The two leads of The Bachelorette, Rachel Recchia and Gabby Windey, had their men make their final choice in week 3, and the contestants are now split into two groups. With reality TV shows like FBoy Island, Joe Millionaire: For Richer or Poorer, and others featuring multiple leads, The Bachelorette season 19 features Gabby and Rachel both looking for love, but the format has not worked for the women. Bringing in two female leads has added unexpected complications.
While Gabby and Rachel balance one another well, they have shifted in confidence over the first three weeks. In the beginning, Rachel seemed more reserved, while Gabby was confident and outgoing. However, Gabby’s insecurities have taken center stage as she grappled with the impact of her turbulent and estranged relationship with her mother. Her fears of abandonment and not finding love were magnified when she was rejected by three men on the evening before the rose ceremony. Shattered after Hayden Markowitz called her “rough around the edges” and Jacob Rapini rejected her while saying she’s “smokin’ hot,” Gabby realized she is “not here to teach dudes how to act.”
The women chose to divide the men to take back their power as Bachelorettes. After canceling the evening’s pre-rose ceremony cocktail party, Host Jesse Palmer told the men that in accepting a rose, they “are committing to dating one woman, the woman that offers you the rose and not the other.” The men could accept or reject the rose, but in leaving it, they could be eliminated if not selected by the other woman. Cue the sideways glances and voiceovers by men upset that they hadn’t had enough time to get to know one woman over the other.
Bachelorette Rachel ended the evening with eight confirmed men. After giving Zach Shallcross a rose on their exceptionally touching date orchestrated by Queer Eye‘s Karamo Brown, Zach said the evening was “one of the best nights of my life.” Even though the choice was made for him, he seems happy with the outcome. Aven Jones also found himself in a similar situation due to a rose he had accepted from Rachel on the group date. Zach and Aven were joined by competitors Tino Franco, Logan Palmer, Tyler Norris, Ethan Kang, Jordan Helman, and Hayden. It seems that Rachel is okay with men who tell other women they are “rough.” Termayne Harper, Alec Garza, and James “Meatball” Clark rejected Rachel’s roses, instead hoping for Gabby’s. By the end of the evening, Rachel understood how Gabby felt the night before, but she also seemed annoyed with Gabby suggesting it was the same since Gabby’s rejections were private and hers were public.
After a rough evening the night before, Gabby was pleasantly surprised that she picked well. All eight men she chose reciprocated her intentions. Erich Schwer earned a rose on their one-on-one date with Gabby’s Grandpa John. Erich was joined by Nate Mitchell, Johnny DePhillipo, Spencer Sweis, Jason Alabaster, Mario Vassal, Kirk Bryant, Quincy Williams, and Michael Vaughan on Team Gabby. As Gabby passed out roses, hope drained from Termayne, Alec, and Meatball. Despite declaring their interest in Gabby, the Bachelorette did not reciprocate, and the three men were eliminated with Jacob, whom neither woman chose.
Meatball, realizing that he had been eliminated, came back, head down and tail between his legs, to ask for Rachel’s forgiveness and to be given another chance because he had just made an impulsive decision. Fans will have to wait until episode 4 to know if she allows him back in or if she sees the huge, waving red flag and realizes she has more mature committed choices. Perhaps the producers saw Meatball’s identity when they had him dressed as a baby on the group date photo shoot. The Bachelorette fans will have to wait to see if that drama occurs with or without their favorite meatball enthusiast along for the ride.