Welcome back, friends, to another night of Fantasy Suites! You know, perfect if your fantasy includes being held hostage for two nights and four hours by Mike Fleiss and his band of cretins. Night one of the hostage situation featured overnights with Aven, Tino, Johnny, and Erich. There were highs (shirtless Aven), there were lows (clothed Aven), and there was Johnny showing that his vocabulary for intimacy is as expansive as a TikTok comments section.
Tonight we pick up where things left off, with Erich crying in a corner. God, do I love to see a grown man cry. It’s better than retinol for my beauty routine. Erich made the huge mistake of being too needy during Fantasy Suites. Don’t worry, Erich, we’ve all been there. If I had a dime for every time someone showed me a sliver of intimacy, only to reveal themselves later as a person whose emotional capacity doesn’t extend beyond their three most used emojis, then I wouldn’t be posting pictures of my feet to the internet.
Watching this, it’s clear that Erich was producer-manipulated into rehashing their private conversation in front of cameras. Apparently, they’d already discussed Erich’s feelings of jealousy and insecurity off-camera. Gabby can’t tell if his bringing this up now is the calculated move of a man who wants to generate a fanbase back home, or if it’s because he’s genuinely that stupid. Come on, Gabs. His beauty decisions make it seem like he lost a bet with a fraternity. What do you think?
To be honest, Gabby’s reaction is a little wild. Should he have brought it up like that in front of cameras? Probably not. But he does immediately apologize once he sees how hurt Gabby is by the conversation. He admits that his behavior is unfair to her, that it wasn’t his intention to upset her, he just loves her. He’s not screaming or yelling or calling her a slut. He’s pretty calmly voicing his feelings. And also… the man’s dad is dying! That’s a pretty solid excuse for acting like a lunatic in Mexico.
Gabby still isn’t happy. She heard that Rachel is leaving bodily fluids all over the Riviera Maya and god dammit, she deserves to desecrate Mexican tourist attractions, too! She doesn’t end things with Erich on the spot, but their parting words are strained. This doesn’t bode well for their future.
Fantasy Suite #5: Jason & Gabby
Speaking of foreboding energy, last night we got flashes of Jason, our resident Quiet Guy, speaking more words than he has all season. For most of this season, Jason has been as elusive and mysterious as Rachel’s style choices. Gabby, to her credit, has been patient with him. “He’s just private!”, she says after a date where she had to waterboard him into speaking to her. But is it that he’s private, or he’s just not that into you? I’ve always suspected the latter.
But boy is Jason talking now. Not to Gabby. No, why would he do that? He’s talking to Jesse Palmer, and he’s telling him he’s not ready for an engagement. Not only is he not ready for an engagement, the thing this show requires them to do, but he isn’t even really sure he likes Gabby all that much. Yes, you read that right. We’re at Fantasy Suites, one week away from proposals, and the man is acting like he might leave the Bachelorette on read.
As their date unfolds, I’m finding it painful to watch. In front of Gabby, Jason appears to be all in for this relationship, but in the confessionals, he tells us the opposite. Meanwhile, Gabby is gushing about how this is 100% her guy and she always knew it was him. This feels needlessly cruel. Serial killers have been more upfront with their victims than Jason is being with Gabby!!
Case in point: moments before a clammy-handed producer slips them the Fantasy Suite date card, he finally reveals his true feelings. Never mind that he spent the last 12 hours trying to hide a boner at every hotel recreation facility. Not only does he wait to tell her, but it’s the way he tells her that feels particularly callous.
First, he says that he’s not fully “there yet” and can’t see himself getting engaged in a week.
Then he tells her that he doesn’t even really know her all that well.
THEN he tells her that he isn’t even sure he wants to date her after this. He would be open to exchanging numbers and drunk dialing each other after happy hours, but only if his private parts are tingling.
WHO. DOES. HE. THINK. HE. IS!!!
Despite this, Gabby still tries to win him back. She practically broke up with Erich for him. He’s all she has left.
GABBY: I guess it’s up to you to decide if you’re willing to buy into the hopeless romanticism.
JASON: Yeah, I’m more of a realist.
A realist, Jason, really? You’re from NEW ORLEANS!! You grew up in fucking Neverland. Your childhood friends are Tinker Bell and the lost boys! Please.
I will say, Jason is a smooth talker. I paraphrased the above conversation as if Jason was being super clear with his meaning—he wasn’t. He’s practically speaking in tongues—fuckboy tongues. He keeps saying things like, “I’m in this for you! I’m here for you!” Yes, but what about once you aren’t “here” anymore? What happens when ABC cuts your bonds loose and allows you to flee from their captivity? Will you still want to be with Gabby then?
JASON: I still want to go to the Fantasy Suite. I think we need that intimate private time with each other.
Subtle, Jason. Real subtle.
It’s at this point in the episode that ABC starts editing Gabby’s love story as if they’re making the next Saw production. They change the music from uplifting and romantic to the Jaws soundtrack. The camera pans to a dead bug floating in a champagne glass. I wait with bated breath for the locusts to start descending.
Instead, we see Gabby alone and clearly not in the Fantasy Suite. She says that once the cameras stopped rolling, they couldn’t come to an agreement about their future. Apparently Gabby said something to the effect of “this just isn’t meant to be,” and Jason responded with “yeah, definitely.” YEAH, DEFINITELY. Does he want to be drawn and quartered in the town square?! Should we have Aven’s mom place a curse on his lineage for generations to come?? Because he’s certainly asking for it at this point.
Gabby sends Jason home, which means she’s now been dumped by two of her guys in the final stretch. Brutal. The last time I saw this much carnage on my television screen, Shark Week was on the air.
Fantasy Suite #6: Zach & Rachel
Rachel’s final Fantasy Suite date is up next. I want to know how things are suddenly working out so well for this coastal grandma? Those hemlines should never inspire that much amorous desire, but I’m happy for her.
She meets up with Zach, who has finally been released from the Mattel factory ABC’s been storing him in. They were worried he might melt in this climate, but don’t worry! He’s here now, and he’s outfitted with all the Barbie vacation accessories! Just look at all of that breathable khaki.
Their date is essentially a tourist’s wet dream. They’re practically two giant fanny packs gallivanting around Mexico. They taste authentic Mexican tequila (818), visit the Señor Frog’s of psychics to learn their futures, introduce the local mariachi band to this thing called the cha-cha slide, and then show up to dinner dressed like they’re about to take a family beach photo. Jesus Christ. These two deserve each other.
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But the next morning, things are amiss. The mood is tense. Rachel is wearing her sensible pajamas, the kind you wear around your nana at Christmas, and Zach won’t stop word vomiting about his “cup of Joe.” It definitely feels like we missed something off-camera.
They vaguely mention “a talk,” and Rachel tells him to stop worrying so much. She leaves, and Zach tells the cameras that he never expected what happened last night to happen. BUT WHAT HAPPENED. Did she scream “arriba!” when she came? Did you scream “arriba!” when you came? Seriously, what is it!!
Turns out, it’s none of those things. Zach says that she kept asking him about his religion and his political beliefs, and that they were unsettled by each other’s responses. Hmmm. Then, Rachel declares he’s too young for marriage. He is *checks notes* one year younger than her.
RACHEL DURING THEIR FANTASY SUITE:
I think Rachel is soft-launching their breakup and he isn’t catching on. She clearly has stronger feelings for Tino and Aven and doesn’t know how to quietly quit this relationship. Buddy, your days are numbered.
So Who Goes Home?
Rachel’s got a big decision to make. She’s got three great guys here and has to narrow it down to two. Who will she choose? Will she go with Tino, the man whose family hopes an asteroid takes her out before she can enter into any sort of binding relationship with their son? Will it be Aven, whose abs speak for themselves? Or Zach, the man who comes with some assembly required?
While Rachel ponders her decision, Gabby is back in her hotel room journaling. Oh boy. Nothing good happens when a millennial woman journals. The seismic energy of our daily reflections is what creates the tide changes.
It seems Gabby is willing to give Erich another chance. After taking some time to reflect, she knows he’s the only guy for her. (Emphasis on the only).
GABBY: Erich is the only man here. That’s it. That’s the end of the sentence.
Well, when you put it that way…
Look, I know it seems like Gabby’s getting backed into a corner here, but I actually think the two of them are good together. They have visceral chemistry and have trusted each other with intimate family issues. Hot sex, emotional trauma… what else could she possibly be looking for in a man??
Gabby goes to Erich’s room to apologize for the weirdness between the two of them. She’s been looking for the right moment to tell him something and here it is: she loves him! She’s done looking, he’s it for her! Literally, there is no one else! Seriously. Please don’t leave her.
And this, friends, is where things get really weird. Instead of the cameras panning back to Rachel and her rose ceremony, they shift to Jesse Palmer, alone in what looks to be a nuclear waste facility. It could be a deconstructed studio deep in the bowels of ABC headquarters, or it could be the birthplace of the Power Puff Girls. We just don’t know.
He says that they won’t be airing footage from the rose ceremony tonight. At this point, why should any of man on this franchise start finishing? Instead he tells us to “take some time.” “Get yourselves ready,” he says, face somber, and “prepare yourselves for the most shocking finale of all time.”
Is he… threatening us? What’s going to happen next week, Jesse? Unless the producers are going to human sacrifice Jason to a crowd of half-feral rose lovers, then QUIT WASTING OUR TIME. We already saw the schedule! We know the finale is a two-parter. I do not need to get myself ready to watch half a Bachelorette finale while I scroll through my phone. Don’t lie to me!
But, alas, ABC doesn’t care about my time or emotional well-being. Like Gabby and Rachel this week, we’ll have to wait a little longer to experience climax. Until then!
Images: Giphy (6); @thebacheloretteabc /Instagram (1)
Hi, I’m Jared Freid. I’m a 37-year-old comedian who loves The Bachelor. I love it so much, I yell at every episode on my Instagram stories. As you can imagine, my parents are very proud. V.
This is my preview for the season. I’ve been doing this preview for both shows since before your favorite TikToker was born. I make massive assumptions about every contestant based on very little information. It’s like sitting with me while wearing sweats and screaming “Yuck” at what people wore on the red carpet. Please enjoy and follow me on Instagram where I’ll be making fun of these goofballs every Monday night (past seasons are in my highlights).
Gabby & Rachel
Gabby Windey and Rachel Recchia are our co-Bachelorettes. I love that there are two Bachelorettes. I’ve been asking this show to get creative for YEARS. What bothers me is somehow a few Bachelor alums have tried to co-opt the twist by saying it’s anti-woman so they can get a clickbait-y headline for their podcast. Sure, if The Bachelorette had the female leads mud wrestle for the last box of the country’s Plan B, then it would be annoying and bizarre. But this didn’t happen out of the blue. Gabby and Rachel were both strung along by last season’s wooden table of a personality and they came to one another’s aid in a really beautiful way. Having them co-star made so much sense, while adding a needed change to the weaker of the two franchises. To be honest, neither woman stood out as a lead. Rachel was always whispering and Gabby acted like the weird girl in high school who you’d always bring up during lunchtime “You know who’s actually hot?!” conversations. But together they were interesting and fun and seemingly good at partnering up during a difficult time. You know what this is called? Nuance. Remember, your Bachelor alums don’t speak with nuance because that doesn’t grow their audience or get them brought back as the host. Ok! Let’s check out the dudes who had to google the definition of “nuance.”
Alec, 27, Wedding Photographer
Alec is a 27-year-old wedding photographer who looks like someone used an old marker with very little ink to draw a beard onto his face. His bio says that he’s a self-proclaimed “lover boy.” Of course that’s “self-proclaimed!” Nobody has ever called someone else a lover boy like they’re Bugs Bunny dressed in drag. I’d love to have been in the room the first time he called himself “lover boy.” I’d be like, “Alec, what do you mean? Explain that.” And then Alec would be like, “Well I’m pretty good at, like, banging and shit.” And then the room would get totally silent and I’d be grinning while fully erect.
Aven, 28, Sales Executive
Aven is a 28-year-old sales executive from San Diego whose eyebrows look like two caterpillars that are about to kiss. Aven only allows himself to eat out once a week. I have so many questions. Can you do takeout?! What if you eat out on a Monday, then Wednesday you meet Bruce Springsteen and he asks you to go to dinner on Thursday?! Does Aven say, “Sorry Bruce! We’ve got a routine!?!” Then you’re back home, eating grilled chicken and vegetables while humming “Dancing in the Dark” with tears streaming down your cheek? Aven’s like “You ok babe?!” And you’re like, “Ya. Totally cool. The broccoli is steamed perfectly.” Then you and Aven head to the bedroom for your weekly scheduled missionary on a towel sex. There will be no Glory Days for me and Aven. That’s for sure.
Brandan, 23, Bartender
Brandan’s bio says that he loves Disneyland and he goes every year on his birthday, which is a VERY 23-year-old thing to say. At that age you’re like Peter Pan. You’re like, “This friend group is going to be together forever! And every year we’re going to Disneyland on my birthday!” Then two friends hook up. A third friend doesn’t make enough money to hang out. Another friend can’t handle their alcohol. And the ones that did all the planning get married. Two years from now it’ll be Brandan at Disneyland with Mickey Mouse ears and a woman he met a month before on Tinder. He will be holding one balloon and he’ll whisper to himself, “Next year, maybe just drinks at a bar.”
Chris, 30, Mentality Coach
Chris is a 30-year-old mentality coach from Redondo Beach who looks like he just got really high in the car before walking into a movie. Chris has written two books and says that he is his own favorite author. So his favorite author is a guy with a fake job who self-produced an ebook. I’m not sure what’s a worse first date answer to “Who is your favorite author?”—Chris saying, “Me.” Or when I say, “I used to like those Goosebumps books.”
Colin, 36, Sales Director
Colin is a 36-year-old sales director from Chicago who looks the most like a guy in sales from Chicago I’ve ever seen. That quarter zip sweater might not ever come off his body. He looks like he started at Groupon and moved to something at Accenture and now hangs out in Old Town even though he’s too old to be hanging out in Old Town. A wedding ring tells you someone is married, a quarter zip sweater tells you a man went to a Big 10 school and brags about their business school, even though it’s never mattered to anyone who matters.
Erich, 29, Real Estate Analyst
This is Erich. He spells his name Erich. No face has ever looked more like a guy who says, “It’s with an H at the end” than Erich. I look forward to watching Erich use the word “vibes” to describe a mall food court this season.
Ethan, 27, Advertising Executive
Ethan is a 27-year-old advertising executive from NYC who says he’s the king of Monopoly, which is really just a way to say that you’re boring. Can you imagine anything worse than hanging with someone who is the self-proclaimed king of Monopoly?! I can be poor and kick myself for not being able to afford a home during daytime hours. I don’t need to do that at a party. Any time I’ve played Monopoly it’s been for five minutes, realized that women and alcohol exist and been forced to play five more minutes by the person with the least personality at the party.
Hayden, 29, Leisure Executive
Hayden looks like a 15-year-old boy who ran away from home and encountered a bridge troll who then granted his wish to be turned into an adult. Hayden is a “leisure executive” which means he works at a Mattress Firm. There may be nothing less sexual than a man in a lab coat who introduces himself as a “sleep doctor” right before telling you to lay on a bed in a fun way, like, “Take her for a spin.” I wish Hayden the best. I hope his adventures lead him back to his 15-year-old body while learning about the importance of family.
Jacob, 27, Mortgage Broker
Jacob is a 27-year-old mortgage broker from Scottsdale with “Do You Know Who My Father Is?!” face. He claims to read 30-40 books a year and doesn’t eat cake. I have to respect that Jacob has fully committed to the slicked-back-ponytail, bratty-heir-to-a-throne, I-go-by-my-full-name, lifestyle. I imagine being at a party and he’s like, “So, reading anything good lately?!” And I look up from the cake I’m eating to be like, “Umm I sometimes read half a tweet and then regurgitate that information in other conversations as if I read the full article.” Then a little bit of the cake flies from my mouth onto Jacob’s suede dinner jacket and he brushes it off while mumbling, “heathen.”
James, 25, Meatball Enthusiast
James is a 25-year-old “meatball enthusiast” from Illinois who looks like he can’t wait to tell you his high school football stats. James is very obviously coming on the show as a caricature of an Italian. I’m so tired of this type of person. Doesn’t he know there’s about a hundred of him on TikTok? He’s going to talk about Sunday sauce and pronounce meat names in a way that makes no sense and at some point he’s going to tell us that “FAMILY IS WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT!” as if all of us non-Italians never hug our own moms. My wet dream is for James to find out his mom’s sauce is actually just Prego.
Jason, 30, Investment Banker
Jason is a 30-year-old investment banker from Santa Monica who looks like the friend on the bachelor party who’s really interested in catching up and doesn’t stay out too late. I think Jason is the perfect candidate for The Bachelorette. Old enough to be ready. A job with health insurance located close to Hollywood. Hypothetically, he could get married, keep his life, and do red carpets with either of the women and then pitch in for the down payment it takes to buy the Hailey Bieber smoothie. Admit it, you got a little tingle downstairs reading that sentence. You’re about to change your Bumble profile to “Smoothie Kings Only!!”
Joey, 24, Twin
Joey looks like he just got ready for the dance at his summer camp and his style inspo was Pete Davidson. He’s 24 and one of a set of twins who are on the show. He lives in Connecticut and says he “loves to hit the clubs in New York City for a night out with the boys.” Let me tell you one thing, nobody who takes a train into a city to go to a club where they can’t afford a table is ready to get married. If they have the energy to stand while screaming “Let’s go!!” over house music with close to zero chance of hooking up, then they have too much energy to stay in and watch Bridgerton with their fiancée.
John, 26, English Teacher
John is a 26-year-old English teacher from Nashville who looks like he once hosted Blue’s Clues. John isn’t winning. His profile talks about being shy and how his positivity “radiates from within.” The only way John’s winning is if The Bachelorette somehow becomes a competition to find a new best friend who helps you choose an outfit for a first date with another guy.
Johnny, 25, Realtor
Johnny is a 25-year-old realtor from Palm Beach Gardens who looks like he’s pulled out a guitar at many social functions. His bio says he “can’t be with anyone who is hung up on past relationships.” I love when the contestant bios call out the last person they dated. Like, Johnny’s ex is reading this while in bed with the guy she told him not to worry about being like, “Welp, got me.” If someone had dated me and then went on the show, their profile would be like, “NO MEN WHO SOMETIMES FORGET TO FLUSH THE TOILET. EVEN WITH A NUMBER 2!” And I’d be reading it like, “Wow. I hope nobody makes the connection.”
Jordan H, 25, Software Developer
Jordan H is a 25-year-old software developer from Tampa. Jordan’s head and neck are too thick for his shoulders. It looks like this picture was drawn in the park by a caricature artist. He was like, “Draw me as a Dollar store John Cena!” And the artist was like, “GOT YOU BRO.”
Jordan V, 27, Drag Racer
Jordan V is a 27-year-old drag racer from Alpharetta, Georgia. I read his job and I was like, “Wow. A professional drag queen! Good for you, ABC!” I became giddy imagining that limo entrance. A Ru Paul cameo! I got excited to see Jordan sashay all over these guys in 10-inch heels while I was at home snapping and screaming “YASSS.” Then I came to my senses. Jordan’s a race car driver! This is still The Bachelor franchise! People come on here due to a weird church pastor who told them sharing a significant other with 30 other people is “God’s way.” Well, maybe a fabulous queen will strut out of the limos one season!! Until then, we get Jordan who loves “relaxing on the lake.” Ugh.
Justin B, 32, Physical Therapist
Justin B is a 32-year-old physical therapist who looks like his mom paid for his honeymoon at the White Lotus hotel. His profile says he’s a “lover, not a fighter” and that he “loves the smell of jasmine.” How does that even come up?! Not one other person said their favorite smell, so Justin had to be like, “Oh and you know what?! I love jasmine!” If I were the interviewer I’d assume he had a weird fetish for the Disney princess. I also don’t want my physical therapist randomly bringing up favorite smells. I’m recovering from a surgery and this guy’s like, “Have you smelled this candle?! It’s rhubarb.” I’d be like, “No, your latex doctor gloves smell fine enough. Can you just keep doing the ultrasound in silence?” And he’d be like, “Whoa whoa whoa, I’m a lover not a fighter!” And I’d find a new physical therapist immediately.
Justin Y., 24, Other Twin
Justin Y is the other half of the twins coming onto the show this season. His bio reads, “Justin Y is the life of the party! He is a hardworking go-getter who enjoys clubbing in New York City’s hottest spots with his favorite wingman, his identical twin brother, Joey.”
Have you ever wanted to hang with someone less?! I read that passage with the voice of the announcer from a failed MTV dating show. Justin is 24 and this is who a 24-year-old thinks people want to date. It’s not even true. The hottest clubs wouldn’t let Justin enter. The bouncers aren’t looking at a large group and being like, “We’d let you in, but you don’t have a 24-year-old twin who lives with his parents in Connecticut in your party!” If this read, “Justin Y creeps into every party quietly to make sure he wants to stay. He has health insurance and he enjoys a bar that’s busy but still has a place for him to sit. His favorite wingman is his phone which he looks up from every now and again,” then he’d have a line of women waiting for him.
Kirk, 29, College Football Coach
Kirk is a 29-year-old football coach from Lubbock, Texas who looks like the guy every woman in a Hallmark movie meets when she moves home from the big city. It’s always funny that those guys never have one glaring red flag. We’re just supposed to believe that this perfect man decided to stick around Garbageville and be a handyman. In real life, “Kirk” stayed in Lubbock to coach the high school football team because he got a DUI and to fix his problem, he only drinks clear alcohol now. And you have to decide if you can date him and deal with his worrisome opinions on crime.
Logan, 26, Videographer
Logan is a 26-year-old videographer from San Diego who looks like a toddler who tried to fit into one of his dad’s old coats. He says that his lifelong crush is Elaine from Seinfeld, and that’s the correct opinion. Elaine was successful, active, fun, opinionated, sexually communicative with her partners, and was able to have a healthy relationship with an ex. Elaine might have been the perfect woman. Everyone should be asked about their sitcom crush. If it’s Elaine then they’re probably a good guy. If it’s Pam from The Office then there’s something wrong with them. Pam once went to a job fair at her old high school at the age of 26 and thought one of her drawings might still be on the wall in her old art class. Pam is the anti-Elaine.
Mario, 31, Personal Trainer
Mario is a 31-year-old personal trainer from Naperville, Illinois who looks like he’s about to high-five you before a group fitness class with a very pedestrian playlist. Mario’s bio says he just wants to make his mom proud. The “I love my mom” guy is on every season of The Bachelorette. He’s neck and neck with the “I love my niece and nephews” guy for the easiest opinion to have on a reality show award. It’s such a weird thing to say because there’s no opposite guy. There’s nobody who’s like, “I came on the show to embarrass my mom” and then screams at a female producer, “Hey tootz! Shake that ass and grab me a Fresca!”
Matt, 25, Shipping Executive
Matt is a 25-year-old shipping executive which might mean he works at a FedEx/Kinko’s. He seems like a good guy. Like, a much better guy than me. His bio says that he “dreams of buying his mom a home wherever she wants.” I would hate to do my interview right before Matt. They’d be like “What’s your dream?!” And I’d be like, “To eat and drink as much as I want without gaining weight!” And then they’d be like, “Matt, what’s your dream?!” And he’d be like “Buying my mom a home wherever she wants!” And then I’d butt in and be like, “Hey, can I change my dream? In addition to the calorie thing, I’d also like to buy MYSELF a home.”
Michael, 32, Pharmaceutical Salesman
Michael is a 32-year-old pharmaceutical salesman from Long Beach, California who looks like he could play Will Smith in a made-for-TV biopic called Life Slaps. Michael loves Harry Potter and wants to visit his “Wizarding World.” That’s surprisingly enough for some people. There’s a crew of singles who react to other Harry Potter fans as if they’re part of some small interesting group. It’s owned by Warner Brothers! Disney Adults get tons of crap while these “Potter Pans” prance around being just as unbearable. Harry Potter isn’t a small indie band. It’s a behemoth corporation that keeps creating sequels and prequels written by teams of mathematicians while new imaginative ideas get left by the wayside because they’re not a sure thing. Being a Harry Potter fan is like being a fan of Chase Bank during the housing crisis.
Nate, 33, Electrical Engineer
Nate is a 33-year-old electrical engineer who will be successful no matter what happens on this show. His bio says that his favorite movie is How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days. If I’ve learned anything on this earth in my 37 years, it’s that women love that movie, they love Kate Hudson’s character, and mentioning that you enjoy that movie as a man is the cheat code for any conversation you ever have with a woman. I don’t care how badly it’s going, mention that movie and the woman starts visibly shaking and liquid comes out of all of her sensual orifices. Kate Hudson plays a female superhero in that movie. She acts crazy and never second-guesses herself once while not developing feelings for a gorgeous man who treats her amazingly. She’s basically the female version of Tony Stark.
Quincey, 25, Life Coach
Quincy is a 25-year-old life coach whose “energy is unmatched.” Telling me someone is an energetic 25-year-old life coach is like telling me someone is covered in dog doo: I’m going to avoid them at all costs. Also, who hires a 25-year-old life coach?! Did they want to learn how to confidently invite a woman home even though they sleep on a mattress that’s on the floor?! At 25, I was just figuring out how to differentiate junk mail from an actual bill, and Quincy is directing some poor soul’s life. With that type of unawareness, he’s going to do well in this competition.
Roby, 33, Magician
Roby is a 33-year-old magician from LA who looks like he would go up to a woman at a bar and say, “I knew you were a dime but this is ridiculous” and then pull a dime from her ear. Then he’d be like, “Hi, I’m Roby. One B. My mom said it’s because there’s one B in beautiful. Ya, she’s my roommate! But I get the whole basement and it has its own entrance so it’s basically my own space. She only comes in to clean out the hamper every morning. So how about a drink? Wait wait wait, how could I forget?!” Then he somehow pulls a rose from his own ear and gives it to her. I’m just saying he had a look.
Ryan, 36, Investment Director
Ryan is a 36-year-old investment director from Boston who looks like he’s the mascot for divorced dads. Ryan’s profile says he wants a “Nicholas Sparks type of relationship”, and that’s a pretty weird relationship goal. So Ryan wants to sneak off to meet a woman under the North Carolina sweet gum trees because her father doesn’t approve of their relationship, defy all odds, get married and then she dies?! Really?! Does Ryan want to catch the fireflies with the love of his life on a hot summer night and then watch her develop dementia and die?! Nicholas Sparks relationships have a certain theme. Ryan, let’s keep it simple. You’re going to meet a woman on Match.com who hates men because she’s been ghosted a dozen times. You’re going to slowly earn her trust and connect over your love of binge-watching Netflix shows. Then she’s going to die and we’re all going to think you did it like a normal 36-year-old.
Spencer, 27, Venture Capitalist
Spencer is a 27-year-old venture capitalist from Chicago who looks like he has a Barstool flag hung up in his bedroom, kitchen, back porch, foyer, and bathroom. Spencer says he is not your stereotypical “let’s grab a drink” kind of guy, which is usually said by a guy who’s trying to get you over to his place to watch five minutes of a movie. I look forward to watching Spencer hop up and down while fist pumping and screaming “Let’s gooo” while another guy in the house takes a longer than average sip of a hard seltzer.
Termayne, 28, Crypto Guy
Describing yourself as a “Crypto Guy” is actually Termayne’s business plan. He could’ve said he worked in finance or banking or any number of other things that make a lot more sense. But Termayne went with “Crypto Guy” which means he has no real job. He went online, did his own research, placed some money on the crypto roulette wheel, and made money that he’s since lost. Now, he’s onto the next step of the “Crypto Guy” career, and that’s to go on a reality show as the “Crypto Guy,” gain a following, and convince the next generation of aspiring “Crypto Guys” to give him as much money as possible. (Plays Lion King music) 🎶 IT’S THE CIIIIRCCLE OF CRYPTO GUY!!! And it moves us all!! Through loans and life savings! Through faith and love!! 🎶
Tino, 27, General Contractor
Tino’s bio says he “is very involved in giving back to his community and wants to find someone who will work to make the world a better place.” Imagine how insulting it would be to be Tino’s single female friend working with him at the soup kitchen. He’s complaining about how hard it is to find a woman who likes to give back. One day he’s like, “I’ve got an idea! I’ll go on The Bachelorette! A show with a long history of selfless individuals who put the community over their own personal gain! Goodbye Linda! You’ve been a wonderful friend!” Then he asks Linda to clean up for him because he has to leave early to make an audition tape.
Tyler, 25, Small Business Owner
Tyler is a 25-year-old small business owner from Wildwood, New Jersey who looks like he once starred in a Disney original series. It’s so funny to see “small business owner from Wildwood, New Jersey ” when you know the area a bit. Judging by the sleeve tattoo, his “small business” is a kiosk on the boardwalk that sells “Let’s Go Brandon” T-shirts.
Zach, 25, Tech Executive
Zach is a 25-year-old tech executive from Anaheim Hills, California who looks like he would get angry if someone called him a short king. Zach says he “loves to plan thoughtful surprises” which is something I’ve learned women say they want but don’t really want. You’ll be like, “I’ve got a surprise, get dressed!” And they’ll be like, “What is it?!” And you’ll be like “You’ll see! Get dressed!” And they’ll be like “Do I need sneakers?!” And you’ll be like “Shoes are a good start!!” And they’ll be like “Sneakers or shoes?!” And you’re like, “SNEAKERS! Cmon!” And they’ll be like “WELL I NEED TO KNOW IF I NEED A JACKET!” And you’ll be like “It doesn’t matter. You’re going to love it!” And they’ll be like “CAN YOU JUST TELL ME WHERE WE ARE GOING?!? MY MOM JUST GOT DIAGNOSED WITH A COLD AND MY FEET ARE FAT AND YOU KNOW MY BEST FRIEND ISN’T HAVING A GOOD WEEK! IT’S JUST NOT A GOOD TIME FOR SURPRISES!” And you’ll be like “OK FINE! WE TRY THE NEW WING FLAVOR AT BUFFALO WILD WINGS!!”
Images: ABC/Gizelle Hernandez
Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! Can you believe we’ve actually made it to the season finale? That’s right, Katie has narrowed down her list of eligible bachelors to her final two men: Blake and Justin. If those names sound surprising to you, that’s because her selection process was done much like the way I used to select a partner during college at last call: by blindly reaching for whoever was left standing and hoping he wouldn’t puke in the cab ride home. But, you know, I’m sure this will work out great for you, girl!
Last week during Hometowns we watched Katie’s relationship with Greg—arguably the strongest relationship of the season—deteriorate faster than a New Years resolution. Ultimately, I think Greg needed more emotional validation (read: an “I love you”) from Katie and she wasn’t willing to give him that at this stage in the process. This resulted in Greg fleeing the Hyatt in a whirl of flannel and angst, an exit that would have given 13-year-old me a run for my money when I made a similar dramatic departure from a Dillard’s after my first bra fitting, and Katie questioning if she even wanted to finish out the rest of the season with the losers she had left. (I paraphrase.)
Which brings us to tonight! I think it’s safe to say that the finale felt… anticlimactic? In the sense that no one f*cking cared who actually won Katie’s heart and everyone just wanted to know what the deal was between her and Greg. The first 45 minutes included ABC replaying old footage from the season on loop for the sake of a “recap.” It’s as if ABC expects us all to have the short-term memory of my grandmother, because there’s literally no excuse for them to insist on replaying something we just watched SEVEN DAYS AGO with this much fervor. We just want to see who she chose as her consolation prize and move on with our lives, okay!!
Speaking of the consolation prizes, Tayshia and Kaitlyn tell the men that Greg has left the show and that, congratulations, we’re moving directly into a Fantasy Suites/Proposal Day hybrid situation! I will say the horror on Justin’s face at realizing he somehow made it to the final two and will have to propose to a woman his parents couldn’t even be bothered to FaceTime is actually priceless. Don’t worry, buddy! You’ll only have to propose if Blake decides to slide into Claire’s DMs after all! On second thought, maybe you should start Googling “heartfelt proposals” now…
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Pretty quickly it’s established that this game is Blake’s to lose. For a moment there I thought Katie might take Justin to the Fantasy Suites because he’s hot and hasn’t self-eliminated yet and his cum face is probably outrageous, but Katie sends him home before there’s time for him to waggle those eyebrows at her and change her mind. This means that Blake is her first and only Fantasy Suites date and she puts it all on the line. And by “all” I mean the one thing she swore up and down she would not do until a guy got down on his knee and proposed.
During the dinner portion of the evening Blake fumbles out an “I love you” and Katie, realizing it’s either compromise her morals or have to re-download Hinge, says she loves him too. Excuse me, WHAT. Okay, so let me get this straight. Exactly 24 hours ago, she would not say the “L” word to Greg after he handed her his ravaged heart on a bloody platter AND YET Blake mentions soft kisses once and she relents?!
I’m sorry, but that “I love you” felt strategic AF. Like, that was a giant F*ck You to Greg. Not only did that feel petty and insincere, but if I were Blake watching this back, I’d feel a little used.
Speaking of Blake, is it just me or does he seem especially out of sorts this episode? It’s like now that Katie has set fire to the entire foundation of this show by combining the fantasy suites with proposal day, his last two brain cells are malfunctioning and refusing to process it.
TAYSHIA AND KAITLYN: How are you feeling about your proposal?
BLAKE: I feel like scrambled eggs.
Wow. So beautiful. Is that a direct quote from Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy?
Like, Blake looks positively ill at the thought of proposing and having her accept it by default. But you know what? They go through with it! They grin and bear it and get engaged! A love story for the ages!
Aunt Lindsey Is A National Treasure
One of my favorite parts of last night’s episode was Blake meeting Katie’s family. I love when ABC brings out family members just in general because there’s nothing that feeds my soul quite like watching large amounts of disdain and skepticism. And I knew we’d be in for a real treat when Katie’s mom entered stage right with the Charmed logo tattooed on her cleavage. I hope they make Blake swear his intentions on the Book of Shadows.
But no one—and I mean NO ONE—stole the show quite like Katie’s Aunt Lindsey did. She was wholly unimpressed with this entire production. A total Phoebe, if you will. And look, Blake’s presence on this show is a hard pill to swallow for most people. For one, it’s not just that he’s trying to find love on reality TV, but that he’s tried to find love on reality TV multiple times. Then there’s the total suspension of disbelief you need to engage in when he discusses his “job” but supplies about as many details about it as a blank MadLib. So, you know, I understand the brazen lack of respect she showed to him.
I will say, though, Lindsey was the only one really asking the hard questions. My favorites being, “so why do you want the beard” and, “what do you two have in common aside from both owning vibrators?” LINDSEY. YOU SAVAGE. The vibes I’m getting from this family is that they would definitely require a blood oath upon asking for someone’s hand in marriage. How else will they be able to vanquish their enemies?
An icon for the ages
Also, can I just say, it’s probably for the best that Greg self-ejected before this little meet-and-greet with Katie’s family? There is no scenario in which that boy wouldn’t have crumbled beneath the unrelenting gaze of Katie’s aunt.
Greg’s Final Stand
And now for the real show. Yeah, it was nice to see Katie get engaged and all that, but let’s get to the good stuff: Greg’s return to the stage. During “After the Final Rose,” Kaitlyn and Tayshia brought Greg out to have one final confrontation with Katie. Before I get into this section of the recap, I’m just going to make my stance known: I’m #TeamGreg AND I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT.
Here’s the thing, I’ve been a long-time fan of Katie’s and, despite what I’m about to say, truly do hope she’s happy with her choice and got the love story she wanted from this franchise. BUT her behavior over the whole Greg thing was outrageous to me. I know a lot of people have been throwing the term “gaslighting” out there and calling for Greg to be drawn and quartered in the town square, but I’m gonna be real with you guys: I just don’t see it. And this is coming from a woman who has a bottomless pit within her specifically reserved for the unending, blistering rage she has toward the male gender!
Look, do I think Greg overreacted last week? Absolutely. But fundamentally, I think they couldn’t effectively communicate their feelings to each other and because of that a very real connection was severed in the most dramatic of circumstances. Like, I think Greg was contextualizing their relationship as an entity beyond the show. He saw their connection as the real deal and something that went beyond rose ceremonies and cocktail parties. Meanwhile, Katie was wholly invested in this “process” and wanted to see it through to the end. That’s totally fair, by the way, but because of that I don’t think she was looking at their relationship as a thing beyond the show, but rather, as a thing within the show that she was still trying to figure out. The situation sucked, but I don’t think either of them should be vilified for the way they handled it.
Flash forward to ATFR, and Katie is out for blood. During Greg’s one-on-one interview with Tayshia and Kaitlyn he seems sad but ultimately accepting of Katie’s engagement with Blake—despite her throwing out an “I love you” before proposal day. He could have been super petty and snide, but the only person who acted that way last night was Katie. I mean, their confrontation was literally nuts. Katie had so much hostility and anger for someone who is supposedly very happily engaged to the love of her life.
First, she accuses Greg of never loving her and only being on the show to progress his acting career, to which he replies, “I’m no Meryl Streep.” Look guys, I’m pretty sure Meryl would like to be excluded from this narrative, one she never asked to be a part of since summer of 2021. Also, I love that Katie just believes something that she read on the internet. She’s screaming at him about something she read about on Deux Moi for goodness sake! I’ll say it again, but if she’s soooo happy in her current relationship then shouldn’t this sh*t with Greg not matter?
Then starts in on how she thinks he gaslit her which… agree to disagree I guess. Personally, that was not my take on the situation, though I’ll concede that I’m an outsider looking in and ultimately don’t know the reality of their situation. But he seemed genuine and heartfelt in his feelings for Katie. Again, he could have been extremely petty in how he handled himself on ATFR and he was nothing but respectful to her. Plus, he’s apologized like a million times. What more does she want from him? For him to sacrifice his pinky finger as penance?
The crowd seemed equally confused about who to root for. Though they gave Katie some half-hearted claps when she called him a gaslighter, the crowd also cheered for Greg after he declared, “I emptied my heart out to you on the couch and all you gave me was a pat on the back.” The thing about Greg is he seems authentic and maybe that’s the acting classes he took in undergrad, but MY GOD, if he were that good of an actor he wouldn’t be on this freaking franchise. Can’t we just leave it at they weren’t right for each other and be done with it?
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I think her behavior was so off-putting to me because she made her bones on the franchise by advocating against petty squabbles and bullying behavior, and here she was taking petty jab after petty jab. I know she’s upset and hurt, but I guess I was just expecting her to be kinder about the whole situation? Especially considering she was always the peace maker on Matt James’ season.
Throughout the interview she kept saying this was about MY journey and MY time on the show and it’s like, there are two people in a relationship. It’s not just about you. And poor Blake! He had to go toe-to-toe with Aunt Lindsey like he was facing off a starved lion in a gladiator ring. And for what? If I was Blake and saw this blatant display of rage and unresolved feelings I would have hightailed it off that stage. But, you know, ever happiness to you both!
On that note, I’m out! I would like to never hear or speak of any of these people again unless that person is Andrew S and he would like to finally respond to my DM. *manifests a response through the harnessed power of the Halliwell/Thurston sisters*
See you hoes on Paradise! Xoxo
Images: Craig Sjodin / ABC (3) @tvgoldtweets /Instagram (1); @thebetchelor /Instagram (1); Giphy (4)
Despite the varying casts and locations, there are a few constants viewers can count on in The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. The lead delivers emotional, dramatic monologues (occasionally through tears) about making sure each contestant is tHerE fOr The RiGht rEasOns, but spoiler alert: they rarely are. While some contestants are able to be more subtle about their goal to ultimately become FabFitFun partners or start a podcast, others’ fame-chasing aspirations get exposed. Another point that happens season after season without fail? There’s always someone who, mid-filming, seemingly forgets that the entire premise of the show revolves around one person dating multiple suitors. Fueled by confusion and jealousy (and perhaps the desire for more airtime), that contestant has an on-camera breakdown that’s equal parts perplexing and cringey.
This season, Greg Grippo has proven to be both of those contestants, after a confusing exchange with Katie Thurston and rumors about his acting past surfaced. Greg, who ABC described as “the full package” and “handsome, kind, vulnerable and serious about wanting to settle down,” might be less of the full package and more of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, depending on your interpretation of Monday night’s episode. Fans and Katie alike fell for the New Jersey resident on night one; he received the first impression rose and melted our screens with his steel-cut bod and perfect locks. In the second episode and first one-on-one of the season, he shared an honest conversation with Katie where they bonded over the shared trauma of losing a father.
But, in another spell of predictability, it turns out the frontrunner may have been a secret villain all along. Greg introduced himself on the show as a marketing sales representative, and although he only listed a Bachelor’s in marketing at Saint Michael’s college on his LinkedIn, he also studied at the prestigious William Esper Studio, a NYC acting school. In May 2019, Greg posted a shot standing outside the school, writing in the caption, “What a journey. Forever grateful for these last two years.”
Bachelor Nation, upon learning Greg might be an actor:
Was Greg for real, or was acting like he was falling for Katie just method acting? His premature, confusing exit from The Bachelorette has lead some fans to wonder if this was just an audition for his next role. It all went downhill during the franchise’s cheesy excuse for hometowns, when Greg tearfully professed his love for Katie. Her immediate response? “I just love looking at you.” Yikes.
Now, anyone remotely familiar with The Bachelor/ette knows the unofficial rule that prohibits saying “I love you” until the end. Moreover, Katie made it clear from the beginning that she didn’t want to tell any of the guys she loved them until the finale. Nonetheless, she admittedly could have responded with something deeper than “I just love looking at you”. Katie, the man is crying.
The gaffe sent Greg into a tailspin, first outside the hometown date, and then later, when he went to visit Katie at her hotel room. Even though Katie did everything except explicitly tell Greg that he would be her final pick (and before their confrontation, she told his mom, “Greg will 100% be at the finale, I have no question”) Greg later told Katie, “It was never about a rose for me this week, and I was never asking you to confess your love to me. All I was asking for was Katie” He maintained that Katie had dismissed his feelings: “When I said I love you, I felt like I was telling it to a stranger,” he said through tears. While, in her hotel room, Katie scrambled to figure out what, exactly, she’d done wrong and repeatedly apologized, Greg insisted, “I feel like you’re giving me a surface level response.” Ultimately, he decided that Katie had “put up a wall” and said her “whole demeanor shifted”. After telling Katie “I’ve never given up on us”, he left the show. As a reminder, before said scene, Greg stared straight into the camera and said, “ no question in my mind that there can be an engagement at the end of this.”
Some fans were quick to point out that Greg’s behavior looked like gaslighting, and Katie herself shared a thread of posts about gaslighting on her Instagram stories in the wake of the episode. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse “that causes a victim to question their own feelings, instincts, and sanity”. There are a variety of tactics an abuser might use to gaslight their partner, including countering (which the NDVH explains as “questioning the victim’s memory of events”), trivializing (“making the victim’s needs feel unimportant”), and forgetting or denial (pretending to have forgotten things that occurred or denying they did).
Bachelor Nation had a lot to say about the confrontation. John, one of Katie’s contestants who was eliminated on night two, wrote on his Instagram stories, “Along with many of you, I watched last night’s episode and was shocked by some of the behavior I witnesses , namely the words and body language exhibited by Greg. Watching these actions get defended (and therefore normalized) strikes me as extremely unhealthy and a step in the wrong direction.” He also pointed out, “It should be noted that an individual can be a good friend to some while simultaneously being harmful to others in another relationship; friendship cannot be an excuse to blindly defend someone’s behavior.”
Bekah Martinez, a contestant on Arie Luyendyk’s season, wrote on Instagram, “I know he opened up to her and she said ‘the wrong thing’ but shutting down emotionally being like, ‘wut, nothing’s wrong why would you think that’ and then punishing with silence is emotional manipulation 101.”
Not everyone agreed with the assessment that Greg’s behavior was manipulative, though. Andrew, another fan favorite on Katie’s season, posted to Twitter, “I care for Katie and Greg very much,” adding, “their love was sooo real! Hate to see Katie like that.” Tre, another contestant of Katie’s, tweeted, “Greg/Justin/Blake slander won’t be tolerated on my TL.” The next day, he followed that up with, “Katie slander OBVIOUSLY won’t be tolerated either.”
Others surmised that maybe this was all an act on Greg’s part. Luke Stone, a contestant on Hannah Brown’s season, tweeted, “I’m getting the strong vibe that Greg is sabotaging this on purpose. If you aren’t into her be a man and tell her you want out rather than gas lighting the situation. My theory: Greg got further than he expected/wanted and pushed the eject button real quick.”
While it seems like Greg has left the show for good, we’ll have to wait until Monday to see what this all means for Katie—and co-host Tayshia Adams told Ryan Seacrest that the rumors about Greg’s acting past “will be addressed”. One thing we do know? After the Men Tell All, the Bachelorette told UsWeekly that her ending is “a first, for sure” and “a shocking ending”. However it shakes out, for now, fans can take comfort in knowing that she’s said, “ultimately I’m very happy with how everything turned out.”
Images: Craig Sjodin/ABC; Giphy
Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! When last we left off, the Hyatt was starting to feel less like a nurturing environment for everlasting love and more like the location of sinister otherworldly energy. In the span of 120 minutes (100 of which were devoted to Blake’s masturbatory habits—absolutely sinister, I say!!) Katie narrowed down her husband pool from 12 to seven. It was absolute carnage. The last time I saw this much careless disregard for human feeling, I was sifting through my Hinge DMs. Truly chilling.
First, Katie took out Connor the math teacher/SoulCycle instructor/man-who-is-far-too-comfortable-making-out-with-whiskers-drawn-on-his-face like it was nothing. Did we love Connor? Absolutely not. His signature look involved shirts unbuttoned to his navel, like a guy who has the personality of a Carnival cruise. But the man was precious in the way that you sometimes sympathize with the kid who eats his erasers in the back of the class. It’s just sad. And then! While Connor’s car is still idling in the Hyatt’s driveway, Katie has the audacity to dance on his still-fresh grave by dry humping Blake in a hallway corridor.
Next on her kill list? The Gossip Girls. Any guy who participated in or was the subject of a house rumor got the axe. It’s like Katie performed a full-on exorcism, but instead of purging the house of antichrists, she purged the house of a bunch of dudes with finstas. My girl.
The Battle Of The One-On-Ones
Which brings us to the present. Going into this week, the question on everyone’s mind is who will make it to Hometowns. I have my suspicions about who will or will not be bringing Katie
home to a Hyatt conference room to meet their families, but first, let’s take a look at the remaining men:
⭐︎ Mike P – 30, a virgin, hopes Jesus will still save those who read erotica
⭐︎ Brendan – Canadian, firefighter, no other distinguishing qualities
⭐︎ Andrew – professional football player, casually the reason I trust men again
⭐︎ Blake – three-time Bachelorette contestant, big horse-girl energy
⭐︎ Michael – widower, single father, humanity’s single shining example of decency
⭐︎ Greg – a kid from New Jersey
Out of the guys she has left, two of them—the fire fighter and the virgin—haven’t had one-on-one dates with Katie yet. Lucky for them, there are exactly two of those date cards up for grabs this week. Unlucky for them, ABC doesn’t operate in happy endings (unless they can orchestrate one through strategic sound bites in the Fantasy Suites). No, Katie gives out her coveted one-on-one dates to Greg and Mike P.
How does Brendan take the news, you may ask? Not well, bitch! He gets sent home mere minutes after the date cards are read, and in doing so the natural order to this world gets restored.
First up is Greg’s date and it’s all very fine. Katie shows up in a shirt that feels less like a fashion statement and more like a punishment for a high school girl who broke dress code and showed too much collarbone.
Skinny jeans and side part. Come for me Gen Z. #TheBachelorette pic.twitter.com/QubCrFomdB
— Katie Thurston (@katiethurston) July 20, 2021
Greg spends the majority of the date trying to prove he has substance. Why? I’m not sure. I guess Michael’s got the sad dad thing going for him and I’m still personally recovering from Andrew’s traumatic experience with biracial dating. I suppose Greg wants to prove he still has mettle. I mean, sure, he did bond with Katie early on over the tragic loss of their fathers but, like, that was week two! Since then he’s been letting his Devon Sawa haircut and Resting Sad Face do all the legwork for him. Surely there’s more to the story of Greg?
GREG: I’ve had a life-long battle with insecurity because one time in middle school I went through puberty.
Look, buddy, I’m not trying to discredit your trauma or anything, but until you’ve been the first girl in your fifth grade class to develop boobs and had to make the harrowing decision of whether to wear a training bra (only sluts wear bras before sixth grade—it was written on the bathroom stall and everything!!) or not wear a training bra (the school called my parents, it was a thing)—I don’t want to hear about your middle school drama!
Despite Greg’s questionable woes as a middle schooler, Katie seems to dig it and ends up giving him the first confirmed spot in the Hometowns line-up. Mike P’s date, on the other hand, doesn’t go as smoothly.
Things start off well enough. Katie tells Mike she never saw herself dating a virgin, but now that she’s met him she wants to reconsider. Before Katie is able to even finish that thought, she encounters something straight out of my nightmares: a cuddling community. See, this is the part of the episode where I’m convinced that Hyatt Regency sits upon a hellmouth of demonic energy. What sick mind devised this?
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You can tell Mike agrees with me. He’s looking at this woman with her PhD in cuddles like this is the satanic temptations his pastor warned him about before coming on this show. He seems half tempted to throw his Bible at her and make a run for it.
Cuddle Queen Jean (yes, that’s her title, and yes, part of me died just typing that out) senses their awkwardness and reluctance to engage in non-sexual holds and encourages them to open up to one another. Mike is a little… too honest with Katie. Off screen in an interview, he tells production that spooning Katie reminds him of things he used to do with his mother.
And it’s not just one line! If he’d only said it offhandedly once, I may have forgiven him, but the rest of the date he spends constantly comparing Katie to his mother. At one point he even whispers it directly into her ear as he caresses her forearm. Katie’s like, “lol!” and then looks directly at the cameras and says “that’s a lot” which has to be her safe word.
Look, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really understand the whole wait-until-marriage thing. It’s something I’ve joked about all season and have constantly ridiculed Mike P about in my recaps because I’m a garbage human. But Mike does seem really sweet and he’s been a great sport during every sex-crazed challenge the producers have thrown his way. I still don’t think he’ll go any farther on this franchise, but at least he’s given me something to eviscerate in my group chat. Thank you for your service.
And it looks like my feelings are spot-on! I’m not sure if it was all the mommy foreplay or that uncalled for whispering, but Katie sends Mike packing before the dinner portion of the date. She gives him the whole “it’s not you, it’s me” speech and says that they simply aren’t there yet for her to invite him to Hometowns. But I think we can all agree that if he’d kept the Norman Bates/Mommy Dearest vibes to a minimum, he might have at least made it to the next rose ceremony.
My BFA Is Shaking
The group date this week is art themed, and when I say my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree was shaking… I guess instead of having the contestants travel abroad to deeply offend other cultures, the producers thought it would be funny to just debase culture in general.
Case in point: The guys are tasked with creating an abstract portrait of Katie. The examples given to them are various artist interpretations of self-portraits, the majority of which have sexual undertones: up-close shots of flowers in bloom, the center of a dripping fruit, you get the gist. The men, theoretically still refraining from self-love, almost immediately blow their loads as if this is the most pornographic thing they’ve ever seen.
I’m almost positive the date was crafted entirely for Blake. If you’ll recall, the last time he was on The Bachelorette he went on a similarly themed date where his “self-expression” involved sculpting a giant penis that had to be completely censored on screen. Let’s see if Blake’s shown any, erm, growth since last season…
BLAKE: I’m trying to make my canvas full of feelings and emotions
At least that’s the gist of Blake’s artistic expression. Naturally, his painting is so censored all we get is the frame and Blake explaining that “not a lot of species can do” the specific sexual act he drew. At least he’s on brand!
Justice For Andrew
Perhaps the wildest moment from this week was not when Mike P, clad in cult white, gamely whispered “mother” in Katie’s ear, but when Katie let Andrew go during the rose ceremony. I was, and absolutely still am, floored by that decision.
Going into the rose ceremony, Katie had two roses left to give out and three guys on the chopping block: Justin, Andrew, and Blake. (Greg had already scored the one-on-one rose while Michael picked up the group date rose). I assumed Blake would get a rose because Katie seems to have a soft spot for guys who challenge my sanity. Justin seemed like the natural next option to be cut from the competition. I still know nothing about Justin except that his facial expressions will be the sole reason people buy the newest version of What Do You Meme?. I was shocked when instead Katie cut Andrew. Andrew!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, WOMAN?? I would never eliminate that man. If forced to choose between him and Greg, I would marry them both and move to Utah.
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Katie, you FOOL!!!
What makes this goodbye all the more painful is that it’s dragged out. Katie sends Andrew home at the rose ceremony, but in the last 20 minutes of the episode they reconnect the following day. Andrew shows up at her door wanting to get more closure. They talk and he leaves her a cutesy little letter that says “if you ever change your mind… I’ll be here.” IF YOU EVER CHANGE YOUR MIND, I’LL BE HERE! Be! still! my! heart!
Katie immediately goes chasing down the stairs after him—she’s really making the camera crew earn their bonus check this year—and straddles him in the Hyatt’s lobby. She’s, like, aggressively making out with him in a way that makes me question if she gets off to gifs of The Notebook in her downtime. She even invites him back on the show despite her producer vigorously making the cut sign in the background. But Andrew turns her down. That’s right: Andrew. turns. her. down. Why must you waste my time like this, ABC? WHY?
Whatever, all I know is Andrew is single now. So, if you need me I’m just going to finish this box of wine and make magic happen in his DMs. See you hoes next week!
Images: ABC / Craig Sjodin; Giphy (2); Betches (1); @katiethurston /Twitter (1); @andrewzspencer /Instagram (1); @bitchelorette_ /Instagram (1)
Welcome back, friends, to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! When last we left off, Katie, dressed like the bestselling author of some Draco Malfoy fanfic, was in the process of telling the men to f*ck all the way off. All hail the queen. But why stop there? Look, I think it’s cute that she thinks staring a man dead in the eye while clearly enunciating her wants and needs is actually going to effect any change in behavior. If that were the case, there wouldn’t be so many warrants out for my arrest. If there’s anything I know about cis straight men who think they’re feminists because they liked a Cheryl Strayed tweet once in their lives, it’s that a message only sinks in once it’s been keyed onto their car. I don’t make the rules, people, I just abide by them!!
Karl Continues To Dig His Own Grave
And let’s take a look at the men in question. In true Bachelor form, last week ABC left us hanging at the rose ceremony after Karl revealed to Katie that there were some traitors in her midst. Did he have any evidence to back up his claim up? Absolutely not. Was he reading word-for-word from a script production gave him at the start of the rose ceremony? He’d tell you, but then production would have to kill him. Meanwhile, the rest of the men are one offhanded comment away from turning into Gaston’s crowd of peasants ready to slay the beast. In this case, that beast is Karl.
To be fair, the man did say he was a motivational speaker. Sure, his speeches usually consist of a few memes cobbled together in a slideshow, but it’s clear he’s stirred up some kind of emotion in this crowd tonight (even if that emotion is homicidal rage). The men continue to ask Karl basic questions about who this “wrong reasons” monster is, and he continues to answer with noncommittal shrugs and anxious looks towards the camera. Don’t look at them, Karl. They can’t help you now, buddy!
Where are the hosts during all of this, you might be asking? Getting wasted at the hotel bar. Ladies! I know you want to give Katie her space, but MY GOD, put the shot glasses down and check in on this rose ceremony. It’s anarchy out there! Katie, after rounding up her errant hosts, voices her concerns over the rose ceremony and reveals she was planning to keep Karl until tonight’s events. Tayshia and Kaitlyn tell her to just “go with her gut” which is not so much actual helpful advice as it is words you might find written on a tchotchke in a Cracker Barrel gift store, but fine.
Honestly, their presence on this show continues to baffle me. What is the point of them hosting at all if this is the kind of advice they’re willing to offer up? You’d think since both ladies were Bachelorette leads themselves, they might offer some sage wisdom like “the guy who points the finger usually has three pointing back at himself” but instead they deliver vague platitudes and weak smiles. Where is that sisterhood realness Katie keeps mentioning in all of her post-season interviews? I’m a little disappointed is all I’m saying…
But back to Karl! In the end, Karl’s ploy for drama backfires and he gets sent home. It’s not so much the hosts’ advice to Katie, or even Katie’s own feelings on the matter, that gets him the boot. In the end, it’s the motivation he inspired in the crowd, the motivation that caused the rest of the men to assemble and campaign to Katie to kick his ass out. Honestly, I’d put that on your resume, Karl. Don’t ever doubt your skills, buddy!
Too Much Reality In This Reality TV
Going into week three Katie warned us via an Instagram post that there would be triggering content on tonight’s episode. At first, I thought she must be talking about the fact that Nick Viall makes a guest appearance on one of the group dates. I’m pretty sure his presence on my television screen always warrants a warning. Please watch with loved ones? I’m picking up what you’re putting down, Katie. Thank you for that. I’ll mute my TV.
nick viall coming back for his 947436th appearance in the bachelor franchise like#TheBachelorette #bachelorette pic.twitter.com/jv8yFOh2qn
— The Bitchelorette (@Bitchelorette_) June 22, 2021
But as we dive more into the group date it’s clear that the trigger warning is actually warranted and not a joking matter at all. Nick helps Katie lead an honesty-first retreat of sorts where the men reveal the darkest parts of themselves. What’s crazy is that the men actually do own up to their worst actions. Hunter talks about his messy divorce and the effect it’s had on his children. The guy on night one who showed up in a cat onesie, grooming his paws and all, launches into a story about how his alcohol dependency led him to cheat on his girlfriend.
I’m just so floored that they’re all taking this seriously. I mean, at the mention of “confessions” I thought at least one of them would start off his monologue with: “just when I thought I said all I can say, my chick on the side said she got one on the way.” A missed opportunity, if you will.
As each of them engage in their confessions, it’s then I realize that seeing grown men cry on national television is actually good for my health. My skin is clearing up, my hair is shinier, my acid reflux is practically nonexistent. The healing properties of male tears should be studied in a lab, is all I’m saying.
And, look, I’ll admit, I’ve been hurt by a lot of men in my life. Small hurts, mostly, that have built up until I’ve become the kind of person who doesn’t trust easily, who’s a little cynical and a lot prone to setting fires to the things my exes know and love (lol, kidding! My lawyer says I have to clarify that last bit was a joke!!). And I’m sure I’m not alone in those feelings. I’m sure a lot of women feel that way too. But watching these men acknowledge all of their red flags and the ways they’ve hurt women in the past is… therapeutic in a way? It shows growth. I’m not sure the show is always good at capturing moments like this or even evoking feelings of growth within the cast in ways that don’t feel cheesy or outright forced. Moments like these are few and far between. Honestly, who knew male accountability could be so good for the skin?
But the real heart-wrenching moment comes from Katie herself. She ends the sharing circle with her own story—a story she’s never even told her mother about—that involves a moment from her youth where she was “involved in a situation where there wasn’t consent.” She discusses how afterwards she tried to date her attacker rather than come to terms with the fact that she was a victim. Because of her past, she’s struggled sexually in relationships and reveals that she hasn’t always been so “sex positive” and that’s been an issue with some of the men she’s dated. Honestly, my heart hurts for her. The thing about Katie that shocks me every week is how deeply relatable she is. Here she is on a date that is basically ABC’s version of trauma porn (there’s nothing this franchise loves more than to pimp peoples’ pain out for viewership). And yet, Katie is able to turn this date into a thoughtful discussion on trauma. She takes control of the narrative in a way that feels real and honest. It’s impressive.
Later in the episode, Katie navigates more realness when she invites Michael on the one-on-one date. The majority of their date focuses on Michael’s past. He reveals that he is a single dad, widowed after his wife died of breast cancer two years ago. Katie tells him that she will always understand his love for his wife and would never feel intimidated by that relationship. Again, so mature! So much growth!
Now, does that mean I think they’ll end up together? Ehhhh. Look, I love Michael and he warms my heart with his little smile, but a zaddy he is not. Let’s be real, he has all of the sex appeal of a cardigan. At one point Katie even tells him that he has pen pal energy, and doesn’t that just say it all? I’m not sure there’s any chemistry here, but if she’s looking for a genuine guy who is here for the right reason, then that alone should win him a rose.
The House Has A New Villain
With Karl’s spectacular demise at the last rose ceremony, we thought evil had been vanquished once and for all. Later in the episode, we learn that evil hadn’t been defeated so much as transferred to its next unwilling host: Thomas. Damnit. I knew Katie should have saged that hotel.
Last week, Thomas came off as suave and attractive. I think I even wrote in my recap that “I have working eyes so I understand his appeal.” This week he’s coming off like a guy whose hobbies include tripping old people in the street and emotionally hobbling women.
It starts with his group date confession. While the rest of the men are making amends with their past cheating and failed marriages, Thomas takes the whole honesty thing one step too far: He tells Katie that he only came on this show for Instagram likes. Thomas! That might be the song in your heart, but that’s not to be expressed on camera! Save that for your confessional, at least.
Thomas: yeah I thought I could be the next bachelor…
Karl sitting at home: #TheBachelorette pic.twitter.com/pU7TgdWryM
— 𝐤𝐚𝐲𝐲𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐜𝐢𝐭𝐲 (@kayyorkcity) June 22, 2021
It gets worse. He admits that though he has real feelings for Katie now, before coming on the show two weeks ago he went on a date, that’s how much he didn’t give a sh*t about Katie at first. Very bold to go with the truth like that. While Katie applauds him for his bravery (seriously, Katie? I know he’s nice to look at, but COME ON) the men have a harder time accepting his confession.
And who’s leading the angry mob? Aaron. Boy, does that guy love to be at the center of all the drama. Last week it was Cody, now it’s his sole mission in life to bring down Thomas. I think Aaron has said “sociopath” more times in the last three minutes than Olivia Rodrigo did on her entire album. And that’s saying something!
I mean, do I think Thomas is emotionally manipulating Katie for his own personal gain? 100%. He spends the majority of the group date cocktail hour trying to backtrack his earlier statements. He tells Katie that he’s falling in love with her but in classic f*ckboy fashion tells the men the opposite. Oh well, I didn’t tell her that I loved her per se, I just told her I loved things about her. But here’s the thing: I can already tell Thomas has all the working brain cells as a piece of bologna. He might be an emotional terrorist, but he’s also not a very smart one.
Case in point? The following interaction:
THE MEN: Just tell us, are you here for followers?
Christ. Look, I’m not worried for Katie in the slightest. It’s clear there’s something about his
tongue energy that she’s vibing with, but she’s a smart girl. If he was dumb enough to admit his true intentions to her face then he’s dumb enough to self-implode in other ways eventually. Until then!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin (2); Giphy (3); @bacheloretteabc /Instagram (1); @bitchelorette_ /Twitter (1); @kayyorkcity /Twitter (1)
Well, friends, we did the impossible. After 11 weeks, two Bachelorettes, and one global pandemic, we’ve made it to the finale! Tayshia is down to her final
two three men. As per usual, Chris Harrison is doing the most in his intro voice-over:
Chris Harrison: Will she get engaged to her soulmate, or will she DIE A LONELY OLD SPINSTER?!
Damn, Chris. I know we’re living in the time of COVID, but there are other men on this planet if she decides she’s not into these guys!
We pick up where we left off, with Tayshia having a sidebar with a producer. She’s being filmed behind some blinds after being blindsided by Ben. You gotta love the producers’ commitment to imagery and metaphors on this show. They had to get them where they could, because lord knows Ivan wasn’t going to liken love to his testicles morphing into icicles on his fantasy suite date. Ben is sitting awkwardly on Tayshia’s couch. He says that by looking at Tayshia’s eyes, he sees there’s more under there. Kind of a strange way to point out under-eye bags, but Ben’s never really had a way with words. I guess it beats the alternative I’m used to getting:
Who can relate?
Ben’s talking a lot about his “love” for Tayshia, but isn’t really saying much. When Tayshia pushes back and asks him if he’s always going to run when things get hard, his response is, “I blew it”. Accurate, but not promising! Instead of sticking with her gut and sending him home for a second time, SHE INVITES HIM TO THE ROSE CEREMONY! They then walk out together, hug, and Tayshia initiates a very passionate kiss. Who knew she was a sucker for a moose knuckle?! While I definitely don’t agree with her decision, I can’t wait to see Zac and Ivan’s reactions when Ben rolls up to the rose ceremony.
The Rose Ceremony
Ivan walks into the rose ceremony with the pre-elimination confidence that has become a hallmark of this show. Feeling the pressure from the producers for not delivering the required love similes on the ice bucket date, he offers the consolation prize of saying it feels awesome to be “open” and “vulnerable” (or “vonurble”, as Tayshia would say). Not for long, buddy. Zac says he’s ready for a proposal. Ben walks in with a goofy grin on his face, as if he expects Ivan and Zac will be happy to see him. I think Bennett gave the book about emotional intelligence to the wrong guy.
Ivan & Zac:
Like many people who’ve gotten dumped, Tayshia proceeds to explain Brendan’s absence by saying “it just didn’t work out.” Control that narrative, girl! She’s about to start handing out roses but then stops and asks Ivan if they can go talk. Ivan’s face says he knows what’s coming next. They then have a cryptic talk about religious differences, but give no specifics about said differences. Is Ivan a Scientologist? That’s the only legitimate theory I can come up with for this abrupt dismissal.
All kidding aside, it may be that Ivan is atheist or agnostic. Tayshia has always been open about her devout Christian beliefs, so it’s possible this is the reason she sent Ivan home. It’d be a shame if that were the only reason she eliminated him, but, let’s face it, she’s been favoring Brendan and Zac for weeks. Given the honest conversations Tayshia and Ivan had about race, it seems strange, and frankly frustrating, that ABC isn’t allowing an unfiltered exchange about religion. Then again, this is ABC we’re talking about, so maybe that’s asking for too much. Ivan takes the elimination in stride like the angel he is. Love you, Ivan! See you in Paradise.
Ben Meets The Family
The next day we catch up with Tayshia writing in her
burn book journal. She meets up with her family and I remember how much I enjoyed Tayshia’s dad, Desmond, eviscerating Colton when Tayshia was competing on his season. Like most viewers, Desmond doesn’t have time for BS. Tayshia tells her family that they’ll be meeting Ben, whom she had previously sent home. Desmond is understandably skeptical and wants some answers. This is gonna be good.
Ben meets with Tayshia’s mom, Rosario, first and keeps talking about how he’s never felt this way before, and the way Tayshia makes him feel, yet he can’t seem to identify the feeling(s) in question. Everything he says is surface-level and there’s no real substance to any of it. It seems like Ben is in love with the idea of love, more so than Tayshia specifically. It doesn’t go much better with Desmond.
Desmond: What do you see in Tayshia?
Ben also tells Desmond about how he and Tayshia talked about “showing up” for Tayshia. Does he think that physically coming back after being sent home is what showing up means? She meant showing up for her emotionally, Ben!
Zac Meets The Family
The tone of Zac’s meeting with the family is completely different. Instead of making his answers all about him and his feelings, he expresses his love for Tayshia by showing love to her family. He even seems to win over Desmond, who says he’s going to be tough on Zac. Instead of saying the things he thinks Desmond wants to hear, Zac is honest about his failed marriage and is able to reflect on his past mistakes, even weaving in a reference to the standards Desmond has set and how Zac wants to live up to them.
I gotta give it to Zac; he is incredibly authentic and eloquent. He talks about marriage with Tayshia like it’s a real thing that’s going to happen, not some abstract idea like Ben does when he broaches the subject. Zac is making my job as snarky recapper very difficult, but he totally won me over — until he started pretending he was an authentic New Yorker with that whole pizza charade. Zac, you’re from South Jersey! Rep some hoagies like the Philly boy you are and cool it with the tired NYC cliches.
The next day Tayshia hears a knock at her door. Fearing that Bennett has gone full American Psycho, she reluctantly answers. It turns out to be her dad, which isn’t a much better sign. He tells her that the family doesn’t want her to make the biggest mistake of her life by rushing into another marriage. Tayshia starts to break down recounting how her dad was there for her in the throes of her divorce. It was raw and one of her realest moments thus far. She’s starting to have doubts.
Zac & Tayshia’s Date
On their date, Zac reassures Tayshia that he’s ready to take the next step, but Tayshia seems skeptical. Damn, Desmond really got to her! They find out that their date is to learn a wedding dance routine and Tayshia looks about as excited as Brendan did when he met Neil Lane to try on wedding jewelry. Gotta love karma. She keeps getting in her own head and is struggling to relax into the dance moves. Zac is patient with her and they actually pull off a sweet little routine. I’m honestly impressed they learned that in one lesson. It took me and my husband about two months to put together a solid first dance. Respect.
Later that evening they have a casual night in, and Tayshia is honest about her fears that Zac’s feelings will change. He tells her that he is nine years sober today and that his sobriety allows him to not run away and that he’ll love her no matter what she decides to do with her life. Ok, why am I crying in the club right now? And by “in the club” I mean “on my couch”.
Tayshia seems convinced, and frankly, so am I. It’s one of the most authentic exchanges we’ve ever seen on this show and it’s nice to see a couple talk about real-life issues for a change. “I think she believes in me,” Zac says, and I start to tear up. WTF is happening? Is this show…actually making me feel genuine human emotion?
Me watching this season of The Bachelorette:
Ben & Tayshia’s
When Ben meets up with Tayshia “the next day”, she is wearing the same tragic denim number she was wearing when her dad came to talk to her. So she’s either running out of wardrobe options in quarantine or there’s a bit of a continuity issue here and she went to dump Ben after talking to Desmond. She tells Ben that her heart is with Zac and, as usual, Ben looks like a deer in headlights. He takes it pretty well, albeit with way too many “umm”s, and says he’s happy for her. I do feel bad for Ben. He’s a sweet guy and he deserves to find love, but he needs to work through some of his issues with self-worth before jumping into a serious relationship, let alone a marriage. We’re rooting for you, Ben!
The Big Day
It’s engagement day! Tayshia and Zac are getting ready and Neil Lane is back to shill his gaudy rings. Zac looks handsome in his blue suit. Tayshia meets up with Chris Harrison and the exchange is kind of odd. She says she questions if she’s ever been in love until now and then bursts into tears that don’t really look happy. Even Chris seems confused.
Chris: What is going on?
The proposal set-up is kind of a hot mess. The area rug from the Airstream trailer fantasy suite isn’t helping. Tayshia tells us she feels stressed, overwhelmed, and scared. So basically all of the things one should be feeling right before getting engaged after knowing someone for 30 seconds. She says she doesn’t know if she’s doing the right thing. I’m a little concerned. Is she feeling the pressure of not wanting to disappoint ABC and the fans given the whole Clare debacle?
Things improve when Zac arrives. His engagement speech is really personal and from the heart. It’s undoubtedly the best one I’ve ever heard on this show or The Bachelor. Tayshia starts her speech and after telling Zac that she knows she told him she loved him, takes an extremely long, producer-suggested pause. I admit they got me for a second and I was scared she was bolting. But she continues and tells Zac she wants to jump in fountains all over the world with him
and star in endless FabFitFun endorsement deals together. He gets down on one knee and she says yes! Like the true New Yawkah he is, he yells “TAXI!” and the two ride off Flintstone-style into the desert sunset in a cardboard cab the way god and Chris Harrison intended.
And there we have it! Unfortunately (or fortunately, given the endless hours of our lives ABC takes each year) we have no After the Final Rose to catch up with Tayshia and Zac, but it looks like they’re still going strong. This was an excellent season with some of the most mature and authentic men we’ve ever had. Keep it up, ABC! Thanks for joining me this week, guys, and congratulations to the happy couple!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin (2); Giphy (6)
Well, everybody, we’ve made it to the final week of The Bachelorette. In keeping with the “unprecedented times”, ABC is breaking protocol and giving us fantasy suites and the finale in the same week. I’d like to think this is a gift to us for having to put up with Clare’s therapy sessions masquerading as dates, but we know better: they have to keep things moving in time for the premiere of Matt’s season. I’ll be filling in for my esteemed colleague Ryanne this week, so please be gentle in the comments. Let’s get to it!
We begin with Tayshia discussing the importance of the fantasy suite dates and her confidence in the final three. We then cut to Ivan, Brendan, and Zac being forced to sit together and allude to their potential future as eskimo brothers. It’s awkward AF and will be a running theme throughout the episode. Meanwhile, Tayshia has a
forced Bachelorette synergy “girl chat” with JoJo. They’re really trying to make JoJo happen, huh? Despite Ed’s notes, Chris Harrison continues his practice of barging in on the men without even a courtesy knock. This time he tells them that they better be prepared to get down on one knee and propose.
Chris: If you’re not ready for an engagement, GTFO!
And so begins Brendan’s mental spiral.
To my surprise, Ivan gets the first fantasy suite date. I personally love Ivan. He’s far and away my favorite of the three men, but he’s too pure for Tayshia and, arguably, this world. However, he tells us he did The Secret and manifested the first date. You go,
Glen Coco Ivan! Zac is visibly pissed and Brendan looks like someone told him that it’s now a federal offense to wear turtlenecks. Zac reminds us that regardless of the men’s feelings about the other men, this is about Tayshia. Finally, a man who understands the concept of The Bachelorette!
Just watching the way that Tayshia interacts with Ivan, it’s clear that he’s not the frontrunner in her mind. As if the lukewarm peck she gave him weren’t proof enough, we find out that their date is a f*cking ice bath. Now if that’s not a metaphor for her feelings for Ivan, I don’t know what is. “Are you excited?” she asks, with that pseudo British inflection she adopts when asking questions. Ivan smiles through the pain. This is the most unromantic concept for a date that I can possibly think of, especially one that’s designed to precede sex. The shrinkage alone! Rude, Tayshia. Rude. Even Big Paulie, who according to Chris Harrison is a “Bachelor Nation favorite” (sure, Jan), deems the effects of this date on Ivan’s prospects later on “devastating”. Slapping a potential “world record” on this turd of a date isn’t fooling anyone, Tayshia! You may as well have had an intern spray paint a football field on some cardboard with “Friend Zone” at either end.
Meanwhile, back at the house:
Zac seems to be handling things a little better. He gets the second date card and gives us his best Matthew McConaughey.
During the evening portion of Ivan’s date, he tells Tayshia he’s falling in love with her. She says she’s been falling for him too, but I’m just not feeling the sparks between these two. Their conversation doesn’t have much substance and basically consists of them parroting things back to each other. “I cried in front of you!” “I cried in front of you!” Apparently this is enough to take things to the fantasy suite, which in this case is an Airstream trailer that inside looks like it was designed by 2009 me after winning an Urban Outfitters shopping spree. I love a boho-chic moment, but this is not the mood for fantasy suites. This looks like it would be better for a Real Housewives girls’ trip (OC, obv). Apparently it had the desired effect, though, because they stayed up all night talking, according to Ivan. I don’t get the feeling they had sex. Maybe a little over-the-pants action, but nothing more.
Ivan returns to the house and recaps the date. Unsurprisingly, Zac and Brendan look pissed. Brendan, clearly a masochist, asks if they got any sleep. Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answer to, Brendan! Ivan is apparently an emotional cutter as well because
a producer told him to ask he asks what Zac’s date card said. Yikes.
The vibe on this date is completely different than the date with Ivan. Tayshia is straight-up giddy. The feeling is mutual for Zac and he tells us no less than 14 times that he can’t wait to EXPLORE Tayshia. Vom. That’s exactly what the guy you go on one Hinge date with tells you right before he never calls you again. Their date is body painting, which may as well be the polar (see what I did there) opposite of Ivan’s date. This date is essentially foreplay with colors. They slap on some paint and proceed to aggressively make out in front of the camera crew. Do they have no shame??
During the evening portion, they get into deeper topics, specifically, Zac’s stance on having kids. Zac says he realizes now that he does want to be a dad and he then proceeds to tell Tayshia that he loves her. The moment was really genuine, so much so that it moves Tayshia to tears and she says she loves him back. I can’t even be snarky, it was a lovely moment. This is what happens when you put age-appropriate men on this show!
They move on to the fantasy suite, and the set-up alone is another personal affront to Ivan. Zac and Tayshia get a whole-ass suite that looks much nicer than the “El Presidente” suite Tayshia’s been living in all season. The unmitigated gall of these producers to do Ivan so dirty!
Ivan watching this back:
The next morning, Tayshia and Zac are jumping on the bed like two toddlers hopped up on pixie sticks. Interestingly, Tayshia says in a confessional that Brendan has had her heart since day one. This should be interesting given Brendan’s sheer terror all episode. Zac returns to the house with a sh*t-eating grin on his face. Ivan remains mostly calm. Brendan looks…constipated.
Brendan tells us that he’s worried about the prospect of getting engaged again so quickly after getting divorced. Brendan clearly didn’t get the memo on not telling producers about your biggest fears, lest they be exploited to the high heavens, and so his fate is sealed. The date is hosted by F*CKING NEIL LANE! Neil, apparently pissed he had to cobble together a ring for Clare with barely 24 hours’ notice, negotiated some more airtime for his tacky wares and so we need to endure this product placement we’re calling a “date”. A date like this would be torture for just about any straight male who’s been dating a woman for a matter of weeks, but for Brendan, it is hell on earth, and it shows.
Neil keeps telling Brendan not to get nervous, then proceeds to talk endlessly about engagements and weddings. As if this wasn’t anxiety-producing enough, they then FORCE BRENDAN TO TRY ON WEDDING BANDS! I swear his hands were shaking. These producers are laying it on thick. They’ve even got Neil Lane waxing poetic about how rings are circular (no sh*t) and that marriage is FOREVER, as if Brendan, who has been married before, doesn’t already know this. Is Robert De Niro going to pop out and tell Brendan he’s been admitted into Tayshia’s circle of trust, too?
This date is messy AF. I guess this is one way to test his appetite for a proposal at the end.
The night portion of the date doesn’t get any better. Unfortunately, Tayshia saved her best dress for this date. Brendan is…wearing a black T-shirt. Not a good sign. Tayshia brings up Brendan’s distance and he admits he’s been struggling with the idea of an engagement. He confesses that he’s still broken. It was raw and honestly heartbreaking. Tayshia doesn’t put up a fight and sends him home. She says he’s the one she pictured herself with at the end. I’m sure whoever she chooses will be thrilled to watch that back.
Tayshia and Rachel
We get a surprise appearance from Rachel, who looks stunning. As happy as I was to see Rachel again, I didn’t really understand why she was there. The conversation was pretty superficial at the beginning, until Rachel asks Tayshia about any regrets she might have. Then it became very clear why she was invited: to create an opening to talk about Ben, who is obviously going to pull a Bennett and come back to ask for another chance. To which I say:
The Rose Ceremony Ben’s Mea Culpa
The men are getting ready for the rose ceremony and Ivan’s look here was giving me major Drake vibes. I’m not mad about it. We then see a shot from the waist down of some bulging thighs in capri pants making their way up the path of the La Quinta, and it’s immediately clear that Ben has returned. He tells Chris Harrison that he shuts down when things are tough and he wants to resolve things with Tayshia.
Tayshia, meanwhile, has two roses left, and to symbolize this she has brought the girls out for the night. She looks gorgeous and is feeling good about her final two, so of course Ben has to swoop in and f*ck it all up! He knocks on Tayshia’s door and she looks THRILLED to see him. He confesses his love for her, admits that he blew it in the moment, and tells her he sees a life with her. Tayshia’s immediate response is to freak the f*ck out and run to her producer. Not a great sign, buddy! All I know is if she cuts Ivan for this clown I will
have ABC’s head continue to loyally watch this train wreck. See you tomorrow!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (3)