The Maclean’s Bachelor panel: One bachelor, three critics, countless possibilities.
You can catch this week’s episode here.
Remember when this show had a host? Tyler something, wasn’t it? The fact that he’s gone missing since the first episode didn’t seem important until this week. But then Tim ran off at the rose ceremony to seek out one of the puppeteers behind the scenes (ie. a producer, presumably). And it was like: Shouldn’t there be some sort of buffer here? Shouldn’t there be someone to do this for him?
Perhaps not. Tim accomplished his goal on his own. He got an extra rose, and was able to escape choosing between Dominique and Kaylynn. He kept them both, for some reason. So, in something of an anti-climax, everyone got to stay.
Well, everyone who remained at that point.
“I’ve made the decision to leave,” Natalie told the women after returning from her one-on-one date with Tim, which was like watching a movie from the silent era. This season has been all about bucking the trend, but the TV adage that one ought to show and not tell, isn’t really one you want to mess with.
It was odd how little they spoke, or what little they spoke about when they did. The weather. Natalie’s hotel room. Tourist trinkets. Natalie said she was nervous, but why? In her post-rose video diary last week she confessed that, “my mind is at ease because now I know that he is interested in me.” So much for that, I guess?
Tim also said goodbye to Rileigh, whose philosophizing interested him but which couldn’t compete with the bombshell Trisha had in store: she was engaged at one point, and walked away from it. And it’s not like it was a frivolous, one-night-in-Vegas kind of thing. She dropped out after eight years. Eight. Years. Not only is that surprising, it’s actually slightly terrifying. I feel like there’s a one-on-one in her future, so Tim can peel back some of those layers.
Speaking of which, I’m beginning to wonder about Tim’s choices for one-on-one dates. Kaylynn turned out to be this season’s Laura B – fearful of being too boring, so she cranks up the emotion. Lisa seemed a success, but her (apparent) two-faced turn on Natalie is disconcerting. And, of course, there was Natalie herself, whose precise diction proved useless when she had nothing to say.
Is Tim spending his one-on-one dates with the women about whom he’s less certain, in order to properly assess them?
Again, I return to Sachelle. If we’re judging success by one-on-one dates, she’s failing miserably. Still, she got one in a roundabout way, after proving herself the best of the dancing bunch (by Tim’s assessment), in Mexico. And though her time with Tim on the island this week after another group date either never materialized or was less interesting than his make-out sessions with Dominique and Kaylynn (and therefore not worth air time), he awarded her the first rose at the ceremony.
Eventually, I’m sure Tim will take Sachelle on a one-on-one. And I think at that point, this thing will be locked down. If my logic holds, he’s saving the best for last. At least, one would hope.
Until you brought it up just now, Colin, I’d completely forgotten about the show’s host. Maybe he’s back in Vancouver, stranded for budgetary reasons?
The Bachelor transported us from Mexico to the Bahamas this week, almost certainly because they still couldn’t think of an excuse for the women to wear bikinis in April in Canada.
Tim’s mission remained the same: “I’m here to find somebody I can love for the rest of my life.” Has he considered a puppy?
This week, Tim sought to accomplish his goal by heading out on the Atlantic with five of the bachelorettes – Dominique, Saychelle, Kaylynn, Lisa, and April – to go snorkelling. With sharks. That last part caught them by surprise, too.
I saw Gone Girl on the weekend, so the concept of the “Cool Girl” is fresh in my mind. And it strikes me that there’s a lot of pressure to perform Cool Girl on The Bachelor – to, in the words of Anne Helen Petersen, “Be chill and don’t be a downer, act like a dude but look like a supermodel.”
If someone you’d known for four weeks pointed into the ocean and told you to put on your flippers because you were about to go shark diving without the cage, what would you do? Ideally, it should depend on whether or not you felt like it.
“I’m extremely terrified of sharks,” Kaylynn confessed, rather understandably. “I’m gonna go in the water and I’m gonna die.”
And then, shark fins swirling, she jumped in anyway. On The Bachelor, you have to jump in – to sit on the sidelines, to tell Tim it’s really not your cup of tea, would be a dreaded red flag that you’re not fun. You’re not into the same things he is. You’re not cool.
We know Tim is a self-described thrill-seeker. We have no idea what the bachelorettes would pick if they were in charge of the dates.
As usual, our Bachelor had a ball this week. After he’d seen enough sharks, he took the women to a private island where he holed up in a cabana and enjoyed long, tongue-heavy kisses with Dominique and Kaylynn just minutes apart. I’m pretty sure an iguana could crawl up on Tim’s lap and he’d kiss it
I was surprised by Natalie’s voluntary departure this week, but not at all surprised by who Tim sent packing: Rileigh, the one he labelled “negative” after she stood up to him in the second episode, questioning his motives and challenging him to be real with her. A Cool Girl doesn’t get angry.
The most interesting person to me going forward is Lisa, the “wiry, fiery devil” that Trish says she doesn’t trust at all. Lisa pulled a Jekyll and Hyde this week, trash talking Natalie to the other bachelorettes but then jumping up to be the first to console her when Natalie announced she was leaving the show. Tim has Lisa pegged as the confident one, but that display suggests the opposite is true.
Aaron, with just six women left, who are you watching?
I am watching The Bachelor machine in its entirety, composed as it is of multiple moving parts operating on a series of electric pulses, to see if it has, in fact, gained self awareness.
Very early in this week’s episode, moments after Natalie learned that she was receiving a precious (but, alas, doomed) one-on-one date with Tim, Sachelle appeared on screen to explain that, “She really likes this guy, without really knowing him that well.”
It’s always fun to watch the possibility of this institution (love) clash with the reality of this thing (it is a TV show that does not exactly replicate a typical human courtship process).
Every women here is, perhaps to varying degrees, chasing a man without really knowing him that well. That’s kind of the point. And not many women, it seems to me, leave this show with a shrug and an “ah well, no biggie.” (Note: I don’t blame them. I’d be pissed if Tim didn’t give me a rose—Really Tim? What? You think you’re too good for me? ) Maybe Natalie was somehow more excited about Tim than the other women, but I’ll venture to guess she wasn’t too far off.
The second hint of self awareness came by the pool on the group date when Kaylynn and Dominique realized they’d just made out with the same man within seconds of each other. Weird, right? Well, yes, except when you’re on a show that has, as its central premise, multiple women simultaneously chasing the same man.
Opposite these glimmers of dangerous self awareness is Lisa, whose turn towards the dark side this was only slightly more subtle than the heel turn of your average WWE villain. I’m actually not sure Lisa isn’t a creation of Vince McMahon: she’s that perfect in the role of the mean girl. The thing where she bad-mouthed Natalie when she wasn’t there and was then the first to throw her arms around Natalie as she bid a tearful goodbye was the stuff of some O.C. bad girl trying to bring down Marissa Cooper (my pop culture references are a little dated).
Which is not to say that Lisa is a television construct. I have no idea what she’s really like. But as much as I enjoy watching people grapple with the concept, I do still enjoy my stock characters.
Sonya Bell makes frequent appearances on Macleans.ca. Colin Horgan most recently wrote on Lena Dunham’s Girls. Aaron Wherry covers federal politics for Maclean’s.