'Bachelor' recap: Charlotte's Emily Maynard quietly steals the show

Since Brad Womack didn't have one-on-one dates with either of our North Carolina contestants in Monday's episode, the "Bachelor" recap unfortunately won't be another "All-Tar Heel" edition. But somehow, Charlotte's Emily Maynard, in just a few brief moments, once again stole the show.

But we'll start in the beginning, with Crazy Michelle, who mysteriously wakes up with a black eye. She says she has no idea how she got it and that it must be from "stress." We've all had those "stress black eyes," right? The other girls think it's a self-inflicted desperate plea for attention from Brad. Ashley S. (from N.C.) says she wishes she had been the one to give her the black eye. Ashley has spunk.

Chantal gets the first one-on-one date. They go deep sea diving and she reveals that she's afraid of water. Perfect. But she goes diving and this makes her think she can one day be Chantal Womack. Brad looks totally bored on the date but he still makes out with her.

Later, Chantal apologizes for slapping Brad in the first show. Thanks, Chantal, because I had completely forgotten which crazy woman did that. Brad says it's fine and he gives her a rose because she made the day seem "real." Conveniently, there's one of those outdoor tented beds nearby (those things are as common as park benches on this show) and they go make out some more.

Back at the house, Crazy Michelle says if she doesn't get her own one-on-one date with Brad, he will get his own black eye. I believe her when she says this.

Michelle also confides to one of the women that she thinks she beat herself up in her sleep because of stress, and that Chantal better not come back with a rose (sorry, Michelle!). Michelle says Chantal is "loud and hard" and tries to make her seem sinister.

Next up is the group date, which has nine of the remaining women (not Emily, not Chantal, not Michelle). The group date goes to get some therapy from Dr. Drew at his radio show. It figures that the one person who needs a shrink more than anyone else in the house doesn't get to go on the therapy date.

The date is a big group therapy session about how everyone needs to open up. Open up, open up, open up.

Afterwards they all open up around a hot tub. Alli, who has had no alone time with Brad so far, pulls him away to talk, but as soon as they sit down, Ashley S. intrudes with a chorus of "I'm sorrys" like someone is making her to do it. Alli resists and tries to appeal to Ashley S's sense of decency (Ashley had a private date last week) but Ashley S. just keeps saying "I'm sorry!" and asks angry Alli for a hug -- which she does not get. Then karma comes by to interrupt Ashley S.

There's a lot of tension as the women swarm Brad, each eager for their chance to show him how hard they can open up to him.

Back at the house, Michelle finally gets a card asking her for a one-on-one date. The card actually says something about how he'd like to "hang out" with her. One of the other girls points out that all the other date cards have had the word "love" in them (brave girl!). Michelle's eyes get huge and the girls all start repeating the "love" messages on the other date cards. I don't know if they are right or not, but they are totally messing with her head and its hilarious.

Back to the hot tub. The girls are all talking about emotions running high, but there's no mention of the booze that's flowing fast. I think that's also a factor. It's an established scientific fact that "booze" is right up there with "emotions" as a top cause of conflict at hot tub parties.

Britt, who also has had no time with Brad, gets some time with him and admits to him that she has a crush on him. They make out.

Ashley H. interrupts Britt to tell Brad that she's jealous of the time he spends with other girls, and Brad seems to be frustrated with her. But he tells the camera that he had such a great connection with Ashley H. on their first date, and he's going to give her the rose to reassure her that what he feels for her is real.

He goes back to the hot tub and starts to give the rose to Ashley H, and Ashley H makes comment about feeling awkward, and there is indeed an awkward moment that follows. Whatever happened, it makes Brad change his mind and he gives the rose to Britt. Alli says it's Ashley H's negative attitude that turned Brad off, and Ashley H. says later she thinks she may have ruined what they had together.

The next morning Ashley H. is really emotional and having a little breakdown in the kitchen, but Michelle is busy doing her nails and she is sick and tired of hearing everybody talk about what happened on the date the night before. It's her day. It's her day!

When Brad goes to pick Michelle up for the date, he first asks if he can talk to Ashley H, and man, is Michelle angry. The other girls are immediately nervous because they know Michelle could blow over this. Brad has no idea what he's dealing with here, so he takes two minutes to tell Ashley H. that he wants her to hang in there.

Meanwhile, Michelle is absolutely boiling. It's funny to me because I'm not there, but this chick is seriously scary. One of the girls challenges Michelle and reminds her that she herself "created a scene" on their first group date and took Brad away from the group, but Michelle gets belligerent and makes absolutely no sense in defending her behavior while condemning Ashley's (because she's crazy). And Ashley didn't even do anything -- it was Brad who asked to talk to her.

Michelle tells the camera: "If I don't get the rose because Brad was still dealing with Ashley H's issues, I will elbow Ashley H. in the face." She punctuates this threat of physical violence by demonstrating how she'd bring her elbow down on Ashley's face.

I can just see this woman on the news one day being led away from a burning house in handcuffs. I know in the reunion show she will say she's joking, but she's not joking.

For his date with Michelle, Brad drives her back to his house and just as she's telling him that hanging out at his house is her perfect date, a helicopter shows up to take them away. Suddenly that is her perfect date and exactly what she needed. In the helicopter, she goes from euphoria to "totally freaking out right now" in a matter of seconds.

They land on top of a building and suddenly she's afraid of heights. He tells her they have to rappel off the building and she clings to him and starts crying. (Tip to women applying for "Bachelor": If there's a slot on the application that asks for your biggest fear, write something like "My biggest fear is being forced to eat ice cream for an hour." Because they will definitely make you do that).

Once Michelle has finished clinging and crying, she goes down the side of the building like nothing is wrong. They even stop to kiss. Michelle gets lots of praise and congratulations from Brad, which is all she really wants -- lots and lots and lots of attention. She makes Brad promise to never rappel off a building with anyone else. "What we went through today is mine and mine alone," she says.

Later she tells Brad she doesn't "see him" with any of the other women. "I see you with me." No response from Brad.

Back home, the girls are all talking about how crazy Michelle is. "The twitching, the eyes..." They say her aggression scares them, but they will let her "dig her own grave." She'll be digging that grave with roses because Brad gives her another one while they're hanging out in the pool. Fool!

The next day, Brad meets with his therapist again, which I guess is going to be part of every show. Yawn.

At the cocktail party, Brad gives Shawntal a few private minutes to reassure her that he's still into her. Then he talks to Meghan to tell her that he admires her and wants to go deeper. They all feel very special.

Emily tells the other girls that she hasn't talked to Brad or seen him all week, and just then, Brad walks in and asks her to go outside with him. But he doesn't just take her outside, he pauses on the way out of the room to retrieve a hidden basket full of goodies that he has for her. Brad has planned a picnic for Emily (in the middle of the cocktail party -- unprecedented!) and the other girls are floored.

"Does he have a ring in that basket?" someone asks. "Are they just gonna get married right now?" Me-ow.

Meghan says: "I think it made a huge statement to all of us that he really is into Emily. It was a huge reality check. It was an ego check." The girls are so shaken by this. "It feels like a punch in the stomach," says Chantal. For once, Michelle keeps the crazy in check and says she doesn't feel jealous because she had such an amazing date with Brad. She does admit that she wonders why he didn't do that for her, but points to her for not going berserk.

In short, the girls say they no longer feel special. Chantal says she felt special and then she saw what he did for Emily and felt dumb. It's that wonderful "Bachelor" roller-coaster that always bottoms out with self-loathing. "You're amazing!" "You're nothing!"

"Bachelor" producers spend more time on the reaction to the picnic than on the actual picnic, which was kind of sweet. Brad spreads a blanket and pours some wine and tells Emily he wanted to recreate their perfect vineyard date.

"I've been looking forward to seeing Emily all week," he tells the camera. "She did not get a date this week, and Emily means a lot to me. I don't want her to feel forgotten." And then the real slap in the face to the other girls: "In my mind, she deserves so much more than a one-on-one conversation at a cocktail party." Ouch! "I'm going to do everything in my power to let Emily know that I care about her greatly."

When he sits down with her he leads with: "I've missed you badly."

Brad asks her if she's talked to her little girl and Emily tells him about calling her on the phone. Emily tells Brad she left her daughter inexpensive little presents for every day she's gone, and little notes in her lunchbox. She said her little girl asked her how long she was going to be gone, because she liked getting the presents.

"You're a pretty confident woman if you bought a lot of presents," Brad teases. Emily laughs and said she bought enough to "cover her bases," and Brad says, "You should be confident." She thanks him about 40 times for doing something to make her feel so special.

The other girls are still obsessing (and by now, a little "pissed") that he flaunted his affection for Emily in front of them, and suddenly Chantal starts sobbing. So she goes out and interrupts his time with Ashley S. to confront him about his connection with needy, unstable women. So I'm guessing this isn't about Emily, but about Michelle? But then she's rambling and making no sense. Which of course leads to them making out.

I will note there was no making out with Emily.

In the end, both of the remaining North Carolina women -- Emily Maynard and Ashley Spivey -- each got roses tonight.

The very likable Meghan goes home, but with her dignity intact. Stacey (don't even remember her) also leaves without a scene. Lindsay (don't remember her either) is dismissed, but she goes out with an ugly cry.

If you were disappointed tonight's show didn't have as much Emily as last week, don't worry. It looks like next week's episode will largely center around "Bachelor" producers making Emily suit up and get into a stock car to race with Brad -- and relive the darkest moments of her life on camera. You read that right.

They show a clip of Emily breaking down at a race track and then telling Brad that her fiance had been a race car driver. "I feel like a jerk," Brad says, clearly embarrassed. It's okay Brad, you didn't know. But the producers did.

It is possibly the most disgusting thing I've ever seen on "The Bachelor." I mean, of course I'll watch. But I'm mad about it ...

Follow Brooke's recaps of "The Bachelor" and more at the blog Happiness Is a Warm TV.

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