As any regular viewer knows, The Bachelorette has gotten pretty easy to predict. Just like when Lucas aka "Whaboom" wasn't kicked off on night one even though he totally should have been kicked off, Bachelorette fans know that certain situations end up going certain ways on this show even if they don't make sense. But that was not the case during Monday night's episode, because DeMario's ex-girlfriend showed up and everything that arose from the situation was shocking — like, actually shocking, not the way Chris Harrison normally means it. While dealing with DeMario, Rachel Lindsay showed that she does not f*ck around and The Bachelorette is so much better off for it.
Before we even get to Rachel's fantastic reaction to the situation, the way it played out was unexpected itself. When I saw in the season preview that an angry ex-girlfriend would be showing up, naturally, I assumed that this would happen much later in the season. I also thought that the ex-girlfriend would either be connected to a suitor who didn't matter or that she would be an "ex-girlfriend" — an actor à la that Museum of Broken Relationships stunt from Nick Viall's season.
It turned out that this was a real ex, named Lexi, and that she was the ex of a contestant who I would have considered a front-runner. After a charming intro when he met Rachel on live TV during After The Final Rose, he seemed like he would be around for a while. Yes, it was possible that he'd end up being "there for the wrong reasons" because of that warning Rachel's fellow Bachelor contestants gave her during the premiere, but, for now, there was no reason to suspect that he was the ex-girlfriend-haver or that he would be leaving before making it to final six, at least. During this episode, he had been given a ton of screen time in a way that made me think he would be around for a while, not a way that made me think this guy is about to get the boot after a sweet, sweet swear-filled goodbye from Rachel." But thanks to Rachel, The Bachelorette managed to actually flip the script and I was impressed.
I usually enjoy The Bachelorette, which is why I keep watching it season after season, but this whole DeMario situation was good reality TV in a way that we don't often see from The Bachelor franchise. It wasn't gimmicky, it didn't feel overproduced, and it brought out several genuine "oh snap!" reactions that I couldn't hold in. Writer Mary Kate Miller recently wrote a piece for Bustle in which she argued that The Bachelorette could stand to be more like Teen Mom when it comes to bringing the producers out from behind the scenes. This scene with DeMario gave us a taste of that concept. When he walked back on to the basketball court and he looked straight into the camera when he saw his ex, it felt real. And that wouldn't have been possible without Rachel being her true self on camera and not being afraid to confront the situation in what felt like the same way she would if it were happening in her everyday life.
What followed were a series of more very real interactions, the type we don't always see on this show. Rachel made me glad I'm not dating a lawyer when she asked DeMario if his story would line up with the texts Lexi said she had. Then, in a moment that will go down in Bachelorette history, Rachel said, "I'm gonna need you to get the f*ck out," and DeMario walked out of the high school gym defeated while Rachel walked right past Chris Harrison into the women's restroom. She went on to tell the other men on the group date that she wasn't there to be "played," and repeated this word multiple times. She meant it. You could feel that she meant it, and the fact that she let DeMario go without tearfully wondering if she was making the right decision proved it.
During her time on The Bachelor and during the short amount of time we've seen her on The Bachelorette, we've gotten to know Rachel's personality. We know that she's fun-loving and that she likes making corny jokes. We know that she's close with her family and that she's smart and that she loves her dog, Copper. And while we also know that she's confident, we hadn't seen her stand up for herself in the way she did with DeMario. We hadn't seen her upset and we hadn't yet learned that she is incredibly collected while upset. We also didn't see that she isn't afraid to cuss you out while somehow, mostly, keeping her cool.
Another Bachelor franchise moment that feels similar to Rachel vs. DeMario is when Andi Dorfman confronted Juan Pablo Galavis on his season of The Bachelor. When she said, "I want to die if I have to hear 'It's OK' again", she turned the tables. "It's OK" had been a cheesy catchphrase for Juan Pablo, a Bachelor who was widely disliked. When Andi called him out for saying it — and for so much more — it was like she was speaking for the audience. This was during fantasy suites. She was supposed to be hoping to get the final rose and a proposal, but instead she was making him look like a fool and removing herself from the competition. It wasn't something we could've seen coming, but it was badass and it was authentic.
The Bachelorette needs instances like this to remind viewers that we are watching real people. We know that some of the couples formed on this show are actually together, have actually gotten married, and have actual kids, but when you're watching perfectly planned dates or seeing over-the-top contestants who are clearly there for their 15 minutes of fame (here's looking at you, Whaboom), you can forget that these people have emotions other than heartbreak or love.
Of course, DeMario showed up at the Bachelor mansion before the Cocktail Party to try to talk to Rachel again. (Normally, I would have seen this coming, but because Rachel telling him to get out felt so definitive, I was seeing everything with new eyes.) Of course, Rachel agreed to go talk to him. And, of course, the show ended on "To be continued..." before we got to see their conversation. While all of this is pretty par for the course, I can't say that "of course" Rachel is going to give DeMario a second chance, the way I might have with past Bachelorettes. I think there's only about a 10 percent chance that she is going to let him back in the house. And while it's that 10 percent has me excited to watch the beginning of the next episode, it's the 90 that has me excited to watch the rest of Rachel's season.