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Credit: ABC
4. Season 5 (Jesse Palmer)

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! I can’t believe it. It only feels like a few weeks since Janu-Arie 1st, and now here we are, down to the final four remaining women. Seven women came into the week, and as you saw, we did things a little differently than we’ve been doing in the past. The Bachelor is an ever-evolving experience, and challenging Arie to make tough decisions is part of the journey. If you’re falling in love with several people, it’s really important to not just continue coasting in the relationships and start taking big steps towards permanence, especially before you’re going to meet someone’s family.

Instead of walking through every single date, I want to instead address some of the bigger moments of the week and talk about what they meant for Arie’s journey. Ever since the first day of his journey, Arie has been a little worried that some of the women wouldn’t want to be with him. So far, that has not borne out, as the women seem to really be falling in love with Arie, each at their own speeds. Jacqueline was the first woman to really make Arie question himself, and I think the emotion that he felt that night is also part of what you saw from him at the end of the episode. Jacqueline very much has been playing catch-up, and last week in Paris she took a big step forward. Jacqueline is actually a lot like Arie, in that she is constantly fluctuating between following her head and following her heart. The truth is that the right decision often can’t be led with either head or heart exclusively. In this case, it seems as if Jacqueline let her head win. She was being logical and Arie couldn’t help but respect that, but as you can see in both of their emotional reactions, their hearts were somewhat surprised by the decisions their heads made.

I know this is skipping around a bit, but we saw a lot of the same emotion when Arie said goodbye to Bekah M. at the end of the episode. We all know that Arie was magnetically drawn to Bekah M. from the beginning, but as soon as he found out her age in Lake Tahoe, I think he had been systematically trying to use his logic to convince himself that his feelings weren’t legitimate. It’s hard to know how his relationship with Bekah would have progressed if either she were older, or if he somehow never learned her age. But his feelings stalled, and then when he said goodbye to her, I think that was a decision led mostly by his head. And you could see when he gave the rose to Tia, he was very excited but he also was questioning his own decisions: not his decision to pick Tia, but his decision to be logical.

It looked a lot like regret. Again, I don’t think Arie wishes he had made a different decision, but I think he’s starting to question his ability to always make the right decision. When you look at the remaining women — Tia, Lauren, Kendall, and Becca — you start to see that all of these women are remarkably different. These decisions for Arie are not comparing apples to apples. In fact, at this point he should be trying not to compare these women to each other at all, and just focusing on figuring out how his life would look with each of them as individuals.

Next week is a big week. Arie is falling in love with several women, and he is about to meet their families. I promise you you’re not going to want to miss this one. But first, tomorrow is the premiere of the Bachelor Winter Games. Make sure you tune in to the first ever international celebration of love. There will be fun, adventure, and love, and there WILL BE TEARS! See you tomorrow night!

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