I'm not sure how to feel about this episode of The Bachelorette.
On the one hand, this episode at times committed the common hometown episode sin of being boring, since we're spending long stretches of time with people we've never seen before and will never see again who are trying to present themselves and their families in the best possible light. No one cares about Jordan Rodgers' childhood nicknames. We want to hear about why Jordan and his superstar quarterback brother don't speak! Of course, we didn't get the answer to that question. We just got some platitudes and Vulnerability and Opening Up and blah blah blah. My attention kept drifting to Twitter during the numerous conversations on couches. (Did you hear about this Taylor Swift/Kimye thing?)
On the other hand, I was riveted during those 11th hour twists and turns during the rose ceremony. The reveal that she was planning to eliminate Luke, followed by Luke's game-changing power move, followed by 25 minutes of JoJo sobbing, followed by the biggest cliff-hanger of the season (sorry, Chad) was excellent television. Sometimes The Bachelorette nails its pacing.
Anyway, this week was hometown dates. First was Chase's family in Colorado (weird), then Jordan in California (eh), then Robby in Florida (whatever) and finally Luke in Texas (snooze [though I did like how much thicker JoJo's Texas accent got when she was with Luke's family]). Then it was back to LA for a dramatic rose ceremony in an airplane hangar, and then the aforementioned cliff-hanger. There was a lot of talking this week.
Here are the most awkward moments.
7. Jordan's hair is just too floppy
I mean, Jordan, if I can address you directly: c'mon, man. Just a little bit of pomade will keep your hair from flapping around like bird with one broken wing. You don't look cool. You look like you're trying way too hard to look like you're not trying at all. I'm not saying you don't have beautiful hair. You do. You just have to tame it a little bit. I know you visited your high school, but you don't have to wear your hair like you're still in high school and you haven't learned about hair clay yet.
6. Chase, just open up already
I'm so sick and tired of hearing JoJo talk about how Chase doesn't open up emotionally. It was the only thing they talked about on his date, and I hated every moment of it. I'm not exaggerating, it was the only thing they talked about. Even all the stuff about his parents' divorce (we'll get to that later) was supposed to explain Chase's emotional reticence. But this isn't therapy, this is a reality show! JoJo imploring Chase to open up over and over again isn't going to make him able to to do it! He needs to work with a dedicated counselor probably over a period of years to work this stuff out. Leave him alone for now. Did you think maybe he's a dullard who doesn't really have emotions like you do? JoJo, did you think of that? Maybe it's hard for him to talk about his feelings because he's not much more complicated than "I'm hungry, I'm horny, I'm tired?" I'm just putting it out there!
5. The airplane hangar
Seriously, how dramatic was the rose ceremony inside the airplane hangar? It was such a huge room that made the big men seem so small. And the long shadows across the floor. And JoJo's limo entrance. And the feeling of "we're going straight from here to wherever else we're going, except one of you." It was so over-the-top. I was really into it.
4. Robby gets caught out there
Robby wanted his hometown visit to be nice, where his family falls as in love with JoJo as he professes to be. Instead he had to explain the circumstances around his recent breakup again. Robby's last relationship ended in December, which may mean that he dumped his girlfriend when he found out he was going on The Bachelorette. At least, that's what his ex-girlfriend's roommate (???) wants us to believe. He says that people are saying He's Not Here For The Right Reasons. Robby defends himself by saying that the relationship "was over nine months before it actually ended." Hmmm. JoJo doesn't believe him, and pleads with him to be honest with her. If you look closely at Robby's face when his mom tells him about the roommate (seriously, who is she? What?) you can see him realizing he's not going to be the Bachelor when this is over.
3. Chase's distant Dad
Chase's inability to open up emotionally is due to his parents' divorce when he was 8. It hurt him real bad, and his dad wasn't around much before or after. That's tough. Listen, I'm not saying divorce isn't hard on kids and doesn't have lingering effects in adulthood! But it's not an uncommon problem that no one understands and it can be moved past, especially since Chase did seem to grow up in a tight-knit, loving family, at least on his mom's side. His dad, eh, I don't know. That was weird. With his mom there was a party. With his dad, they met at Chase's house for like an hour and quietly talked about why he and Chase's mother got divorced. It was a heavy conversation to have with a guy we'd literally never seen before and never will again. Neither Chase nor his dad wanted to talk about it, and so they didn't, really. These are not men who talk about this. So why force this awkward, miserable, unenlightening conversation to happen for our entertainment instead of in a therapist's office or quiet, neutral place, where it should? It was very not entertaining.
(Also: Chase's dad said the split happened because he was busy "climbing the corporate ladder." Later, when Chase was talking to his sister at his mom's house, he said "I don't want to put anybody through what dad put us through. I want to find one girl and marry her." This sounds like Chase's dad had an affair. They wouldn't talk about it on the show, because why would they, that's nobody's business, but the show left this line in to point toward the real story. "Climbing the corporate ladder" seems like a euphemism for "having a secret family on the side." In which case, yes, I get why Chase is damaged. But either tell us that or stop wasting our time, The Bachelorette!)
2. The two empty chairs for Aaron Rodgers and Olivia Munn
Jordan didn't want to talk about his superstar brother's absence, and he barely did, but since this is the most interesting storyline this season, it had to be addressed. And the show did it in the most awesomely literal way. During dinner with the Rodgerses, there were two empty seats at the table for
the prophet Elijah Aaron the Super Bowl champion quarterback of the Green Bay Packers and his movie star girlfriend Olivia Munn. So what did they say about Jordan's estrangement? Well, it's been hard on everyone. Then JoJo threw down the gauntlet: "I have no idea nor could I imagine why Aaron wouldn't want to be a part of their lives." You hear that, MVP? JoJo's calling you out for turning your back on your family! If you want to tell your side of the story, my email is always open (email@example.com).
1. That cliff-hanger, though!
It started when JoJo said in a confessional "I think I need to say goodbye to Luke," which, putting aside that this is clearly the wrong choice and it is Robby she should eliminate, is crazy because it's the first time I remember the show saying who was going to be eliminated before the moment it happens during the rose ceremony. If there's a serious Bachelor historian who knows otherwise, email me, but it felt like a huge break from tradition. I was thrown off from that. Then, Luke comes through like a boss with the "can I talk to you for a sec?" right before she starts handing out roses. He tells her that he can't go into this rose ceremony without telling her that he's in love with her. She cries for the rest of her life and says she doesn't know what to do. Then TO BE CONTINUED! Will Luke's reveal buy him more time, or will its blatant manipulativeness cement JoJo's decision that he has to go?
We'll find out during the first part of next week's two-nighter. Episode Monday, Men Tell All Tuesday. It's going to be a lot of The Bachelorette. Brace yourself.