Jillian's romantic fantasy is destroyed when she learns one of the bachelors may already have a girlfriend -- and finally sees Dave for his true, boozy-bully self

By Kristen Baldwin
Updated January 14, 2020 at 08:05 PM EST
Credit: Kevin Foley/ABC

Please forgive me for my second Princess Bride reference in three weeks, but after watching the dramatic denouement of tonight’s episode of The Bachelorette, I immediately thought of the advice Westley gives Princess Buttercup: ”Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” And tonight, poor, naïve Jillian learned at least one bachelor is trying to sell her a wagon-load of hot, steaming bulls—.

The episode opens on a much happier note, however: Harrison tells the guys that they’ll be exchanging the Bachelor Barracks for plush digs in Jillian’s hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia — home of the 2010 Winter Olympics! They arrive to find the Bachelorette waiting for them outside the hotel in an unfortunate greenish-brown, diamond-checked, geisha-looking dress. She’s super duper excited to welcome the guys to her native country — which she does with a dolphin squeal and a jaunty jig.

After the tour of the bachelors’ ornate 3-bedroom, 3-bath suite, Ed asks Jillian if there’s a hot tub in the hotel (because that joke never gets old), and Juan uses a somewhat unsettling image to express his desire for a one-on-one date: ”I hope to get a one-on-one date, just to be away from everybody else. I think that’s where I can really shine and I can really, really come out of my skin.” (Ick.) But it’s Kiptyn’s name on the date card — and even though he lost out, Jake chooses to put a positive spin on the situation: ”Finally, a girl that likes the nice guys.” Oh, Jakey-poo, how little you know our Bachelorette.

The date begins with some competitive kayaking (kudos to Kipper for not letting Jillian win) and then the duo goes shopping for dinner provisions at the Granville Island Public Market. Before Kiptyn and Jillian head back to the place rented by producers Jillian’s place, they tempt fate (and a nasty case of bird mites) by feeding the filthy pigeons by the waterside. God, I hope they bathed in Purell before making dinner. There’s no question the two have strong physical chemistry — Kipper can’t even keep his hands off of Jillian long enough for her to plate the tortellini. And she LOVES it: ”That’s every girl’s dream, for her to be in the kitchen and sort of like hot and flustered because she’s so worried if something turned out right or wrong, and her guy comes and kisses her right on that part of her neck.” I’ve never had that dream, but then again, I haven’t been a girl for about 18 years.

During a post-dinner conversation about their turn-ons, Kiptyn manages to be both totally arrogant and totally incomprehensible when he explains his relationship history to Jillian: ”I don’t tend to pursue people. Like, I find the good in everybody, like you said, so I end up with people that come to me, type thing.” I think he’s trying to flatter Jillian by saying he’s never once had to go after a woman because they all naturally flock to him, and so she should feel honored that he’s deigning to exert a modicum of effort in their not-quite-relationship. And she LOVES it. Do I even need to tell you that Kipper gets a rose? She’s practically ovulating in his presence.

Moving on to the group date. We open on an ice rink, and Jillian — sporting a ”Vancouver 2010” hoodie and spandex leggings — explains that the 10 bachelors are going to be ”participating in an internationally recognized Olympic winter sport.” Curling! I understand national pride and all, but really? That weird event where you ski and then shoot things is also an internationally recognized Olympic winter sport, but that doesn’t mean it’d make a good date. My man Michael shows the proper amount of wry anti-enthusiasm: ”We’re all going to get to throw a rock down 50 yards of ice.”

NEXT: Dave goes ”ass” over ”t–s”

The bachelors divide into teams of two — the winning team gets to spend the evening with Jillian — and what follows is a lot of trash talk (”Reid, does your husband curl too?” jeers Wes, revealing a bit of the ”Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” personality Jake refers to later) and thrilling shots of the curling stone thingie sliding slowly down the ice. Michael, meanwhile, wisely uses the time to keep Jillian warm in his embrace. ”I was on cloud nine,” he says. ”All I wanted to do was, like, pick her up and hug her and get a hot chocolate with her somewhere — and not curl.”

Michael is just one of the guys on this date who really haven’t had much camera time or time with Jillian — including Jesse the wine maker. Fortunately for Jesse, he gives the red team’s stone the winning push, or curl, or whatever; as winners, Jesse, Dave, Robby, Jake, and Juan get to hit the high seas with Jillian aboard the Pacific Yellowfin. Jake gets the first window of alone time — and I have to say his ”I’m a nice guy” mantra is starting to seem a little desperate. Jillian’s also beginning to sense that there’s not much below Jake’s Ken Doll surface; she manages to crush his spirit with this simple statement: ”My first impression of you is that you are so perfect… I want you to know that it’s okay to not be perfect.”

Of course, there is one bachelor who’s clearly already learned that valuable lesson. Before she sits down with Dave the Rageaholic, Jillian tells us that she wants to see the ”gentleman” side of Dave. ”I want to see that he’s got a soft side to him.” Unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to see something that doesn’t exist. First, Dave tells Jillian that her hair makes him hot, and then he regales her with his memories of watching her ass in her spandex leggings. ”I was walking behind you all day long,” he says, miming how he leered at her badonkadonk. (He also calls her a ”liar” when she says she doesn’t admire her own ”ass” in the mirror.)

Oh, but it gets worse. When Jillian begins nervously tugging at her drooping scoop-necked shirt, Dave jokes about her ”tits” hanging out; not only does he repeat the t-word twice, he mumbles something about how Jillian doesn’t ”give a f—” about it. After such masterful foreplay, Dave drunkenly leans in for a kiss. Rather than punching him in the face, Jillian offers him her cheek. When Dave whines, ”I don’t get a kiss?”, Jillian shuts him down: ”Not after the word ‘tits.”’ At that moment, a dark shadow passes behind Dave’s eyes, and he can no longer conceal his true identity as a mean, bullying, clueless drunk. What follows is a tense exchange that goes something like this:

Dave: Why didn’t you kiss me, stupid bitch? You’ve stuck your tongue down the throat of every guy here.

Jillian: Um, so not true!

Dave: That’s not what I’ve heard, Slutty McHobag.

Jillian: Hello? The producers made me kiss all those losers during the Western Porn date. Therefore, they were fictional kisses. I’ve only given real kisses to a socially acceptable number of guys!

Dave: [Inappropriately grabbing at Jillian’s drooping neckline in a desperate attempt to make physical contact while simultaneously reinforcing the previous accusation that she is a loose woman]

Jillian: [Repulsed flinch]

And though a box of rocks in the same situation would catch on to the fact that this conversation is a disaster, Dave remains blissfully obtuse. ”To set me up like that and then turn her cheek on me is challenging me,” he says. ”I think she was testing me, and I love it.” Miraculously, Jillian makes it out of the room alive, and though she’s clearly still rattled by her encounter with Dave, she manages to brush it off and give the date rose to Jesse and his ridiculous newsboy cap.

NEXT: Two will enter, one will leave (by gondola)

God, let’s just put that whole horrifying boat ride behind us and move on to the two-on-one date. Since we don’t really know much about either Mark or Mike, I pretty much have no clue who’s going to emerge victorious. One thing is clear, though, Mike the Baseball Camp Owner is in it to win it. First, he runs to meet Jillian in the park, leaving Mark with two equally humiliating choices: 1) start running behind him and risk looking like a copycat or 2) continue to stroll casually toward her and risk looking like he’s not that interested. (Defeated, the Pizza Entrepreneur throws his hands in the air and chooses option No. 2.)

Oh, look, a helicopter! That never happens! Mike’s luck continues when Jillian decides to sit on the outside next to him rather than in the middle, meaning the only physical contact Mark is getting is with Mike’s right thigh. The trio lands on the top of Grouse Mountain, and like a true athlete, Mike keeps playing through the pain of having another dude on his date. ”The more and more I hang out with you, the more attracted I get to you,” he tells the Bachelorette, as Mark looks on, struck dumb by the awkwardness. But just when it seems as though Mark is going to let fear and that ”line of defensive men” shove him right off the field, he strategically plays the ”I’ve been hurt before” card during his alone time with Jillian. Our Bachelorette loves herself a fixer-upper! That fact, combined with Jillian’s clear lack of attraction to Mike — note the post-chat hug — means Pizza Boy gets the rose. Poor Mike is put into the Goodbye Gondola and sent down the mountain, never to be heard from again. (Until the Men Tell All special, that is.)

The cocktail party arrives, and while the night starts on a happy note, with Jillian glittering like a disco ball in her gold mini and feeling bubbly and optimistic, the heavy rain portends a much stormier evening. Reid tentatively tries to hint to Jillian that some of the guys aren’t who they seem — ”Everyone’s different when you’re around” — but he loses his nerve and resorts to the old standby: ”I really just want to kiss you.” The hints just keep on coming, though: During his BS-filled one-on-one chat, Wes tells Jillian that he has ”a lot of love to give,” but his special moment is ruined by one of the other bachelors (Michael?) shouting ”Disgusting!” out the window. Inside, the guys seethe and grumble about how Wes needs to ”man up” and reveal to Jillian what he’s allegedly told them: He’s got a girlfriend at home. Seeing how snowed Jillian is by Wes — the country crooner makes her feel ”special” because he’s so ”sweet” and ”affectionate” — Tanner P(ervert) can no longer let sleeping dogs lie. He pulls the Bachelorette aside and drops this bomb: ”I hate to break the news to you, but I have honestly heard guys say, ‘I have got a girlfriend back at home.”’ It’s a bold move — admirable on the one hand, extremely stupid on the other — and even though he covers his ass by not calling Wes out by name, Mr. P will likely live to regret that he said anything at all.

NEXT: The truth about Wes comes out! Oh, wait, no it doesn’t.

Coming on the heels of all of the evening’s other vague hints and accusations, Tanner P(ervert)’s declaration is, as Jillian puts it, the ”last straw.” She stands in front of the assembled bachelors and tearfully lays into them (in her polite Canadian way, of course): ”If there is some truth to [the rumors], I need to figure that out. So we are not having a cocktail party anymore.” While part of me does feel bad for Jillian, the other part of me just wants to laugh at how shocked — shocked! — she is to discover that one of the guys may have hidden, self-serving reasons for wanting to appear on a nationally televised dating show. Has she seen any reality TV at all in the past decade? This is not a genre that attracts a population known for its high moral character.

Harrison listens as Jillian vents during the pre-rose ceremony chat, and then assures her that they’ll get to the bottom of Girlfriend-gate. ”We’ve gotta go into that rose ceremony and we’ve gotta just bring it up with these guys and hopefully they’ll man up and tell the truth.” (As Wayne Campbell would say, Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt.) In the Rejection Room, the bachelors stare at their shoes and kick patches of imaginary dirt as Harrison lectures them about their bad behavior. Then, the gauntlet is thrown: ”If you have something to say, let’s say it now.” Twenty-three seconds of ”Who, me?” silence follows, until Jake pipes up. ”I’d like to know who’s here with a girlfriend,” he demands. (Cameras cut to Wes, smirking and arrogant.) Ed tries to kick off a process-of-elimination reveal by declaring, ”I don’t have a girlfriend,” but that just gives Wes the opportunity to raise his hand and announce, ”I’m clean.” (Technically not a denial, but whatever.) Meanwhile, Tanner P(ervert) stands by squirming and sweating, especially when Dave suggests that Jillian reveal who told her about the mystery girlfriend in the first place. When Juan turns his head, Tanner snaps, bug-eyed: ”What are you looking at me for, motherf—–?” Yeah, this guy is definitely going to out himself as the snitch before the season’s up.

Of course no one confesses, and Jillian is forced to use her ”great judge of character” to determine which bachelors need to get the boot. The good news for the beleaguered Bachelorette is that even though she doesn’t have the truth, she does have plenty of evidence that Dave the Rageaholic is a 911 call waiting to happen. She sends him packing, and in a remarkable show of restraint, he does not punch her in the face. She also says goodbye to Juan — who, let’s be frank, didn’t stand much of a chance whether the guys liked him or not.

Wow, what a week, Bachelorette fans. So much to discuss! Do you think Wes is keeping a chippie on the side, or are the guys just spreading gossip to get him sent home? How long before someone figures out that Tanner is the one who spilled the beans? Will Wes and Kiptyn be the final two — and if so, will there be a hotel ballroom big enough to contain both of their egos? Post your comments now! Don’t forget to click over to PopWatch to check out Chris Harrison’s exclusive blog — this week, he gives us the behind-the-scenes insight about that über-tense rose ceremony. Okay, friends, let’s talk Bachelorette!

Episode Recaps


The Bachelorette

Chris Harrison hosts the romantic reality competition series in which one single woman searches for her future husband amid a sea of studs. Will you accept this rose?

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  • Mike Fleiss
  • ABC
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