Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelorette: Episode Eight

The opera singer Sharleen Joynt—fellow Canuck, FLARE columnist and former Bachelor contestant—shares her take on last night’s episode


Chris and Kaitlyn in happier times (Photo: Kaitlyn Bristowe Instagram)

Hoo boy. So many feelings! One man threatening to leave, two men crying…. We’re in week seven of filming now; meltdowns are basically par for the course.

Despite the tears, I loved the transparency of this episode. I feel like they’re showing a lot of gory details, for better or for worse. The revealing of Kaitlyn’s off-camera time with Shawn where she told him he was “the one,” is huge. First of all, let me make clear that there is NO WAY Kaitlyn was permitted to visit Shawn and Ben H.’s room off-camera. Zero percent. They don’t want anything off-camera. On my season, after my second one-on-one in Miami, Juan Pablo and I sat at the back of the yacht while it was navigated home. The camera crew had gone back to shore on a different boat. It was just the two of us cuddled in a blanket, still mic’ed, and Juan Pablo’s producer left us alone, instructing us not to talk. When we continued to whisper, that same producer came back and literally sat with us, engaging us in mundane small talk, just to ensure we didn’t say anything of importance to each other. In total it was only maybe 15 minutes of off-camera time, most of which ended up being spent with that producer. So, you’re telling me they allowed Kaitlyn to visit the guys’ room off-camera? Forget about it. There’s just too much potential for relationship development without a camera to capture it.

Kaitlyn most definitely snuck out to visit the guys’ room and I love that about her. The most interesting part is that their off-camera time was clearly so developmental that production had no choice but to flesh it out. The real question is, how do you punish Kaitlyn for her disobedience? It’s not like they can fire her mid-season. There’s a lot of grey area as to what is “right” and “wrong,” but there is no doubt Kaitlyn knew what she was doing was (in production’s eyes) “wrong”—just as there is no doubt they were pissed about it. Her entire conversation with Chris Harrison and the change of Hometown plans felt like a giant wrist slap. It’s clear to all that it’s the Shawn-vs-Nick show now, so why waste an episode where we know, without suspense, who’s going home? Why not cut half the guys now and get down to it?

By now they would have been planning flights to certain hometown cities, arranging whose families would be available and when. (I was first tentatively asked about my parents’ Hometown Date availability as early as Week 5.) Suddenly the next stop is overnight dates? Those are usually filmed at some tropical resort, weeks later. Ponder all the flights, all the hotel stays, all the date activities. I find the sudden change in format of this very tightly-run, well-oiled machine very interesting.

My predictions for next week’s Fantasy Suite dates…

Shawn, 28: Okay, so Shawn’s jealous and possessive side reared its ugly head this week. One could argue Shawn “knew what he was getting into” (I always hate that argument because, no, it’s never what you think it’s going to be), but in all fairness, it’s better to be kept in the dark as a contestant on this show. In Shawn’s case, he was told he was “the one,” which is like a free pass to feel deserving of special treatment, and was then chastised for feeling deserving of special treatment. None of this matters in the big picture, however. Kaitlyn was obviously terrified at the prospect of Shawn leaving, and the fact alone that she told him what she did, off-camera, tells us it’s him. Or that he’s at least final two.

Nick, 34: Anyone thinking Nick’s here for the “wrong reasons” had to think twice this week; this is obviously not an easy process and he left heartbroken last time. He showed us his softer side in the form of reluctant tears, and frankly, it was endearing to see how hard he’s fallen for Kaitlyn. Despite her guilt about her private time with Nick, she did call it “perfect.” Their chemistry is through the roof.

Jared, 26: I love Jared. He’s like the well-cast comic relief in a too-serious movie. He and Kaitlyn are just so easy and effortless together. They’re on the same wavelength and even have good chemistry. (Their kisses honestly might be my favourite, as weird as that sounds to say!) He’s still a distant third next to Shawn and Nick, unfortunately… I can see Kaitlyn and Jared ending up great friends after all this is said and done.

For more on this season of The Bachelorette from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, All the Pretty Pandas.

The Bachelorette airs Mondays on City.

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