The Bachelorette recap: Poetry slammed
Well, that was satisfying, wasn't it rose lovers? Last week on The Bachelorette, Jamie started a rumor that upset Michelle and angered all her potential husbands. This week, he was exposed as a lying liar who lies — in front of everyone, including Michelle! — and was summarily shown the door.
It's the morning after The Big Lie, and the guys are still trying to figure out who dropped the false bombshell on the Bachelorette. "What's still a big question mark in everyone's mind is who spoke to Michelle," says Casey. "It'll be interesting to see if that information ever comes to light."
As many of you pointed out last week, a bigger question mark is why didn't Spencer, Mollique, and/or Martin put two-and-two together and realize that Jamie — who spoke to them directly about the "does Michelle know Joe?" issue — was the one filling her head with lies? Maybe they were afraid of being labeled a tattletale, or maybe they simply didn't want to implicate themselves for having the conversation in the first place. Whatever the reason, Jamie is loving the fact that he's still in the clear. For now.
Group date time!
Martin, LT, Olu, Spencer, Clayton, Nayte, Joe, Rick, Will, and Peter take the highway to the Danger Zone and meet Michelle at the Palm Springs Air Museum. Also waiting for them: Jay Ellis and Glen Powell, who are apparently in the new movie Top Gun: Maverick. (Props to Peter for pretending to know who they are.) The actors inform the men that they'll be competing in some aviation-themed challenges, and the winner will get some alone time with Michelle. Cue the slo-mo flight suit strut!
Oh FFS, guys — are your zippers broken? Cover those breastbones!
We're barely two rounds of calisthenics in when Martin (call sign: Frosty) pulls Michelle aside to see if she's recovered from the previous night's shenanigans. It's sweet, and Michelle appreciates it — but the other dudes do NOT love it. "What's frosted tips talking about, man?" groans Spencer. "Come on, Frosty!"
Stop sweating the small stuff, bro. Focus on the next challenge instead: Professing your love to Michelle while spinning around wildly in a G-force simulator! Because sometimes love is like a leap of faith — and other times, love is like fighting off a violent wave of nausea. Rick (call sign: Tabletop) is up first, and though he looks sweaty and pale once the spinning stops, he does not hurl. Next up is Olu, then Martin, then Peter… and as each man takes his turn in the grueling gyroscope, Will (call sign: Little Willie) watches with increasing anxiety. "I'm already very motion-sensitive," he frets. "I'm just trying to keep it composed."
Though I was fully prepared for the next shot to be Will regurgitating his breakfast into a bucket, the drama took a different turn. (See what I did there?)
Will manages to declare his feelings for Michelle in Spanish while zipping around the G-force simulator — and this pisses Peter off to no end. You see, Peter spoke Italian to Michelle during his turn, which apparently means he owns the usage of all foreign languages. "He's copying me," mutters Peter, who goes on to accuse Will of repeating his sweet nothings "basically verbatim," but in Spanish.
Now that more tension is brewing between Will and Peter (call sign: Doughboy), producers make sure to match them up in the final round of gladiator jousting.
"Will is absolutely embarrassing Peter," says Spencer. And we all know how well Peter handles embarrassment. Making matters worse, Little Willie gets crowned the winner of the whole shebang. His prize is a sexy bomber jacket — and some romantic alone time with Michelle in a vintage car used in Top Gun: Maverick.
Sorry, I need to interrupt this recap to marvel at the size of Clayton's biceps.
Dang, and I thought Riley was jacked. You may have noticed, rose lovers, that producers have finally started giving Clayton — our future Bachelor — some airtime this episode. Better late than never, I suppose. When he sits down with Michelle at the post-date cocktail party, Clayton praises her for the confidence she exudes — which, in turn, has helped him be more relaxed. "I love seeing your personality come out," coos the Bachelorette. Be careful what you wish for, honey: Clayton has a "cute" "idea" to spin you around like a human G-force simulator.
"I appreciated Clayton bringing a different element to our conversation tonight," says Michelle. "He makes me smile, he does make me laugh, and that's a big thing that I'm looking for." They end their chat with a smooch.
As Michelle is off smooching some of the other guys, including Nayte and Joe, things are getting really heated over in the lime green holding pen. Peter's yelling at Will and calling him a bully, and Will's telling Peter that he'd be happy to "knock [his] ass back down." Poor Olu, Martin, and Nayte sit in miserable silence as their knucklehead competitors insult each other with schoolyard taunts.
Oh God, now Peter and Will are arguing about Peter's pizza parlors. "I got three locations!" huffs Peter. "I change lives one slice at a time!" Eventually, Martin and Olu can't take it anymore, so they get up and walk away. The camera then zooms in on Nayte, who is either glued to the couch or too lazy to get up.
Sorry, sorry — I must interrupt this recap yet again, this time to marvel at Mollique's arms.
Our man looks so relaxed because Rodney just got the second one-on-one date of the season, and Mollique doesn't see him as "much of a contender." He feels confident that Michelle is going to "keep him in the friend zone." Coincidentally, Mollique is going to find himself in the friend zone later in the episode — but I'm getting ahead of myself. Back to the group date!
Looks like women do make passes at men who wear glasses. Congrats, Martin! Michelle says she appreciated how Martin checked up on her during the date, and she sees him as "a mature man who knows what he wants."
Uh-oh, there's more trouble in the holding pen. While Will is off having his one-on-one chat with Michelle, Peter picks up his rival's prized bomber jacket. As Martin, Rick, Joe, Olu, and Nayte watch in bemused disbelief, Peter drapes the coat over his shoulders and says he's going to "go rock it for a bit." And by "rock it," he means…
"The jacket's a symbol of the disrespect I continue to get!" fumes Peter. "So I had to put him in his place."
It's a douche move, but I'm pretty sure bomber jackets are made of nylon and can withstand a little water. Not that that excuses Peter's behavior. "Dude, what did you do with the jacket?" asks Nayte when Peter returns to the couch. "It looked a little dirty so I decided to give it a bath," he replies, as the men burst out laughing. (Pssst, Peter — they're laughing at you, not with you.) "If Michelle finds out about it, it's going to ruin the date," sighs Nayte. When Will finds out the bad news about his jacket, he's understandably upset — and Nayte gives him some solid advice: "As long as you kind of just sit there, kick it, you will forever be regarded as the bigger man."
Frustrated to the point of tears, Will walks away to cool off. "I earned that jacket," he says. "Not only because it was mine, it was the meaning behind it. It meant that any obstacle that Michelle and I go through in life, I'm gonna be there to overcome that. And Peter had to ruin it." Hold up, Will — you might want to take it down a notch. It was a jacket, not the Shroud of Turin. Secondly, why don't you just go fish it out of the pool? It'll probably dry fine! Again, not to excuse Peter's behavior, but dang, it's not like the jacket dropped into a pit of molten lava. As Will walks inside the hotel to calm down, a phantom producer's arm reaches out to comfort him.
"Bro, this man is really pushing my buttons!" he shouts.
Back in the holding pen, Clayton confronts Peter about what he did. "I got a lotta love for you, bro, but don't get involved," responds the pizzapreneur. Clayton presses on, pointing out that all their actions affect Michelle, so when one of them acts like an asshat, everyone suffers. (I'm paraphrasing.) Oh boy, now Will's coming back to the holding pen.
You said it, Nayte. Fortunately, Will is followed shortly by Michelle, and there ain't no way Will and Peter are going to throw down while the Bachelorette is present. Anyhow, Martin gets the date rose. But wait, there's more! As "winner" of the date rose, Martin also gets to join Michelle for a slow dance to the unofficial Top Gun theme, "Take My Breath Away," as performed by a string trio. (I guess Berlin was busy.)
Meanwhile, Will finally decides to rescue his jacket.
It kind of sucks that none of the other guys pulled it out of the pool before it got completely submerged — but hang in there, Will. Maybe just let it air dry for a few days and it'll probably be fine.
Okay, Rodney — you're up! His one-on-one with Michelle begins at night, and it's pretty low rent: Truth or dare! (Guess production went over budget on the Top Gun date?) The first "dare" is pretty tame, too: Michelle puts on a blindfold and Rodney feeds her selections from the room service menu. Then the duo must handcuff themselves together and open a pile of giant "presents," one of which contains the key. Finally, we get a real dare:
Good old Rodney, he really took one for the team here, streaking through the hotel lobby while Michelle, Tayshia, and Kaitlyn cheer him on. They're making such a ruckus, some of the guys come out of their room to see what's going on. "Yo, why you butt naked!" Olu hollers at Rodney from the balcony. "Get some clothes on!" Somebody please give Rodney back his shirt, okay? The man's suffered enough.
Michelle brings Rodney back to her room for the "truth" portion of the game. He admits that his biggest fear in life is passing away before he becomes a husband and father. Dang, Rodney, you're only 29! It's gonna be ok. Michelle's biggest fear is "being complacent" — but she also worries about not living in the moment. That's your cue, Rodney! Kiss her!
"Today, Rodney kept chipping away at that friend zone," says Michelle. Over dinner, Michelle says that she wants a partner she can laugh with, just as her parents still laugh together after years of marriage. Rodney Opens Up™ and tells Michelle about growing up with a single mom, and how hard it was to watch her struggle to take care of her two sons. "She's truly one of the most amazing people I've ever met. She's my hero," he gushes. This somehow turns into a conversation about Michelle's last relationship, which soured after some woman called Michelle the n-word at the grocery store (UGH) and her partner was less than supportive when he found out. "The response was more how I was giving the woman more power because I was upset about — because I chose to be upset about it," recalls Michelle. "I had to justify my emotions… I shouldn't have ever had to justify my feelings."
Damn right, ma'am. Rodney commends Michelle for her poise and grace. "You make it easy for me to trust you," he says. And she "apple-lutely" LOVES it. Rodney gets the date rose. You go, underdog! He's so cute, I don't even mind that he said "simularities" when he meant "similarities."
Day dawns on group date number two. As Jamie, Leroy, Chris G., Casey, Mollique, Chris S., Brandon, and Romeo walk across the resort to meet Michelle, Jamie — Mr. "At the end of my journey, I know I get the girl" — goes on and on about how confident he is. "There's pressure on these other guys to be out on a group date with me, knowing that I already have quite a bit of time spent establishing trust with Michelle," he muses. As for the "incident" that he caused at the previous rose ceremony, well, Jamie thinks he doesn't have to come clean to the guys because it "doesn't matter." Hmmm... I wonder what Michelle would say?
"Today, our activity has to do with expressing ourselves," explains Michelle, before leading the men inside the resort auditorium. Inside, a poet named Rudy Francisco is on stage, telling a story about his grandmother. I cannot decide what's more shocking: That there's an actual poet on The Bachelorette, or that Chris G. is legitimately star-struck by this poet's presence.
"I cannot believe it's Rudy Francisco!" gushes Chris G. "He's the poet who got me hooked on spoken word." No pressure, Chris G., but now you have to write and perform your own poem in front of Michelle, your poetry idol, and your fellow contestants. Good luck!
Hey look, the camera is pointed at Leroy! Quick, before they cut away again!
"I've never written a poem before," says Leroy. "But being expressive is just being able to be open, vulnerable, while remaining yourself." That's right, you fine gentleman who we've barely seen all season!
Once the men are done writing their poems, it's time to read them in front of an "audience" (a.k.a. the crew and the contestants who aren't on the group date). Look, writing is hard, and writing good poetry is really hard, which is probably why producers don't let us hear much of what the guys wrote. Brandon adorably tries to emphasize his rhymes by over-enunciating ("Don't give up, not on me/ Don't give up on ee-ter-nuh-tee"), and Chris G. gesticulates excitedly as he reads his poem about doing a maple leaf rubbing in kindergarten. Then comes Jamie.
First, Jamie claims that he "lost" his notebook so he's going to "spit from the heart." I'm sorry, you lost it? Buddy, there are people watching your every move — surely someone saw you put the notebook down somewhere. Next, Jamie announces that he'll be telling a rambling story about a girl getting lost in the woods. What part of "write a poem about your personal feelings" did this guy not understand? "Jamie didn't follow the assignment," grouses Casey. "Jamie might be preparing to be a motivational speaker-slash-cult leader, and [he] tells us a parable. It was odd."
"Jamie had some weird TED talk that wasn't to Michelle," says Brandon wearily. "It was to, like, all of us, about a rabbit down a road or something like that." Unfortunately, we don't get to see what the Bachelorette thinks of Jamie's performance, because as soon as he's done it's time for Michelle to read her poem. She begins by talking about being labeled the "token Black girl" while growing up in Minnesota, and how she was able to fit in as long as she followed "the basic white trends." Dating was hard, she continues, because "white connected with white." Now, says Michelle, she hopes to be "that role model young brown girls see when looking around." Give her some snaps, y'all!
"It was refreshing for me to hear that she's been impacted by being the 'token Black girl,'" says Leroy. "Not only impacted, but strengthened."
At the post-date cocktail party, Brandon tells Michelle that he, too, felt like a "token" brown kid in his high school — but his parents helped him have the strength to be comfortable in his own skin. The Bachelorette confesses that she's very attracted to him, and then they spend the rest of their one-on-one time smooching. "I'm truly falling in love with this woman," gushes Brandon.
As the other men take turns chatting with Michelle, Jamie just hangs out in the holding pen, talking via voiceover about how certain he is that he'll get the date rose. "There's not really anybody else worthy of her attention," he says. "No one else really matters to me." Well then you must not be paying attention, bro, because Leroy just gave Michelle a Kente cloth and followed it up with this incredible smile:
I'll say it again: He is foine.
When it's Jamie's turn to chat with Michelle, he, too, praises her for sharing her story about feeling like the "other" while growing up. "I saw myself in that story," he says. "Those are things I've also felt growing up." Later in his confessional, Jamie boasts about how Michelle was "captivated" by him during their talk. As for the group date rose: "I've got that in the bag." Think again, pal.
That's right, Brandon gets a second group date rose — and Jamie definitely does NOT love it. Once Michelle leaves, he grabs a producer. "We need to talk," he says, and then proceeds to gripe about how he and Brandon are not "in the same league" and he shouldn't have to compete with him. "I've got to wait for six weeks to get to the end of this?" he complains. "I really felt like it would be a stronger group of guys." Jamie then goes on to diss Michelle, saying she's "basically just in [bleeping] Spring Break mode," which is "a little bit of a turn-off."
Oh boy, rose lovers — there are so many things I love about this moment. For one thing, Jamie is totally convinced that he's the highest-quality dude there, and yet he's dumb enough to trash-talk the Bachelorette while wearing a microphone. Dude, even if you don't see a camera, you are being recorded — and whatever you say can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion. Secondly, is this douchebag truly pretending that Michelle's behavior is a turn-off when he's a lying, s--t-stirring egomaniac? Hoo boy, it's going to be fun watching this idiot get his comeuppance.
The final cocktail party of the week arrives. Rick (a.k.a. Table Guy, a.k.a. Tabletop) can't bear to have Michelle believe for another second that the men were questioning her integrity, so he uses his one-on-one time to make sure she knows the truth. "I've gotten close with all the guys here — none of them was ever questioning your character," he tells the Bachelorette. Rick suggests that the guy who fed her that misinformation was perhaps trying to earn her trust while throwing "other people under the bus." When Michelle reveals that it was Jamie who brought the "situation" up to her, Rick is surprised. "This is tough for me to swallow because he seems like the type who would own something like that," he says. Michelle is understandably concerned: "I feel like I'm now seeing a red flag." Not just one, girl.
Once he's done talking with Michelle, Rick naturally reports back to the guys that Jamie was the one who started all the drama last week. He, Nayte, and Casey call Jamie over to confront him, and he immediately starts to stammer and squirm. "My comment to Michelle was that… well, it wasn't necessarily my comment to Michelle. [clears throat nervously] Uh… uh… There's been conversation going on the entire day throughout the house… about whether or not, um, Joe and Michelle knew each other before. And my comment to Michelle was that, 'Hey, all this speculation that's been going on has essentially created this character in the room...'"
Uh, what? Nayte interrupts. "When did that happen?" he asks. "I feel like nobody in the house was talking about it." Jamie's all, I wasn't there to see the conversations because I was in my room, which is of course an insane response. Nayte demands to know how Jamie knows there was "all this conversation" yet he also "can't say who was having the conversation." Of course, Jamie can't provide him with any answers because he is straight-up lying, so he shifts directions and says he was trying to protect Michelle's public image. If she knew Joe before the show, "anybody sitting at home" could be speculating about her character. "Think about it," he continues. "If someone airs an episode, and everybody's sitting here talking about…" Nayte once again calls BS.
Excellent question, sir! Soon enough, the rest of the men join the conversation and try to get Jamie to explain his actions. Why didn't he come clean when Michelle brought the issue up last week? In response, Jamie offers a lot of "obfuscating and deflecting" (in the words of Romeo, who went to Harvard in case you forgot), and he refuses to give any kind of straight answer.
Oh, here comes Michelle. Perhaps she can get Jamie to own up to his bad behavior. As soon as the Bachelorette comments on the "weird vibe" in the room, Jamie starts vomiting out more lies about what he said last week. "What I communicated was that, no, I didn't feel like any specific individual challenged Joe's character or your character, it was the open speculation in the house… that created its own monster, and that had the potential to challenge both of your characters long-term," he says. "Does that sound at all like our conversation?" Short answer: No.
Oh, snap. Looks like the Biotech CEO is going down. Michelle tosses Jamie's "I was just trying to help you" explanation in the trash where it belongs. The Bachelorette informs Jamie that by bringing up the "my friend's girlfriend's friends said you were boo'd up" nonsense, he single-handedly created a false impression about her and about the men in the house. And she does NOT love it. Cut to:
"I will not stand to be manipulated in conversations and lied to," Michelle says. Damn right! This woman knows what she deserves.
Screw the cocktail party! It's time for the rose ceremony roll call: Joe, Rick, Leroy, Nayte, Casey, Chris G., Chris S., Clayton, Olu, Romeo, and Will join Martin, Rodney, and Brandon in the Circle of Safety™. That means it's "so long, farewell" to Peter, LT, Spencer, and (noooo!) Mollique. Really would have loved to see more of the latter two guys… but perhaps they'll show up in Paradise.
Welp, rose lovers, Jamie is gone — but I'm sure we won't be without a villain for long. (The previews seem to indicate that Chris S. will step into Jamie's "snake" shoes next week.) Before you go, let me know how you're feeling about Michelle's "journey." Are you digging Rodney and Leroy as much as I am? Are you surprised Will got a rose? And who here hasn't photocopied their own face at least once in their life? Post your thoughts below!
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One single woman searches for her future husband amid a sea of studs in this romantic reality series. Will you accept this rose?