Wow, last night was intense. Four girls getting cut in a mere two hours seems record-breaking for some reason. They were dropping like flies!
Watching Leah unravel last night was positively captivating. I know that sounds terrible, but truthfully, she made great television. I am aware producers were behind the scenes poking and prodding her insecurities to bring out the worst in her. But to see her go from quiet, little-airtime, nice girl to that girl—the one who knocks on Ben’s door to specifically talk trash about her seemingly sudden nemesis, Lauren B.—felt like some detective case in need of solving. It was a reminder of the cliques in the house. No matter how friendly all the girls seem, they’re there. This was one of many moments where I felt frustrated that so much time this season has been dedicated to Olivia being the villain. It’s been hammered home that Olivia was not universally liked. We get that. But the house dynamics are fascinating to me and I feel robbed of the footage necessary to have seen this coming. Why doesn’t Leah like Lauren B.? Was she just flailing and grasping at straws, as girls often are when they know they’re close to going home? Is Lauren B. actually two-faced? Or was Leah so insulted to have not gotten a one-on-one that she simply wanted to punish Ben by planting the seed of doubt about a clear frontrunner? My money’s on the last theory.
I said in my All The Pretty Pandas recap last week that the “going after what you want” mentality never works on this show. If Leah didn’t stand out to Ben by laying low, she wasn’t going to stand out by being aggressive. And thus, when she did become aggressive, she was promptly sent packing.
In a way, I have sympathy for Leah. When I think back to Episode 6 of my season, Clare, like Caila, was the first recipient of a second one-on-one. But the big difference is that every girl there had had a one-on-one at that point, so no one was upset about it. Feeling invisible is something contestants, even frontrunners, struggle with, so to have that feeling validated must be awful. However, Leah broke a few too many cardinal rules in her explosive exit. First, we know talking trash about another girl rarely works in your favour. Leah may have temporarily marred Lauren B.’s pristine resume, but she ruined her own reputation by becoming the girl who backstabs. Second, she lied through her teeth on national television, saying she hadn’t said something we’d just seen her say. Lying might work in real life, but in real life cameras aren’t broadcasting your every move. Third, she insisted she just wanted Ben to get to know her, yet used her valuable private time with Ben in his villa to continue to talk about Lauren B. Again, I know all too well about the puppeteers in the wings. But in the end, Leah played the villain with too much gusto for us to feel too bad for her.
As for Olivia, while I saw her departure coming, I couldn’t believe there was so little talk as to why. For a woman to whom Ben had given so much validation, he certainly couldn’t be bothered to specify why he was leaving her stranded on an island. Perhaps it was the fact that they seemed to be in the middle of a tornado and he wanted to run for cover. Or maybe “deep, intellectual things” are not Ben’s jam. But considering how much of each episode has been dedicated to Olivia seeming like a frontrunner and upsetting the women, her dismissal seemed seriously glossed over.
My frontrunners this week are…
1. Lauren B., 25: When Emily talked trash about Olivia, Ben ended up giving Emily the 2-on-1 date rose and sent Olivia packing. When Leah talked trash about Lauren B., however, Leah was the one sent packing. Ben really likes Lauren B., and the fact that their chemistry is so obvious that other ladies are getting upset means what we’re seeing through our TVs is accurate. There’s an electric, pheromonal, same-wavelength something going on between these two.
2. Caila, 23: The day portion of Caila’s second one-on-one was mostly turned into a montage (to the tune of Leah’s teary voiceovers), but their evening conversation sadly wasn’t. Frankly, I don’t know what these two were talking about. But they do have fantastic chemistry—Ben can’t keep his hands off her—and the fact that Ben was turned on and not off by Confusing Caila means he must really like her.
3. Jojo, 24: There wasn’t a ton of romance between Ben and Jojo this week, but their time in the water on Paradise Island said it all. Ben sought out Jojo’s thoughts on the day’s awkwardness and told her she’s the one who just “gets it.” I’ve always loved the natural bond these two seem to share.
4. Becca, 26: Whenever there’s no airtime of Ben and Becca together, I sort of forget about them as a couple. But together, when their conversations are actually shown, there is a natural rapport and understanding there. Becca’s always a class act, and she was very diplomatic yet honest in telling Ben how it was difficult to watch him and Lauren B. together. She said their connection was obvious but she never came off angry or bitter, just cautious for her own feelings. In the reverse of Caila, I’m still waiting to see their chemistry catch up with their good conversation.
For more on this season of The Bachelor from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, All the Pretty Pandas.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on Omni 2.
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