"The Bachelor" Rose Rundown: The mystery of Kirpa's chin bandaid
Let's talk drama and intrigue on last night's episode of "The Bachelor" – no, not hunting for grubs in the middle of the Thai jungle or a character bailing from the show or two contestants almost coming to blows.
No, let's discuss the TRUE drama that came from Monday night: What the heck happened to Kirpa's chin?!
For those who don't remember (and you wouldn't be blamed if you didn't), Kirpa is a contestant who's made it impressively far considering I'm not sure she's said a sentence on camera this season. I'm still not sure she's had a line yet – but in the random cutaway shots Monday night, Kirpa appeared to have a small bandage on her chin. AND AMERICA NOTICED.
Well, surely this odd and distracting detail will be explained – maybe during the post-credits goofball clip or maybe on Twitter or maybe NOWHERE BECAUSE IT WAS NEVER ADDRESSED. Indeed, it's like everyone was sworn to secrecy concerning Kirpa's new facial accessory, and YOU DON'T PLAY AMERICA LIKE THAT. I checked Twitter to see if somebody caught the dirt. Nothing. I checked Kirpa's timeline to see if she live-tweeted some explanation. Nothing. I dug around all across the internet, putting in more effort than I showed at any point during my four years in college. NOTHING. All I know is that it may or may not have something to do with a "Bachelor" fight club – but as we all know, the first rule of fight club is that there you do not talk about fight club. (The second rule is that you never, ever bring up Arie's name in polite company. Oh damn, expelled again.)
So was she bit by some radioactive Thai insect? Was it an attention stunt so people would talk about her Tuesday morning more than she's ever talked on the show? Did she pull a Chicken Man and fall off her bunk bed? Nope, as "The Bachelor" later lamely revealed the following morning with (*groan*) a bonus deleted clip – similar to how they half-heartedly revealed Bri's confession that she wasn't actually Australian.
Bummer. You knew if it was something good, it would've made primetime. Instead that bandaid turned out to merely hide LIES AND DISAPPOINTMENT, as Kirpa just slipped and fell taking a beach selfie, busting her chin – and spraining her wrist – in the process. THE DANGERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA! And we didn't even get to see the pratfall. At least she took the trip like a champ and with a good sense of humor. (Hey producers, she's really funny! Give her something to do besides losing fights to gravity!)
Anyways, on to the actual show, which was oddly boring and brilliant in the same two-hour stretch. (I'll take it!) Colton and the remaining Hannahs hopped over from Singapore to Thailand for this week's episode, where the ladies walked on the beach and Colton took another freaking shower. Listen, show, stop trying so hard to sexify him, ABC. You're overcompensating; he can still be a hunk and a virgin at the same time! WHAT A WORLD.
Anyways, his first date goes to Never Been Kissed Heather, who snags a one-on-one boat adventure with our star. They go on a tour of gorgeous floating islands and an entire floating city and definitely James Cameron's inspiration for "Avatar." And much like "Avatar," something doesn't feel quite right. Heather and Colton are talking, I suppose, but there's no spark and no romantic swooning music to cue that things are going well. OH NO, IS HEATHER GETTING THE ONE-ON-WOMP SOLO DATE DISMISSAL!? Truly the saddest of all the dismissals. Just give her one kiss before you throw her on a boat back to America. She wants it so bad – and by that, I mean the producers want it so bad, zooming in on Colton's lips and giving me awful PTSD flashbacks to that viral "Cat Person" New Yorker article.
Somehow, however, Heather manages to pull this seemingly doomed date out of its tailspin, and the two take a happy walk down the beach where they're just awkwardly naming things that they see like they're my grandma on a road trip. An island! Boats! Let me read that entire billboard! But after all that stalling, finally there's fireworks – literally, as a Very Unexpected fireworks show begins and Colton plants the first kiss on Heather. AWWWW IT'S KINDA SWEET. The show didn't exactly do a great job of leading up to this moment and making it feel like the conclusion to a lovely date, but STILL AWW! Now what are they going to put for Heather's occupation? Heather, 24, Doesn't Even Know Who She Is Anymore.
While Heather managed to avoid getting the axe, however, another contestant is not so lucky. Back at the hotel, Elyse is all sad because she didn't watch "The Bachelor" before joining the show and didn't realize that Colton would be dating several other women besides her at the same time. On one hand, I get it; this is an unconventional dating process, and it can't be easy watching Heather come home jazzed about her first kiss with your boyfriend. Or seeing Cailynn arrive home with an entire mall of clothes that your beau bought for her.
On the other hand ... that is indeed the concept of the show!
So after doing an impressively bad job of pretending to be happy for Heather ("I'm glad you had a good one," she utters while loading a pistol), she goes to talk with Colton ... and self-immolates, explaining that this process just ain't for her. So Colton sends her home, and Elyse immediately regrets her life choices. COULD'VE GOTTEN AT LEAST TWO MORE DAYS OF THAI VACATION! None of it is particularly fun or exciting – this is a classic "Bachelor" drama, the contestant who can't handle the concept and has to go home from it all – but we do get at least one fun Demi line delivery ("I'm very weirded out as to what's going on," she mutters like Inspector Poirot) and Sydney noting that, while she didn't know what Elyse's deal was, she at least looked good while she ejected herself from the show. It's the little things.
Sadly Colton's in his head about the idea that he could propose to somebody at the end of this season and get rejected for not being enough again. And what better way to distract yourself from a gutting heartbreak than by wandering into a jungle with ten other women to hunt bugs and hang out with snakes. Easy to forget one's romantic woes when you're focused on not getting some rare 21st century typhoid fever! He still seems bummed out with low energy at first, but by the time he's noshing on raw banana root and watching Miss Bama knock back a juicy grub in the name of love, he's back in business.
The girls are challenged to become amateur Bear Grylls, gathering up food and water all on their own in the jungle. One group cuts open a water-filled root and picks up bugs. Another group finds a clean (enough) stream and more gooey grubs to eat. And Demi and company take the bus to freaking Thai Applebee's to hang out, drink cocktails and come back to the jungle with burgers and bubbly. AND PEOPLE WONDER WHY I LOVE THIS WOMAN! Somehow they don't win the challenge, though, because apparently "hopping in a car to escape the jungle and eat pub food" doesn't count as a survival strategy. DEMI WAS ROBBED!
Somehow, things get much more fierce after the gaggle leaves the jungle. During the group date dinner, Onyeka reveals that, before she committed dating show seppuku, Elyse left behind a secret about one of the contestants. Is this person dating somebody back home? Is she a murderer? Does she prefer "The Amazing Race"? No, as it turns it out, Elyse heard Nicole say that she was on the show just as an opportunity to leave Miami. I call BS on that. I live in Wisconsin where the temperature was literally colder than Antarctica and we threw boiling water into the air to amuse ourselves and stave off frostbite; nobody says, "I must escape Miami and this beautiful weather and these endless beaches! (*faints*)" And Nicole agrees, telling Colton that it wasn't true.
Not only that, but another contestant steps in to tell Onyeka that, actually, she was there for the conversation between Nicole and Elyse – and Nicole never said that at all. WHAT A TWIST! Somehow this is the realest fight I've ever seen on "The Bachelor." It's not someone being a villain or somebody trying to hurt another person; it's just a game of telephone where somebody misheard something from another person, who misheard something from another person – and if you had just talked to your friend instead of assuming the grapevine was accurate, we wouldn't be here arguing! Classic. Anyways, Miss Bama gets the rose because she pulls out the "I'm falling in love with you" card with Colton. Plus, she ate a grub for Colton while he only pretended – so he owed her this rose. And a nice dinner of the opposite of bugs.
After most of the girls have to fight for survival in the jungle like they're "Lost" cast members, Cassie gets a boat trip to a gorgeous private island where she makes out with Colton in the middle of the ocean. NOT FAIR. She only got the good date because she's Colton's sister from another life. I CALL NEPOTISM! Also: I'm convinced Cassie is actually Olympian skier Lindsey Vonn. Have you ever seen Lindsey Vonn and Cassie in the same room? I think not. Anyways, it's a fine, cute date – but honestly I spent most of this part falling down the Kirpa face bandage rabbit hole.
Unfortunately we don't have time for answers, but we do have time for a pre-rose ceremony cocktail party – complete with Demi rocking a delicious sh*t-eating grin because that's just Demi's constant state. She gives him a trust ring during their one-on-one time together while Kirpa does his teeth (why?) and does NOT explain why she has that bandaid. (WHY!?!?) But the winner is Tayshia, who sets up one of those majestic floating candle lights for Colton, an idea so good that every single other contestant is stuck watching and grumbling, "Oh that's so cute" through a rictus grin. "What a cute idea," mutters Cailynn with a smile while also stabbing herself in the stomach for not coming up with it first.
But then we get to the DRAMA of the night. (Sorry, Elyse, but nobody cares that you didn't read up on what "The Bachelor" entails before applying for "The Bachelor.") Nicole goes to Colton to apologize for what Onyeka said to him as well as to explain what she actually said. Oh, and she also says the Onyeka bullies her and called her "mentally unstable" and THINGS HAVE ESCALATED. We were just having a nice game of telephone and now we're bullying?! So obviously Onyeka isn't into that at all, especially when Colton confronts her about these accusations because he is not happy about the "bullying" word making it onto his show. He's here to find love ... and also to make Miss Bama eat a new gross thing every episode.
None of this is the particularly interesting part of the drama; contestants getting into tiffs about somebody supposedly saying something is as engrained into this show as handing out roses. What IS interesting is how this whole drama plays out: Instead of the show doing its usual "fight fight fight" approach, as Nicole and Onyeka loudly harrumph at each other, the show keeps cutting to everyone else at the cocktail party just ... kind of annoyed they're talking so loudly. It's like the show itself gained self-awareness, knowing this is some trite and petty feuding, and instead having fun with reaction shots and characters being not about it – most of all Colton, who comes over to mediate the fight only to get flustrated (that's flustered AND frustrated!) and storm off for some time alone.
Is this peak TV? No. Is this revolutionary new reality show storytelling? Not at all. But there is something interesting about this season's reluctance to indulge into dumb, tired dramas. You want fighting beauty queens? Sorry, that's predictable; instead, they're going to be good people and settle their feud like grown-ups. You want ladies complaining to one another about lies and name-calling? Sure, you can have it – but everyone else on the show is going to be snickering about it on the couch. You want an obvious villain in Demi? Too bad, because she's actually awesome and it's actually all of the goodie-two-shoes who apparently believe there's some rule book to "The Bachelor" who you hate. It's like instead of getting reality show wannabes for this season, they just cast real people who are reacting to these reality show contrivances in authentic ways. Even Colton, for as much of a goober as he can be, seems sincere, disinterested in drama or bad behavior.
It may not be the juicy reality material we're used to, but oddly its anti-drama attitude is becoming weirdly compelling – and for maybe the first time during my job of recapping this show, I like everybody here. (Of course, I LOVE Demi, who again drops maybe the line of the night about wanting to be a fly on the wall for the Colton-Nicole-Onyeka tiff before delightfully rebuffing somebody's dismissive "Oh Demi" by saying, "Like you wouldn't?" TEAM DEMI LIVES!)
Actually, I like ALMOST everybody ... except whoever edited Kirpa's pratfall out of the episode and out of the post-show YouTube afterthought clip. You're a monster. #JusticeForKirpasChin, indeed.
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