“Has anyone ever taken a rose back before?” asks Clayton -- plus, Hilary Duff helps with one group date, and gets a whole lot of one villain.
This week, Jesse Palmer introduced himself as "the host of 'The Bachelor,'" seemingly making it official. For all those complaining that he's too boring, how exciting was Chris Harrison really on the episodes themselves?
For those complaining that Clayton is kind of boring -- yeah, we're with you on that. And the producers seem to have some idea that he's not going to be the star of his own season as they started spotlighting (grooming?) a couple of villains right away in this second episode.
It's so extreme that we're not entirely sure what's real and what isn't. We'll say that we're pretty sure the first one is absolutely putting on a show. Either she decided, or someone told her the formula to be "great TV" on a reality show, because she is checking every box.
It's almost cartoonish at times. At other times it absolutely is cartoonish. And yet, she may have a true villainous side to her. Or at least further confirmation that she's here to make the aforementioned "good TV" in hopes of advancing her reality television career -- yes, this is a thing -- rather than for Clayton.
The night's second villain to emerge is actually being coached and trained by the first villain, but maybe that should be the other way around. By the end of the night, Villain #1 actually told Villain #2 that she may have taken things too far.
By the end of the night, as well, Clayton had been made fully aware of the antics of both villains, thus leading to him pulling Jesse aside and asking him, "Has anyone ever taken a rose back before?"
"I Spend as Little Time Among You Small People as Possible"
Cassidy is talking about children here, which is the theme of the first group date of the night. But we could also hear her saying that to the "plebs" all around her. She's definitely enjoying the more lavish side of being on "The Bachelor," and definitely not enjoying the existence of other people, save for Clayton.
Actually, we're not a hundred percent sure she really cares about him as much as it's about "winning" the show.
While the other ladies are working hard to set up a children's birthday party as part of the group date, Cassidy actively sips wine and disengages with all of the. She does come alive enough to "steal" Clayton away to make out with him aggressively by the pool. Production, set up across the water, is loving every moment of it.
She also shows a spark of life when she fangirls over guest Hilary Duff, on hand to emcee the date, which is clearly inspired by Clayton's only breakout moment from Michelle's season: the date where he built a pillow fort with kids. If your lead has only one endearing personality trait, you have to lean into it. Otherwise, what else have you got?
At one point, while the women were all working, Cassidy decided to go spend time with Hilary, who was not doing a great job of hiding the "WTF" on her face. Later, Hilary even acknowledged Cassidy's "mean girl" approach, saying that she could definitely see Cassidy's laser focus on Clayton.
“She has her eye on the prize," Hilary noted. "I don't think it's going to make her any friends here -- but I'm not sure she cares.”
Gabby, who was supposed to have Cassidy helping her build a dollhouse on the lawn, called her out about her lack of involvement at the cocktail party, but Cassidy did. not. care. She's here for Clayton, she argued, not all this other nonsense that's part of the show she signed up for and that's part of the process of actually landing Clayton.
:Later, she did get involved with the party by snatching the cake that someone else made for Maya's (one of the kids) party and then rather than having the kids enjoy any of it, she dropped it on the ground. On purpose? We may never know, as we didn't get nearly enough context on that.
Turns out, though, that ignoring expectations, disrespecting the other women and the kids, and ditching the focus of the date to make out with the Bachelor is exactly the right move. To the horror of every other woman there, Cassidy picked up the first group date rose of the season, just as she confidently predicted she would.
Already, Clayton and Susie are enjoying an adorable chemistsy on the season's first One-on-One date. And already, Susie is showing more personality than Clayton has in every moment he's been on-screen without a child present. Hopefully he and whomever he marries will quickly have kids so he can really shine.
With an adorable personality and great sense of humor, it's not a real surprise that Susie was voted class clown back in high school. Everything about her presence during this date, which saw them take a helicopter flight past the mansion -- making everyone jealous -- and through LA before landing on a yacht to hang out in a hot tub was just lavish, glam and gorgeous.
What we liked, though, was that both contestants were almost laughing at the absurdity of the whole date. Cassidy might have pushed Clayton out of the helicopter to better enjoy all this "bougie" by herself.
During the evening portion, Susie opened up about her dad's health struggles in a vulnerable and raw moment. Her heart, at least, appears to be genuine and she appears to be genuinely here for the opportunity. She's not alone in that, but it was definitely a palpable moment between the two, culminating in one of those awkward makeout sessions in front of a band trying to promote their music -- in this case, Amanda Jordan.
No surprise, Susie got the second rose of the week. She's got frontrunner potential written all over her. The two shared a cute chemistry moment on the first night with her hand buzzer gag -- showing that silly side -- and it's clear he felt something as he chose her for this One-on-One. If nothing else, she's here for a while.
"I Want to Win, What Did You Think I Was Going to Do?"
With Cassidy revealed and emerging as the season's first true villain caricature, we quickly got a glimpse of her would-be protégé getting some advice from her ahead of the second group date of the night. From there, Shanae basically narrated the entire date, telling us producers have definitely pegged her as the seasons' villain (depending how long she stays).
With this many girls, Cassidy and Shanae could share the honor yet, but we're starting to think production is going to focus in on the one who definitely started sharing more awful human qualities. And unfortunately for Shanae, some of her antics do not look nearly as scripted or fake as basically everything Cassidy is doing for the camera.
At 29 years old, she should definitely know better than to display some of this behavior, but like Cassidy, she makes it very clear on multiple occasions that she is here to win. And like the best villains, she doesn't care who she lies about, stomps on or pisses off along the way.
That quickly became apparent, when Shanae decided to make Elizabeth the target of her best "mean girl" tactics simply because she perceived that Elizabeth was ahead of her in the competition.
At the group date, which was about throwing up red flags, Shanae whined and complained that Elizabeth got the seat next to Clayton during a "red flags" game of Never Have I Ever helmed by comedian Ziwe. The coziness led to some pretty hot-and-heavy flirting between Clayton and Elizabeth, with Shanae steaming more and more as it went on.
We suspect it's insecurity that led to Shanae really acting out. Later, during an obstacle course portion, she aggressively knocked Elizabeth down in an effort to "win" that competition, too. That backfired, though, as the very sweet Sarah won the race, and some extra time with Clayton.
Later that evening, Shanae was again outraged after Elizabeth was the first to "steal" Clayton away from the group. She actually got emotional, having a brief breakdown, which only embarrassed and angered her more. So, rather than own anything, she lashed out an blamed Elizabeth for everything.
Fully on the offensive, she then tried to blow up Elizabeth's chances by telling Clayton that she's two-faced. When Clayton pulled Elizabeth away, Shanae then lied to the other women, telling them she'd said nothing.
So what is her beef? The story she told Elizabeth is that Elizabeth was nice on the first night, but then during a three-way conversation later, Elizabeth wasn't looking at or engaging with Shanae. At this point, Elizabeth tried to explain that by revealing that she had ADHD.
Shanae immediately weaponized this against Elizabeth with the other women, outing to them Elizabaeth's diagnosis. She spent the rest of the night throwing it around, making fun of it, making light of it and generally making herself look like a real jackass.
Maybe she's auditioning for a spot on "The Real Housewives" where so many cast members have proven they're incredibly immature, tactless and gross with their behavior regardless of their ages.
This dispute between the women kept coming up and coming up between them, and roping in the other ladies, and everyone was so over it. And yet, this nastiness isn't what led to a dramatic "To Be Continued..." at the end of the episode.
Lest we forget, this episode treated us to two people behaving terribly. What we didn't know is that one of them was apparently doing that before she even started filming the show. We're not here to judge someone having a FWB situation, but talking that person before coming on this show with plans to get together and watch the show afterward -- well, that might raise some red flags.
"The Bachelor," clearly knowing the juiciness of what they had, pulled out the old flashback cam to reveal a conversation Cassidy had with Sierra where she talked about her friends-with-benefits back home, and how they were Facetiming right up until before the contestants' phones were taken away.
Is that someone looking to make a real, palpable connection? Possibly, though the implication of picking up where things left off after filming was done would certainly throw up a pretty big red flag.
Sierra decided that Clayton needed to know about this and to her credit, she didn't even wait for the women to ask her, nor did she lie about going to him, like Shanae did. Right after talking to Clayton, she pulled Cassidy aside to tell her she blew up her game.
This is the stage of the competition where you have to weed out the problem contestants. We didn't see if Clayton spoke to Cassidy at all after Sierra, but that could be deceptive editing. We did see Cassidy's confidence that it doesn't matter because she already has a rose. What can Clayton do?
Well, we saw exactly what he can do. Can you take back a rose? We have a feeling that since this is his journey, and it would be "one of the most dramatic" things he could do, producers are champing at the bit for him to do just that ... preferably in full view of everyone ... and hopefully with an either outraged or tear-filled reaction ... or both ... they're not picky.
"My name is Jesse Palmer and I am the new host of 'The Bachelor.'" --Jesse (to the women)
"The date card said, 'This is what dreams are made of.' I'm so excited. I'm dying to know what dreams are made of because I do forget a lot of my dreams." --Gabby
"Everything is luxurious and beautiful. This is totally my vibe." --Cassidy
"You're the first concert I ever went to in my whole life. I had a sign with your face on it." --Cassidy (to Hilary)
"Cassidy and I are supposed to be building the dollhouse, but I'm stuck building the dollhouse alone. I mean, she doesn't give a s--- about the birthday party." --Gabby
"I don't really care if Hilary Duff is disappointed in my dollhouse abilities or the girls are a little miffed. Ultimately, I'm here to date Clayton." --Cassidy (taking Clayton off to talk instead)
"I don't see myself leaving, at least not voluntarily. You're gonna have to drag me out, if that's okay with you." --Cassidy
"Man, you are-- There's no shortage of confidence." --Clayton
"I spend as little time among you small people as possible." --Cassidy (to kids)
"Let the record show, as of this day, I think Cassidy might be a frontrunner." --Cassidy
"Just noticed you looking at me. That's all." --Cassidy (to Mara)
"I mean, when I look over at you, you're looking at me already. So who's looking at who?" --Mara
"I don't know, girl, I don't know what your problem is." --Cassidy (is this for the camera?)
"I'm a pilot. It should've been me." --Rachel (seeing Clayton and Susie in a helicopter)
"I'm definitely a big dancer. Not a good one, just a big one." --Susie (on One-on-One)
"I'm not this bougie. This is not my [every] Saturday." --Clayton (with Susie in the hot tub on a yacht)
"Left my friends, left my family... my cat." --Jill (feeling dejected after getting on date this week)
"Cassidy's advice is embedded in my head. I'm confident, I'm ready, and all you bitches, knocking you over dead." --Shanae (on group date)
"I really wanted you to say you have." --Elizabeth (to Clayton about faking an orgasm)
"How am I gonna fake one? It's pretty obvious." --Clayton
"I pushed you 'cause I was trying to win, honey. Weren't we all?" --Shanae (after pushing Elizabeth during obstacle course challenge.
"I think I could probably make my freestyle rap about that." --Elizabeth (after first kiss with Clayton)
"I'm so pissed right now." --Shanae (storming off and crying after Elizabeth talks to Clayton first)
"Elizabeth is fake. She's two-faced. She made me cry. I do not like people who make me cry. Especially people who don't matter to me." --Shanae
"We're in a competition. I want to win. What did you think I was going to do? Let you keep going and be ahead of me? Uh, no." --Shanae (after making up lies about Elizabeth to Clayton)
"You said you have ADHD." --Shanae (to Elizabeth in front of other girls)
"I do have ADHD. You want to talk to me about more of my mental health issues?" --Elizabeth
"I never said I love you." --Elizabeth (after Shanae keeps saying she did)
"I was gonna kiss that and then kiss you, but that's a little scary." --Gabby (about Clayton face pillow)
"Burn that." --Clayton (about pillow)
"You're sorry and you 'love' me. And then you forgot because you have ADHD." --Shanae (about Elizabeth)
"I didn't tell anyone you have ADHD." --Shanae (to Elizabeth, lying)
"I have ADHD. F------ little kids have ADHD. And I think you're using that as an excuse." --Shanae (to Elizabeth)
"I don't ever want to upset her. She has ADHD." --Shanae (before laughing)
"You're a good kisser." --Clayton (to Cassidy)
"I know." --Cassidy
"Of course you do." --Clayton
"On that Facetime he was like, 'Well, whatever the show it is you're on, like, I can't wait for you to get back. Let's watch it together.'" --Cassidy (to Sierra about her FWB she was talking to right before meeting Clayton)
"Clayton clearly likes me. What's he gonna do? I have a f------ rose." --Cassidy (after Sierra told him about her FWB)
"Question for you. Weird question, but has anyone ever taken a rose back before?" --Clayton