There often comes a point in each season where I am either officially won over by the lead or am left scratching my head. Sometimes they express themselves in ways I can’t relate to, or value traits in their contestants (and thus make choices) I can’t wrap my mind around. Other times, they behave so textbook-perfectly that they deserve praise, and that’s exactly what’s about to happen with Chris right now.
In my premiere recap my major concern with Chris was how much personality he had. I worried about his charisma and pizzaz, whether or not he was entertaining and funny. Okay, so I’m still not entirely sure I find him to be any of those things, but I maintain that he receives humour very well (I love how easily he laughs) and I suspect he clams up for the camera. (I doubt that they would leave examples of this on the editing room floor; because the lead is usually the season’s hero, if they do or say something flattering or funny, we tend to see it.) We’ve gotten glimpses of his personality, and the fact that all the women seem truly smitten says a lot, but so far that’s not what this love fest is about.
What I’m loving about Chris as the lead is how introspective and thoughtful he is. This week, he said a close second to finding his mate on this show would be to “find out who I really am.” (Not to continuously harp on Canadianisms, but can you imagine an American former pro baseball player making that one of the focal points of his turn as Bachelor?! Talk about unlikely.) You don’t get the sense that any choices he makes are just to enhance his image or to earn his season good ratings. His assessment of Brittany’s Group Date dance (that it was uncomfortable for him) was painfully honest, when it would’ve been simpler (and more drama-inducing) to have just said he found it attractive. His pause over Lyndsey’s age shows that he is taking this very seriously and doesn’t want to date a tall blonde a decade younger than him just because he can. His concern for Meghan throughout the entire season, right up until he let her go this week, felt really genuine, and not because caring for her made him look good. He constantly bemoans his struggle to be vulnerable and to open up, and seems actually angry with himself for moving two-steps-forward-one-step-back. He is reflective and self-critical, yet never seems to come off as having low self-esteem (not an easy combination). And most importantly, what he notices and values in the women goes far beyond how hot they are and how good their chemistry is. He’s a very compelling Bachelor.
To hear my thoughts on Brittany’s unexpected exit, please watch The Morning After (above). I felt what I had to say could be better expressed in video! As for the Top 4, even though our “Celebrity” Fantasy Draft picks are locked in, I can do whatever I want in this recap:) My updated picks based on this episode are as follows…
1. Mikaela, 27: I’ve gotta say, it was soooo satisfying to finally get this long-awaited 1-on-1 and for it to go as well as it did. There’s such a natural ease to these two as a couple that I find very convincing and that seems to transcend the TV show factor. A smattering of quotes Chris said about Mikaela this week: “Every moment, every day that I spend with her is just perfect,” “I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way before,” as well as saying that when he closed his eyes and pictured walking hand-in-hand with a woman on Queen Street it was her. To her face he said, “I think today’s one of the best days of my life,” and later at the Rose Ceremony cocktail party, “I’m very serious about you.” My money remains on Mikaela. And as I said last week, if he doesn’t pick Mikaela, the woman he does pick (presumably Lyndsey) would have reason to not be thrilled hearing him say these things about someone else.
2. Lyndsey, 23: The chemistry between Lyndsey and Chris is undeniable. That “love potion” makeout sesh was downright epic, and their conversations feel effortless yet substantial. (I love how Lyndsey’s takeaway from chatting with him was “I learned Chris is just as freaked out as I am.”) Lyndsey really laid it all out there this week, telling Chris that her heart is hers if he wants it, and that if she were to go home at this point it’d officially feel like a break up. I love that she never speaks as though “winning” is in the bag; she manages to come across as confident but not arrogant. I can still see Lyndsey winning, and as I said last week, it’ll either be her or Mikaela at the end of all this, period.
3. Kait, 29: Notice how this week Kait was suddenly not painted a villain anymore? I was suspicious of last week’s edit based on how little evidence there was, and this week we saw Kait and Meghan (seemingly, anyway) getting along just fine. I could be wrong, but I suspect last week’s friction was the result of the annoyance of living together and nothing more. We saw a different side of Kait this week, the side that is decidedly more feminine and seductive. Needless to say, Chris’ interest was piqued. Kait still comes across as something of an enigma and in some ways it feels like we’ve hardly scratched the surface of who she is. I still don’t see her lasting until the end, but she received this week’s Group Date rose and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
4. Stacy, 25: This is the first week where I had to bump Catie from the Top 4. Unfortunately for my early first pick, her time with Chris is coming off more and more one-sided, with Catie holding onto him, going in to kiss him, sort of draping herself on him, gazing longingly at him. She repeatedly says she thinks she’ll end up with Chris, but I’m not getting a ton of reciprocation from him (and this is on top of Chris continuing to call her “intense”). Meanwhile, Stacy took a substantial step forward this week. In their Rose Ceremony cocktail party 1-on-1 time, where they discussed Chris being guarded, it became apparent that the two are closer than we’ve been shown or led to believe. They also shared their second kiss (also based on what we’ve been shown and led to believe). Of course, it would take some upset-level come-from-behind action for her to “win,” but this is the first week since before the Premiere where I have Stacy in a Top 4 spot.
Watch The Bachelor Canada Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. EST on W Network. Then, head on over to FLARE.com/themorningafter for Sharleen Joynt’s always on-point recaps.