Man, we haven’t seen contestants celebrate like that over a villain’s departure since Chris’s season when Kelsey went home (also on a 2-on-1… notice a pattern?). I think we could all smell that 2-on-1 involving Chad coming, and I would wager it was pushed up an episode or two just to make sure he was still around to even go on it. (Can you remember any season where the 2-on-1 happened sooner than Episode 5 or 6? Me neither.) I’m also certain that had Evan not given Jojo his ultimatum last episode (which, for the record, I was not into), after his cautionary steroids tale, it most certainly would have been him on that 2-on-1 with Chad.
Watching the men in the house interact with Chad reminded me a bit of growing up with my little sister, Andrea. Andrea had a bit of a short fuse when she was little. I’m seven years older and in my early teens got a thrill by discreetly pushing her buttons, watching her blow up, and then watching her get in trouble for blowing up. (I’m not saying it’s right! We get along great and are very close now.) I think you get my drift. It was universally established that Chad was a ticking time bomb, always on the verge of fight, and in a way I think the other men preyed on that. Obviously it’s impossible to claim Chad is faultless. He relishes playing the villain and is an adult and thus responsible for all the threats that come out of his mouth. But just as I never got blamed (to the degree I deserved, anyway) for provoking Andrea all those times, I don’t think the men are faultless either. Yes, they are kinder and more amicable, and I am the biggest believer in there being fire where there’s smoke, but when Alex claimed the 2-on-1 would be a simple case of good versus evil… Well, I don’t think “good” necessarily targets, needles, hurls insults at and retaliates against “evil,” no matter how unbearable “evil” becomes. I guess what I’m saying is: Two Wrongs.
Having been there, I can attest it is not easy to live with someone who’s the dark cloud raining on your once-in-a-lifetime parade; you’re surrounded by people 24/7 yet are the loneliest you’ve ever been, and though you may want to ignore and rise above said dark cloud, you’re required to talk to and about it several times a day. But there was something helpless about Chad in last night’s episode. His only two modes are aggressive and defensive, which, especially since he was sorely outnumbered, made him painfully inferior in that setting. And despite his (questionable) apology, he didn’t possess the patience and humility necessary to change. With all the guys poking him, he was like a chicken with its head cut off, spewing insults and threats and just generally being manic and predictably unpredictable. Sigh. I’m not saying I feel bad for the guy. But I don’t not feel bad for the guy.
Enough about Chad! My frontrunners after last night are…
1. Jordan, 27: This is getting redundant but I’m still firmly convinced Jordan isn’t going anywhere. The fact that JoJo admitted to him that she gets nervous around him and finds him hard to read is HUGE. If she wasn’t into him, she wouldn’t care enough to be nervous or wonder where she stands. (She’s in the position of power, after all.) I’m also convinced that JoJo was especially angry over Chad’s “I’m going to find out where you live and come beat your ass” threat because it was directed at Jordan. Oh, and he got this week’s Group Date rose. That 1-on-1 is coming! Any day now!
2. Luke, 31: He and JoJo have serious chemistry and there’s a maturity to them as a couple that I like. I get the impression he’s unlike anyone JoJo’s ever dated by the way she looks at and listens to him. I love Luke’s perspective on life and how no word he speaks is without gravity and meaning. He quietly commands respect, which is both powerful and hard to come by.
3. Derek, 29: True to first 1-on-1 recipient fashion, we hardly saw Derek in Episode 3, but last night we saw what getting that first 1-on-1 can do. Derek and JoJo have automatic familiarity and comfort now, and she specifically sought out his opinions and insight on the house drama. Derek really won me over last night in his confrontation with Chad. Hot-headed, meat-headed Chad barreled towards Derek full of accusations and insults, but Derek smacked him down SO HARD by being calm, articulate, and not at all defensive. Seriously, he talked eloquent circles around Chad. It was my kind of hot. (Some girls like abs and arms. I like words. What can I say?) I have a small crush on Derek. Who, for the record, ALSO HAS ABS AND ARMS.
4. James Taylor, 29: JoJo now regularly refers to James Taylor as the nicest guy she’s ever met, so it appears nice guys don’t finish last after all. I do think James Taylor will go far, and though I personally can’t see him being the last guy standing (their chemistry just isn’t on par with Jordan or Luke… or Derek or Chase or Robby, for that matter), I really enjoy him and his differentness. I know it’s early but I predict a Hometown date for James Taylor.
For more on this season of The Bachelorette from Sharleen Joynt, visit her blog, All the Pretty Pandas.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on City. Catch up on past episodes at citytv.com.