Bachelor Nation was a very different world a few years ago. Social media was nearly non-existent, so connecting with another contestant before seeing each other on Bachelor in Paradise surely wasn't as easy as Blake Horstmann at Stagecoach made it appear. That could be why franchise vet Chris Bukowski's old-school touch might have won over newer Bachelor contestant Katie Morton. Though it's too early to say for sure, after seeing them together on the Aug. 12 episode, fans are wondering: Will Katie and Chris get engaged on Bachelor in Paradise? Chris has already proven to be strong emotional support for her.
He hasn't gotten a ton of Paradise screen time, but Chris flying under the radar is a great sign he's become the solid, mature force that's essential to any Paradise cast. Although he received a positive edit on Emily Maynard's Bachelorette season, his appearances on the franchise's spinoff series were far from flattering, so Chris becoming the strong and silent type is the ultimate glow-up. While he gave a rose to Kristina Schulman at the end of Week 1, Chris wasn't seen chatting anyone up until after Katie's emotional conversation with Wills.
Quiet fan favorite Wills pulled the Bachelor Season 23 contestant aside to confirm she was his endgame on Paradise. Katie appreciated the grand gesture, but his confession on top of what was presumably a long, hot day in the sun ultimately unnerved her. "Everything you're saying to me right now is right," she told him before uttering several incomprehensible remarks. When she finally gathered herself, she said, "It's not gonna be between us right now."
TBH, the scene was so unexpected, fans were kind of wondering whether Paradise's heavy alcohol supply played some part in the extremely teary reaction.
Feeling awful about turning Wills down, Katie cried in confessionals as Chris used his interview time to explain how her emotions affected him. "Katie had a look on her face of sadness," he told cameras. "I see it in her eyes. It was sad for me to see."
He then snagged private time with her, and after Katie broke down the pain of rejecting someone, Chris embraced the opportunity of being the wise old man. "I've been on both sides of this before," he said. "I respect you, I respect your emotions. I respect everything about you and I can see that you're upset and it's tough ... this is where I want to be, I want to be here with you. My favorite part of the day is always talking with you."
Katie was into it, telling cameras, "Chris makes me feel secure, Chris makes me feel calm. I feel connected with Chris and I couldn't be happier right now. If things keep progressing, then I could see myself falling for Chris."
With age comes wisdom, and it looks like Chris has learned a thing or two about love since his time away from the franchise. He seems ready to settle down, and as Katie proved on The Bachelor, she has no time for drama or connections that aren't working. These two just might have what it takes to build a strong relationship away from the Bachelor bubble. Will Chris ditch his theme song walker to get down on one knee at the end of the season? Fans will have to wait and see.
Season 6 of Bachelor in Paradise continues at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Aug. 13, on ABC.