Courtney pictured in the main image. Kacie B., Emily and Blakely pictured from the top down. (Screen Grabs from ABC)
Last night’s installment of the recurring finale-block that is the "Women Tell All" episode proved more interesting than most, especially considering Chris Harrison’s headline for the evening’s stars: “The Most Memorable Women That Didn’t Find Love.” (No, it isn’t the catchiest of titles, but the producers’ first choice, “The Biggest Loser” was already taken).
As a coming attraction to the evening’s full-length feature, the audience was treated to a chilling exposé of life beyond the Bachelor, prefaced by a bleached blonde veteran who’d already seen too much: “Anywhere you go, in LA, in Vegas, in New York, there’s always a Bachelor reunion going on,” she intoned ominously, leaving the unspoken “They Will Find You” hanging in the air.
We then got a bird’s eye view of life on the reality has-been frontlines, where the onetime most popular girl on primetime, (Ali), pines for the emotionally unavailable boyfriend (Frank), and a conversationally challenged castoff suddenly becomes the most in-demand guy in the room: “I’m Ryan P., you may remember me as the guy who talked about water heaters from Ashley’s season,” our new best option related by way of introduction. Get in line ladies!
Just when we thought we were going to go blind with horror, it was time to begin. And who better to kickoff rejection-fest 2012 than the Bachelor’s own metaphorical harbinger of death, Shawntel the embalmer? Suitably chastised for their harsh assessment of the “party crasher,” the ladies sang a sweeter tune this time around: "You’re stunning Shawntel, let’s be honest,” trilled Emily, looking like quite the catch herself, in a breathe-and-risk-wardrobe-malfunction lilac mini, accessorized with art deco geometric earrings. Shawntel meanwhile, donned a too-casual, blousy white drawstring dress, but made up for it in the necklace department with a scene-stealing Egyptian-style collar that may have been borrowed off a mummy (the job does have its perks!).
After a quick spat between Britney and Samantha (we’d tell you what it involved, but due to the high-pitched nature of the conversation and our lack of interest in it, we were forced to press mute), it was time to check in with the freshly heartbroken, Nikki and Kacie B (pictured at right). Both were looking well, with the latter dressed in a decidedly grown-up and citified electric blue dress with pointed shoulders and a deep-V neckline. The ensemble nearly won our highest fashion marks, but once again it was Casey S. who swept the style sweepstakes, this time in a silver sequin embroidered tank dress with a floor-sweeping black skirt.
But enough about fashion, it was finally Bachelor Witch Trial O’Clock, or in Chris Harrison’s world, the moment we’d meet the most polarizing figure of all time: “It’s time to talk about the most controversial girl of the season—maybe EVER!” he enthused, like an excited slumber party guest about to eat raw cookie dough. Enter Courtney, in her Black Widow Optional best: an immaculately tailored violet maxi-dress with a criss-crossing keyhole back.
What followed was the most amazing, most surprising, most tear-your-hair-out-from-utter-shock Bachelor moment of all time: Courtney cried! And apologized! Despite the fact that she may or may not have a heart! It was Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony Incredible.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t think it through. If I could have thought ahead: This equals this, I would have handled myself differently,” she fumbled, like a model in distress trying to do math. “I’m sorry for hurting Ben, I cared for him, I still do…” she continued. Hold the phone: Cared for him? As in the past? As in he chose Lindzi? Or, as in, he chose you, and you have since broken up, which totally hasn’t even crossed our minds because we haven’t been reading US Weekly at the checkout stand, honest. We don’t touch the stuff.
Courtney was then subjected to a cross examination by the cast’s most wronged, from the now-vindicated Emily, to the slandered, “I’m not a stripper I’m a VIP cocktail waitress, whatever that means” Blakely (who won bonus points for her demure neckline and flattering fuschia dress color, but was then deducted for its much-too-70s bell sleeves). When the pack had finally had their fill, Courtney was excused in time to bring on the main course: Bachelor Ben.
“Welcome to my nightmare!” he declared, warming up the crowd like a late night talk show host. “You say goodbye to these women once, and that’s hard enough,” he added, stopping short of a winking, “what do I have to do to get rid of these crazies?” Fortunately for Ben, he didn’t have to do that much, aside from an “I’m just not that into you,” here and there.
Mainly he let the ladies do the hard work, stepping aside and allowing them to demonstrate what it was he didn’t see in them in the first place through petty bickering. Even the once-charming Jennifer revealing herself to be just as callous as the rest: “I mean, consider taking Blakely home to [Ben’s] mom?” she cackled before looking to Blakely herself for support, “I mean, no offense.” No, Jennifer. We’re sure there was none taken.
Perhaps the most surprising plot twist of the night was that, several months out, Jenna seemed among the most levelheaded of the bunch: “I had a meltdown, I’m cool with it,” she offered matter-of-factly, before good-naturedly accepting a gag gift in the form of a tampon from onetime antagonist Monica. Are we alone in thinking this may have been the most intimate gesture in Bachelor history? You have a lot to live up to, Switzerland finale. We just hope you’re ready for the challenge.