Dean Ulgert, where do we begin? You started off as the fresh faced kid who said he was “Ready to go Black” and finished off the statement with the cliche of never going back. It seemed from that moment that Dean would make himself an easy night one exit before the first night ever even happens.
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Good for him that Rachel is one of the coolest girls in Bachelor history. Rachel’s sense of humor didn’t penalize Dean too much and had no walls up for the second encounter, she did make fun of him for it though! Once Dean was himself, he got to use his charm, his smile, and Taylor Nolan’s favorite phrase — emotional intelligence.
For Dean, it was not obvious for him that he would become one of the shows stars and mainstays. During the season, Dean is seen throughout the weeks wearing many of the same clothes, and that’s due to him only packing a few outfits. Compared to night one exit Milton who beleaguered about not getting to show off all the clothes he bought for the show, Dean had the happy go luck motive of I’ll take it as far as I can. Little did he expect to make it to top 4 and to get a hometown date where he is emotionally tested.
When Dean entered the game, marriage was not a realistic idea for him. However, I will say that as the show went on, Dean got fully invested, was somewhat into the competition factor, and at the end of it cared for Rachel (not 100% that it was love), but he cared a lot about Rachel. And that is because Dean is an intelligent guy who can see Rachel for what she is, a total catch.
His biggest strength is his self-awareness and ability to see through all the bullshit. He was quick to point out that Lucas is a tool, that Blake was too absorbed in Lucas, and Lee was a straight up racist piece of shit. With Rachel he made the focus on her, would open himself up at times, and often not be afraid to make friends with guys in the house. He’d often have talks with Peter where they discussed Bryan & Rachel’s relationship. Not in a catty way, but they would often deconstruct the relationship that in their eyes was not strong on a mental level, though they would acknowledge that Rachel is most physically attracted to him.
People were upset about Dean getting a hometown when he somewhat steered Rachel towards not giving the rose to him in order to spare themselves the awkwardness of what would occur. Except for the fact that by not giving Dean the rose, she would have had to pick Adam & Matt, two fine gentleman who Rachel’s relationship was nowhere near that of Rachel & Dean. Even then, Dean’s relationship with Eric was probably weaker with Rachel than Dean’s before homecomings.
Dean’s vulnerability on homecomings was sore and sweet. Watching someone try to repair their relationship with their father and open up still bloody wounds was awkward. I’m someone who avoids most of my family for similar reasons to Dean, this hit hard for me. The guy who is generally calm, cool, and collected was unraveling. Rachel being the awesome girl that she is, was not flustered as most girls would be. How comforting Rachel was led to Dean telling her that he is falling for her, to the point that when Dean was eliminated, he was heart-broken.
So what now for him? Paradise awaits. A hot 26 year old who is pro-woman, wise beyond his years, and ready to have fun, that’s the paradise hot ticket. Similar to Caila Quinn or Amanda Stanton (the first time), Dean will be the guy that multiple people go to Paradise for. That’s the guy they would like to be attached to.
What about being the Bachelor? It’s hard to imagine Dean not making it the whole way through Paradise unless he chooses to exit. If he can make a big splash on Paradise and endear himself more to the fans, he has a definite chance of becoming the Bachelor. Right now there’s a ton of support for Dean, but when the next two guys get eliminated, we may see sweeping support for them as well. Fans falling in love with Jojo after she lost killed Caila’s chance of being the Bachelorette. Nick’s Paradise killed Rubby/Chase/Luke’s chances of being the Bachelor and so on. People even speculate that ABC announced Rachel early out of fear that America would fall in love with Raven.