Although viewers may take issue with The Bachelor's date to the race track this week, host Chris Harrison maintains it a was positive experience for both Brad and Emily, whose race car driver-fiancé died seven years ago.
"We have a finite amount of time [and] they have to tackle this issue," he tells TVGuide.com.
While the group date may have been controversial, and the two-on-one date was emotional, Shawntel's shopping spree was the most desirable. Harrison talks more about each date in detail, what happened in Las Vegas that we didn't see, and why the reality show's format is changing for the remainder of the episodes.
Do you still stand behind the NASCAR date?
Chris Harrison: I thought it went as well as the date could have. With Emily, things always end positive and it's a growing experience and a moving experience. Brad needs to know [Emily's past] and in a different world, the real world, would she be telling him this already? Maybe. Maybe not. But we have a finite amount of time. They have to tackle this issue and Brad needs to start learning this and processing it and dealing with it, if that's what he chooses to do. Emily says, "He's just like the hundreds of other guys who've run for the hills." Well, in those guys' defense, it's still very fresh for her and still very raw and she's still very obviously affected by it. Yes, maybe guys run for the hills, but I think guys might also see she's not quite ready, she's not quite over this. Not that she's going to forget or replace him, but there's room for somebody else. [The date] might've been for the first time since the crash that she said: I've realized I've been carrying this a little too much.
Why put both Ashleys on the two-on-one date?
Harrison: For TV... it's compelling if you don't want either to go. These two girls aren't exactly front-runners but they're high on his list, so let's force a decision.
Were you surprised he sent Ashley S. home?
Harrison: I was, mainly because the girls were. Every girl thought it was going to be Ashley H. going home. And so when they came and got Ashley S' luggage, they were just blown apart. It was emotional because they became good friends but that's not what this is about. You have to look back at Episodes 1 and 2 and those early dates where he and Ashley H. really hit it off. Ashley S. is a little on the young side in experience and looking long-term, she's awesome, but it's just not the right place at the right time.
I was very jealous of Shawntel's date.
Harrison: How insane was it? I called last night just to confirm with our producers that was all paid for and, yes, she kept everything. She literally got a Pretty Woman shopping spree of a lifetime.
It was pretty comical when she explained to Brad that she's a funeral director and embalmer.
Harrison: Shawntel is very weary of bringing her profession out because of what she does. She's very talented and successful in that regard, but to the average person it's a very strange profession. It's a lot to handle that your significant other will be handling dead people all day.
I hear some of the women got tattoos in Vegas.
Harrison: The girls had nothing to do so they went to the tattoo parlor and got tattoos. They were all coy about it and acting weird and I was, like: What are you all hiding? Then one of them finally spilled the beans and told me. We shot it for the heck of it ... but it just didn't fit in the episode.
What can you tease about upcoming episodes?
Harrison: People are getting turned off by the therapist, so he's going away. We have done some amazing deliberations and they'll be back in Costa Rica. The other one is the ages are returning. We thought it was such a small part of our audience that would be affected by removing them that we thought, well, they can look it up. But a lot of our fans really want that to be there. As genius as we think we are, we think we know what the fans want, we had to go back and change the graphics and the ages will be in there starting Monday.
Check out a new interview with Brad Womack: