Why Jacqueline Could Be the Dark Horse of 'The Bachelor' Season 22
Why Jacqueline Could Be the Dark Horse of 'The Bachelor' Season 22
Derek Stauffer
Derek Stauffer
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Since the second episode of The Bachelor season 22, everyone, including Arie himself, has been rather secondary to the big villain Krystal. Krystal blew into The Bachelor like a peroxided passive-aggressive hurricane and everything was about her and her many "sides." So much so that most girls on the show got relegated to the background. 

Now, however, Krystal is gone, and some of the ladies are emerging from her shadow. One of the most notable is 26-year-old Jacqueline. Jacqueline might be a bit of unknown quantity but after her one-on-one date with Arie she's not someone any Bachelor fan should be ignoring.

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The Sleeper Hit of Season 22
It's incredibly possible that up to the episode before her one-on-one date with Arie, many Bachelor fans were unaware that Jacqueline existed. Jacqueline is one of the few brunettes on season 22 (Arie has a type and it's blondes) but The Bachelor spent almost no time on her. Yet that lack of spotlight is doing everyone, including Jacqueline, a disservice because she's emerged very quickly as one of the most interesting women in season 22. 

Jacqueline has wasted none of her screen time, however delayed it might've been. Since she's caught the eye of the cameras (and Arie), Jacqueline has proven herself to be intelligent, witty and interesting to watch. The Bachelor is getting down to the wire but there's only a handful of girls with defined or compelling personalities. Even an early favorite like Becca K. has become rather bland. Seriously, Lauren B. has outlasted all other Laurens and is inching ever closer to the finale, despite having a vocabulary that exists solely of the words "Wow" and "Cool." Jacqueline, on the other hand, is up there with the most compelling of Arie's women like Bekah M., Tia and Seinne. 

Jacqueline is someone who does seem weirdly invested in Arie, considering how little we've seen them together. Yet, unlike many Bachelor contestants, that doesn't make her seem desperate or strange. Jacqueline has given herself over to the process of The Bachelor but remained prescient and realistic about the experience. 

On her one-on-one date, Jacqueline approached the unfortunate situation of their magical convertible car ride being broken down with more grace and humor than probably half of the girls left in the season would've. That's just tip of the iceberg. She had a real conversation with Arie that, shockingly, wasn't a snoozefest like other serious conversations have been in season 22. There's a wealth of difference between the chat Jacqueline and Arie were having about her eventually pursuing her PhD and Chelsea talking about being a single mother, while Arie looked completely disinterested. Arie has praised everyone for being "vulnerable" but Jacqueline has been able to handle being vulnerable and open in a way that still makes her seem charming, charismatic and confident. 

Jacqueline was able to engage with Arie in a way that didn't involve smacking their lips together. If Arie is really looking for a wife, that is going to be much more important than Kendall grabbing at his head like an animal under the Eiffel Tower. 

The Dark Horse Wins the Race

It would be odd if Jacqueline, after being in the background all season, did end up getting engaged to Arie in season 22. The show really does seem to be positioning Bekah K. and Tia as the two girls in the finale but stranger things have certainly happened on The Bachelor franchise than intelligent and charming Jacqueline stealing Arie's heart. 

Raven Gates really only emerged in Nick Viall's season when the number of girls got down to single digits and she was the "runner-up." Arie has made so many unexpected (and stupid) decisions in season 22, like indulging Krystal and keeping Lauren B., that he could easily stumble into a smart one of choosing Jacqueline to be his wife. 

At the very least, Bachelor fans should prepare for a lot more of Jacqueline in season 22. This late rise for Jacqueline might not result in an engagement, but it could end up with her as the next star of the franchise of The Bachelorette.

But what do you make of Jacqueline? Do you think she stands a chance of getting engaged to Arie? Should she even get engaged to Arie? 

The Bachelor season 22 airs Mondays at 8/7c on ABC. Want more news? Like our Bachelor Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of ABC)