This episode of "The Bachelor" was more about stress and tension than fun and romance. Brad Womack angered some women and totally humiliated another, but for Charlotte's Emily Maynard, he broke the rules.
Emily got the first one-on-one date with Brad in beautiful Anguilla and in the beginning, the two seemed awkward and self-conscious together. They were all alone on a romantic private island, and the conversation was forced. Brad told the camera earlier that in some ways he doesn't feel like he "deserves" to be with Emily, but I don't think that was the problem. I blame the awkwardness on the crazy wind whipping Emily's hair around -- she couldn't focus on flirting with Brad for constantly pulling her hair out of her face. When we see her a bit later, her hair is wet and not blowing.
OK, now we can get down to business.
Brad admitted to being nervous around Emily and Emily tells him that opening up to him is scary for her. "Em, I care for you so much and I take things slowly because I care so much about you. ... Trust me, it's not from lack of interest. I care for you more than I should probably say right now."
With that, the two loosened up a bit.
Hometown dates are next week, so at dinner that night, Brad asked Emily if she would please let him meet her daughter.
In a show of maturity and sanity, Emily expresses some hesitation, admitting she's protective of her daughter and doesn't want to do anything that would confuse her. She again mentions that her relationship with Brad and her feelings for him scare her. Finally, Brad tells her that he's not supposed to, but he's breaking the rules and telling her right then that he is giving her a rose at the rose ceremony that week, and that he is going to her hometown.
"If you need to make phone calls, make 'em," he says. He tells her he doesn't want her to spend the rest of the week worried about the rose ceremony, but they don't really resolve the issue of Brad meeting the daughter. Cliffhanger!
They stand in the ocean and hug and kiss, and Brad says his kiss with Emily was "more than just a kiss." Emily says she hasn't had such feelings in a very long time, and that when she looks at Brad she knows she doesn't need to be scared.
"In this moment I feel like I'm the happiest person in the world," she says.
Next up Brad has a one-on-one date with Shawntal, the one I actually kind of think he'll end up choosing. (I think Emily can do better. There! I said it.) They go to a farmer's market and hang out, and at dinner Brad opens up about his non-existent relationship with his father, which he admits is a significant move for him. All goes well. I think she's definitely Emily's biggest competition.
Brad then gives a one-on-one date to Britt, who hasn't had any significant alone time with him. They leave on a yacht and spend the day swimming (for Britt, dog-paddling) in the Caribbean ocean, jumping off mini cliffs, and sitting silently in the sand. Brad says he's in the most romantic setting on earth and feels zero romance with Britt. They swim back to the boat and have dinner on the yacht.
Brad decides honesty is the best policy, and even though it's not a "rose or home" date, he tells Britt that he respects her but doesn't feel a romantic connection with her, and that he doesn't see their relationship going any further. Poor Britt won't give up and tells him that she wants to stay and keep "going out" with him and Brad has to get firm and tell her no, she really should just go.
Now we get some raw humiliation. Britt is forced to leave the yacht, spirited away in her party dress on a silly little dinghy. She's deposited in the surf outside the girls' house, and must then go in and tell them that she has to pack and leave. She puts a bit of a spin on it, not being entirely honest that Brad pretty much ordered her to leave (she makes it sound like a mutual decision, saying once that "she" didn't feel a connection). Poor Britt. Poor gone Britt.
Next up we have the doomed group date with Chantal, Crazy Michelle, and Ashley. Brad wakes them at 5 a.m. to do a Sports Illustrated swimsuit photo shoot. In the dreaded "shaken awake in the middle of the night with no makeup" scenario, Ashley looks cutest.
The ladies are pretty competitive at the shoot, and Ashley and Chantal both agree to take off their tops for the camera. Not to be outdone, Michelle decides to pull Brad into her shoot and mount him right there in the surf.
Brad isn't exactly hating it, but he will regret it.
Making out with Michelle on the beach in front of the other girls makes the rest of the date a little awkward. He immediately realizes he shouldn't have gone along with that and that the problem is one he caused. So back at the sad little pool party, the women mope while Brad leads each of them away, one by one, to try to mend fences. He does have a rose to give on this date, and he decides to give it to Ashley, which makes Chantal cry. Which makes Michelle's eyes roll.
Brad gets Chantal alone and she tells him she's frustrated and that maybe he should just send her home.
Brad describes this day as "the date from hell." That's about right.
The night of the rose ceremony, Brad cancels the customary cocktail party because he says he's already made up his mind who is leaving, so mingling over drinks would be a waste of time. Chantal thinks she's the one leaving, but America prays it's Michelle.
And God bless Brad, he sends Crazy Michelle home. He walks her out to the waiting limo but she won't take his hand or even talk to him. There's no hug goodbye, no parting words. She's that scary kind of quiet that should make Brad double-check his locks every night for the rest of his life. Michelle is shocked and angry at her dismissal, but looks sort of frozen, like she's consoling herself by plotting how she's going to burn down Brad's house and boil his rabbit. It's chilling.
So now Brad is down to Shawntel and Chantal, Ashley, and of course, Emily.
Group dates next week, people. That means Brad goes to Charlotte!
Follow Brooke's recaps of "The Bachelor" and more at the blog Happiness Is a Warm TV.