“It’s Clearly a Race Between These Two Men:” Sharleen Joynt on Episode 5 of The Bachelorette

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

Sharleen Joynt in a black and white gingham dress holding a rose

(Photograph: Roberto Caruso)

I was secretly wondering when (it wasn’t a matter of “if”) the glimmer of righteousness we saw in Chris on Night One would re-rear its ugly head. Remember when he, as the real-life friend of an (alleged) ex of Chase’s, made it his business to out Chase on the mere prospect of #wrongreason motives? (Despite the fact that he’d never met the guy?) While the gist was to heroically protect Becca from potential phonies, Chris literally (like, #literally) didn’t know Becca yet, which in my books speaks more to a general holier-than-thou-ness than the specific defense of a woman he cares for. (And honestly, it’s not like Becca’s some damsel in distress anyway; I’m convinced not one of these men is more shrewd than she is.) In other words, based on Night One, what I think Chris saw as do-goodery, I saw as getting involved in business that wasn’t his.

Nonetheless, I went from the above Night One first impression to legitimately liking the guy. Personality-wise he’s got great traits: he’s noble, sincere, sensitive. I get the feeling Chris takes the things and people he cares about—including himself—very seriously. But I do think if he tapped into truly being vulnerable—an ability which, contrary to popular belief among proud types, stems from confidence, not weakness—he’d be way more likeable for it. It says something that what won us all over on his 1-on-1 was his vulnerability; the fact that he wrote nice song lyrics would’ve meant zilch if there were no insecurities to overcome in getting there.

I actually think what Chris sought last night was perfectly valid. His saga tied nicely into what I wrote about last week (TOTALLY meant to do that), about the inequality of the relationship between contestant and lead. From a real-life perspective, Chris was well within his right to seek and expect certain action from Becca to make him feel special. Last night he said, “Becca needs to win me over. She needs to show me something that says ‘Chris I want you here,’ that she sees potential in me.” First, this is more than fair. For all the talk about partnership and “50/50,” this lines up perfectly. Second, I think if the genders were reversed, we’d be applauding the female contestant for being a strong, self-assured woman who knows her worth.

Unfortunately, this is where the me-agreeing-with-Chris-thing comes to a screeching halt. While his argument for wanting to feel singled out and special makes sense, his execution was a disaster. At every turn, Chris would make reasonable statements but then insist on following them up with various versions of, “… OR ELSE I’M LEAVING.” Nooooo, Chris! Not only is that petulant and childish, it negates everything you’ve claimed about wanting to stay. You really like Becca and can honestly see a future with her? Then not getting your way ONCE shouldn’t affect that. Chris’s pride was so obviously (and easily!) wounded, he recoiled like a 5th grader whose Valentine’s Day gesture wasn’t reciprocated. When he didn’t get what he expected and felt he deserved, he felt hurt and embarrassed (which already is too strong a reaction, given the social experiment and communal girlfriend circumstances). That embarrassment in what I suspect was his knee-jerk reaction quickly turned into anger, which turned into him wanting to punish Becca for causing these feelings, which turned into threats to leave.

This is where my other issue with Chris comes in: despite the ample opportunity to pinpoint and verbalize why he couldn’t lose Becca and had to stay, he consistently made it about what Becca would be missing out on if he left. On the night of Group Date he said, “There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m great for Becca,” and, “If I went home tonight Becca would definitely regret it. She would miss out on an amazing best friend and future partner.” At the Rose Ceremony he said, “She would be losing such an amazing guy with so much potential, that is truly dedicated to being not only her man but a best friend and amazing husband.” Believe it or not, despite the unflattering edit he got this week, it was these statements—words we saw come out of his mouth—that soured my taste for Chris. It’s hard to buy his sincere interest in Becca when his words about her (and his need to stay to pursue her) feel so generalized, à la “I really like her.” Meanwhile, he’s proved he can be specific, but only when emphasizing how great a partner he would be and what she would be missing out on if he were to leave. Those words wouldn’t sound foreign coming out of narcissist Jordan’s mouth, but at least Jordan is entertaining about it.

Finally, it’s impossible (for me, anyway!) to honestly talk about Chris spiraling out of control without pointing out the fact that there IS rhyme and reason to who speaks with Becca and when, and much of it is controlled in the wings. I’ve mentioned before that almost never does a contestant really march up to the lead mid-conversation with someone else and interrupt. You get permission to interrupt, and are usually given the green light when it’s time. Hell, in my experience, I was only ever escorted to the area where said interruption would occur. When you’re not interrupting for time, it’s when the lead comes to you. Therefore, given how there really weren’t SO many men on this Group Date (there were nine men total, less than several other Group Dates this season), it’s conspicuous to me that Chris, an obvious ticking time bomb, just so happened to be the one guy there wasn’t time for. Of course, he brought it on himself—he was far too relaxed about seeking Becca out and Blake’s time did go on for awhile—but a part of me does wonder if time could have been made for him but was intentionally not.

Sharleen Joynt’s Top 4 After The Bachelorette: Episode 5

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

(Photograph: Courtesy City)

1. Garrett, 29: “Still firmly at the top of my list”

Despite not being shown MANY interactions between Becca and her men (we never even saw her chat with Venmo John!), we never, EVER miss the 1-on-1 time between her and Garrett. Garrett had a good showing this week (I like how he dealt with Chris in a non-confrontational but direct and honest way) and Becca’s words about him last week are still echoing in my ears. Garrett is still firmly at the top of my list.

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

(Photograph: Courtesy City)

2. Blake, 28: “He took quite the leap forward this week”

Blake is the only other man in the bunch whose time with Becca is always shown. He took quite the leap forward this week, telling Becca he was falling for her and receiving the coveted Group Date Rose. Note how Garrett’s face was shown when Blake received that rose, and how when Garrett gets similar validation, Blake’s face is shown. To me, it’s clearly a race between these two men and these two men only, and it has been this way since Night One. The only thing that has Garrett beating Blake in my books is the fact that Becca has compared Garrett to her father and stated that her father would have loved him. Those are tough conditions for Blake to overcome.

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, 26: “Becca seems very into Colton”

Colton got this season’s requisite hot-tub-in-the-middle-of-nowhere date and, surprising nobody, got that 1-on-1 Date Rose. I’m glad Colton sat back a bit this week in terms of confrontation because he is FAR more entertaining as a fly on the wall during conflict that doesn’t involve him. (All those Man Chats last night involving Colton shifting uncomfortably in between Jordan and David had me in stitches!) More importantly, Becca seems very into Colton (she said “the chemistry with Colton is good” and that “seeing him smile makes my heart happy”) but I still see his connection with her as a distant third to both Garrett’s and Blake’s.

A photo of Bachelorette season 14 contestant Wills in a navy suit jacket and white shirt

(Photo: Courtesy City)

4. Wills, 29: “He really laid down the law (and was even more attractive for it)

Alas, I had to cut Jason from this list when he was hardly shown (not even kissing!) in this episode. Meanwhile, Wills proved that his 1-on-1 Date leap wasn’t a flash in the pan. A big indicator for me that Becca is very into Wills was when, while Chris was (cringingly) trying to keep eating into Wills’s time with Becca, she, who is fully in power and could easily have told Wills to just come back later, simply blinked at Chris as if to say, “I would rather hang with Wills than you.” (I too would rather hang with Wills.) For what it’s worth, I was thrilled Wills put his foot down and solidly defended his ground regarding this. It was a bit of a surprise as Wills typically comes off like a quiet observer but, in his gentle, non-aggressive way, he really laid down the law (and was even more attractive for it).

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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