Just when we think The Bachelor can’t surprise us anymore, one girl leaves right before a one-on-one, a past contestant comes back from the dead (well, from working with them anyway) to win Ben Flajnik’s affection, and the final rose of the night goes to waste!  With this much drama after only three weeks, we’re on the edge of our seats! Some of your favorite Bachelor Nation alum got together for Jesse Csincsak’s (Winner, Bachelorette 4) Reality Smackdown to weigh in on a drama-filled Episode 3!

One-on-one dates are coveted, especially early on, so it’s a shock for a girl to pack her bags when her name appears on a date card alone. Brittney Schreiner, that means you! Lauren Wagner (Bachelor 13) says, “I couldn't help but wonder if Brittney thought she would leave now and try to come back later like Ali Fedotowsky did?  That would get her major attention and perhaps a shot at becoming the next Bachelorette.”  Being the next star is always a possible motive, but what about fear?

Credit: Rick Rowell/ABC Television Group © 2011 Disney Photo: Ben Flajnik Gives Kacie Boguskie a Rose in the Bachelor Season 16 Premiere

Elizabeth Kitt (Bachelor 14, Bachelor Pad) thinks, “She didn't want to go on the one-on-one date because she was afraid she would get her heart broken.”  Okay, we get it, but if you don’t try you’ll never know, right?

Emily O'Brien did go on her one-on-on and is quickly becoming a fan-favorite as a result.  According to Elizabeth, “She's one of the best matches for Ben because she isn't as strong-willed/strong-minded as the other girls. She's more reserved and I think it fits better with Ben's personality.” Richard Mathy (Bachelorette 4) agrees; “Emily overcame her biggest fear to be with Ben – major bonus points for her. I think Emily is an interesting and beautiful person.”

The Bachelor is so much more than the dates, though. In case this didn’t cross your mind, if the episode gets to the point of the rose ceremony and there’s still an entire hour left in the show, you know drama is coming – and the panel is completely torn on the impact it left this week! Jesse says Shawntel’s return, “took balls and I respect her for it.” Elizabeth agrees; “I think it was bold, and a good idea.” She also adds, “I think The Bachelor should let past season’s women return, especially if they weren't happy with the guy [production] chose for them the first time!”

Rich, however, thinks Shawntel’s return was the wrong move. “To come back on during the third episode and expect to win over Ben who is in the middle of the process is insane,” according to Rich. Insane?  Possibly. And – according to Lauren — “desperate.”  Ouch. “If Ben were really into her, he wouldn't have accepted the chance to be the next Bachelor.”

Well, apparently he wasn’t that into Shawntel, because she did not get the final rose on Monday night. No one did.  Good decision?  Apparently, yes.  “Ben made the right decision not giving out the last rose,” says Rich. “He knows who he wants near the end by now and it was a good move to just cut ties as soon as possible with the girls he doesn't see himself with.”  Elizabeth had the same opinion; “I like that he didn't hand out the ‘final rose’ for the sake that it was there to give out. Let's cut to the chase, if you don't like the rest of them, let 'em go!!”

He certainly did – and we can’t wait to see who Ben sends packing on tonight’s episode!

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