Talk about an awkward week on The Bachelorette. First Bryden tells Desiree he's going to leave the show — while she's middle of a date with someone else — and then during their two-on-one date, Michael berates Ben until Ben has to take a breather outside. Finally, the men have had enough of James and plan to tell Des he's not there for the right reasons, but once the cocktail party is cancelled and there's no time for the guys to talk to her, he survives another week. Does Chris Harrison believe the guys or does he side with James? And does he think she made the right move on the two-on-one date? Plus: Why is he skeptical of Brooks?
Did Bryden really need to tell Des he was leaving during her date with Chris?
Chris Harrison: He just needed to go. He just flew to Germany and is in the house where all of the guys are talking about Des and how much they like her and their chemistry. So, when you're sitting there thinking, "I'm not feeling those things," you just feel like you're taking up space. Bryden is a nice guy, and for him it would've just led to guilt. So, he just said, "I'm going to pull myself out of this."
Chris definitely emerged from his one-on-one as a front-runner.
Harrison: Chris has definitely been flying under the radar. On the Western date, you saw a little bit and this week you saw more of the chemistry. It's something that's been brewing for three weeks now, and with Des, it was a slow burn. I don't think he was on top of the list, so this was a big week for him for sure. You're going to see a lot more of him.
Brooks got the group-date rose. What do you think of their relationship?
Harrison: Something interesting about Des is that you can't really tell who's a front-runner. You see her physical chemistry with people, but who is she emotionally attached to? It's really hard to tell. With Brooks, is he just saying the right thing at the right time? Sometimes I feel like he's going through the motions and doing what needs to be done. I worry about that. He's still a bit of an enigma.
The two-on-one date must have been the most awkward ever. Do you think Michael was wrong to go after Ben so hard?
Harrison: It probably wasn't a bad tactic, but I think he let his confrontational side get in the way a bit. It really became about, "I don't like this guy, and I'm not just going to take the girl, I'm going to bury you." He kind of forgot about Des. It got to be a little much.
Will this put him on the chopping block with her?
Harrison: You can't un-ring those bells. When you say something stupid or do something controversial, that sticks in the person's head. It knocks you down a few pegs, and you don't get those points back.
Do you think she was right to send Ben home?
Harrison: I do. It was tough for her, but I think she saw enough to know that something was a little off. I know this sounds silly, but the goodwill that [cutting him] provides the rest of the house goes a long way. It was the same situation with Tierra. As soon as Sean sent her home it changed the dynamic of the house. I think Des pulled the same move. Getting rid of Ben definitely released the tension in the house and made it a much better place for everybody.
This week, the James situation started to come to a head, but the guys didn't get a chance to talk to Des about it. What will happen when they do?
Harrison: This week you saw more of the James situation percolating and eventually it's going to boil over. James is too proud, and when confronted, he's going to dig his heels in and defend himself. These guys don't feel like he's there for Des and are very protective. It's going to lead to an explosive confrontation.
We never actually saw or heard what the guys claim James said. Do you believe them?
Harrison: The only thing that made me believe the guys more than James is who was saying it. The few guys that said it are very trustworthy and I can't see them making it up. In James' defense, I could see a guy saying, "Hey man if this doesn't work out"... because they're still one of 11. But when you have guys who are really falling for Des, it shows where James' head is. So, maybe he shouldn't be there. But was it the worst thing in the world that's ever been said? No. He's a guy's guy, so I can see him 'bro-ing' it up and saying something stupid.
- Chris Harrison