I really expected that Tayshia would have Ben in her Final Three. But off to the limo he went. [cue Steve Perry It Won’t Be You]
I won’t do an emotional intelligence assessment of Ben like I did for Low Emotional Intelligence Bennett aka Wall Street Dude aka Villain 2. Once again, I’ll refer you to ex-Bachelorette Sharleen Joynt’s thoughtful consideration of whether Ben should have been cast into the show. There is plainly more going on with him than he’s just “guarded” or takes longer to “open up”, i.e. the common relationship hurdles to be overcome in The Bachelor franchise.
Still, I thought Tayshia would choose him because this was the relationship she most hoped would work out. It was uncomfortable watching her waiting and wanting something, anything, to validate her feelings for him, to validate their relationship, to speak to a possible future. And you could see him struggling to get words out of his mouth. The struggle is real, really real for him. Finally, over and against her own struggle to give up on her hopes, she had to send him to the limo. Where, once again, he came up empty of emotion.
There was some foreshadowing of this when he said to Chris in the opening segment, “Crying, I really don’t know how to do that . . . I don’t know how to do that emotion. I don’t know where it’s supposed to come from.” That’s a wow. I mean, I’ve lost track at how many times I’ve cried just during one Evanescence concert.
I guess it makes for compelling TV and interweb fodder. But now I’m wondering even more (based on Sharleen Joynt’s article) if he should have been in the show. And yet, there’s this dissonance of thinking that if he got his psychological/emotional act together, it would make for a compelling hero’s journey story if he came back as the next Bachelor. I bet you even agree with me which shows you how insidious this “reality” show can be.
Much like The Men Tell All was a rather subdued event due to COVID restrictions, the “hometown’ visits at the La Quinta resort felt much the same way. Yes, the producers showed great creativity helping the guys manufacture homey dates. But with less family involved and them not being on their turf, the visits were very restrained and without any serious drama. Here’s a few things I was musing on:
Brendan – Zero family drama which I think is some kind of foreshadowing of him causing some future drama. Also, I need that shirt.
Zac – It was hysterical seeing him as an NYC bagel and pizza guy, going all WTF over her wanting to put blueberries on a bagel. If she had asked for a thicker slice of pizza, it may have ended the relationship.
Ivan – I need ABC to put a recipe for those rollups on their website. The surprise of Ivan’s brother showing up was sweet but the cynic in me feels like there has to be an emotional payback for us and Ivan coming.
Ben – My Crack Research Staff (thanks, KM!) informed me that TV celebrity Antonia (Top Chef, Chopped and other Food Network shows) was the other half of Ben’s “family” along with his sister. Apparently, Ben and Antonia are close friends. There was no mention of his parents which is odd. The Bachelor franchise has never shied away from difficult family relationships – Ivan’s is an immediate case in point. The complete silence says something very loudly while being a complete mystery.
Nothing has changed my opinion (yet?) that the last three are all good guys – they even like each other! – and while Tayshia may win, two quality Bachelors are going to “lose.” Going on the record, I feel like the last man kneeling will be Zac.
Fantasy Suites and a kneel-down remain. See you next week.
Outro: Luther Vandross A House Is Not a Home
P.S. This week’s viewing wine: Gabrielle Ashley Cabernet Sauvignon 2017.
P.P.S. The excitement of Zac’s mom at meeting her crush Chris Harrison cracked all of us up big time. [cue Jeffrey Osborne On the Wings of Love]
 I repeat – several times – IF he gets his psychological/emotional act together.