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By CATHY BUSSEWITZ

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Host Chris Harrison calls it the “most emotional season” of ‘The Bachelor.’  But the two main characters the producers have focused on the most, Ben and Courtney, could hardly appear less emotional.

Let’s start with Ben. The self-professed laid-back winemaker from Sonoma showed nary a trace of angst or excitement on last night’s episode of ABC’s “The Bachelor - The Women Tell All.”

That seems strange for a man whose fate at the end of the season, engagement or heartbreak, will be exposed before a national audience in less than a week.

PHOTOS: Preview the season finale

And then there’s Courtney. She came on the show to apologize for her behavior to the women, looking composed and calm. Not in the way that someone who just came from a yoga retreat looks calm, but more in the way that someone would act if they just weren’t having strong feelings.

Perhaps that’s why the producers of the show chose to focus on the 23 already-rejected women lashing out at Courtney with the gush of vitriol that only a group of women who’ve been bound to secrecy for months by confidentiality agreements can muster.

“Here’s Courtney. She’s a black widow,” said one of the season’s sweetest, Kacie B., holding out her empty palm in a clip replayed during the show. “This is what I want to do to her.”

Smack!

And as the clip was replayed of Kacie smacking her hands together to crush that black widow, all the prettily dressed women on the show Monday night mimicked that hand-smack with glee.

“She was two people. She was a split personality,” Kasie B. explained after the clip was replayed. “And when someone is two ways, I don’t know who to believe.”

“You’ve heard Ben say he doesn’t want to be with someone who does not get along with other people. That is who she is,” said Nicki, who made it as far as the top three before Ben let her go.

And then Courtney walked onto the stage, with the graceful poise that surely she has practiced as a professional model. And she calmly apologized, again and again, even as the women questioned her sincerity.

“Looking back, I wish I could have done things differently. I was extremely uncomfortable,” Courtney explained.

But Courtney’s regrets seemed to be based more on regrets over the bad press she and her family have had to deal with, and the embarrassment that anyone would face after coming across as a total tool on national TV, than legitimate concern over how she treated the other women. After all, her goal was “winning.”

And so Courtney remained relatively composed for most of her minutes, which undoubtedly seemed like hours, on the hot seat. But eventually, there was the sigh. And then the glassy eyes. And then what looked like tears.

“I’m going through real emotions, and I don’t like being torn apart,” Courtney said.

Really?

We’ll have to wait until next week to see whether Courtney’s feelings for Ben were ever real. After all, she’s a model, not an actress. It’s hard to tell.

Ben, on the other hand, has shown a few flashes of emotion in scenes with Courtney, the kind of expression that can flit quickly across the eye and betray an attempt to conceal angst over a crush.

Or maybe it’s been Ben and Lindzi all along, and the drama with Courtney was just a convenient little plot line.

To find out, we’ll have to wait and tune in next Monday night.

After all, Chris Harrison promised it would be “the most controversial season finale you’ll have to see to believe.”

 

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