This Basic Batch is back to recap Episode 2. There were highs and there were (mostly) lows. There were lots of guys without shirts, naked dodgeball, and, of course, some good old-fashioned couples’ scream therapy.
In a word: cringey. Very, very cringey. There is a lot to unpack here.
It’s official: I’m over Dale. The episode starts with Clare talking about how much she likes him and the producers giving us LOTS of Dale B-roll. I mean he’s cute and has a million-watt smile, but this is ridiculous. And this episode was also uber emotional. Bachelor Nation is going to be exhausted at work today, because this was one emo rollercoaster. The (maybe) good news is that the road to blowing up The Bachelorette is getting shorter. Let’s break this budding dumpster fire down shall we?
The First Group Date: Speak to Her Heart (I know, I know... I can’t either)
This date is about “love languages” and it’s beyond painful. The producers start by putting her up on a freaking balcony — a Romeo and Juliet style balcony — and each of the guys take turns saying nice things to her. Yes, it’s as dumb and awkward as it sounds. Nothing says authenticity like a plastic balcony on a cheap set with men forced to say how much they want to spend time with you. Do better ABC.
On this date Dale stands out yet again. but why I do not know. Yes he’s got a hot body and that smile, but there doesn’t seem to be much there other than that. I can see how the other guys felt uncomfortable at the way she acts around him. It’s... cringey.
Even more cringey is the after party. Clare initiates a toast and NONE of the guys step up to “steal” her. She just sits there in what seems like the longest awkward pause ever. So painful. She kind of had to ask to be stolen, and it was clear she was super-annoyed. Yikes.
Bennett stepped up but she couldn’t let it go and immediately confronted the guys. Double yikes. She felt that they weren’t stepping up for her and didn’t act like they wanted to be there. It was very honest and it was, well, BEYOND CRINGEY. I’m sure a lot of people will be pro-Clare here, but it was kind of like watching your drunk friend confront her now married ex-boyfriend at the bar while you look on in horror. It was that painful to watch, and my body was literally contorting trying to make itself smaller watching all this madness unfold. And somehow, it still gets worse. Oy to the vey it gets bad. Very bad.
Cut to the first one-on-one therapy session, err, I mean date. Jason, a former pro football player, gets the first one. Clare’s worried he might not be able to open up. A man on the Bachelorette who is afraid to “open up.” I’m shocked. Who could have seen this coming?
In what seems like the first few minutes of sitting down, she asked if he saw her season with…. Juan Pablo. Cue horror movie music. Oh. Em. Gee.
Girls drinking wine all over the country just threw up a little bit in their mouths. I’m glad she thinks it was an empowering moment and in a lot of ways it was, but, Don’t. Say. His. Name. He’s like the Voldemort of Bachelor Nation.
If there’s one take away, it’s that this date is about 20 years of therapy crammed into one night. I’m literally spent watching it. They did this awkward couples therapy thing on the beach where they screamed into the night sky and then burned the dress she wore in the famous scene with Juan Pablo.
That’s right. They burned a dress she wore telling off another guy. Ooh, so romantic. We haven’t even gotten through the first one-on-one and I’m exhausted. So many emotions. So much soul-bearing. So painful and uncomfortable and ...cringey.
It’s 100% clear he better get emo real fast if he wants that rose. You know it, Clare knows it, Jason knows it. So Jason bears his soul, says he wants to change and not be a “player” anymore, and that seems to please Clare enough to giving him a rose. Totally ok for a first date, right? Feels more like therapy than a date, but whatever. Who am I to judge?
Just kidding, it’s kind of my job to judge. We’re all literally here to be judging. Let’s see if he turns into a velociraptor later, but Jason seems cool for now.
The Second Group Date: Clare’s Extreme Dodgeball Bash (no really, that’s what they called it)
Some of my faves are on this date: Kenny the boy band manager, Garin the professor (shoutout USF Go Bulls!), Joe the anesthesiologist, and emerging stand-outs Blake and Eazy. We were all ready for a family-friendly game of hot shirtless dodgeball when Clare (a.k.a. the producers) says she wants to play strip dodgeball instead.
The losing team takes a naked walk of shame home. I’m quite sure a lot of people will be upset at the nakedness of this segment, so expect to read about the double standard a lot this week. After all, a male lead wouldn’t ask a group of women to do anything like that, right? People would lose their damn minds, right?
But whatever, it’s Clare’s world and these guys are just living in it. If they want a rose and a ticket to Paradise next season, they’ll drop their pants. Not saying it’s ok, but that’s where we are.
The guys walk home (naked) and the after-date gossiping begins per usual and they are SHOCKED they got naked and didn’t get any one-on-one time. So we’ve never had a strip dodgeball date, but the shock seems forced. Like... have they never seen the show? And if any of them were really uncomfortable, maybe not all sit on the couch naked and put some clothes on first? Spare me the pearl clutching guys. Seriously.
Then we see Blake, sweet Blake, getting ready for what looks like a date. Sigh. Blake is mad about not having any one-on-one time with her, so he WALKS BACK and crashes the winning team’s date. Awkward. And Bachelor Nation is just sitting on their couches watching in horror. You can see the rejection coming. It’s painful. He says he wants to “show balls” (like what does that even mean) and wants time with Clare. The whole scene is... super-cringe worthy.
His moment where he “shows balls” didn’t go as planned. She didn’t kiss him. The other guys got mad and he sulked back to the house. He went from dreamy to dud real quick, but at least this time he had clothes on, so he’s got that going for him which is nice.
If the scene with Blake made you squirm, buckle up. Next we get a one-on-one with Brandon.
Cute, nervous, probably here for the right reasons, definitely frat-tastic Brandon. She asked why he came on the show, and he was visibly nervous and kept saying how beautiful she was and not much else. It was awkward. It lacked substance but it was probably because he was SO NERVOUS. Clare, smelling weakness, was not buying what Brandon was selling and sent him home on the spot. Like he didn’t even make it to the rose ceremony. She knows what she is looking for and knows what she wants but damn Clare, that was harsh.
He ended up being the only one sent home, and since my Rays lost 8-3 in the World Series last night, if you had “World Series runs” over “roses given out” in the DraftKings Sportsbook pool, you were a winner.
As for the rest of the episode: Spoiler alert, It doesn’t get better.
The Cocktail Party
Fast-forward to the evening cocktail party. Adorable Yousef is turning out to be not-so-adorable. He’s super-judgey and gives off major toxic masculinity vibes. He was offended by strip dodgeball because “has respect for himself and his daughter,” and called the whole thing classless and said that he “sees red flags.” He thought the whole thing was pretty beneath him and said he wouldn’t strip down to even boxers if he were asked to play.
Ok Yousef. Do you even know what show you’re on? PBS is the next lot over. And the joke’s on him because the very next b-roll shot was of him putting on his shirt — abs glistening in the sun. So props to the producers for throwing in that subtle shade. Keep it up y’all, that’s the kind of pettiness we like to see.
The episode ends with Clare and Dale making out at the cocktail party and a promise of big drama, lots of yelling, and probably lots of men crying in limos. The dumpster fire EXPLOSION is coming y’all. It’s going to be ugly and make tonight look like a Hallmark movie.
Who I’m betting on
Blake (still) even though he made a mistake. He seems really genuine and like he wants to get to know her better.
Eazy because, well, his name is Eazy and seems like a really cool and great guy. He will do well in Paradise.
Dale because, well, y’all know why already and OMG I hate typing his name. Make it stop.
What I’m waiting for
Yousef getting kicked off in an epic way. He’s over-the-top toxic and controlling and is basically shooting red flags from his crotch. Let’s not give him any more air time and send him as far away from Paradise as possible please.
Chris Harrison’s face when Clare “blows up” The Bachelorette. All the botox in the world won’t help hide the cringe that’s coming.
BRING. ON. TAYSHIA.
Whew. We survived Episode 2 together as a family. This Basic Bach is here for the right reasons, and I’ll see you next week.