The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

On ‘The Bachelorette,’ Leo finally gets his moment. And insecure Chris gets sent home.

Yes, Virginia is for lovers. That’s the commonwealth’s tourism slogan — and it’s the constant refrain in this episode of “The Bachelorette,” which takes place in Richmond.

But repeating a motto doesn’t make actual love happen on screen. We are more than halfway through a boring season, which is known more for what’s happened off-screen than on. With this season’s villain Jordan, the male model, having been sent home last week, Chris steps up to fill the void as the troublemaker in the house.

But first! Jason gets the one-on-one date, a day-long tour through Richmond. They take a trolley car around the city, stopping at St. John’s Church; Sugar Shack Donuts, where the pastries have as much frosting as Jason has hair product; the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, and a bunch of Jason’s friends from home show up and tell Becca what a stand-up guy he is. Meeting someone’s friends is a great proxy for understanding what their everyday life is like, and the meetup goes well. “Jason’s friends remind me so much of my home and my friends,” Becca says, adding she can definitely see a future with Jason.

From there, it’s on to the group date . . .

The weirdest moment: Beccalection 2018

We’d like to nominate the actors impersonating presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln for a two-on-one with Becca. They get a brief moment together at the end of the episode, but it’s not enough. Instead we’re stuck with Becca’s actual contestants — Colton, Wills, Lincoln, Blake, Chris, Garrett and Connor — holding a debate for who will be the best running mate for Becca. (And yes, that’s Virginia’s Gov. Ralph Northam dishing out some of the debate questions, in a cameo brokered by his daughter, Aubrey Northam, who’s a fan of the show.)

Similar to a political debate, Beccalection is a good test of who can be baited into trash-talking his opponents (ahem, Chris and Lincoln) and who takes the high road (good job, Blake!). The debate becomes the second round of Chris’s descent, which began with last episode’s sudden onset of insecurity and has become single-minded determination and aggression. At the cocktail party afterward, Chris spends his time telling Becca that Lincoln is a liar and Lincoln complains to Becca that the guys in the house are afraid to be around Chris. Becca is tired of the drama. “I don’t want to feel like I’m back in elementary school,” she says, though she waits to let Chris go until later in the episode.

The best moment: Leo gets his one-on-one!

Finally, the sultry stuntman Leo gets his one-on-one date with Becca, where they ride in a plane and shuck oysters. Becca begins the date distracted and “emotionally drained” from the drama of the night before, but Leo succeeds in getting her to relax. “I’d be yours in the real world if you wanted to be with me,” he tells her, a rare yet important acknowledgment of the fact that dating on a television show can really warp a person’s soul mate radar. And Leo should be on Becca’s radar.

As they climb into the water to shuck some oysters, they actually appear to be having fun. Leo says he’s “gleeful” around her, and Becca notes that she feels a spark, though they have a slower start than she has with the other guys. “Leo is goofy and he has so many sides to him that I just love,” she says. This season could use some more goofy.

The worst moment: Chris’s unannounced visit to Becca’s room 

The unannounced popover rarely goes well for the person who initiates it. And yet. Chris knocks on Becca’s door after her date with Leo, ostensibly to tell her that he could see himself proposing, but the whole thing is delivered with such cold determination that it appears more aggressive than tender or loving. Becca correctly notes that this is quite the 180 from last week, when he was ready to jet because she wasn’t giving him enough time during a crowded group date.

But it’s too late to salvage this. “I have so many questions and red flags that I don’t think we can get there,” Becca tells Chris before walking him out and dismissing him before the rose ceremony. As he leaves, notes that Chris’s anger has become his defining feature. “He’s not the guy I want in my life, ever,” she says.

At the rose ceremony, Connor and Lincoln go home. (So now there’s no longer than problem of having a convicted sex offender on the show.) Which leaves us with Garrett, Blake, Wills, Jason, Leo and Colton.

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