It's SO good.
Now, onto the show.
Viewers will remember of last week's show ended with Kelsey in hysterics on the floor of the hotel, which is exactly where this week's episode begins. Her "panic attack" came immediately after Chris announced there would be no cocktail party, as he had already made up his mind in regards to who he would be sending home. As she was composing herself, Kelsey asked to see Chris, who appeared to comfort her. This, of course, was treated as a plea for attention from the other women as opposed to a legitimate medical concern. Personally, I have never been in an elimination style polyamorous relationship, but I imagine it would cause quite a bit of stress. Maybe it was real?
Then again, Kelsey did seem to compose herself very quickly after rejoining the other women and wasn't embarrassed at all, so it's hard to believe this wasn't premeditated in some fashion. Either way, she got what she wanted from Chris: a rose.
Like I said last week, Kelsey is an amazing villain.
This just looks evil...
The rose ceremony saw the departures of both Samantha and Mackenzie, both of which I have to think were good decisions. I don't believe Samantha said more than 15 words during her time on the show, and Mackenzie's inability to pass the "half-your-age-plus-seven" rule in regards to Chris was unnerving. Best of luck to both in their future endeavors.
This week, the show moved to Deadwood, South Dakota. As Chris describes it, "This is where Wild Bill Hickok died, and where Calamity Jane... did her business." I'll assume by this Chris means Deadwood is the place where Calamity Jane worked and lived and not, as he so literally implied, pooped. Though to be fair, she probably did a fair share of that as well. A frontier diet could not have been good on your colon.
That's a mighty fancy toilet for the frontier.
In a promo, Chris also refers to Deadwood, somewhat ironically, as "The perfect place to fall in love." Just as a reminder, that's the exact thing he said about Santa Fe last week, which really supports my "insert-city-name-here" hypothesis. Quality editing, ABC.
Once everyone has arrived in Deadwood and performed the obligatory "Hello Deadwood!" screaming, the first solo date card arrives for Becca. She and Chris ride horses though the Blackfoot Hills and shoot guns. We hadn't seen much of Becca leading up to this point which is a shame, because based on this date she's very entertaining. Between being a great shot, making fun of Chris' giggly laugh, and opening up emotionally, Becca became a lot more interesting this episode. If you ask me, she's probably a top competitor going forward.
Back at the house, Carly, Whitney, and Kaitlyn decide to confront Kelsey about being a generally terrible person. The consensus seems to be that Kelsey acts differently around Chris than she does around the other women. Kelsey immediately writes this off as the others being jealous of how smart she is, saying "I was blessed with eloquence." As a guidance counselor, I'm sure Kelsey is used to dealing with stupid questions from stupid teenagers. Unfortunately for her, not everyone is a teenager and she kind of came off looking like an asshat here.
Stock photography is the best.
Once the low-stakes confrontation ended, the group date began with six women writing country songs. Initially, I thought this was going to be a terrible date because, as someone who writes on a regular basis, I can tell you it's not that interesting. However, the show proved me wrong, and with a little help from country stars Big and Rich, the entire segment was pretty enjoyable. All six women seemed to have at least a basic grasp of songwriting and passing vocals to back it up. The highlight of it all was Kaitlyn though, who dropped an F bomb within the first five seconds of her song. Please ABC. Please. Make Kaitlyn the next bachelorette.
The only real source of drama on the group date was Chris running off with Britt to a Big and Rich show under the pretense of giving her the date rose. The pair left without telling the other women what was happening and understandably upset them. To the rest, it looks as if Chris and Britt are already a couple and everyone else is relegated to a background character. This is where the crying really took off, as we were treated to five women looking directly into the camera and drunkenly blubbering about how hard everything was. Watching any one person cry is uncomfortable. Watching five grown adults cry for superficial reasons is untenable.
This times five.
The final date of the night was a 2 on 1 date between Kelsey and Ashley where at least one of the women would be sent home. Both contestants are very confident they will receive a rose at the end of the date. While flying in a helicopter, Kelsey looks out the window and names the four presidents (in the wrong order) on nearby Mt. Rushmore, while Ashley looks out the window and makes an annoyed face. These women are truly pinnacles of their gender.
Eventually, the helicopter lands in the Badlands and the trio makes their way to a large bed. You read that right. A polyamorous reality TV star led his two feuding dates into the middle of a prairie to lay on a bed together. No, this was not written by Salvador Dali and no, you are not dreaming.
Each woman gets alone time with Chris, which Ashley immediately uses to talk shit about Kelsey. Chris then confronts Kelsey with this information, who deflects the criticism surprisingly well. Once her time with Chris is over, Kelsey returns to the prairie bed and gives Ashley the longest and most menacing stare in the history of stares. Ashley does her best to avoid this, but gets drawn into a brief confrontation when Kelsey says "I know what you did." She really is terrifying.
This actually seems like a plausible thing Kelsey would do.
Ashley runs off to Chris to ask why he would talk to Kelsey about that/rat out Kelsey's bad behavior. It backfires on her, and Chris tells her that he wants to end things. This is where the snot really hits the fan. Ashley begins stomping around, yelling at both Chris and the very idea of being dumped. This really should come as no surprise since every one of their interactions leading up to this point involved Ashley crying in some capacity. Frankly, it's amazing that she lasted as long as she did.
After leaving Ashley, Chris returns to the prairie bed to break up with Kelsey. She seemed to handle this well, but given how calculated her personality is, it's hard to say how she really felt. Actually, it was hard to tell if she felt anything at all? Kelsey has the same lifeless eyes when she laughs, cries, or gets dumped by hunky farmers. It's pretty unnerving.
Kelsey wouldn't even harm a fly...
At the hotel, the women are gathered talking when a producer from the show enters to pick up Kelsey's suitcase, signifying that she has been eliminated. Immediately upon seeing this, the remaining seven women erupt into cheers and even pour champagne to celebrate. Apparently, they thought Kelsey was as bad as everyone else does.
I think that is where shows like this become problematic. Most people are in agreement that the Kelsey we see on this program is manipulative and untrustworthy, but that is a heavily edited version of the real person. The real person is able to decide how they will present themselves to the world, without spliced together dialogue and soundtracks. It is the edited person that we see and react to when watching, talking with friends, or reading blogs like this one. The edited version of Kelsey is the one I am writing about now.
The problem is, the edited version of Kelsey is the result of the real version of Kelsey, who must answer for all of the edited version's misdoings. Early last week, Kelsey was forced to shut down her twitter because of overwhelming negative comments. That is scary to me, as it means fans cannot draw a line between reality and reality TV. I'm not saying that real life Kelsey is a saint, but she certainly does not deserve criticism for an edited version of herself, created by another person.
Now of course all contestants on the show are aware of this as a possibility. Any time you join a show like this, you know that becoming a villain is a potential outcome. That doesn't make the actual process of becoming vilified any easier though. Call me what you will, but I left this episode feeling bad for Kelsey, who now has to go through life being recognized as "That bitch from The Bachelor."