I remember during the filming of my own episode 7 feeling I might have a nervous breakdown. I was at my wits’ end living with the other ladies, off the grid, and talking about my feelings all the time. I felt overwhelmingly alone despite being surrounded by people 24/7. During the previous week—episode 6—a producer, knowing I was contemplating leaving, implored me to stick it out. He told me that Hometowns were a entirely different experience, that not having to co-exist with other contestants anymore was a game changer. I remember thinking he was probably right. Last night’s Hometown episode felt like the most obvious evidence of what that producer told me out of any season since mine. Last week it seemed like tensions couldn’t possibly get higher. We had record-breaking rumours and tattling among the women, with poor Colton a complete mess. But this week, it’s as though the women no longer having to actually live with each other pierced a hole in a situation that was about to burst, easing up the pressure and, with it, the conflict. While a part of me still feels a looming question mark surrounding last week’s edition of She Said, She Said—and for the most part it feels as though everything was left unresolved—I can’t say I miss the drama.
You know who else doesn’t seem to miss the drama? Colton, who, in his way, shone last night. It’s not so much that I think he executed a flawless Hometown week. (Quite the contrary, but more on that below.) But rather, we got to see that Colton is his best self—in this unique situation, anyway—when he can play the role of boyfriend. Playing detective—as in getting to the bottom of Right Reasons rumours—isn’t his strong suit, but being able to give a woman his attentive, undivided attention is. He may not be the most articulate lead to grace our screens, but he is nonetheless hyper-sincere and undeniably invested in his remaining ladies, making him a great date, particularly for Hometowns. You got the sense he truly loved watching Caelynn’s home videos, that he was curious about proper dinner etiquette with Hannah G (even if he wasn’t going to adopt the hilarious ripping-a-small-bite-of-bread technique), and that he tried his darnedest to stay on a surfboard for Cassie. Hell, he passed Tayshia’s quiz about her family members’ names with flying colours—something I felt really showed his heart. Watching these dates, it’s easy to imagine Colton as a boyfriend, and a great one. He has the makings of a truly good partner, one who is a good listener, empathizer, and supporter.
That’s not to say this season’s Hometown episode was without its issues. Colton seems afflicted with the same disease Arie had this time last year, wherein the lead deems it helpful or even appropriate to tell all of his women he’s falling in love with them. (I know he didn’t tell Cassie this to her face but he basically admitted he would have told her had she expressed similar feelings towards him.) It really makes no sense to me when leads think this is OK. The short-term comfort of telling someone what they want to hear does not negate how much worse it will be in the long term, when you inevitably have to send home someone who you’ve pointlessly filled with confidence. Upon not getting a rose last night, Caelynn said she felt blindsided, and rightfully so. Not only was she given every indication that she would be sticking around until the end, she was also NOT given any sort of an explanation. I have to wonder if leads nowadays are even encouraged to tell their (multiple) contestants that they’re falling in love with them. After all, the higher up they’re built, the worse the fall. In fact, it kind of feels like contestants having the rugs completely and unexpectedly torn out from under them is the new norm. Gone are the days where leads reserved the word “love” (or any iteration of it) for the last contestant standing, and this new reality feels both like a sick form of manipulation and a dilemma for the supposed premise of the whole show, the eventual love story. Does this not take away from the actual, full-fledged “love” a Bachelor bestows his fiancée-to-be, knowing along the way he doled out the L-word as Oprah doled out cars on her talk show?
Finally, I have no issue watching the format of this show and certainly don’t have my panties in a twist watching one man court multiple women. That said, I don’t know how many more seasons I can handle watching a Bachelor, a man who we regularly see heavily making out and “falling” for multiple women, somehow claim that he’s a man of tradition who “needs” a father’s permission to propose. First, this is an antiquated custom. Giving his girlfriend’s parents a courtesy heads’ up is one thing, but requiring her father’s (and only her father’s!) go-ahead to even propose is just sexist. Second, I used the article “a” in “a father’s permission” intentionally—this is exactly how Colton himself worded it. But where’s the purported personal touch (the personal touch requiring permission in the first place) if he can’t even zero it down which specific woman’s father’s permission he needs? There is nothing less personal than asking the father of the woman he may propose to that you want “a father’s blessing.” If a man doesn’t yet know precisely to whom he’s proposing (or does know but still plans on exploring other relationships—in more ways than one—until then), he has no business gathering generic paternal blessings.
Sharleen Joynt’s Top 2 Following The Bachelor Hometowns—and Who She Thinks Is Going Home Next
(Photo: Courtesy City)
1. Cassie Randolph, 23: “The big question: Will Cassie choose Colton?”
If it wasn’t clear before that Cassie is Colton’s favourite, it certainly is now. Colton had to describe his relationships on each Hometown, and he was by far the most effusive and specific (well, at least as specific as he’s capable of) about his connection with Cassie. In general, when there have been connections described as, well, “indescribable,” they tend to be the winning kind. (Remember Arie and Lauren?) It’s obvious the big question is no longer will Colton choose Cassie, but rather, will Cassie choose Colton? And regardless the outcome, I for one love this power-equalizing twist.
(Photo: Courtesy City)
2. Tayshia Adams, 28: “She’s my winner”
Tayshia is still my winner in terms of a concrete, conversation-driven connection that is shown, versus feeling predominantly chemistry-driven. I was a big fan of her father and his no-BS outlook, especially giving Colton a (deserved) talking-to over using the word “love” with multiple girlfriends. Honestly, I don’t feel like Colton and Tayshia are missing anything, and to me, this feels like the most well-rounded and whole relationship of the bunch. I still just can’t see Colton choosing anyone over Cassie at the end of all this.
(Photo: Courtesy City)
Going home: Hannah Godwin, 23: “She has Bachelorette potential”
This was the first week where we got to see a bit more of Hannah G’s personality as opposed to solely being shown her in the context of makeouts. Unfortunately, I still feel there’s too much substance to catch up on here, in terms of what we’ve been shown her and Colton actually talking about. The biggest topic of substance has been the fact that both of their parents are divorced, but other than that, it’s been a whole lot of talking about how much they like each other, are attracted to each other, and miss each other. I still feel Hannah G has Bachelorette potential, however, and the fact that her adorable rap during the credits was shown—giving us a taste of her fun, goofy side—only further piqued my spidey sense in that regard.