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'The Bachelor' intensifies, West Linn's Lauren B advances


Bushnell shares a one-on-one date with "Bachelor" Ben Higgins

The third episode of “The Bachelor," which aired Jan. 18, was certainly the most entertaining of season 20 so far, especially for West Linn contestant Lauren Bushnell (Lauren B). The 25-year-old flight attendant received the first of two one-on-one dates with Ben Higgins, sending the pair on a surprise ride in a biplane around Agoura Hills, Calif. ABC - Lauren Bushnell

The premise for the reality show is one man dating numeous women at once, trying to find his soul mate.

The date heats up when Bushnell and Higgins kiss for the first time while on the plane. Their date continues with a landing on a nearby hillside, where a hot tub and champagne are waiting for the pair. After more intimacy, something Bushnell said she was anxious about seeing for the first time on national television, the two head to dinner where Bushnell and Higgins get the first chance to open up to one another on camera.

Bushnell tells Higgins that what she wants out of a husband, saying she wants somebody that is going to be as good of a father to her children as her father, Dave Bushnell, was to her and her siblings growing up. Higgins responded with a personal anecdote about some recent heart trouble his own father experienced, saying the experience opened up his eyes as to how much his parents care about one another — something he says he wants more than anything.

The date ended with Higgins offering Bushnell a rose, ensuring her safety in the impending rose ceremony at the end of the episode. The pair then shared one more experience when Higgins takes the 2008 West Linn High School graduate to a nearby barn where a private concert is awaiting the two.

The two share a dance, and Bushnell later tells the camera “I think I could fall in love with Ben. One-hundred percent I could.” Higgins, for his part, said “This girl is absolutely amazing … All I can think right now is this girl is changing me.”

While Bushnell received her rose about a half hour into the two-hour episode, that left more than an hour for drama to ensue in “The Bachelor” mansion. The group date follows with 10 girls going on a “soccer” themed date, where U.S. Women’s National Soccer League members Alex Morgan and Kelly O’Hara are waiting to train contestants. The contestants are then split up into two teams for a match, with the reward being a night with Higgins — the losing team would be sent back to the house, meanwhile.

After a hard-fought game — which included multiple injuries and very little soccer skill — the winning team was awarded a night with Higgins. Contestant Olivia, the news anchor from Texas, again dominated Higgins’ time on the date — something that’s become a trend, much to the annoyance of the other girls on the show, putting what she called "a target" on her back.

Contestant Jubilee, meanwhile, gets the final one-on-one date. After the war veteran and Higgins share some intimate moments of their own, she’s given a rose, leading to the climactic rose ceremony. Before that, however, drama between the contestants — one of the things “The Bachelor” is traditionally famous for — heats up. Contestant Amber becomes jealous of Jubilee, resulting in tears and arguments from multiple girls.

Bushnell, however, was one of the contestants who avoided the drama vortex, keeping to herself while verbal altercations unfolded.

“Whenever you have 28 women dating the same guy there are going to be a lot of drama, and you have a lot of personalities putting them in a house together,” Bushnell told the Tidings after the premier episode. “For the most part I never felt like I was in the center of any dramatic situation, but it’s only natural there are going to be tears and people not getting along. It wasn’t surprising, but it’s different when you’re living it. I have friends and a sister where we’ve had disagreements, but I’ve never been in a situation like that.”

Contestant Lace ends up leaving the show on her own before the episode concludes and two more girls are eliminated. Promos for next week’s episode show more sparks, both of the love and jealousy variety, including what social media has deemed as a “meltdown” for contestant Olivia. Tune in next week at 8 p.m. on ABC for episode four, and look for another update next week.