In Week 7, with Hometowns “around the corner” (as they say), if you haven’t already had a 1-on-1 date, things aren’t looking good for you. Even Catherine from Sean’s season, the paragon of Bachelor dark horses, had her date in Week 6. I understand that Adam and Matt probably had some degree of attraction or affection towards Rachel, but it’s hard to imagine their keenness would be as strong if it weren’t for the competition- (thus ego-) and TV show-factors. The way they each asked Rachel some version of, “But can you still see yourself with me?” on that 3-on-1 was painful. I’ve said this before when the gender roles were reversed and I’ll say it again now: The second Rachel gave a second 1-on-1 to Bryan instead of a first 1-on-1 to either Matt or Adam, when she’d ostensibly be meeting their parents a week later, they should have walked (or at least checked out emotionally). Rachel is wonderfully—almost brutally—transparent (in Andy’s words while watching: “She’s not a great bullshitter”) and she gave them the information they needed to know in that moment.
Therefore, I can’t help but believe that Adam’s inflated sense of confidence was at least somewhat enabled by his producer. Of course this is done season after season, but think back to other examples of overconfidence from this season alone. Will, heading into his fateful 1-on-1, declared with a huge smile, “I feel confident.” Or Josiah, heading into the the Rose Ceremony where he’d go home, “My confidence is at an all-time high. I. Feel. Good.” In Adam’s case this week, “I’m excited to take her home next week. It’s a done deal.” What better television is there than watching someone have the rug pulled out from under them?
Personally, I don’t remember ever feeling very confident in that environment, despite (in retrospect) having decent reason to be. I can remember only one Rose Ceremony where I didn’t already have a rose where I felt I’d be truly surprised to go home. I have to wonder if confidence is intentionally equalized by producers; let the clear frontrunners roll with their shadows of doubt, but boost morale in those who are obviously at the back of the pack. I don’t actually know the answer to this, I’m just hypothesizing. But in terms of keeping all the contestants emotionally invested and on their toes, it doesn’t not make sense.
All this said, despite the fact that giving Bryan his second 1-on-1 was clearly a lightning rod designed for instantaneous house drama, I was all about it. Sure, it’s not fair, but with the premise of this show being what it is, it makes complete sense. I like that Rachel wasn’t fair and was—to use her word—”selfish.” Once again this season, her actions didn’t insult my intelligence as a viewer.
My predictions for Hometowns are as follows…
1. Bryan, 37: At this point it’s almost too obvious that she picks Bryan. I’m sure we’ll be taken on some doubt-inducing journey, but these two are just light years ahead of the others, including Peter. I liked how their conversations extended into deeper territory this week, like how their personalities complement each other and the pitfalls they each had in past relationships. I also love how their conversations are a two-way street. It’s not just her asking questions and him answering; he seems every bit as invested and curious about her as she is about him.
2. Peter, 31: I looooved Peter’s honesty this week. It takes confidence to admit a lack of confidence, particularly to the point of contemplating bailing altogether, and that honesty just made him more credible all around. I definitely don’t see Peter proposing unless he really means it. The one thing I didn’t quite get was his ex story. The fact that he was so teary-eyed made me wonder if something terrible ended up happening to the woman. But nope, they were just residual tears, and not from being heartbroken, but from hurting someone else several years ago. That had Andy and I raising our eyebrows, and in fact, we rewound twice to see if we missed something. Turns out we didn’t, and in the end I still had a lot of questions. What was missing from that relationship? Why couldn’t he give her his all?
3. Eric, 29: Okay, so it’s definitely a concern that Eric was the one 1-on-1er to be lumped with the two non-1-on-1ers. As Peter put it during a Man Chat, Eric has the most reason to be concerned; what did Bryan, Dean, and Peter do or have that he didn’t? But what has Eric ahead of Dean on this list is the fact that he excels at talking about his feelings, her feelings, all the feelings, which Dean evidently struggles with. And in Hometowns, those feelings and discussions about them are important. I love the understanding and care between these two and can see a legit long-term friendship here.
Going home next week…
4. Dean, 26: Sweet Dean. I love watching him on my television. I love his ever-so-human deflection with humour and laughter, and how considerate he is; instead of rejoicing at getting the 1-on-1, he thoughtfully and immediately addressed Matt and Adam. He is also, from what I can tell, a damn good kisser. But I’m sorry to say I’m seeing it less and less between him and Rachel as a couple. When Rachel zeroed in on his inability to talk about his emotions, he just seemed really, really—for a lack of a better word—young. I get that his family life is not what he wishes it were and had been, and his insecurity about that is totally understandable. But they just don’t seem in the same place in terms of readiness for true partnership and marriage.