It’s been a full wild week of fallout from the Bentley exit. Many fans and “publications” have offered opinions and theories about what went down and why. Every interview I do these days begins and usually ends with Bentley. As you all know now this isn’t over and he will return. We had already decided to start traveling this week, but the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I think after what went down all of us needed a fresh start and a change of scenery.
One of my favorite parts about hosting this show is being able to announce to people that they will be packing their bags and heading somewhere exotic. Telling the guys we were heading to Phuket, Thailand was one of those occasions. They were blown away and extremely excited to be heading to Asia. This season was easily the rainiest season we’ve ever had from start to finish. It rained more than usual while we were shooting in Los Angeles, and as you saw the weather was less than cooperative in Phuket. The weather was so rough at the beginning of the week that Ashley’s date with Constantine was scrapped and ended up becoming a street date. It actually turned out to be a great date and he got the rose. For those of you who have always said we should do normal everyday things on some of these dates, you should have really enjoyed the last couple dates on our show. Ashley’s date with JP at her house and her street date with Constantine were as normal and everyday as you can get. That is, if you normally fly half way around the world to walk down the streets of Phuket! The group date was also not extravagant — it was awesome and moving. We have really made a point the last several years to try to make a difference in all of the beautiful countries we are fortunate enough to visit. The day at the Baan San Fan orphanage was incredible. The work we did there and the gifts we brought really made a difference but so much more needs to be done. I would love to tell you a lot more about this day and this place but instead of taking up all the time and space here in this blog I would really love it if you would take a couple minutes and watch the story we put together about our day there at our web site.
It was at the orphanage when Ashley really began to see Ben F in a new light. She was really taken by his spirit and his creativity. You also probably noticed the guys have been together quite a bit by now and they are starting to wear on each other’s nerves a bit. Ryan especially seems to be rubbing some of the guys the wrong way with his over the top positive attitude. The date with Ames was a pivotal date this season for several reasons. Because Bentley turned Ashley’s world upside down she really started to question everything. In this case it turned out to be a good thing. Going into her date with Ames, there is no doubt that Ashley really figured she wouldn’t be giving him the rose. They just hadn’t had any sort of connection and she had already pretty much moved on. But right away on this date Ashley found Ames fascinating; he really captured her imagination unlike any of the other guys had. He ended up easily getting a rose. One quick side note about this date, the white fruit they were eating on the beach is called dragon fruit. You all might know what that is, but I had no idea and had never seen or tasted it before. It was at all our meals in Phuket and it is really good. The best way to describe it is a mix between Kiwi and watermelon. Another behind the scenes tidbit from Phuket: While Ames was on his date, I stopped by the guys villa to say hello and we ended up playing poker all night. I donated some money to the cause, as did a couple of our producers who thought they were better poker players than they really are. It was a good night, and I enjoyed getting to know the guys a little better. I also noticed there that Ryan was getting on their nerves a bit.
My talk with Ashley this week was far better than the train wreck that was last week’s deliberation. With that said, she was putting on a brave face but I could tell she still wasn’t in a good place. It’s not that she was just going through the motions; she was really enjoying her time with these guys, but I could tell her mind and heart were still with Bentley. That damn “dot-dot-dot” garbage and leaving the door open still left her wondering what if? All of this coupled with the confusion of the Ames date made her question everything so much that she asked me for another rose at the rose ceremony. Right now she’s so emotionally confused she’s really worried about making a mistake by sending a great guy home. Normally I would have put up a bit of a fight and told her that adding a rose will only mean you have a tougher decision sending more guys home down the road, but right now that’s not what she needs to hear. I assured her she was in control of this situation, which she is, and that we would make that happen for her. You can see in this episode that the more dates she goes on the more she seems to be comparing everything and everyone to Bentley.
We head off to the exotic city of Chiang Mai with a dark ominous cloud hanging over us literally and figuratively. Next week’s episode really ends with Ashley in a dark place questioning everything even more than she is now. It was easily her lowest point in the show. You saw a brief glimpse in the previews that leads us to the return of Bentley. I always find it interesting living through these situations and then watching it play out for all of you to see and comment on. I really do enjoy the questions and comments — good and bad — that I get from these episodes. The great thing about this show is that one way or another, we can all relate. We’ve all been there before, and that evokes great emotion in all of us. Thanks for watching, and I look forward to the watching the rest of Ashley’s journey with you. As always for more on the show check out bachelorette.abc.com, and you can always find me on twitter @chrisbharrison.
More Bachelorette from EW:
Ashley’s Bachelorette blog on people.com