And Arie said farewell to Kendall, which was no surprise — she’s been hesitant for weeks. It was the culmination of an incredible run for the girl who serenaded a stuffed dead seal in the first episode. Thanks to her manic pixie dream girl taxidermy and ukulele playing, she initially got the joke-candidate edit, like the shark girl, or the “Whaboom” guy from previous seasons — a person who is just there for a few episodes and laughs. But Kendall emerged as one of the smartest, nicest and most compassionate women on the show, and someone to be taken seriously. She shut down a “Bachelor” bully, Krystal, more effectively than any other contestant we’ve seen, and did so without putting her down. And she — quite reasonably! — expressed reservations about getting engaged to someone she’s only known for a few weeks, which made all the sensible women who watch this show like her even more. She may not have won Arie’s heart, but she certainly won ours.
But that wasn’t the main event of this week’s episode. In a slow episode with dull dates, the producers knew they needed to wake us all up with a Dramatic Television Event. Enter Ross, Becca’s ex of seven years, who flew to Peru for a last-ditch attempt to win her heart.
The best moment: ‘I can’t speak for her.’
This might be the most respectful ex-confrontation in Bachelor Nation history. Ross came to tell Arie he wanted Becca back. Despite what the overly aggressive knock at the hotel door was meant to foreshadow, the conversation was pretty tame. Arie literally sipped tea.
He and Ross sat across from each other as Ross explained that he had flown overnight and driven five hours to tell Becca “she’s the one I want to spend the rest of my life with.” No tables were flipped. No one uttered the phrase “my woman.” After Ross said his piece, Arie responded by saying, “I can’t speak for her.”
Yes, it was weird that Ross declared his intentions to Arie before Becca, but the producers needed some drama this week, so we’re going with it.
Ross arrived at Becca’s door with a gentler knock and flowers in hand, but she wouldn’t let him in the room. Instead, they talked on the steps outside, where it was easier for the producers to capture every angle of their conversation. Becca told Ross he thinks his life is “The Notebook.” Ross called Arie “that guy.” Then Becca made her decision to stay with Arie, saying, “What we had wasn’t healthy for so damn long, and I can’t go back to that.” They stared at each other for a bit before Ross said, “I’m not here to convince you. I thought I’d come here and you’d agree.” It was by no means the most dramatic moment in Bachelor history, but respect is so hot in 2018.
The worst moment: Reality got too real
Well, Bachelor Nation, what a wild ride. This week, it was more difficult than usual to settle on a “worst” moment. Especially considering how much fodder we were given to work with. First, there was Kendall’s entire date, which we’d be happy to delve further into, if only we could remember literally any of it by the end of the episode. And, honestly, Kendall is going to be just fine on the other side, if not better off now that she’s freed from Chris Harrison’s ever-watchful eye.
Lauren B. (even though she’s the only Lauren left, it still feels like she needs an identifier, because she is just that dull) also had a less than memorable fantasy suite episode. Were it not for her pointing out the obvious at every turn (“That’s a plane,” as they are literally standing in front of a plane, or “It’s so quiet,” while they are actually in the middle of a silent desert), she may not have had any airtime at all.
But, while it was also the best and weirdest moment of the episode, Ross showing up in Peru was also certainly the worst moment of the episode. More so because without it, we would have fallen asleep halfway through. It is indicative of a snoozy season that they had to fly Ross to Peru on (likely) ABC’s dime and drive him five hours through the desert just to be unceremoniously rejected. If there is any justice in the world, the moment will at least inspire producers to break with long-standing tradition and answer Twitter’s prayers by making Ross the next Bachelor (or at least give him a spot on “Bachelor in Paradise”).
Could it be that despite their best efforts to portray elevated romance and drama, this season “The Bachelor” has maybe reflected reality too well? Watching Arie go on forgettable date after forgettable date on TV is kind of starting to remind us of our own dating lives, which isn’t anything we’re interested in watching in real time. Ross’s arrival was the worst moment, because it provided Bachelor Nation with some long-awaited excitement, delivered in the most unrealistic way possible, only drawing into sharper focus the fact that perhaps the reason we’ve all been so bored is because there’s too much real life on screen this time around.
The weirdest moment: [Stares directly into camera, angrily]
Yes, the mundanity of these dates was pretty real, but we can’t forget that the whole point of “The Bachelor” is thrusting people into situations that are entirely (gasp!) fake — the elaborate dates, the fantasy suites, the hyper-accelerated timeline. But it always gets weird — and fun — when the artifice shows through. And, boy, does it ever show through in an episode like this one, with an ex conveniently flown in for some producer-manufactured drama.
When Ross pounds at Becca’s door, and she opens it and finds him standing there, she intentionally glares directly at the camera, breaking the fourth wall. It’s as if she’s looking at the producer behind the camera to say, “Seriously, guys?” A few minutes later when — surprise, surprise — Ross’s grand gesture that the producers probably spent the entire plane ride pumping him up for doesn’t go as well as he planned, he looks directly into the camera, too. It’s the desperate glance of a man who realizes he has been caught in a trap and is being made a fool of on national television, which made us momentarily sad, but then we remembered that Ross was there to claim Becca as if she were his property, so we were able to quickly brush that feeling aside. Sorry, Ross. As many people on Twitter say: The devil works hard, but “The Bachelor” producers work harder.
Anyway, there was one other moment that left us scratching our heads this episode. While the other women got nice hotel rooms for their fantasy suites, Becca got a tent in the desert. It was a really small tent. It did not appear to have a bathroom! Which is kind of an issue when you’re, uh, “talking all night” in the fantasy suites! Inquiring minds needed to know.
Whatever, we’re sure there was a trailer with craft services set up just out of view. How else could Becca have woken up with perfect eyeliner?
Next week: Which of these two Cream of Wheat women will our Muesli bachelor pick? They’re going to meet his parents, a Neil Lane sparkler will be selected, and then there will be tears, so many tears.
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