The Bachelorette recap: Out with the old...
But we've gotta get through a whole lotta nonsense first. Let's recap!
It's morning in La Quinta, and the guys who aren't Dale are justifiably angry at Clare. "At the end of our group date, she left it like, 'You guys are all pieces of [bleep]. I'm not giving you a rose,'" gripes Kenny. "We just need to know what's going on."
Don't worry, Boy Band Manager: America's Relationship Therapist is on the case! Harrison marches over to Clare's El Presidente suite to demand answers. "I didn't know you were coming!" chirps the Bachelorette, who was just spending some time writing "Mrs. Dale Moss" over and over again in her journal. "What's up?" Here's what's up, honey. Harrison says it's time for a "serious, honest, just you-and-me" talk (by which he must mean, "just you-and-me-and-five-or-six-crew-members talk").
"The guys in the house are unhappy, they're confused," says the host. "They know what's going on. The path we're on right now, we can't continue." Either Harrison never brought up Dale by name, or those portions of the conversation were edited out, but either way, Clare knows exactly what he's getting at. "I totally am like head over heels for Dale," she says, tearing up. Yes, she stalked all the contestants' social media during the production shutdown, and yes, even before shooting, she related to Dale the most. But no, says Clare, she and Dale never messaged or spoke or were in contact with each other in any way during quarantine. "I swear on my dad's grave, not one single word," she insists. "I feel like Dale is my match."
Harrison's moved to tears by Clare's devotion to this man she met a couple weeks ago. TV love is truly a beautiful thing. And now, it's time for the million-dollar question. "So, in your mind right now," asks Harrison, "is this over?" Clare nods and whispers, "Yeah." Welp, consider The Bachelorette blown up, rose lovers! One would think production would use this time to alert the guys that Clare has excluded herself from this narrative, and they're in the midst of figuring out what to do next. Instead, the guys get this:
"The reason there's no cocktail party and no rose ceremony is… Clare wants to spend time with you tonight," Harrison informs Dale. Inside, Blake is trying to convince the guys that they've all still got a chance. It's "too f---ing early" for Clare to have "made up her mind" about any one guy. That is correct, sir, and yet also incorrect! Boy, this show really does mess with your head. For his part, Dale is "excited" to explore his "special connection" with Clare.
We now head into what I'll call the "Are You F***ing Kidding Me???" portion of the episode. Clare gets all dressed up in a fancy red dress for a dinner date with Dale. "I want to tell him how I feel about him," she gushes. "I'm so in love with him." The producers try to create some stakes — What if Dale rejects Clare's declaration of love? — but we all know that he ain't about to sacrifice the spotlight, even if he isn't feeling it with the Bachelorette.
At dinner, Clare reveals that her dad, James, hitchhiked to California and proposed to her mom, Lily, three weeks after they met. (I guess that explains why Clare has so much faith in the whole "love at first sight" thing.) Many of you have pointed out in the comments and on Twitter that Clare is so into Dale because he constantly parrots everything she says right back to her… and tonight he goes overtime on the mirroring. He's all, "Wouldn't you know it? My dad ALSO had to hitchhike to see my mom because he was broke! What are the odds?" Do you believe him, rose lovers? I'm afraid I don't… and I'm worried about Clare. Anyhow, what happens when Clare drops the "I'm so falling in love with you" bomb? Let's jump ahead and find out:
(And no, we're not going to talk about the fact that the musicians performing for Clare and Dale after dinner were… Listen to Your Heart "winners" Chris and Bri. Hasn't 2020 been depressing enough?)
Most of Clare and Dale's pillow talk revolves around what to do next ("That's a good question," says Dale unhelpfully) and reiterating for the cameras that they did not, did NOT, speak or communicate before filming began. "We should lie detector it because nobody believes us!" says Clare. As he finally wiggles out of Clare's embrace and heads back to his room, Dale seems optimistic, if not totally delusional. "I didn't expect a lot of things to happen this quickly," he says. "But there's still a lot of time left in this process to really nurture this love that we have." Dude, are you serious? Are you honestly under the impression that the show is going to continue with Clare as Bachelorette? Did she not tell you that she's ready to peace out?
I suppose we should not be surprised that Clare walked away from her night with Dale convinced that he's "in love" with her (even though he only said he was "falling in love" with her, a small but significant distinction). And now, she wants a ring. Buckle up, Dale! Harrison says tonight's the night that you are contractually obligated (not really, but still) to propose to the Bachelorette.
But first, it's time for Clare to eat a big ol' plate of crow.
Ms. Clare Crawley stands up in front of the assembled guys and announces that she's found the love of her life, and his name is Dale Moss. That isn't to say she didn't "enjoy" the "time" she spent with them, because she knows they all have "so much to offer" and she was "present" for all of their conversations. "I hope that what I have found with Dale, I seriously and sincerely want the same for you guys." Are they buying it? Let's go to the videotape:
I call that the "grid of misery." Jay says he's "bummed" but thanks Clare for coming clean to all of them, while Blake says he's worried that she'll get "hurt" and end up "devastated" by her choice. "I just don't know how you can be so sure, so quick," he says, speaking for us all. Boy band manager Kenny comes in hot and tells Clare she needs to apologize to the group. "You don't have to apologize for falling in love with Dale," he says. "You should apologize for faking it when you should have admitted you were in love with Dale after the first night because that's kind of what it looks like."
This is when Clare gives the whole "I'll apologize for wasting yoru time… but I'm not gonna apologize for love" speech that the show has been teasing all season. Hey, look at Ivan! Has he always been this cute, and I just never noticed because he got APPROXIMATELY ZERO SCREEN TIME?
Let's hope Clare's loss is Tayshia's gain.
Speaking of Tayshia, can we get her in here? I mean, Blake is so ready for marriage he actually bought a BOOK to help him woo Clare. What more could a woman ask for? (In all fairness, he bought a book about dementia and Alzheimer's so he could better understand what is going on with Clare's mom. I'll admit, that's pretty sweet.)
UGH, before we can start The Bachelorette: 2.0, it looks like producers are going to force us to watch as Dale goes through the motions of a sham proposal. Harrison calls Neil Lane and asks him to bring a ring to La Quinta, STAT — and then the host heads to Dale's room. "I can tell you that Clare broke up with all the other guys today," he says. "What's next is the final step. Clare… is going to be waiting for a proposal." Doesn't Dale look totally happy and not at all panicked about this news?
Back in the guys' villa, Brendan sums up Dale's thought process perfectly: "Oh [bleep] — I actually have to marry this girl?" Sorry Dale, but if you choose to live your life as a fame-o-sexual, you're going to have to deal with the consequences.
What follows is a whole lotta filler, as Clare frets about how her "love" story will end, and Dale sits in his room staring grimly at a Neil Lane ring box. Rather than recapping all that nonsense, I'd like to take a moment to address the "producers planned the whole thing" narrative that's floating out there on the interwebs. Look, I love a conspiracy theory as much as the next gal, but the idea that producers went into the season planning to boot Clare after a few episodes strikes me as tin-foil-hat-level crazy. Ask yourselves, which scenario seems more likely: 1) Team Bachelorette crafted storyline for the season before production started without Clare or anyone knowing, and then somehow everything they needed to happen for the storyline to work actually happened? Or 2) Clare, who has proven time and again to be very emotionally impulsive, decided it was "love at first sight" with Dale after she spent weeks crushing on his Instagram from afar? Occam's Razor knows the answer — and so do you, rose lovers.
Let's just get this horror show over with.
Though Dale's proposal speech starts off very weak ("Yeah, it's uh, it's wild right?"), he eventually makes his way around to the "I want to make you happy each and every day" part. And she LOVES it. "Put that ring on my finger!" she says, breathless. "I've waited a lot of years for this."
Um, congrats, I guess? That said, it was a relief to hear Dale say, "Now we've gotta put in the work," after Clare gushed "we're engaged" for the 47th time. Maybe it's possible that he isn't the absolute worst and actually wants to marry Clare? (Hey, I said "possible," not "likely.")
And somehow the episode is not over yet! Clare's rejected suitors are still just sitting around La Quinta, packing their bags and waiting for production to release them back into the wild. "It's gonna suck to, like, get on a plane tomorrow and go home," sighs Zac.
Hold that thought, buddy, because Harrison has some "historic" news: "Your journey is not over." (Oh yeah, and Clare and Dale got engaged and have left the "bubble" together.) The host goes on to inform the men that they have to decide today if they're going to stick around for… something? Harrison never actually tells them that a new Bachelorette is on the way, but I guess since they're all "smart men," they figured it out.
I suppose it's nice that producers gave the guys a full day to figure out that they absolutely were all going to keep filming — because after all, why be on TV for one month when you can be on TV for a little over two months? Jason is the only one who seems to waver a little bit, but nonetheless, he shows up when it's time for the guys to assemble at the mystery cocktail party. Wait, what on earth is Zac wearing on his feet?
Don't answer that. As Riley says, "The focus is back on love!" And Harrison is here to let the men know that a "smart, independent, stunningly beautiful" woman is on her way to meet them. "We're going to start The Bachelorette right now… again," he announces. So who IS she? Scream it with me, rose lovers…
Queen Tayshia has arrived, y'all! "I wouldn't be standing here I don't think if it wasn't meant to be," says our new Bachelorette. "That's what I pray for." Well, go with God, Ms. Adams. Your journey begins… next week, because the episode ends right before Tayshia enters the room.
We sure are doing a lot of waiting lately — as a nation, and as Bachelor Nation. How are you feeling about this latest phase in our Bachelorette "journey," rose lovers? Which guys are you rooting for now that Tayshia's in control? And on a scale of 1 to "poke my own eyes out," how excited are you for Clare and Dale's post-engagement interview next week? Post your thoughts below!
The Bachelorette airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
One single woman searches for her future husband amid a sea of studs in this romantic reality series. Will you accept this rose?