Frank is as baffling to me now as he has been to Ali all season long. Part of me believes his decision to leave Ali for his ex — especially at this Top Three moment, as dramatic as it could get without being the final proposal week — proves he’s just a Machiavellian ”aspiring screenwriter” who wrote himself into his very own romantic reality plotline. Part of me believes he stumbled upon the most elaborate get-your-ex-back scheme ever. And part of me respects him for speaking his feelings now, lest he find himself forever holding his peace. This much I can say: Leaving Ali at this late stage took guts. How you feel about those guts is a matter of interpretation.
Frank’s play to reunite with his ex, meanwhile, didn’t exactly come off on screen as well as it might have been scripted in his head. Make no mistake, it was effective enough in that it got the girl — it just happened to play almost as uncomfortably real as Ali’s conference call with Justin’s Canadian girlfriend. (Have we ever seen so many civilian cameos on a season of The Bachelorette before?) Certainly the Bachelorette producers had no reason to set this scenario up with the same loving romance they lavish on, say, a candlelight beach picnic in Tahiti between Ali and one of her remaining suitors. But wow, this felt strange. First, Frank twisted himself in verbal knots trying to justify his position as Not a Jackass Like Justin (”I haven’t talked to Nicole in months,” he made sure to tell us), and thus gave us one of the many confounding definitions of ”love” we would encounter in this episode. ”Ali and I have a connection that very few people have,” he told viewers/the jury as he spoke to the camera/the judge. ”It’s fun, it’s romantic, it’s sexy, it’s everything I would want in a relationship. I could see us getting married one day.” Furthermore: ”I came here to fall in love with Ali, and I did. But there’s something holding me back. As my feelings for Ali have grown, these feelings inside me have been brewing for my ex-girlfriend Nicole.” In conclusion: ”As I’ve fallen in love with Ali, I’ve realized I might still be in love with Nicole.”
I propose that at least half of these people’s problems would be solved by banning use of the word ”love” until the final episode. There’s a reason normal people in real life don’t generally throw it at every attractive person they meet. To wit: ”Am I still in love with Nicole,” Frank wondered aloud on the longest walk ever taken in Chicago, ostensibly on his way to see Nicole (maybe he walked all the way from his parents’ in the suburbs?). ”Or am I ready to give myself to Ali?” Oh, Frank, the cameras are all too happy to help you figure that out.
NEXT: Paging the grammar police