We left off last week’s episode of “The Bachelorette” with Shawn speaking to Kaitlyn about where he stands in her opinion compared to the other guys. If you remember, Kaitlyn has already slept with Nick, so it’s pretty apparent for the audience that she’s struggling with the whole situation when she meekly responds that she’s “falling in love” with Shawn after he asks her is she loves him.

Let’s pause for a second here. When you watch “The Bachelorette,” or any of the shows in the franchise, the number one thing your probably do is try to put yourself in the shoes of the bachelor / bachelorette or the contestants. That is of course, if we’re ignoring the wine drinking you and all your friends do during the show to convince yourself it’s okay to watch this show (believe me, I fall under this category). But seriously, it’s very normal for us as an audience to say “Oh, I would hate to go on this date” or “I’d totally say this to Kaitlyn during my one on one time” or even “Geez, I’d so rather fuck Ben Z. than Nick.” (Not my words, I swear).

Again, I have to credit Grantland’s “Right Reasons” podcast for this thought, but one thing is important to remember. While it’s fun to criticize the contestants’ decision-making during their time on “The Bachelorette,” it’s important to remember that they’re not functioning in the same universe as us.

No, I don’t mean that they’re all just a bunch of crazy drunks who have no sense of social norms (although, this is entirely possible and probable). Rather, I’m saying that what we perceive as normal dating behavior cannot totally be applied to the social construct created by “The Bachelorette.” We’ve seen Kaitlyn struggle so much with her decision to sleep with Nick and feel guilty about the fact that there are a handful of other guys waiting on her every move for just a few minutes to talk to her. In the normal world, guilt is a perfectly normal feeling, although just to be clear, she really has nothing to be ashamed of.

However, this isn’t the normal world, it’s Bachelorette world. In the normal world, you’re not forced into a room with twenty five other guys, bottles of alcohol and told to find your husband. So while we’d like to be critical of Kaitlyn or any of the guys on the show, we have to remember that their actions are in another world. And like Morpheus said in “The Matrix,” some of these rules can be bent, while others can be broken. And whether you decide to criticize these individuals or not, it’s still important to remind yourselves that they’re living in Bachelor-atrix, and not going on Tinder or Hinge dates like the rest of us.

My apologies for the prolonged, philosophical digression, let’s get back to the alcohol jokes.

After Kaitlyn assuages the worries of Shawn and discovers that nobody knows about her and Nick’s night together, we move onto the tradition unlike any other in the Bachelor franchise: the two-on-one date. Stepping into the octagon to battle it out for Kaitlyn this season are the amicable charmer from the South, Joe, and the nefarious, narcissist whose face would probably jiggle for about fifteen minutes if you punched him in the head, JJ. Things seem to be leaning JJ’s way for a while, as Kaitlyn admits to Joe that she hasn’t got to know him as well as she wanted. And just as Joe begins to struggle for words, JJ comes clean to Kaitlyn about the fact that he cheated on his now ex-wife.

Cheated. As in slept with another woman other than his wife.

Seriously, it’s a bigger choke job than Oberyn getting his head squashed by The Mountain. It’s worse than when he said “In the home of Bono, I just want to say that I’m falling for you” to Kaitlyn just minutes before during the date. We’ve talked about this many times: as the Bachelorette, Kaitlyn is always looking for reasons to eliminate people. Rather than feeding her a Chris Paul-to-Blake Griffin type alley-oop, it’s probably best to shut your pie hole once in a while. And with that, Kaitlyn says goodbye to the two-timing JJ, and continues her adventures in Ireland with the Joe and the rest of the men.

After kissing the blarney stone with Jared, Kaitlyn goes back to trying to calm Shawn down. Again, he’s still worried about the idea of being on the show with other guys blah blah blah. As for her time with Nick, she reitterates to him that snitches get stitches and that he better not tell anyone about what happened between her and Nick. And later, Ben H. shows up to try to confront her about having secret meetings with Shawn. Honestly, I’d prefer not to get further into this. Kaitlyn says it best to Shawn: “It’s “The Bachelorette.” Either get with it, or get out.”

But unfortunately, as much as I like seeing Kaitlyn finally growing into her comfort zone on the show, Chris Harrison comes out and gives her a friendly reminder that while she might be the star, he’s the maniacal puppet master who can switch things up at any time. He informs Kaitlyn that she will have to eliminate all but three guys, go straight to fantasy suite night, eliminate another and then move to hometown dates. I actually don’t hate this move. Think about it: realistically you’re probably going to sleep with someone before you introduce them to your parents. To use a Kaitlyn metaphor, they have to be able to plow your field before they can seal the deal.

But for Kaitlyn, who has struggled mightily with sending men home, it’s a difficult twist in the show. It all comes to a boiling point when she takes Chris, better known as Cupcake, to a cliffed coast for a lovely picnic. Half way through the date, she admits that she doesn’t want to lead him on anymore and tells him he won’t be continuing on this journey. And while the tears come streaming with Pied Piper-like speed down Kaitlyn’s face, Cupcake takes it to a whole different.

Pretty hysterical sure, but if you don’t sympathize with a snot-filled guy who’s final words on a love-themed reality show are “they just never see it,” you have no soul. Hopefully he finds┬áredemption and gets his own hybrid “Bachelor”/”Cupcake Wars” type show on the Food Network.

Until next time!