She’s in love with both finalists. In the penultimate episode, Becca revealed to the camera but not to the men themselves that she’s in love with Garrett and Blake. They have both said those three little words to her, but the unspoken rule of this show is that the lead doesn’t reciprocate that phrase until the very end. She’s deliberately said she doesn’t want to do what Arie Luyendyk Jr. did to her. Last season, Luyendyk said “I love you” to his two finalists, giving both women a false sense of security that he might pick them. He proposed to Becca during his finale and then reneged — their breakup was filmed and aired in way-too-devastating detail — after which Arie went back to Lauren Burnham, to whom he’s now engaged.
Becca’s ex, Arie Luyendyk Jr., has been mentioned in almost every episode. It started with the guys’ introductions as they came out of the limo on the first night. Many promised they wouldn’t treat her as callously as Arie had. One man even made such a proclamation while stripping out of a racecar driver’s suit!
The sentiments were nice, but as a viewer, I wondered: Was ABC going to evoke the ghosts of Becca’s past all season? Hadn’t they already put her through enough?
Yes, and yes. The pain of Arie’s indecision has been mentioned in nearly every episode. On Becca’s first date with Blake, for example, they visited a rage room and smashed memorabilia of her and Arie’s relationship. It was a weird idea for a date where the goal is to move on, but it actually worked for these two.
More recently, when Becca said goodbye to one of her final three men, Jason Tartick, she was torn, saying she didn’t want to do what Arie had done to her by sending Jason home. For the record: She didn’t propose to Jason and then change her mind, so the comparison was unfair to her. In the finale, I’m hoping we can get away from the Arie talk, but I’m not expecting we will.
One of Becca’s finalists, Garrett, has a troubling social media footprint. You won’t see evidence of it on screen, but online, Garrett’s views have been called into question all season long. A former “Bachelor” contestant, Ashley Spivey, unearthed Instagram posts Garrett had liked that mocked feminists; joked about throwing an immigrant child over the border; made fun of transgender people; and claimed that Parkland, Fla., school shooting survivor David Hogg was a crisis actor.
After his social media trail came to light, Garrett apologized, and Becca asked viewers to keep an open mind. In what we have seen of this season, Garrett and Becca have said they share the same values without actually articulating what those are.
Above all, Becca seems to be looking for loyalty. I hope there will be more serious conversation in the final episode about what a life or family might look like with each of the finalists, but based on the tone that’s been set so far, I wouldn’t expect it.
Amy Kaufman, a Los Angeles Times reporter and author of the book “Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure,” told me she thinks the women tend to ask potential partners what they’re looking for, such as — What kind of father would you be? Who would be working? Where would we live? “It’s not just about the attraction, which sometimes the men get caught up in,” Kaufman says.
But we haven’t seen much of that kind of conversation so far this season. Becca seems most concerned with: Are these men ready to get engaged? And stay engaged?
Several of Becca’s guys will be in Paradise starting tomorrow. Some of the fan favorites from Becca’s season will be in “Bachelor in Paradise,” which starts Tuesday. Grocer Joe and Venmo John will be there, as will the villain, male model Jordan Kimball. Chris Randone, whom Becca kicked off after he swung from insecurity to anger about not getting enough time with her, will also be there. As will Connor Obrochta and David Ravitz, whom fans will remember as the guy who fell off his top bunk and briefly landed in the hospital. Colton Underwood, who made it to hometowns with Becca but then was dismissed, will also be in Paradise, where it seems he and Tia Booth (from Arie’s season) will resume their relationship.