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Bachelor in Paradise: Can We Forgive Dean In Time for His Inevitable Redemption Arc?

Dean's in the doghouse now, but he won't be forever

Liam Mathews

No one on any Bachelor franchise show fell from grace as quickly and completely as Dean Unglert. Deanie Babies went from getting the biggest studio audience cheers of anyone on Rachel's finale to getting booed during the Bachelor in Paradise finale. I haven't seen a heel turn like this since Stone Cold Steve Austin teamed up with Vince McMahon.

The people turned on Dean because of how callously he treated Kristina Schulman and Danielle "D-Lo" Lombard in trying to simultaneously have relationships with both of them. He was dishonest with D-Lo about how intense things were with Kristina. And even worse, he strung Kristina while he pursued things with D-Lo. After spending the week of the production shutdown with Kristina, during which time she fell hard for him, Dean cooled things off when they returned to Paradise. Then when D-Lo arrived, he was all over her, all the while telling Kristina that he couldn't make a decision yet. Dean asked her for patience while he figured things out and apologized for not being able to control himself. What he was really doing was using Kristina as a backup in case things didn't work out with D-Lo. It was extremely uncool and unfair.

During the finale, things somehow got even worse for Dean. He broke up with D-Lo during the Paradise section of the episode, telling her he was in love with Kristina. However, during the studio segment D-Lo revealed that they hooked back up later that day after leaving the resort. Dean and D-Lo even tried to date when they were back in California, during which time Dean was still talking to Kristina. Dean tried to explain that his "indecision" continued even after he was back from Paradise. Fans were disgusted with him.

It's still much too early to start forgiving Dean for what he did to our beloved Kristina. He hasn't shown enough growth at this point and there's no evidence that he won't keep doing stuff like this yet. But theres's still hope for him.

There's a reason we placed Dean at the bottom of our list of most hated Bachelor franchise men: he has the good sense to know what he did was wrong. He's apologetic about it. He genuinely feels bad. It's not enough to keep him from doing it at this point in time, but who hasn't felt powerless over a destructive habit? I relate to Dean to a degree, because I, too, have watched in baffled horror as I screwed my life up. It's hard to truly hate Dean if you've blown up something good because you just couldn't help yourself.

That's why I know that he can come back from this. He's immature -- he was immature on Rachel's season, too, don't forget -- but he can grow up. He doesn't seem incapable of learning from his mistakes. Throughout all of this, Dean has never seemed like a genuinely bad guy like Josh Murray or Juan Pablo Galavis, just an overgrown teenager who makes terrible decisions.

Dean Unglert, Bachelor in Paradise
Paul Hebert, ABC

What he should do next is be quiet. Maybe do some charitable work and spend some time working on his relationship with his father. Make like Corinne and DeMario and get some therapy. Meanwhile, he should definitely not do any more publicly self-shaming posts about Kristina on Instagram.

Then, he can come back on Bachelor in Paradise next summer and redeem himself. He can show how he's changed by committing to somebody. Maybe Kristina, but hopefully somebody else. He'll be Nick Viall 2.0, who went on Bachelor in Paradise with such a different attitude that people started liking him -- at least for a brief moment before his Bachelor season got away from him and he lost the public's love (again).

I think in a year, if Dean shows that he's grown, we'll be ready to forgive him. His sins were not so great that he should be hated forever. We'll feel good about watching someone become a better person.

That's why we're not done with Deanie Babies. We love comeback stories too much.