Welcome back to another very exciting episode of The Bachelorette! I’m calling this episode “very exciting” because this is the moment in the season when Michelle becomes the reason the guidance counselor at her school has to work overtime come fall. That’s right, people: fantasy suite dates are here! Unlike the past few seasons of The Bachelor/ette, Michelle and her men are actually allowed to travel beyond the property line of whatever hotel ABC has been holding them hostage in these last few weeks. Fun! Truly, I think it is so much fun that ABC deemed it too unsafe for Michelle to travel for hometowns, but a Mexican Marriott for fantasy suites is totally fine. It really gives a whole new meaning to that phrase “risking it for the biscuit.”
All jokes aside, fantasy suites are an important stage of these producer-manipulated relationships. For one, it’s the first time that Michelle is allowed to spend complete alone time with any of the men. It’s during that alone time that she can gauge how strong her emotional connections are with each of them—or at least gauge how strong her aversions are to finger-blasting as foreplay. Only time will tell!
Brandon’s Fantasy Suite Date
First up this week is Brandon, who looks like his idea of foreplay includes gentle eye contact and a Spotify mashup of Hallmark Christmas movie soundtracks. My feelings are only reinforced during the day portion of their date when they go on a romantic horseback ride through the jungle. At one point Brandon says he can’t ride horses, and I feel like this is a metaphor for his bedroom habits. In fact, the anxious “yeehaw” he lets out as they ride off into the jungle is probably the fun new “kink” he lists on his Bumble profile when this is all over.
I think my problem with Brandon is that he cannot be taken seriously. His emotional angst ranks right up there with one of my diary entries from sophomore year and it’s unsettling to watch, let alone root for. Case in point is this little exchange:
BRANDON: I can’t wait to literally rip my heart out, throw it on the table, and just say, do what you want with it, because it only beats for you at this point.
Brandon! You can’t just go around telling people how you feel! What are you, eight? Grow up.
Later, Brandon tells Michelle that he loves her and is this the part where he asks her to wear his letterman? Are they going steady now? I’m not shocked at all that Brandon is the type to make bold proclamations before sex. In fact, I think his climax absolutely depends on it. What I am shocked about is how into it Michelle seems. In fact, every single time she hangs out with Brandon she seems taken aback by her response to him. It’s like she knows he’s fully embarrassing but can’t stop herself from being into it.
I will say that I’m not convinced any fantasies were actually enacted in that hotel suite. Though they do spend the night together, the next morning they both sit suspiciously clothed and with a healthy amount of distance between their bodies. It’s not immediately clear that they’ve done anything other than wear Korean face masks and binge watch HGTV. I suppose only time will tell…
Joe’s Fantasy Suite Date
I’m worried about Joe this week. It seems like Mexico—and having to listen to his girlfriend fake an orgasm with other guys through the adjoining wall—has not been good for his mental health. Wild. Out of all of the guys, he’s struggling the most with the idea of fantasy suites and, I’ll admit, I’m getting some sick satisfaction out of his reaction. I love that the guy WHO GHOSTED HER is the most torn up about this. I guess emotional sabotage is only a turn on when he’s the one in control of it.
Overall, their date isn’t super impressive to me. I’ve never really understood Michelle’s connection to Joe beyond his physical attractiveness and this date in paradise continues to perplex me. They go ziplining and it’s maybe the first time I’ve heard Joe speak above the lowest decibel a human ear can hear. Michelle interprets the screams he emits from ziplining as Joe “opening up” to her and not Joe’s anxiety completely taking control of his bodily reactions. Tomato, tahmato.
Michelle is really trying her damnedest to pull an intimate, emotional connection out of Joe and the best Joe can give her is this:
My problem with Joe is that their whole connection seems to hinge on basketball and their physical attraction to one another. Take basketball out of the equation and the two are struggling to engage in ways that aren’t single syllable grunts. I mean, I think I have more free-flowing conversations with my dog, for god’s sake.
No matter, Michelle decides to give him another chance and invites him to spend the night with her. I’m sure that decision had everything to do with her very real feelings for him and nothing at all to do with the very real feelings his DMs made her feel in her vagina all those months ago. Yep. There’s no way this can go wrong.
Nayte’s Fantasy Suite Date
Even though Nayte’s date is last this week, he seems the most unconcerned about the fantasy suites situation. While the rest of the guys agonized over if their girlfriend had given a half-hearted handy to another guy in the room, Nayte seemed more concerned that this conversation might cut into the hotel’s continental breakfast time.
BRANDON AND JOE: I’m sick to my stomach thinking this girl I’m in love with is possibly falling more in love with someone else right now.
NAYTE, ALREADY ONE MOJITO DEEP:
If anything Nayte seems more inclined to torture those around him than to feel any sort of torment regarding the situation himself. He’s like “hey, Brandon! What do you think Michelle and Joe are doing on their date? Soaking up that Vitamin D? Haha! Get it?!” Never mind that Brandon was already sitting there looking absolutely haunted. After that comment he’s going to spend the rest of the day actively trying not to imagine what else the guy who can spin a basketball on his finger might be doing with said fingers.
When the guys try to rattle Nayte by asking why he’s not more upset, he says that he’s just that confident in his connection with Michelle. And here’s the thing: Nayte has every right to feel confident in their relationship. Their chemistry is palpable. My god, their yachting date?? I have not seen a couple this attractive on the open seas since I grew out of my Pirates of the Caribbean phase. Have mercy.
You know who isn’t quite as confident in their connection? Michelle. She says that she’s worried she has stronger feelings for him than he has for her. Lol. Well of course you do, honey! It took the man 20 years to say the “L” word to the people who raised him. He probably doesn’t even sign his coworkers’ birthday cards, lest they get the wrong idea about their relationship and think they’re actually chummy.
MICHELLE: Is there anything on your mind you want to say to me before I read the fantasy suite date card?
I will say Michelle is persistent about getting the answer she wants to hear. When it becomes clear that they will sit outside in their own stink and perspiration until he says he loves her, then and only then does he break down and say he loves her, now please can they just go have sex now? Absolutely swoon.
If I had doubts about what Michelle was doing with Brandon and Joe in the fantasy suites, I have no such qualms about her activities with Nayte. The morning after footage shows clothes askew, her makeup is half on his face, some of Nayte’s body jewelry is still caught up in her hair. There is no mistaking what went down here tonight (spoiler: it was Nayte).
And fuck, if the two of them don’t look so in love! But while Michelle is saying in her confessional that Nayte is her soul mate, Nayte is still throwing out words “might” and “possible”, as in: it might work out between them or there’s a possibility for real love. Though nothing can be worse than his response to the other men when they ask how his date went and he said they “vibed out” and really “kicked it.” Nathan! These are things I said about the CBD products a sorority sister conned me into purchasing as a part of her mommy group’s pyramid scheme. These are not things you say after spending an intimate night with your future wife!
Going into the rose ceremony, Nayte’s shine cannot be dulled. While the rest of the dudes look like they would rather have spoiled fruit thrown at them in the town square than be in this room where they might get romantically rejected after spending the night with a woman, Nayte is practically giddy to get his rose. He’s 6’6, what does he have to be worried about?
And what do you know?
True love Height and inconsistent romantic feelings reign victorious once again! Nayte scores the first of the roses and, after a moment of wavering, Brandon lands the second rose. This means that Mr. Basketball is going home. As Joe exits he dead-pan mumbles “I just want to go home” and it’s a sentiment that reverberates through my bones. We all just want to go home, Joe.
We’ll have to wait until next week for the three (kill me) hour season finale. Until next week, betches!
Images: ABC / Craig Sjodin; Giphy (4)