Each week, we’re recapping the latest Bachelor episode featuring Seinne Fleming, former Newport Beach resident and current Season 22 contestant vying for Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s love. Welcome to #SeinneScenes, everyone …
It lasted only a few minutes, was interrupted by binocular-wielding contestants and a few girls speculating whether a connection would be made, but despite the disruptive interludes, Seinne Fleming’s one-on-one date last night still produced some of the most compelling TV ever aired by The Bachelor.
“Let’s let our love soar,” read the date card delivered at the beginning of the episode, and Seinne giggles in response. Seconds later Arie appears. They’re at a gorgeous lodge in Lake Tahoe and he sits next to Seinne on a large couch, awkwardly surrounded by the 14 other girls also vying for his affection.
A beat or two pass and Arie tells the group there’s “a lot of outdoor stuff going on, which is cool.”
Then he leaves with Seinne to explore said outdoor stuff, together.
Over the course of the date, which kicked off with parasailing over the glittering, mountain-edged lake, Seinne deservedly gets her time to gleam in the spotlight but more, she’s allowed to demonstrate what it means to remain eloquent, poised, articulate and genuine throughout this arguably pre-packaged romantic process.
“I really like Arie,” she says to the camera. “I can’t use the ‘L’ word yet but I really like him and I think if things keep going the way they are then that could be there.”
Somewhere in between Seinne’s real-talk and Arie’s champagne kisses on an empty shore, the producers intersperse an interview with the prevailing villain of the season, Krystal.
“She is probably going home,” Krystal declares about Seinne and folds her arms ominously but without much merit. It’s a classic princess vs. evil queen moment and the drama is juxtaposed perfectly as the screen fades back to Seinne …
In edifying words and over a candlelit chicken dinner, Seinne tells her story, even as she mostly asked Arie about his. Again, there’s a role reversal that happens during their interaction; Seinne questions her suitor, sizes him up, breaks him down, determining perhaps if he’s who she needs him to be instead of getting caught up with trying to be the type of girl he wants.
Arie talks about his younger brother’s wedding and describes it as “a fairy tale.”
Seinne jumps on the trope of romantic perfection, probing him to open up. She asks, “Was it weird to see your little brother get married?”
He shrugs, admitting it was. She gets him, you can tell, and that familiar look of fight-or-flight passes across his face. She’s not a girl to be trifled with or kissed away; Seinne can cut through the sound-bite-ready clutter like a Yale Professor of Wokeness.
Once Seinne finally tells her story, there are two central narratives that shape her idea of love: One is about the cultural nuances and complexities of being an African American woman seeking a soulmate; and the other is about the damaging introspection of a 14-year-old girl coming to terms with the fact that marriage isn’t all red wine and roses.
“When I was 14 I remember having that thought, which is, ‘I’m never going to love anyone,’” she says. “Love kind of exposes you to get hurt.”
As Seinne explains in a monologue delivered with Oprah-worthy panache, her parents’ relationship, as experienced through the lens of a teenager, had been difficult and hard. It was laden with arguments and rough patches that shaped what Seinne understands to be the gritty, underexposed side of romance today.
She also articulates the reality of being an African American woman in a society telling a love story that not only feels different from her own but also looks different, too.
“Growing up … you don’t see stories that had girls like me,” she explains. “So I didn’t have something to look at and say, ‘Oh that could be my story…’ I felt like coming into this I am great but there are other great girls [and] this love story looks more appropriate for them.”
Arie lauds her candor and depth, affirming Seinne’s greatness by giving her a rose. She accepts and he whisks her to a nearby concert where they twirl on a stage before a cheering crowd. An acoustic guitar warbles, a country voice sings, “I’m going to be your forever, so baby will you be my wife?”
The question, of course, remains unanswered but Arie kisses her anyway as the musician croons and we all smile at our TV screens because Seinne is staying another week.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) January 23, 2018
(Other stuff happened after this one-on-one date—something about drinking apple juice on a group date and pretending it was urine—but honestly, the entire episode felt like it was over after Seinne presented her anthemic, show-stopping philosophy on love, so we’ll end our recap right here.)