Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelor: Episode 8—PLUS New Video!

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

  8

After nearly three years of writing these, I think you all know by now that I love Hometown week. Every happy tear has a bit more “oomph” behind it when you know it comes from a place of genuine love for one another and not something that could very well turn out to be fabricated and, ultimately, temporary. I must say that this particular Hometowns episode did not disappoint. We got a nice, healthy balance of heart and drama, and with the remaining women’s families in the mix, each felt more authentic and thus more interesting from the viewer’s perspective.

Perhaps one of my favourite things about Hometowns is how structured the episode—and thus my recaps—can be. Small joys, folks…

On episode 8 of The Bachelor: Nick and Raven play in a swamp

(IMAGE: GIPHY)

Raven’s date was Hometown perfection in my eyes. It had it all: a side of her we haven’t seen (a sort of “bad girl” who sneaks up to grain bins and expertly drives four-wheelers), a bit of humour (her prank with her brother), some romance (I actually thought their makeout in the pond/mud/water situation to be strangely hot, and frankly, this moment had more romance than the other three Hometowns combined), and TONS of heart (her moments with her father). Watching Raven with her parents pretty much sums up one of the reasons I think we like to watch this show. We feel like we know her, and watching her eyes light up to see her parents, or her palpable relief upon hearing her father was finally cancer-free, we FELT those things with her.

On episode 8 of The Bachelor: Nick and Rachel's mom talk

(IMAGE: GIPHY)

Rachel’s Hometown was unfortunately the one disappointment for me. I really didn’t feel this date did justice the chemistry or connection Nick and Rachel share. The date seemed to revolve almost entirely around the fact that she’s black and he’s white, from the fact that she took him to a “predominantly black” church to the (humourous) assumption that Nick wouldn’t recognize the food to the fact that every conversation revolved around them being interracial. Now, I LOVE that this was discussed, just as I loved how last week Rachel casually mentioned never having brought home a white guy. I especially loved how her sister mentioned racism becoming worse as of late, not better. No one’s concerns or answers were off the mark, but to me, it was a topic that simply took up too much real estate on this date. Now, I can see this being a strategic edit since we already know Rachel becomes Bachelorette. Why dwell on their romantic chemistry when we know she doesn’t “win”? I’m also willing to admit I may not see the big deal here to the extent that I maybe should, partly because I live in a city where this truly is no big deal, and partly because ever since I was a little girl it’s been common knowledge in my family that when my parents were dating in the ’70s, they used to get stared at. Interracial relationships are perhaps more normalized for me than most. Again, don’t get me wrong, I love that the interracial aspect is being addressed, I just don’t see it as “the elephant in the room” and certainly don’t think it should be almost the ONLY thing (shown to be) addressed on this date.

Nick is a miami soccr dad

We were shown more heart from Corinne this week which was necessary considering it’s SUPER questionable that she even has a Hometown to begin with. Again, as a continuation of my thoughts from last week, my issue more so lies with the fact that she hasn’t even gotten a 1-on-1 date. (I’m fairly certain this is a first in this show’s history, and rightfully so; can you imagine these two actually getting engaged in a matter of weeks? It’s ridiculous.) Corinne did prove capable of better articulating what it was she loved about Nick but still, those things seemed to revolve more around her (him caring about her and seeing a lot more in her than other people see) and less to do with HIS unique traits that would make him a good partner for her. All in all, the money and shopping thing was over-the-top and not to be taken seriously, but nonetheless entertaining—just like Corinne as a candidate for Nick.

Related: Bachelor Alert! Five Things We Learned from Rachel’s Appearance on Ellen

I teared up watching Vanessa with her students, as did Nick. It takes a special sort of heart and strength to do what she does and while you can think about it objectively, to SEE it is really powerful. The evening part of this date was a bit overwhelming, not because of the size of Vanessa’s family but because of how quickly they plowed through conversation after conversation. I would have rather fewer conversations but more meat in each one. I confess that after this Hometown I found myself a bit concerned with what their potential future would look like; Nick lives in LA but doesn’t really have familial ties there. You could argue his career aspirations are in LA, but with Vanessa all of the above are in Montreal. Having spent my share of time in Montreal, I personally think one might have a bit of a better time assimilating if they know at least a sliver of French. Could (or should) Vanessa really be expected to uproot her life—and frankly an incredibly beautiful, meaningful life—for her relationship? In the past, many of the womens’ careers haven’t felt quite as engrained in who they are and there was a willingness—even an eagerness—to try it somewhere new or even try something new. Above all, their lives felt more mobile. This is a tough one.

On episode 8 of The Bachelor: Vanessa doesn't know where she stands with Nick

(IMAGE: GIPHY)

Once again, my frontrunners list is tripped up by the fact that we know Rachel doesn’t “win.” This is unchartered territory but, since I feel a bit weird just not referring to her at all, here’s my list of predictions based on what we know…

1. Vanessa, 29: We’ve been fed a lot of “setbacks” regarding Vanessa as of late: Nick almost seemed to go out of way to not say he loved her last week, Vanessa’s family was easily the wariest of them all, there are a lot of question marks around their hypothetical future and its logistics, and Vanessa seemed VERY (and in my opinion, too) distraught that Nick asked for other parents’ engagement blessings. Despite all that, I still just can’t quite imagine Nick with anyone else. Vanessa is uniquely what I, knowing Nick, imagine Nick wanting, from her incredible, heartwarming profession to her striking yet timeless looks, to her outspokenness and confidence. She’s the total package and that simply wouldn’t be lost on the Nick I know.

2. Raven, 25: Raven really shifted into frontrunner gear in my eyes this week. I’ve been saying for weeks that what’s been lacking for me is that chemistry with Nick, and evidently, ask and you shall receive. These two were ON FIRE during the day portion of her Hometown, and in the evening, though we didn’t see much of Raven and Nick actually together, I noted and really appreciated how appropriate and respectful he was of the importance of Raven’s family’s time.

3. Corinne, 24: Corinne and Nick did seem to have a nice enough time, but there are just too many issues to be had here. First, I’m realizing I really do feel an age difference between the two. I’m the biggest believer that age is just a number, and I really don’t think a 12-year difference is necessarily a big deal, but in this case and with these two people, it feels like a chasm. There’s the lack of clearly defining WHAT about each other they love (Nick does a better job with this but his reasoning for liking Corinne—like how she takes everyday things and turns them up a notch—is still tenuous considering this is supposed to be about life-partner material). There’s the fact that this was pretty much their first real date and it mostly involved Corinne putting on some sort of show. Where’s the raw, real, deep moments of understanding and concern? They’re not showing up on my television screen and I don’t buy that they ever existed. I’m just not drinking this Kool-Aid of a scenario no matter how insistently it’s poured down our throats.

Going home…

Rachel, 31: I have a hard time believing Nick would send Rachel home over Corinne based on the substance of the connection they’ve built, and especially after such a big deal about them being an interracial couple has been made. I just don’t think it would look good for Nick to eliminate Rachel right after that particular date—truly the only date where her being black and him being white has thoroughly been discussed—and I personally think that is something Nick would be well aware of. That said, and this is indeed the trump card, Rachel is the next Bachelorette. She’s going home at some point, and the sooner she goes home, the more it makes sense that they announced it after only Episode 7.

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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