The women of Season 23 gathered again on Tuesday night’s “The Bachelor: Women Tell All” episode — including Raleigh’s Nina Bartula and the 2018 Miss North Carolina USA Caelynn Miller-Keyes of Charlotte — and there was plenty of drama to relive.
The opening recap reminded us of some of the big battles of the season: Caelynn vs. Hannah B., Nicole vs. Onyeka, Demi vs. Courtney, Demi vs. Tracy, Catherine vs. everyone.
In the screamfest aftermath of the fight montage, even quiet Nina the Meredith grad got into it a little with Nicole, but everyone was talking at once so we couldn’t really understand what she was saying — maybe something about how it was hard to take Nicole’s concerns seriously when she cried every single day. That feels like truth. (Note: later in the show we got a montage of Nicole crying, so that’s confirmed!)
We also got into the Caelynn and Cassie controversy from Week 7, when several of the girls told Colton that Caelynn and Cassie were not “ready” to be married and that they weren’t being genuine about their motives for being on the show.
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Let’s get into some Caelynn drama
Katie was perhaps the first to raise concerns about Caelynn and Cassie, and Katie and Caelynn exchanged words over it at the reunion.
Caelynn explained that she and Cassie (who wasn’t at the reunion, naturally) are best friends and that on the very first night, on the bus ride to the mansion, they each wished each other luck and told each other that they hoped the other got engaged. At some point, it sounds like one of them mentioned something about being on “The Bachelorette.”
Caelynn said she had a conversation with Katie after the show and Katie confirmed this. Katie disagreed, and said Caelynn was displaying the kind of “manipulation” that Hannah B. had warned everyone about early in the season. Katie said Caelynn “admitted it” to her on the phone and Kirpa also spoke up to say she’d had a conversation with Caelynn about this too. Hannah B. was nodding in agreement as hard as she could during this, thrilled to see her pageant nemesis under fire.
Meanwhile, Jane (who I admit I don’t remember) said she respects Caelynn for acting with dignity and class because she didn’t go up to Colton talking trash about the other women, the way everyone else did. Tahzjuan said “not class, not class” — because Caelynn called someone “a stupid b****” on the show (this was in Week 7 when Caelynn was mad at Tayshia for telling Colton he shouldn’t trust her).
Caelynn criticized Katie for telling Colton that she (Caelynn) wasn’t “ready” for marriage, pointing out that one woman can’t be the judge of when another woman is ready for that. She got some applause from the audience of fans.
Then Hannah B. was asked to weigh in.
A little background, which unfolded over Week 2, Week 3 and Week 4: Hannah B. was the 2018 Miss Alabama USA and Caelynn was the North Carolina queen at the same time. They both competed in the Miss USA pageant and Caelynn was first runner up. Hannah B. did not place. Their relationship turned ugly then and it carried over into “The Bachelor,” with both Hannah B. and Caelynn at times telling Colton that the other woman was manipulative and toxic.
On Tuesday’s show, Hannah B. said she sides with Katie’s version of events. Jane spoke for all of us when she said, “Of course she’s gonna say that.” Hannah B. replied: “Jane, why are you in this?!” But seriously, this Jane person makes a good point.
Chris asked Hannah B. what was the deal with her and Caelynn and she just said they are “oil and water” and added that they have made peace and it’s all good now. Caelynn agreed with that and there was applause.
No patience for Demi
Then the attention turned to Demi, who was immature, irreverent and at times really mean to the other women. Some people find that funny. I’m not one of those people. If you’re here for a recap of Demi’s trash behavior, you’re in the wrong place. (Sorry!)
I had to fast-forward through her reunion histrionics with Courtney and the montage reliving her “greatest hits” on the show. The montage of course ended with Demi in tears because Colton sent her home — one of my favorite moments of the season.
Demi and her Daisy Dukes will no doubt end up on “Bachelor in Paradise.”
Roll Tide with Hannah B.
Hannah B. got some time with Chris to talk about what went wrong with Colton. I wasn’t a fan of Hannah B. during the season, but I felt bad for her the night Colton sent her home. I’m not a complete monster.
Hannah B. talked a lot about her vulnerabilities and how much she has changed and grown because of her experiences on the show. She got some approving “woots!” from Demi.
Chris gave Hannah B. a chance for a re-do of the painfully awkward toast she gave (or didn’t give?) on her first date with Colton. She did much better, and ended with “Roll Tide!” (Note: Internet rumors have Hannah B. pegged as the next “Bachelorette.”)
‘What the hell happened?’
Caelynn was back in the spotlight in the second hour of the reunion, starting with a recap of her greatest hits on the show, and then a chat with Chris about what it was like to lose Colton in Week 8.
Watching the montage, which ended with Colton sending her home, Caelynn was once again in tears. “I’m like immediately back in that place, and feeling not loved back sucks, and feeling like you’ve met your person — and watching this back, it’s like each episode I’m reassured there was love there and that we were truly falling for each other.”
Caelynn told Chris that her hometown date with Colton couldn’t have gone better, and that what we didn’t see was Colton telling her how much he liked her family. Chris points out that Caelynn seemed like the front-runner, so her exit was shocking. Caelynn said that she knows all the women felt a connection with Colton, but she felt something different and deeper, and then Colton told her he was falling in love with her in Singapore, so she felt confident.
“And I was just left standing there, like, what the hell happened? How can we go from having the best time and an incredible relationship to just, nothing.”
Caelynn told Chris she was shaking knowing she was about to see Colton face-to-face.
Chris brought up that Caelynn had talked about her sexual assault on the show, during one of her dates with Colton. He told her that her message had resonated with everyone at the show and with “Bachelor” fans. She got a standing ovation from Demi. Caelynn, still in tears, thanked her fellow bachelorettes who reached out to her, saying it meant a lot.
“Talking to Colton about that and having to relive that and knowing in the moment that felt right — I am happy that I shared it.” Caelynn said even today she gets messages from women and men sharing their stories of assault.
“I think this is a larger conversation to be had, it’s not one episode of ‘The Bachelor,’ it’s not a hashtag, it’s a movement,” she said.
Colton talks to Caelynn
A clean-shaven Colton came out, saying over and over that he was nervous.
“Don’t run on me again,” Chris told him.
Given a chance to talk to Colton, Caelynn told him the hardest thing for her was going home right after the rose ceremony and having her family ask her what happened, and her not having an answer.
“When did you know it wasn’t me? Because I felt it all the way until the end,” she said.
Colton told her that rose ceremony when she left was the hardest. “I think it’s no secret that our relationship was special and the safety that we had in one another with opening up and sharing things with each other is something I will value and appreciate,” Colton said.
He told her he feels bad because he didn’t give her any closure and that he doesn’t know what to say to give her that now.
“I think it comes down to I loved him and he didn’t love me and it sucks, and that’s it,” Caelynn said.
Virginity and fence-jumping
You knew we couldn’t get through the night without discussing Colton’s virginity. Sydney asked him if he’s still a virgin and he dodged the answer.
Then Chris wanted to talk about why Colton jumped the fence in Monday night’s Week 9 episode. Colton said he felt frustrated and confused when Cassie said she didn’t love him back.
Those who made it through the night’s drama were rewarded with a blooper reel, which included Hannah B. not being able to open a microwave, Colton saying “nailed it!” a hundred times and the women being attacked by numerous bugs and bats.
There was no talk of Cassie, Hannah G. or Tayshia, the three women in the finale. We’ll have to wait until next week to see that unfold.
The season finale airs on ABC at 8 p.m. on Monday, March 11, and the After the Final Rose episode airs on Tuesday, March 12.
Previous ‘Bachelor’ coverage
▪ Learn more about this season’s North Carolina contestants Caelynn Miller-Keyes and Nina Bartula.
▪ Our recap of Week 1 of ‘The Bachelor,’ when the women met Colton for the first time.
▪ Our recap of Week 2, when we got the first indications of discord between Miss North Carolina USA and Miss Alabama USA.
▪ Our recap of Week 3, when the battle between Miss North Carolina USA and Miss Alabama USA really caught fire.
▪ Our recap of Week 4, when Caelynn told Colton about the trauma of being raped in college.
▪ Our recap of Week 5, when Colton had it with all the bickering and stormed off the show without a rose ceremony.
▪ Our recap of Week 6, when all three women leaving the show warned Colton that someone left on the show is trouble.
▪ Our recap of Week 7, when Colton was told Caelynn and Cassie weren’t being honest with him, but he picked them anyway.
▪ Our recap of Week 8, when Colton met Caelynn’s family and later sent her home without a rose.
▪ Our recap of Week 9, when Cassie broke Colton’s heart into a million pieces and Colton jumped the fence to escape the show.
▪ And going back to the previous season, here’s all of our coverage of Raleigh’s Jenna Cooper, from “The Bachelor” (Arie Season) and “Bachelor in Paradise.”