The Oct. 27 episode of The Bachelorette was jam-packed with drama, including Zach Jackson's attempt to kiss Clare Crawley. The ill-fated peck ultimately led to Crawley skipping their dinner date and Chris Harrison sending Jackson home. Still kinda confused about what exactly went down? Crawley and Jackson's body language might clue you in — though, of course, it's no substitute for the Bachelorette star and contestant's own words.
Traci Brown, body language expert and author of Persuasion Point: Body Language and Speech for Influence, reviewed footage of the kiss and broke it down frame by frame. From the start, she says, Crawley might not have been feeling much of a romantic vibe — but Jackson apparently was.
Describing the moment right before the attempted kiss, Brown explains, "'He's showing his palms, which means he's speaking his truth. She looks like she's being accused of something and isn't into it."
Crawley appeared to lean in for a kiss, caressing the back of Jackson's head. "We know she knows she's in control with this move," Brown says.
But their lips never met. Crawley explained later, "I go in for the kiss to Zach, he pulls away, and, the second I just try to walk away, he grabs me."
Whether she dodged him or he darted away is unclear. What is clear is that she tried to walk away from him. "As she leaves the pool, you can see a bit of confusion on his face," Brown says. "Then, he's working to pull her back in. When it doesn't work with his words, he tries with his hands doing the same thing she did to him, hands to the head."
In general, Brown says Jackson is just trying to get in control of the situation and painfully failing. "This guy so wants to be in control but he just can’t seem to feel her in," she says. "See how he’s tugging at her every which way he can?" He reaches for her chin, neck, and stomach.
Crawley, who has been open about surviving an abusive relationship, told producers he made her feel "extremely uncomfortable." She explained, "That kind of triggers me and kind of scared me. I didn't want to be near him in that moment. If I want to walk away because I'm uncomfortable, let me walk away."
"It's a huge mix-up. Huge!" Jackson told the cameras later. "I mean, I was trying to kiss her. Just the look on her face, it was the instant -- she was hurt. And that's never my intention. It's just the worst possible thing, and I don't know what else I could have done."
Jackson showed up for his dinner date with Crawley, only to be met by Harrison, who sent him home. As the host told Entertainment Tonight on Oct. 28, "For her to go and fake it, and just not give him a rose, and for Zach to try and put himself out there and try and fix it — the damage had been done at that point. He wasn't getting that rose, so we thought, 'Why do this? Why take advantage of this scene and drag it all out when this guy's just going home?' So I just stepped in and said, let's just be done with this and go on our separate ways."
While Jackson hasn't commented any further, he did post a video to his Instagram Stories minutes before the Oct. 27 episode aired. "I just got home from the gym and realized that ABC sent me a sneak peek of one of my scenes for tonight that I can show you guys," he said. The next Instagram Story? A video of two trains colliding — a literal trainwreck. Subtle.