Sean Lowe, this is your life. In less than a week, America will watch as the 29-year-old Dallas native makes his final choice and rides off into the sunset -- but first, the frequently shirtless Bachelor has to face all the women he sent packing to get to this point. How does the song go? Reunited and it feels so...awkward? Hostile?
The Women Tell All special kicks off with a taped segment showing Sean and host Chris Harrison surprising fans at Bachelor viewing parties all over L.A., with very loud, frenzied results. (Seriously, the shrieks are off the charts.) Their last stop is a Delta Gamma sorority house at UCLA, where what looks like more than a hundred co-eds coerce Sean into showing his now-famous torso by chanting, "Take your shirt off!"
"It's an incredible feeling to think people are so invested in my story and the love that I'm searching for," he says. (Story, body, same thing.) "It's a very humbling feeling."
Next it's time to welcome a group of women who may be slightly less enamored with Sean: Ashley P., Diana, Brooke, Daniella, Jackie, Kacie, Leslie H., Kristy, Taryn, Katie, Amanda, Selma, Robyn, Sarah, Desiree, Lesley M., and AshLee -- a.k.a. all the ladies he rejected except Tierra, whose "sparkle" will get its own very special entrance later in the show. After a brief video recap of the season's craziest, cattiest moments, talk turns to the women's "common enemy," the contestant everyone loves to hate.
The ladies hold nothing back as they rehash all the "Tierrarist" drama, from her infamous fall down the stairs to her mountaintop "hypothermia" incident -- both of which the Women Tell All audience deem fake. Among the best one-liners to emerge from this no-holds-barred venting session? Selma's "Ya gotta hide your crazy" and Lesley's "Your sparkle didn't sparkle that big!" Robyn seems to speak for the group when she says, "I'm sitting here at Women Tell All, mad all over again!"
This, of course, means it's the perfect time to bring Tierra out to face her former housemates. The audience goes completely silent as she makes her way to the hot seat, where she attempts to explain her behavior on the show. The gist of her defense seems to be that the other women simply couldn't handle her sparkle or the chemistry she had with Sean.
"It's difficult for me, because I light up in a room, especially with people I'm comfortable with. And when I walk into a room, I bring this joy and this smile and I'm happy," she says. "But with people who...don't give me a chance to have that light and to show my personality, they immediately judge me based off of what I look like instead of the inner person, the heart I have, the good family I come from, and all my morals that I have as well."
"I didn't want a target on my back. And I feel like I had that target [as soon as I got that first rose]," she adds. "I felt ganged up on."
The other ladies, not surprisingly, are unsympathetic to her plea, especially after she claims that she "never" talked about anyone else behind their backs. When Harrison asks if she regrets anything or wants to apologize to the women for how she acted, she thinks for a minute and says no, which gets everyone riled up.
"I am shocked that you are saying the things that you're saying right now," Robyn pipes in. "You're being so sweet and you're being so innocent. You're delusional!"
Tierra responds by trying to shift blame to AshLee over their St. Croix confrontation, but AshLee and the other ladies aren't having it. "I think [AshLee] was tough, but I think somebody had to be," Lesley says, adding that Tierra "made her own bed, her own cot, what have you."
"All I can say is I apologize to all of you guys for you guys thinking I didn't want to talk to you," Tierra replies. "Can I better myself? Yes. Can I work on my flaws? Yes. I think I came into this really scared. And I didn't really know how to handle it. And I handled it, I guess, in a bad way."
After a brief discussion about Tierra's recent engagement -- she deflects most of Harrison's inquiries about it -- it's time to move on to Sarah Herron, whom Sean sent home in Episode 6. After making her rewatch the rejection, Harrison prompts her to talk about what went wrong, which she does, tearfully.
"It's the worst to be told you're great, but you're not good enough for me," she tells Harrison. "I always fall back on, 'Well, it must be because I have one arm.'"
She goes on to explain that she always gets the same breakup speech -- the "It's not you, it's me" spiel, complete with a dash of "Whoever ends up with you is the luckiest guy in the world." Insult to injury, basically. "I think I'm funny. And I think I'm smart. And I think I'm great," she says to applause from the audience. "So I don't understand why. I don't get it."
All is not lost, though. "Through this whole experience, I've learned about self acceptance and I've learned about being open and being vulnerable," she concludes. "And I'll bring that to my next relationship."
Closure! Next up is fan favorite Desiree, who left with a broken heart in Episode 9, after what she calls "the worst hometown [date] in Bachelor history," thanks to Sean's uncomfortable conversation with her overprotective brother. Des tells Harrison that she pictured her life with Sean and was shocked when he didn't give her a rose. "I felt we had a natural chemistry," she says. "We had a connection that I didn't think the other girls could surpass. So in that moment when he was sending me off, I thought he was making the biggest mistake of his life."
"I would be curious to see," she adds, "if my brother had never been there, would things be different?"
Alas, she and Sean will never know. So Harrison brings up the most recently eliminated lady, AshLee, who made a dramatic, wordless exit in last week's episode. AshLee insists she wasn't "pissed" -- "You look pissed!" Harrison quips -- just blindsided. "He'd been telling me, 'You're going to meet my family. You and my sister are going to be best friends,'" she explains. "So this whole time, I'm thinking, 'Huh, I got this.' And then all of a sudden I didn't."
She says that watching the show has helped clarify things for her, though, mostly about her perception of Sean. "This guy's not quite who I thought he was," she tells Harrison. "With me, he was just a Southern gentleman. And with the other girls, I mean, hate me for this, but he kind of acted like a frat boy."
Ouch. Sean comes out to face AshLee's accusations, and this is where things get really awkward. After he explains why he sent her home -- "There were times when I felt like I couldn't find that laughter with you," he says -- she bounces back with a new allegation about things he supposedly said during their overnight date, namely that he had "absolutely no feelings" for the final two women, Lindsay and Catherine.
Now Sean's the one who's blindsided. He insists he never said any such thing, but AshLee says she's not making it up. "Sean, come on," she presses him. To which he replies, "I...promise that I didn't say that. I didn't and I wouldn't say that." The back-and-forth continues in that vein for what feels like forever, until Harrison finally breaks it up by saying, "Well, I'm not sure if this helped or hurt, but I am glad both of you got to finally have the talk that you didn't get to have in Thailand."
Things don't end there, though, as AshLee and Sean continue to bicker through the commercial break. "I would have never said something like that," Sean whispers. AshLee snaps back: "But you did! You did! I want to beat you right now because you said it."
Harrison gives Sean the final word on the issue, and he takes it. He insists he never said what AshLee says he said, but he does concede this: "Obviously I must have said something that misled AshLee, and I'm sorry if I did."