Bachelor Nation

"I Would Be Happy to Be Wrong!" Sharleen Joynt on Episode 8 of The Bachelorette

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

Eliminations like last night’s are a prime example of why I work so hard to avoid spoilers. Had I known Colton would be axed this week, I may have watched last night’s episode through tears of boredom. I know I spend a lot of time (lovingly) criticizing this show for manufactured drama but MAN OH MAN, when, like last night, it’s just a series of peachy Hometown dates and a collect-them-all of perfectly on-cue ILYs, even the romantic in me yearns for something more, entertainment-wise. There wasn’t even a mildly difficult parent or protective sibling willing to make a stink. So thank God for the element of surprise; I was SO SURE Becca would be keeping Colton and sending Jason home that the shock value alone had what was otherwise a completely milquetoast episode leaving a surprisingly good taste in my mouth.

Another surprise that might’ve been much more interesting had previews not completely spoiled it: Tia pulling Becca aside to tell her she still had feelings for Colton. Speaking of manufactured, I would not be surprised if the entire group of ladies was brought in solely for Tia to drop this anvil, but I sure as hell don’t mind given the episode as a whole (snoozeville) and the fact that I shamelessly LOVE girl talk. (Becca dishing that Jason is “the best kisser ever”? I live for this stuff. Stuff like this in a natural-ish conversation with girlfriends just doesn’t translate in ITMs.) But back to Tia’s confession, I was in awe of how classily Becca handled this unwelcome information. I can see how, in Tia’s case, she probably couldn’t have predicted a) how far Colton would make it, and b) how witnessing that would affect her. But let’s be honest here: in Week 3 she gave the go-ahead, back when it would have been WAY easier on Becca’s end to cut it off with Colton out of respect for her friend. Instead, I think Tia was trying to be easygoing and accommodating, which is well-intentioned but which most definitely backfired here. I really relate to Becca’s Girl Code perspective and admire how quickly, cleanly and almost ruthlessly she cut out the mere beginnings of what could become a cancer in her friendship with Tia. As she herself said, “I don’t want to lose any friendship over a guy.”

Okay, okay, so that’s probably not the only reason. In yet another example of pure class, rather than even suggesting Tia had anything to do with it, the reason Becca gave Colton was that his father (totally reasonably) asked of her: if he’s not the one, to end it now and not later. I’ve been pretty sure all season that Colton wouldn’t end up being “The One,” but I still got the impression she was invested, very attracted and would likely want overnight QT with him. Further, with his much-hyped virginity, it seemed obvious that the show would want to riddle an entire Fantasy Suite episode with sexual innuendos and cherry-popping references. Actually, in that sense, I’m amazed they LET Becca vote Colton off the island. But I can see Becca not wanting to even bring Colton into that situation, where there could be pressure on him to “perform” (in a number of ways), especially given she knew she would be sending him home at some point. Regardless which of those was her main reason (Tia, Colton’s dad, or the will-he-or-won’t-he aspect of Fantasy Suites), they’re all strong. I give Becca major kudos for, despite her powerful attraction, not only extricating Colton from the sinking ship that was their relationship, but also doing so as gracefully and respectfully as humanly possible.

Sharleen Joynt’s Frontrunners Following the Hometown Dates:

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: “Their connection is still more convincing than any of the others”

You know what I really liked about this Hometown? It didn’t revolve around some revelatory-verging-on-forced ILY at the end. There were no ITMs of Becca hoping Garrett would say ILY, no discussion on his part about saying it. Hell, he’s the only guy who didn’t even say it at all! And their connection is still more convincing than any of the others! It goes to show that words can be just that: words. The thing that struck me about this date was how downright EXCITED Becca was the whole time. She is consistently super giddy around Garrett and just seems to vibrate at a different level with him. Oh, also, Becca brought up once again how Garrett reminds her of her father in his salt-of-the-earthness. And once again I will mention how difficult it will be for any man to compete with this.

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

(Photograph: Courtesy City)

2. Blake Horstmann, 28: “I’m less and less convinced of long-term potential here”

TONS of new information on this Hometown. First, I didn’t know Blake’s mother actually worked at his high school. (Though this doesn’t make the affair she had with his English teacher acceptable per se, it does make it marginally easier to wrap my head around.) And the school shooting is horrific; how crazy that he, his mother and his sister were ALL IN THE SCHOOL when it happened. Then, there was the surprise concert with Betty Who, an artist I’d never heard of but turns out is Becca’s favourite singer?? (The skeptic in me would like to know if it was actually Blake’s idea to orchestrate this.) In the evening we learned that Blake endured a major heartbreak a few years prior and thought he would never find love again (something which to me reads as him not only being passionate, but also possibly a bit dramatic). Blake and Becca’s relationship continues to barrel forward with no hiccups but I’m finding myself less and less convinced of long-term potential here. Though there are tons of Words of Affirmation bouncing back and forth, their chemistry just doesn’t woo me the way the other two guys’ do. That said, in an ITM, Becca confessed that she’s in love with him (exact words: “Blake’s told me he’s in love with me. The feelings are reciprocated, I just haven’t told him.”) which is kind of a big deal…? Maybe not so
much anymore on this show? Eh, Blake’s a huge frontrunner. We’ll just leave it at that for now.

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

(Photograph: Courtesy City)

3. Jason Tartick, 29: “Maybe I’m underestimating our dark horse of the season”

I like Jason and I love Jason and Becca together. There’s a real naturalness to their chemistry that continues to jump out of the screen. When they kiss I find myself ACTUALLY WATCHING in a voyeur-esque, borderline creepy way instead of noticing the music changes or getting distracted by my phone. But, as Jason himself said, their relationship does feel like it’s coming from behind. It has a lot of catching up to do to compete with either Garrett’s or Blake’s, both of whom have felt like the obvious Final Two since Night One. Further, I feel like Becca has to warm to Jason when she spends time with him; it’s like she has to be reminded of what they share and she doesn’t run into it already beaming. Maybe I’m reading into things and I’m underestimating our Dark Horse of the season. I would be happy to be wrong!

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