And did you get a load of those upcoming highlights?! Wowza! They were almost exactly the same ones we've been seeing for a couple of weeks! Crazy, hey? But the audience acted like this was startlingly new information. As shocking as it looked and as upset as Des looked in those teasers, and even though Chris Harrison calls it "the most emotionally intense" ending yet – so intense they've had to split it into two parts – please remember that Desiree is fine. We just saw her talk to all the guys and her twinkle was still there. She's doing great now. So if the tease holds true, just laugh it off.
The episode started out with a new tradition since it went so well with Sean. It's where Chris and our protagonist go around and crash Bachelorette parties to the faux-surprise of all in attendance. I was suspicious when I saw rooms packed with dozens of men and women supposedly routinely watching the latest episode. Yeah, dudes go to Bachelorette viewing parties. I buy that.
But let's go with it. Let's say they really do. And that these viewing parties are more populated than most regular parties you ever go to. The tell was watching people answer the cold call knock on the door with knowing smiles before their eyes even registered who was visiting. No peering out from behind the door wondering who could be arriving at such an hour.
Not to mention that someone would have to alert the producers about their parties to give them their address. It's not like you can just randomly stroll down any block in the country and there'll be a Bachelorette-viewing party.
And then spontaneously Harrison says "I think we have to take this on the road" and – presto! – they're in New York. New Yorkers are more jaded and cynical so to prove that it really was Desiree, she made sure to wear her patented Knee-High Boots.
And it got a bit ridiculous when Ashley and JP, the Mesnicks (Jason and Whatsername), and Trista WITHOUT RYAN! Stop the presses: Have they broken up? Has she ever been anywhere without her trophy husband? You'd think they'd at least say he couldn't make it for whatever bogus reason to stop the rumours. Then again, maybe it's common knowledge they've broken up. I have no idea. I suppose I could Bing it but who has the time or energy?
Three of America's supposed favourites dropped by to give Des advice about meeting all her exes. Ashley (seriously? one of the all-time favourites?), Emily and Ali gave their two cents. Ali did the most talking, saying she thought Ben didn't look too bad but then piling on James for daring to entertain a what-if scenario. Big ups to Ali's hairdresser, Alex Haley, too. Her black roots were proudly showing.
In the studio. the fellas were introduced. One year I'd love them to plant a complete unknown in one of the first few chairs. Nobody would know the difference because we forget half of them anyway. This point was driven home when Jonathan, who misguidedly played the fantasy suite gag in the first episode, said, "I'm shocked I didn't get booed." Michael, for once right on the money, responded, "That's because no one remembered you."
James and Ben got the big boos. I think Vince McMahon or Jerry Springer were the floor directors.
Brian, who was confronted by a woman pretending to be his girlfriend and sent home, chose not to show up to the proceedings. Chris Harrison chose to talk about him regardless. Why? I wouldn't mind if someone would represent his side but everyone just sat their agreeing like bobble heads in a Rush Limbaugh informercial audience. Meanwhile, Bryden, who was an early favourite and chose to leave on his own accord got zero (0) time in the hot seat. He wasn't brought up at all. My mind was successfully boggled.
The first one up in the hot seat was Ben. More boos, of course. He said he's aggressive in love: "When I pursue a woman, I pursue her," he said when he said it [sic]. The guys all accused him of being different around Desiree than he was the other guys and Ben made a very valid point, in a patented doubly expressed phrase: "You should be different around a girl. She's a girl." I see their point, too. You should still be essentially the same person, but we all modify our behaviour around different people, be it a "girl", your boss, friends of your grandparents, kids, whoever. Point to Ben.
Cut to: Des addressing Ben. She was quite harsh, calling him "very insincere" and that his comments from the limo showed us everything that he really is. He was putting on a persona. Clearly she didn't hear his explanation that she's a girl so a persona is fine. Could a guy in striped socks be all that bad? I mean really?
James made it to the hot seat without boos. But that was the extent of everyone's politeness with him. He defended his comments that he could possibly look forward to a future as the next Bachelor as "just a conversation normal men have." That's obvious. Ask any normal man you know. I know every time the phone rings, my gut instinct is that it's the producers calling me offering me the position. One day.
I was heartened to catch a glimpse of one of those distracting tweets they run during the show. Someone wrote that anyone with a "normal functioning brain" would at least think about the possibility. Granted, I didn't catch if it was one of James' relatives tweeting.
Harrison claimed that this tempest in a teapot was "one of the biggest controversies" of the season. That's telling, methinks. When lacking a real controversy, create one!
James' detractors couldn't get over this perceived fact: that if his claims of falling in love with Des were true, he couldn't possibly envision a moment when it didn't work out. His very valid point was that it's a two-way street and she has to be falling in love with him, too. He couldn't possibly know that. Point to James.
But Harrison has a cold streak in him. He set James up, asking him if he'd every be the Bachelor. James responded reasonably without committing. Harrison snidely said he'd take that as a yes. Then he turned to the Romans gathered and said, "Quick poll: Would you trust this guy to be the next Bachelor?" Michael bit his tongue and didn't shout out, "Objection, your honour! Leading the witnesses!"
Cut to: Des addressing James. With the advice of Ashley, Emily and Ali ringing in her ears, she said she felt manipulated by James "100%".
Next up in the hot seat was Juan Pablo. You may ask what Juan Pablo did to deserve sitting in the hot seat. You may, in fact, what Juan Pablo did at all. Well, the meaning of the hot seat changed slightly when he was sitting there. In this instance, it clearly meant a chair for hot people.
The ladies swooned. Some wore tee-shirts in his honour. Not bad for a guy who got virtually no screen time all season. Then we saw a whole bunch of footage of Juan Pablo being sexy, charming and funny – none of which we saw all season! Boy, the editors and producers really have their fingers on the pulse of the nation, don't they? They assume we all want to see made-up drama instead of nice, interesting contestants. And then some Rico Suave dude enters, grabs American females by the lapels and plants a big wet kiss on them, and the bigwigs at the show edit him out of the whole season (almost). If they were politicians, they wouldn't be re-elected. Harrison kept calling him the "man of mystery" but it was his bosses that made him that.
Harrison then showed why he gets paid the big bucks. The former sports reporter asks the hard-hitting questions. To Juan Pablo, he demanded, "To clear this up once and for all, how do you pronounce your name?" Boom! Nailed! Isn't Spanish an official language of the US, or close to it?
I don't know how Chris Harrison got a hold of the journal, but there it was. Zak had no idea if Des had read it. Harrison got out his trusty black light pen and read the scribblings to the gathering. No idea what it said or meant, and I don't think anyone else did, either. But some women were actually crying in the crowd. But remember, they're all extras, or actor-wannabes so when they were told to cry they were probably thinking of a dead pet dog or something.
That's basically it. We saw some bloopers because, apparently, they're "everybody's favourite." This from the group that edits out Juan Pablo for a season. Maybe they need a better data research team.
Who's going to be the next Bachelor? It's gotta be Juan Pablo, right? I'd say it's his for the taking. If it's Zak, I don't think I could stomach a season of horrible poetry and song.
Okay, I'm looking forward to the big heart-wrenching two-part finale. Knowing that Des is now smiling and happy, I hope it all goes terribly wrong. I want Chris to strike out, Brooks to get cold feet, and Drew to come out of the closet. Or anything like that. Or how about her brother running them all off his property with a shotgun?
Remember, Des is fine now. We saw proof of that on Monday. Keep reminding yourself.