No spoilers; this is just about what’s happened so far. If you haven’t caught every episode, you haven’t missed much. Arie, a race-car driver turned real estate agent, doesn’t have much of a personality but producers did place him on some kind of wheeled vehicle in every episode. It was like a bad children’s book: Watch the Bachelor ride a motorcycle. See the women participate in a demolition derby to win more time with the Bachelor. Watch the Bachelor ride a bicycle. And so on and so forth.
At this point in the competition, Arie is down to two final women: Lauren B., whose vacant personality makes Arie look like he has the charisma of a young Bill Clinton; and Becca Kufrin, who had to endure her ex-boyfriend showing up in Peru to try to win her back. She shut him down expertly. In a move that violates the show’s unwritten rules, Arie has said “I love you” to both women, which he’s gotten flack for on social media.
In a snooze of a season, here are some of our favorite moments.
The reenactments of childhood trauma: Not to make light of Annaliese’s emotional wounds, but this woman erupted into tears at the thought of participating in a demolition derby group date, citing “bumper car trauma” from her youth. “A bumper car trauma. I didn’t know that bumper car trauma was a thing,” Jenny says at the time, dryly. “I’m just sitting here, waiting for her to be finished crying.”
But! This was not just another scene of another woman crying. The producers filmed a snippet of children with their faces blurred, smashing their carnival cars into one another, as a dramatization of what might have happened to Annaliese as a child. There was another, similarly creepy flashback depicting Annaliese’s canine trauma, which was triggered on group date with show dogs the following week.
These blurry flashbacks were played for laughs, but who doesn’t have some kind of dating trauma triggered by watching this show? Or feel “Bachelor”-esque choice overload while swiping through dating apps? The childhood reenactments were a hilarious break from the usual format, and we’d love to see more of them.
Arie’s face when Bekah reveals her age: In a season lacking in drama, the 14-year age difference between Baby Bekah (who’s 22) and Bachelor Arie (36) became the source of behind-the-back talks among the women and “When are you going to tell him?” confrontations. And since every contestant is expected to offer up any potential baggage to the Bachelor during those rare one-on-one moments, Bekah’s age became the Thing She Must Reveal before her relationship with Arie could progress. When she tells him that she doesn’t pass the half-your-age-plus-seven rule, Arie’s face displays actual emotion, or at least shock, doubt and then finally rationalization. (Because, hey, he still thinks she’s smokin’ hot. And they seemed to have great chemistry together.)
“I know it’s possible to love deeply at that age,” Arie says. “My biggest fear is that I go through all this and emotionally invest in you and at the end, I’m heartbroken,” adding that he’s looking for a wife, not a girlfriend who’s not ready to settle down.
Bekah’s age did end up being a deal-breaker for Arie several episodes later, but we’re not worried about her at all. After getting kicked off the show, she went to a marijuana farm in Northern California — and according to Instagram, has been hanging with fellow contestant Kendall (the one who’s obsessed with taxidermy) in Los Angeles. Sample caption: “the single girls’ club gained another angel last night,” referring to Kendall’s departure from the show. We foresee these two having a lot more fun together than either of them ever would have had they ended up engaged to the Bachelor in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The way Arie responded to Krystal’s temper tantrum: Krystal was this season’s villain with a sexy-baby voice that Jimmy Kimmel calls the most annoying in Bachelor history. Lots of hiyeeees and canistealyouforasecond. But there was more annoyance to Krystal beyond her vocal fry. Namely, her pettiness.
Just one example: After a group bowling date, where the winning team got to gain more time with the Bachelor, Arie decided to let both teams hang out after the last gutter bowl rolled. This irked Krystal so much that she sat out the entire party and said that he “lied” by changing the rules of the game. Uh, gurl — it’s bowling, not infidelity.
At first Arie takes the bait, going to her room and talking to her — her shameless ploy for attention seemingly succeeds! But once there, and in another talk the following episode, Arie explains he wants to be with someone who’s beyond such childish stunts. “This exactly what couples can’t do, is run away from their problems,” he says.
Later, when Krystal and Arie bicker once more about his “lie” at the bowling alley, she says somewhat dreamily, “It’s our first fight!” She might think about it that way, but viewers and the Bachelor saw right through it.
The way Kendall responded to Krystal’s bullying: As we said earlier this season, Kendall is the emotional-support peacock Bachelor Nation has been waiting for. When Krystal tells Arie that Kendall isn’t ready for marriage (which could be, but that’s not for Krystal to determine), rather than stoop to Krystal’s level, Kendall peers right into Krystal’s soul and says, “I feel like you have so much beauty in you,” adding that she knows Krystal’s barbs only come from her own pain. It’s the kindest, most empathetic moment we’ve ever seen on “The Bachelor,” and when watching the episode, one of my fellow recappers leaped to her feet and cheered.
The quirky one goes far: Every season there’s a contestant who’s cast for her novelty more than her viability as a match for the Bachelor. On Nick Viall’s season, that was Alexis Waters, who walked in the first night wearing a shark costume (or was it a dolphin?). This season, that’s Kendall, who sings to her stuffed seal and makes taxidermy with Arie on her hometown date.
Arie looks like he’s going to barf when Kendall tells him they’re going to stuff two dead rats, dress them up in tiny wedding outfits and put them in a diorama of the Eiffel Tower, meant to represent their time in Paris. But he gamely plays along, and eventually, it seems like he’s come to understand and appreciate this weird art form.
Kendall opens up about often being seen as a novelty by the guys she dates but wanting to be more than that, which does seem to happen with Arie. Though he lets her go after the fantasy suite dates — and yes, Kendall can surely find a better match out there in the real world — it was refreshing to see the “quirky one” do more than get a few laughs. There’s a whole person behind that weird passion of hers, and Arie saw more of that than Bachelors usually do.