In a Bachelor season already plagued by the mystery of whether Colton Underwood is engaged or not — he’s not wearing a ring, and has refused to comment on his relationship status — it still might come as a surprise that the show’s most-teased moment has been when, in a fit of anger and confusion, Underwood jumps over a very tall fence to escape the gang of cameras hounding him. “I’m fucking done,” he sneers at Chris Harrison before showing off his raccoon-esque climbing abilities, leaving our resident Bachelor Nation host flummoxed over what the hell just happened.
Though The Bachelor hasn’t yet reached the moment of Underwood’s jump, ABC has slowly dripped out intel about the backstory behind it, which will occur during the “fantasy suites” episode. “The jump was the most emotional and the most physical that I had to be the entire season,” Underwood teased in one interview. “I will also say that fence jump is the most pivotal moment. That was a game-changer. That night changed how everything went.” Harrison himself later added in a different interview that he “may or may not have been the reason” Underwood hopped the fence.
With theories running rampant about what lead to the jump, Vulture has gathered the most prevalent fan ideology — sourced from social media — for some well-informed speculation about what caused Underwood to do such a thing. We know there are a lot of spoilers out there, so Google them on your own accord if so inclined, but know that this is a spoiler-free zone.
Theory No. 1: Underwood declares his love for a contestant, but the contestant leaves.
In terms of what we actually hear Underwood say in the trailers that tease the jump, the voice-over has him sniffling and expressing heartbreak over what seems to be the dissolution of a relationship. “Every time I put myself out there, I get fucking rejected,” he says. “I have sacrificed and given up everything to have my heart broken. I don’t know what the future holds for me.” Underwood could’ve been ready, with an unprecedented four women remaining, to declare his love for one particular contestant, but the non-mutual feelings instead spurred the woman to leave and send him on a rejection spiral to the fence. The current front-runner for the heartbreaker is Cassie, owing to the fact you can pretty easily see her profile in a trailer that toasts to the fantasy suites.
Theory No. 2: Underwood declares his love for a contestant, only for the contestant to admit that while she has feelings, they’re not as far along.
As a slightly less extreme contestant reaction compared to the first theory, Underwood could’ve professed his love for someone — perhaps to the extent he wanted to lose his virginity to her — but the feelings are not completely reciprocated to his liking. Still, knowing there’s an emotional imbalance between them sends him on a soul-searching trip to the fence. Given that he’s wearing the same clothes during his “every time I put myself out there I get fucking rejected” statement and his fence-jumping moment, it seems like he’s going to be romantically rebuffed, in some way, by a woman on a “fantasy suites” evening.
Theory No. 3: Underwood is ready to lose his virginity to a contestant, but she decides she doesn’t want that responsibility.
Another sound cue we have from the teasers is Underwood, weeping while hugging a contestant, saying “I’m scared.” Given that his virginity in an integral part of Underwood’s journey — an activity he’s spoken about with care throughout the season — the thing he was “scared” about could’ve been taking that next step of physical intimacy, with the woman ultimately choosing to pass on being his first sexual partner, for whatever reason. As it’s the first time Underwood ever wanted to initiate such a step, he considers this a “rejection” and runs away to gather his emotions.
Theory No. 4: Harrison tells Underwood that a contestant is hiding something, thus making him question the legitimacy of the relationship.
We can’t forget about Harrison’s admission that he “may or may not” have contributed to the jump, and given that contestants frequently come with unspoken baggage about past relationships, it’s not far-fetched to think — especially with the relationship milestone that often accompanies “fantasy suites” — Harrison sat his buddy down and told him one of the women was withholding something pivotal about her personal life. Remember: Past seasons have revealed certain contestants had secret significant others waiting for them back at home — or rather, ex-significant others who have the audacity to show up and try to win them back — and exposing a contestant as disingenuous could be the fuel that sends Underwood on his teary-eyed disappearance.