The jump-up-and-leg-wraparound greetings are extra enthusiastic tonight. You know what that means: Bachelorette Becca is visiting her final four men in their home towns and meeting their families. It’s Garrett’s first time introducing a woman to his family since his divorce. It’s Colton’s first time introducing a woman to his family. It’s Jason’s chance to disclose his feelings, because last week Becca told him he has been more tip-lipped than the other guys. Blake has a very serious thing to reveal to Becca while they’re in his high school library, and a surprise for her in the auditorium.
And all of their parents will express their concerns that their sons are getting too close to a woman who’s still dating three other men. But they’ve also never seen them happier.
Let’s get down to it.
The best moment: Blake reveals his childhood trauma at an appropriate moment
This show has a way of pushing contestants to reveal all the Difficult Things They’ve Been Through way too soon. It’s in the service of creating vulnerability and intimacy, and informing the lead of where you’re coming from. But they can often feel like too much too soon, as cheap shots toward intimacy when there’s plenty of other ground to cover first. Which is why it was impressive that Blake chose to wait until he and Becca were in his high school to tell her that he’d lived through a school shooting in that building. With his mom, who was a teacher there, making the announcements over the loudspeaker. He didn’t pull that information out of a hat on one of their one-on-ones as a sob story to make Becca feel more for him. He told her about it when they were in a physical place that brought back those memories and emotions, saying that living through such a traumatic event is part of the reason he’s so positive. And it shows.
While Blake might be the first “Bachelor Nation” contestant to live through a school shooting and talk about it on the show, he probably won’t be the last. Viewers on Twitter were pleased with how it was handled.
Of course, remember that one of Garrett’s Instagram likes that got called out recently … was a post about how a Parkland student was a crisis actor.
The worst moment: Becca’s superficial conversation with Garrett about their “shared values”
One of the biggest tension points this season has been around whether Becca and Garrett, who received the first-impression rose and has been a front-runner from the start, really do share similar values. They say they do, but as far as we can see with any of these contestants, there’s very little concrete discussions of what those “values” are. Family is important, sure. That has been discussed. Becca proclaims Colton dad material after seeing him with kids connected to his cystic fibrosis charity, and Jason notes that Becca would be a good hockey mom. But Becca started out this season saying she’s looking for a 50-50 relationship and then hasn’t followed up by talking about what that might look like for her and her future partner. She has a tattoo of a cross on her hand but hasn’t discussed religion or spirituality with any of these men. Those conversations could come in the following weeks, but what we’ve seen is incredibly surface-level.
The weirdest moment: Becca saying she feels like a “terrible person” for letting Colton go
Although some viewers were upset with Tia’s about-face on Colton — early in the season she said she was over him, and in this episode she takes Becca aside to say it makes her sick to her stomach to think that Becca might end up with Colton. Tia still has feelings for him. Okay, she changed her mind and spoke up about it. Becca makes clear that her friendship with Tia is important, and that she’ll make her own decision about Colton.
And yet Becca continually berates herself as a “terrible person” for letting Colton go. (Jason, Blake and Garrett get roses and will be joining her in Thailand for the final episodes.) But here’s the thing: Becca already had her doubts about whether Colton was ready for marriage. She didn’t make this decision because Tia asked her to step aside. By saying twice that she feels like a “terrible person” for bidding farewell to Colton, she further plays into the dangerous notion that women should feel guilty for rejecting men. She compares herself to Arie for “blindsiding” Colton, but let us remind her: You’re not engaged. You’re not Arie lite. Until now, Becca has been very decisive and has stood by those decisions. She can admit that they’re hard to make, but she need not berate herself over any of her choices.