Meeting his victims on the reunion and clip episode of ''The Bachelor,'' Byron dodges a few more bullets, and the kookiest women get a chance to explain themselves

By Tom Conroy
Updated November 17, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST
The Bachelor: Bob D'Amico

”The Bachelor”: Byron meets his victims

The customary pre-finale reunion episodes of The Bachelor don’t usually live up to their subtitle: ”The Women Tell All.” They really should be called ”The Biggest Kooks Vent at Great Length While the Ones You Don’t Remember Sit Around Trying to Look Like They Didn’t Deserve to Get Rejected So Early — Plus, Extra Embarrassing Footage of Catfights and Humiliation.” But that would probably be too long.

This season’s reunion did a fine job fulfilling its obligation to provide kookiness, catfighting, and humiliation — the three things that bring most of us back to the show each week. As Cynthia, in one of her occasional moments of lucidity, said during this episode, being on the show is ”like you’re in a locker room, PMS, hormones are raging, and there’s no man in sight. It’s a scary place.”

The first woman called to the ”hot seat” by host Watt Zisname was head mean girl Krysta, who was immediately subjected to a stunning montage of the nastiest things she said about the other women, culminating with ”There’s so much frickin’ silicone around here, if I was allergic, I’d be dead.” Her ”I gotta be me” reaction was just one more reason she should be a recurring character on the series.

Poor Jayne blew her chance to explain away her infamous slumber-party meltdown when she said she lost it because the other women were always gossiping about her. So now people will think she’s paranoid and not merely possessive. But hey, she added, she was glad her ranting was televised nationally, because she had seen what it looked like and it wouldn’t happen again. Don’t fall for it, guys: She’s been pulling this emotional good-cop, bad-cop routine all season.

The high point of the episode was the previously promised footage of Cynthia’s post-rejection breakdown. Evidently, she phoned the producers from her hotel in a state of emotional distress, which they rushed over to shoot so they could share it with us. ”He opened up a vein in me,” she moaned, ”and now I don’t know what to do with it. . . . I do think that Byron was my soul mate and I’m probably never going to, you know, meet anybody else.”

What better time to bring Byron out on stage, for a few classic moments of awkwardness? After glaring at him while sliding away on her chair, Cynthia re-succumbed to his fishy charm. He assured her that the process was hard on him too: ”It’s overwhelming, it’s gut wrenching, it’s painful.” And then he resorted to his first refuge: flattery. ”You look great,” he said. ”So do you,” replied Cindy. ”Wanna go make out?”

The only major controversy that wasn’t satisfyingly resolved was the issue of why Byron dumped Cheresse when she declined his offer to spend the night. ”If you don’t take the fantasy suite,” she said, ”you don’t get to go any further than that.” Byron protested that he had been looking for quality time, not merely some action: ”I think what really mattered the most, for you and me, was eight or ten hours, alone, in sweats, by the fireplace, eating chocolate-covered strawberries, drinking some red wine, and just being friends.” The audience burst into spontaneous applause. Evidently, as they used to say in the Harvey’s Bristol Cream ads, spending time alone with Byron in the fantasy suite is downright . . . upright.

What do you think? Do these women get what they deserve? Did Byron get off too easy? And which rejected woman would you like to see come back?