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Which One of These Horny Fools Will Win 'The Bachelorette'?

At the end of this week's episode it's down to the final four: Peter, Eric, Bryan, and Dean.

Gabby Bess

Gabby Bess

Photo courtesy of ABC

FYI this post contains some spoilers.

At this stage in The Bachelorette journey, we're mostly done with constructed drama between the contestants and the spectacle of watching grown men do deplorable things for the sake of being on TV.

This week's episode asks us to forget about the fact that the show's imperative of finding a husband is outmoded, and the fact that said search has been constrained to a ridiculous timeframe, and that two short weeks ago the plot was centered on a maniacal racist. In the opening montage, it asks us to seriously consider the fact that one of these fools will soon be proposing to Rachel, and they will be in love, and the stakes are very high for all involved.

As jarring as this is for viewers, it's clear that even some of the men implicated in the looming engagement can hardly believe their fate. However, this is what we all signed up for, and there's no backing out now. Because this is the last episode before Rachel travels to meet her suitors' families, a.k.a. "hometowns," this week's goal is to get the basic run-down about the men she's dating. (It's crazy how little Rachel knows about each of her suitors, other than that she likes to kiss them.)

Read more: What It's Really Like for Women to Date Bisexual Men

As the Bachelorette takes her relationships to "the next level," we also get the opportunity to become more invested in the romance, which is fun. Bachelor Nation is less of a constituency than a warped mindset—as awful as the franchise gets, the highs have me hooked.

At the start of the episode, in Geneva, Switzerland, there are six men, and Rachel explains to them how things will go down: There will be three one-on-one dates, and one three-on-one date. For each date, there's one rose, which mean two guys will be going home.

It's quite obvious who those two guys will be: Adam and Matt, whose names I struggle to remember from week to week. They've barely featured on the show at all, and it's simply not plausible that their connection with Rachel is strong enough to get them through the harem-style competition.

Still, the dates are still interesting to watch in order to gauge where the other four men rank in the horse race. Bryan, whom I dislike, gets the first one-on-one date. Bryan is the clear frontrunner, and I would even venture that he's most likely going to win. He's a super cheesy guy who says exactly what Rachel wants to hear, and she seems to like that. For their date, Bryan and Rachel drive around in a Bentley and buy watches, in the process making a racial joke: As Peter is trying on a black watch, she asks him if he likes it. "I like black," Peter says. "Do you??" Rachel asks with a wink. "Obviously," he replies. What's more cringe-inducing, however, is that the watch is ugly. It's black with white contrast-stitching, which looks tacky as hell.

"He's a 37-year-old man who lives in Miami."

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Matt and Adam commiserate about the fact that they haven't gotten one-on-one dates, and Rachel barely knows who they are. "Hopefully we'll be the broom that just sweeps her off her feet," Adam says earnestly. Tragic.

Then, while discussing what's potentially happening on the one-on-one, Dean expertly reads Bryan: "He's a 37-year-old man who lives in Miami. He's spent the last 18-plus years swooning and sweet-talking women to the point where he's gotten good at it, and Rachel needs to see if it can go beyond that."

Back on the date, although his deeper qualities are still not apparent to me, Rachel is apparently satisfied with how her relationship with Bryan is progressing. She asks him about his past, and he reveals that he went to an all-boys school… and that's about it. While he does bring up his last relationship, which ended because his ex didn't like his mom, this feels like a ploy to make him seem vulnerable without actually having to be vulnerable. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I just don't like him! Bryan gets a rose and is going to hometowns.

Dean gets the second one-on-one date, before which he expresses that he's worried about Rachel meeting his family because they're not a traditional bunch. On the date, this translates to Dean completely shutting down and avoiding the issue because he's not sure how to tell Rachel. I recognize this response to challenges very well because I'm also emotionally immature and anxious. When she asks him to talk about how he's feeling, he just deflects and makes jokes. However, later in the date, he finally tells Rachel what's going on. He mentions that his father wasn't really there for him after his mother died, and now his father is even more "eccentric." It's not clear what this means until the preview for next week plays at the end of the show and shows his father wearing a turban and vaguely looking like a less elegant Gandalf. Bless Dean's heart. Rachel says she's excited to meet Dean's family, and Dean gets a rose.

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The last one-on-one date goes to Peter, meaning that Eric, Adam, and Matt will go on the three-on-one. Throughout the week, Peter became more and more paranoid, so he really needed this affirmation. Peter brings up the fact that his previous one-on-one was all the way back in week one, and he's been surviving on bread crumbs and furtive glances since then.

I really like Peter, and if it were up to me he would win. But based on what I've seen, I would rank him slightly behind Bryan. He does remind me of Vanessa, who won Nick Viall's season of The Bachelor. I didn't realize it at the time, but Vanessa's struggle was a sign that their relationship was very serious. Nick and Vanessa genuinely went back and forth about how realistic it was for them to get together at the end of the show; in hindsight, it was a sign that they were earnestly trying to figure out how things would work. On the date, after they go dog-sledding, Peter brings up similar hesitations, mentioning that he's considered leaving the show because it's been unclear how Rachel felt about him versus other guys.

Peter also brings up the fact that his last serious relationship really scarred him and it's taken him some time to get over it. He says he "thinks" he's ready to move past it. While that lack of commitment sort of scares Rachel, it seems understandable. It's worth mentioning again that these people barely know each other and what they're ostensibly committing to is a huge deal! Anyone who wouldn't be a little hesitant and guarded in this situation is a sociopath (Bryan). Ultimately, Rachel appreciates the honesty and Peter's hotness, and Peter gets the rose.

While the outcome for the three-on-one date was never in question, there is some suspense nonetheless. The date reminds us that Eric is very inexperienced in love. He tells Rachel that he's never brought a girl home to his family and, if he made it to hometowns, it would be the first time. That's definitely a red flag, and with some editing the producers make it seem like Adam has a chance in hell of moving forward. When talking to Rachel to plead his case, Adam brings up a touching moment they allegedly shared that was deleted by the editors. (Rachel let Matt go at the start of the date and inexplicably sobbed over the loss, telling Matt that under different circumstances they might be together. Watching the scene, I made this face.)

As nice as Eric is, there's no way he can win this thing. His relationship with Rachel isn't as strong as Peter or Bryan's, and he seems like he's still in the process of finding himself. I do think Rachel would be good for him—when she's around him she plays a maternal role, which he seems to need. But I don't think Rachel wants to be anyone's mom. For now, Eric gets a rose and a ticket to hometowns.

Seeing everyone's families will definitely be interesting. A big concern for Rachel this week was whether the contestants' parents would accept her, but the guys have all assured her their families aren't racist. Pending a major shift prompted by hometowns, I'm going to publicly place my bets now: Bryan is going to win, Peter will be the runner-up, and Dean and Eric are comparatively far behind. I hope I'm wrong.