Welcome to my weekly recap of The Bachelor. This week, Byron took each of the remaining four women on overnight “fantasy” dates, so we get to start the fun process of trying to guess which of the women Byron had sex with in the “fantasy suite” and which woman is “the one.”

As you start reading, you’ll notice that I’ve changed my recap some from previous weeks. If you’ve been following The Bachelor along with me so far this season, you know that the producers are rarely letting us hear actual conversations, and rely primarily on voiceover and interviews, where the bachelor and the women are obviously heavily coached on what to say. The producers evidently think that they can maintain the suspense of the show better if they don’t let us see what really happens. Unfortunately, what they have actually done is make the show’s dialogue contrived and dull. In fact, I was so bored by this week’s show that I kept leaving the room, to putter around the house. For this princess, doing housework rather than watching the show is a very bad sign.

So, since you can probably recite most of the show’s favorite lines by now, I’m going omit a lot of the direct quotes, and mostly just summarize what happens. I will still give you a detailed recap of what happened on the show, in case you missed it, or you got engrossed in doing laundry, or something equally enthralling. And, I will give you direct quotes of the dialogue in the few moments where we actually got to hear the couples talk to each other. But, this week’s show in particular was far more visual than verbal. Between some truly gorgeous scenery, and carefully analyzing body language to try to determine what Byron is really feeling, the dialogue on this week’s show was even more secondary than it usually is.

Okay, enough intro. On to the show. You’ll hear from me as we go along.

Last Week on The Bachelor and Preview of Tonight’s Show

As always, the show starts with Chris Harrison reminding us what has happened on The Bachelor so far this season. This week, they didn’t even bother to make a new preview, except for the last few seconds at the end.....About the only interesting thing in the preview was that it toned down the description of last week's rose ceremony to “...a dramatic rose ceremony.” The producers must have gotten tired of reading reviews of the show that snickered over the hype that last week’s rose ceremony was the “most explosive ever.”

And, the producers also didn’t bother to come up with new previews for tonight’s show. The previews were essentially the same as we saw at the end of last week’s show.

Byron and the Women Leave the House

On the last season of the Bachelor, the very young blonde bachelorettes decided to throw a keg party on their last night in the mansion. If this group of women did anything to celebrate their last night together, we’re not going to hear about it, because one of the first scenes of the show is four long black limos pulling up to the front of the mansion....Byron and Chris walk out and greet the women who are waiting by the limos outside the front entrance.

Chris reminds everyone that they will be going on overnight fantasy dates and that the women won’t see each other until the next rose ceremony. (I was waiting for one of the women to say, “Yay!” to this news, but no one did)....Then Chris tells the women that they will be the ones who decide whether or not to invite Byron to the “fantasy suite” on their date, and hands out the fantasy suite invitations to each of the four women....This change in the show’s format, while not particularly earthshaking, will at least spare us the pretense on previous Bachelors that somehow the existence of the fantasy suite is something that’s never happened before, and the bachelor planned it just for one woman...Byron tells the camera that, although it’s intriguing that the women have the fantasy suite cards, the fantasy suite “is just an opportunity to spend more time with these ladies.”...Sure Byron, we believe that.

Byron and Mary in Whistler

Byron and Mary’s date is at Whistler Mountain in British Columbia. The scenery, with mountains and trees, is gorgeous...We see Byron waiting for Mary on the porch of a house that looks like it’s perched in the trees....Mary crosses a rope bridge over a ravine to get to where Byron is waiting...Mary runs up to Byron and they embrace and give each other a long kiss. The chemistry between them is obvious, and they seem very happy to see each other....Mary is wearing a tank top and very short shorts, and as Byron and Mary stand against the railing and kiss and talk, Byron is clearly appreciating her choice of outfit.

Byron tells the camera that today he and Mary will be doing “extreme sport ziptrekking.”....I’m glad Byron told us that, because I’d been trying to figure out what the sport is called...There is a rope stretched over a wide canyon, and one-by-one, they are attached to a harness and then sent down the rope at top speed, with rushing water 50 feet below them...Mary loves it, and even hangs by one foot at one point as she crosses the canyon....Byron is impressed and says that Mary is an acrobat...Byron takes his turn, and isn’t as graceful or as daredevil as Mary, but he doesn’t disgrace himself, either....Mary tells us that she likes a man who is really a big kid at heart.

After the ziptrekking, Byron and Mary go back to the house in the trees to have lunch on the porch....By the way, we’d seen preview screencaps of this scene, and had guessed that this meant that Byron and Mary would be spending the night in a treehouse. It turns out that they are just having lunch there. Too bad. The hotel where Byron and Mary go to spend the night is beautiful, but a treehouse would have been more romantic....Byron and Mary stand on the porch looking out for a minute, with Byron standing behind Mary, with his arms around her chest...Mary asks Byron: Do you hear that sound?...Byron: Do you mean the sound in here (pointing to Mary’s heart) or the water?

Over lunch, Byron asks Mary what her hypothetical wedding would be....Hmm, this is getting serious...Mary says, “I would love to be on the top of a cliff and just hearing what we're hearing right now, just hearing water”....Byron: A coast?...Mary: Yeah...Byron: My ideal wedding would be similar...Mary proposes a toast “To the start of something wonderful”...I don’t think it’s just the editing—these two seem genuinely smitten with each other, and the chemistry is obvious. Byron is having a hard time keeping his hands off Mary....We leave the woods as Chris introduces the commercials.

When we come back, it’s evening and Byron and Mary are at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Hotel. They meet in the lobby, and then sit down to dinner on a balcony overlooking the trees....Byron asks Mary: How do you see this courtship here ending in the best-case scenario?...Mary replies: I'm your very first date, and you've got to go on three other amazing dates. I don't want to start something with you on the wrong foot. If I knew that you went to a place with those other three amazing women that I wouldn't want you to go to, I couldn't have something with you....Mary goes on to say in a voiceover: The last time, when I was in this situation with Bob, I was hurt, so I didn't want the possibility of being hurt again. I don't want to say to Byron that he can't be intimate with somebody else, but if he chooses to do so, then he doesn't choose me....Byron at first looks concerned, but then smiles and replies to Mary: I did not get on this to see how many people can be romantic with, kiss, or be intimate with....Mary: Will you promise me something? That you won't give me a rose if you feel something else? Promise? 'Cause it'll hurt me more if you keep me here... (Mary is very serious and almost teary when she says this)....Byron: I have not even begun to keep you here for anything other than the best of intentions....Mary: Okay. I want you to believe in me--and believe in my heart....Byron: I have. I have believed in all of that.

Mary pulls out the “fantasy date” invitation card and gives it to Byron to read, “We hope you are enjoying your stay in Whistler. If you choose to forgo your individual rooms, use this key to spend the night as a couple in our fantasy suite.”...Byron: Are you offering?...Mary nods, “Yes.”....Byron and Mary kiss, and Mary says to Byron: I am so lost in you....Mary says in a voiceover: He just helped me make a decision that probably should have been clear. I shouldn't have been as nervous as what I was, but he helped me feel better.

Next we see Byron and Mary open the door of the two-story suite, and exclaim how beautiful it is...Frankly, the suite isn’t bad, but it isn’t the prettiest of the suites we’ll see tonight...Almost as soon as they get in the door, Mary says, “Can we go upstairs? (to the bedroom), and Byron and Mary share a long kiss...As they walk up the stairs, Byron whispers to Mary, “I think we made the right decision.”...Then the camera cuts away to Chris giving a voiceover preview to the commercials....That’s it? I wanted to see more. Hmmm, what are the producers hiding?

Byron and Tanya in Vancouver

When we come back, we see scenes of Vancouver, British Columbia...Byron says in a voiceover that after his amazing date with Mary, now he has to be prepared to clear his mind because he has three more dates before the Rose Ceremony....Byron meets Tanya in a park in the city....Byron tells Tanya that they will be riding Segways (motorized scooters)...Tanya tells Byron that she doesn’t even know what Segways are...Still, Tanya easily gets the hang of riding the scooter, and they ride the Segways around in the park, then over the grass to a blanket set out on the lawn.

Byron asks Tanya how she’s been...She says that she has missed seeing Byron every day, even if it’s only in passing...Byron tells Tanya: I knew after our date that I didn’t need to take you on a second date 'cause you're going to be around, we're going to spend time together, and have like this...Tanya: The time we spent together (in the car that turned into a boat) was a blast....Byron: When I saw you get wet and then turn around and smile, I was like, ‘Oh, she's so cool. She is so cool.’.

We next see the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, and Byron and Tanya walking to a table on the roof....It’s a very pretty setting overlooking downtown Vancouver, but the rooftop area has one of the ugliest carpets I’ve ever seen in my life...As they’re sitting at the table, Byron remarks: You're far away from Plano, Texas....Tanya says it’s probably the farthest (from Plano) she’s ever been...Tanya says to Byron: Tell me about “us.”....Byron: Where would we live?...Tanya: We'd decide that together....Byron: Would I have to move to Plano?....Tanya: If you want...Tanya then says in a voiceover: The fact that Byron is thinking about where we would live really makes me start feeling as though he's taking this so seriously, even more than I had already realized...Byron to Tanya: How could you leave your friends, family, and teaching?...Tanya: Road trip, plane--that's my theory. I can always come home.

The previews have been teasing us that Tanya has a secret to tell Byron. Now we find out what it is—Tanya voted for Jay in the initial vote...However, she goes on to tell Byron: The next night, I had my time with you, and I went back and I told everyone. ‘Had I spoken with that man yesterday, everything would be different’....Byron assures Tanya that the fact that she voted for Jay was not something he’d judge on....Tanya tells Byron that it was something she wanted him to hear from her rather than see on TV...Tanya then says in a voiceover that Byron's reaction to her voting for Jay just made her adore him even more.....Byron tells Tanya: I've appreciated the fact that you're not getting embroiled in this gossip and the ugliness of the house. That's what attracts me to you more and more is you being--solid....Tanya: What you see is what you get...Byron: That's why I have no reservations about having you sitting here with me tonight...Byron tells the camera: Tanya and I are growing closer. There is something developing. It's very real, and I only hope that it continues.

Then Byron tells Tanya that he has another surprise for her...He takes her to a room in the hotel where the singer Cherie sings a song for them....Who is Cherie? Apparently we’re supposed to be impressed. I wonder if Byron and Tanya had ever heard of Cherie? If they hadn’t, they were polite enough not to tell her. ...Well, apparently the song impressed Tanya, because she decides to invite Byron to the fantasy suite....She hands Byron the invitation, and he reads it out loud...If you want to know what it said, just substitute the word “Vancouver” in the invitation Mary received earlier. Poor Byron, he’s going to be reciting the words of the invitations by heart before this is over...Tanya tells Byron, “It’s up to you.”...Byron says, “Yes!

I thought this fantasy suite was a little prettier than the one in Whistler...Byron and Tanya sit on a couch in front of a fireplace and he feeds her a chocolate-covered strawberry...Tanya tells the camera that she and Byron fit together very well. The only thing that could take away from it is the fact that he could be falling in love with another woman....Tanya and Byron kiss....Byron says in a voiceover: It wasn't long before we just wanted to be close, and all of my cares vanished with Tanya in my arms....We see Byron and Tanya walk to the bedroom and stand by the bed. Then Byron throws his coat over the camera, cutting it off...We move to Chris giving a preview before the next set of commercials.

Now, if you read the words above, but didn’t see the show, the words between Byron and Tanya suggest that their connection is as strong as between Byron and Mary, if not stronger. In fact, at least one commenter felt that Byron showed a stronger connection with Tanya. However, I disagree. If you ignore the words and look at body language, it’s obvious that Byron and Mary have a much stronger connection. The two of them can barely keep their hands off each other. And, when Byron and Mary kiss they are long kisses. With Tanya, Byron was saying all the right words, but his physical affection was noticeably restrained. All his kisses with Tanya were what I call “Drew and Diane” kisses—little smacks, not long passionate kisses. Yes, Byron and Tanya went to the bedroom, but we know from previous Bachelors that this means nothing in terms of what happens later. So, despite the fact that Tanya is a favorite –and I like her, too—after the first two dates, it’s obviously Mary so far, to me, at least. Now, let’s move on and see what happens on Byron’s date with Cheresse.

Byron and Cheresse in San Francisco

We return from commercials to find Byron in Sausalito, California (just across the bay from San Francisco) looking out over the bay and the Sausalito harbor...Byron says it’s very important for he and Cheresse to see if they can reconnect...Byron meets Cheresse at the harbor, and Cheresse greets Byron enthusiastically....Byron is also very enthusiastic, but it’s hard to tell whether he’s more excited about seeing Cheresse or the prospect of spending all day on a boat. Poor Byron, he’s used to being on a boat every day, and he’s been pretty much landlocked for a few weeks now.

Next we see Byron and Cheresse out on San Francisco Bay on the 72-foot three-masted schooner Gaslight. (Yes, I looked that up on the Web. It’s a gorgeous boat.)...Both Byron and Cheresse are laughing and very relaxed. Clearly, Byron is happiest on the water...Byron kiddingly says to Cheresse: Where have you been?...Cheresse: Waiting for you to come back and get rid of everybody....Byron: I have. Haven't you noticed?...Cheresse: I know. I feel, like, so back to normal, so I'm just going to pretend like we're on vacation... Byron: Isn't this a vacation?...Cheresse: Yeah, it is our vacation, and I'm not going to think about anything else....Byron: The only way to be true to the whole thing is to come into this and be totally focused on you and me, and our time together and value it and not think of anything else, because that's all that matters right now.....Now, I’m sure these words were exactly what Cheresse wanted to hear. But, since we’ve already seen Byron say almost exactly the same thing with the other two women, the words don’t have quite the same impact....Byron goes on to tell the camera: It was really great being on the water with Cheresse today. It's just a joy to be around her. Time spent with her is time that makes me feel really good about our relationship together

One thing that I found ironic about this date was that, while Mary and Tanya were in tank tops in Canada (which many people would expect to be cold), by the end of the date on the San Francisco Bay, Cheresse had bundled herself up in a blanket. Mark Twain apparently said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was the summer I spent in San Francisco.” As a native of the S.F. Bay Area, one of our favorite past times growing up was laughing at tourists shivering in their shorts in July in San Francisco, wondering where the famous “California sunshine” had gone. As anyone who has lived in the Bay Area knows, San Francisco, and the areas just north and south of the city, are in a fog belt. In summer, if you get 5-10 miles south of the city (sometimes even if you just go to the other side of the hill within San Francisco) summer weather in the rest of the Bay Area is usually in the 80’s during the day.

Okay, back to Cheresse and Byron freezing off the Golden Gate bridge....As they get off the boat, both of them are still very excited...Cheresse says to Byron: I feel lucky. ‘Cause it’s been good and I’m happy. Let’s get naked....I had to rewatch my tape to make sure it was really Cheresse who said that, and not Byron. Because, as we go on to see in the next scene, Cheresse changes her mind about that later.

Next we see Byron and Cheresse go to their hotel, the Casa Madrona in Sausalito, for a dinner, you guessed it, on a balcony outside overlooking the Sausalito harbor....Cheresse proposes a toast to “Finding the light at the end of their tunnel.”....Byron is still high from spending the day out on the boat...Cheresse remarks on this, and Byron replies: I need as much water/boat stuff as I can get my hands on....I keep harping on the Byron’s reaction to being on a boat, because he really was a very different person when he was sailing. For most of The Bachelor, Byron has been very laid back and mellow. But, when he was on the boat, his energy level went way up—it was obvious that this is something he loves....Cheresse must also have been wondering whether it was her or the water, because she asks Byron, ”Are you happy with me? Do you have fun?”...Byron answers, “Yes, very much,” but it almost sounded defensive to me. Maybe I’m reading too much into it....Byron asks Cheresse: And you?...Cheresse: Yeah, I have a lot of fun with you. It seems very natural, and I like that, and I like that you were excited to see me today. That made me feel good....Cheresse still isn’t sure about Byron though, so she says to him: I just wanted to make sure that you didn't have any reservations or see things that concerned you, and if you did, that you'd let me know.

Byron asks Cheresse: Would you rather go out with somebody that had been married or hasn't been married? My case, for instance--40 years old, been married....Cheresse: I personally like it that you have been married before, because that shows me that you have a true test to commit. People that I've been with in my past haven't, so that makes me feel a lot more comfortable with you...Byron tells Cheresse: The day I got married, I cried. I was really sad. I was like, "Oh, my god." And I even think I had a precognition that it wasn't going to be easy...Cheresse: That's sad...Byron: It is sad, but I still did the best I could....Cheresse tells the camera: People that I have dated in my past have always made it very difficult for me to have any type of conversation about a relationship, so I have to get used to being with somebody like Byron, who's very open to wanting to talk to me, who will kind of work with me and understand where I'm coming from.

Dinner is over, but the subject of the “fantasy suite” hasn’t come up...Byron kind of pushes things along a little when dessert arrives...Cheresse says: Mmm. I know you like chocolate....Byron replies: We're just taking them to the room. (hint hint)...Cheresse, being no dummy, gets out her card, but seems hesitant...Cheresse says to Byron, “You know I have (the fantasy suite invitation)--dun-dun-da. Have you used these with anyone else?”....I find it interesting that Cheresse is even uncomfortable with saying what the card is for....Byron reacts a little defensively, and says, “Used them in what respect?...Cheresse: Have you gone to the fantasy suite with anyone else?...Byron: Yes....Cheresse: I've been thinking about this a lot because, for me, I really would like you to meet my family, and I don't want them to be like, ‘What happened?’ Even if it was just shared wine and conversation...Byron replies: And, that's understandable because you have to sit there and look at it as how it's perceived.

Cheresse: I think it looks a lot different than what it is....Byron assures Cheresse: To me, it's not inherently meaning anything as far as intimacy 'cause it's not. It's just more time together, and that's all it is....Cheresse goes on: (In) the real world, if this was, like, our third, fourth, fifth date, I still wouldn't be going back with you to some suite or hotel because that's not who I am...Byron: That's the key to this whole thing--be true to yourself....Cheresse: At least you found out something about me...Byron tells the camera: You gotta admire anybody that makes a stand. I appreciated her desire to be true to herself. I felt myself attracted to that. She's definitely intrigued me more now....Byron walks Cheresse to the door of her room, and kisses her good-night at the door...Cheresse tells Byron: I had a fantastic time tonight...Byron assures Cheresse: Not sharing that fantasy suite won't hurt or change my decisions at the next rose ceremony...I’ll have more comments on this after the rose ceremony. But, in the meantime, I was disappointed that we didn’t get to see the fantasy suite. I went to the Casa Madrona hotel Web site, and it looks like they have some gorgeous suites overlooking the harbor. This might have been the prettiest suite of the four. Oh well....On to the date with Cindy.

Byron and Cindy in Sonoma

We return from commercials to see Byron meeting Cindy at the front entrance to the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. (Sonoma is about an hour’s drive north of San Francisco.)..Byron: I know with Cindy, we're gonna have a lot of laughs. We're gonna have fun together. She brings out a different person in me, and I like that, but I want to find out if she is truly invested in finding a soulmate...Byron says to Cindy: I saved the best for last...Byron and Cindy walk down a hall and sit down at a table in the spa set for lunch...In a voiceover, Cindy tells the camera: Hopefully, we’re the right two people for each other, but he could be falling in love with other women, which makes me really kind of insecure and vulnerable, but everybody has insecurities. And so, hopefully, he can look past that....Cindy tells Byron she has a present for him, and hands him two small plastic bags, one with Swedish fish candies, and the other with night crawler gummy candies...Cindy says proudly, “I wrapped them myself,” as if this is a big deal...What Cindy? They don’t have self-service candy places in Hermosa Beach?.....Byron thanks Cindy, telling her he loves candy and used to eat it a lot as a kid.

Byron tells Cindy that this afternoon the two of them are going to get a massage in a pool...Cindy doesn’t look wildly excited at first and gives Byron that “google-eyed” look of hers, but recovers quickly....Sorry, I try to be even-handed, but Cindy just rubs me the wrong way....We next see Byron and Cindy changed into white robes, meeting their watsu instructors....Now I know the right term for “pool massage”—I learn so much from reality TV. But, why is Cindy still wearing her big hoop earrings if she’s going into the pool?....The massages actually look pretty cool. Byron and Cindy each float on their backs in the water, while the masseur and masseuse massage their backs. They both look very relaxed, particularly Byron, who is probably exhausted at this point.... After the massage, Byron and Cindy sit down in chairs by the pool...Cindy asks Byron which kind of dress he wants her to wear that evening--classy, whimsical, or sexy?...Byron says he prefers whimsical or sexy....Cindy says, “All right, just for that, you know what I'm gonna do?...And Cindy climbs in Byron's lap and gives him a big kiss.

Next we see Cindy getting ready, and get our first glimpse of her “sexy” dress....Bluntly, I’d call it “trashy,” but maybe that’s just me. The dress has a halter top, and is cut to the waist, with ties from the waist to just below her breasts...Her breasts are covered, but just barely....Byron (not surprisingly) has no problem at all with the dress....Byron: When she walked out, I could only guess that the one she had on was definitely the sexy one, 'cause she was stunning.....Cindy says smugly to the camera: I knew he couldn't take his eyes off me 'cause did you see the dress? It was hot! That's all I needed to do. It's over. He was mine....As you know if you watch the show, Cindy has very large, obviously fake boobs that she is very proud of. One of the reasons that Cindy rubs me the wrong way is a comment that she made about Mary a couple of shows ago, when Cindy said, “Okay, Byron likes brunettes with small boobs.” Mary is not small breasted—I’d guess that she probably is a C cup, and her breasts are in proportion to the rest of her body, unlike Cindy.....Okay, moving on.

Cindy and Byron get in the limo and it turns out that Byron and Cindy are going to the Kunde Estate Winery for dinner...We see them walking down into an underground wine cave where a table for two has been set for dinner...It’s the prettiest dinner setting yet, with lots of candles. Very romantic.....Byron asks Cindy how she is doing....Cindy tells Byron how comfortable she feels with him, and that she feels “a really bigger connection than I've ever had in a long time.”...Byron replies kiddingly: “Ever had in a long time? Just be true to us, be true to yourself”....Cindy looks quizzically at Byron: Do you feel the same way?...Byron: The connection? Are you kidding? I'm 100% with you right now, and I'm right here, and this is us....One thing I’m not going to be catty about with Cindy is her being insecure about Byron. Some people might criticize her for not being sure of Byron, but, personally, I think Cindy is more perceptive than she realizes, and is picking up a difference between Byron’s words and how he is coming across. The rest of us have been watching the show tonight, and we’ve seen Byron use basically the same phrases and facial expressions with four different women. Byron has the rare talent to make whoever he’s with feel like they’re the only person in the world. And, added to that, Byron actually listens to the women. So, it’s understandable that it’s hard for Cindy to figure out whether Byron’s feelings for her are unique, and she feels insecure.

Cindy tells Byron that she doesn’t have words to describe how happy she is. She feels like a schoolgirl....She says to Byron, “Why don’t you read my note?”....Byron reads the fantasy date invitation, and yes, it has the exact same wording as Mary and Tanya’s invitations. Thankfully, Byron is far too much of a gentlemen to mention this. Byron looks at Cindy and says, “Can I go with you?”...Cindy nods “Yes.”

However, in the limo going home, things don’t go so well, and we see one of the few “real” scenes in this episode, but also the most puzzling...Cindy asks Byron if she can ask him a question...Then she says, “I saw a picture of your wife,” and this sets Byron off...First off, how did Cindy see a picture of Byron’s ex-wife? Did Cindy (or one of the other women) find out that Byron was one of the bachelors before the show started, and look him up on the Web? How else would Cindy have seen a picture of Byron’s wife?...However Cindy got access to the photo, Byron goes immediately on the defensive....For the first time on the show, we see Byron really angry...He says to Cindy, “Why is this subject so important all of a sudden?”...Cindy: 'Cause I'm insecure...Byron, still angry:. Well, you know what? I'm not insecure about your ex-boyfriend. Are you asking because you wanted to ask about her (Byron’s ex-wife)?...Cindy: No...Byron: Then why are you asking about her? Did you want to talk about my ex-wife on this ride home or not?....Cindy: No...Byron: Then why is she coming up?...Cindy: 'Cause I want to get to know you.....Byron says in a voiceover: Cindy's looking for a reaction from me with regards to me and my ex-wife. It's aggravating because I don't really want to go into details with her....Cindy asks Byron: Are you over your ex?...Byron replies in a ‘what a dumb question’ voice: Yes. Oh, my god. It was two years ago, and [Bleep] dead a year before that.

Cindy is obviously taken aback by Byron’s angry reaction to her question...Cindy says in a voiceover: I just was trying to see what his reaction would be when I brought her up, and if it was someone he missed, and is he over her for sure? And he assured me he's over her, and he doesn't want to talk about it anymore.....Cindy, trying to calm Byron down says: That's all want to know. That's it. It's done. It's over. I'm happy. (Although she’s obviously unhappy.)...In a voiceover, Cindy tries to make the best of the situation: Byron and I had our first fight when I brought up his ex-wife, and then it seemed like we could actually work it out, and we got along in the sense that if we have an argument, I think that we're gonna both be able to work things through, and so it was actually a good sign.

Whoa! What was that all about? Byron’s reaction was seemingly out of the blue, but, of course, because of editing, we don’t know what came before it and what else was said. And, why was Byron willing to talk about his ex-wife with Cheresse and not Cindy? Personally, I think that, at this stage of a relationship, it is natural to be interested in the other person’s ex. But, after seeing pictures of Byron’s ex-wife and ex-girlfriends on the Internet, I could see why he might be sensitive if he knew that Cindy had seen a photo. I can’t say I’ve ever dated a guy whose ex-girlfriend has told the National Enquirer that she has porno pictures of the two of them. Maybe I’ve just led a sheltered life, but I don’t think so.

Also, Byron’s overreaction indicates that, despite what he claims, he is far from being “over” his ex-wife. In truth, the way the producers and Cindy handled Byron’s getting angry kinda bugged me. When Jayne got angry at the slumber party, she was portrayed by the other women, and by the producers, as overreacting and “crazy.” But, when Byron gets angry, seemingly out of the blue, Cindy reacts as if it was her fault for being insecure and shouldn’t have asked the question in the first place. I was only sorry that Cindy didn’t react by saying to herself, “That was a realistic question to ask at this point in our relationship. So, why did he overreact? Red flag! I need to find out more about what’s going on.” Cindy, have more faith in yourself. I think your instincts are trying to tell you something.

Okay, deep breaths all around....The incident seems to have blown over by the time Byron and Cindy arrive back at the fantasy suite....Well, it’s not precisely a “suite” because a suite means two rooms, but who’s quibbling?....It’s pretty and there are lots of candles and there is a large bathtub with bubbles right by the bed......There are rose petals scattered on the sides of the bathtub and on all the tables. Cindy throws some rose petals in the bathtub and then at Byron....To give proper credit where it’s due—Cindy is fun....Then Cindy falls onto the bed, then reaches over to the bed table, grabs a handful of roses, and again throws them at Byron...Byron and Cindy kneel on the bed, and he feeds her a chocolate-covered strawberry, and kisses her...Cindy says in a voiceover: Being able to spend the night with Byron was something I don't think would have ever imagined. It was wonderful....The last scene is of Byron and Cindy on the balcony. Cindy jumps into Byron’s arms as they go back into the room...But, for the record, the only physical contact we saw between the two were a couple of somewhat longer kisses. Byron still mostly “smacked.”...The producers are clearly suggesting that something happened between Byron and Cindy, but actually showed us almost nothing.

The Rose Ceremony

Back at the mansion, it’s evening, and four limos are pulling up...We see the four women get out, and walk up the steps of the mansion holding hands...Byron is in his bungalow and says in a voiceover how wonderful all the women are, and how difficult his decision will be....The women walk down and stand on the mansion steps for the rose ceremony, and as they do, we get a quick flashback to romantic moments on each of the dates, and a voiceover from each of the women....In brief, each of the women cares for Byron even more after their date and hopes that he gives them a rose.

The rose ceremony is the same drill we’ve seen in each episode...Chris greets Byron in his bungalow, and then the two of them walk over to the mansion steps where the women are waiting, while suspenseful music plays in the background....Chris greets the women, and says: Well, it's been quite a week for all of you. There are four of you and only three roses. Byron, when you're ready...Byron sighs, and gives the usual Bachelor speech about how hard it will be to say good-bye to someone he’s grown close to...Then he hands out the roses...Tanya....Mary...Chris reminds us, as always, that this is the final rose...Cindy.

Chris says: Cheresse, I'm sorry. Take a moment. Say your good-byes....We see Cheresse hug the other women, and then Byron walks hand-in-hand with Cheresse through the mansion, out to the limo...We hear a voiceover with comments from Byron: In regards to her not wanting to be a part of the fantasy suites--that did not affect my decision here tonight....Byron and Cheresse sit down on a bench, Byron says to her: It's so hard to do this, because I had such a great day. I was starting to be really excited about what could have been, and then it ended....Cheresse says to Byron in a very cool, unemotional voice: You made your choice, so good luck.....In the limo driving back, Cheresse is regretful, but not overly emotional. She had hoped that Byron would keep her, and get to see more of who she is...Cheresse: I was thinking that we had so much fun on our date that he couldn't have possibly had as much fun with other people, but I guess he did. Obviously, he finds something in those girls that he doesn't find in me. That's really f*cked up....Back at the mansion, Byron shares a toast with the remaining three women, “Here's to seeing hometowns.”

Okay, what happened here? Did you see that coming? I was guessing that either Cheresse or Cindy would be sent home, but I wasn’t sure which one. However, after thinking about it for awhile, I can see why Byron let Cheresse go home this week. I don’t think Cheresse’s decision not to invite Byron to the fantasy suite worked against her in the sense of making him think less of her. But, I think it did give him an idea of ways in which their values and lifestyles might not be compatible. By the time many women reach their early 30’s, they would be willing (and excited) to spend the night in a hotel suite with a man after the fifth or sixth date, and they are no longer as concerned with what their family would say. (Heck, to me, if you’re concerned about what your family would say, why are you on a dating show in the first place?)

However, a lot of women share Cheresse’s values, and she is to be commended for sticking to them. It is particularly admirable since the producers probably pushed Cheresse to at least go to the fantasy suite with Byron long enough to take some “teaser” footage. But the important point is that Cheresse’s values are not Byron’s values. And, considering the past that we know Byron has, I think he realized that he might face some tough questions from Cheresse’s family (particularly if her family looked him up on the Internet prior to the visit). And, if Byron is leaning towards a different woman (which I personally think he is), Byron made a good decision to let Cheresse go before the hometown visit rather than after.

And, I think Cindy could go next week. I think she and Byron share a lot of sexual chemistry, but, in the end, I don’t see her being the right fit for Byron. Whatever was behind Byron’s angry reaction to Cindy’s question about his ex-wife, Cindy apparently doesn’t bring out the best in Byron.

Personally, even if I hadn’t read the spoilers floating around, I would guess at this point that Byron will pick Mary. This episode gave us the chance to directly compare how Byron reacts with each of the four women and I saw him as being far more interested in Mary than in Tanya. I know that other commenters disagree, and saw more chemistry with Tanya than with Mary, but I didn’t see it. I strongly suspect that the reason that the producers showed us so little of what happened between Mary and Byron in the fantasy suite is that it would have given too much away.

In truth, I like Tanya better than Mary. It isn’t that I don’t like Mary, or think that she would be bad for Byron, but I didn’t feel good about how Mary handled the whole situation with Jayne, versus how Tanya handled herself. However, the question here isn’t who we like best, but, who is best for Byron. One important thing we found out about Tanya in this episode is that Vancouver is the furthest she’s been away from her hometown of Plano, Texas. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it makes her very different from Byron, who obviously enjoys traveling and is on the road a lot. If a person is a natural traveler, by the time they have reached their early 30’s, they’ve found a way to travel, particularly if they don’t have children, and have their summers off, as Tanya (who is a teacher) does. Actually, I’m thinking that Tanya could be a good fit for Matthew from the Bachelorette 2, who was a genuinely nice guy and also from Texas.

We’ll see if I’m right that Mary is “the one.” I’ve already been made humble this season by my early predictions about Jayne proving to be wrong. But, with the heavy editing and plot manipulation on The Bachelor, the producers congratulate themselves when we are misled, because it means they are doing their job well.

Oh yeah, I can’t forget “the” question—Which, if any, of the women did Byron sleep with? On the View, Byron said that he wasn’t intimate with any of the women, because it wouldn’t have been fair to the woman he chose. Personally, my guess is that Byron slept with Mary, but not with any of the other three. If Byron and Mary are genuinely falling in love, then sleeping together would be a natural thing at this stage of their relationship.

Next week on The Bachelor

“Byron is getting closer to finding his soul mate as he visits the ladies’ hometowns and meets their friends....We see scenes of Byron with a large group of Tanya’s friends at a restaurant, and Byron frolicking with Cindy in the ocean.... “The ladies are falling hard for Byron.”....Tanya: I feel like he is completing a part of me that has been missing for a long time....”And their friends want some answers to some tough questions”....We see Byron sitting on the couch with a young man (Mary’s brother?) and the young man asking, “What makes you right for Mary? Are you falling in love with her?”....”And the women are looking for some answers of their own.”... Mary: At this point, I don't know if I'm the one for Byron.....Cindy: If you don't see a future with me, do not give me a rose.... “The stakes are higher as Byron struggles with his most difficult decision yet."...Byron: I'm confused, and I'm in trouble....Find out next week on The Bachelor.

Over the credits, we see a funny scene of Byron and Mary getting ready to go ziptrekking...As the attendant checks Mary’s harness, Mary kiddingly says to him, “I have wedgie. Can you get it out for me?” Of course Byron, who is ever helpful, volunteers to do the honors.

The hometown visits always make for an interesting episode. See you next week!