It’s Week 5 of “The Bachelor” and finally we have answers to some of this season’s most pressing questions, such as: How long can a 31-year-old woman hold out for a man who’s dating a dozen other women? When will a 23-year-old experience her first kiss? And most disconcertingly: What happened to Kirpa’s chin?
The only person to leave this episode was Elyse, who had a delightful one-on-one date with Colton two weeks ago and is struggling with the fact that she’s in Thailand but not getting any time with Colton. (You’re at a beautiful resort in a lovely locale. Do some yoga and chill.) Instead she storms into his hotel room in a white dress fit for a breezy beach wedding to announce she can’t bear the idea of him dating multiple women and then, potentially – maybe – proposing to her at the end.
Such a confrontation happens nearly every season, but rarely this early. What does she expect him to do – call the season off so they can ride off into the sunset? Elyse appears upset at the decision she’s making, but at least she’s leaving of her own volition.
Here are the best, worst and weirdest moments from this week.
– The best moment
There have been some inane job descriptions in “Bachelor” history: Aspiring dolphin trainer. Chicken enthusiast. Free spirit. Twins.
But Heather is a new kind of odd. Instead of being described as something she is or wants to be, she’s been defined by what she hasn’t done. The 23-year-old from Carlsbad, California, has Never Been Kissed. She revealed this to Colton early on, perhaps so that he would know he’s not the only person this season who hasn’t reached certain adult milestones. And so that he wouldn’t lean in too soon and accidentally take her lip virginity. He handled that first talk very maturely, ending every encounter with a hug.
Now that they’re on a one-on-one date in Thailand, viewers are waiting patiently for that first kiss. It doesn’t happen while they’re perusing a market, holding hands and nestling into one another. When they’re on a boat, Colton asks Heather whether she “blows kisses” – proving that it is possible to tell a good consent joke. (And yes, blowing a kiss is OK, she confirms.) It doesn’t happen while they’re discussing what a great day they’ve had and how Colton wants a partner with whom he can experience new things. (We can think of a few new things you can experience.) And yet … nothing. It doesn’t happen at dinner, either, when Heather discusses being in an eight-month relationship with a guy she’s also never kissed. It doesn’t happen after Colton gives her a rose. Instead, another hug.
At this point it’s getting awkward. All this talk about how Heather has waited so long for this simple act of affection because she wants it to be special, and viewers are starting to think … maybe she’ll keep waiting. Actually, maybe that’s better – to not have this private thing you’ve waited so long for to occur very much in public.
Just as viewers are about to give up on it happening, Colton and Heather go for a walk and BAM, LOOK UP – THERE ARE LITERAL FIREWORKS. This seems like the right moment to, you know, lean in and experience a thing for the first time. And just like that, Heather gets a promotion midseason. Her job description now reads: Has Been Kissed.
– The worst moment
In “Bachelor” universe there’s typically a lot of foreshadowing before a feud. (See: The endless discussions of pageant drama between Hannah B. and Caelynn.) But the biggest fight of the season occurred with absolutely no buildup, as Onyeka suddenly decided that she had to warn Colton about Nicole’s true intentions.
Onyeka pulled Colton aside at the party after the group date and told him that before Elyse left, she revealed a damaging fact: That Nicole allegedly said she’s only on the show because she wants an opportunity to leave her hometown of Miami.
A brilliant strategy by Onyeka: Throw another contestant under the bus and blame it on someone who quit the show and can’t refute you! It certainly got in Colton’s head: “My worst nightmare is trusting my gut, getting excited, really giving these relationships my all, and then getting to the end of this and not being loved back,” he said sadly.
Of course, Colton confronted Nicole, who was stunned that he questioned her motives. She denied saying such a thing. “I’m here because I haven’t been able to find love,” she said tearfully. “It just kills me if you were to … take that and believe it.”
Meanwhile, Onyeka spilled this juicy bit of information to her fellow cast members, only to have Tayshia immediately rebut her story. “Well, that’s awkward, ’cause I actually was there for that conversation and Nicole never said any of that,” Tayshia said. “All she said was that you have to take opportunities and they can change your life. She never said that she needs to get out of Miami.”
Uh oh! But Onyeka didn’t back down. “That’s what Elyse told me,” she shot back.
Once again, because Elyse was gone, there was no way to untangle this twisted web of hearsay and miscommunication. A furious Nicole returned and asked Onyeka why she was spreading rumors about her. “I’m not spreading rumors, I’m literally telling him something that I was told,” Onyeka explained.
Things spiraled further later in the episode, when Nicole exacted revenge and told Colton that in fact Onyeka was trouble: Specifically, a mean girl who started a rumor that Nicole was mentally unstable. But Nicole said she refused to give in to a bully.
When Colton took Onyeka aside to discuss this, Onyeka also denied everything and went right back to Nicole. “I asked you if you were emotionally stable to be in a relationship. But when have I ever been like, ‘You’re mentally unstable’? When have I ever said that?” Onyeka asked.
“Honestly, that’s kind of the same thing,” Nicole said.
“No, it’s not. So you lied to him,” Onyeka said flatly. “Mentally unstable means clinically ill, Nicole.”
This went on (and on and on and on) until Colton arrived to try to break things up. It didn’t work, and they kept bickering. Finally, Colton was so frustrated he stood up and left. They each tried to stop him. “I just need time real quick. I need some time alone,” he said. Colton, dazed and angry, walked along the beach by himself. “I’m so over it,” he mumbled. And then, the episode ended on the three most chilling words on any reality-TV show: “TO BE CONTINUED.”
– The weirdest moment
“The Bachelor” is gaslighting us. Seriously! There were two aspects of this week’s episode that made us question our sanity.
First of all, how could “The Bachelor” give Kirpa her overdue and well-deserved screentime and yet pretend that nothing was wrong with her wounded face? Kirpa sported a bandage on her chin for the entire episode, which was never acknowledged by the show in any way whatsoever.
Theories abounded. Was it a leech accident from the Singapore group date? A catfight with one of the mean girls? Did she just trip and fall down or something? WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU, KIRPA, ARE YOU OK?
It must have been a pretty mundane injury. Because had it happened on a date, the producers would have milked it for maximum impact, and every promo for this episode would have featured ambulance lights flashing and Thai paramedics carrying her out on a stretcher. Previous seasons of “The Bachelorette” have, through selective editing, teased minor injures from sporty group dates as having been caused by fights among the contestants, since the men are more likely to get physical.
Even more crazy-making: At one point halfway through the episode, Kirpa appeared for an interview without her bandage, and no scar. These “in-the-moment” interviews are often deployed out of context by producers, so it’s likely that it had been filmed before her injury, but it had the effect of making everyone wonder if their eyes were playing tricks on them.
Probably, the producers knew that the truth of whatever happened to poor Kirpa was too boring, and that they’d get more mileage from leaving us guessing. It worked!
Kirpa’s chin quickly earned its own novelty Twitter account:
And Kirpa is keeping mum about it on her social media channels. She’s still under a nondisclosure agreement, and we wouldn’t be surprised if they’re making us wait until the “Women Tell All” episode to finally reveal the #chingate truth.
The next moment that made us feel like reality was a construct quickly slipping from our grasp: Cassie’s date to a “private island.” It sounded luxurious and romantic! Until the boat pulled up to what was, literally, a sand bar – an “island” maybe the size of a one-bedroom apartment that was only above water because the tide seemed low. There was nothing on this island. Not even a lone palm tree, like the islands where comic strip characters end up marooned. It. Was. Just. Sand.
But not to Cassie and Colton, who called it “our island” – ahem, your sand pile, guys – and spent their date writhing around and making out on each of its approximately 600 square feet. The boat pulled away and left them! With a cameraman, yes, but with seemingly no food or water. It’s too bad Cassie didn’t go on the survival date the day before, because she certainly could have used some of those skills.
The members of Bachelor Nation, too, could not believe that the show was trying to trick us all into believing that this island that not even crabs would choose to live on was a “private island.” It reminded many people of another charismatic bachelor who tried to invite people to his private island: Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland. We all know how that turned out.