I'm back but late with this recap. But what is "late" really? I write these for fun! There's no deadline!
OK anyhoo. Last night's episode of The Bachelorette was... very intense. We are only on WEEK 2 and already, Clare is trying to dig up HEAVY duty childhood trauma out of Jason (poor guy), encouraging competitiveness among the men, and processing a lot of her own issues on TV. I don't think all of this is BAD, per se, it's just intense and somewhat unprecedented.
Clare and the Boyz are at their resort in Palm Springs and most of the date and challenges take place during the nighttime, I imagine, because it's just so damn hot and bright out there in the daytime. I give the Producers a lot of credit--they are somewhat limited in date activities because of the pandemic, and they get creative with the spaces they have.
The first date is a group date and the crew is Riley (yes!), Jordan, Yosef (woof), Ivan (cute), Ben (also cute), Bennett (50-something oil baron posing as a single, 30-something), Zach C (is growing on me somehow?), Zach J (Fart Ring), and Dale (of course). The date is all about Love Languages, so the boys and Clare (who is in heels and shorts which is a CLUTCH look) say words of affirmation, explore physical touch, and gifts. Not a bad afternoon!
Clare is thrilled to hear all of these kind words from the guys (she stands on a bizarro indoor Juliet balcony and they compliment her from below which was odd) but the whole exercise felt like "too much too soon" which I suppose is a theme for this entire season.
The funniest scene of the show had to be when the group date guys BOLTED back to their rooms to get gifts for Clare and the rest of the crew playfully mocked them from the pool. Dale's pants ripped, Bennett got made fun of, Garin imitated a funny walk, and Easy makes everything so much fun.
At the Love Language Group Date afterparty, Clare was rocking a blue, one strap dress with an exposed zipper in the back and what is it about an exposed zipper!? I love them so! She did the classic Bachelorette arrival, plop down among the guys, have a toast, talk about the day, and then everyone sort of sat there until she PRODDED one of the guys to grab her and take her away for 1:1 conversation. Of all people, Old Timey Tycoon BENNETT stepped up to the plate (God bless) and they walked away, but after just a few moments, Clare asked him to sit tight so that she could go back to the crew and dress them down for not grabbing her!! GIRL! What is going on here? This is NOT a good look and here are my thoughts:
1. This show JUST started. This was group date #1 and I think these guys aren't fully into "man against man" stuff right now. They are all psyched to be AMONG OTHER GUY after weeks and weeks of quarantining. Don't take it personally if they aren't stabbing one another in the back just yet!
2. When you talk about how awkward things are, you make them more awkward, Clare. Instead of being like, "is someone going to grab me?" you could have kept a group conversation going, asked some questions to the guys.
3. That whole incident made Clare seem difficult and a lil dramatic, to be honest. And I hate to say that b/c I really dig her, but I think she should let the guys dive in when they feel comfortable pulling her aside. No guy wants to be TOLD "come after me," ya know?
So she yells at the guys and then gets her wish (Dale whisks her away for 1:1 make-out time) and POOR BENNETT!! Is the dude sitting on a couch somewhere being like, "is Clare coming back?" hahhahah! What a mess.
Oh, before Dale takes her away, some of the guys chime in and Yosef (who sucks) says that Clare is "crazy to think" that they aren't into her. Pro Tip, Yosef: don't call a woman crazy. Calling women "crazy" or "psycho" is the most favorite move of awful men. Avoid it. And don't "speak for the group" either.
Oh also, Clare talks about how she went on Juan Pablo's season of The Bachelor to escape an abusive relationship and that in telling off Juan Pablo at the end of that nightmarish season (nightmarish because Juan Pablo SUUUUUCKS), she found herself. She and Riley have a super cute dance and he lands the group date rose.
The next day is the first 1:1 and Jason is the man of the hour. He's the dude who wore a fake pregnancy stomach on the first night and who has an "exotic" Long Island/New Hampshire accent, whatever that is. She asks him to write a letter to his younger self before their FIRST DATE and HOLY MOLY what is going on here!?! I am a BIG fan of therapy and have processed a lot of shame, trauma, life stuff with 3 different therapists over the years, but I do NOT think that a FIRST DATE is the time to dive into family issues, trauma, and shame. And definitely not a first date that is ON TELEVISION. Yiiii. Jason handled everything beautifully, though, rolling with the punches of the date and being vulnerable. Bravo, Jason! I hope your parents don't disown you after you told all of America that their marriage is NOT healthy and that you sleep around to avoid vulnerability!
The Forced Intimacy In Joshua Tree tour wraps up with Clare BURNING the dress that she wore when Juan Pablo sent her home from his season of The Bachelor 6 years ago and I can see why this is cathartic for Clare, but why is Jason even present for this!? So much of this date felt like closure exercises FOR CLARE. For his evening spent screaming into the void in Joshua Tree National Park, Jason got a rose.
The next day is a Strip Dodgeball game group date and COULD SOMEONE PLEASE GET SOME HEALTHY BOUNDARIES AROUND HERE? The whole thing was "sweaty fun" and by that I mean, "somewhat humiliating for everyone involved" and that includes the guys NOT on the date! When the blue team returned to the suite, defeated and holding their dicks, the rest of the guys had to sit with them and watch the throw pillows get covered in dick sweat. What is going on here!?
Meanwhile the red team gets quality time with Clare, during which Chasen convinces me that he's a martian. He refers to himself in high school as a "hermit crab" and then says that he has "the goosebumps." Dude, the saying is a "hermit" and "goosebumps" (no THE). Are you an alien?
Blake has finally stopped holding his dick long enough to shower, get dressed, comb his too-long beard, and show up at the afterparty that he's not invited to. Showing up at a party you weren't invited to? What are you, ME and SUZANNE during high school summers at backyard parties throughout Wayland??? ZIIIING US!! When you're hot, they let you do it! Wheeeee!!! Blake pisses off the dudes WHO ACTUALLY WON, get negged by Clare, and wanders off.
Brandon, the bland but traditionally hot dude from Cleveland OH, attempts to talk to Clare but his claims that he went on the show "for her" ring false when the ONLY thing he knows about her is that she's beautiful. I understand Clare's annoyance at that, but AGAIN, it felt like she made a mountain out of a molehill and made shit weird by sending him home! I get that she doesn't want to waste time and she knows what she wants, but why not learn a bit more about him before you decide he sucks? I dunno. Chasen, the alien attempting to learn about Earthling culture, gets the rose and his alien overlords back on Mars must be THRILLED!!
Back at the suite, Yosef is referring to a date he wasn't on as "classless" and saying that it "left a bad taste in my mouth" which is rich coming from a dude who was macking on Insta chicks mere weeks ago. Yosef seems like a profoundly angry person who was probably a total womanizer, louse in his younger days but NOW THAT HE HAS A DAUGHTER he is ALL righteousness, all the time. Do you know the type of guy I mean? I think he will show his entire ass next week (METAPHORICALLY) and try to age shame Clare.
But before this episode can end with a cliffhanger, we have a cocktail party to start! Blake has cut his beard somewhat, so he looks less Amish and more "I'm living in my van for a couple a weeks while I get some shit sorted" and Clare pulls him aside to give him a rose after negging him HARD a mere night before. Clare looks gorgeous, as usual, in a sparkly floor-length silver dress, big earrings, and cleavage for days.
So now the men with roses are Chasen (alien here to gain data on humans), Jason (open wound of newfound vulnerability), Riley (Boys II Men superfan but if only the show had licensed their music), and Beard Boi Blake.
Tragically, the episode ends there and leaves us wondering WHO screams at Clare about being the oldest Bachelorette ever (probably Yosef b/c he's unhappy with his life choices and he's wading through some major self hatred and projecting it onto the men and Clare), and who will be Clare's next candidate for fireside therapy! We'll find out next week as Palm Springs Therapy House continues!!