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Will Tayshia Take Bennett Back On 'The Bachelorette' — Like, For Real?

- The Bachelor -
Will Tayshia Take Bennett Back On 'The Bachelorette' — Like, For Real?

By now, we all know that it’s a time honored tradition for one lucky contestant on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette to return to talk to the lead after they’ve been sent packing. Whether that moment actually makes it to screen or not, it seems to have happened at least once per season in recent years — and this time around it was wealth management consultant Bennett who came back to The Bachelorette after Tayshia Adams sent him packing. After he was sent home earlier in the Tuesday, Dec. 8, episode as part of a two-on-one pre-rose ceremony face-off, he, like many before him, showed up at her suite to ask her to reconsider their relationship.

“Hello, Tayshia,” he greeted her, emerging from the shadows that swallowed up her villa like the reality TV villain he may or may not be (he is). “Hi,” he continued as she literally froze in her tracks, gasping even before the gate she had just opened swung back to knock her forward a step. “Can we speak for a minute?”

When she agreed to welcome him inside, he got right to it — well, after he first showered her and her dress and her place in compliments. “So, uh, it’s been a little bit of a whirlwind,” he said. “I spent all day going over and over in my head our parting. You know, I first wanted to tell you, I am so sorry. I am so, so, so sorry for making you think I questioned your integrity or decision-making ability. It was the least of my intentions. I never would. I swear to you. Our goodbye was so bizarre. So surreal. I just, I couldn’t even fathom what just happened. And I was thinking of all these things that I hadn’t been able to share with you. You know, sometimes we don’t realize things until they’re gone. And I realized in that moment that I love you.”

He claimed that he didn’t feel like he could leave without getting that off his chest. While he claimed he wasn’t expecting anything (like a change of heart?) in return, he urged her to examine if there’s even “an ounce of her” that would like to explore their relationship or continue their journey. He claimed he would do “absolutely anything in the whole world” in order to stay for her and show her just how serious he was about what they had. He claimed he “hadn’t had emotions like this ever over a girl,” but Tayshia was left speechless. She asked for the night to figure out what she wanted, but we’ve seen this story play out before.

There are two ways this usually goes

The first: A jilted contestant is convinced the lead made a mistake in sending them home and wants to convince them they don’t know their own feelings. See: Luke P. making his return on Hannah Brown’s season to tell her that he knew she still had feelings for him and that things weren’t over. And, if you believe Colton Underwood’s account in his book The First Time, you can also look to Hannah B. making her own comeback after he sent her packing before hometowns.

While that moment didn’t make the final cut for the episode, it was teased in previews — and Colton explained more. While he was in Alabama for Hannah G.’s hometown date, Hannah B. took the opportunity to swing by his hotel and get “clarity” on why she was sent home when she thought things were going so well between them. If I’m being generous to her (which I almost always am, because I stan Hannah B.), I understand why she would feel confused after she was asked to leave on the same date where she was invited to meet Colton’s family. But in his own words, Colton claims that she was “stewing about not getting a rose” and wanted the opportunity to “lash out and vent” about the other women still competing for Colton’s heart. It's easy to imagine he meant two in particular: Caelynn, who Hannah had butted heads with both on-screen and off, and Cassie, Caelynn’s BFF who Colton went on to give his final rose.

The second way this can turn out? A contestant who headed home early at the lead’s behest asks them to consider whether they were really sent home because there was nothing there or if they were instead sent home because of external factors. If this is the case with Bennett (and it seems to be consider Tayshia revealed she wasn’t initially planning on saying goodbye that night), there’s a pretty direct parallel to be drawn between his situation and the one we saw play out with Peter Weber and Alayah.

Pilot Pete asked Alayah to leave in an effort to settle the in-house drama that had broken out between her, Victoria P., Sydney, and others taking sides. Even on the show, he admitted to a producer that he wasn’t sure he made the right choice — and he got a second chance when she showed up again the next episode. It seemed clear that the Bachelor did actually like her, but he had kicked her out of the competition in an effort to avoid having his own Luke P. or Jed adjacent scandals. He didn’t want to keep someone who was a problem in the house for all the other women, and he also didn’t want to pick someone at the end who was just using him and the show as a whole as a career stepping stone.

But even when Alayah came back under the best of circumstances, it (understandably) only lead to more messiness as the pageant princess unwittingly spilled the tea about Victoria F.’s relationship with Chase Rice, the girls confronted Peter about only paying attention to the Alayah drama, and Victoria P. insisted that her vulnerability should’ve been rewarded with a rose. It seems like, if Peter didn’t really think Alayah could’ve been The One, he would’ve been better off letting her stay home… which brings us back to Bennett.

Is Tayshia going to invite him to stay on the show?

Here’s the thing: We can theorize all we want based on Tayshia’s on-screen confusion, her confessional in which she admitted no one had told her they loved her in a romantic capacity in way too long, and her conviction that Bennett was speaking from the heart rather than making a strategic play for screen-time. But the fact of the matter is that the preview for the Dec. 15 and 16 episodes has already given away the answer. “I’m baaaack,” Bennett taunts in the clip as the men react with shock and confusion.

What’s also hinted at in the preview, however, is that he doesn’t stay long. While the teaser for next week’s Men Tell All reveals that both Noah and Blake apparently weren’t invited to introduce Tayshia to their families, it also features two other men with their faces blacked out. It’s hard to tell who they are censored like that, but one of them is wearing what looks like a purple scarf with his suit. Anyone else reminded of Bennett’s white scarf from night one when he met Clare Crawley?

The thing is that Bennett’s return doesn’t make any difference

Sure, it’s good to stir up some last minute drama among them. After all, Bennett was sent home because he couldn’t stop antagonizing Noah, something he denied but was clear to anyone who’s been tuning in. As the lead (and as someone experiencing the events of the show in real time), Tayshia doesn’t see what we see at home, but even the suggestion that Bennett was implicitly questioning her decision making by writing off Noah after she repeatedly gave him a rose was enough to call it quits. The fact that he has been speaking to people in a condescending way and making them feel like they’re not as good or worthy to be there as others was just the cherry on top — especially when he did it right to her face as he explained why he thought Noah had a zero percent chance of winning.

Ultimately, however, the fact that Bennett was sent home (regardless of when) was enough to show that Tayshia… just wasn’t that into him. Even if he wasn’t condescending (whether to Noah or to the Bachelorette herself about her decision making abilities), I can imagine that Tayshia would never have put him in a two-on-one position in the first place if she genuinely saw him as her future husband. The fact that he was involved in drama at all clearly knocked him down a few pegs in her minds, and she never would’ve sent him home if she really thought he could be it for her.

As things stand, she still has seven other guys to choose from and only four men to take to the hometowns round of the competition. She already gave Ben a rose on their one-on-one, leaving her with just three more to give out. Considering the fact that Brendan, Zac C., and Ivan have already gotten one-on-ones (and shone on them), I just don’t see Bennett beating out one of them for a spot.

Also, frankly, nothing has changed

Bennett was still a condescending dick to Noah, whether or not Tayshia saw it for herself (after all, she never did find out what exactly was in the box). He was also still questioning her decision making by the fact that he didn’t respect her decision to send him home. Tayshia may insist that she’s not letting the producers make up her mind for her and that every rose she gives is intentional and based on her own feelings rather than anyone’s entertainment value, but we see this move as nothing more than a little last minute drama before shit gets really real.

But, just in case you needed any more convincing, let me share one last thing with you just because it brings me joy: On the “Higher Learning” podcast, Tayshia stood by her choice to send Bennett home while talking with former Bachelorette star Rachel Lindsay and her cohost Van Lathan, two proud members of the Bennett Stan Club.

“This is the thing,” she explained. “I have a problem with the way that people talk to other people at times. If you’re going to be condescending to people just because, I don’t know, you might have a higher education, that doesn’t mean someone else should be, like, talked down upon. … Who are you to tell somebody that they’re not good enough? … If you’re willing to do that blatantly in front of other people, how do you talk to other people when it’s just you and that person?”

There you have it, folks: Rachel and Van may be Bennett stans, but Tayshia is joining me in my bonafide Bennett hater club. Welcome, queen. I'm so happy to have you.

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Images: ABC

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