The Bachelorette is usually lighthearted and full of fun, but this week's episode, which incorporated the tragedy caused by Hurricane Sandy, had a more serious tone.
As part of the episode's one-on-one date, Desiree and James headed to the New Jersey shore where they met a couple whose home was destroyed and who had to celebrate their 38th wedding anniversary in a Red Cross shelter. Des and James then gave the couple their date and instead spent their night grabbing pizza and eventually joining the couple for a private concert by Darius Rucker.
Despite the amazing date, the previews hint that James might be in trouble! In our weekly chat, host Chris Harrison previews next week's episode, which leaves the guys questioning James' intentions. Plus: Who does Harrison think should've really won Mr. America?
You co-hosted a mini Bachelor reunion on Katie today! How was that?
Chris Harrison: I had never met Katie [Couric] so it was great to not only meet her, but work with her. It felt like an episode of The Is Your Life because she asked about Alex Michel and Trista was there, but it was really cool. I get along great with all these people. Not all of them are my best friends, but even Vienna gave me a hug and she seems to be happy and healthy and the same thing with Courtney. I met [Jason and Molly's] baby Riley. Backstage, I saw Jason changing a diaper and it cracked me up. And Sean and Catherine seem like they're doing really great and are really happy.
Brad had the episode's first one-on-one date and it was a bit awkward. Should Des have given him another chance?
Harrison: I don't think so. First of all, he has a son and this happens every season where the Bachelor or Bachelorette feels like as soon as they have a doubt [about someone with a child] they need to let them go. I get that. And there was just nothing there. Des is so big on chemistry and there was just none.
Who surprised you the most during the Mr. America group date competition?
Harrison: Zak, in my opinion, should have won. Everyone was having a good time and when Zak started singing it was like, "Oh you can actually sing." Nobody else had a talent. Chris probably stole the show walking out in high heels, but, on a creativity level, the story Kasey wove into the tap dance was really funny. But the poor mayor who was a judge. The guys would come out [in boxers] and bend over and they were in his face the entire time.
You were right when you said Zak would be the surprise of the season.
Harrison: Well all he could do from that opening was redeem himself. It's almost the way to go: bombing on Night 1 as long as you don't get booted off. I told people he'd be the biggest surprise of the season because when you first seem him you're like, "What a cheese ball!" But then you find out he is a great guy, and then he got this week's group date rose. What an amazing recovery.
The next one-on-one date was more intense. Why was it important that you incorporate Hurricane Sandy?
Harrison: It was something we definitely wanted to do in this episode. Part of the reason we went there in the first place was to do something meaningful and to shed light on Hurricane Sandy and the fact that it's not over. The couple we used was spectacular, and the fact that we ended up giving them the date and refurbishing their lost photos was really special.
Do you think James got the rose because of the intensity of the date?
Harrison: The date obviously had a lot to do with him getting the rose, but it very much had to do with how he reacted on the date. It could've been a disaster. The fact that he made it so easy and genuine was very appealing to Des.
Once again, the guys were ripping on Ben. What do you think about the situation?
Harrison: I think Ben brings it on himself and he doesn't do anything to make it easier. On the other hand, there is this mob mentality. Once you get going on that road it's impossible to fix. I don't know if he's using his son. That's a little extreme, [but] maybe he just doesn't like talking about him to the guys. When you see him around Des, you want to believe that's who he is. I think there are some genuine qualities when he's with her.
Bryden expressed concern about his feelings for Des. Why do you think she sent home Zack instead?
Harrison: I think it came down to the numbers. She had a rose to give out, she knows they have some chemistry, and he's a good guy. So, why not give it another week? She knew there was nothing with Zack. But now that he said that, women don't forget that.
Next week's preview show the guys saying James has ulterior motives. What can you tease?
Harrison: It really is shocking considering the guy you just saw on the Hurricane date. He really blind-sided everybody. Ben has been Ben from Day 1, but James really surprised people. And whereas Brian went down with the ship because he knew he was sunk, James does not go quietly into the night.
What did you think of this week's episode?