'The Bachelor,' Season 20, Episode 3: Let's all gang up on the orphan
If ever there was a manufactured controversy in the mansion, it was last night's Jubilee witch hunt.
Don't get me wrong. Watching attractive women be catty should be submitted to the International Olympic Committee to be included in the 2016 events. It's entertaining and there's a level of artistry that only true professionals, a la Olivia, can execute without being punched in the face (yet).
But the reasoning behind disliking Jubilee was so flimsy that it almost painted her as the only candidate sane enough to become Mrs. Ben Higgins.
Here are the charges levied against her by the house cabal and their leader, Amber:
1. She told Ben that he was 20 minutes late to their one-on-one date -- when he was in fact 20 minutes late.
2. When Jubilee saw the helicopter they'd be riding in, she made the comment, "Does anyone else want to go on my date?"
3. After receiving a rose, she limited her communication with the other girls and continuously carried her rose.
4. When Ben told the girls that he'd found out that two of his longtime family friends died in a plane crash, Jubilee pulled him to the side to give him a stress relief massage, despite having a rose already.
Even typed out it looks petty. That's what made this episode and absolute gem. Each and every girl in the house, even our lovable Caila, was wallowing in an unexplainable swamp-like jealousy that turned these bitter enemies into a gang thirsting for Jubilee's blood.
But for the sake of argument, I'll play Jubilee's advocate, if you will.
1. Jubilee has been awkward in her conversations with Ben since she got out of the limo. Her attempt at a joke was actually sort of funny and probably would have been received better if it was made in private instead of inside the viper pit.
2. She was afraid of heights. Giving up the date she'd cried about possibly not getting was an ice breaker joke. Get over it.
3. When Jubilee woke up the morning after her spa date with Ben, the mood of the house was icy. Girls were actually complaining aloud to one another that she had returned instead of being eliminated as they had hoped. Who the hell would talk to people like that?
4. Jubilee understands loss. She lost her entire family in Haiti before being adopted to America. So when Ben said he was having a tough time, Jubilee didn't submit to the unwritten rules of girls with roses yielding their time. She went and comforted Ben with something she could do that others may not have thought to provide. It was much better for Ben's state of mind than having to console Olivia about her cankles or Lace about her self esteem.
In a word, the whole "Jubilee is a villain" matter was "trifling."
Jubilee emerged as a star last night, aided by her honesty and her subtle resemblance to Kerry Washington (we see you ABC!). She emerged as the first minority contender in, like, ever in The Bachelor universe. An interesting development for a dating program with the same diversity problems as the Oscars.
The night was hilarious otherwise. Lauren B. got a one-on-one date in small airplane and a hot tub in the middle of nowhere. There was a mysterious bubble in the tub, which Ben denies responsibility for, but we all know the truth, Mr. Higgins. After dinner, she even got a private concert from country-star Lucy Angel in a barn. "This feels like what I'd want my first date with my wife to be like," Ben alluded.
U.S. Women's Soccer team members Alex Morgan and Kelly O'Hara had to witness the worst attempt at athletic ability ever as Leah, Jami, Rachel, Olivia, Emily, Haley, Shushanna, Lauren H., Amanda, Becca, Lace and Amber split in two teams to play for Ben's time. The comedy of errors that followed ended in sudden death with team stripes edging out team stars to get a smaller group date with Ben.
Out of the gate, Olivia dominated the smaller group date by pulling Ben aside and taking him up to a hotel room to talk. However, it was crusty, grizzled veteran Amber who got the group date rose. This was the beginning of Olivia's inevitable psychotic break.
She inferred that Ben giving her the group date rose meant that he was trying to spread it around and not make her look like the obvious lock. As he stood, he touched her leg, and Olivia took that to mean, "Don't worry, I got you."
Unhappy with her zealousness, the girls got catty and criticized her aggressiveness, her breath and even her toes, for Pete's sake.
Her response was to cry to Ben about how much she hates her lower body and look for reassurance and consolation on a night when he needed it more.
When he was awarding roses at the ceremony, Ben gave Olivia his very last one, and again she took that to be an obvious communication of his commitment to their "relationship."
"He squeezed my waist a little to let me know that he can't always give me everything," she said in an interview.
Maybe she's right and I'm crazy, but the reverse feels more accurate.
This week, Lace came to the realization that she may not be mentally strong enough for a competition like this. After failing to get any significant time at the pre-rose ceremony cocktail party, Lace pulled Ben to the side to bow out of the game. She knew she needed more self esteem to deal with harsh realities of dating. "I need to do more work on myself," she admitted. Understatement of the century.
Ben ultimately eliminated pint-sized mathematician, Shushanna, and friend to Kaitlyn Bristow, Jami, with little fan fare.
As the ranks narrow, we can count on Olivia ratcheting up the crazy and Caila over compensating with the cute. But don't count out our dark horse, Jubilee. There more the girls pounce, the better she looks. A few more attacks like Monday could catapult Jubilee from strong minority candidate to our next Bachelorette. Wouldn't that be a big surprise?