The Bachelorette recap: The French (dis)connection
Love, exciting a new. Come aboard — we're rejecting you!
This week on The Bachelorette, Gabby and Rachel relocated their man-harem to a luxury cruise ship in France; one dude decided he wanted to switch teams; and Rachel made a very smug asshat walk the plank.
As you may remember, rose lovers, we ended last week with Meatball making a Hail Mary plea to stay after rejecting her rose. And producers know that we know she already said yes — so they basically skip the resolution and jump right to the next morning, where said Meatball is assembled with the group in the living room.
Nate ("Team Gabby all the way") asks Hayden to explain what he said that upset Gabby on the group date. "I used the word 'rough around the edges,'" says the Southern not-really-a-gentleman. "And what I meant by that was…" Nate cuts him off. "Ohhhhhhhh…," he groans. "That's kinda rough though, bro."
Hayden claims that he gave "context" behind the description, but we all know that's not really true. And now the dude is trying to claim that Gabby called herself "rough around the edges" twice — !!!! — and that he was just repeating her own words back to her. Mmmm…. I call BS on that. But Hayden is insistent. "My dumb ass uses the same verbage [sic] that Gabby uses to describe herself and she f---ing didn't like that," he grouses. AND THEN HE SAYS:
Awww HELL NO. To Meatball's credit, he is completely appalled by Hayden's behavior. "It's disturbing," he says. "It's not how you should treat women at all."
Oh, but producers aren't done with Hayden yet. The guy is giving them so much material for a "villain edit" that they're straight-up making this a Villain Montage. They cut to Hayden inside on the couch, boring the group with his thoughts on our Bachelorettes.
Before I transcribe his quotes, a note: We see this scene twice — once here and once later in a flashback. For whatever reason, producers edit out some of Hayden's comments during this first scene, but I'm transcribing what he says in full based on what we see later in the episode. With that, let's give Hayden the floor: "I've been comparing, right? I've been comparing my ex to, like, this [bleep]. They don't hold a candle to her. Man, and I don't want to just settle."
I repeat: Awww HELL NO. Hayden has gone from "that guy sucks" to "he must be destroyed by any means necessary."
For now, though, we'll have to put a pin in our rage, because Jesse Palmer has just showed up and informed the men that it's time to pack their bags. Everybody's headed to France! But Tino and Jason are getting their own special travel arrangements because Rachel and Gabby want to meet them in Paris for the week's first one-on-one dates. Allons-y!
It's wet and rainy in the City of Light when Tino and Jason arrive to meet up with the Bachelorettes at a quaint little café. Even though she's in one of the most romantic cities in the world, Rachel is still feeling very insecure about her "journey" to find "love" after last week's brutal rose ceremony. "I have a huge fear that the men in my group might not even be interested in me and will want to switch over to pursue Gabby," she frets. "Or they might feel like they are in the loser group."
This, rose lovers, is called foreshadowing.
Meanwhile, in Le Havre, France, Jesse Palmer greets the men with a few sentences in French — and then informs them in English that they'll be living on the (promotional consideration provided by) Virgin Voyages Valiant Lady. Cue the drone shots!
How do you feel about cruises, rose lovers? People seem to either love them or loathe them. Even before Covid they were definitely a germaphobe's nightmare (two words: Legionnaires' disease), but I suppose they can also be fun. Okay, back to Gabby and Rachel!
After meeting up at the café, Gabby and Jason walk one way while Rachel and Tino stroll in the opposite direction. They cuddle up under the umbrellas and explore the cobblestone streets. Each woman has her own challenge: Rachel needs Tino to pull her out of her "am I good enough?" funk by making her feel special, while Gabby needs "man of few words" Jason to "come out of his shell" during the date. Let's see how it's going!
Awww, Jason and Gabby are having fun at the chapellerie. And our brunette Bachelorette definitely has a sense of humor about attempting to fit a beret over her updo. "Obviously I didn't wear the right hairstyle to look good in a beret," she notes. "I look like maybe a bald baby, that queen from Snow White, um, a chef — anything but good."
Elsewhere in Paris, Rachel and Tino enjoy some crepes, some smooches, and some wine. "You're so charming," Tino tells her over two glasses of red, and then they smooch some more.
How do you say "get a room" in French? Things are going just as well with Jason and Gabby, who share their own kisses on a local carousel. Though she's having a good time "goofing around" with Jason, Gabby still needs him to Open Up™ "because we don't have a ton of time to learn about each other."
(Side note: How funny was that Jesse Palmer voiceover about applying for The Bachelor? "Your boyfriend lives in a van by the river? We can do better!" I bet Dean Unglert's ears were burning…)
After spending the day separately, Gabby and Rachel (and their dates) reunite at a café. The women excuse themselves to go to "the bathroom" (a.k.a. inside the restaurant, about 7 feet away) and debrief on the day's activities. "I'm in love," jokes Gabby when Rachel asks how her date went. That said, Gabby wants to go beyond the "surface level" with Jason. Rachel reports that things went with so well with Tino she's actually a little scared.
That night at dinner, Rachel and Tino dine in a church (!), and he asks the blonde Bachelorette how she's doing after last week's extremely awkward rose ceremony. She's all, It sucked — but more importantly, are you going to support my career as a pilot or will you be an a-hole like my last boyfriend? (I'm paraphrasing.)
"He would be like, 'Well, pilots cheat [on their partners], and you will be away [a lot],'" recalls Rachel. She's not here for a man who objects to her traveling a lot for her job and expecting her to provide him with a "traditional" family life. Tino says all the right things in response. "Your passion for your career — it lights me up inside," he insists. "I need somebody who has that kind of devotion." Tino adds that he does want a family — and that both of his parents worked full time, so he knows a partnership like that can work. "I wouldn't keep accepting roses from you if… I didn't see that potential," he adds. Rachel LOVES it.
Congrats, buddy. And now for a private concert by Jordy, who's all grown up! (Kidding, kidding.)
On to Gabby's dinner with Jason. "It's hard for me to Open Up™ unless I'm in, like, a comfortable situation," he says. "And this is like completely out of my comfort zone." Of course, it is — it's the least natural situation a person can be in. Jason goes on to admit that he's been pretty "overwhelmed" by the whole being-on-TV thing. "I didn't eat or sleep for like three days," he says, adding that he basically had a "breakdown." Jason says he's always been a "highly sensitive" person, and even as a child he never felt like he was good enough.
"I took everything personally, and kept inside maybe because of that," Jason continues. But thanks to therapy, Jason is now learning to value himself and speak up for what he wants. Gabby, given her history with her mom, totally understands what Jason's gone through — and she, too, went to therapy to learn how to see herself as someone who deserves love.
Ugh, it's so sad every time Gabby talks about her mom and how hurt she is that her mom "doesn't have the tools" to love her back. Jason asks her if she's done any "inner child work," adding that "it's really changed my life." Gabby LOVES it.
Amen, sister! And amen to calling Hayden a "punk-ass bitch," too! Gabby and Jason smooch a bit and then she gives him the date rose as the Eiffel Tower twinkles behind them.
Group date time! Nate, Kirk, Quincey, Erich, Michael, Mario, Spencer, and Johnny meet Gabby at a boxing ring that looks to have been set up in one of the cruise ship's dining rooms. Today's activity is savate, which a French version of kickboxing. Two trainers, Haifa and her husband Kareem, are there to help whip the guys into shape before they get in the ring and fight for Gabby's love — and a bonus one-on-one dinner with her. Or maybe we could just skip all this and she can go hang out with Nate?
No such luck. Put your gloves on, boys — it's fightin' time! And all of Rachel's men are there to watch. Unfortunately, all they're watching is each other — none have bothered to say hello to Rachel herself. "My boys are being so aggro," she complains. "Not one of them looked at me."
Before the men pound the crap out of each other in the ring, they must profess their feelings for Gabby in front of everyone. Nate gushes about all the little things he misses about Gabby when they're not together: "The way you cross your legs when you stand, how you look down when you think pensively, and the way you do this cute little headshake when you start to talk." It's freaking adorable, and Rachel thinks so, too.
As she watches dude after dude get in the ring to sing Gabby's praises, Rachel once again begins to feel insecure about her own men. Why aren't they making eye contact? Why aren't they coming over to say hi? On the one hand, she's probably being oversensitive. On the other hand, have these men never seen this show before? There's only one rule, and it's "get the Bachelorette's attention whenever possible." They're failing miserably in that department.
Making matters worse, Logan — currently assigned to Team Rachel — says he's starting to realize that he likes Gabby more. "This is the first time that I've seen Gabby in a while," he says. "It definitely brought up some old feelings." Did it, though? I think what's really going on here is that Logan knows "guy wants to switch teams" is a juicy storyline, and he's just trying to get himself more sweet, sweet camera time.
Anyhow, Spencer wins the savate tournament.
Congrats, bro. As for poor Rachel, she's still sitting all alone on the sidelines, and not one of her idiot guys have walked over to say hello. If I were really cynical, I'd say that producers told them not to speak to Rachel because they knew it would make her spiral. Mission accomplished, guys!
More on that in a second. First, let's see Spencer — the venture capitalist who offered Gabby and Rachel folding chairs on night one — finally get a little camera time. For example, did we know that Spencer served in the military? I don't think we did! Gabby, whose dad is a veteran, finds this attractive about Spencer. In fact, the whole group date has left Gabby feeling "rejuvenated," and she gives Spencer the date rose.
Rachel, meanwhile, is not having a good night.
"I'm just so over feeling like this," she sobs. "I don't know why I feel more insecure and desperate on this side of being the Bachelorette than I did on the side of being a contestant on Clayton's season… He made me feel more wanted than these guys make me feel."
Well, that's unacceptable. Rachel, it's time to march your butt over to the guys and give them the what-for.
"As you guys can see, I'm pretty upset," she tells them. "I want you guys to want to be here for me, and I didn't feel that tonight at all. I feel like I was trying so hard to make eye contact with someone, and no one was looking at me, no one came over… Any chance you get to have a little moment could have meant a lot to me tonight."
The guys are look ashamed — except for Logan, who just looks terrified.
Relax, dude. She's just expressing her emotions, not holding you at gunpoint. Anyhoo, Rachel finishes her speech and walks out, leaving the men to feel like absolute heels for the rest of the night.
In the morning, it's time for Rachel's group date. The men know they have a lot to make up for. And they're going to have to do it in front of these folks.
Say bonjour to Flora and Forrest, who are "experts in all things romance," whatever that means. Today, they'll be leading the men through a series of tasks that are all about seducing Rachel. First up, flirting! Turns out Zach's idea of flirting is putting his partner in a headlock and cutting off her air supply. "What ees that?" wonders Flora. Good question, ma'am. Producers have a lot of fun with Zach's misstep, though.
Some of the other men try dancing with Rachel. Jordan asks for a kiss and gets a no, and Hayden plants a kiss on her cheek even though she clearly doesn't want to be all PDA in front of everyone. Things only get more awkward from there.
Uh… no thank you? I won't show you the "French kissing your hand" exercise, because I'd like to erase those images from my brain as quickly as possible. Same goes for the "armpit smelling" exercise — which Flora says has something to do with pheromones.
Finally, we get to something a little less disgusting: Love letters. Tyler even gets a little emotional reading his poem — which he says he wrote the night before. Some sample lines: "I finally felt like I had a purpose in this world/And I'd do whatever I could for this girl." Rachel clearly appreciates the effort.
No surprise, Tyler "wins" the one-on-one dinner with Rachel that night. Over champagne, he tells the Bachelorette about his last breakup, which was quite a blindside for him. Though it was a terrible experience, Tyler says feeling true love is worth the risk of being hurt. "I want to be somebody's rock," he continues. "I want you to know that when you walk into a room, you're the only person I see." Yep, Tyler's saying all the right things — so he gets the date rose.
It's a good thing Rachel didn't ask Logan to come over for dinner, because he's still grappling with his "feelings" for Gabby. And so Logan tracks down Jesse Palmer and informs him that he'd like to make… the switch. The host looks grave. "Do you think it's real? Do you see a future with Gabby?" he asks. Logan isn't sure, but he's intent on telling her how he feels at the cocktail party. Cool, cool, cool. I'm sure this will go well.
The Bachelorettes start the evening off with a toast, and then Gabby heads off to smooch Nate. Rachel sits down with Hayden, who's brought a photo album filled with pictures of his sweet dog, Rambo.
"He is one of the most important things in my life," he says of the pooch, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor about 8 months ago. "At this point, he probably only has a couple months [left to live]." Hayden goes on to say that he's telling her all this so she knows how committed he is to furthering their "relationship."
As a dog mom myself, I'm certainly not going to fault Hayden for being so devoted to his pup. I will, however, fault him for how he talks about Gabby and Rachel. He also gets a bit too snippy about Rachel when she allows Tino to interrupt their conversation. "It's very tough to see Rachel's response to that," he says. "What I would have expected from Rachel was, 'Tino, give me a minute. Let me finish this conversation.' Not [for her to] get up quicker than she sat down."
Hayden goes on to vent his frustrations to Meatball, who's already fed up with the "leisure executive" and his disrespectful mouth. Cut to:
"He, um, said that you and Gabby were both overreacting to what he said [about Gabby], and then he made a vulgar comparison about you and his ex," says Meatball. "It was something about breasts. And he also said, 'I don't trust these bitches,' referring to you and Gabby." As you might imagine, Rachel does NOT love it. "I really do trust James," she says of Meatball. "I don't think he would be a liar." With that, she marches off to find Hayden and get to the bottom of bitch-gate.
"Do you know why I'm talking to you right now?" she asks him, once they've retreated to a private room. "I'm assuming it's about Rambo," he replies. As Gabby might say, that's the wrong f---ing answer.
Hayden's all, Yeah, I figured you were here to apologize for letting Tino interrupt our conversation, and Rachel's all, How effing clueless are you??? (I'm paraphrasing.) The blonde Bachelorette goes on to ask Hayden about everything Meatball told her, and of course Hayden denies it all. "I don't speak like that," he says. "That's not my character." (Narrator: He does, and it is.) "I just don't believe you," Rachel tells him, as viewers across Bachelor Nation cheer at their screens.
On the way out the door, Hayden tries to save his post-show image by telling Rachel that he respects her "as a woman," but she's not having it. After the world's most awkward hug, Hayden is left to walk the plank.
Dang it, why did the ship have to be docked? Watching Rachel toss him overboard would have been so much more satisfying. Anyway, Hayden says he's ready to go home to his dog, and he hopes Rachel finds someone who treats her the way Rambo treats him. Look, we'd all be lucky to find someone who loves us as much as a doggie can — but I just don't think it's possible.
Poor Rachel, she's really having a tough week.
I think you know where this is going, rose lovers. Palmer announces that the cocktail party is over and it's time to head straight to the rose ceremony. It's especially bad news for Logan, who hasn't had a chance to tell either Gabby or Rachel how he's feeling. "Should I keep accepting roses, pretending like everything's cool when it's not?" he wonders. Dude, we all know that's exactly what you're going to do.
Rose ceremony roll call!
Team Gabby: Spencer, Jason, Nate, Erich, Johnny, Michael, and Mario.
Team Rachel: Tino, Tyler, Aven, Meatball, Zach, Ethan, and Logan (blech).
That means we must say goodbye to Jordan, Quincey, and Kirk. Bye boys — you didn't make much of an impression, but on this show, that isn't necessarily a bad thing.
The episode ends with several shots of Logan fretting over his decision. "I feel selfish," he says. "But I would be a fool not to accept a rose. If it means I get to talk to Gabby, there's still hope. There's still time." I love all the build-up and the drama. Does Logan actually think that Gabby would agree to date him after he kicks Rachel to the curb? To quote our brunette Bachelorette, "Boys are dumb."
With that, rose lovers, we're off to Bruges, Belgium. Before you go, please indulge me by answering a few burning questions: Is there any chance Hayden won't be on Paradise? Am I somehow #TeamMeatball now? And how much money would someone have to pay you to drink "foot wine"? 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?