Sharleen Joynt on The Bachelorette: Episode 7 (+ Video!)

Opera singer Sharleen Joynt—fellow Canuck, FLARE columnist and former Bachelor contestant—shares her take on last night’s episode of The Bachelorette

I’ve just come from taping Us Weekly‘s Facebook Live recap, where it was quickly established that the universal opinion on last night’s episode was that it was extremely bad and incredibly boring. There were varying speculations as to why. One was that this season’s crop of guys isn’t very exciting and they (or what we see of them, rather) are all variations of the same person. Another was that we’ve all been watching this show for so long that you pick up on the franchise patterns and everything becomes too predictable to be interesting. Lastly, my own opinion was that the remaining guys all get along too well for any drama to ensue. And since the Powers That Be insist on focusing on half-hearted conflicts between the men (who cares if Robby’s checked out a Argentinian chick or two? When in Rome!), rather than focusing on real conversations with JoJo or funny house antics, the result is milquetoast television. It says something that the only time Andy perked up during the episode was during commercial break to watch those Bachelor in Paradise previews.

Perhaps my issue was that so much of the episode felt spent on Alex, when since day one I’ve felt (and I think we’ve all felt) that he wouldn’t be a major contender. That’s not to pick on Alex; I thought his Chad confrontations were some of the most memorable moments of the season, and he’s clearly well-liked by the other guys, a major plus in my book. But it just seemed like a tedious waste of time to give him his first 1-on-1 in Week 7, when we all knew nothing was ultimately going to happen there. By far the highlight of the date (and perhaps the whole episode) was the gaucho “horse whisperer” (how incredible was that?!), but even then, JoJo’s horse cuddling with Alex felt fake. Every kiss, hand-hold, and elbow stroke felt forced and, as a viewer, incredibly patronizing. I commend JoJo for sending Alex home on the date (her face when he uttered ILY was fantastic), but that whole exchange felt too familiar. (Cody’s date on Andi’s season, anyone? And even that was in Episode 6 and thus less tedious!)

Interestingly, while Group Dates tend to be more entertaining (although this one was nothing short of abysmal), it was Jordan’s and Luke’s 1-on-1s that kept me from completely tuning out. As jaded as I am regarding this show, it’s still a beautiful thing to watch two people learn each other and, yes, maybe even fall in love. The way JoJo lit up when Jordan said he loved her, or the way she watched Luke explain breaking a horse… Those are the great moments, certainly the most redeeming moments of this overall phoned-in episode.

By the way, while writing this recap I texted Andy saying, “I’m shitting on this episode HARD.” Did I lie?

Sharleen Joynt Bachelorette recap

This image, from JoJo’s ill-fated date with Alex (and the horse-whispering gaucho), is THE BEST

My predictions for next week are as follows!

1. Jordan, 27: When Jordan’s name was on the date card I felt like he’d just had a 1-on-1, and looking back I realize he indeed had his in Episode 5. I didn’t mind, though, because the reverse of Alex’s date is spending 1-on-1s on guys who stand a real chance, and Jordan certainly fits that bill. I love JoJo’s transparency; she is super into Jordan and there’s seemingly no catching up to him at this point. As I said in the Us Weekly recap, his vulnerability when talking about his non-relationship with his brother warmed me to him. Also, when he described every step in his football career as being a disappointment and how football didn’t define him, I related so vividly that I got chills. That honest-bordering-on-dark hindsight is underrated. People seem mixed on Jordan but I like him. And JoJo reeeeally likes him.

2. Luke, 31: Does anyone not love Luke? He’s got the backstory, the look, that charming homegrown quality without seeming unflatteringly smalltown, and a sense of humour. If you’d told me on Night One that I’d have a baby crush on Southern-drawled, mumbly Luke by Episode 7 I’d have called you a liar. Yet there I was, watching him ride a horse like he rode a horse out of the womb, and I announced to Andy, “I think I find Luke attractive.” Okay, okay, so beyond my crush, JoJo seems to share my feelings tenfold, so he’s sticking around. LUKE STAYS, DAMMIT.

3. Chase, 29: I admit I was surprised Chase made it to Hometowns over James Taylor (especially right after JoJo effusively told James how special their relationship was to her), but as I said in my blog recap, JoJo is clearly very attracted to Chase. (At Us Weekly we also debated whether or not she loved the, ahem, chase.) I’m actually a big Chase advocate. I’ve heard some people call him “boring,” but I happen to like his quietness and reticence. As I stressed last week, not prematurely blurting ILY because it’s what’s “done” is a good thing. Above all, I think Jojo’s attracted to Chase enough to want to bring him to the Fantasy Suite, so my bet is he stays.

Going home next week…

4. Robby, 29: I don’t know what it is exactly about Robby but I (and everyone I talk to about him) just don’t trust him. His veneer strikes me as too pristine, his words and timing too calculated. When he prefaced sharing details about his ex as a gesture of his “love” for Jojo, it just stuck out as too thought-through. Who talks like that?? Why the needless reminder, and why not just share the story? I get the distinct feeling Robby’s playing us for fools, and I feel like Jojo will tap into that any day now and send him packing. I like a bit of reservation in my Bachelor/ette contestants (à la Chase) and find imperfections endearing. Robby has neither.

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.

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