We are off and running on what has already become one of the most talked about seasons of The Bachelor we’ve ever had. I love waking up Tuesday hearing everybody discuss issues from the previous night’s episode. I also enjoyed getting live tweets from many of you (@chrisbharrison) during the show. I have to admit though, my favorite thing last week was learning that Josh Groban and Snooki were watching the show. Groban had a great tweet saying his love child with Rafael Nadal was on ABC right now looking for love. I always find it interesting to learn who watches the show. Snooki as the next Bachelorette… hmmmm, interesting! There is one thing I left out of my first blog I wanted to cover as it is always one of the most asked questions I ever get via Twitter while the first episode airs. Yes, the driveway is wet. We water it down so that it looks pretty on TV. The other reason we water the driveway is we hope that someday it will grow to be a beautiful, big superhighway. With that mystery settled again, let’s talk about episode 2.
You didn’t get to see much of this, but meeting the women at the house in Los Angeles only to tell them they wouldn’t be moving in was fun. The ladies had their bags packed and were ready to storm the house and get settled. They were extremely surprised but excited to learn that wouldn’t be the case, and instead we were all hitting the road and heading to Ben’s hometown of Sonoma, Calif. Kacie B. got the first date and it was an amazingly emotional date. First of all we got to see the chemistry and connection between Ben and Kacie, which is undeniable, but what really stood out was how deep this first date was. I’m guessing the home movies they watched that showed Ben and Kacie’s childhood hit everybody hard. Seeing how Ben reacted to hearing and seeing his dad was moving, and it says a lot about the man. That open, raw emotional honesty you saw in that moment is what you will see from Ben all season long. Like I said in last week’s blog, this will only add to what is already a fantastic season.
The group date is never easy, but the first one is especially tough considering it’s 12 on 1. Incorporating the community of Sonoma and showing the town was important to Ben, and I think you got a taste of that in all three dates this week — but none more so than this group date. It’s safe to say the thing that stood out the most on this date was Blakeley and her “blessings,” as she called them. Blakeley quickly emerged in the house as one of the more unpopular ladies. This is a situation I often see on this show and it raises some interesting questions. Ladies, are there unwritten rules you should follow in trying to find and fight for love? Blakely put herself out there physically and emotionally and did everything she could to steal time with Ben even after she received a rose. Did she go too far? Should she have dialed it back like Kacie and Courtney did once they were safe, or is it her right to go after what she wants no matter what? After all, are these women there to make friends or possibly find the love of their life? These are issues that will obviously be discussed this week, but the most important answer came from Ben in the form of a rose for Blakeley. She’s safe and that means the house has to deal with her for at least one more week.
Now we move from one controversial figure in the house to another: Courtney. From the moment she walked out of the limo she caught Ben’s eye and from the moment she walked in the house she rubbed the other women the wrong way. This week you got a great look at what will become a recurring theme, and that is the two sides of Courtney. When she’s at the house she doesn’t exactly go out of her way to ingratiate herself with the other women, but when she’s with Ben it’s another story. As you saw on their date, Ben is taken by Courtney and understandably so. The conversation between them is so easy and you can see the spark between them. Ben asked the golden question concerning Courtney several times: “Is she too good to be true?” Again this is something that will continue to play out in the weeks to come as Courtney’s relationship with Ben grows and her relationship with the ladies continues to sour.
At the cocktail party, the mood went from great to awkward to meltdown in a matter of hours. On a bright note, Lindzi seems to have overcome the first-impression rose curse. Often the person that receives this rose gets excited by the immediate attention but then gets upset and insecure the following week. Lindzi did not fall victim to this and continues to be strong and a front-runner with Ben. Things started to get tense during the cocktail party as the thought of women going home became more real. Yes, a lot of the blame was being thrown on Blakeley’s “blessings,” but I think she became more of a scapegoat as the women realized she had a connection and was getting roses and they weren’t. Jenna is a great example of this. The conversation you saw with Ben was awkward at best. The two of them actually had another conversation later that night you didn’t get to see, and believe it or not it was even worse than the first one.
The night was officially summed up when Ben found Blakeley slumped in the corner of the luggage room crying and walked out only to find Jenna curled up crying in bed. Ben is not a big fan of drama, and this was a huge turnoff for him. He knew things would get intense eventually, but he was hoping it wasn’t going to start this early. One side note about the rose ceremony: It was freezing. It was a very cold night in Sonoma, and if you look closely you can see several of the women shivering as they stood there in the freezing temperatures.
This week was emotional and intense, but I promise you it’s nothing compared to what you’ll witness next week. You got a sneak peek at what just may be the wildest night in Bachelor history. A woman who has a history with Ben and our show will return next week, and the fallout from this is incredible and must be seen. This is an episode that everybody will be talking about for quite some time. Speaking of next week, I hope you’ll join me next Saturday night on ABC as I host the most dramatic Miss America Pageant… ever! You know I don’t just say that about everything.
I leave you this week with a quick shout out to a very special friend in our bachelor family. Kiptyn, who was a fan favorite on both The Bachelorette and Bachelor Pad, had surgery on his neck late last week. The good news he’s back home resting. Kiptyn, we wish you a speedy recovery.
For more behind the scenes info, interviews, blogs, and never-before-seen clips, check out the official Bachelor website every day.
More Bachelor from EW:
Ben Flagnik’s blog on People.com