Mandi Bierly
October 02, 2007 AT 10:40 PM EDT

Michael Slezak is on vacation, so I have the pleasure of dissecting what could be THE best episode of The Bachelor ever. Let’s break it down:

• Slezak’s prediction that McCarten would be the season’s she-beast was confirmed by her not-so-sympathetic reaction to Michele phoning Brad to inform him that she had just suffered a mild concussion: “He got off the phone, and we found out that Michele fell down the stairs, and we were all kinda like, ‘First of all, How the hell’d she get his phone number?'” I seriously doubt that all the women were thinking that, McCarten. At the very least, DeAnna looks smart enough to know that someone from the show would’ve accompanied Michele to the hospital and dialed Bachelor Brad’s cell for her. I’m putting Sheena on notice for her equally empathetic words to the camera: “As much as we really hope she’s okay, when it comes down to it, we’re here for one reason. So, to be honest, it’s one person down.”

• Are these collectively the most aggressive Bachelorettes ever? DeAnna appears to be sane, but you’ve got girls standing on chairs and using binoculars to spy on the Bachelor, forcibly removing his shirt (I’m expecting more good TV things from you, Stephy, pictured with Lindsey and Brad), and kissing him mid-sentence. Brad’s take on McCarten’s poorly-timed peck made me heart him a little: “Towards the end of the talk, uh, we shared a kiss, which, uh, I don’t know. You know, it — God, I can’t lie. It wasn’t good,” he said, with the appropriate amount of laughter. The fact that he chuckles at these women when they’re being ridiculous gives me hope that next week, when Hillary appears to take a trip to Crazytown on their one-on-one, he leaves the room not to get her a tissue, but to giggle in a place that’s not in her face.

• Speaking of Crazytown, someone please explain to me what body-shot-calling, bikini-top-baring Solisa meant by, “I’m a Christian, and morals and values are very important to me, and [they] have always been issues in [past] relationships. But I usually stick to my morals and values. I’m not gonna just do something, just because.” EW’s Kristen Baldwin says that translates roughly to, “If it looks like a slut and talks like a slut, it’s not necessarily a slut if it tells you it’s a Christian,” but I still don’t get it. I wish Brad would’ve asked for clarification.

• Jennigate: You can’t assume that Jenni is on the show to advance her career just because she brought her modeling portfolio to the house. (You can, however, believe that Jade is evil for going through Jenni’s suitcase to find that portfolio for the camera. And that yes, she did use the word ta-tas on TV.) Jenni says she has it in tow to show the girls what she does for a living. I suspect the Phoenix Suns dancer, who currently lives in Kansas, was just being practical. If she doesn’t land the love of her life, she might as well scout LA before returning to the Midwest. Either way, I believe she there’s for Brad, who, judging from their smile-and-smooch fest, clearly wants her to stick around.

• Now that I’ve got Jenni’s back, I’m going to do something I never thought I would: defend Mallory. Brad asked her for her “perfect day” or her “ideal day,” so I don’t think she should have been made to look a fool for not including time to work. (That would have been her “typical day,” Brad.) She should’ve been called out for suggesting that the two of you watercolor together.

• Finally, we’re to Bettina, who freaked out at the thought of having to tell Brad that she’s divorced. 1) Is there really that much of a stigma these days? 2) If she was so worried about telling him, maybe she should’ve prepared a speech before she got to the mansion. 3) Wouldn’t it be better to tell someone why you look nervous than to let them sit there guessing?

So, now it’s your turn. Who are you rooting for and against? Who’s planning on using Jenni’s toast: “Here’s to the North, and here’s to the South, and here’s to finding out what he can do with his mouth”? And who’s confident that she or he could tell the difference between Brad and his twin, Chad, who stops by the mansion next week?

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