Welcome back to your regularly scheduled Bachelor recap! Last week ABC gave us a brief reprieve from the madness that has been Clayton’s season. I’m sure that decision had everything to do with ABC’s utmost respect for our mental health and nothing at all to do with the PR carnage that would have ensued had they hyped Clayton’s lily white ass on a day meant to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. I guess we’ll never know…
Girl Code Is Dead
This week picks up right where we left off, at the last rose ceremony. For those of you who don’t remember: Cassidy was doing her absolute best to make a grown man ejaculate in his khakis on national television. Tbh, her strategy seemed to be working. After ruining a child’s birthday party during the group date (“I didn’t come here to hang streamers!”) and living out every Marissa Cooper bad-teen-with-daddy-issues fantasy with Clayton by the pool, Clayton was officially smitten. The only flaw to her plan? Equating “girl code” with the legal standing of attorney-client privilege. Oh, sweetie.
Just before the rose ceremony kicked off, another woman in the house revealed that Cassidy had been talking to a hookup buddy from back home. A hoe in a different area code? How novel. Immediately after finding this out, Clayton asked Jesse Palmer if it was possible to take back Cassidy’s rose, to which Jesse Palmer responded, “does it look like I care? I was in the middle of drinking this martini” and leaves Clayton to ponder his romantic dilemma. He’s not contractually obligated to do more than that. I get it. We all have to protect our time for work-life balance!
Clayton decides to confront Cassidy, and it’s truly a joy to watch. Here we have two blond, conventionally attractive people, who are completely unaware of their own hypocrisies. On the one hand we have Cassidy, who was definitely sexting a man up until the point that a producer pried her phone away from her gel manicured hands. On the other hand, we have Clayton, a wronged man, a man who was *checks notes* saying “I love you” to a Minnesota school teacher not but eight weeks ago? Hmm…
CLAYTON: You were seeing someone right before you came on this show?
CLAYTON RIGHT BEFORE COMING ON THIS SHOW:
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I think what’s most fun for me to watch is Clayton acting completely scandalized at having dated a girl who also has a guy on the side. Are you telling me this has never happened to you before, sir? That’s the confidence of an average white male right there. This is 2022. Everyone has a side piece! Monogamy is dead.
Though Cassidy eventually comes clean and tells Clayton that she does have some sort of situationship back home—but her feelings for Clayton are real now!!—Clayton is unimpressed. He wants commitment! He wants to be the only person in Cassidy’s phone sending her texts about as sexy as lukewarm soup! He tells Cassidy he just can’t deal with her and sends her home.
Do I feel for Cassidy in this moment? I absolutely do. She tried to do what every man who can marginally pass for 6’0 has been doing since the dawn of time: have his cake and eat it too. The real glass ceiling, if you will. If Clayton knew what this man was texting her (half-hearted “yeah I’d love to see you”s in between asking her what she was wearing) would he really be threatened? Does this mean everyone has to be celibate before coming on this show? It’s all crap. I didn’t even think it was legally possible to take a rose back at this stage in the game, but I’m pretty sure this dismissal would not hold up in a court of law. Cassidy, have your people call my people. This is a wrongful termination if I’ve ever seen it.
Clayton Joins The Women’s Movement
The theme for this week’s dates appears to be inspired by Christina Aguilera’s iconic 2002 album Stripped—except it’s all decidedly less sexy. Clayton wants the ladies stripped down—he wants real, raw vulnerability. And, you know, also to see them half naked.
The first group date of the week delivers all of this and more. Former Bachelorette and Bachelorette host Kaitlyn Bristowe leads the ladies (and Clayton) in a group therapy session where they all must divulge their biggest body insecurities. I think I’ve seen this activity before and I think it came straight from The American Girl: The Care & Keeping of You.
I’m not sure what Clayton was expecting from this date, but it sure as hell isn’t what goes down during this sharing circle. It seems like almost every woman in the room has a story about a man in their lives inflicting some sort of horror on their bodies. As they tearfully discuss the atrocities done to and said about their bodies, Clayton looks on in horror and confusion. He seems surprised that women have actual bodies and aren’t just brainless bags of flesh. More than women having bodies and relationships to those bodies, he seems surprised that his gender is capable of, well, acting like his gender. Welcome to the feminist movement, Clayton! I can’t wait until you find out how much tampons cost.
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Resolving to treat women better, Clayton takes this newfound outlook into his one-on-one date with Sarah, where his resolution promptly evaporates into a plume of Axe body spray. Sarah and Clayton will be doing a scavenger hunt around the city in—get this!—only their underwear. Sarah looks appropriately scandalized, but if it were me on this date it would absolutely not be possible for me to compete. How does one tell a producer on national television that underneath your Revolve outfit you are Kim Kardashian body taped to within an inch of your life? Hmm?
Sarah soldiers through the date despite being forced to rap (why??) practically nude about wanting Clayton in “her spot” as an elderly woman in full-on COVID gear watches on in horror. The CDC is certainly getting a call about this tonight.
You would think that ABC would be content with only objectifying one woman’s body, especially after devoting the first half of the episode to body positivity. You would think wrong. The stripped theme continues through to the last group date of the week, a Baywatch themed group date (yes, feminism is dead) in which the women compete to be the best lifeguard. Or was it the best-looking lifeguard? I honestly can’t say for sure. I do love that Clayton, not but 48 hours earlier, spent an entire day in a workshop about respecting women’s bodies only to immediately sport a hard-on at the sight of grown women in bathing suits.
CLAYTON: I never want women to feel like I’m only attracted to their bodies. I respect women so much.
CLAYTON, THE MOMENT A WOMAN SHOWS UP IN A SWIMSUIT:
I can see he learned so much this week!
Shanae Update: Shrimply The Worst
Last week we saw the origin stories of two emerging villains: Cassidy and Shanae. Cassidy had the drive and the dynamics to make meh television into great television. Meanwhile, Shanae had the drive and dynamics to make the audience extremely uncomfortable. With Cassidy on the way home to have subpar, noncommittal sex with her situationship, where does that leave our other intrepid villain? Committing crimes against culinary.
During the episode, Elizabeth, Shanae’s sworn enemy for reasons that have yet to be revealed, cooked garlic butter shrimp for the girls in the house. This was eye-opening for several reasons. First, that these women would willingly ingest anything with the words “butter” and “garlic” in the name is breaking the fourth wall for me. Secondly, do these women have to cook their own meals? I was under the impression that a chef, or at the very least a catering service, was involved while they’re marooned in that house. And if they do indeed have to cook their own food, are they only allotted eight shrimp a meal?? Is that the budget??
Shanae takes Elizabeth up on her offer for shrimp—and then some. Instead of eating one or two, she damn near ingests the whole pot. (Sidenote: I’m not suggesting that eight shrimp is a lot of shrimp, it’s just all that Elizabeth made for the house. Eight shrimp is a light snack in my eyes, a thing I would eat and then immediately feel hungry after eating. However, eight shrimp is apparently enough to start the end of days in this house). The other ladies in the house are pissed they didn’t get to eat their one allotted shrimp. Though, again, I think the real crime is that there were so few shrimp cooked to begin with. Shanae must realize the wrath of a hungry woman, so she quickly makes amends by cooking more shrimp. To her dismay (and outrage), the house eats her shrimp but doesn’t deign to thank her for her efforts.
THE GIRLS: *breathe*
SHANAE: I hate them
She is a vibe. My vibe, if you will.
Shanae takes her beef with Elizabeth to Clayton where she describes in minute detail the shrimp incident. Can you imagine telling your grandkids this story about how you met their grandmother? She tells Clayton that she feels bullied by the other women in the house with Elizabeth leading that charge. He interrupts her outcry about bullying to make out with her. Our ally, ladies.
SHANAE TO CLAYTON: I’m the victim of bullying
SHANAE TO THE CAMERAS:
My god, give this girl an Emmy. She’s the most interesting thing to happen to this episode. As the cameras cut to Clayton chastising a sobbing Elizabeth about being a bully, they pan back to Shanae’s maniacally laughing in the confessional about having pulled a fast one over Clayton. Perhaps I didn’t give this girl enough credit.
As Shanae basks in her victory, Clayton vows to go full-on Mary-Kate and Ashley detective agency in getting to the bottom of this mystery. He will solve any crime by dinner time.
SHANAE: *shows Clayton exactly who she is*
Like the previous episode, this week things end on a cliffhanger. We’ll have to wait until next Monday to see if Clayton is able use his eyes and ears to figure out who’s there for the right reasons and who’s there to just eat shrimp. Until then!
Roses & Eliminations
For those of you looking for, like, actual information about this episode, that’s fair. I don’t let a little thing like “facts” steer the narrative arc of these recaps, but alas I realize it’s important all the same. Here’s a breakdown of roses and eliminations:
• Eliza (therapy group date rose)
• Sarah (one-on-one date rose)
• Gabby (Baywatch group date rose)
Images: John Fleenor / ABC; Giphy (3); @bacheloretteabc /Instagram (1); @bachelorettewindmill /Instagram (1)