‘The Bachelor’ Week 6: Wait, Actual Emotion?

Pursuit of victory and fame drives reality television. But during Week 6 of the current season of The Bachelor, emotion and vulnerability outpaced competitive impulses and the need to make the world know your name.

Kendall was the unquestioned episode MVP, vanquishing Krystal The Indestructible on their two-on-one date with Arie. Kendall didn’t just best Krystal, she bested Krystal in a surprising way. Kendall led with empathy, emotionally explaining that she understands why Krystal operates the way she does, even after she found out about Krystal had talked smack about her to Arie. It was a shockingly human moment in a Bachelor world defined by petty squabbles and reality TV bloodlust.

For a moment it appeared it would backfire. Kendall was too vulnerable; Krystal offered nothing but blank expressions and empty platitudes in return. We’ve all seen this before—reality TV sociopaths eat empathy for breakfast. But in an equally shocking move, Arie rewarded Kendall the coveted rose, leaving Krystal and all her confidence waiting at the dinner table as if the server forgot her doggy bag.

Let’s just take a minute to pour one out for Krystal. She’s catty and dramatic, but she’s also given the show most of its best material this season (and some we may never see). She manipulated her way to five roses and appeared to lock up the sixth through sheer ruthlessness. She shit-talked Arie and spoke to him in coded language about something that definitely might have happened. (Full disclosure, I subscribe to this theory.) She called the other contestants desperate and insecure while acting desperate and insecure. She was the perfect reality show villain. We’ll miss you, Krystal.

But that wasn’t all Arie shocked us with. During the first one-on-one date of Week 6, he revealed to Lauren B. that he nearly became a father before his ex lost his baby and broke up with him. It was a much needed jolt, as the date was a snooze fest to that point, but the revelation represented a little bit more than that. Before this week, Arie has said nothing of substance. He’s a 36-year-old who describes every person, place or thing as amazing, sexy or beautiful. It’s no shock that Lauren B., the only person on the show with less to say than Arie, brought it out of him. It’s like he felt the need to reveal a big dark secret to coax something more than a quiet “wow” out of her. (It worked; turns out Lauren B. used to talk and was once engaged herself.)

Arie managed to retain some of his vapidity during the Moulin Rouge group date. He said he’d award a rose to whoever he felt most compatible with, but ended up giving it to Bekah M., the woman 13 years his junior who he’s admittedly “afraid” of falling for. He also got to look at a lot of butts in thongs.

Bekah M. told Arie she wouldn’t still be on the show if she wasn’t into him, which is probably true. But she also wouldn’t be there if she didn’t run away from home or want to be famous. (Her Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise stock is rising weekly, by the way.)

The week closed out with another one-on-one date, this time with Jacqueline. It was nice getting to see more of her, because she is smart and lovely and clearly too good for Arie. Still, the Bachelor rode his momentum and gave her a rose. Look at this guy getting all emotionally intelligent. Soon enough he’ll be writing the women sonnets.

For the other women that lost, there isn’t much to say. I honestly didn’t even know Jenna existed before this week. Chelsea came in hot the first week and despite her single motherhood seemed like she’d be the consensus villain. But the fact that she wasn’t is just another credit to Krystal’s merciless iniquity. Man, we’re gonna miss you, Krystal.

Anyway, here are some of my other favorite tweets from the week:

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