Hello and welcome back to the best Bachelor recap you’ll ever read! Every Monday I tell myself that this will be the Monday that I cut ties with this disease-ridden franchise and do something for myself. The things I would do with those two hours back in my life! I could download a workout video! I could watch that workout video while eating Cheetos by the handful in bed! The possibilities are truly endless, and, yet, it appears that I have no self control. I’m like Pavlov’s dog in that way. If on Mondays at 8pm, I’m not a glass of red deep listening to a 23-year-old social media participant equate her love life to Odysseus’ voyage home in the Odyssey, then my brain starts to short-circuit. It’s ABC’s world, I’m just living in it.
Speaking of the women, this week they are back in the Bachelor Mansion babyyy! Not only are they back, but they are practically frothing at the mouth at the knowledge that they are standing at the very threshold where the feminist movement went to die. Exciting times. One woman is like “it’s historic, it’s a landmark” and that is certainly one way to describe this boulevard of broken dreams.
The women do have some reason to be excited, though, because this is a jam packed week: two group dates, a one-on-one date, and an unspecified amount of alone time with the reason for my life-long love affair with wispy bangs, Miss Teen Queen herself, Hilary Duff. Let’s get into it, kids!
Dark Knight Bottle Blonde Rises: A Villain’s Origin Story
While we all thought we were going to watch a group of women compete for America’s sweetheart, two of the contestants, Cassidy and Shanae, were actually competing to be America’s Next Biggest Bitch (trademark pending) — and honestly, it would slap as a show. Much of last night’s episode was devoted to the origin story of these two emerging villains. Though villain is, perhaps, too strong of a word to describe Cassidy and Shanae as it suggests things like fully functioning frontal lobes. Thing One and Thing Two over here have all of the foresight of a toddler about to stick its thumb in an electrical outlet. But still, it’ll be fun to watch these two get electrocuted.
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Early on, the two of them form a mutual bond over wanting to be “aggressive” in their pursuit of Clayton. It’s unclear as to if this alliance is formed solely off the fact that they somehow have the exact same face or if they discovered that their Instagram bios both read “she had a marvelous time ruining everything” (I suspect it could be both). That said, Cassidy is clearly the leader of the two. During the first group date of the week she manages to dominate both Clayton’s attention as well as the camera’s without having to do any of the group date grunt work that the rest of the girls have to do.
What is the group date, by the way? The ladies are tasked with planning and executing a child’s birthday party under the watchful eye of Hilary Duff. Yes, you read that right. Hilary fucking Duff is on this group date. Didn’t Disney+ just make the entire Lizzie McGuire series available to stream? Doesn’t she get royalty checks for that shit? My god, I hope she’s getting paid handsomely for this. Beyond handsomely. I hope this singular appearance wipes the entire budget for fantasy suite dates. It’s what our Lizzie deserves.
To be honest, I’m surprised these girls are old enough to know who Hilary Duff is. My brother, a Gen Zer, once asked me—and I quote!—if Avril Levine was making a comeback and “if his music was any good.” If! His! Music! Was! Any! Good! To which I may have screamed “HE WAS THE SK8R BOI, SHE SAID SEE YA LATER BOI. YOU UNCULTURED SWINE WHAT ARE THEY TEACHING IN SCHOOLS” and then immediately bought an entire aisle’s worth of CVS anti-aging products.
But back to the ladies. As I mentioned, they were tasked with building a child’s birthday party from scratch, which feels very sexist for a date that’s supposed to exist in the year 2022. What’s next? A fashion show where the women show off who has the least amount of body fat to pull off an apron?
You know who won’t be participating in the party planning? Cassidy. Cassidy is giving Meredith Blake vibes throughout the entirety of this date and I’m living for the energy. When she’s not actively avoiding doing any work (again, icon status), she does this thing where she just acts like a massive bitch to children.
CHILD: *looks in Cassidy’s general direction*
She also spends quite a bit of time dry humping Clayton by the pool and just generally making Clayton’s good Christian values crumble into nothing. In her own words, she’s not here to hang streamers. Legendary. I love it.
Of course, this behavior does not win her any friends. The rest of the women are all but sharpening their pitchforks, biding their time for when she slips up and ends up with a moment alone, outside of the scope of the cameras. Even Hilary Duff is watching her like she has limited breaths on this Earth.
These feelings only intensify when Clayton gives her the group date rose. That’s right, Clayton, a man who has been telling us since night one that he’s looking for a simple girl to fill up his simple life, had the option of giving his rose to any of the nine women who could actually tolerate breathing the same air as small children or Cassidy, and he gave it to the woman who ruined an 8-year-old’s birthday cake. He might as well have given the group date rose to Miss Hannigan. Your actions are really reflecting your future goals, buddy!
And where is Shanae in all of this? Oh, she’s thottin’ and plottin’ all right. After the group date, Cassidy reports back to her #2 and strategizes how Shanae can employ similar warfare to her own group date. At this point, Shanae is like an inch away from single white femaling Cassidy. (Again, I would watch that show.) She is hanging on to every word Cassidy tells her as if this woman, who has most definitely maxed out her Revolve credit card, is Jesus Christ himself.
She’s still repeating Cassidy’s words of wisdom as she embarks on the second group date of the week. Shanae’s like, “my name is Shanae and I came to slay” and the writer in me just curled up and died at that word play. She keeps talking about her newfound confidence going into the date and it’s like, is it confidence or did you just “accidentally” forget to wear a bra?
Her confidence slowly starts to derail when she realizes having visibly hard nipples is not going to set her apart in this crowd. She decides to shift the game pieces in order to hijack Clayton’s attention, which is currently fixed on Elizabeth. During the group date they all play a game of Never Have I Ever, but Clayton only has eyes for Elizabeth. While the rest of the women gamely wave their paddles about, shouting about wanting to send Clayton nudes, the two of them are making eyes and giggling softly in the corner. It’s sickening.
Shanae doesn’t like what she sees and so she makes up some drama to tattle to Clayton about and make him question Elizabeth’s intentions. So… Shanae is just in love with Elizabeth, right? Am I reading that room correctly? She’s so angry that Elizabeth doesn’t like her and she should be more concerned that Clayton doesn’t like her. In fact, he appears to barely want to be in her presence.
ELIZABETH: Why are you so obsessed with me?
SHANAE: *non ironically*
The hostility between Elizabeth and Shanae continues through to the rose ceremony where the two engage in some aggressive eye rolling while Clayton wishes he could disintegrate into the nearest wall. Just once I’d like for a lead to hear feud rumors like these and be like, “actually I’m not going to entertain any of this, I think I’ll use my best judgment, thanks.” Because this feud is over nothing! It’s over feelings that these emotionally stunted barn animals cannot even begin to articulate in any real, meaningful ways, so why must we continue to give these things air time? Hmm?
As Clayton agonizes over his girls not getting along, Cassidy finds her own scandal to headline. In Cassidy’s bid for attention, she forgot that people are actually, like, recording her every move. Shocking. We learn that Cassidy told another girl in the house about a side piece texting her while they were quarantining before filming. From the sounds of it, she and this guy had a casual on/off thing that could very well follow her to her grave should she continue posting thirst traps to her IG and he continue to respond to said thirst traps with the tongue out emoji. A tale as old as time. She says that this guy invited her to watch the series together when she gets back from filming, which means he’ll spring for the Orville Redenbacher if she’ll pretend to be into the foreplay as the show plays on in the background. Again, a tale as old as time.
What Cassidy didn’t account for is snitches. After telling another girl about this side piece, the girl promptly runs off to Clayton during the rose ceremony to deliver the news. Okay, but what is the crime here? He can’t seriously be mad that Cassidy was casually talking to another guy during a moment in her life when her literal only options for entertainment were to do half-hearted crunches in a hotel room or watch another Law & Order: SVU marathon. Especially when he’s actively dating a pledge class worth of girls. Grow up, Clayton.
But Clayton is, in fact, distraught over this news. He gave her his rose and all he got was
her company an over-the-pants handy by the pool? Can he really continue to open his heart to after this very normal sequence of events we call “casual dating”? Only time will tell. The episode ends with Clayton asking Jesse Palmer if it’s possible to take back someone’s rose. Dun dun dunnnnn.
Other Notable Moments: Susie’s One-On-One Date
I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention Susie’s one-on-one date, despite how mind-numbingly boring it was. Susie gets the first one-on-one date of the season and—I’ll say it—they just fit together. If Clayton is the human embodiment of a “hot dude” stock image search, then Susie is the human embodiment of an off-brand Hannah B. I don’t quite believe these two are actually human people and not very life-like cyborgs ABC cooked up in their underground studio. In fact, watching them date is like watching two clones do the thing they were cloned to do.
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So, yeah, their date is fine and they seem fine together. Their combined star power packs all of the punch of a bowl of oatmeal, but then is any one really surprised? Susie earns herself the date rose and can rest easy at the rose ceremony.
Speaking of the rose ceremony, we’ll have to wait two weeks to see if Cassidy is able to have her cake and eat it too, and if Shanae and Elizabeth will just go ahead and kiss already. Until then!
Images: John Fleenor (2) /ABC; @bachelorettewindmill /Instagram (1); @thebetchelor /Instagram (1); Giphy (1); Tenor (1)