In promotional features and post-season interviews, Rachel Lindsay has been very clear that she ends this season happily engaged. But her bumper crop of eligible men has been whittled down to an unusually well-matched final three, making it more difficult than usual to assess who’ll be walking away with the final rose. Let’s take a look at the possibilities.
Eric is the sweetheart pick of the bunch. He’s patently into Rachel, his family loves her, and he and Rachel seem to have a lovely time together. Eric is also unfailingly sincere, in a way that makes him especially appealing in a context where motives are often highly suspect. The major concern about Eric is that he’s had so few significant relationships in the past — Rachel’s been more explicit than many past Bachelorettes that she wants to get married and have a family as quickly as possible, and Eric’s relative youth and inexperience make it hard to feel confident he knows what he’s getting into.
Peter and Rachel are undeniably good together. They seem legitimately into one another, they take each other seriously, and Peter seems both grounded and capable of having fun. He also has two additional things going for him. The first is that early in the season he told Rachel about a previous romantic relationship that had a really difficult ending, and Peter spoke thoughtfully about how helpful therapy was for him in the aftermath. Rachel obviously found that appealing. The second thing Peter has going for him is that he’s just really attractive.
The potential concern about Peter has really only been apparent in the last few episodes. At the fantasy suite stage, he expressed apprehension about actually being engaged at the end of the show. And while his stance on engagement seems eminently reasonable — he wants it to lead directly to marriage, do not pass go, do not collect several tabloid covers in the process — Rachel was decidedly nonplussed. (Also, Peter, if you actually feel this way about engagement, was the Bachelor franchise ever going to be a great fit for you?)
Here’s the thing with Bryan: Rachel is all over him. She has been from the very first episode, where they ended up kissing in some alcove in the Bachelor Mansion while everyone else was off eyeing one another uncomfortably. She went on a date where she bought him an absurdly expensive watch, and they basically attacked one another in front of the poor watch salesman.
Bryan does have some red flags. His demeanor has been smooth enough that he comes off as a little too smooth, making him seem less genuine, especially next to the ultra-earnest Eric. Maybe even more troubling, his mother seems way, way too attached. The most perfect man in the world could still be a nightmare if you’re constantly fighting to take priority over his mother.
So, who wins?
My money’s on Bryan, but I wish she’d choose either Eric or Peter. I think that unlike Peter, Bryan is willing to tell Rachel that he’s all in, no holds barred, no high-minded concerns about engagement being too serious for a reality-show relationship.
And unlike Eric, Bryan is older and has enough experience that Rachel feels reassured he knows what he wants. Bryan’s visit with Rachel’s family was also highly suggestive. While her family had obvious doubts about him, Rachel was distinctly frustrated that they didn’t immediately love him, and became seriously defensive when they tried to raise questions about him.
But Rachel, his charm borders on smarm! And did you not see what’s going on with his mother? That is not going to be an easy Thanksgiving with the in-laws.
If Rachel does indeed pick Bryan, as I am afraid she will, there is a silver lining. Either Peter or Eric could be Bachelor! The possibility of Eric is especially interesting, given the Bachelor would once again feature a black lead and likely also a diverse cast. Whatever happens, Rachel’s been a stellar Bachelorette, and she deserves only the best. I hope she’s happy. And I hope she sets some very firm boundaries with Bryan’s mother.