Sharleen Joynt on Episode 4 of The Bachelorette

Sharleen Joynt—FLARE columnist and former Bachelor contestant—shares her insider POV on the fourth episode of Becca Kufrin’s season

A photo of Bachelorette columnist Sharleen Joynt holding a rose in a gingham dress-inline

(Photograph: Roberto Caruso)

What Jean Blanc did to Becca last night was not only excruciating to watch, it was a downright shitty thing to do to her of all people. A woman whose Bachelorette crowning and entire television storyline has revolved around being deceived by the man she loved? And you tell her you’re “falling in love” with her just because it’s what you think she wants to hear?? And then, instead of exiting quietly, you ADMIT that to her, fuelling her insecurity about the other guys’ sincerity??? Dude. That is some terrible judgment and major short-sightedness.

What’s incredible is that every step of the way, Jean thought he was being savvy, like he could play his appearance on this show like a game of chess. At the start of the episode, he received a Rose Ceremony rose and, while happy to have it, he bemoaned it being the last rose of the night. Now, not only does that solidify my long-held stance that there is rhyme and reason to that rose order, it also was the beginning of him analyzing and breaking apart his ranking in what I’m pretty sure he saw as a race. He referred to Becca as “his woman” (to John, who was thankfully above making a stink out of that) after having spent maybe a total of half an hour (maybe 40 minutes, if I’m generous) collectively with her. In an ITM he declared, “You’re only as good as your last rose,” yet failed to mention at any point what it is about Becca that had him interested in her, much less “falling in love” with her.

As terrible as what he did was, I found myself fascinated by this series of unfortunate decisions on his part. It occurred to me that it is remarkable that we’ve never seen a misstep like this before. Let’s be honest (or as honest as Jean Blanc was dishonest): It is sadly impossible that there aren’t a few, if not several Jean Blancs in any given Bachelor/ette cast. The odds of every contestant who’s ever claimed to be “falling” (or “on track” to falling, or having full-blown “fallen in love”—I’ve documented my beef with these arbitrary terms) having been 100% sincere is slim. I’m thinking maybe three-quarters of them, at best. And I’m accounting for the Bachelor bubble, in which contestants often naturally develop a starry-eyed infatuation with their lead.

An inherent problem with this show is that you can’t put a girl—no matter how hot and dynamic and compelling—in a room with 25 men and expect all 25 of them to want to spend the rest of their lives with her. There are so many factors at play: compatibility, timing, the guys’ genuine readiness to settle down, just to name a view. And that’s only inherent problem number one!

Number two is something I’ve been harping about for years, dating way back to when I first started recapping. It involved watching Nick on Andi’s season and observing how he, a man who genuinely felt he was in the right and hadn’t done anything wrong, was at the mercy of his communal girlfriend. She said to him, “All I can do is go on your word. When you say you’re gonna do better, I guess I gotta wait for you to do better.” Think about it: that sentence wouldn’t sound out of place in a pre-breakup ultimatum conversation where the guy had a terrible vice or history of bad behaviour. But this wasn’t a couple trying to reconcile when the man wouldn’t quit drinking or cheating; it was merely a new couple’s disagreement, a matter of subjectivity, between two “equal” partners. It wasn’t until Nick finally gave in, telling Andi she was right and he was wrong, that they were able to move forward in their relationship. This little exchange really sums up the issue, which is that Nick (and every contestant for that matter) is doing all the proving, all the conceding, all the submitting, all the time. The structure of this show, with one person holding all the power and everyone else being at her (or his) mercy, leaves such a power imbalance that it’s impossible for the contestants to be either completely themselves or completely autonomous.

Finally, inherent problem number three is the very factor that allows this show to continue to cast relatively desirable and high-calibre (I know this is debatable but you get my drift) candidates. With this show’s consistent and (somehow) ever-expanding relevance and notoriety, appearing on this show now comes with real-life perks—far beyond 15 minutes of fame—that even a couple of years ago none of us could have imagined. It only makes sense that most, if not all of those high-calibre candidates are there for those perks first, and AT BEST, “finding love” a distant second. In other words, the factors that give the casting department the pick of the contestant litter are the very factors that not only enable, but encourage #wrongreasons motives.

I’m not saying anything can be done about any of these issues. These are and forever will be ingrained in this show. But as awful as what Jean did was, it shone a light directly on them, and for the critical viewer watching a social experiment, it was good food for thought.

Sharleen Joynt’s Top 4 following The Bachelorette: Episode 4

Bachelorette season 14 episode 2: A photo of contestant Garrett in a Blue suit jacket and white shirt

(Photograph: Courtesy City)

1. Garrett Yrigoyen, 29: “He’s officially at the front of this pack”

As suspected, Garrett’s right-on-schedule 1-on-1 date bumped him into first place. The things Becca had to say about Garrett were MAJOR:

– “I feel like I can be myself [with him].”
– “I feel so secure with Garrett, I trust him so completely.”
– “He gets me.”
– “I just feel like I could see him at the end of this.”

My only beef with this date was that, given what a frontrunner he is, it felt like the ins and outs of Garrett’s previous marriage were pretty glossed over. Also, considering how specific Garrett has been about what he’s liked about Becca in the past (he’s praised her wit and her quirks, for example), his words this week felt pretty generic comparatively. But I’m splitting hairs. Garrett is officially at the front of this pack.

A photo of Bachelorette season 14 contestant Blake in a maroon short-sleeved shirt and grey pants

2. Blake Horstmann, 28: “A blissfully drama-free frontrunner”

Not much development on the Blake front—except that we learned he likes boy names for girls and wants 3-5 (!) kids—but we all know he’s going nowhere. Blake continues to be a blissfully drama-free frontrunner and Becca’s body language when she’s alone with him speaks for itself.

Bachelorette season 14 episode 2: A photo of contestant Colton in a black leather jacket and light pink t-shirt

(Photograph: Courtesy City)

3. Colton Underwood, 26: “There wasn’t a ton of development”

As with Blake, there wasn’t a ton of development between Colton and Becca. In fact, this week we saw far more of Colton’s relationship with Jordan than with Becca. Regardless, we did see a bit of Group Date 1-on-1 time shown (including a kiss), as well as previews of what looks like a Colton 1-on-1 date.

A photo of Bachelorette season 14 contestant Jason Tartick in a grey stio and qhite shirt

(Photograph: Courtesy City)

4. Jason Tartick, 29: “The better kisser won out”

I was torn between putting Wills or Jason on this list, but the better kisser won out. Look: I do think Wills and Becca share something sincere and very sweet, but you didn’t hear her cooing about the pace of his kiss. And it’s not like being a good kisser is all Jason has to offer; they share a very easy, effortless rapport (I would actually venture that it’s more natural-seeming to me than Becca’s is with Wills) and I completely buy that Jason is as into Becca as he seems—and says—he is. There’s no way Jason isn’t getting a 1-on-1 of his own.

Want to attend the Men Tell All taping for Becca’s season? Enter this awesome contest from our friends at City.

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