The Bachelorette recap: Attention deficit disorder
This week's episode of The Bachelorette marked Michelle's final three dates in Palm Springs. To celebrate, she handed out roses with abandon — including to a man who absolutely didn't deserve it.
It's another beautiful day at the Indian Wells Resort, and everybody is ready to move forward after Jamie's unceremonious exit. "You've cleansed some negative energy," says Kaitlyn, during her pre-game chat with Michelle. The Bachelorette agrees, and says she's looking forward to the men to "continue to be all in."
Meanwhile, in the guys' suite:
Welp, Chris may not be "all in," but he's definitely "all on… the floor." (Ba-dum-bum.) Tayshia arrives with the first one-on-one date card of the week. And it goes to… Martin? Feels a little random, but okay. Michelle and the personal trainer from Miami did share some smooches last week. Olu, though, is perplexed. "I'm kinda shocked. Martin and Jamie [are] very close," he muses. "I don't trust him. I personally feel like Martin can be two-faced… He doesn't deserve a woman of her caliber."
Don't worry, Olu — Michelle is going into this date with her radar up. "I do know that Jamie and Martin were very close, and with everything that took place with Jamie, I want to see if I can give [Martin] all of my trust," she explains. "I'm still deciding if Martin makes my heart race." Get it? Because they're about to do a racing date? Those producers sure are good at the puns.
Soon after Martin arrives at the BMW Performance Center, a silver sports car screeches to a halt on the track in front of him. "I hope you're ready to go fast today," chirps Michelle, climbing out of the passenger seat. "I'm trying to find my ride or die." Brian the driving instructor sets them up with a pair of flashy BMW M3s and sends them off to try drifting. Michelle is clearly better at doing donuts, and she has an excellent drift face, too.
When it's time to race, the Bachelorette once again takes the win. And she gets to celebrate by… snacking on a pitiful charcuterie board while soaking in a giant metal washtub surrounded by piles of tires? Uh… wouldn't have been my first choice, but okay.
As they sip champagne, Martin tells Michelle that he feels like "the luckiest guy in the world." When the conversation turns to Jamie, Martin says he doesn't think Jamie is a bad person — in fact, he thinks he's "a hell of a man." Michelle does NOT love it. Her entire demeanor changes. "So, you feel like I made the incorrect decision yesterday?" she asks. Martin's all, No, no, of course not, it's your decision. "I can't get mad at you getting rid of somebody when I'm here to build my relationship with you," he adds. Hmmm… I don't think that's the answer Michelle was looking for. She informs Martin that she needs people who trust her decision-making abilities, "because I am a strong woman."
Damn right, honey! Tell him! The Bachelorette is about to say something else when then Martin interrupts her: "Well also, your relationship is different, like, than the relationships that the guys have." Michelle is so (rightfully) annoyed by this, she has to take deep, cleansing breath to keep from getting too mad. In case you missed it:
"Martin gave me his opinion about the situation with Jamie," she says later. "I wasn't sure if he was defending Jamie, I wasn't sure if he was trying to tell me that I made the wrong decision. Either way, I felt like my decision was potentially being questioned. That's not a good feeling."
Surely, she's gonna send this dude home at dinner, right? They head to the Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory for a meal under the stars. As soon as they sit down, Michelle gets straight to the point: "When we were talking today about Jamie, I felt like when I did speak my opinion, I felt, like, shut down," she tells Martin. Of course, he begins to backtrack, saying that he's a "blunt" guy and he certainly didn't mean to sound condescending or dismissive. "I'm cool with being called out on things," Martin insists. "I haven't always been good at communicating, and I'm working on it." He goes on to say that his father did not model healthy communication skills, and no one in his family really talked about their emotions. "Like, I don't cry," adds Martin. "It was never, like, something that was okay to do."
All of this may be true, and I'm certainly not going to blame Martin for the behavior he learned during his upbringing. But good Lord, Michelle, you have 13 other dudes to choose from — and with Martin, the negatives seem to be outweighing the positives so far. This is no time for the "maybe I should just give him a chance" approach. Move on to the next!
Apparently, Michelle cannot hear me screaming through the TV. "Do you feel like you can get to a point where you can show emotion?" she asks him. Martin says he's getting a lot better at it, and he hopes to lead by example when he has a family. "I was definitely not good at talking about emotions," Michelle replies. In college, she began to push herself "to be open," and now she's far more comfortable expressing herself. "So, we're both on the same journey," concludes Martin. "That's cool." No. It is definitely not cool, Martin! Michelle, please don't think it's cool. Please see through his made-for-TV "vulnerability." Please please please?
"I feel like you've opened up to me so much about everything," coos Michelle. "Not only do you listen, when I speak to you about something, there's a change that's applied so quickly." Too quickly, Michelle! This guy is just telling you what you want to hear! Arrrrgh. On to the group date, I guess.
First, some background. The group date card — featuring Will, Chris S., Casey, Chris G., Leroy, Rodney, Olu, Brandon, Clayton, Joe, Romeo, and Nayte — came while Martin was on his date with Michelle. Once it became clear after reading all the names that Rick got the one-on-one (go Table Guy!), Nayte expressed disappointment but said he's choosing not to stress out about it. "All I know is a one-on-one date is coming. If it's not today, it's going to be another time." This did not go over well with Chris S. "Nayte says he assumes he's going to get a one-on-one," he scoffs. "He came off as really cocky. He thinks he's got everything in the bag."
The next morning, the guys receive a delivery of sleep-related accessories before heading out on the date: Slippers, robes, boxers, onesies, even some silk pajamas. "I feel like Bruno Mars!" announces Leroy, showing off his black and pink silk jammies. Chris S., however, is not feeling too sexy with his outfit.
(I absolutely refuse to acknowledge Chris' Risky Business montage. I simply will not do it, rose lovers.)
Michelle arrives and leads the guys to a hotel conference room that's been converted into a giant, '80s-themed slumber party, complete with a popcorn machine, pizzas, an ice cream sundae station, piles of giant teddy bears, a spa station, and so on. "Today's all about bonding and quality time," explains the Bachelorette. The guys LOVE it.
The men love it so much, in fact, that they aren't paying much attention to Michelle. "I think it would be safe to say that the men are embracing their inner man-child a little too much," she sighs. "I, like, pretty much had to call the guys over." On the one hand, some of the men were trying to be polite by waiting their turn to talk to the Bachelorette. On the other hand, Olu just invited the guys to punch him as hard as he can in the abs — and when Michelle tried to join, he basically told her to leave!
That's a big old oof, for more reasons than one. Michelle gets more and more frustrated as the date goes on.
Good question, mama! "This feeling of being unseen, that excitement just goes out the door," she says sadly. "I don't think it's intentional, but when I was in that position on the other side, I did everything in my power to make sure that a moment was created, because I wanted that." In contrast, the men just started a game of Duck Duck Goose, and they didn't even ask Michelle if she wanted to play. Did these dudes forget what show they're on or something? Perhaps these two women can help.
Oh fun, it's WWE superstars and reality TV lifers the Bella Twins. They're here to oversee the next activity on the agenda: The Ultimate Teddy Bear Takedown. The men will pummel each other with stuffed animals, which may be fun for us to watch, but Michelle is bummed out. "I'm upset," she laments. "Now the boys are going to be competing against each other rather than making small moments with me on the group date." It's a shame, no doubt, but when you search for a husband on TV, "big moments of idiotic behavior" will pretty much always trump "small moments of connection."
When Michelle sits down with Kaitlyn and Tayshia, the hosts can tell immediately that she is not in a great place. They start to ask her what's wrong, but the Bachelorette is not ready to vent just yet. "Nope. Not gonna cry. Nope," says Michelle. "We're good. I promise. We're not gonna talk about all that. Sorry." Don't be sorry, girl! Nobody can force you to talk about anything — not even the people following you around with cameras. Michelle is determined to have fun, so let's move on to the bear battle royale. The men are divided into two teams, and the prize is "more time with Michelle," as per usual. First up, Joe versus Clayton.
Our next Bachelor, everybody!
The final matchup of the competition feels awfully uneven: Olu, a.k.a. the man who we just saw doing Spider-Man push-ups as a warm up, and Brandon, who Nayte says is "built like a 17-year-old." Notes Clayton, "They call him Swole-lu for a reason. The man looks like he ate three of Brandon for breakfast." Yeah, this match was over before it even started.
Don't look so sad, Brandon. You did your best. The winning team — Olu, Casey, Leroy, Romeo, Clayton, and Nayte — immediately gathers around Michelle to express how happy they are to spend more time with her that night at the cocktail party. [checks notes] Oh, apologies: After their big victory, the winning team ignores Michelle and plays with the streamers that fell from the ceiling instead. "After the game, no one came up to me. No one pulled me aside," says Michelle. "Not being seen is definitely something that I'm realizing truly hurts me. I'm hurt and I want to figure that out."
Once everyone leaves to get ready for part two of the date, Michelle and Kaitlyn head outside for a heart-to-heart. "I was literally standing there by myself," says the Bachelorette. "On the poetry date that we just had, I wrote a poem growing up and being the only person of color in all my classes, and how I was so overlooked at times… I wasn't seen. So coming into this, I felt like, if I'm in a room full of people who genuinely… want to get to know me, I will never feel like that. I'm frustrated and hurt." Dang it, now the poor woman is crying!
Shame on those bachelor boneheads. They had better be ready to grovel at the post-date cocktail party — and Michelle tells them as much as soon as she arrives. "If I'm being completely honest with you guys, I feel like I'm putting in so much effort to make small moments with you guys, but I don't necessarily feel like that's being reciprocated," she says. "That doesn't mean that I need, like, these massively romantic gifts or gestures. I honestly just want a hello during the date." Did you hear that, you buffoons? You screwed up! Get your s--t together, and fast.
This all comes as a big shock to the men, who of course had no idea that Michelle was upset. Michelle pulls Nayte for the first one-on-one chat, as the rest of the men sit in chastened silence. Olu is the first to speak. "She has every right to feel that way. That poem she gave was very powerful," he says, wiping away tears. "Growing up in Minnesota, a Black woman, and being overlooked… Not getting enough respect. S---, this is her time to find what she truly wants." That is some quality remorse, Olu. Nice work. Adds Romeo, "I do feel like maybe we did get carried away, focusing on the competition, and kind of losing sight of the real reason we were there."
In another room, Michelle tells Nayte that she feels particularly hurt by him because she likes him so much. "I've always been the one giving more, but, like, my soulmate, my person, has to reciprocate that," she tells him. Nayte apologizes and assures the Bachelorette that he'll work harder to make her feel "seen." One by one, the rest of the men vow to do better by Michelle. Olu, who has four sisters and can empathize with Black women "not feeling accepted," tears up again while talking to Michelle. "I feel you, I hear you," he says. "Everything you're doing now shows that you're a strong woman, and I appreciate you. I really do." The Bachelorette in turn appreciates Olu's willingness to be emotional in front of her, and she gives him the date rose.
How great would it have been if she had followed up the date rose by punching Olu in the stomach as hard as she possibly could? Alas, Michelle chooses the non-violent path.
Rose lovers, had you told me on night one that Table Guy would still be here in week four and that he was gonna get a one-on-one date, I would have laughed and laughed. And yet, here we are!
Rick and Michelle ride a tram to the top of a mountain, where they take a leisurely stroll through the woods. Upon finding a "wish box" on their trail, the couple begins reading through wishes that were left by past hikers (and definitely not planted there by producers). A brief sampling: "I wish to find my soulmate"; "I wish for a love like my grandparents had"; "I wish my dad could see the man I've become." That last one has a big effect on Rick, whose father passed away three years ago. As for their wish? Michelle writes, "We wish to find love by having the hard conversations." Kids, this is called foreshadowing.
Dang, Michelle's dinner look is flawless.
As expected, Rick uses this time to Open Up™ about his upbringing and his relationship with his parents. Though his dad was always there for him as a coach, Rick says there were times when he was a good father and a good husband, "and there were times when he wasn't." One year while his parents were out Christmas shopping, Rick read a text that came for his dad. "It was basically from a woman," he explains. "After about a day, I decided to tell my mom about it." A few days after Christmas, Rick's mom woke him up to say they were moving out of the house — without his dad. "Unfortunately, he had cheated on my mom," says Rick. "And they split." His dad fell into a depression during the last 10 years of his life, and he died unexpectedly one Thursday afternoon while Rick was at work.
Even worse, Rick says that his dad blamed him "until the day he died" for telling his mom about the affair. "It hurts," he says. "That's why that note today hit hard. But you definitely made it easier on me today."
"I can't rule the fact that I could be falling in love with you, and I feel like I am," says Rick. "I know that's a lot to be said, but I know what my gut is saying." Awww, just give him the date rose already, Michelle! (She does, and even calls him "my little lettuce wrap" while doing it.)
Oh God, is it "private" concert time? Yes. Yes, it is.
Hope the excruciating awkwardness was worth the Spotify bump, Andy Grammer!
Wow, is it final cocktail party time already? Surely, this one will be calm and drama-free. Before the Bachelorette arrives, Nayte says he thinks she's in a better place. "I think she's pretty excited to see all of us," he announces. This irritates Chris S., who doesn't believe the guys understand "how upset she was" at the time. Never mind that he wasn't even there when Michelle told the guys she was bummed out — Chris S. is not about to let facts get in the way of an opportunity to get more camera time. As soon as Michelle arrives, Chris S. turns to address the group.
"Before we get started, I want to say something," he announces. "I wasn't at the cocktail party the other night, but I know she addressed that she felt like she wasn't being seen. I think that there are guys here who think that they have it in the bag. I think that that's bulls---, and I think that they're not showing you the effort that you deserve. I think that you should give time to other people who are here for you, who are showing you the effort you deserve."
Oh great, so not only is Chris S. attempting to establish himself by randomly attacking a nameless group of guys, he's also implying that Michelle is choosing to spend time with the wrong people. She's gonna love that. Does Chris S. have a problem with his short-term memory? He must, or else he wouldn't be pulling this Jamie 2.0 maneuver. This is not going to end well.
"I can tell you that nobody has it in the bag," replies Michelle. "Not even close." Brandon asks to steal her away first, but Chris S. interjects: "I'm gonna take her first if you don't mind." Oh, are you, pal? Think again. "Brandon already stepped up," says Michelle. (That sound you hear is all of Bachelor Nation cheering in unison.) Crap, there's more. "But I'm gonna talk to [Chris] for a minute and then I'll come back to you, okay?" (That sound you hear is all of Bachelor Nation groaning in unison.)
During their sit-down, Chris S. uses a combination of guilt and accusations to better position himself in Michelle's eyes. "I felt like I was one of the guys who put in time to make you feel noticed," he says. "I also noticed there were a lot of other people who sat around and didn't make an effort." (Oh, that's right — Chris S. played Twister with Michelle on the group date. I suppose he's not totally making things up.) Then he throws Nayte under the proverbial bus, telling the Bachelorette what he said about "knowing" that he'll get a one-on-one date eventually. God, can't Michelle have one cocktail party where she doesn't have to referee grudge matches between grown men? This is the face of a woman who is 1-800-Over-It.
So, will the strategy work for Chris S., or is he going to fall victim to the age-old "snitches get stitches" curse? Michelle avoids giving him a kiss when they end their conversation, so perhaps he's a goner. The guys sure hope so. When Chris S. gets back to the holding pen, they immediately begin piling on. "It kind of feels like this is a desperate ploy to sabotage everything," says Romeo. Clayton wants to know who, specifically, Chris S. was trying to call out with his "blanket statement" about men not putting in the effort. "There's only five people who got up and tried to talk to her, period," says Chris S. "And everyone else was in the back sitting on a f---ing stuffed animal."
What a surprise — Chris S. does not have the courage to bring Nayte's name up in front of the group. No worries, though: Michelle is quick to fill Nayte in on the "not if, when" comment about the one-on-one date. "You essentially should never feel like you have anything in the bag," says Michelle. "One, I'm not this massive prize at the end of this, and two, I shouldn't have to light a fire under someone's ass to, like, want to be with me."
Hell yes, lady! Preach it and teach it! I do wish Nayte made a little more effort with his apology, which was kind of a non-apology, to be honest. "I'm not sure why he decided to single me out," he says. "But I can't really control how other people feel about me." Psssst, Nayte! You pronounced "I'm sorry" wrong! Maybe he said more and producers just cut it out because they wanted to spend more time showcasing his temper. "I'm really pissed off!" he fumes. "And guess what, Chris S.? It's time to go!"
Nayte storms back to the holding pen and pulls his rival aside for a talk. Immediately, Chris S. starts backtracking-slash-lying. "Dude, I didn't mean to single you out, okay?" he says. "She asked." (Narrator: She didn't. At least, not as far as we saw.) Chris continues to insist that Michelle "probed and probed and probed," and that's the only reason he threw Nayte's name out. Nayte, of course, isn't buying that, and pretty soon, their voices are raised and neither of them is hearing anything the other one says. ("My is my name even in your mouth?" "She asked me, and I told her the facts!" etc.) Not sure if you've noticed, rose lovers, but Nayte is much bigger than Chris S. and could absolutely beat the holy hell out of him. This undeniable fact makes Chris S. nervous.
"I'm just talking to you!" Nayte scoffs. "F---ing chill, dude."
As you might imagine, this "conversation" goes nowhere, and finally Nayte walks away, muttering that Chris S. is a "f---ing dweeb." (Dang, haven't heard that word in forever.) Chris, meanwhile, declares himself the victor of this little squabble. "I came in on my white horse and I saved her from the castle that she's been stuck in," he boasts. Awww hell no, you diminutive d-bag. Michelle is perfectly capable of saving her own damn self.
The men, who couldn't help but overhear the heated argument between Nayte and Chris S., are very much ready for the latter dude to go home. "We all agree that Chris S. is a snake," says Romeo. "That's what the 's' stands for." Perhaps, but it could also stand for smug, smarmy, and self-righteous. "They all hate me," giggles Chris S., after exchanging tense words with Olu over whether he'll get a rose. "She's gonna call my name, and I'm gonna say, 'This one's for you, Olu.' And then I'm gonna wink at him."
Fortunately, Michelle wasn't around to witness that pathetic display of testosterone because she's too busy munching on candy with Joe.
I'm sorry, when Michelle says, "I've actually never had those," she can't possibly be talking about… Peanut M&Ms? I simply can't imagine a life without those colorful balls of crunchy goodness.
Rose ceremony roll call: Brandon, Leroy, Joe, Rodney, Clayton, Casey, Nayte, and Chris S. join Martin, Olu, and Rick in the Circle of Safety™. Excuse me for a moment while I scream into a pillow.
Okay, I'm back. As frustrating as it is to watch Michelle reward Chris S. with a rose, it's important to remember that he's done a decent job keeping his actual personality — Grade-A, 100 Percent Pure Asshat — under wraps while she's around. Enjoy your temporary win while you can, little man. (Oh, and we also had to say goodbye to Chris G., Romeo, and Will. Bye, guys!)
The night ends with Michelle sharing some "big news" with the guys: It's time to head to the land of 10,000 lakes, y'all! (That's Minnesota, in case you were wondering.) But before you pack it in for the night, rose lovers, I have a few questions: Are you surprised Michelle kept Martin around? Is it me, or is Rick a true contender? And do you think Chris S. will last one more week, or two? 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?