The Bachelorette recap: It's Tayshia's turn
Our new Bachelorette begins her "journey," while Clare and Dale stop by to give Bachelor Nation an update on their love-at-first-sight story.
Welcome to the second-most important regime change of the week, rose lovers! This week on The Bachelorette, Tayshia began her “journey” as our new rose queen, which means we finally got to hear from men who aren’t named Dale! Plus, a few new dudes dropped in, just so Tayshia could get her “limo exits” moment. She deserves it, dammit! Let’s recap, shall we?
After waiting patiently since the end of last week’s episode, it’s finally time for the guys to meet their new Bachelorette.
Hugs all around, y’all! And the guys are psyched, as they should be. “She’s beautiful!” raves Ben. “Couldn’t be better!” Adds Zac, “You’ve never seen jaws drop [like that].” Tayshia thanks the guys for sticking around post-Clare and assures them that she’s here for all of them. “I want to lean into this, and I want you guys to also lean into it,” she says. “I want to find love. Do you?”
Ma’am yes ma’am! Ivan (the very handsome aeronautical engineer) is the first to sit down with Tayshia. “I came in with an open heart, an open mind,” he says. “Having you here, you are definitely more my speed… I’m going to give this 100 percent.” Riley is next, and bless his heart, he asks Tayshia what she does for a living. Come on bro, don’t make her say “I’m a professional reality TV contestant-slash-Instagram-influencer-slash-Bachelor-podcast-host”! The Bachelorette mumbles something about being in the “beauty and lifestyle space” before quickly turning the conversation to Riley’s work. (He’s a medical malpractice defense attorney!)
Up next is Jordan (man, producers are really front-loading the Black guys with this edit, huh?). He compliments Tayshia’s smile and her “big-ass eyes,” which is… sweet, I guess? Blake is next, and — red flag alert! — he immediately launches into how hard everything has been for him. “I feel like I went through the wringer,” he groans. “It’s going to take a little bit, so be patient with me.” Jason is also still giving off sad-sack vibes, because of all of those “feelings” he had for Clare. Though he hemmed and hawed about whether or not to stay until just a few hours before the cocktail party, Jason wants Tayshia to know that he’s “still here for the Right Reasons™.”
You may not know this, rose lovers, but there’s a guy named Brendan on this show. I don’t believe we’ve heard him speak more than a handful of words in the last month, but apparently, he’s a “commercial roofer” (actually a model-slash-actor) who loves turtlenecks. “Just seeing you walk in and being in awe is everything I could have asked for and even more,” Brendan gushes to the Bachelorette. But suddenly he’s interrupted by… Chris Harrison, with some “everything’s about to change” news.
Wouldn’t it be hilarious if the door opened and the first guy out was Dale? Alas, it’s just Spencer, a 30-year-old water treatment engineer from La Jolla. “He is hawt,” purrs Tayshia. “Like, hawt, hawt, hawt.” Spencer is followed by Montel, 30, a gym owner from Boston who, like many men in the Bachelor universe, looks nice in a salmon-colored suit jacket. Peter (32, real estate agent from Massachusetts) compliments Tayshia’s dazzling smile, and finally we have Noah, a 25-year-old registered nurse from Oklahoma. He has a mustache, and normally I would mock him mercilessly for it, but all Noah’s crumb catcher does is remind me of one of the few men who actually looked great with a mustache — Mr. Alex Trebek, may he rest in peace. (Damn you, 2020. Damn you to hell.)
Anyhow, the new guys get a predictably chilly reception from the veteran suitors, who are beyond disgruntled that they have to deal with additional competition. “There was a stanky-ass energy in the room,” says Zac, “because there’s a sense of pride amongst these 16 guys.” All 16 of those dudes are very pissed, then Spencer all but body-checks Jordan to steal Tayshia away for the first post-limo chat. “It’s honestly bulls—t,” gripes Brendan. “He’s literally been in the house three minutes and he has the nerve to cut in front of the guys… that have been waiting patiently. I’m pissed.” Then the producers’ work here is done!
Once Harrison drops the First Impression Rose on the table, it is go time, as per usual. Zac brings Tayshia to a fountain in the courtyard, where they both toss a coin over their shoulders and make a wish.
I know you’re not supposed to say your wish out loud, but mine went something like, “I wish Zac would realize those shoes look stupid with his suit.” Tayshia, meanwhile, finds Zac and his New Jersey accent “intriguing.” Other highlights from the Bachelorette’s chat round-robin: Tayshia plays cornhole with Chasen; learns that Noah has 10 brothers and sisters, including a twin; tells Kenny the boy band manager that he looks good in a suit (she does not mention his shirt, which he has unbuttoned to his navel); and she shares a sweetly clumsy slow dance with Ben. But much to everyone’s chagrin, it’s Spencer who earns the First Impression Rose — and the first kiss of the night.
Tink tink tink! Chris Harrison is here with his Butter Knife of Bad News. It must be rose ceremony time, right? Wrong! Tayshia’s not ready to cut anybody yet, so everyone’s “journey” will continue… for now. Cheers to “love”!
Oddly enough, the next scene is one of the extended, “this season on The Bachelorette” promos, which extends all the way to Tayshia’s finale. Some tantalizing tidbits: Zac tells Tayshia he’s “falling in love” with her; her father shows up at LaQuinta to protect her “from making possibly the biggest mistake of [her] life”; Tayshia cries a lot, including, it looks like, while standing at the Proposal Platform. Also, we’re reminded multiple times that she was married once before, and so her “fear of divorce” will definitely haunt her throughout this “process.”
Crap, I was all excited to watch Tayshia’s first date, but instead we get this:
Ughhhhhhh, all right, fine. Bring those bozos out here and let’s get this over with. Clare sits down with Harrison first. She goes on and on about her “connection” with Dale and how it was love at first sight, etc., and then Harrison invites Clare’s fiancé to join them. Now it’s time to get down to business. “Bachelor Nation has questions,” says the host gravely. “Did you guys communicate — talk, meet, text, anything — before that first night? Did you lie to all of Bachelor Nation?”
Once again, Clare swears on her beloved father’s grave that she and Dale did not communicate before the show. “It was after we got engaged, and he was like, ‘Can I have your number?’” she giggles. Sure, she followed him on social media, but she followed “a lot of the guys, to see how they spent their time.” Now that she’s found her man, Clare is excited for the next step.
Look at her bounce! Girl is ready to procreate. Dale tries to drive the conversation right past his fiancée’s baby fever, but Harrison won’t let him. “Are we having babies first, or are we getting married first.” Clare and Dale answer at the same time: “Whatever!” “We’re gonna get married first!” (I’ll let you guess who said what.) As someone who had a baby at the ripe old age of 37, I wish Clare luck in her attempts to get pregnant (if that is, in fact, how they choose to build their family). But hey, if Kate Walsh can get knocked up on Emily in Paris, anything is possible!
On to Tayshia’s first group date! Blake, Riley, Zac, Jordan, Noah, Peter, Kenny, Jay, Eazy, and Spencer head over to the pool, where Tayshia is doing what she does best: Emerging from the water like a g-d goddess.
But don’t worry — here on The Bachelorette, the objectification goes both ways. Today’s date activity is a game of “splash ball,” and Team Bachelorette has picked out the most humiliating “uniforms” possible.
While the men have to wear speedos, the producers display remarkable restraint in terms of the splash ball footage — while we do see guys standing uncomfortably in their banana hammocks, there are no close-ups of wedgie-management or anything of that sort. (Perhaps they didn’t want to push their luck after the strip dodgeball date?) Not showing restraint, however: Spencer and Riley, who keep scuffling aggressively while competing for the splash ball. At one point, Riley’s elbow connected with Spencer’s mouth, and…
It’s all fun and games until somebody busts open a lip. “You were kind of intense in there,” says Tayshia. “You’ve gotta be careful.” But Spencer’s rough play pays off, and the blue team (Spencer, Eazy, Zac, Jay, and Noah) take the win, meaning they’ll be spending extra time with the Bachelorette at a post-pool barbecue. (The other guys don’t completely miss out, though — they’re still allowed to show up for the cocktail party.)
Eazy comes on strong during his one-on-one chat with Tayshia. “I feel like you walked into the room, and you had me completely,” he says. “I see it. Like, I feel like, I just met my wife.” Um, I don’t believe you did, sir. The Bachelorette enjoys his “infectious energy,” which is meant to be a compliment, but I can’t get past the word “infectious” to be honest (global pandemic and all).
Tayshia does seem to be pretty into Zac, however. Is it his sexy New Jersey accent, or is it the fact that he’s 36 and therefore possibly more mature than other guys she’s dated? “There’s not really men around where I live,” she tells him. “There’s just, like, boys chasing things. As much as I want to grow with someone, I don’t want to teach him how to be a man, you know?” Oh, Zac knows. He goes in for the kiss, and she LOVES it. “He just feels like a man to me,” Tayshia tells us.
Uh oh, something uncomfortable seems to be brewing over at the bachelor holding pen. Spencer makes a comment about getting “the W” during the splash ball game, and notes that getting the date rose would be the “ultimate W.” Riley, still salty over his pool skirmish with Spencer, says, “I think I owe you for my cracked ribs.” Spencer shoots back, “I think we’re even, dude. If you need any more, let me know.”
Penalty flag! Unsportsman like conduct! Boy band manager Kenny steps in to play the ref. “Don’t take this the wrong way — you kind of come off like a dick,” he explains. “Obviously, we’re not all here to be friends, but we do all have to live together.” Unfortunately for all involved, this does not diffuse the situation.
Riley, who likens Spencer to a fried-baloney-and-mayonnaise sandwich, lets his new rival know that he is not about to have his chops busted by some human lunchmeat. “If you want to f--- with me, we can go,” he says ominously. Spencer is shooketh. “Okay,” he mumbles. “Noted.”
Once he’s in the safety of the confessional, though, Spencer is back to his big talk and bluster. “I can totally tell there’s a little bit of jealousy because I’m doing well with Tayshia,” he boasts. “I just have to keep it moving — all gas, no breaks — and get that group date rose.”
Hold up there, lead-foot. Tayshia decides who gets the group date rose. And she’s going to keep us guessing! First, she gives Spencer a shout-out for his hard-fought splash ball victory, and then she thanks Zac for their good conversation… but in fact, it’s Eazy who gets the date rose. “You really opened up to me,” says Tayshia. “You were honest and vulnerable, and that’s all I’ve been asking for.”
(Side note: You may have read some upsetting rumors about Eazy in the last few weeks. He’s not been formally charged, nor has ABC or Warner Bros. made any official comment about the allegations, though they reportedly know about them. It’s all very awkward and gross and I’m not sure how I’ll handle it if he continues on the show. End of side note.)
Moving on. It seems we must take care of a little housekeeping. Jason is still feeling sad about Clare. In fact, “I fell in love with Clare,” he tells the guys. (When he said this, I yelled, “Oh my God — WHAT?” so loudly, my dog woke from a dead sleep and leapt about a foot.) Poor Jason really does seem to be struggling — he’s in tears as he hugs the guys goodbye! — but… seriously? Dude, it’s fine if you don’t want to date Tayshia, but this unhealthy attachment to Clare after one date is… troubling. Go home, take a nap, find a therapist. You’re gonna be fine.
Tayshia’s a little thrown by Jason’s departure — “now I’m, like, second-guessing everything” — but she’s got to shake it off. It’s time for her first one-on-one date as Bachelorette. Brendan, you’re up!
The date begins with horseback riding, as Tayshia and Brendan take a romantic stroll down the many service roads at La Quinta Resorts. (Hey, they can’t leave the bubble! Production is doing their best, dammit!) Chris Harrison, who is definitely making overtime this season, appears to serve them some margaritas.
The host then hops on his electric scooter and heads to another spot in the resort, where an ice cream cart is waiting. This goes on and on, the joke being that every time Brendan works up the nerve to kiss Tayshia, Chris Harrison shows up to ruin the moment. “I’ll be honest, he needs to kind of give me some space and let me do my thing,” says Brendan, playing along. “But the kiss is going to be at the perfect time, whenever it does happen.” And you know what, rose lovers? He’s right.
“I’m ready to go home right now with this man,” announces Tayshia. “I’m telling you right now, Brendan is everything!”
At dinner, Brendan has an important agenda: “I need to tell her that I have been married before, and since divorced,” he says. “I don’t know how Tayshia’s gonna take it… I’m definitely nervous.” How nice of production to let Brendan wear a short-sleeve shirt on this date; he would definitely sweat right through a suit.
The conversation begins with Tayshia praising Brendan for his “chill vibe,” which is something she looks for in a man: “I can get a little excited.” The roofer/model/actor does have a relaxed mien and an excellent way with self-deprecating humor. “There’s certainly, like, better-looking guys, smarter guys in the house — and I know being well-rounded isn’t necessarily sexy,” he tells Tayshia, “but I think I really am, like, really, true husband material.” And he’s got the baggage to prove it! “In my early 20s, I did get married,” Brendan reveals. Though they started their relationship as high school sweethearts, eventually, “we really, you know, fell out of love.” (Also, she didn’t want kids.)
Of course, Tayshia can completely relate to Brendan’s experience. She fills him in on her past marriage, and says she understands how she, too, felt like a failure after the relationship imploded. “It was really therapeutic to hear him saying all the words that my heart has felt the past two years,” says Tayshia. “We just kind of bonded on a different level.”
Awww, these two are adorable. Girl, just give him the date rose so you guys can kiss under the fireworks.
“I feel really connected to him,” Tayshia says. “I don’t know, I feel like I could marry him.” Uh-oh… that sounded dangerously close to “I feel like I just met my husband.” Come on, Tayshia — wait a few weeks before you declare a winner, okay? After all, from the looks of next week’s preview, the competition between the guys is, as they say, heating up: Everyone’s getting real sick of Noah, while a beef develops between Ed and Chasen. (No one calls Tayshia a “smokeshow” and gets away with it!) Bad behavior from a bunch of over-muscled meatheads — this is what The Bachelorette is all about.
Before you go, rose lovers, I want to hear from you: Did any of Tayshia’s new guys catch your eye? Are you sad to see Jason go? And would you date a man with a porn-stache? Post your thoughts below!
The Bachelorette airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC