The Bachelor Season 23, Episode 7 Recap: Midnight Train To Hometowns

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
Who is Keyser Söze?! And why are they trying to date the Bachelor even though they aren't ready for marriage? The Bachelor and its star, Colton Underwood — are desperate to discover who isn't ready for marriage. This season has become very epic lately, with women prophesying left and right of a person unfit for the Bachelor throne, a person who may have just been under our noses all along.
This person...she is here..neither can live while the other survives!
In all seriousness, this kind of questioning happens on most seasons of The Bachelor. The difference with this season is that our lead, sir Colton Underwood, he of the football jersey and the cystic fibrosis research charity, is a virgin. He has also been in precisely one (1) long-term relationship. This means that he may not be attuned to his relationship compass. Is Cassie, an early favorite of his, to be trusted? Is she manipulative? Or is Colton just voraciously horny to make decisions? (Would that we could impeach the Bachelor because he was just too horny.)
Horny is questionable, but Colton is certainly feeling unstable. In his opening vlog, he whines that all his decisions feel weightier now. “Every decision that I make is bigger. And means more," he explains. Plus, on last week's episode, three women warned him that there were women in his cabal who weren't ready for marriage. Colton, like all good internet writers (and comedians), knows that three's a trend. Three warnings makes this a real threat. The call is officially coming from inside the house!
The reality, though, is that Colton is the one who has to live with his pick at the end of this season. Which means that he acts against the advice of a few of his women. Kirpa and Tayshia — both beloved on Bachelor internet — warn him that Cassie and Caelynn are the ones not ready for marriage. Tayshia even goes so far to say that the two were discussing the prospect of being the Bachelorette.
And, to be fair, Caelynn and Cassie have been presented, at least in this episode, as manipulative co-conspirators. (Cassie was also notably on another reality TV show.) In the opening minutes of the episode, the two are shown discussing the three "warnings" of the previous episode. They seem worried, but they reassure each other that Tayshia, a girl they don't really fraternize with, doesn't know enough about them to say anything to Colton.
“At least nobody named names," Caelynn says, sighing. This implies that maybe she would be worried if someone named names.
Tayshia does end up naming names on her one-on-one with Colton. Discussing other women while on a one-on-one date is usually verboten here — why would you waste time on a date talking about someone else? — but Tayshia manages to escape unscathed, mostly because she seems like she's telling the truth. When asked about this persistent rumor, she tells Colton matter-of-factly that she heard Cassie and Caelynn discussing becoming the Bachelorette. Then, they move on with their date, which involves chocolate on Tayshia's butt (part of the after show blooper), plenty of wine, and roasted Brussel sprouts.
Tayshia gets a rose for what is actually a very cozy one-on-one. The show has moved to Denver now, which means the dates are simpler and more intimate. Tayshia just gets a walk around Denver with Colton and Colton's dog Sniper. Then, they go roast some salmon. Easy, breezy, relationshippy.
Even Caelynn's date is closer to home. Colton takes her snowboarding, and they goof off on the slopes of Denver. After, though, he confronts her about the dreaded rumor: Is it true that she's not ready for marriage? Caelynn practically erupts, crying and hurling insults at Tayshia.
“There’s an insecure, 28-year-old girl running around the house," she tells the camera, adding, "Fuck her." Later, she says simply, “I will call that stupid bitch out.”
She and Tayshia eventually do have a conversation, and it's clear that neither one of them wanted this conflict. Tayshia points out that she was asked about Katie's warning, and she responded in kind. She wasn't trying to stir drama, and she certainly wasn't talking shit just for fun.
"I feel like our whole friendship is a lie," Caelynn retorts. Nevertheless, later in the episode, they are fast friends once more.
The prophecy will return! But, briefly, Colton deals with Hannah B. instead. Hannah B. has been a curious figure on the show so far. She's endlessly chipper and, because of it, ever-so-slightly tragicomic. Hannah B. is a "Hannah Beast" of awkwardness, kindness, love, and neediness. She's going to be a whirlwind of delight on Paradise, but she's not for this season of The Bachelor. After introducing her to his family, Colton ships her home, explaining that he didn't think he had it in him to meet her family at hometowns next week. Hannah B. is dejected, but surprisingly sturdy in the aftermath.
“I’m a little confused as to what you want, but I’m glad to know that," she says plainly. As she leaves, she gives one more warning: "Man, just, like, listen to people."
What a lovely warning. Even as she said it, though, Hannah B. didn't seem to believe that it would work. And it doesn't! Colton does not do this! He doesn't listen! To be fair, he has a lot of voices in his head right now, and being the Bachelor is hard. In his opening vlog, he admits, “Falling in love with multiple people scares the shit out of me.” As it should. Colton is playing with fire, and the entire premise of this show ensures that he eventually gets hurt.
After sending Hannah B. home, Colton has a four-on-one, a replacement for the show's traditional two-on-one. Kirpa, Heather, Hannah G., and Cassie go on a date to observe a train in the wilderness. With all due respect to the New York City subway, it's a very cool train. The vehicle hardly gets any attention, though, as the date quickly turns to the identity of Keyser Söze. Is it Cassie? Kirpa thinks so, and she tells Colton this. Cassie, like Caelynn earlier in the episode, erupts, weeping and lashing out at Kirpa.
"This all just, like, reeks of desperation to me," Cassie says.
Kirpa stays strong: She has nothing to feel guilty about, just Cassie crying and stuttering in the Denver mountains.
This doesn't save Kirpa, even if it should. Both Kirpa and Heather head home on the four-on-one date, Heather by her own volition, and Kirpa by Colton's hand. Colton just "sees" his relationship with Cassie more. And Kirpa? Well, she's quiet, and Colton has to listen to his gut.
I just wonder what kind of gut Colton is listening to right now.
Leonardo DiCaprio's The Departed: Heather, Hannah B., Kirpa

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