Let’s not tiptoe around it: Arie Luyendyk Jr. is not a popular Bachelor. A vocal contingent of fans hoped Peter Kraus, Rachel Lindsay’s runner-up, would have the gig, while many current viewers of the show barely remember Arie, if at all, from his appearance on “The Bachelorette” in 2012. Ratings are down. Arie has struggled to win over viewers.
So, sad as it is to say, there’s something baffling about watching a group of bright, cool women passionately compete for his attention ― and something perversely satisfying about watching one of them decide to put her own dreams first and walk away.
On Monday night, contestant Jacqueline Trumbull pulled a rare move by choosing to remove herself from consideration right before the pivotal hometown dates. (People who eliminate themselves typically do so earlier in the season, once they’ve decided they don’t have any chemistry with the lead.)
Chemistry certainly wasn’t the problem here. Jacqueline is clearly wildly attracted to Arie, and even as she told him she had to go, she couldn’t stop stroking his thigh or pausing to kiss him. Still, she says, she has doubts about whether they would really work ― especially since she has six years of graduate school in clinical psychology ahead of her, while he’s attached to his life in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Though the breakup looked tough, it was a canny move for Jacqueline. She didn’t seem like a frontrunner going into the final few episodes, and was probably headed for a rocky breakup, but she got to have it on her own terms ― and leave on her own schedule.
Claire Fallon: [Jacqueline] tells him she’s had these moments of doubt and it makes her feel like she’s not the right person to take to hometowns. She’s not confident enough. And he’s sort of trying to persuade her to stay, which surprised me, because I didn’t see her being one of his top ladies.
Emma Gray: No. I think at the end of the day, they both realized from the last date, Arie definitely realized that their lives are incompatible. But what I took from this is that Arie has not been broken up with very much in his life.
Claire: It’s funny because every relationship we know about, really in detail, he has been broken up with ― like the woman who left him, and Emily.
Emma: That’s true. It just still read to me as though this was a foreign feeling to him or that he, like all of us, he likes to have control, and so the minute someone starts to pull away, you’re like “Wait, wait, wait, no.”
Claire: And that’s the thing, with Bekah M. he had the similar realization that it wasn’t going to work out, and then he gave himself some runway to deescalate his feelings for her without saying goodbye at a moment when he would be acutely upset by it. Then by the time he let her go, he was like, “I’ve thought about it, and I’ve distanced myself from you emotionally because it’s not going to work out.” With Jacqueline, she jumped the gun and―
Emma: She didn’t give him the space to make that decision.
Claire: Which, good for her.
Emma: Good for her! I love when women self-eliminate on this show. It’s extremely satisfying.
Caila Quinn: It’s also extremely hard. You think you’re not in control, but you really are, and it’s kind of representative of all women just not knowing that you can be in control of the situation too.
Claire: You can just remove yourself.
Emma: Especially when I assume you have producers in your ear being like, “Why don’t you give this another chance? Maybe this could work out. Maybe this is your person.” That takes a lot of internal strength to just say, “No, I’m going to go home.”
Claire: And you see why producers would do that, because as soon as she leaves, everyone else is like, “Well maybe I have doubts! Maybe I should leave.” It’s kind of infectious; it’s like how everyone gets divorced in a friend group at the same time. It’s not infectious, but also psychologically it really is.
Emma: Also the whole thing just reminded me of Sharleen. Very much. Where it was like, intellectually, she knew that this was never going to work, but she’s like, “I’m still really attracted to you and I want to make out with you.” And that’s real.
Caila: It was well thought-out. I think it was my favorite moment of the episode. And we just haven’t seen a real conversation of someone thinking through their emotions in the same depth. So, kudos to Jacqueline.
Claire: Yeah, it’s not common that someone has the wherewithal to really be like, “I don’t know what my feelings are. I don’t know if they’re related to the process or if they’re related to this guy.” She really thought it all through.
And Arie’s like, “I really like you, I don’t want this to be over. If you have any doubts, come back to me.” Which, like, we’re going into hometowns! What is he going to do if she comes back and is like, “Fantasy suites, I’m back!”
Emma: Then he’ll get to dump her, Claire, and that’ll be more satisfying for him.
Claire: Exactly. That’s really true.
I just feel like Jacqueline can do so much better.
Emma: Yeah. I also think she’s probably physically and mentally exhausted at this point.
Caila: Yeah, she’ll meet some great guy who will put her first. It’ll be fine.
Emma: And she won’t be tempted to move to Scottsdale and give up her schooling!
Claire: This is just always the weirdest part for me, when someone gets eliminated or leaves themselves, with really good reason, and they’re clearly incompatible, and just to see how much they still pedestal that person. She still thinks he’s so perfect and lovable. And I’m like, you’re going to take a month away from this, and you’re going to look back and be like … him? But you know, the feelings are real in the moment.
Emma: Did you feel that way, Caila? Looking back?
Caila: I was just really sad, but then when you watch it back, you’re like, “Oh my goodness, his connection is so much stronger with other people ― why didn’t I see this in the first place?” And so I think she’ll look back and be really proud of herself.
For the full discussion on Episode 7, check out the full episode:
Do people love “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise,” or do they love to hate these shows? It’s unclear. But at “Here to Make Friends,” we both love and love to hate them — and we love to snarkily dissect each episode in vivid detail. Podcast edited by Nick Offenberg.