And then there were four.
Yes, JoJo Fletcher has whittled down her list of sub-par suitors to a quartet of dudes so unworthy that the dream of the first black Bachelor is ever closer to becoming a reality.
I can’t imagine any of these guys fronting their own season, lacking either the personality required to maintain our interest or the likability necessary for us to care. And if not an African American, then they might as well go with The Chad. At least he would guarantee ratings.
It’s a big week for The Bachelorette, as JoJo will head to the hometowns of her four remaining men in a cross-country whirlwind that will take her from Colorado to California to Florida and then to Texas. First up is Highlands Ranch and Chase “I can’t believe I’m here either” McNary.
He’s waiting for her atop a snow-capped mountain, and she leaps into his arms and wraps her legs around him, as has become her customary greeting. He is anxious (the nervous kind, not the excited) to reveal that he comes from a broken home, as his parents divorced when he was 8 years old, which is the main reason he has such a hard time opening up in relationships. His mother and father haven’t spoken in years, so she’ll be meeting them separately.
It’s off to Casa de Chase, where Pops offers sage advice about learning from his mistakes. Chase asks his remarried dear old dad why the first attempt didn’t work out, and it seems like he’s seeking answers for the first time as well. They have a deep conversation in perfect monotones about the catch that is JoJo, and even though they both sound like they’re doing a classroom roll call, the patriarch is pleased that his son seems so happy.
At night, the date continues with Chase’s mom, step-dad, sister, bro-in-law and adorable nephew Everett (who has a binky with a mustache on it). One look at Mom and you can tell she’s a woman who likes her wine, and she knows right off the bat that Chase is crazy about JoJo.
They chat outside, and Mom confirms JoJo’s belief that Chase shows his love through actions and not words. But it’s all about having fun, and if you’re not laughing, you’re not happy. “I can tell you know how to have fun,” JoJo quips to her potential future mother-in-law, and a good chuckle is had by all.
Chase and his sister discuss how they don’t say “I love you” very easily because they were hurt by those who are supposed to love them unconditionally. But he thinks he’s ready for the real deal. Mom tells him she’s happy he’s home and that she likes JoJo because 1) she’s darling, 2) she has a great laugh, 3) she eats fish and 4) she is fond of Chase. Then she jumps right to asking him if he’ll propose at the end.
JoJo says her goodbyes, and after kisses by the SUV, Chase drops the bomb that he’s definitely falling in love. She responds that she “feels really good,” but you can see in her body language that it’s not reciprocated fully.
You feel for the guy, but c’mon, does anyone see him winning? He’s nice and normal enough, but let’s be honest; he’s more Bachelor in Paradise material.
The Pride of Chico’s Little Brother
The next stop on the love tour is Chico, California, where the pride and joy of the town is none other than Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers. But this trip is about Jordan, who takes JoJo on a nostalgic trip down memory lane to his old high school.
The electronic sign outside Pleasant Valley High School welcomes them with a rose, and they are greeted by Jordan’s JV football coach and a few other teachers. The theme of the upcoming prom is Rustic Romance, and they make out in the library while Jordan repeatedly says the L word to the camera.
They look at some old photos on the wall, but Jordan freezes up as soon as she spots Aaron. It is clear that he’s not interested in discussing the family dynamic, even telling her there’s no reason for it to be a topic with the relatives.
The Elephant QB in the Room
It’s on to the family, where JoJo meets the parents, his brother Luke and his brother’s girlfriend Lindsay. Mom refers to him as her “spicy child” because he was the kid who threatened to run away, but he always knew how far to push it before caving.
JoJo notices two empty seats at the table and can sense the family’s pain, and she asks Luke about the famous bro and avoiding conversation about him. He says it’s not something they talk about, but he’s impressed that Jordan opened up to her because it means she’s something special.
He points out that while many may think Jordan had life handed to him on a silver platter, he actually had it harder because he followed a similar path with the most daunting of expectations. So he had to be his own man and has accomplished so much without anything being given to him.
Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood
Mr. Rodgers has noticed a skip in his son’s step, and he can see a unique connection between the young love birds. JoJo tells him she has a newfound respect for Jordan because he had to work hard to establish himself, and “he is nobody’s brother.” Man, they are really shitting on Aaron. But I’m sure he can wipe away his tears with his millions of dollars.
Jordan’s mom is an adorably hopeless romantic, and after he admits he’s in love, she believes this may be his destiny and fairy tale ending. In a rather surprisingly candid moment, Jordan admits that he wishes Aaron was there, especially at times like these, and he simply misses his brother.
Look, I don’t know if his intentions are sincere, but after browsing his Instagram page and learning that he has a Frenchie named Carl Weathers, I think I’d like to be friends with him. He seems fun. Would Carl like to play with Ned, Jordan? Let’s schedule a play date.
There are more I love yous as they say their goodbyes, and the way she gazes at him reveals the stark contrast between her relationships with Chase and Jordan. She wants to reciprocate the sentiment, but her Ben scars are bared as she questions if he will “want it forever.” He thought they were past these doubts, but as he takes proposals seriously, all he can do is work to earn her trust.
JoJo’s third destination is St. Augustine, Florida, where Robby gives her a tour of the city’s historic downtown district in a horse-drawn carriage. He’s hoping to get an “I love you,” while she raves about his multi-faceted personality. She has moments when she feels like she’s falling in love, but she’s also conflicted over whether he’s truly over his last long-term relationship that ended just three months prior.
He offers reassurances that it’s all part of the past, but since her Ben baggage lingers, she can’t help but wonder if his heart is fully free. And it doesn’t help convince her when Robby’s mom shares the news that there is gossip being spread about him and his intentions.
JoJo makes an incredible first impression on mama bear Hayes and Robby’s two younger brothers, who believe that she can hold her own and fit in perfectly with the family. His mom is one of his best friends and wants to clear the air about any reservations JoJo may have, so she asks about said girlfriend, fearful that he will realize he didn’t take enough time for himself before diving into an engagement.
Mom points out that there’s always a chance of getting hurt in any relationship, but if it’s the real deal, Robby will go in with his whole heart, which he wears on his sleeve. JoJo then admits to her that’s she’s falling in love. Wow, it looks like we have our final two, ladies and gents. The only question now is if it will be Chase or Luke going home next.
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
While JoJo and the sisters pow wow on a bed like it’s a slumber party, Robby’s mom breaks the news that his ex-girlfriend’s roommate has been a chatty Cathy, telling the tabloids that Robby broke up with Hope Higginbotham to be on the show.
See, this is what’s bad about these types of rumors and reading them ahead of time. You go in believing them to be true and with a preconceived notion of someone, and it colors how you view their actions throughout the course of the season. But seeing how stunned and hurt he is at the allegations, it makes you wonder. I try not to read spoilers, but perhaps I should have been giving him a bit more leeway.
He decides to nip it in the bud and clear the air with JoJo immediately, but it only fans the flames of her fears. She asks him why the ex’s roommate would lie, and he replies that he has no idea. Um, yeah, the obvious answer is to make him look bad and sabotage his chances of winning in order to vindicate the hurt he caused her friend. And it apparently worked. Yet he is clueless as to why she’d tout such salacious lies.
His strategy is deny, deny, deny, promising that his intentions are honest and that he won’t disappoint her. And though he does little to ease her doubts, she decides to trust him, at least for now. They kiss and say their goodbyes, and it’s a rather tumultuous end to an otherwise reaffirming date.
May the Force Be with You
The final hometown visit takes JoJo to the tiny town of Burnet, Texas, for a rendezvous with Luke, seemingly the only functional human being left in the competition. And I’m using that term loosely to explain a man best described as Ben Higgins without the personality. Seriously, I’ve seen more animation in Christmas decorations.
Still, he’s the best one for her in the long run, whether she realizes it or not, though it remains to be seen if she can handle true country living or if he can break the cyborg mold and show dynamic emotion.
The unsuspecting Bachelorette doesn’t realize that she’s not just meeting the veteran’s family but nearly the entire town, which has gathered at the farm for a BBQ picnic meet-and-greet. She is introduced to the parents, the sister and 50 of Luke’s closest friends. He knows everything about the townfolk, and she finds his love of family — blood and otherwise — endearing.
She’s immediately welcomed and comfortable, and her engaging personality wins over Mom and Dad and sends Luke careening off the reservation and into a full-blown love bloom. Once he knows she fits into his life, he’s ready to open his heart and start dropping L bombs.
Diving on the Grenade
After a great day, Luke has planned a special romantic scenario to express his feelings. They ride horses out to a couch made of hay to watch the sunset, and while JoJo feels the chemistry, she needs to pry a bit deeper below the surface.
This date has been a daydream for him, and every time they’re together, his heart becomes more and more involved. He can visualize their future, the future he wants, but he comes up just short of saying those three little words before another slow-motion kiss.
You can tell she’s disappointed, but wait! He has yet another romantic surprise, this one a pathway of candles that lead to flowers laid out in the shape of a heart. There, he musters a “My heart is yours,” but he still doesn’t actually say, “I love you.” It gets awkward after that, with him asking her what’s wrong and JoJo responding that she wished they had more time together. But that’s not what she’s wishing.
If I were a betting man, he just sealed his fate.
It’s time for four to become three, and JoJo readies for the most painful elimination yet amid lingering doubts and fears of making a mistake. She has to trust her heart, though, and she believes it’s time to say goodbye to Luke.
But before she can hand out any posies at the rose ceremony — oddly held at an airport hangar, with the three surviving gents immediately jetting off to their next destination — Luke requests a private chat.
All he’s been focused on is what he didn’t say, and he doesn’t know if he waited too long, but she has to know he’s in love with her. But no uplifting music plays after the declaration. Instead, JoJo simply thanks him, saying the one thing he needed to say was the one thing she needed to hear.
And now, of course, she has no idea what to do, with all her plans and confidence thrown into disarray. She breaks down in a crumbled mess of tears on the runway, her indecision indicative of only one certainty, one truth — “To be continued.”
So while we’ll have to wait another week for closure, it seems a change of heart would only delay the inevitable. I’m convinced that the final two will be Robby and Jordan, the two contestants who were the most pre-judged in this competition. Whether it is justified or not is a matter of opinion, at least at this point, but we can worry about that during the After the Final Rose.
Until then, we’ll just have to hope that JoJo can scrape a decent boyfriend from the bottom of the barrel. At least she’s guaranteed some serious abs, which make it easier to overlook a lot. Apologies to Wells. And my wife.