I know it's horrible — I know women fighting is nothing to root for. But the complete mayhem that went down on last Monday's Bachelor two-on-one date deserved an Emmy in Dramatic Reality Arts. The disaster date was a perfect blend of the producers choosing two women who have absolutely nothing in common (Ashley and Kelsey), those women playing their type to a tee, and just a pinch of clueless Chris took the date from sassy showdown to potential murder scene. Oh, and the general awkwardness that comes with placing two women on a date with one man and expecting them to make small talk on a mattress in the middle of a canyon. I want to write fanfiction about this date.
Instead, I'll just break down the facts here: In almost every season of The Bachelor(ette) there is a date where the Bachelor takes two contestants on one date. (I say "almost every season" because you better believe Andi wasn't having any of that mess.) This is generally awkward and often takes the opportunity to pit two people who already can't stand each other up against one another in a battle for the Bachelor's heart. Basically, the producers pick one woman that everyone in the house can't stand and another woman that's dense enough to tell the Bachelor that... enter Kelsey and Ashley I., respectively.
Now, it's true that if any two other women been chosen for this two-on-one date, it would have been a pretty uneventful six hours in the Badlands. But the horror of this date cannot be blamed on (or rewarded to) Ashley and Kelsey, alone. No, no, the producers knew just how much crazy they had on their hands and they only need one clueless match to light that canopy bed of kerosene on fire: Chris.
The producers set this two-on-one up perfectly from the very beginning.
Step 1: Lure both women into a false sense of security by making them think the other woman is terrible. Spoiler alert: You're both intolerable!
Step 2: Take them out in the middle of nowhere with chardonnay as their only comfort and one canopy bed as their only seating arrangement.
Step 3: Convince Ashley that telling Chris that Kelsey is a fake person and disliked by all the other women will win her favor. That's simple enough... Ashley has been filled to the brim with spite and jealousy this entire season.
Step 4: Make Kelsey seem wacky enough to cause Chris to consider the validity of Ashley's claims. That's simple enough... Kelsey has called the fact that her husband died a year and a half ago "amazing" upwards of 16 times at this point.
But even with all of the producer's careful setup, they probably just thought this would end with Kelsey being sent home and Ashley living to cry another day. It was actually Chris that nearly caused Ashley's doom by telling Kelsey that Ashley had called her fake just moments ago. Chris probably didn't anticipate the hell that this move would cause him, but that's because Chris doesn't know these women at all. He doesn't know that Ashley is a patented combination of insecure and immature, which would cause her to receive the news that Chris tattled on her quite dramatically. And he doesn't know that Kelsey is treating this experience as some form of personal redemption performance art and would happily confront Ashley with murderous stares and whispered conversation, no matter how awkward it made the date for all parties involved.
Well... he does now, I guess.
As much as the producers and Chris are at fault for the dramatics of the day, no one could have predicted exactly how many meltdowns there would be, all from Ashley. After Kelsey stared at her for a solid 20 seconds and then seethed, "I know what you did," Ashley yelled about how smart she was, ran off into the hilly distance, and waited for Chris to finder her... where he promptly dumped her and mumbled apologies while she wept. But really, it's all for the best for Ashley, because even though she didn't get her fairytale, she at least finally had a real reason to cry. And cry, she did.
Kelsey, on the other hand, smiled eerily as she watched Ashley stomp around the Badlands, only to then be dumped as well. She took it with the exact same closed-mouth smile she's always wearing, but once again, we're all winners, because we got to experience what is certainly the most chilling exit speech ever in Bachelor history from Kelsey, who I will remind you again, became a widow less than two years ago: “My story is amazing. It's tragic and it's inspiring and its beautiful. I am immeasurably blessed ... I'm going to be OK because I've lost before and I survived. I am here. I rise above it."
And then Chris and the producers flew off into the distance, leaving Ashley, Kelsey, a canopy bed, and plenty of space for a battle to the death in their wake. Watch yourself, The Bachelor.