Hometowns are my favorite week of the season. There are two main theses of this blog. The first is that love is inherently political. There is no better way to understand a person’s political ideology than to visit their hometown. The second is that The Bachelor(ette) is better when you analyze everything with data. Choosing your Top 3 is the last time in the season that you can really make strategic choices about when to take a risk on a contestant or when to play it safe. This week was filled with all of that goodness.
Let me tell you all a little bit about Manteca, CA. When I was 13 years old I played on a travel baseball team. For my very first travel tournament we drove down to Manteca, CA where they have a baseball complex called The Field of Dreams. There they replicate the dimensions of real major league stadiums and put up lights so that you can play through the night. In my first game, we played at the replica Tiger Stadium at night and I was the starting pitcher. My curveball was never better than it was that game. We were up against the third best travel team in the state and I pitched five innings and allowed just one run and I hit an RBI double in one of my at bats. We went on to get blown out in our other three games and we lost the tournament, but that first night will always be one of my most treasured memories.
The Field of Dreams is the only good thing about Manteca, CA. Manteca, CA is the American South of California. Manteca, CA is just flat fields of crops for as far as the eye can see. Where there are no crops there are cows. And where there are no cows, there are racist Central Californians. Now that I know that Garrett is from Manteca, CA, I am more confident than ever before that Garrett is a worthless pile of manure.
I am a little disappointed we didn’t get to see him in Reno though. God only knows what they would have done on their date in Reno.
Oh, so Garrett’s family owns a farm? And Garrett still hates immigrants? There’s a 104% that Garrett’s family has employed undocumented immigrants on their farm at one point or another and they have certainly accumulated a handsome sum of wealth because of it. One would think Garrett wouldn’t be such a xenophobic bag of shit, but, alas, he is.
The moment that probably best told the story of Garrett to me was when he genuinely said to his aunt, “Goodbye, I love you,” and hugged her, and then the uncle mocked him for it. It’s no wonder he doesn’t understand how to have a healthy relationship when his family doesn’t allow him to express basic compassion.
The editors did a beautiful job of finding motifs between the different towns in America. Garrett and Becca held each other as they rode on the front of the tractor and then Jason and Becca held each other as they rode on the front of a Zamboni.
That’s right: Jason. Jason, Jason, Jason. Jason has stolen my heart, let me tell you. He looked good in Buffalo. The Buffalo banker knows how to wear a winter city outfit. And if you didn’t tell me differently, I would have assumed that Jason was the chairman of the Buffalo Chamber of Commerce. He loves that city to death.
Jason is the only person who has ever made me think that hockey is hot. Watching him glide around the ice and dribbling the puck on his stick shook me to my core. And he calls her Bec-ster for Christ’s sake! The only other person I’ve met who adds –ster to the end of a name is my best friend from middle school’s dad who is a born and bred New Yorker.
I’ve come to the conclusion that Jason is the perfect foil for Garrett. Jason is smart while Garrett is not. Jason is a banker while Garrett is a farmer/medical sales rep. Jason has an openly gay older brother that he looks up to and takes advice from while Garrett is a homophobe. I mean, Jason’s brother and his husband met working at Apple for goodness sake, how anti-Garrett could that possibly be?
Jason’s family is full of straight shooters. There’s truly nothing more convincing than the confidence of a gay man, so when Jason’s brother said, “She’s amazing,” like it was the most obvious thing in the world, I felt like Becca and Jason were going to get married.
And then the advice Jason’s brother gave him was so necessary and so beautiful. “So, have you told her all of this? . . . Okay, and what are you waiting for? There isn’t a lot of runway left here. There’s a finite number of moments left to truly express how you’re feeling and you have to make sure you take advantage of that.” THAT is the reason we have hometowns at all, it’s for moments like that.
And then he did it. He told her exactly how he felt about her in the most truthful way he could. And it was snowing. It was SNOWINGGGuh.
Becca then brought that snow with her to Colorado. Thank you ABC for the continuity of the motifs.
One of the critiques of Blake is that he seems too young for Becca, so having him take her around his old high school and making out in a bunch of different classrooms didn’t help his image.
It’s easy to say that ABC bringing up the school shooting in Bailey was a political choice. In fact, as the children of the last few decades grow older, it will be more and more difficult to avoid having survivors of school shootings on reality shows like these. So instead of taking the easy route, I’m going to go against my brand and argue why this was an apolitical choice for ABC to make.
ABC has a very simple formula for how they produce a couple on The Bachelor(ette): they plan fun activities so two people can make memories and they encourage people to share their saddest moments to tighten their bonds. To ABC, the shooting was just a really good sad moment that they could tighten the bonds between Becca and Blake even more.
As Becca left Blake at the end of the night, you could see that she wanted so badly to say that she loved him back. And she thought about saying it—she really thought about it—but she was not going to do what Arie did.
Colton made a really good move to have their date be at the hospital. It was probably the best move he could make. Unfortunately for him, she had just had three amazing hometowns and had already made up her mind. She had to humor the inexperienced Colton and his litany of scandals.
Before the rose ceremony Becca got to share her week with the all-stars of Arie’s season. The best moment was delivered by our favorite Yale grad.
Becca: Jason is the best kisser.
Sienne: You’ve got to take him to the fantasy suite, girl.
When the finish line draws near, Tia starts throwing elbows. She did it last season and threw Becca M. under the bus and she’s doing it this season by throwing Colton under. Any chance she had of becoming the bachelorette just slipped through her fingers.
Honestly, the rose ceremony decision was easy. I got really excited that Garrett was in the bottom two, but everyone knew he wasn’t going home.
Before we go to scoring, I’m going to do a pre-mortem on the three different ways the season could end. This season truly feels like a toss-up right now, but I’m sure as soon as Becca makes the final decision, we’re going to be talking about how obvious it was, so I’m going make a case for each one of the remaining contestants as if we just found out they had won.
Garrett: Of course Garrett won. The person who got the first impression rose went on to win the previous three Bachelorettes. She said from the very beginning that he reminded her of her dad and she clearly yearns to have him there as a sort of replacement. Plus Becca loves meatheads, we know this. Do you remember when her ex came down to Peru last season? I’m confident that he and Garrett would be great friends. It was the obvious choice from the beginning and it only makes sense that this is where it finished.
Blake: Of course Blake won. He had this thing sewn up before hometowns even started. Sure their relationship doesn’t make sense to anyone; she told us she was in love with him in Week 6. No one else stood a chance against Blake.
Jason: Of course Jason won. He was categorically the best man there. It doesn’t matter that he got a late start, he was the best possible choice out of the 28 she was given, so, of course, he deserved his win.
Of our original eight brackets, Garrett, Colton, and Jason were all in five while Blake was in just three. After our allotted one-weekly-change, Blake was in seven of the eight, Garrett and Jason were in five, and Colton was in four.
Kristina (279) smartly swapped Colton out for Blake to get a perfect score and maintain her lead. Bonnie the Oracle (268) didn’t make a change this week, so she also got a perfect score because she’s blessed. Doug (260) swapped Blake in for Wills, but he also had Colton in the Top 3, so he fell back down to third place in the standings. Caitlyn (258) was perfect after swapping Jason in for Wills, which put her in front of Justice and brought her right up on the heels of Doug.
Justice (252) swapped Blake in for Wills, but still suffered from the loss of Colton to drop to fifth.
Jenny (243) swapped Jason out and Blake in, while Colton remained on her bracket untouched (both literally and metaphorically, am I right?). Limping into seventh place is Kelsey (234) who swapped Jason in for Wills while Colton got kicked off the show.
And lastly, our true hero, the leader of the losers, Danica Martino (191) got 15 points for Blake, but zero points for Lincoln and “Willis.”