“Who is she?!!”
This line, uttered in a fit of rage from “The Bachelor” contestant Elyse, may be some of our favorite words of this entire season so far. They were genuine (though possibly inspired by too much wine) but also a knee-jerk reaction, entertaining and yet a little bit disturbing. We know very little about this girl at the moment due to a general lack of screen time, but this brief moment will be forever a part of our memory of this season.
In reality, though, these words were just part of a larger puzzle that involved one of craziest freakouts we have ever seen in years of “Bachelor” viewing and frequent eye-rolling. Why? Outside of showing up at the wrong time, we’re not really sure the target in Shawntel Newton really deserved any of it.
All about Shawntel
We’re starting our look at this episode from the end in that Shawntel’s sudden appearance was really the highlight of the episode. She had a simple reason in being there in that she wanted to spend time with Ben — a guy she had at least spoken to a few times in the past — and she felt as though this is her only chance to really get to know him. Yes, we could make the argument that she could have done this before the show — but if Ben knew he was the Bachelor, he wouldn’t exactly be taking many dates beforehand.
While the producers tried to make the girl (who came across as very nice on Brad Womack’s season despite putting the guy on an embalming table) somewhat sinister, we really didn’t see her do anything too awful. However, the fire of jealousy still came out with the other women who likely saw what we saw when Shawntel showed up — a man who had a definite interest in a new person, even though they had been with him for a good span of time (at least in reality TV terms). It was clear from our point of view that Ben was feeling Shawntel on some level, and while we genuinely opt to laugh off the quickie reactions of many contestants who get eliminated, we actually believe our returning contestant here. Ben really did seem afraid of taking a gamble so big that it would infuriate the other girls, and he may have thought it was just too big of a risk for him to take at this point.
Let this also be evidence that the producers for the show don’t stage these big decisions — otherwise, Shawntel would still be there. Then again, the producers probably realized that her staying on the show would cause Courtney (someone who has also brought her fair share of drama) to take off, and others may have joined her. It’s hard to have a season when everyone else quits.
There is one thing we do wish that we knew at this point — did Ben originally plan on giving Shawntel a rose, but change his mind at the Rose Ceremony when he saw some of the reactions?
The other real departure
Although Jaclyn and Erika (who is really just known now for fainting during the Rose Ceremony) are both gone, the only exit not related to Shawntel worth talking about is Brittney — a woman who to this day is still less memorable than her grandma. As a matter of fact, we’re pretty sure that the senior citizen we saw during the premiere was more interested in Ben than the actual contestant.
We could make this into a big deal and question why Brittney went on a show she didn’t feel sure about to begin with, but we’ll give her credit — she wasn’t feeling Ben and she left. We wish more people would choose to do this.
The only real twist this brought on was that Lindzi ended up replacing her on the planned one-on-one date — and thankfully, she didn’t seem upset about being the back-up. Neither solo date proved to be particularly exciting this week — although we watched Ben and Emily scale a bridge, it was all so formulaic since we’ve seen so many similar dates in the past. Both Emily and Lindzi received roses, and there’s not much else to say outside of question why producers keep putting girls on dates that could prove potentially traumatic for them. Emily did conquer her fear of heights and the date did bring the two closer together … but it could have easily gone another direction.
Snowing off (the puns begin)
Watching girls flaunt bikinis while skiing on the streets of San Francisco? This was at least innovative, even if it was the most gratuitous and unrealistic thing we’ve ever seen. Who really does this? It seems that Ben dreamed about it one night after having too much of his own wine.
The real thing of note here is that Jennifer (who we really don’t know much about still) came out of nowhere and received a rose — whereas Blakely and Kacie B. (who was feeling rather insecure after seeing so many other girls kiss Ben) did not.
The only last thing to say is about Courtney. At some points (such as when she called the Shawntel twist “wack” and transported herself back to 2005), she comes across as deadpan and hilarious. However, some of her other moments (including a parting shot when Shawntel left) are just mean. She’s perplexing — but in a season that has not had a scandal on par with some that we have seen, we need this sort of drama.
Who is she? We still don’t know — but this question sounds far less intimidating when we ask it instead of Elyse.