I’m sending this one out from my hotel room in gorgeous but frustratingly wet Vancouver. In case you missed it, I was on last night’s Bachelorette Canada After Show with the dream team of Brooks, Brad Smith and superfan Lianna. You can watch it here!
As I watch each episode I take notes on my computer, with titles like DANCE GROUP DATE or BENOIT 1-ON-1 to keep things organized. It says a lot that the MIKE HOMETOWN section of this week’s notes contained about 10 percent (or less) of my total episode notes (the vast majority fell under KEVIN W HOMETOWN; more on that in a bit). There was just very little to say. The relationship didn’t seem to develop at all, except that we learned Mike’s father isn’t nearly the tightass Mike seems to think he is and that Mike himself is terrible at making a girl feel special. (He sort of redeemed himself before the Rose Ceremony, but even that wasn’t quite the effusive profession it needed to be.) The only thing that really stuck out to me was Jasmine saying, “I know that if he allowed himself to open up I think that he would be the person that I would end up with.” Obviously this statement is contained within the realm of “coulda, woulda, shoulda,” but still, those are pretty powerful words. Though for years (I can’t believe I’ve been writing these for years!) I’ve been saying the lead picks who he/she is going to pick and that they often know who it is pretty early on, for some reason I feel like Mike and Jasmine could have been a totally happy under other circumstances. I’m not chalking Mike’s elimination solely up to “too little, too late” but I do feel like there was something under-developed about the two of them. It’s as though they dated and got to know each other at a “real world” pace and, due to the time constraints of this process and the fact that Mike is evidently a bit stunted in the feelings department, they never actually got to the part where the relationship could blossom. I don’t know… I’ve clearly had a soft spot for this couple and though this week’s Rose Ceremony didn’t surprise me, I’m still mourning Jike (Masmine?) a bit.
Onto the bulk of those notes, WOW I had a hard time watching Kevin W’s Hometown. Don’t get me wrong, I am still pretty certain Kevin W is this season’s “winner,” but his mother, Jill, made pretty damn sure to make that Hometown as excruciating as possible. (Was this the case for anyone else?) She just had so many points of view that I disagreed with.
I must stress that, as a former contestant, perhaps I’m more sensitive to this than I should be, but I take issue with Jill’s all-too-typical yet misguided perspective that because Jasmine is beautiful she shouldn’t need to take “this route” to find love. Much like online dating, this show has been around long enough that the stigma associated with it (going on it or starring on it) should be gone by now. Sure the premise is to “find love”, but there are a million and one other reasons and perks to this opportunity, including but not limited to an incredibly unique once-in-a-lifetime experience, meeting new people, traveling, 15 minutes of fame (and now Instagram fame, which it’s no secret plenty of US Bachelor folk now live on), learning a shit ton about yourself, and yes, possibly a lifetime of happiness with a person you most likely wouldn’t have otherwise met. I would wager that if offered Jasmine’s position, at least nine out of 10 single women would do it. It’s because Jasmine is beautiful (and a lovely person, to say the least) that she has the chance at “this route,” not that “this route” is something inflicted upon her despite her beauty. I know I critique and poke fun at this franchise constantly, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with the people who go on it (believe me, they’re not somehow undateable), nor with wanting to go on it. What bothered me so much about Jill’s bombardment of borderline accusations was that she forced Jasmine to be defensive at every turn and then used that against her, calling her a chatterbox and—incredibly—a bad listener.
Now, of course I get that Jill is Kevin’s mother and it is her prerogative to be protective of her son, but it felt an awful lot like she was making it all about herself: “I’ve been a mom for a long time. I hurt when you hurt… When you cry, I cry.” My favourite: “A woman is going to take my place and I want it to be the right woman for Kevin.” This sentence really says it all. As if the role Jasmine would play in his life would in any way intersect or override what he has with his mom. (For the record, Andy’s father passed away in 2007; he talks to his mother every day and gets dinner with her once a week, a cherished tradition I have in no way impeded. He calls us the two most important women in his life; why would it be one or the other?) This is such a strange mindset and really reveals why Jill was so happy to antagonize Jasmine (and I suspect most women Kevin might have brought around). Jill sums up Kevin’s father’s and brother’s approval of Jasmine to her being “a pretty little blonde”, an incredibly flippant assessment, particularly since if Jill herself had listened (as she seems to believe Jasmine is incapable of) to what Jasmine had to say, she’d realize there’s more to Jasmine than that. (Don’t even get me started on how she insinuated Jasmine couldn’t comprehend Kevin’s hard work days because the extent of Jasmine’s hardship would be a client unhappy with their hair.) This isn’t about Jasmine or even the show; this is about Jill being one of those classic “nobody’s good enough for my son” mothers. Okay, rant over!
My prediction for the finale?
Jasmine will pick…
Kevin W, 32: Upon our introduction to Jill, I was shocked that Kevin W seemed like such a mama’s boy (he hides it well). But upon watching his chat with his mom, I think he’s actually the one who keeps her under control. Notice how she had so many (critical) things to say about, well, everything, but the minute Kevin sat her down and set her straight on his feelings, she conceded (in her way). She’s clearly putty for her son.
As for Kevin and Jasmine, their time together on this date cemented for me that he’ll be the one at the end. First, I really liked Kevin’s analysis of his weaknesses. This alone should dispel the “meathead” impression some people have of him. He’s remarkably introspective for a person who could be dismissed as something of a jock.
Further, the way Kevin expresses how he feels… there’s a sexiness there. Versus Mikhel’s brutally shy confession or Mike’s reticence, it was really refreshing to just have Kevin say, “I have no doubt in my mind that we’re supposed to be together and we’re supposed to take care of each other.” It takes a ton of gumption and (good) confidence to say that, especially in Kevin’s case when there are still so many unknowns. There’s a simplicity to the way Kevin expresses his feelings that somehow gives what he’s saying more gravity. There’s no hemming or hawing, just frankness: “I am in love with her, so I told her that today. I risk a huge heartbreak and huge disappointment but the reward is so great that if I win it at the end, she’s the reward, so the risk is worth the reward.”
These two just seem so solid to me, like it’s already a partnership. They seem to comfort each other (not just her comforting him), evidenced by Jasmine referring to him as her “rock” throughout the process. And as I said last week, unlike how I see her and Mikhel, they seem to be on the exact same level hierarchy-wise. Jasmine is in no more powerful a position than he is, which is both hard to achieve in this setting and healthy.
Jasmine will send home (um, if he sticks around long enough)…
Mikhel, 28: I’m not going to dwell on Mikhel’s 11th hour drama about not wanting to wait around to get heartbroken. That in and of itself showed a lack of confidence on his part in his relationship with Jasmine and only makes me doubt them ending up together even more. I’m 99 percent sure a producer (in other words, a professional) will have talked him off the edge in the first 15 minutes of the Finale, not dissimilar to Kevin W’s coming around after his fight with Jasmine two weeks ago.
Onto this week’s Hometown, I first want to point out that—OMG—Mikhel’s nephew was the most adorable little nugget ever. I literally paused the episode to show him to Andy. As for Mikhel, I adore him. He’s so good-hearted and good-spirited, not to mention absurdly good-looking. (IMO he was the hottest guy this season.) Also, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be thrilled to see an Indian guy win; ask yourself when was the last time an Indian man or woman was not only cast but who also made it memorably far on any US season. Exactly. If they end up following the American show’s suit and casting the next Bachelor from the previous season, Mikhel would be perfect.
That said, Mikhel opening this episode by saying he’d fallen in love with Jasmine immediately brought to mind the amount of time he’d been cooped up in a hotel talking to producers ad nauseam about his feelings. His love confession felt a bit like clockwork to me (versus Kevin W’s, which felt rock solid and like the natural next step after weeks of build up). I don’t think Mikhel doesn’t believe it but as a viewer this development felt conveniently right on schedule, which brings me to the incredible 4th wall breakage that occurred during Mikhel’s conversation with his dad…
First, how EPIC is that? I am certain this would never be shown on the American version—they would never want to encourage any impression of producer “brainwashing.” Bachelorette Canada, I’m back to loving you. Second, I can see where his dad is coming from. I don’t presume to actually know how Mikhel did or does feel, but he really wasn’t able to verbalize why he loved Jasmine or how he knew. Sure, he said he “just knew,” but I still felt a distinct lack in specificity from this intelligent, clearly thoughtful guy. In fact, in her chat with Mikhel’s mother and sister, it was Jasmine who was able to better articulate what drew her to Mikhel.
Remember, all we saw of Jasmine and Mikhel’s Night One conversation was Mikhel asking Jasmine’s favourite color (seafoam green), which—if he is her final man—hardly does their love story justice. Also, something about Jasmine’s reaction to Mikhel’s big ILY this week made me feel like she’s not picking him. She didn’t seem nearly as excited as I think she would be to hear those words from someone she felt the same way about. To me, her reaction wasn’t quite relief, reciprocation and passion, but fell more into “awww, how sweet” territory. Now, if Jasmine does in fact pick Mikhel, I’ll be the first to admit I was fooled. But based on last night, I see her choosing Kevin.
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