‘The Bachelor’ Recap: An Ode to The Soulless Reality Star

Reality television is full of soulless cretins eager to debase themselves for fame. Just three episodes into this season of The Bachelor, Arie Luyendyk is up there among the worst of them.

Arie went on a slaughter spree this week, separately eliminating three girls, two before the rose ceremony. First on the chopping block was Lauren S., who Arie took on the coveted one-on-one date to a vineyard in Napa Valley. Things started out fine until Lauren had the audacity to feel nervous and talk about how much she loved her family. Arie stared right through her with cold blue eyes as he disinterestedly sipped wine and sliced steak. Lauren felt the pressure, admitting in a cutaway interview that she “wasn’t herself.” Come rose time, Arie picked it up and held it in front of her only to say he “wasn’t feeling it” and couldn’t give it to her. In one fell swoop, Arie went from friendly, handsome failed racecar driver (seriously, he wasn’t good) to ruthless contestant killer.

Next up was Annaliese, who revealed a traumatizing experience with bumper cars during last week’s group date. A group date training dogs should have been perfect, but unfortunately for Annaliese, they traumatized her as a child too. Her poor performance led to cringingly awkward private conversations before she finally confronted Arie about being the only girl he hadn’t yet kissed. Arie seemed to forget shoving his tongue down literally every other contestant’s throat, and coldly said they “weren’t there yet,” sending Annaliese and her b-roll laden childhood traumas packing. (We did get a good post-credit one, though. Hopefully she comes back somehow.)

It was a glimpse into Arie’s motivations as The Bachelor. He’s the kind of soulless void reality producers dream of. He fits the mold in every way, from his “laid back” (read: nonexistent) personality to his product-filled hair and feigned masculinity. Through three episodes, he’s managed to go without saying anything of substance while making out with any contestant he finds attractive (and that doesn’t talk too much). It’s no surprise that Krystal, the consensus house villain, has emerged as an early frontrunner—she’s playing the game as much as he is.

That made it all the less shocking when Bibiana, aka the Queen of Realness, was denied a rose. She set up a cute little daybed in the courtyard to woo Arie, only for him to take every other date there (including 22-year-old Bekah M., the only contestant thus far to call him on his shit). Bibiana was distraught, but Arie saved the day as he walked her out, calling her “amazing” in the same flat, unemotional tone he used with Lauren S. and Annaliese.

He doesn’t actually think any of them are amazing. He’s just saying what he thinks he has to. Arie is “polite” and says the “right things,” which essentially means he parrots back whatever the contestants say to him while awkwardly grabbing at their shoulders and knees. Calling any person he eliminates “amazing” fits the made-for-reality TV mold. It probably makes him feel like a nice guy, but shows he’s really a calculating fake.

If you’re a true emotionless reality star, that’s just how you play the game. So far, Arie is built for it.