The Bachelor 23.3: Strong Women

“Strong women empower other women,” Tayshia slyly notes to Colton after the group date. She then prods for the history of strong women in his life, which eventually leads him to conclude, “Finding a strong woman is important.” And she quips back, “Just like how it’s really important for me to find a strong man.” She beams at him with her unforgettable smile and he leans in to kiss her.

Yeah fine okay it’s true I’m in love with Tayshia you caught me so what?! I did my best last week hiding her as my favorite candidate, but given that I put her to finish second in my bracket, I can’t say I was all that secretive. Three of the seven brackets have her in the Top 6, but mine is the only bracket where she appears in the Finals.

Full disclosure, I was pretty stuck on what the theme should be for the blog this week and it was actually my roommate Jess who sparked the perfect thesis. The thesis is exactly what Tayshia said. Strong women empower other women.

Tayshia spent the whole group date lifting up and supporting the other women there. And then when it was her turn to spent time with Colton, she just focused on her own relationship with him. That is the quality you need in a Bachelor(ette) winner. You need someone who doesn’t get bogged down by the early season drama and can provide us with a respite amidst the crises. Tayshia is a rock star and she’s going to go far this season (and in my heart).

You know who got bogged down? The women who are trying to stop Demi. Look, Demi is utter chaos. And it obviously feels like Demi isn’t taking the process seriously. But what I can say is that Demi isn’t the one initiating drama with the other women. Sure she creates an atmosphere of whimsy that some may not appreciate, but she’s not going after anyone. She’s just playing her best game. Tracy and Courtney are the ones going after Demi. And you know what happens when you fight with chaos? I don’t think there’s an actual idiom or saying here about fighting with chaos, but I’m going to make one right now and the answer is that you lose. You’re going to lose every time you try to fight chaos.

Of course Demi’s not going to win—and thank God she’s not going to win—but it’s very fun to see Colton try to navigate these horrendously exciting situations she’s putting him in. She’s blindfolding him and the producers are giving her props? Genius! Let. Her. Live. Her. Wild. Wild. Life. And Tracy and Courtney? They are not empowering other women. Demi isn’t their enemy in this competition. Demi isn’t going to watch Colton bend down to his knee in front of her and propose marriage. Tracy and Courtney should ignore the chaos and empower other women.

You know who was on that same group date and didn’t bring the drama to Demi? Katie! Katie spent the date cheering on her fellow candidates, giving everyone high fives, being an all-round supportive and uplifting member of The Bachelor Season 23 Community. Then when she had her one-on-one time with Colton, she focused on their relationship. And goddammit, it felt real. It felt REAL between them! They look like they genuinely like each other. And isn’t that what we’re all here for, everybody?! That’s what I’m here for!

Before we get to the final, grand, Miss American bout of this episode, I just wanted to take a minute to reflect on Elyse’s one-on-one. It ties in with the thesis less, unless you count her lifting up all of the strong women five-year-olds, which is a valid argument, but regardless, her date with Colton was fabulous. The carnival with the kids and then the ballroom dinner was heartwarming and beautiful and they both took it all in in stride. I don’t know yet if they have the right chemistry to be a perfect match, but they are certainly a moral and intellectual match and for that I am excited for their relationship to grow.

Now to the great Hannah B vs. Caelynn saga. For most of this episode I couldn’t figure out who to root for. First Caelynn had what appeared to be an inauthentic interaction with Colton and I didn’t feel compelled to side with her. Then Hannah B cryptically threw Caelynn under the bus, which led Caelynn to break down in front of Colton. I followed Colton in immediately throwing my weight behind Caelynn. Then at the pool party, all Caelynn could talk about was Hannah B and her desperation for attention and how Colton was assuredly being lied to even though it still didn’t seem like any statement from either of them had been contradictory up to that point. Caelynn blew a massive opportunity to move on with her relationship with Colton and chose to instead drag Hannah down. Hannah then came right back and, instead of trying to pivot, returned to bashing Caelynn for being a bad roommate. How am I supposed to root for either of them when they are both spending all of their time with Colton complaining about the other person? They were not heeding Tayshia’s advice.

 

Scoring

Bonnie maintains her lead in the brackets by only missing two picks: Bri and Catherine. As it turned out for Bri, it’s not good for your first impression with a potential romantic partner to just be a bold-faced lie (see: Accent, Australian). And Catherine, it seems, only had enough in the tank to be the villain for Night One.

Doug is now the sole owner of second place after also missing two this week: Bri and Caitlin. Kristina and Kelsey both vault into third place by getting just two wrong as well. Kristina mistakenly picked Nina and Bri, and Kelsey picked Catherine and Bri. Caitlyn is now in fifth (falling from second) after missing three: Annie, Bri, and Catherine.

Justice is currently in sixth place and luckily out of last this week. She got five wrong: Angelique, Annie, Bri, Caitlin, and Catherine. But despite being not last in the official standings, she is dead last in the future projections. After this week, five of Justice’s Top 9 have been eliminated. Fortunately, none of her Top 4 have been sent home yet.

Jenny is in last place after she got seven wrong this week: Alex B, Annie, Erika, Catherine, Bri, and Caitlin. Oh, and Erika again, because Erika was written a second time. Incredibly, only two of Jenny’s Top 9 are eliminated and her Top 6 has been left completely untouched.