In a world where things seem to oscillate quickly between madness and tragedy, sometimes you need a soothing balm of something dull, reliable, and guaranteed to not actually matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. You need something that will help lull you to sleep with how familiar and trivial it is. Something that will get you dreaming about roses and helicopters and identically lanky, brunette white men rather than the increasingly plausible end times.
Accordingly, let’s do a little rundown of the four remaining Bachelorette contestants, in much the same way someone might suggest that you induce sleep by counting sheep. We’ll go from least likely to win to most likely to win (or mostly likely to be the next Bachelor, which may be what winning really looks like).
If Chase makes it to the end of this thing, I will not be here to tell you about it, because I will have fallen so deeply and irrevocably asleep, they’re going to need some kind of Sleeping Beauty prince kiss situation to wake me back up.
Chase’s hometown performance was actually quite promising — it was far and away the most personality this guy has shown all season, and he did manage to surpass his previous personality peak (some form of fake yoga that involved a lot of grunting and hip thrusting). His conversations with his family about how hard his parents’ divorce was and how difficult it is for him to trust people now did make a lot of sense, and it was clear that JoJo wants to like the guy.
But Chase is a classic case of too little, too late. In Argentina, he went on a two-on-one date with JoJo and another contestant who looked so much like Chase that I truly could not tell them apart. Even now, humanized by his family’s backstory and newly granted the capacity to demonstrate some slight hint of emotion on his face, Chase still looks like what I imagine a digital composite of all the other Bachelorette contestants’ faces put together would look like. He’s an easy cut.
Of the four remaining men, Robby may be the most interesting left on the show. We’ve lost Meat Chad, the beating dramatic heart (or maybe the flexing bicep) of JoJo’s season, and good stories have been in short supply since then. The best one we’ve got left is Robby, who broke up with his girlfriend very shortly before appearing on the show, and whose Reasons, therefore, may not be quite Right.
Robby’s also appealing because he wants it. Badly. He’s been the most open with JoJo about how much he’s falling for her, and when things go south on the hometown date as JoJo questions his motives, his immense frustration and worry is written all over his face. Here’s the problem with Robby, though — if Chase has peaked too late, only now demonstrating the kind of emotional capacity to qualify as potential love object, Robby’s dramatic arc has peaked too soon. You don’t want your potential hidden girlfriend to show up in your hometown when there are still four people left. That’s the kind of drama you want producers to save for the final moments, when it’s just you and one remaining guy. As it is, Robby’s story has been used as grist for the mid-season dramatic slump, and I’m afraid there’s just not much more of Robby to grind in the narrative mill.
At some point, the question of who will win a Bachelor or Bachelorette season has as much to do with who has the best relationship with the Bachelorette as it does who would make the best Bachelor for next season. In a season full of fairly boring personalities (other than, as previously mentioned, the obviously unsuitable Meat Chad), that contest seems to come down to Luke and Jordan.
The edit of last night’s hometown episode is the first one that makes me wonder if Luke might strategically being pushed into that position. His was the last date, and it was the only one that featured a contestant and JoJo spending time together to the tune of some vaguely recognizable and probably computer-generated country song. While all of the other contestants brought JoJo home to small family gatherings, Luke’s dirt road barbeque featured dozens of friends and family — as if to say, look at how many people already love this deserving, attractive war veteran. (And if that big country welcome seemed familiar as an indicator of strong character status, think back to Faith’s story on UnREAL.)
As a further vote in Luke’s favor as potential Bachelor, and against his likelihood of winning this Bachelorette season, JoJo’s rose ceremony breakdown — held inexplicably in an airport hangar — suggested that she was about to send Luke home. At the last moment, as he takes her aside and tells her he loves her, she’s “forced” to reconsider. This has a strong whiff of the Inexorable Hand of the Producer reaching in to create a cliffhanger. Signs look good both for Luke to not make it all the way, and for him to be the object of producer protection.
This brings us, at last, to Jordan Not-Aaron Rodgers, the favorite from the beginning and the favorite at the end. He was first out the limo. JoJo instantly appreciated his assets. He’s got enough sob story and fame and potential motivation question marks to carry him through to the end as an interesting candidate, but the accusations aren’t so pointed that he’s irrevocably marred in the narrative. If I had to pick a winner (and I did, for my beloved Bachelorette fantasy league), it would be Jordan.
At the same time, Jordan is also an obvious choice for a future Bachelor. His fame proximity, coupled with The Bachelorette’s insistent edit that he is nevertheless down-to-earth and humble, is the stuff of a set-it-and-forget-it easy Bachelor season. And his chemistry with JoJo just does not seem as wholehearted as the hay-bale romance and down-home Texas feel that Luke was offering her in this most recent episode. He’s got a crooked smile, a swooping hairstyle, and a little bit of a blank spot behind the eyes.
So there you have it. Four remaining contestants, two obvious front runners, and one brief interlude of a relaxing brain vacation from the horrors of the real world. Here’s hoping for sweet, Chris Harrison–scented dreams.