Has anyone in reality TV history ever had a worse two hours than Rachel Truehart – and how’s that last name for irony – did on the season finale of Bachelor Pad? After all, those folks we’ve seen medevac’d out of Survivor over the years only suffered physical injuries, and the worst that usually happens to you on the Bachelor franchise is that you lose a chance at love, something almost all contestants quickly realize was just an illusion anyway.
But while Rachel didn’t have to go to the hospital after the finale, the experience was a complete humiliation. She had to admit that her falling in love in the Pad was one-sided, and that the man who broke up with her using the excuse that he didn’t like long-distance romance has already started one. Her onetime “best friend,” Jaclyn, admitted she’s still not fully ready to forgive being voted out by Rachel and her partner a week ago.
Oh, and that partner? Nick Peterson, who I’ve been poking fun of for staying under the radar on a show that practically demands its participants hook up? He and Rachel easily won the vote of ex-contestants over Chris Bukowski and Sarah Newlon, but did not split the $250,000 prize money, because instead of doing what contestants in his position have always done before – agree to share with his partner and take $125,000 – Nick opted to keep all of it, gambling that Rachel wouldn’t make the same choice (if both winners choose “keep,” both get nothing and the pot is divided amongst the rest of the house).
But Rachel did choose “share,” meaning she won nothing – remember, this came on the heels of what had already been a brutal night. As Nick screamed for joy and the audience cheered hysterically (and I’m sure that helped her mood), all Rachel could do was speak for America: “Are you f ***ing kidding me?”
So is Nick completely evil (“a schmuck with $250,000,” he called himself) or what? Rachel reminded him that she thought they had a deal – that they had been talking it over and mutually agreed to split the money so that there would be no uncertainty. And the reaction of the rest of the panel ranged from mostly silent admiration to anger that Nick would violate the partners’ code in this way. But it was interesting that the one person to jump up right away to give him a hug was the other Chris, nicknamed SWAT, the “superfan” who no one bothered to get to know and was sent home that first night. In a game about relationships, SWAT hadn’t formed any, and in the end, Nick really hadn’t either.
Nick’s defense of himself was simple – in fact, he pretended to be surprised he even had anything to defend. He reminded Rachel that they had been thrown together as partners out of necessity, and hadn’t been friendly before that. Even after partnering, she spent most of her time wishing Michael was back in the game (more on that below) and threatening to quit. Nick’s stance is that his victory was totally self-made, with no help from Rachel or anyone else in the house, so why should he willingly share?
He was probably exaggerating the extent of his anger in order to justify what he did, but Nick had a point – as we could see for ourselves when the end credits ran over snippets of the players dissing him all season long, belittling the idea that he had any game. Even after he won – a win the others voted on – there were still some voices, mostly Jaclyn, insisting he didn’t do anything to deserve it. Kalon proved to be the voice of reason (yeah, it was a weird night): “Is there anyone who actually understands what the word deserve means? None of us deserve this. This is a game!” He admitted he had underestimated Nick and congratulated him for going through with it.
So even though Chris Harrison self-righteously told Nick “what that will cost you in friends, emotionally, we will see,” Nick didn’t make any friends on the show, and looks like he’ll be just fine.
OK, what else happened on the show … oh yeah: Tony asked Blakeley to marry him. Yes, the man who went on consecutive shows in order to provide for his son is instead coming home with another mouth to feed – who by the way was wearing a spectacularly ugly top. She had thought they were merely announcing their decision to move in together when he dropped the bomb (with a ring from Neil Lane, of course). I’m going to be keep being skeptical about these two until I see the marriage license, and probably even then.
Chris and Sarah got only three votes to win, with Kalon being their only supporter from Rachel’s old alliance. Chris didn’t apologize for any game moves, but seemed chastened by the weeks of criticism, from folks like me and from more significant quarters like his own father. “The game got a hold of me,” he admitted. He didn’t have much to say about Blakeley – and in truth, her own smothering had a lot to do with their falling out – but did try to apologize to Jamie for things like the “new car smell” remark. She didn’t seem to buy it, but Jamie seems to have made no friends at all in that house, and especially with the women who knew her from The Bachelor. Maybe her “Pocahontas becomes a stripper” outfit had something to do with that.
Finally, there was the Rachel-Michael “breakup,” which has been happening off camera in recent weeks. Bottom line is that this seems to be a case where one person thought they were having a Bachelor Pad fling – “a summer camp relationship” as he called it – while the other was falling in love. If he’s to be believed, he tried to let her down easy, but she felt misled, and then was really hurt when he started up a new relationship. Maybe it’s a guy thing, but I’m not really feeling her pain here. Bottom line is you don’t start thinking about your wedding gown when you’re on friggin’ Bachelor Pad.
OK, it’s a wrap! Nick, enjoy the loot. See you all for the Sean/Roberto/Arie/Ryan Lochte (?) season of The Bachelor!