A-ha! The stalker is revealed -- finally! It's Trish! But can it really be called stalking? And will Jesse take her up on her offer, asks Mandi Bierly

By Mandi Bierly
Updated May 05, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
Chris Harrison and Jessie Palmer: Craig Sjodin

A-ha! The stalker is revealed — finally!

I’ve always wondered if beautiful people could be considered ”stalkers,” and it looks like I’ll finally get my answer next week. When Trish returns. To crash Mandy Jaye’s date with Jesse. And try to convince him to spend the night with her instead. Seriously, this woman wonders why she has no female friends? But enough looking ahead. Let’s talk about the recent past.

Jessica B. Unless ABC is doing some fancy Trista-Charlie-Ryan editing, I still say she’s Jesse’s keeper. She brought Mr. ”Been Perfect So Far” Palmer home to meet her family in Huntington Beach, Calif. I liked them immediately, if only because her grandfather’s name is Bobo. Mom was clearly worried that her daughter will become a Mrs. and forget to finish law school. And she showed some balls asking Jessica if she’s prepared to transfer to a school on the opposite coast — in front of Jesse. (Jessica B. finally showed some personality with her answer: ”I’m dropping out, mom. I’m gonna start working at the local dance club.”)

And dad was great with his question, handwritten for Jesse: ”Will you respect our daughter, sister & granddaughter? Answer: Don’t tell us. Show us.” Jessica B. said she feels it in her heart that she’s supposed to be with Jesse, and she revealed that he’s asked her several times if she’s ready to settle down. Jesse admitted that he’s starting to feel something. Just show us the ring.

Mandy Jaye Each week I tape the show as I’m watching it, just in case I need to rewind scenes, and I just want to say I never want to have to revisit Mandy Jaye’s home excursion. Although I truly believe Jesse has a preexisting pageant phobia, I can understand how he was freaked by the pageant room. (Although, you just know his loving parents have a minishrine to his throwing arm. But I digress.) Mandy Jaye’s mom was convinced that her daughter would make a good NFL wife (”Her pageant days may have prepared her for this type of relationship”). And stepdad is still hung up on the fact that Mandy Jaye wasn’t crowned Miss Texas.

As for Jesse, he’s clinging to the idea that Mandy Jaye is just giving him the answers the judges want to hear. And I’m with her: Does the woman have to produce tears (like she did when she told him her parents were divorced) for the man to consider her genuine? As she said prior to the Ceremony: ”I feel like he misunderstands me as a person… When you lay all your cards out, you feel very vulnerable. And to feel vulnerable, and to [have him] say, ‘Oh, that’s not you?’ That sucks.” But apparently not enough to decline a rose.

Tara Yes, her father’s been feeding her lines like ”all guys are dirtbags” and ”love is something they made up to do movies with and write books about,” but perhaps that’s not the only reason she hasn’t jumped you after TWO private dates, Jesse. So chill with the ”I’m still worried about her skepticism” bit. Loved gun-toting dad, which I feel okay saying since he and Tara shared enough laughs to show that he’s done no permanent damage — I hope.

Although I’m not the biggest fan of firearms, I think that was the perfect outing for Tara and Jesse. For once, he wasn’t in control and she felt comfortable enough to show him some sass (like when her dad pulled out an M-16 and she told Jesse, ”He’s gonna see how fast you can run”). She also gets bonus points for being a good shot and creating a ”Charlie’s Angels”/”Dukes of Hazzard” vibe on their Oklahoma farm (which will never do you no harm). But you just know that Jesse James Palmer is going to break her heart, now that she’s finally admitted she’s given it to him.

Trish ”This is why I’m not friends with women.” Okay, not saying you have to be BFFs with the 24 random women you meet on a reality TV show, but if you haven’t formed a healthy friendship with an entire gender in the last decade, you might have a problem, Trish. (And perhaps you might want to tell your sister all the things you revealed to your fellow competitors before you play the martyr.) I’d also love to hear what Jesse really got out of confronting Trish before meeting her family in Atlanta — I feel like we missed something, folks. He thanked her, yet again, for her honesty, and somehow I don’t think ”I have no idea why everyone hates me, but I’m here for the right reasons” would have warranted that response.

Even though Jesse said he saw the ”sweeter” side of Trish when meeting her family — and even though he told her his wife wouldn’t have to be loved by the masses, just by him — he set her free. Two questions for Mr. Palmer: Are such comments as ”If I want something, my god, I’m going to get it” and ”If somebody tells me ‘No,’ I fight back 10 times harder” the words of someone who’s really in love, or the words of someone who just wants to win? And if you ditch Mandy Jaye (who you probably just kept so you could get rid of Trish) to test out the Gold Digger in bed, will either Jessica B. or Tara (who said ”Now he’ll get a good girl, no matter what happens”) forgive you?