Despite his difficulty in expressing his true feelings, Ben Smith quickly became a favorite among fans of The Bachelorette.
Maybe it was his soulful eyes, or his painful past.
Or maybe it was the way he casually brought in celebrity chef Antonita LoFaso as his BFF during hometowns.
Whatever the case, viewers were heartbroken -- if not particularly shocked -- when Tayshia Adams sent Ben packing.
The four hometown dates on Tuesday's show all seemed to go smoothly -- but Ben's fell apart at the finish line when he was unable to express his love for Tayshia.
As Smith learned the hard way, at this critical stage in the game, a failure (or inability) to express one's true emotions is enough to get sent home.
“The last two weeks showed me a lot about the things I was feeling for you,” Ben told Tayshia, stopping just short of telling her he loved her.
“I’m not asking for this grand gesture, but the fact he couldn’t give me one ounce of emotion was extremely disappointing,” Tayshia later said in a confessional segment.
The situation was made all the more frustrating by the fact that Ben had no trouble expressing his feelings in the car after he failed to advance to the next round.
It was one of the most affecting dismissals in Bachelorette history -- but that's only one of the reasons that fans believe Ben and Tayshia's story isn't quite over yet.
Many denizens of Bachelor Nation have already pointed out that Ben makes an appearance in the promo for the two-part finale of Tayshia's season, which begins on Monday night.
Not only that, but it seems that in his time away from the La Quinta resort, Ben found the ability to truly say what's on his mind (or "what's in his heart," to use the language of Bachelor Nation).
“I’ve never felt this feeling, but I’m in love with you," he says in the promo.
On top of that, the preview clips show Tayshia looking confused and uncertain of what to do, as though she'd suddenly been thrown off course by some unforeseen event.
“There’s a rose ceremony. What do I do with that?” she asks at one point.
Furthermore, Tayshia spoke about the upcoming finale on the latest episode of her "Click Bait" podcast, and she promised fans that there are some major surprises in store.
“All I can say about that is there are still things that are going to happen that you guys have no idea about and it’s going to throw things in a loop,” she said.
If that's not enough for you, Us Weekly points out that Ben's Instagram bio currently reads, "I love you a lot," which seems to be a reference to his inability to express himself during his crucial moment with Tayshia.
Some fans think that would be an odd moment to reference ... unless Ben and Tayshia are currently together.
Okay, so it's all been speculation up to this point, but we're about to dive into some Bachelorette spoilers based on actual insider intel, so if you want to be surprised by how Tayshia's final episodes play out, this would be a good time to stop reading.
According to spoiler-master Reality Steve, Zac Clark wins Tayshia's final rose, but the two of them are not currently engaged.
Steve says it's unclear if Zac opted not to propose, or if Tayshia didn't accept, but whatever the case, it seems that Dale Moss and Clare Crawley's engagement will be the only one we're seeing this season.
Reality Steve is rarely wrong, but it's possible that he and Ben will indeed return and pull off a surprise win.
Of course, even if that doesn't happen, we may not have seen the last of the soldier-turned-personal-trainer.
Fans want Ben Smith to be the next Bachelor, and at this point he looks to be just about as good a candidate as anyone.