Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelor: Episode 9 (a.k.a. When Colton Jumps the Freaking Fence!)

The former contestant shares her insider’s POV on last night’s episode

I’ll start this one off with a fun fact: One of my favourite movies is and has always been The Truman Show, ever since I saw it in theatres (now over 20 years ago!). Although that film was made when reality TV was beginning to really take off (and it asked a very clear question: “How far is too far?”), I must confess I somehow never really made the connection between Jim Carrey’s Truman Burbank and our Bachelor or Bachelorette of the moment. But last night, it was impossible to watch Colton disappear into the night and not think of that time Truman tried to get in his car and simply drive away. When we heard producers call for Chris Harrison, it felt just like Truman’s “dad” being called in for a sudden, emergency reunion with his “son.” I’d love to say I think Colton has his own sailing-away-despite-a-phobia-of-open-water moment, but sadly Colton has contracts to oblige that Truman didn’t. The previews showing close-ups of Colton’s tears are proof.

Anyway, I have Colton to thank for not only letting me relive my favourite film from my high school years, but for also giving us one of the REALEST reality television moments we’ve ever witnessed. (Yes, I’m speaking for all of us.) This was like the 2.0 version of Brooks leaving on Desiree’s season of The Bachelorette, however, instead of a final 3 frontrunner leaving and our lead ending up quite happily ever after with one of her other men, it’s tough to imagine Colton finding that same happy fate after he outright admitted Cassie was *it.* And just like that, in those excruciating minutes where we watched Cassie try to cry and Colton all but beg for her to stay, I forgave him for all his sins. Sure, he’s been all over the place this season, putting too much stock in rumours and repeatedly fueling the girl drama flames, but last night showed us why the other side of that same coin redeems him: he may not be suave, but he is wholly authentic and incapable of being anyone but himself. Just as he was incapable of sitting on and filing away a rumour, he wasn’t able to contain his desperate pleas to change Cassie’s mind, even if revealing his feelings for her would pretty much dig his own grave. There wasn’t a stitch of affect to his desperation. Call me sentimental, but I had full-blown goosebumps and tears watching him.

As for Cassie, I’m torn. On one hand, her dilemma shines a much-needed light on how unrealistic and even unhealthy the strict rules and timeline of this show are. She’s utterly normal for not being 100% sure about a relationship still in its infancy and with a man who’s had other girlfriends the entire time. It’s messed up that the format of a show (a show that is literally almost as old as she is!) would make her feel like there’s something wrong with her for feeling otherwise.

On the other hand, the way Cassie went about her departure left me doubting just how torn she really was. First, as someone who left because I couldn’t see myself getting there, let me just say say: When you know, you know. As in, when you know you can’t fall in love with a person and potentially marry them, you know. And remember, a mere two weeks ago, she angrily and emphatically shot down those “not ready” rumours—rumours which now appear to have been true. (Remember when she called Kirpa “an idiot” about it?) The timing and execution just feel off, as though she was just telling him what he wanted to hear until she didn’t want to be there any longer. Either that, or she was defending herself against those rumours as a knee-jerk reaction, even though it would have been far more ethical to be honest (or at least somewhat honest) when confronted specifically about them. Both scenarios really make it more about her image than Colton’s feelings, and really, neither one is a good look.

Further, just about every word out of Cassie’s mouth during this scene was about her. Instead of seeming remotely heartbroken (or even all that upset) over Colton’s evident heartbreak, or at the very least apologizing, she just said, “I don’t think I’ve ever been so conflicted in my entire life.” To her producer, she said, “I didn’t think it would be this hard,” and, “I don’t know what to say.” Where was her concern for this man she’d just claimed to love? In response to Colton’s “I love you”s and his insistence that an engagement wouldn’t be a requirement, there were no moments where she seemed reciprocal or even all that moved by his obvious efforts. She was a broken record of “I don’t know”s, something which, frankly, is a cop-out. (She did know or else she wouldn’t be leaving.) The cherry on top was—after he pleaded, cried, and literally shook with anguish—as he finally said his last goodbye, she had the gall to ask, “Are you mad at me?” Overall, it felt like she was distraught by how hard this was for her, not by how immeasurably more difficult it was for the person she claimed to care about, nor by how cruel she’d been for letting things get to this point. Two things stood out to me about her based on this scene: She is young—far too young to consider a lifelong partnership with someone anytime soon—and has definitely never had her heart broken.

I don’t have predictions based on this episode because I don’t feel we have the information necessary. Not only has my big frontrunner—the woman I’d bet on since day one—left, we’ve also only seen two-thirds of the overnight dates. After last night, I can’t help but think Colton shouldn’t choose anyone. (Can you imagine him proposing to Tayshia or Hannah G and then her watching Cassie’s departure on TV?!) The side of me that has warmed to Colton is wholeheartedly rooting for him—I genuinely hope he finds a personal happy ending, regardless of whether or not it’s in love.

Tune into Citytv tonight at 8:00 EST for The Bachelor: Women Tell All. Then visit tomorrow—Wednesday March 6—for a new recap from Sharleen Joynt, including her weekly video recap.

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