Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelor: Episode 10

Sharleen Joynt—FLARE columnist and former Bachelor contestant—shares her insider’s POV on last night’s episode of The Bachelor

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I just finished taping HuffPost’s “Here To Make Friends” podcast and Claire, Emma and myself agreed: Now that we write about this stuff and take notes, the words “Three-Hour Bachelor Event” are truly shiver-inducing. I need your guys’ help here to give me perspective and help me remember back to before I became a contestant-turned-recapper: Were those four words ever a good thing? Do you hear “Three-Hour Bachelor Event” and feel anticipation or even excitement? Or is it more a finish-what-you-started mindset that compels you to tune in? Perhaps a masochistic curiosity?

In all fairness, I should not lump this week’s hour-long episode with Women Tell All. The first hour was actually really, really good and we saw two solid, entertaining, romantic and funny dates. (Women Tell All is recapped here!)

Despite the fact that I (and America… and the camera) love Rachel, I was happy to see her go this week. I’m pumped she’s Bachelorette but the early announcement really did in their relationship for me. I’ve never been one of those people who seeks out and reads the endings of novels and now I know why. Rachel’s Fantasy Suite date chemistry was undeniably (to use Nick’s own wording) “explosive” but instead of growing invested in their relationship or analyzing and comparing their connection with the others, the ending-knowing transformed their formerly electric relationship into something almost tedious to watch. And you know what? I think production knew that, because they included a lot of funny moments in this date. In my notes I wrote: “I think Nick is funnier with Rachel than Raven,” for whatever that’s worth.

Related: What Would *Truly* Make Tonight’s Bachelor Finale the Most Dramatic Ever

Rachel getting sent home was a mixture of bittersweetness (sweet only because, since her Bachelorette announcement, her departure has felt like a countdown of sorts) and fascinating TV. I know that sounds cruel, but in terms of observing human behavior, Rachel’s heartbreak was one of the most compelling I think I’ve ever seen. There wasn’t an iota of fakeness or affect to her emotions, and watching her process the information and subsequent feelings, while it tugged on the heartstrings, it didn’t tug too hard since you know the suffering wasn’t for naught. It was as comfortable a heartbreak-observing as I’ve ever experienced.

On episode 10 of The Bachelor: Nick and Vanessa talking about ice bath

(IMAGE: GIPHY)

I LOVED the polar-bear-plunge-then-sauna activity on Vanessa’s date and thought it was everything a Bachelor date should entail: the TV-appropriate kitsch of matching swimsuits, an activity that really pushes the comfort zones but is relevant to the current locale and culture, and above all, something that we at home would find entertaining. The conversation, too, was at the level I think it should be at this point in the season, considering an engagement is ostensibly around the corner. One could argue that Vanessa’s ILY on her second 1-on-1 was on the early side, but with this show’s tight timeline and the fact that I really do think Vanessa’s going to “win,” I appreciate that they spent this day focused on red flags and logistics. It made me take what they have more seriously, regarding them both as realists better equipped to face their impending hurdles than most. I personally didn’t see them having similar personalities as a concern, but then again I’ve always been a believer that opposites only attract for the short term. I think they SHOULD be similar, not only in opinionated-ness but also in their “core values,” as Vanessa put it. Compatibility is made up of similarities, and compatibility is a very, very good thing.

My prediction for next week’s big finale…

Going home: Raven, 25
In some alternate universe I can see Nick and Raven working out, just as in some alternate universe I could see Ben H and JoJo working out. The fact that I see Nick cutting Raven truly has nothing to do with her or them and has everything to do with Vanessa. Raven’s relationship with Nick just feels behind Vanessa’s on every level; the way they look at each other, the point they’re at and the confidence in it, and the fact that, in contrast to Vanessa, we haven’t seen Raven and Nick talk the ins and outs of their future at all. Above all, there’s simply and undeniably something stronger, and to use Nick’s word, more “intangibly” there with Vanessa than with Raven.

“Winning:” Vanessa, 29
What is there to say that I haven’t already? I’ve never seen Nick look at a lady the way he looks at Vanessa—both on television and in real life—and if she isn’t the last lady standing I will be completely floored. And I like it that way. I like that there really isn’t much competition. The less doubt there is, the more legitimacy there is to the two of them being something real and thus having the strength to last in real life.

For more from Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelor, visit her blog, alltheprettypandas.com. Then come back to FLARE.com/themorningafter every Tuesday for a fresh recap!

Tune into The Bachelor Mondays on Omni at 8:00 EST/PST—and catch up on past episodes at www.omnitv.ca/the-bachelor.

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