Every week, Bachelor host and executive producer Chris Harrison is giving EW his behind-the-scenes take on the latest episode.
Welcome back, Bachelor Nation! We are right in the middle of the season and as you can see we are taking big steps forward, both in terms of romance and in terms of drama. It feels like Arie is on a rollercoaster and has just reached the top. He’s about to go straight down and feel the thrill, but I’m pretty confident there are quite a few loops and twists before he even gets to hometowns in a few weeks. Let’s dive right in and talk about what happened in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Finally, after many weeks of waiting, Chelsea finally got her one-on-one date. She got the first impression rose and immediately got a bit of a target on her back. In addition, Chelsea has a really dry sense of humor and I think she may have started off on the wrong foot with some of the women. However, over the last few weeks, it seems like the other women started to be able to sense when Chelsea was joking and, perhaps as a result of the group focusing their energy on Krystal, Chelsea was no longer the divisive figure she was in the house at first. That doesn’t mean that the women were rooting for her to get a rose, not by a long shot, but after Chelsea finally got the opportunity to really relax, open up about her life, and be herself, and she got the rose easily.
As we know, Arie has a very soft spot for single moms. Chelsea, in my opinion, has a really good heart and is a devoted and loving mother, and Arie is 36 and has been anxious for a long time now to get going on a family. He would be ready to take on that responsibility, and I think Chelsea knows that. It was a great date to start out the week and it ended with a beautiful concert by Tenille Arts. As far as things in Fort Lauderdale go, this really was the calm before the storm.
Ah, yes, the group date. What started off as a fun day at the bowling alley quickly descended into total chaos. There’s always one date that just goes completely off the rails, but I don’t think any of us expected it to be the bowling date. And I don’t think anyone expected it to happen the way it happened. This feels like one of the most dramatic turns I can remember. Without simply recapping it, let’s talk about what may have caused all of this. Krystal has been a polarizing force in the house since her second week disagreement with Bibiana. Last week things started to boil over with Caroline and Tia, but with Caroline gone and Tia on a one-on-one date, I think everyone thought this would all just blow over.
Something about Arie’s inability to give Krystal the affirmation she felt she deserved really threw her over the edge. I can’t say I fully blame her. When you get an early one-on-one and have to wait around it can be very emotionally taxing. Becca K admittedly was having a hard week as well, but the ways that she and Krystal handled it were basically polar opposites. Krystal seemed to feel like Arie didn’t care about her, but perhaps the most perplexing thing about the whole week was that she chose to not spend more time with Arie because she didn’t feel like she wasn’t going to have enough time with Arie? I’m confused. And so was Arie.
From Arie’s perspective, it was a mixed night. On the one hand, he had a great deal of important conversations with many of the women. At the same time, the nagging doubts left by his interactions with Krystal weren’t just making him question Krystal — he was left to question his own judgment. After all, Krystal was one of the women that he felt the most confident about in the early weeks and now he’s not even sure she’s going to get a hometown date. What other decisions has he made along the way that maybe weren’t the best? These questions will continue to haunt him. Meanwhile, Krystal will live to see another day and next week there will be a reckoning and a decision to be made by both of them, one way or the other.
The final date of the week was one I think we’ve all been waiting to see: his date with Tia. Tia has been a fan favorite since the beginning and every week her relationship with Arie has been growing, but we haven’t yet gotten to see how these two people will connect when they have a long period of comfortable and uninterrupted time. I think we were all as surprised as Arie was to hear Tia tell Arie she was falling in love with him, but for some reason, it just felt right. Tia is honest and authentic and I think you could see in Arie’s face how he lit up when she said those words to him. After the disaster that was the group date, Arie really needed to reinvigorate his hope in romance, and this date did exactly that.
Things are going well, but as the group dwindles, the decisions that Arie makes are going to get harder and harder. And no decision so far has been as hard as the decision Arie will have to make next week on what may well be one of the most dramatic two-on-one dates in Bachelor history. I promise you: You will not want to miss this one! See you Monday!