This was one of those weeks where, even more so than usual, I’d love to know what was left on the cutting room floor. Pretty much every segment of this episode felt like we were missing something. In some cases, those missing pieces were standard and not totally necessary, but in others, they were vital. Methinks the editing department went a little snip-happy this week.
The typical missing pieces would be the bits of Kristina‘s date not pertaining to her past. Where was the light banter, the romance, the conversation that resulted in her getting that rose? I absolutely appreciated and was moved by her (heart-wrenching) backstory and am glad (as long as she’s glad) that it got shared. But, there’s a whole lot more to her (at least a decade’s worth) that I for one am also curious about. And I actually do feel there’s a great chemistry between Nick and Kristina but my issue is we never really got to SEE it. But, again, this sort of glossing over is par for the course. We’ve seen this kind of stuff not get shown plenty of times before.
In the Group Date, however, there were large chunks of storyline that I, as a viewer, felt I would’ve needed in order to know what the hell was going on. At one point Vanessa said, “How can my relationship get to another level when all Nick’s experiencing is me being competitive at a volleyball game?” It’s totally normal for Group Dates to have group daytime activities and then the more personal 1-on-1 times in the evening. Why would Vanessa’s interactions with him be limited to this volleyball game? Mid-game Rachel said, “I quit. I don’t want to play” and later, “I’m not going to compete for Nick’s attention…. I just don’t feel valued.” Even the normally Switzerland-esque Danielle M said, “I’m crying over a stupid f-cking volleyball game… This whole environment is about how much time you have, and when you don’t get that time or that time’s taken from you, it’s like, there goes your shot.” And Vanessa again chimed in with, “I’m fed up with having to compete for time.” Based on all that, I have a hard time believing this volleyball game was not begun without the premise that the winning team would get time with Nick and the losing team would have to go home. That’s not unheard of in Bachelor land (in fact, it’s pretty standard), making me wonder WHY, in this case, that stipulation wasn’t shared? Especially since so many women—even the normally “together” ladies like Vanessa, Danielle M and Rachel—were seriously losing their cool about it. What else happened here? Did a team actually love? Was there some fight? They all went on the evening portion of the date, so did Nick have a change of heart? Again, none of this is anything we haven’t seen before, so why would we be kept in the dark this time? It only makes me more curious about what’s behind the curtain. What didn’t they want us to see here?
My frustrations don’t end there, sadly. As the 2-on-1 unfolded it became obvious that Danielle L wasn’t the most popular lady in the house. The shock I had about this reminded me of Ben’s season; it became apparent (also in Episode 6!) that Leah wasn’t necessarily well-liked when her sabotage of Lauren B came as no surprise to anyone. But, so much time had been dedicated to Olivia that this friction came completely out of the blue. This season, perhaps if so much excess airtime hadn’t been spent focusing on Corinne vs. Taylor, we’d have had the slightest clue why Whitney, Vanessa, and Danielle M (and who knows who else) all felt Danielle L wasn’t “ready for a relationship” or wasn’t “right for Nick”. (I don’t care how “not right” or “not ready” a girl is; if she’s well-liked, no one’s going to call her out on it.) What piece of the Danielle L puzzle are we missing? Two episodes ago she had a 1-on-1 which was loaded with chemistry. Personally, I’m not super surprised Danielle L isn’t Nick’s final lady, but I am surprised by how early she went, especially since precisely why she went is still unclear to me. And no, “the relationship fizzled” doesn’t suffice when a mere two weeks prior she received a 1-on-1 date rose. Again, what didn’t they want us to see involving Danielle L and the other women? And personally I’d be curious to know: Is all this news to her?
My frontrunners after this bloodbath of an episode are as follows…
1. Vanessa, 29: We saw a rainbow of emotions from Vanessa this week. There were hilarious moments with her early in the Group Date, followed by such aggravation on her part that I wanted to give her a hug through my television screen. We didn’t see her conversation with Nick in the evening portion of the Group Date (after her tears), which normally I would see as a bad sign, but honestly, she’s so far ahead of the pack in my eyes that her ranking can afford that and still stay #1.
2. Rachel, 31: I was surprised to hear Rachel say “I just don’t feel valued” when just last week she had such an epic 1-on-1. Now, I’m the first to admit that the Bachelor filming process is like the land of Narnia in its time warp; one week can feel like a month, so maybe Rachel really is in the post-1-on-1 downswing. (Again, we were missing so many parts to make sense of this downswing.) Regardless, her 1-on-1 is still fresh on my mind and Nick doesn’t look at many of the women the way he does her. Rachel stays.
3. Raven, 25: Raven’s very much a constant; her reactions, interactions, and commentary are consistently shown, PLUS she got this week’s Group Date rose. I’m still waiting to see romance between her and Nick jump out at me, but in the meantime Nick really seems to trust in her, and she is a bonafide fixture of the season.
4. Kristina, 24: After her fairly late 1-on-1, I’m getting some dark horse vibes from Kristina. (Remember on Sean’s season, Catherine, the ultimate dark horse, didn’t get her 1-on-1 until Episode 6 as well.) Kristina’s one of those people who is innately fascinating and who you just want to know more about, and Nick evidently agrees with me. The camera loves her, too; I’m always drawn to her when she’s on screen. I personally have my doubts over whether or not her connection with Nick can catch up to the above three ladies’ more established relationships, but I for one am rooting for her.
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