The Bachelor 23.6: Three Dates, Three Walls, and Three Warnings

The end of the cocktail party and the subsequent rose ceremony were annoyingly predictable. Nicole and Onyeka took their final Baccalaureate breaths and used them to yell about each other. And then we left for Vietnam. (And I feel like I should quickly point out here that Donald Trump once said avoiding STDs was his personal Vietnam and perhaps that will also be Colton’s Vietnam.)

We’ve all been waiting with bated breath for Colton’s date with our favorite instagram influencer and the winner of the first impression rose, Hannah G. In the sixth week, we finally got it and it was truly the perfect date for her listed profession: a couple’s massage at a spa in the middle of the Vietnamese rainforest. A hot mud bath, a hot shower, a hot… I don’t know, sushi roll thing? It looked great. The pics were probs fire. And they were very cute together.

Caelynn and Cassie wondered back at the hotel whether Hannah had enough of a personality to really form a connection with Colton. They were trying to convince themselves that Colton wouldn’t keep her around if she didn’t have that sort of depth to her. And I am here to tell them that that is some bullshit. Colton has proved to us again and again that lack of personality is not a barrier to a relationship. He absolutely does not discriminate against people who have no substance to speak of. It’s admirable.

The crucible moment in Hannah G’s life was her parents’ divorce. And, to her credit, she colored the story of the divorce with an thoughtful anecdote. Anecdotes are vital to good storytelling. It was clear and it was personal and, if she was on a date with someone in her sophomore year of college, maybe they’d really hit it off. But like… he’s 26 and looking for a wife. Regardless, she received a rose and remains a frontrunner.

Thrice this episode we saw the walls come down with Demi. The first time it was unintentional. She and Katie were throwing gloves, fighting for Colton’s heart and she become overwhelmed by the fact that Katie was hitting her. Talk about not being able to take a punch! While everyone else laughed off their battles, Demi lost her cool for the first time all season. And then KATIE apologized to DEMI. Oh boy that ground my gears. Katie had nothing to apologize for, y’all.

In the interim between Demi’s first and second moments of vulnerability, Colton was served his first of three warnings. Sydney knew she was operating far behind the rest of the pack. At the end of the group date, she challenged him to disprove her hypothesis. When his answer was not up to her satisfaction, she left, but not before leaving him with these words: “There are some very wonderful people in that group. Find them. Figure out who they are. Don’t be distracted by shiny things. Especially now. Really figure out what you came here to find.”

Sydney was the second person this season to decide to quit the show. In the past five seasons of the Bachelor franchise, only one contestant has left and that was Jacqueline from Arie’s season. Though, despite the recent scarcity of quitters, it’s not as uncommon of a practice as you might think. From the 32 seasons that I could get data from, a contestant left in 53% of them. A season averages about 0.91 quits per season. Even though a slightly higher number of men contestants quit than women contestants (0.89 for The Bachelor and 0.93 for The Bachelorette), there have been zero dropouts in just 39% of Bachelor seasons and zero in 57% of Bachelorette seasons. In those few Bachelorette seasons when contestants left, they usually left in sizable groups. The Bachelorette has seen three seasons with three contestants quit while The Bachelor has never seen a season lose more than two. Anyway, Colton is already at two, making him the fifth Bachelor and sixth principal with two quitters. We have four weeks left, so Colton still has time to set the record.

The second time Demi revealed her vulnerability it was deliberate. She called her mother and introduced him to her over the phone for the first time since she had just left federal prison. It was a heartwarming moment. Well, as heartwarming as you can get with a person leaving federal prison. And, given her mother is white and a woman, you know she must have done something really bad to get locked up for it.

Demi manufactured this moment to try to get a date rose. But instead, Colton heeded Sydney’s advice. Sydney had told him not to be distracted by shiny things. Instead of giving the rose to Demi, the spark plug, he gave it to Tayshia, the intelligent, caring woman who grounds him in moments of stress. A woman who was clear about her feelings of anxiety with him in a way that none of the other frontrunners were able to express. A woman who is blowing away her competition.

Kirpa’s date with Colton came as a surprise. She is very charismatic and cute and fun to be around, but she lacked a tangible connection with Colton. Honestly, the date seemed destined to fail. But, at this point, Colton hasn’t sent anyone home on a one-on-one and it seems like he doesn’t even know he’s allowed to. Kirpa is lovely and Colton is lovey, but it just doesn’t seem like they are in the same places in their lives. He should have refrained from giving her the rose. But instead, she stays on our TV for another week, and I’m really happy about that.

Giving that rose to Kirpa took another rose off of the table and added additional weight to Demi’s anxiety. This leads us to Demi’s third act of vulnerability. She snuck away to Colton’s room while the rest of the women were getting in bed. She claimed that her intention in going over there was to take his virginity. Once she arrived, she confessed that she was falling in love with him. And he responded by finally dropping the charade that he was interested in her. By her challenging him, she forced his hand and he was able to be honest about not seeing a future in their relationship. And so, Demi at last falls. Though not before delivering to Colton his second of three warnings: “There are certain girls here who seem like a safe choice, but, at the end of that, it’s not actually gonna be safe, because you’re not going to end up happy in the long run.”

Finally, we entered the rose ceremony. None of the seven brackets had Katie making it to the Top 6. I was actually incredibly, incredibly close to switching Katie in for Demi in my bracket. (I instead swapped Heather in for Demi, which paid off.) Katie’s loss may have been expected, but that didn’t make it hurt any less. She is an intuitive, genuine person who I thought made an intimate connection with Colton during their one-on-one moments at group dates and cocktail parties. But, according to him, she hadn’t opened up enough even though that was exactly the thing she was trying to disprove when she talked to him last at the group date. Whatever, it’s his loss, fuck him. But, before she left, she became the messenger for the third and final warning Colton would hear this week: “You have a great group of girls. And you know who’s ready in there. And there are some that aren’t. Just be smart about those girls.”

Colton heard these warnings. “That’s the third person who’s said there are people still here who are not ready and that’s fucking terrifying,” he vented to a producer. “That’s my greatest fear in all this, that I’m going to end up with somebody who’s not here to be engaged at the end of this.” Then he got into the weeds. “I thought when Sydney said it she was talking about Demi. And then I don’t know who Demi was talking about. And then I said goodbye to Katie and I don’t know who she’s talking about.” And then with such concentration and yet such ease, he bored his eyes into the producer’s soul and interrogated, “Am I fuckin’ missing something?” In that moment, Colton magnetized sympathy from America in a way he hasn’t been able to do all season. This is the Bachelor who nobody wanted and he is finally turning public opinion as he falls into panic and desperation.

Of course he’s missing something. He’s missing a key point in all three of the warnings. The warnings were not about one girl deliberately ‘not here for the right reasons.’ They were all about multiple girls expressing a lack of maturity necessary to make the leap to a healthy, adult relationship and marriage. And he probably doesn’t see this because he is relatively naïve and inexperienced but genuine and hopeful. And all three of the women who left could sense that, so they each counseled him in a way that other principals weren’t.

Scoring

I am so sad and I am so in first place.

That’s right you fucking losers, Dougie P is back at it again and he only had to throw Katie under the bus to do it. Doug finished with a perfect 5th Rose Ceremony and a perfect 6th Rose Ceremony to vault himself way into first place. No other bracketeer had a perfect 5th Rose Ceremony or 6th Rose Ceremony. And you know what makes that even worse? Colton gave away 10 roses for the 5th ceremony and 7 for the 6th ceremony even though we filled out our Top 9 and 6, respectively, so he just gave us two free picks.

Bonnie, previously in first place, has now fallen to tied for second and 10 points behind Doug after picking Elyse and Onyeka in the 5th and Demi in the 6th. Caitlyn and Kristina round out the three-way tie for second with Bonnie after they both picked Elyse in the 5th and Demi in the 6th. Kelsey, still in fifth and now 12 points behind Doug, incorrectly selected Nicole for the Top 9 and Demi in the Top 6.

Jenny, now incalculably out of contention, dropped Caitlin and Bri (wtf?) in the 5th, then, remarkably, only Demi in the 6th. Justice was finally able to put this Week 5 behind her. She got four right and had to take the massive hits to her total due to Elyse, Angelique, Annie, Bri, and Caitlin. Fortunately, she saved five points by swapping Alex B out for Caelynn who did, in fact, get a rose. Her 6th ceremony faired shockingly well as she just dropped points for Alex B after switching Tayshia in for Caelynn.

Doug’s vital move that allowed him to create a ten-point lead between himself and the second-place brackets was getting rid of Demi. Of the six other brackets, only one didn’t have Demi in the Top 6 and that was Justice’s.