting. Let’s tune into Colton’s expert opinion of this wine.
“[Glug glug glug glug] VERY GOOD.” He said “very good” like he just read a book about wine appreciation that tells you all about mouthfeel and tasting notes and terroir and whatever else wine people say, and then on the very last page of the book it said, “But if you really like a wine, you should just say ‘VERY GOOD’ as assertively as possible when drinking it.”
So if you’re out there, watching The Bachelor and chugging Trader Joe’s–brand boxed Pinot, remember: It’s classy if you just holler “VERY GOOD” right after it clears your throat.