The Bachelor only rarely wants to have serious conversations, but, today, it wants to have all of the serious conversations at once. Maybe it wants to tackle everything in one episode so that it doesn't have to get serious ever again? Whatever it is, the episode plays like a race to the trauma, a policy that doesn't exactly make the Bachelor look like a gentleman. The show's been selling Caelynn's revelation about her sexual assault with tasteless energy, calling it a "meaningful conversation you don't want to miss." First of all, sexual assault shouldn't be treated as must-see television, and, second of all...actually, there is no second of all.
But Caelynn's revelation is, ultimately, the sort of conversation The Bachelor should be having — these are things are come up in relationships. This show purports to be about relationships. Moreover, this is something Caelynn believes to be a part of her, and she has the right to share that with whatever suitor she chooses.
"It's a part of who I am. It's a part of my story," Caelynn explains.
Caelynn's revelation has already been heavily reported, but just to recap: Four years ago, she and two of her friends say they were date raped. She was a sophomore in college, and she immediately went to the hospital. The first hospital turned her away, and by the time she got to the second, she was too late for a rape kit. She then sought justice, and has been open about the trauma of the assault as a contestant in Miss USA. (A 2018 post on her Instagram discusses the incident as well.)
What's perhaps more interesting is Colton's response. How does the guy who is barely comfortable vlogging take this kind of news? In Colton's case, he reaches for his last relationship, mentioning that his last girlfriend was also a survivor of abuse. Not a good move — someone else's trauma isn't Colton's to discuss on television. Then, Colton briefly compares her trauma to his virginity being on national television, also not an equivalency Colton should employ. Colton has work to do. Not that that hasn't been clear from the beginning, though. Maybe Colton's greatest strength is that he knows he's got a lot to learn. He's like bland chicken just waiting for a marinade.
Caelynn's conversation aside, the show also had the following tough ones: Tayshia, who enjoys the night's scariest date, tells Colton that she is recently divorced.
“There’s a lot to me that makes me me," she reveals. "If I do get married again, I’m going to make sure it’s amazing.”
The Bachelor has a history of dramatizing divorces (as it does with everything), but it nicely glazes over Tayshia's, treating it like any other news she might have delivered. Then, during the group date, Demi reveals that her mother is recently released from federal prison. She gets slightly weepy, a first for Demi. “My mom might be really messed up, but I love her so much," she says. Once again, Colton looks slightly dumbfounded, but not tactless, per se. He's just the receiver of all this news — his only job is to welcome it with open arms, nonjudgemental and handsome.
With those conversations behind us, let us focus on much pettier matters: Hannah B. versus Caelynn, and Courtney versus Demi. Hannah B. and Caelynn is one of the season's strongest threads, as two pageant queens battle to prove their integrity. The irony is that both Hannah B. and Caelynn want Colton to believe that they aren't petty infighters. And yet! They are holding onto this fight like me still watching Grey's Anatomy. Let it go! It's season 15!
The Caelynn v. Hannah B. drama heats up this episode when Caelynn gets invited on her first one-on-one. Her date is meant to make the other girls jealous: She get plied with expensive clothes from Singapore — The Bachelor went to Singapore in week 4? By this time on Arie's season, they were in Lake Tahoe? — and she is permitted to go home and show off all her new clothes for the girls. Even Cassie, meek speech grad student, gets a little jealous. Not only does Caelynn get to leave the house, but she gets to get pampered.
By contrast, the 13 women who go on the group date just get to wander around Singapore, trying on leeches and snacking on local delicacies. Which, to be frank, is my kind of "exploring another country," but not when there's love at stake. (There's love on the line, folks!!!) And Tayshia's one-on-one is bungee jumping, also something that only a select few actually enjoy. (That's me! Not most people on Twitter.) The bungee jumping did give us Colton screaming like a baby goat, though, so I applaud the producers for that.
During the group date, Hannah B. grows concerned that Colton doesn't think she's a good person. Why else would he be pulling away, spending so much time with Cassie? A quick convo with him sets everything straight: He likes both Hannah B. and Caelynn. He's just going to try to ignore their drama for the time being. Well done, sir! Would that the audience could do the same.
The second spat is much less interesting, if only because it's sad. Demi, drama central, starts fighting with Courtney when Courtney refuses to grab time with Colton. Demi rightfully points out that Courtney could just go talk to Colton, but Courtney refuses. When Demi grabs Colton for a second time, Courtney blanches, pulling Demi aside to express her frustrations. What ensues is an argument no one wanted or expected. Courtney calls Demi's maturity into question. Demi is shocked — and proceeds to start an anti-Courtney campaign at the rose ceremony. She goes to Colton, sharing that Courtney is a woman in the house who "sucks."
While I have to admire Demi's tenacity, Courtney is the underdog of this fight, even if she isn't doing anything to force Colton to notice her. Courtney is seemingly shy, and she doesn't know how to handle Demi's brashness. Other villains in the Bachelor house usually have the whole mansion against them — Corinne had plenty of enemies, as did Chad and, way back when, Courtney Robertson. But Demi appears to be well-liked for the most part. It's the select few who don't like her, and both of those few have been summarily sent home.
In other news, Cassie is still a frontrunner, as is Hannah G., who gets some slinky bed time with Colton this episode. Cassie is also, unfortunately, informed that she is Colton's sister in a past life. They do sort of look related. Where's George R. R. Martin when you need him?
Leonardo DiCaprio's The Departed: Tracy, Courtney
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).