Welcome back to the best Bachelorette recap you’ll ever read! Once again, our Bachelorettes and the men who humble them are on a cruise ship bound for nowhere. The last time a ship that size was so tragically fated, Leo DiCaprio was gambling for a ticket onto the Titanic. Except in the case of The Bachelorette, humanity’s ruin isn’t at the expense of an iceberg, just a man named Logan.
Speaking of He Who Must Not Be Named, last week Logan made the very harrowing decision to switch teams and follow his hard-on—ack, sorry! I meant heart. He made the very harrowing decision to follow his heart. (It’s just coincidental that his penis is also the anatomical location of his moral center). Logan told Rachel that though he’s spent weeks getting to know everything about her and only moments getting to know the very surface level of Gabby, he would rather pursue a meaningful relationship with that surface. And they say all the good ones are gone!
Incredibly, Logan is barely a blip on the radar this episode. Why? Because next week the S.S. Fuckboy is setting sail for hometowns. That’s right: hometowns are on the horizon, and the stakes could not be higher for Gabby and Rachel. They’re about to meet these guys’ families, enter their childhood homes, see which one of them still has a crusty Playboy shoved under his mattress, and which one of them is a little too enthusiastic about kissing his mom hello.
If it feels like we barely know the guys, imagine how Gabby and Rachel must feel! Up until a few weeks ago, rose ceremonies were still operating like thinly-veiled orgies, and now they’re supposed to have “connected” enough with these guys to decide whose family is worth meeting?
As if to emphasize the direness of the ladies’ situation, the episode opens with shots of a totally barren cruise. It’s bone chilling to behold. This week, the gang is ending their Euro trip in Amsterdam. Personally, Amsterdam is not the place where I would want to decide who I take home to mom. It’s the place where I would want to decide which edible to take before noon, but that’s about it.
On that note, let’s get into the good, the bad, the sad, and some other things from the episode!
The Good: Rachel Is Allowed One Nice Thing
For most of this season, Rachel has been less focused on her journey to find love and more focused on the battle for her eternal soul. I’m not sure what Rachel did in a past life to offend ABC’s dark lords, but they are running her storyline like it’s a very specific ring of Hell. You know, the ring where the false prophets and sorcerers all congregate to languish for eternity. Except these prophets and sorcerers have names like Hayden and Logan, and their brand of torture is utilizing their working vocal cords.
But this week, Rachel must have made the appropriate human sacrifices, because production is finally, finally cutting her a break. For once, none of the men are rejecting her, embarrassing her, or using their dying dog for sympathy points. Truly a miracle.
Rachel’s peak has to be her one-on-one date with Zach. Remember, these two have already had a one-on-one date together (who could forget the fake red carpet and the saddest struggling actors in all of LA pretending to be “paparazzi”). Bonds were forged that day when they realized that at one point in their lives they were both children and have been near a plane. That bond strengthens during today’s date as they ride bikes and desecrate tulip fields.
This date is mostly just a waste of all of our time, as we know that Zach is definitely going to Hometowns. Very early on in the date, Rachel says that she would be “honored to meet the people that raised that man,” a phrase I’ve literally never said in my life. Honored to meet? More like “my therapist demands that I forgive the people that raised this man.”
Their date is exactly the format we’d expect with hometowns a week away. Rachel wears a dress that I don’t understand. Zach lets his trauma show during dinner—but the acceptable kind of trauma, not a red-flag kind of trauma. They make out. Rachel says she can’t wait to meet his family. She gives him the rose.
My problem with Rachel’s relationships is that she says things like “we can be goofy!!”, and then prompts Zach to take Polaroid pictures of her. Meanwhile in Gabby’s relationships, she’s having an existential crisis about motherhood (more on that later). Rachel’s journey is just so… one-dimensional. It makes it hard for me to root for her. Don’t get me wrong—I’m glad the men aren’t slicing into her self-esteem like it’s one of those delicate Dutch cheeses—but her dates have a decidedly animatronic feel to them. At least when she’s crying I see genuine human emotion from her. Sometimes when she’s on these “romantic” dates, carnival ride-clowns have more realistic facial expressions than what she plasters to her face.
RACHEL WHEN PRODUCTION TELLS HER TO ACT IN LOVE:
The Bad: Mistress Decides Who Meets The Mothers
How do you decide if you want to meet a guy’s mother? See which of them survives having a strange Dutch woman in head-to-toe leather tickle their feet and pour hot wax on their crotch without accidentally climaxing or involuntarily whispering “yes, mommy.” To each their own, I suppose.
Gabby’s group date is S&M-themed, which is fun because I’m pretty sure the kinkiest thing these guys have ever done is picked up their girlfriend’s copy of 50 Shades of Grey and used it as a coaster. Mistress Susie tells the men that she wants to get down and dirty. It’s time to talk about s-e-x. The reactions around the room are priceless. Erich and his mullet look absolutely petrified, Johnny is unsuccessfully trying to hide the bulge in his pants that grows every time Mistress cracks that whip, and Jason straight up says this is his worst nightmare. You and me both, buddy.
First question from Mistress: do they know how to treat a woman in the bedroom? I love that they all don’t immediately raise their hands. Honestly, Mistress, take a good look around you. That man has a mullet. Do you think he knows where a woman’s clit is?
Jesus Christ. No, he does not.
I will say, it is fun to watch a room full of men be tortured in a random Amsterdam basement. At one point, they’re all forced to lie in a circle, half-naked and blindfolded, as Gabby and Mistress defile their six-packs with hot wax and chocolate sauce. In any other context this would be a deleted scene from Taken, not ABC’s warped version of romantic foreplay.
The nudity extends into Rachel’s group date as well. She takes her guys on a stroll through the streets of Amsterdam. It’s all very casual and touristy until the men start leading her off into different secluded corners to make out with her in earnest. What must the locals think of these public displays of affection? One random guy after another walks off with her to various side streets and park benches and returns with his hair askew and bearing a satisfied smirk? What are they supposed to think is happening over there??
HOW RACHEL THINKS THIS DATE LOOKS:
HOW THE AMSTERDAM LOCALS THINK THIS DATE LOOKS:
Later, one of the locals makes the mistake of challenging Rachel’s men to feats of strength… with cheese. Boy, ABC is struggling to build compelling plotlines this season. Then, Rachel makes it even weirder by asking them all to strip. MY GOD, RACHEL. This isn’t a wet t-shirt contest, this is a family friendly square!! Look, I’m happy Rachel isn’t crying, but dear god this is a lot of nipple for 9PM on a Monday.
There is decidedly far too much chest for two group dates that are supposed to help these women decide whose family homes they’d like to enter. It’s like they’re trying to wring all the sex appeal out of these guys before their childhood traumas kill the vibe. It’s all fun and games until Tyler’s mom lets it slip that he breastfed until he was eight years old. (He looks the type, no?).
The Sad: Nate’s One-On-One Date
Nate has been a front runner so far, but the moment his name is announced for Gabby’s one-on-one date, I feel nothing but trepidation. She has a healthy relationship with her father, she doesn’t need his daddy energy. That said, Gabby does show up to the date dressed like she’s about to surprise her husband at the office with a quickie (seriously, is there anything underneath that coat?), so maybe that’s a good sign?
Almost immediately, Gabby breaks down and starts crying. How do you tell someone it’s not them, it’s their daughter? You can tell Gabby is really feeling Nate, but she really isn’t feeling being a mother. She’s only 31! She’s too young to be a teen mom.
In all seriousness, the conversation she has with Nate is heartbreaking. At one point she admits that she’s terrified of being a mother. These are the conversations that rivet me on The Bachelorette because they seem like an accident. The whole purpose of this franchise is to glamorize heterosexual matrimony in tired and contrived ways. That Gabby, a woman in her 30s, is speaking so candidly about not being into motherhood—a pillar of hetero societal norms—I’m just gob-smacked. Did the foundation beneath my feet just shake? A woman of childbearing years being happy with an empty womb? And admitting it on national television?? Yes, I think that’s the sound of ABC creating a new fault line in the Earth.
I’m sad to see Nate go, but I think Gabby did the right thing. She seriously considered how hometowns might affect his real life outside of this show. Rather than ignoring her fears, picking him, and having it go down in flames, she’s doing the mature thing by voicing her concerns—even if it means losing the guy in the process. There is a child at stake here, and no one gets that more than Gabby. I’m proud of her for being honest and, more importantly, realistic. There’s only so much therapy a growing girl can endure.
Randomest Cameo: Logan’s Covid
The last few episodes have been dominated by Logan propaganda, but Logan was suspiciously missing during the second half of the group date. Jesse Palmer tells us that this is because he tested positive for covid. AHAHAHA. You’re telling me, that the guy who treated the feelings of America’s most eligible women like his a goddamn slinky got covid and had to self-eliminate before Hometowns?? Karma, you ratchet bitch.
I do have a few questions though. After all, this is the first time since the pandemic began that covid has infiltrated production. First, why is everyone like “thank god only Logan has it!” Um, Gabby just licked chocolate off certain orifices of their bodies in an abandoned warehouse. I’m pretty sure that was exactly how the CDC said the virus spreads. Second, what are these quarantine timelines? Jesse makes a point to cancel the evening portion of the group date “just to be safe”, but eight hours later they can all go to the rose ceremony. I guess covid stops spreading after eight hours? Be honest, ABC. Does Logan have covid, or did production just want a break?
Best Breakdown: Tino
Here’s how I know Tino and Rachel are meant to be: they’re both the drama. If Nate was Gabby’s frontrunner, then Tino is Rachel’s. Anyone with working eyes and ears can tell it’s not even a close competition between Tino and the rest of the guys. And yet, when Rachel gives the group date rose to Tyler, Tino immediately starts spiraling. I don’t know why Tino is sweating it so bad. While the rest of the guys had to give their best sales pitch regarding their families, Tino merely had to exhale before Rachel pounced on him with her tongue. She wants you to say less. You’re good to go, kid.
But Tyler getting the group date rose really upends his whole reality. Immediately after the close of the cocktail party, he power walks off-stage, practically hissing at his producer. He’s like “I’m about to put Zach out, I’m about to put Aven out—anybody else who tries to fuck in these waters, you’re toast. Done. Let’s roll.” Anybody else who tries to fuck in these waters? What are you even saying, Tino!!
It’s scenes like these that solidify for me that man did not discover fire. There’s no way men had the biggest scientific eureka of an era when they barely have the tools to process basic human emotions. I simply won’t believe the lies!
So, who’s going to hometowns? It’s less dramatic than you might think. Next week, Gabby will head to Erich, Jason, and Johnny’s hometowns, while Rachel heads to Zach, Tyler, Tino, and Aven’s. I personally can’t wait to meet the lunatics who decided to spell the most basic white guy name known to man with a silent “h.” The monsters!
Images: ABC/Craig Sjodin; Giphy (4)