So, I didn’t watch last week’s episode, and I didn’t read any recaps – everyone knows that Bachelor blogging is a zero-sum game and I can’t be out here supporting other pathetic part-time bloggers if I’m hoping to drive ad-sales revenue that amounts to a 1 1-millionth of what some 7-year old doing the griddy on TikTok gets! The grind doesn’t stop people. Anyways, enough moaning about the lopsided economics of the creator economy and back to my dereliction of duty in front of the television last Monday night. Fortunately, the amazing thing about the Bachelor is that you can get a perfectly accurate sense of what is going on through Instagram memes, so that is exactly what I did. See you later Shanae, thanks for nothing!
Let’s dive into Monday’s episode, which for clarity, I did watch!
The episode started with an audience air-drop into Sarah’s second one-on-one date with Clayton. These might actually have been the first two dates of her life for the 23-year-old wealth management specialist. She carries herself with the simultaneous ruthlessness and entitlement of an only child who has been helicopter-parented to within an inch of their lives and this is very much how she interacts with the other ladies in the house. She confronted the entire group and said resoundingly that she was ready for an engagement to Clayton, something that anyone who was actually ready for an engagement would have avoided saying like the plague.
After Shanae got unceremoniously stuffed back into Pandora’s box, the primary protagonists in the quest for a dramatic season are now Sarah and Mara. They had a nice set-to on the steps of their Croatian castle, much to the delight of the other contestants who were listening behind a set of conveniently positioned curtains. Mara is clearly right in this situation that Sarah is a manipulative and insincere child (more to come on that later), but I can’t take her seriously given the startling resemblance of her mouth structure to King Julian’s skeletal love interest, Julia, from Madagascar.
The girls are clearly fed up with a lot of what is going on. Gabby narrates the show with a candor that we haven’t seen since Aaron’s facial expressions during Katie’s season. She also sounds “I-don’t-feel-it-let-me-take-another-edible” high whenever she opens her mouth to provide commentary. And then there’s Genevieve… she is so over this whole charade, her resting bitch face isn’t just resting, its reclining relaxedly like a naked French girl trying to be painted; it’s chilling harder than Snoop Dogg hitting the blunt (perhaps with Gabby?) before he strolled out for the SuperBowl half time show.
It got me thinking, for most of the girls this isn’t about Clayton at all. Part of what makes the show amazing is that 95% of the girls go on the show to increase their online profile and live the high-flying life that accompanies dating the L.A. Rams 12th string running back on the back end (shoutout Hannah Ann!). What they don’t think is going to happen is that they become so embroiled in interpersonal turmoil that they pursue Clayton feverishly just to spite the other ladies they have grown to despise in the house. All of the “sayonara,” “bye bye bitch,” asides just underscore that this is a competition for a lot of these girls, not for love, but to assert themselves as the queen bee in ABC’s toxic honey hole.
Perhaps my favorite line from the entire episode was Clayton’s reaction to his conversation with Susie. “You have to be able to fall in love to be in love,” he stated. Yes Clayton, but don’t you also have to be able to eat one piece of sushi to eat 100 pieces of sushi? I get the procedural aspect here, but Clayton definitely thought he was re-inventing the way people would talk about love for generations with this little line. In reality, the line was much more Fortune Cookie than Foucault, but whatever helps you sleep at night Clayt!
The next stop on the world tour was Vienna, Austria. The streets of Vienna have been graced with the musical mastery of Mozart’s Magic Flute, the winding wanderings of Schubert’s seven symphonies, and the birth of the string quartet at the tip of Joseph Haydn’s quill… and now the poor Viennese have to listen to these 7 American sorority girls screeching “hello Vienna” at the top of their lungs. People were dropping their brown paper packages tied up with strings and coughing up their crisp apple strudel all over the city as these harpies descended in search of Clayton’s conjugal clutches.
Susie was treated to the first 1-on-1 date and she rode “like a princess” in a classic car to go try on some designer dresses. As if it wasn’t a slam dunk already, Susie cemented her status as the most compelling Taylor Swift lookalike in Bachelor history when she tried on this very fluffy, frilly red dress. Loving Susie is a far cry from driving a new Maserati down a dead-end street, and Clayton absolutely loved her in her red number. The two are cute together, and Clayton unsurprisingly slipped her a rose, and booked his ticket to her hometown to see the original guitar that she used to cry on. Clayton introduced the rose gift with “I know you don’t like gifts, but I do want to give you this rose.” Everyone knows that “I don’t like gifts” is code for “if you don’t get me a consistent and high-quality stream of unsolicited gifts then it’s literal disemboweling season,” so I guess Clayton passed the test on this one!
They were then treated to a concert by Chris de Burgh, otherwise known as the oldest person to ever feature on the Bachelor. This certainly ages me, but I have never heard of this guy – was this guy just in Austria and COVID restrictions necessitated his inclusion? Or maybe no D-list country singers that you have never heard of wanted to fly coach for 12 hours an extra $12.48 in Spotify stream revenue? He sang Lady in Red, because she was wearing red.
The group date was introduced by a Freud quote. “How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved.” Now I’m not sure if it’s the best move to be banding around relationship quotes from the guy who is convinced that all men want to sleep with their mothers’, but Clayton is a weird guy I guess? I took intro to psychology pass fail my freshman year of college so I’m perfectly positioned to diagnose Clayton with any kind of psychological condition. All I will say, is of the three conflicting parts of the psyche battling for supremacy, Clayton’s penchant for making out with anything that moves is no doubt an off the chain id.
The ladies on the group date were subjected to a couple’s therapy session with a psychoanalyst… They were all clearly nervous, but Genevieve in particular looked like she was going to vomit. I know she’s Yeung, but to completely abandon the Freudian process and not let any walls down to a man you’re about to bring home to your family? This is a little immature. She ultimately met her end with her inability to say anything during her therapy session, a blind side for sure, but clearly a decision she had no qualms about. She was clearly getting unhappier and unhappier as the season progressed (hence her steady-state facial expressions) so I’m glad she Freudian slipped out the door for her own mental health!
Sarah’s session was ridiculously contrived and the therapist called her the fuck out for it. She said, “some of the sessions were honest, but some of them were kind of performative.” Clayton looked absolutely shocked to hear this. It was like he had just been told someone had beaten his record of 47 hot dogs in 15 minutes at the Eureka county fair; horror twinged with incredulity. He went about rooting out the master manipulator the only way he knows best – talking it out and staring confusedly at the different ladies. I don’t know what he thought would happen, but if you ask the manipulative, performative therapy queen if she’s a manipulative, performative therapy queen, I’m going to go out on a limb and say she might not be entirely truthful. He ultimately came to the conclusion that it was indeed Sarah who was messing him around. “I’m going to be honest and say you’re fake crying to me” was uncharacteristically cold from Clayton, and Sarah’s response of “it’s because I have no tears left” was just laughable; you got kicked off a show you didn’t really want to stay on anyway, it’s not like Harambe died all over again or something.
The next 1-on-1 date was with Serene. I don’t really know anything about Serene, but it’s kind of cute that the last person she has taken home is her high school boyfriend – let’s hope there are no hometown stories about “party-Serene” in college that refutes this innocent façade! The two ate some chestnuts and danced around with some locals. Despite having exhibited a surprising level of ruthlessness earlier in the episode, Clayton was back to his love-struck self as Serene professed her love for him – he had his signature goofy grin at dinner and then pulled out the smooth moves whilst wandering around an art gallery. If all else fails, Clayton is not going to be able to fall back on art museum tour guide as a second career path. He sidled up to “The Kiss,” one of the most famous pieces of artwork in the world, and told Serene “we have to recreate one of the most famous pieces of artwork in all of Austria.” Let’s just say Serene is a lucky girl that they didn’t stumble upon this Gustav Klimt beauty while Clayton was in re-enactment mode (although body type a build, Clayton isn’t too far removed from our gorilla friend down there)
Serene got a rose, setting up a rose ceremony where the only major decision was between Teddi and Gabby. Gabby ultimately walked away with the rose, and our hometowns lineup is set: Gabby, Serene, Rachel, and Susie.
Until next week folks!