The Bachelorette is officially The Jordan Show. Some very traditional Bachelorette stuff happened on Monday night’s episode—Becca went on one date that ended with a surprise performance by a generic country musician and another where she said a contestant “really surprised me tonight”—but it all seemed unnecessary. The most interesting parts of this season are always those featuring Jordan, the male model who is somehow both the quickest-witted and slowest-witted man in Bachelorette history.
Jordan’s plotlines seemingly exist in a parallel but clearly different universe, separated from the actual narrative of who Becca is going to marry on The Bachelorette. On Monday night’s episode, Becca gave Jordan a pair of extremely tight golden underwear that she said reminded her of him, which allowed him to call himself “Captain Underpants.” Later, some guys yelled at him about his new underpants. Meanwhile, Becca went on some boring dates. Jordan wasn’t there and didn’t have to be.
Jordan doesn’t seem particularly interested in Becca, and Becca doesn’t seem particularly interested in him, but they’re both enjoying the mutual arrangement they have: Jordan gets the airtime he wants, Becca gets a breath of comic relief in between dealing with dudes catching feelings for her, and the show gets its much-needed villain.
But what makes Jordan so entertaining is that he’s not a typical Bachelor/Bachelorette villain. Jordan is like a friend who’s a bit of an asshole, but is so entertaining that you hang out with him anyway, while every other villain in this history of the show would be egregiously unenjoyable to socialize with. Usually, the bad guys on this show are duplicitous, acting one way around the person they’re trying to woo, but a different way around anybody else. They are confrontational, perpetually getting up in people’s business for the slightest reasons. And most importantly, they seem like genuine threats to the show’s hypothetical goal of pairing two compatible people—they appear capable of perhaps tricking the show’s lead into falling in love with them, even if it’s plain to the viewer that they’re just on the show to start drama and self-promote.
With Jordan, none of that seems true. He’s not two-faced—he’s the same self-centered goof everywhere he goes. He’s not confrontational—everybody seems to be yelling at him, and he just kinda picks it up from there. And he’s certainly not in danger of winning the show—he’s just here to show the world how good he looks pantless.
He’s the villain, but it’s not hard to root for him. I hope he wins this show; I hope after he wins this show, he somehow immediately breaks up with Becca and gets invited to be on Bachelor in Paradise; I hope he becomes the next Bachelor; I hope he immediately breaks up with the person he picks and somehow winds up on The Bachelorette again next year.
Biggest Letdown/Relief: David’s Normal Face
David was one of two contestants to require hospital treatment on last week’s Bachelorette/Final Destination crossover episode: Clay maybe ruined his NFL career playing fake football, and David fell face-first out of a bunk bed. In the episode-ending teaser, ABC’s producers showed David returning to the house but pixelated his face, implying that his injury was so graphic that it required censorship.
I presumed David would return to the mansion looking like the Phantom of the Opera or Deadpool. He’d pull Becca aside and scream, “LOOK AT ME! I’M HIDEOUS. LOOK AT WHAT YOU’VE DONE TO ME!” But when ABC pulled off the pixelated mask Monday night, all we saw was a handsome dude with a semi-black eye.
This is the second straight week I’ve gotten modestly ruffled by ABC’s decision to exaggerate in-show incidents in their weekly teasers. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me every Monday night for a solid five months of the year, shame on me.
Most Embarrassing Presence: Lincoln
On Monday night’s episode, Lincoln admitted that he is a flat-earther. It is truly ridiculous that in 2018 a person could go on television and admit to being a member of one of the world’s dumbest, most easily disproved conspiracy groups.
But as much as I want to just get off jokes about Lincoln saying a dumb thing, his words aren’t the embarrassing part—the embarrassing part is that he is even allowed on this show even though he is a convicted sex offender. News broke last week that Lincoln “groped and assaulted“ a woman on a cruise ship in 2016 and pleaded guilty to charges of indecent assault and battery last May—almost a full year ahead of when filming for the season began. ABC says it ran a background report that didn’t find any evidence of this. I’m skeptical, because Google exists.
There are debates about the level of improper behavior that should disqualify somebody from participation on a show like this. Should a bad tweet get somebody taken out of the pool? What about liking a bad tweet, or a bad Instagram post? What about an unproved allegation of misconduct? I’d argue that the barrier to entry should be extremely high—appearing on a show like The Bachelorette is a privilege, not a right, and it’s not a miscarriage of justice if potentially innocent people are kept off the show in an effort to prevent bigots and abusers from being cast. But wherever you set the bar, a guy who literally pleaded guilty to a sex crime should not clear it. Lincoln should not have been allowed anywhere near reality television. He doesn’t deserve it, and more importantly, Becca’s safety shouldn’t be jeopardized. This show is about a woman pursuing romantic relationships, and none of her potential options should be men who have assaulted women in the past. ABC needs to apologize—to the audience, and also to Becca—and do whatever it takes to make sure this never happens again.
Worst Play: Jean Blanc
White John thought he had everything figured out: After receiving the final rose of the Week 3 ceremony, he was going to amp up his relationship with Becca with a two-fold plan: First, he would give her a gift; then, he would tell her that he was falling in love with her.
This plan backfired tremendously. His gift was a fragrance he claimed was custom-made for Becca by some of the world’s finest fragrance people, entitled “Miss Becca Blanc.” Jean apologized for the fragrance’s name, saying he knows that in real life, Becca wants to retain her own last name. But now I’m even more confused, because why did she change her name without shedding the “Miss” title? Either this fragrance exists in an alternate world where Becca doesn’t get married to Jean, but still changes her last name to “Blanc,” or this fragrance is for Jean’s daughter, whom he named after Becca. (Sorry for saying “fragrance” so often—I’m just trying to keep up with Jean, who says “fragrance” a lot.)
Anyway, after this, Jean told Becca that he was falling in love, and she pulled away. “Falling in love” operates as a distinct, serious tier in the Bachelorette journey, ahead of “on the path to falling in love” but behind actually being “in love,” and when Jean expressed his position on the Bachelorette love-jargon pyramid, Becca was understandably taken aback—it’s Week 4 after all, far too early for a “falling in love” drop. Telling Jean that he must be experiencing something that she isn’t, Becca decided to send him home. Jean then immediately backtracked, telling Becca that he was slightly exaggerating his actual stance on things because he thought it was something she wanted to hear, and what he was supposed to say at this point in the season. This is more irritating to Becca, who just got dumped by a guy who proposed to her on television because he thought it was something she wanted to hear and what he was supposed to say at that point in the season.
This happens just about every season: a contestant overplays their hand by dropping a love-related word to a person who is distinctly not in love with them. There are really two tracks to Bachelorette success—if you’re somebody who actually has a chance to end up engaged on this show, it’s OK to be open with your feelings and say things about love. If you’re not, just try to be memorable enough to avoid elimination so you get to go on more trips to cool places.
Most Impressive Performance: John
This episode brought the cast to Park City, Utah, billed as “America’s most exclusive winter wonderland” by Becca, who presumably was told she had to call it America’s most exclusive winter wonderland. This meant there were a lot of outdoor activities—Garrett got to go bobsledding, Wills got to go snowmobiling, and everybody else got to do a lumberjacking obstacle course. (“This is our first bobsledding experience,” Becca happily whispered to Garrett, implying that either “first bobsledding experience” is a common activity for new couples, or that if their relationship blossoms, they will have several future bobsledding experiences.)
That last one was especially fun, because while the vast majority of cast members this season are extremely athletic, two are not—John, the guy who helped code the Venmo app, and David, the guy who is a venture capitalist and wore a chicken suit for all of the first night. It was truly enjoyable to watch Silicon Valley’s Finest struggle through the manliest activities possible.
David blamed his facial injury and dropped out; John was assigned tree-climbing duty while every other contestant sawed things, flipped logs, or threw axes. He helped his team win a race, and was given an award by Becca. He wasn’t the most athletic dude there, but the mere act of appearing mildly athletic was enough to earn him a prize.
Great job by all contestants—you’ll do great on the next season of Bachelor Winter Games. (I assume ABC is going to show Bachelor Winter Games every February, regardless of whether the Olympics are happening.)