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‘The Bachelor’ Recap: Finding Love Is Harder Than Finding Truffles, Apparently

This week, Jacqueline makes a smart decision, while Arie stands on a bicycle and leans way too hard on symbolism

ABC

Arie owes one of the booking people at ABC. Last week’s episode of The Bachelor was in Paris, this week’s was in Tuscany. Either of these two destinations is enough of a stereotypical European Romance Location to carry an entire Bachelor season, and he got them in back-to-back weeks. I mean, last year, they made Nick go to FINLAND in the winter! More specifically: NORTHERN FINLAND. The sun doesn’t come out there! Arie got France and Italy?

Anyway, there are a couple of important tropes to look out for when The Bachelor goes international. At some point, dates must encounter a roving gang of children playing soccer in the street, and those children must eagerly invite some older foreigners into their fun street game. Sure enough, on Monday night’s episode in Tuscany, a soccer ball doinked directly into an especially awkward date between Arie and Lauren.

Also, the contestants must receive words of wisdom from a wise old foreigner who truly understands love. This week, over pasta and truffles, an old Italian man asked Seinne whether she thinks it’s best to follow her heart or mind for love. She admitted it’s a tough balance to strike; the sage Italian man, not so worried about balance, said that Italians always follow their hearts. Monday night, Arie whittled the remaining contestants from seven to four in advance of next week’s hometown dates, and generally, it seems like he did listen to his heart.

He chose Lauren, in spite of the fact that they have spent large, televised swaths of time sitting across from each other in complete silence. He chose Becca, the very first woman he took out on a date this season. He chose Kendall, whose quirky style often catches conventional-minded Arie off guard. He chose Tia after a makeout session that caused both kissers to say “I love your lips.” And he eliminated Seinne, explaining that nothing was specifically wrong with their relationship, but that something was missing. These are the moves of a man following his heart.

But he definitely let his stupid brain get in the way when he dumped Bekah, who promptly soaked the back of a limousine with a river of mascara-tinged tears. Arie’s relationship with Bekah was strong, but Arie, by his own admission, had been “talking himself out of it” ever since he found out that she was just 22 years old. Tia wisely and strategically brought up Bekah’s age when she realized that Arie was planning on eliminating one of them, which made Bekah cry and forced Arie to think and reflect. Eventually, Arie’s mind came to the conclusion that he simply could not be in a serious relationship with a 22-year-old, and so he instead chose a 25-year-old, two 26-year-olds, and a 27-year-old to move on to next week.

It’s a bummer Bekah is gone; she was vivacious and thoughtful while most Bachelor contestants seem like they’re trying to carefully craft their on-screen personae to fit within certain boundaries. Bekah is also the most entertaining and likable ex-Bachelor contestant on Twitter, and luckily Arie doesn’t have the power to suspend her account. I can think of no good reason Bekah shouldn’t be the next Bachelorette, unless, of course, she is also deemed too young for that in spite of having a more interesting personality than her slightly older counterparts.

You’re free, Bekah. You finally have cell service, and you can finally tell your mom that you weren’t kidnapped.

Weirdest Relationship: Lauren

On last week’s episode, Lauren and Arie walked silently through Paris. Think about all the good things you could say to a person about Paris! All you have to do is be like, “Hey, look, the Eiffel Tower!” And yet they hardly used actual words. Just “wows” and “mhmms,” and one off-hand comment about a wheel of cheese. Perhaps there were nerves; it was Lauren and Arie’s first one-on-one date. And as he noted, Paris was very “busy,” which perhaps overwhelmed Lauren.

But you know which place isn’t busy? Lucca, the small Tuscan town where Lauren and Arie went on their second one-on-one date. And yet:

But luckily, Lauren is very pretty. Arie is “very attracted” and “pulled” to her. So even though they have virtually nothing to talk about, Arie is going for it. During dinner on Monday night’s episode, he excused himself and walked away to compose his thoughts. Lauren feared it was because she “said too much”—doubt it, tbh—but as it turns out, Arie left because he was developing strong feelings for her. “I’m falling for you so deeply that it’s crazy,” he told her, while I began to wonder whether I’d somehow missed multiple episodes of this season.

I can’t believe I write so many words about this show when the only true constant is that every season the Bachelor picks the person he thinks is the hottest.

Sickest Moves: Arie

So, if not the lively conversation, what attracts Lauren to Arie? Apparently, the answer is SWEET BIKE TRICKS:

Hell yeah, Arie. It doesn’t matter whether you guys can converse with one another. What’s important is that she loves it when you nail sweet bike tricks.

You might think this is a particularly childish relationship, but that might fit what Arie’s looking for in life. He doesn’t want a talker; he wants a person to clap enthusiastically at his races, and I think he’s found one. I hope they get married and live silently and happily for the rest of their lives, until Arie dies trying to pop a wheelie on a motorcycle at their 75th wedding anniversary.

Best Decision: Jacqueline

Before Arie axed either Bekah or Seinne, Jacqueline made his life a lot easier by taking the bold move of eliminating herself. She got the sense that all her co-contestants seemed more ready to settle down and marry Arie, and so she decided to end the relationship ahead of next week’s hometown dates. “I’m not sure I can visualize his conversations with my parents,” she told one of the other women. I mean, I can—he’d probably say “I love that” every time they said anything, and say that their house/relationship/couch/food are “amazing”—but I get what she means.

“I’m worried I’m going to end up married in Scottsdale with you and wonder, ‘How did I get here?’” she told Arie, reciting a Bachelor-ized version of the Talking Heads’ song “Once in a Lifetime.”

Later, Jacqueline worried that she made the wrong decision, citing the fact that she had a lot of fun on their dates. I want her to know she made the right call. Had she ended up with Arie, there would have been a lot more hours of “sitting in Scottsdale being confused” than hours of “ABC-financed jaunts to romantic European destinations.”

Strangest “I Love That” of the Week

At this point, you know Arie’s catchphrase—”I love that.” He says it about anything, from places to interactions to sob stories about contestants’ pasts. On Monday, the strangest thing that Arie claims to love? “Tough questions.”

MVPs: The Truffle Dogs

Arie’s date with Seinne consisted of going truffle-hunting, and Arie was here for the symbolism. He invited Seinne on the date with a card reading “I’m searching for the one,” and later mentioned that was planning on “digging deep” on the date. When Arie explained the date, Seinne pointed out that truffles are quite expensive, and Arie quipped that it’s because they’re so hard to find.

Apparently not, though! Arie and Seinne met up with an old Italian man named Giulio (who has a very good Facebook page) and his two Lagotto truffle-finding dogs. And I don’t know how heavily edited the truffle-hunting scene was, but the dogs did not mess around. They were set loose, and bam! The truffles were snuffled.

Arie could learn a lesson from the very good dogs. They didn’t mess around and overcomplicate things. They didn’t catch the scent of an awesome truffle and sprint over to it and then go “Wait, I need a truffle that’s been growing for a really long time, what if this truffle isn’t old enough yet?” If these dogs can find expensive underground fungi without making a big deal out of it, an attractive race car driver should be able to find love.