The Bachelor recap: Sorry not sorry
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Rose lovers, have you ever had one of those anxiety dreams where you're frantically trying to do something — find a classroom, make it to the airport, etc. — and yet things keep happening to stop you? And you feel stuck in a desperate limbo as things drag on and on and on?
That's what this whole Shanae situation feels like. We all know that there's no way this woman is making it to the end — so why must The Bachelor keep us suspended in this painful reality-TV-villain Hell???
Time is a flat circle this season, so when we rejoin the action, we're still technically in the middle of last week. It's the morning after the group date, and Susie, Rachel, and Jill are discussing Shanae's trophy-throwing tantrum from the night before. "I thought she was gonna chuck a drink at somebody," says Susie. "She is literally tormenting all of us," sighs Jill. "I can't imagine being him, and it sucks being us."
By "us" she means everyone but Serene — who has her one-on-one with Clayton right now. And it's a good one, because they have the entire Galveston Island Pleasure Pier amusement park to themselves. Look at how much fun they're having:
Gah, I hate free-fall rides. The teacups are more my speed, tbh. Serene is an amusement park aficionado and is brave about most of the rides, and we learn that Clayton used to work at Six Flags fudge factory. He also serves up a generous waffle cone.
"I feel like Clayton's a really good kisser," giggles Serene. "The feelings are mutual, and we have a good connection." They do seem into each other… but as some of you have pointed out in the comments, Clayton seems to have a "good connection" with whichever woman is in front of him. The Bachelor hopes that he and Serene will move beyond their obvious physical connection that night at dinner. "I want to walk away after today with the hope that I could 100 percent see a future with Serene," he says.
Don't worry, sir. Serene is definitely ready to Open Up™. That night, she tells Clayton about some unexpected losses she and her family suffered in recent years. Two-and-a-half years ago, her grandmother, someone she was very close to, passed away, and then this year she lost her cousin, who had struggled with drug addiction. "The loss of it all is really hard," she says sadly. "She was like the sister I didn't have when I was younger."
Then Serene shares a memory of the time she and her cousin squished fireflies on their faces so they could glow, too — and while that's a gross image, it's also kind of sweet. "Every time I see a firefly, I think of her," she says, dabbing the tears from her face.
Y'all know what happens next, rose lovers.
Oh joy, it's finally time for last week's cocktail party and rose ceremony — and we all know what that means: More Shanae nonsense. "She's strategically bringing the drama on days that she knows a lot of the girls are needing to have time with Clayton," says Mara. "I just hope that he can see her and understand who she is and what she's doing." Love that optimism, honey!
The evening begins with Clayton (or should I say "Clay-uhn"? WHY DO THESE WOMEN KEEP SWALLOWING THEIR T'S??) asking to speak with the winning team from the group date.
"I want to get to the bottom of this," says the Bachelor. "In order to do that, I have to know the full story." Sierra starts things off by filling Clayton in on Shanae's tantrum. Marlena adds that as an athlete, she takes pride in being a graceful loser: "I would never have come to the cocktail party and ruined it for the winners." Susie and Teddi chime in as well, suggesting that Shanae's behavior was "absurd" and that sometimes you just have to be a grown-up and apologize, even if you don't want to.
Back in the holding pen, Lyndsey can barely hide her glee as she informs Shanae that the winning team is probably "digging [her] grave right now." She advises her rival to "take a deep breath" and get it together rather than losing her temper with the women yet again.
As for Clayton? He's pretty bummed to learn that Shanae was "hurling expletives at people and taking the trophy and throwing it in the pond," and he's not sure he can continue "having a connection" with someone who acts like such trash. (I'm paraphrasing.)
When Clayton pulls Shanae to get her side of the trophy-throwing story, all the women are a little giddy because it seems like he's finally (finally!) going to send her home. Unfortunately, we all know that Shanae survives this rose ceremony — last week's promos teased her two-on-one with Genevieve, coming later this episode — so let's just get this whole shizshow over with.
Clayton asks Shanae if she's sorry for her trophy-throwing meltdown, and she tells him what he wants to hear. "I want to apologize," says Shanae, though she can barely get the words out. "I was heated in the moment, and after going home and thinking about it, I should have never done that." Clayton accepts this weak mea culpa, and then sends Shanae off to apologize to the other women. And for that "I'm sorry," Shanae turns on the tears.
"I know this has been going on way too far, and I know I've said some things that I didn't mean, but I am really sorry, and I hope we can get past this," says Shanae through her tears. "I'm truly sorry." Are the women willing to accept her apology? The answer, rose lovers, lies in this incredible reaction shot:
Just call that the Mount Rushmore of "Bitch, Please." Still, Susie and Marlena both tell Shanae that they accept her apology — and maybe some of the other women did, too, and we just didn't see it. Shanae runs back to report the news to Clayton, and…
Ugh. Naturally, Shanae spends her next confessional gloating about yet another successful act of subterfuge ("I'm not sorry, hoes!" "I need an Oscar award for that performance!") — and then suddenly, it's time for the rose ceremony. Wait, did the cocktail party get canceled again or did Team Bachelor just decide to skip over it? I suppose it doesn't matter.
Rose ceremony roll call: Sarah, Marlena, Genevieve, Mara, Gabby, Susie, Eliza, Hunter, and Shanae join Rachel, Teddi, and Serene in the Circle of Safety™. Blech. That means we must say goodbye to Jill, Lyndsey, and Sierra — who remains a g-d all-star until the very end.
She also advises him to "chose a girl for the man you're going to become, not the man you are right now." Send this queen DIRECTLY to Paradise, please.
Clayton and his remaining harem, meanwhile, are off to Toronto for the next leg of their "journey." It's a beautiful city, a "great place to fall in love," especially with all the colorful fall "foil-age," as one of the women calls it.
Gabby gets the first one-on-one in Canada, and all the women are happy for her (except for Shanae, of course). After a helicopter ride over the city, Clayton and Gabby play a little street hockey in the park and then sample a local delicacy called a BeaverTail.
Uh-oh, Clayton, looks like Gabby has eyes for someone else…
Gotta respect a woman who lies down on the ground to pet a stranger's dog. That's wife material, if you ask me. Clayton and Gabby make each other laugh and do seem to have a great time together. I think I'm rooting for them?
We interrupt this recap for a breaking development back at the women's suite:
That's right, rose lovers. Susie just read the group date card, and everyone was on it except Genevieve and Shanae. "Maybe it'll be good," chirps Shanae, but Genevieve is pissed. "One person goes home, and one stays," she snaps. "Yeah, I don't think it can end well for both of us." Correct!
We now rejoin Gabby and Clayton's dinner date, already in progress. Gabby's talking about how she has more trouble receiving love than giving it, because she struggles with feelings of unworthiness. "It all kind of stems from not having a ton of security from my mom," she explains. "As kids, she was really physically affectionate and then she would, like, flip and kind of withhold her love… I was just like, 'If my mom could stop loving me, why can't anyone else?'"
Oof, that is so sad. Gabby says she and her mom don't really have a relationship now, which is understandable. Clayton wonders if Gabby wants to mend her relationship with her mother, and it's very hard for Gabby to talk about. "I miss her so much," she says through her tears. "Right now, it's like I just have a lot of healing to do. But maybe in the future, like, we could get there." Dang it, Clayton, give her the date rose so I can go have a good cry!
Yep, the producers literally asked Gabby to hold the rose while she made out with Clayton in the pool, just so they could get that shot. It's just the exact type of ridiculousness that I've come to expect from this show.
Group date time! Rachel, Sarah, Serene, Marlena, Susie, Hunter, Eliza, Teddi, and Mara meet up with the Bachelor in downtown Toronto, where this man is also waiting for them:
The date card read, "Can you take the heat?" and now there's a comedian standing in front of them… Yep, rose lovers, it's a roast date! "Comedy and love go together," says Russell. "You need to have a little bit of a sense of humor in your relationship." To that end, the ladies are going to spend the afternoon roasting Clayton, and each other. "The meaner, the funnier," Russell reminds them. "It's gonna get saucy up in this bitch," notes Mara.
It's an outdoor venue, so producers are able to gather a small audience to watch the women perform. Russell introduces "failed contestant" Jesse Palmer and "his stunt double" Clayton, and then gets the show started. Marlena goes first, and not only does she make fun of Hunter's IBS, she also makes an incest joke about the Bachelor and then compares Shanae to a case of herpes:
Susie slams Clayton for his failed football career ("I've heard you're really good at warming the bench"); sweet little Eliza makes a joke about the women being "trash"; and then Sarah, 23, quips that Mara, 32, "hydrates with tequila, like most cougars do." Mara looks like she wants to go full Jersey and knock Sarah's lights out, but she holds it together.
When it's her turn to hit the stage, Mara has a few knives ready to throw right back at her rival: "Clayton, if you end up with her, gimme a call whenever you need a babysitter." Oh, if only she had ended it there… but Mara can't help but take one parting shot before concluding her set: "Just go home, you desperate bitch." Yikes… maybe Mara and Sarah are the ones who should be on this week's two-on-one date.
The rest of the women use their time to torch their absent enemy, Shanae. Hunter compares her to Jeffrey Dahmer (!), and Serene jokes about being on "Shanae's season of The Bachelorette."
That night at the cocktail party, Susie steals Clayton first and performs a little anti-roast, listing all the things she likes about him. (His dimples, his compassion, his "layers.") Of course, he LOVES it.
It's Marlena's turn next, and Clayton is appropriately impressed with how well she performed at the roast. And this comes a week after she kicked serious butt at the football date. Finally, the Bachelor is beginning to realize that Marlena is a goddess. It's about time, buddy! Clayton and Marlena smooch for a while. After that, Clayton and Rachel coo at each other ("I really don't stop thinking about you," murmurs the Bachelor) and smooch for a while, and then Eliza and Clayton take shots of maple syrup and smooch for a while. Finally, Sarah and Clayton make out against a brick wall. (No smooches for Hunter, though — maybe the IBS reveal was a turn-off.) The race for the group date rose is neck-and-neck! And the winner is… Rachel. Dang it, poor Marlena looks so disappointed.
"I'm definitely feeling defeated again," she says. "We're now on the second week in a row I've done amazing at the group date, and then I didn't get a group date rose." Hang in there, girl. At least you're not on the two-on-one. Speaking of which…
"I think it's going to be a sh--show today with Shanae and I," sighs a grim-faced Genevieve. "Yeah, I'm a little worried." As for the other one, she says her "plan" is to act like it's a one-on-one date, which is pretty much what every villain who has ever been subjected to a two-on-one date on this show says. "I literally have been scripting on [sic] everything I'm going to say to him," says Shanae. "Reading it out loud, writing it out, practicing it over and over."
Okay fine, toots, but you may have to shout it, because today's date is at Niagara Falls, and that water is loud.
As the trio sets sail, the women back home fret over what decision the Bachelor will ultimately make. "If he leaves Genevieve at Niagara Falls," says Susie, "I think I would just take my relationship less seriously at that point." Hell yes! Earlier, Sierra said if Clayton didn't send Shanae home, it was the same thing as saying that her bad behavior was acceptable. Poor Sierra went home — but if Clayton effs up again, other women may start sending themselves home in disgust.
Oh, would you look at the time?
Of course we're not getting the full two-on-one date this week. Based on the preview, it looks like quite a humdinger. Shanae says some shady stuff about Genevieve, and then Clayton appears to ask Genevieve point blank, "Are you an actress and are you lying to me?" It could be creative editing, though something definitely has Genevieve shooketh:
Oh my God, Clayton — if you thought you felt like a jackass for sending Elizabeth home over Shanae… Just get it together. Welp, rose lovers, it's all over but the long "later this season" promo — now with even more deceptively edited footage! I'm done trying to figure out who is at that "I was intimate with both of you" rose ceremony, because this show has already murdered enough of my brain cells. Before you go, a few questions: Is Rachel the one to beat? Any early picks for the next Bachelorette? And do you think anyone will tell Sarah that "comfterbility" is not a word? Post your thoughts below!
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