Is there anything in this world more irritating than a peer—not in any way a superior—talking down to you? It has to be near the very top of my list of peeves (on par with overfamiliarity and unreliability, in case you were wondering). First, it’s not like Lee can really know Eric all that well. We’re at the third Rose Ceremony, capping off the second week. “Weeks” in Bachelor world are four days long (one day for each date followed by the Rose Ceremony day; weeks are longer later on when there’s travel involved), so we’re looking at eight days where Lee and Eric (and Iggy) have been living under the same roof with two- to three-dozen other men. I have a hard time believing Lee is in a position to know (much less express) what Eric’s deep personality flaws are and what arenas he should work on. You know, for “growth.”
I get that Lee isn’t actually interested in helping Eric. He obviously relishes getting under Eric’s skin (I would say Eric’s biggest mistake is allowing others to be able to do this), but that’s why the phony “You are a great, capable individual” and “I love you”s are so offensive. I was gritting my teeth watching him tell Eric—who, in this situation is his equal in every way—how much “potential” he has. Or when Eric said Lee’s apology didn’t seem genuine (because it wasn’t), Lee asked, “Are you really that intuitive?” And then, as though Eric were a 3rd grader, “And Iggy got on you last night about what?” Dude, if you’re going to be a manipulative instigator, at least own that and don’t pretend you’re in it for anyone else’s best interests. All I could think whenever Lee spoke to Eric was what a horrible person Lee would be to date and get into inevitable conflict with. He’s got truly bad intentions (to get a rise out of his target), but they’re poorly shrouded in disingenuous “I love you”s and wanting to “help.” It’s just ironic since Lee’s supposed MO was that Eric would be a poor match for Rachel.
As for the things Eric said to Anthony (before Iggy, who knew Rachel far less well than Anthony at that point, righteously inserted himself), those were the words of a young man obviously terrified of showing emotional vulnerability without any validation first. And casting doubt on how emotionally available Rachel was or how seriously she was taking things was, in my eyes, him preemptively playing down his interest. That way, if and when that interest wasn’t reciprocated or he was sent home, he could chalk it up to “Well, I didn’t really care anyway,” or “I never stood a chance since she’s not even taking this seriously.” Sure, it’s a cop-out, but if he weren’t legitimately interested in Rachel, he’d just go along for the ride and not analyze her reciprocity or intent. Of course this bet-hedging isn’t the way to approach a healthy relationship (or any life risk, for that matter), but it’s harmless protection of his ego and not anyone else’s business.
I hadn’t intended for this recap to be entirely about Lee and Eric (I had wanted to mention how gloriously Rachel handled DeMario‘s return!) but I was left reeling over the way Lee spoke to Eric. It felt really malicious and like it went beyond their relationship, especially if you consider how the initial conflict (with Iggy) didn’t even involve Lee. Unfortunately it appears we will be seeing more of this saga.
My frontrunners are…
1. Peter, 31: Not so many developments with Peter this week but that’s to be expected. Rachel was a “smitten kitten” over Peter after their 1-on-1 so it’s safe to say he’s still sitting pretty. That said, I was not impressed by him saying in the Ellen Group Date “Never Have I Ever” game that he’d never even thought about having sex with Rachel. Some might think that’s a gentlemanly response, but seeing as how they had an entire day together, plus a fireworks makeout sesh, I just think he’s either lying or isn’t sexually attracted to Rachel. His answer gave me pause.
2. Bryan, 37: There’s a genuine concern for Rachel that comes across in Bryan’s interactions that I love. When she was hugging the men farewell at the second Rose Ceremony, while the other men were talking amongst themselves and saying their goodbyes, Bryan was quietly watching Rachel. The massage was a great move and was well-timed to address her state of stress. He was funny on the Group Date and a good combination of outgoing but not a ham. I like Bryan a lot and am not-so-patiently awaiting his 1-on-1.
3. Dean, 26: I really buy the chemistry between Rachel and Dean, and the fact that two of Rachel’s girlfriends also pegged him as a favorite after spending time with him is huge. Again, not a whole lot of development here but I am confident Dean will be getting a 1-on-1 of his own.
4. Alex, 28: I was torn between a few guys for this slot. Anthony got the 1-on-1 date but, though he seems really sweet, the date felt skimmed over. I had to bump Kenny from Top 4 because his interactions shown with Rachel this week didn’t show enough substance (not that I think there was no substance, but it’s that we didn’t see that substance… I did enjoy the Chippendale fun factor, though). Alex really shone on the Ellen Group Date and just comes off so affable and goofy (yet not insincere at all), and he joined the kiss club this week. He got the coveted Group Date rose so it’s safe to say he’s officially on Rachel’s radar.