The Pack Turns on Each Other on The Bachelorette

For week five The Bachelorette candidates have been winnowed down to just the serious options, gone are your Chads, your Evans, your Dans (oh, sweet Dan, you were too good for this world), and we are down to just the guys that JoJo doesn’t want to see leave. Any slip up could be deadly for the remaining bachelors. It just got real. Or real-ish anyway, this is still The Bachelorette.
We’re down in Buenos Aires, Argentina this week and after settling into their super-dope hotel, Wells receives a card for a one on one date. Prior to his departure Wells discloses to the other guys that he has not yet kissed JoJo, making him the only one not to have done so. This information is treated with the language and tone of a teenager revealing to his friends that he has not yet lost his virginity. It’s kind of weird. The date itself, a trip to some kind of performance art or nightclub or something, is loaded with tension about that first Wells and JoJo kiss. When it finally happens, on a glass-bottomed dancefloor across which water is flowing (?), it is a bit awkward and passionless. It is no surprise that Wells is sent home after the date. It’s too bad, Wells seemed like an actual good guy, not just a good guy for a Bachelorette candidate. Se la vie.
group date rose
It’s Jordan, James Taylor, Alex, Robby, and Luke on the group date this week which is some outdoor shopping followed by an “impromptu” game of street soccer played against some locals. As always, the actual activity is basically meaningless and much of the sequence is dedicated to James Taylor voicing his insecurities regarding him being the softer, more sensitive, artistic type as opposed to a jock, like, basically, all the other remaining guys. James Taylor is not confident that he will be sticking around much longer, saying explicitly that he feels he is “on the chopping block.” His insecurities lead him to make one the classic Bachelorette blunders and attempting to sabotage one of his fellow candidates; while enjoying some one-on-one time with JoJo he makes reference to a, it would seem, comically minor incident regarding a disagreement about the rules of poker. It’s a bad move; trying to sabotage another candidate should be viewed as, at best, a kamikaze attack. You might succeed in poisoning your rival in the eyes of your desired but you’re almost certainly going to come across as a tattletale who can’t work out his problems on his own. Also, James Taylor has picked the wrong target as JoJo clearly likes Jordan. Which is probably why James Taylor is going after him, and the incident reported is so minor that Jordan is easily able to explain the situation without seeming like he is being dishonest. When JoJo pulls Jordan aside immediately after she has spoken to James Taylor the look on James Taylor’s face as he realizes that he is about to be revealed as a backstabbing crybaby is priceless. Also, James Taylor reveals himself to be the “wrong reasons” guy when he implies that Jordan is only on the show to gain notoriety. This is clearly a case of the pot calling the kettle black as a little-known singer songwriter who shares a name with a very famous singer-songwriter is certainly going to benefit more from appearing on The Bachelorette than will an ex-pro football player.
The two-on-one date, the most cutthroat of competitions in the world of The Bachelorette, is a lesson in three-person tango with Derek and Chase vying for a rose. Prior to the date, Derek attempts some half-assed trash talking to which Chase responds with his trademarked un-sense of humor. Derek seems very confident, so confident that he begins to drop the sensitive-guy shtick that has been his stock and trade thus far and starts to seem like a bit of a shit. Cocky is really not a good look for Derek so it’s pretty satisfying when, despite his dullness, Chase gets the rose. Derek is sent home, struggling to stop crying while the camera lingers on him for a very long time, intercut with a woman singing “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” (get it?) in a sequence which may have been meant to be sympathetic but also may have been meant to be mean and funny (which it is). Funny line from Derek:  “I am Derek, and Derek is imperfect.”
With Chad out of the picture, Alex’s true colors are starting to show and it seems like he might not be so great. Alex is constantly, it seems, projecting his insecurities onto his fellow contestants. Last week it was Derek, this week it’s James Taylor. When Alex says something to the effect of “I can’t see JoJo with a guy like James,” it is unclear whether he is (fairly) referring to James Taylor being a crybaby, or if Alex is uncomfortable with the idea that JoJo might be attracted to a guy who is not the kind of guy that Alex is. However, he is not entirely wrong, James Taylor does not seem like a real viable candidate anymore. When the remaining candidates are walking, Ocean’s 11-style to the Rose Ceremony, it is clear that we are down to guys who were brought onto the show to be “serious” candidates (opposed to “entertaining” candidates, i.e. Chad and Evan), but also that some of the candidates are more “serious” than others. Luke (who “won” the group date) and Chase already have roses and nobody thinks that Jordan or Robby are going home, so it’s no surprise that the final two candidates for the last rose are Alex and James Taylor; and then… TWIST! JoJo cannot make up her mind and Chris Harrison gives her a second rose so that both guys can stay. This is nice for JoJo but really this is merely a stay of execution for Alex and James Taylor, neither of them seem at all likely to hang on for many more weeks. One of them will be the next to go and really seems like a horse apiece.
Week 5 Power Rankings:
1. Luke: He got the Group Date Rose this week and JoJo really seems to have the hots for him. Added to this is the fact that the other guys don’t seem to be recognizing him as a legitimate threat and he has been able to stay above the fray.
2. Jordan: He suffered a bit from James Taylor’s shade-throwing but he bounced back nicely, and even made up some ground by opening up about his feelings to JoJo. He’s playing to win.
3. Robby: It was a quiet week for Robby, which might be the smart move for him. Now that he has established his presence he would do well to avoid any backbiting. This guy has future “Bachelor” written all over him if he doesn’t win JoJo’s heart.
Wells: Alas, he seemed like a really good guy, maybe the only one of these dudes with whom you might actually enjoy hanging out, but let’s face it, he’s not really The Bachelorette type.
Derek: Boy, he really seemed like a turd there at the end. He will be missed?
Surprise Survivors
James Taylor and Alex: Both of these guys dodged a bullet this week. Alex makes some noise about not liking that he got a “pity rose” but we’ll see how much better he likes “no rose” in the coming weeks, for sure.

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