For those of you out there with elephantine memories who can remember what happened nearly THREE WEEKS ago when we were treated to our last instalment of The Bachelor (yes apologies for the late blog), the episode started as you might have expected. My previous-episode amnesia was at Jason Bourne levels on Monday night, but the Cassidy drama, where another girl tattled on her for FaceTiming her lover in advance of the show, was right back to the top of the agenda. Lest we forget, Cassidy had a rose at this point and when confronted about clearly not being there for the right reasons, “there’s a guy who I’ve slept with a couple of times over the past three months who knows I am here” is very much code for “I never thought I would make it this far, I’m terrified of being alone, so hell yeah I’m keeping my options open and doing some pre-emptive damage control back home.”
The house at the beginning of the episode was like the Wild West, and Cassidy was doing her finest Butch impression, pointing her rose in everyone’s face with the insufferable support of her Sundance kid Shanae! Fortunately, the tears rolling down her face were futile in the Mexican standoff between her and Clayton and she was sent packing like an overserved patron at the local saloon. Either the entire drama was weighing on the other ladies in the house or someone was prepping some French onion soup during the rose ceremony because the tears were flowing. Even the girls who got roses and have strong prospects with Clayton – I’m looking at you Genevieve – were bawling. Obviously, Shanae and Elizabeth got back to back roses at the end of the ceremony, much more to come on this simmering stew later!
The first group date was introduced with a rather cryptic Clayton note. “I see you, love Clayton.” My brain went in a couple of different directions here as to what this could mean. Does he have cameras bugging the showers? Is he all of a sudden, a champion for underrepresented and minority communities? Is he prepping for a post-show career in corporate communications at Waystar Royco? Whatever the intended meaning, the viewer discretion advised messaging means to buckle up! Clayton donned a very fetching fuchsia sweater (probably in the hope he would set in motion some kind of Chris Evans white-cable-knit-in-Knives-Out trend) and the ladies were brought in for a roundtable therapy session with Kaitlyn Bristowe. Kaitlyn is qualified to be a really below average singer and a Tayshia Adams understudy when presenting The Bachelorette, but parading around as a mental health professional and leading group therapy is likely not going getting the same top billing on her resume. She asked everyone to stand up and explain the things that they’re not proud of, amongst other deeply personal questions that elicited some equally as personal responses.
Now don’t get me wrong, Clayton looks like a real meathead but I am actually impressed at how he grew into the episode and is growing into the season as a whole. Whether the whole thing is scripted or not, or they give him very favorable edits, he was given the opportunity to come across as a caring and conscientious person during the group date, and he really did this. Nothing else really to report other than I might actually be starting to like Clayton! “If I could give out 8 roses today, I would” is one of the most city boy phrases of all time however. Clayton knows he’s got a solid roster and he sure doesn’t seem afraid to string these girls along in the process. Clayton seems to be making inroads with the ladies in ways that I never saw during Matt, Peter’s or Colton’s season – there’s heartbreak on the horizon and I’m fired up for it.
Apparently falling in love is full of surprises – almost as big of a surprise as Sarah getting the date card – I know we’re still early but I feel like I’ve never seen this girl before! Sarah and Clayton had a date which involved stripping down to their underwear and embarking on a scavenger hunt around downtown L.A. Now I don’t know what kind of waivers these people have to sign before they go on the Bachelor, but forced indecent exposure in a bustling metropolitan area is clearly covered… Clayton is a textbook example of chunky but chiseled and him and Sarah look genuinely cute together. Neither of them are going to win a singing contest anytime soon, but this isn’t The Voice, this is The Bachelor, where near nudity is the only qualification that determines success!
You want to know how much the Bachelor is balling out this season? They went to the Van Gogh immersive experience to have dinner… Anyone who has been on the receiving end of the bold-faced racketeering job that is that venture’s ticketing department cannot have failed to notice this. The data was largely unspectacular, however the waves that were being made at the house while they were on their date have the potential to escalate this season from a tame fire crackling merrily away, to an out of control blazing inferno – I am of course talking about Shrimpgate.
The long and the short is that Elizabeth made some very delicious looking garlic butter shrimp (they’re eating good in the Bachelor house this year!) and Shanae took it upon herself to eat the vast majority of it. The event was pretty unspectacular in and of itself, however we were treated to one of the most incredible pieces of television production, with the shrimp counter in the top right-hand corner of the screen. It was up there with the NFL broadcasts on Nickelodeon where everything is just covered in green slime whenever there is a touchdown!
The second group date was a beach day on what looked like a pretty shitty day to be at the beach. I’m sure there were thousands of people in L.A. collectively groaning about June Gloom when the ladies started walking down the beach; ever go to L.A. in June and I promise you the incessant complaints about the haze is way worse than the actual condition! Get it together Angelenos! Anyway, Nicole Eggert from Baywatch arrived and made me feel incredibly young and hip because I have no idea who she was (as someone straddling the Gen Z-Millenial line this was big for me). If the girls thought they were gonna have a nice beach day catching some rays and dropping absolute pigskin lasers from Clayton, they had something else coming. Instead they had to do a lifeguard training session that involved slomo running down the beach and CPR. It’s somewhat reassuring that the ICU nurse excelled in the CPR portion of the group date, and Gabby was rewarded with a rose at the end of the night after applying copious amounts of aloe to an absolutely burned-raw Clayton’s back and shoulders. As someone who knows a thing or two about blistering third-degree burns, believe me, it was bad.
The entire episode devolved somewhat into the Shanae-show as Shrimp-gate and her altogether really unpleasant personality both took center stage. What is so interesting about her portrayal is that her edit is almost embarrassingly bad; there are literally no redeeming qualities on display ever! It’s so bad, that the producers play literal villain music in the background reminiscent of Robert Downey Jr’s Sherlock Holmes when he’s about to interrupt some bad guy doing some bad thing. The fact that she’s saying “I’m here to win” is entirely indicative of her intentions, but it is so brazened that she actually might have a chance to go far. It’s gas lighting season and we’ll see if Clayton can spot the Shanaery in the coal mine and get the hell out of there!