Blake's Quietest Bachelor In Paradise Episode May Have Also Been His Worst

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
Blake Horstmann is having the worst summer ever on Bachelor in Paradise. He kicked off season 6 with back-to-back confrontations that shattered his Bachelor Nation sweetheart image and painted him as a careless, Stagecoach-obsessed playboy. He lost Hannah Godwin to Dylan Barbour. He ran into a rock.
However, the further Paradise gets into its 2019 run, the better Blake seems to be doing. Multiple people are no longer hanging his every piece of dirty dating laundry up to dry on a beach in Sayulita, Mexico. His greatest critic, Caelynn Miller-Keyes, is far too busy with Dean Unglert to even really drag Blake at the moment. After weeks of high drama, the noise around Blake has finally began to quiet down.
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Yet, Tuesday night’s “Week 4, Part 1,” may have been Blake’s most unforgivable showing yet.
Now that Hannah has picked Dylan (sweet, clingy Dylan), Caelynn is trying to lock down Dean, Kristina Schulman is supposedly uninterested, and Tayshia Adams has excluded herself from this narrative, Blake is free to focus on Caitlin Clemmens, a relative newcomer to the beach. This is Blake's calmest relationship all season. Blake may have met Caitlin at Stagecoach, but they did not sleep together or even really flirt. She is a unicorn. And, unlike nearly every other Paradise cast member, Caitlin doesn’t mind Blake’s recent messy string of hookups. When Blake gives Caitlin the full lowdown on the drama on their first date, all she says is, “You’re allowed to be single, though” and “Everybody makes those kinds of mistakes.”
Caitlin is exactly what Blake needs. So he dumps her in spectacular fashion.
Over the last three BIP episodes, Kristina, a casual ex-girlfriend of Blake’s, has proven to be the third person in Blake and Caitlin’s relationship. That much becomes crystal clear in “Week 3, Part 2,” when Kristina pulls Blake aside to ask if he’s still going to give her the rose in the upcoming rose ceremony. The underlying suggestion is that Blake owes Kristina for saving him during the prior rose ceremony. No, she does not care about Blake’s burgeoning connection with Caitlin. With Blake, Kristina says he may regret keeping Caitlin over her; with Caitlin, Kristina reiterates her freedom to pursue a friendship rose with Blake.
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All of this tension comes to a head in “Week 4, Part 1.” At the beginning of the rose ceremony cocktail party, Blake and Caitlin dash off to a private date on a corner of the beach (“The whole plan was to set up our own, like, VIP Stagecoach,” Caitin explains). It’s there Blake dances with Caitlin in the exact same way he did with Hannah on camera and, apparently, with Kristina and Tayshia at Stagecoach. This is Blake’s signature move. Seeing him pull the precise same dance moves on a fourth woman only comes off as sleazy. We’re left wondering how many women before Caitlin actually fell into this romance trap and when, exactly, Blake crafted it.
Then Blake makes things worse. Caitlin asks where his head is at and he promises, “Listen, right now, you’re 100% getting my rose and I don’t really see that changing.” In Paradise, those words aren’t to be shared lightly — it’s the kind of pledge you keep. Still, Kristina swoops in to tell Blake that he may be leading Caitlin on if he gives her rose. She advices him to only give Caitlin his rose if he can genuinely see a future for them past Paradise. Blake immediately looks ill. “I don’t want to have to tell you, ‘I told you so,” Kristina adds. You can see those words will haunt Blake for the remainder of the episode.
It’s painful to watch Blake tell Caitlin his feelings may have shifted in the last 20 minutes. His anxiety-ridden speech suggests it’s inevitable Caitlin’s feelings for him will intensify, while his may not. It’s presumptuous and made more infuriating by Blake’s attempt to evade taking any real responsibility for hurting Caitlin. “I’m sorry if this seems like you’re being blindsided,” he stammers. But it doesn’t seem like Caitlin is being blindsided. She is. By Blake. He shows a similar level of emotion obliviousness earlier in the episode when he tries to hug Caelynn, his most complicated former flame, during her first bump in the road with Dean.
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Caelynn doesn’t want Blake’s comfort and Cailin doesn’t want Blake’s faux sincerity.
Even those attributes fade away at the rose ceremony. Blake chooses Kristina, sending Caitlin home in the process. If Blake ever apologized, we don’t see it. It's this kind of behavior that signals Blake's Stagecoach catastrophe wasn't an isolated incident, but rather a solid representation of how he treats romantic prospects. Caitlin is left to share a few goodbyes with the non-Blake portion of the cast and hops into the getaway car provided by Paradise producers.
If we’re all being honest, Caitlin took our last shred of hope for Good Guy Blake with her.
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