The Bachelorette recap: From bros to foes
¡Bienvenidos a Mexico, rose lovers! This week, our Bachelorette had "romantic" overnight dates with her final three men — and those men "went from bros to foes," as they finally realized they're competing for Michelle's heart.
Mexico looks pretty, as does our Bachelorette.
Going into this penultimate week, our "love/falling in love count" is two for three: Brandon and Joe have all said those magic words — while Nayte's gone with less powerful phrases, like "I'm falling for you" and "I'm crazy about you." Will he step it up on this overnight, or should Michelle be running like the wind in the opposite direction?
While you ponder that question, let's take a live look at the final three guys, currently sitting in extremely uncomfortable silence.
Nothing like knowing you're all about to sleep with the same woman to put a damper on the conversation, huh guys? "We're not really friends because we're competing for the same girl," notes Joe. "It is awkward, very awkward."
And it's only going to get awkwarder! (Yes, I know that's not a word.) Tayshia arrives and warns the guys that this is their last chance to Open Up™ and share all of their feelings with Michelle — if, of course, she invites them to stay overnight in the Fantasy Suite. (Spoiler: She will.)
Brandon, you're up! Literally up — on a horse.
A lot of firsts for Brandon today. It's his first time being out of the country, and his first time on a horse. "Yo, this is like the most romantic thing I've ever done with someone in my entire life," says Brandon. That's sweet, Brandon, but quick note: Starting every other sentence with "Yo" does not scream "I am ready for marriage." Just think on it, okay?
Still, these two are cute together, even if Brandon just seems way too young to get married. At dinner, Brandon plans to "literally" rip out his heart and throw it on the table because "it only beats" for Michelle — but thankfully, he uses his words instead.
"Since day one when I met you, I knew that you were the one," says Brandon. (I'm sure he thinks it sounds romantic, but honestly, that sentence is the epitome of a red flag.) "I want you to know, I will always, always put you first," he continues. "I know we aren't at the end yet, but I'm not going to leave here without telling you that." Though she doesn't fully reciprocate, Michelle LOVES it. "I meant what I said after meeting your family, that I'm falling in love with you," she tells Brandon. "That's not something I say lightly. That's not something that I feel easily. I do see a future with you."
You know what time it is, rose lovers:
Tayshia and Kaitlyn have nice handwriting! Of course, Brandon accepts the invite. But before they can kick the camera crew out, producers send Michelle and Brandon to the outdoor jacuzzi so they can make out while fireworks go off overhead.
And the purpose of THAT, of course, is to send Nayte and Joe — who can see the fireworks from their hotel room — into an "oh my God the woman I want to marry is about to bang someone else" spiral. "I've been so focused on my connection with Michelle that it wasn't until tonight that I stopped and realized, like, oh, I'm literally not the only one literally catching feelings for Michelle," says Nayte. "Tonight was a reality check." Dude, the whole SHOW is a reality check. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: How are you just realizing this now?
Anyhow, Brandon and Michelle look happy the next morning.
This cute tableau quickly devolves into a breakfast sandwich food fight. So much delicious-looking food wasted on this stupid show! Also, I hope production gave housekeeping an extra big tip. You know how hard it is to get green juice out of pristine white sheets? Smh.
Oooh, oooh! It's the moment we've all been waiting for, rose lovers: Brandon just got back to the guys' suite, and now they all have to sit around together just steeping in embarrassment.
Nayte breaks the silence with an uncomfortable laugh. "This is just awkward," says Brandon, trying to smile through the pain. He declines to go into detail about his evening with Michelle, other than to say, "We went on a date."
Welp, okay then. Joe, you're up! And now it's Brandon's turn to feel the "torture" of watching another man head out to meet Michelle. Tropical huju!
"Huju," also known as the "run and jump hug," the "jump-n-hump," the "leg wrap," the "JumpStraddle," the "Koala Clasp," and so on. The point is, rose lovers, that we all have different names for this maneuver. Keep 'em coming!
"Joe and I have moved at a little bit of a slower pace," Michelle notes. "Last week, Joe told me he's falling in love with me. I do feel like I'm right there, and I hope that today is going to be that point where I can finally say I'm falling in love with Joe as well." Half-assed metaphor alert!
LOLOLOL, I bet they tried to get Joe to do a whole "Love is like ziplining: You have to hold on tight and enjoy the journey even when it's scary" thing, but he wasn't about to say that many words in a row. It is fun to hear his high-pitched, timid little "Aaaaaah!" scream as he rides the zipline himself.
Michelle enjoys seeing Joe's "goofy side" on the date, and she encourages him to Open Up™ more as the date continues. "There's just so much more to learn about him," she says. But the Bachelorette is also hoping that the evening will give her "clarity" — which we all know is code for "I don't think this guy is for me, but I just need to make sure."
Over dinner, Michelle and Joe talk about their differing personalities (extrovert vs. introvert), how many kids he wants (3-4), and why he went into real estate after his hoop dreams were dashed. "I want to be able to be an example for others to show that the tools and everything we learned through athletics are something that we can definitely bring into the real world," he explains, adding that he wants to live a life that helps make the world a better place. And Michelle LOVES it. "I want a life that is impactful," she says. "Making a difference is incredibly important to me."
Ok, so these two are aligned philosophically and geographically, but how about chemically? While you ponder that question, let's check in to see how Nayte and Brandon are doing back in the guys' suite.
I don't even know where to begin with that statement. "If I was in Michelle's spot, I would want my closest connection to be the last guy," Nayte tells Brandon. "Just because you already know there's a connection there." Dude, what? Nayte's obviously trying to psych Brandon out and convince himself that he's got nothing to worry about when it comes to the other men. Brandon tries not to take the bait, but it's clear he's still stressed out. "She's dating two other guys, you know what I mean?" he frets. "And it's like, that's my woman. That's my wife." Nayte interrupts — "Not yet!" — and Brandon looks kind of crushed, to be honest.
Meanwhile, back at the dinner table…
Honestly, those old-timey keys make me laugh EVERY TIME. They're staying at a Hilton, for pete's sake! Joe says yes to the Fantasy Suite, so let's cut to:
"I could use a couple more hours of sleep," Joe murmurs with a smile. "I'm falling even more in love with you, every moment that we get together." As for the Bachelorette, she has a whole new appreciation for who Joe is after seeing him off-camera: "A relaxed, fun, kind-hearted person." Michelle says she has the "clarity" she needs after spending one night with Joe. Great — now eat your breakfast, kids! It looks delicious.
Later, Joe gets back to the guys' suite and lets the other two suitors know that he and Michelle went to the Fantasy Suite, "and it was great. I had a good time. It was fun." Nayte's face falls immediately.
Again, bro, what were you expecting? Actually, don't answer that. Get your game face on and take your Dramamine — Michelle's here for her final date of the week.
"When I'm with Nayte I feel how I'm supposed to feel when you're with your soulmate," gushes Michelle. "I don't want the day to end." As they lounge on the catamaran, Nayte admits that the week was hard for him, but he did his best to take it "moment by moment" and not freak out. They smooch and smooch, and Nayte tells Michelle again that he's crazy about her… but is it enough? "This whole engagement thing is a week away," says the Bachelorette. "And it's important for me to know if he can get there." And by "there" she means, the land of "I love you." Will Nayte drop the L-bomb tonight, or does Michelle more into him than he is into her? Let's head to dinner and find out.
The evening gets off to an inauspicious start when the Bachelorette asks Nayte if he has things he really wants to talk about tonight, and he's all, "Not really, no." Oh, dear. Michelle realizes she just needs to get right to the point, so she asks Nayte if he's ready to get engaged.
Ugh, rose lovers, why did I think Nayte would make things easy and just give a yes or no answer? Instead, he goes on a long ramble about how "amazing" the week has been since he was able to think about his feelings, and how the hometown date was "huge" for him, and that his family asked the "hard questions" about how certain he is that his feelings for Michelle will survive outside the Bachelorette bubble, and so on and so on. Long (long) story short: "After being able to think about these questions that I don't have answers to… that's life, though."
Sorry, what? This dude just talked for 63 seconds straight (yes, I timed it) and all he ended up saying was, "Uh, I dunno." On top of that, he's not expressing the level of emotion that Michelle is hoping to hear. Instead, all he can offer the Bachelorette is this: "I am feeling things for you that I've never felt for anybody before."
Once again, she tries asking him point blank: "Falling in love is one thing, being in love is another thing, and an engagement is another thing. Which of those are you ready for?" Nayte insists he's ready for "all three" of those scenarios, but it seems like the real answer is "none."
Is that something marrying her, Nayte? I don't think so. Sensing that he might be in trouble, Nayte decides to pull the emotional ripcord: "I trust that I'm literally falling in love with you, and that's something I really want to hold onto." Okay, that's a start, but Michelle really wants to be engaged at the end of this "journey." You ready for that, bro? "Most definitely," says Nayte, after an almost imperceptible pause. "With you? Yeah. I don't see myself pulling away, not at all."
Welp, it's all over but the handwritten invitation. "A huge weight has just been lifted off my heart," says Michelle giddily. Poor thing is too close to the situation to realize that what she (and we) just witnessed was a man convincing himself that it wouldn't be so bad to get engaged on TV in front of all those cameras because he can always just break it off later if he changes his mind. Still, here we are:
Cool, cool. Let's just jump ahead, shall we? The dopamine and norepinephrine must really be flowing this morning, because suddenly Nayte is all in. "You're something that I want to hold onto," he says. "I'm falling in love with you. I'm in love with you." And guess what, rose lovers?
Okay, then. Looks like Nayte has gone from worst to first over the course of an evening. "I firmly believe this is what a soulmate feels like," she says. Good thing production probably rented out the whole resort, because all of a sudden there's a mariachi band playing outside Michelle and Nayte's balcony. Nothing against the band, but "Canta y No Llores" isn't exactly first-thing-in-the-morning music.
When Nayte gets back to the guys' suite and casually informs the guys that his date was "great" and that he and Michelle "vibed out," Brandon looks like he's about to have a stroke.
Get it together, pal. The rose ceremony is upon us! And Michelle has quite a dilemma on her hands. "I've now fallen in love with all three men here, which is something I didn't think was possible," she says. "I have to break someone's heart." Just as she's about to pick up the first rose, though, Brandon steps forward. "Before we start, do you think I can talk to you?" he whispers. Michelle agrees, much to Nayte and Joe's chagrin. "F---, man," Nayte mutters as Brandon and Michelle walk out.
I suppose they have a right to be annoyed by Brandon's "Hail Mary" — but on the other hand, nothing was stopping either of them from pulling Michelle aside to make one final plea.
"Michelle, when I told you that I'd put you first, I'll put you first," he says. "When I told you that I love you… I truly mean that I will be here for you, regardless of whatever happens to you." Michelle is overcome with emotion, and she wipes away tears as he speaks. Is she upset because she is planning on sending him home? Or is she just overwhelmed by the prospect of sending anyone home? Let's get to it and find out.
Rose ceremony roll call: Nayte and Brandon are Michelle's final two men. So sorry, Joe. Would you please take a moment and… Hold up. What in the holy hell are Kaitlyn and Tayshia wearing?
Guess there was a 2-for-1 sale at the Latex-N-Sequins Emporium. Sorry for the interruption, Joe. Would you please join Michelle outside on the Bye-Bye Bench? "I have been falling in love with you, I'm still falling with love with you," says Michelle through her tears. "I care about you so much… And I'm sorry. I didn't want to break your heart. It's just, I can't be your person." Joe remains stoic, but he assures Michelle that he's brokenhearted. "I might not be showing it right now, I really did see that future with you that we talked about," he says. "I want to thank you for pushing me to be more open." Then they share a sad goodbye hug.
"I'm in shock," he says quietly. "I didn't see that coming." Sorry, sir. I feel like we probably won't see you on Paradise, since you're a little too quiet for that crowd. But it's probably for the best.
Holy cow, rose lovers — there's just one (three-hour) episode left. We're gonna need to get our rest and stay hydrated if we want to survive. Before you go, a few questions: Are you surprised she sent Joe home? Do you think Brandon saved himself at the last minute or was he always in Michelle's final two? And why would anyone waste a perfectly good breakfast sandwich in a food fight? 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?