Wow, we’re really treading water on this season of The Bachelorette! Becca Kufrin is so bored and frustrated and broken — and her contestants are damn near insufferable. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The Bachelorette ends up being a babysitting more than, well, a date. Poor Becca Kufrin. All she wanted to do was fall in love. What she got was a wolfpack of Apatowian manbabies who prefer squabbling to anything else.
The squabbles this episode include: Colton versus a camel, Chris versus Becca in a boring standoff, Jordan versus David in a tepid two-on-one, Chris versus Wills, and, ultimately, Chris versus the world. Then, finally, Venmo John faced off against the show itself. Turns out, Venmo John was too docile, too eager-to-please — too successful and therefore not needy enough — for this show. Becca sent him home because the world is cruel.
Becca, meanwhile, is only getting more irritated. The sparkliness of her outfits is directly proportional to her frustration, too. By the end of the episode, she’s basically a statuesque disco ball. (On the other hand, Wills, our knight in floral armour, is getting increasingly pattern-heavy as the tension mounts.)
We’ll start with squabble number one: Colton versus the camel.
Colton Underwood should have gone home after revealing he “dated” Tia Booth. But, Becca likes him for whatever reason (idk, he’s a football player?) so he stayed. Becca takes him out into the Las Vegas desert where they ride camels. Turns out, riding camels isn’t that romantic. The camels have a separate agenda. They mainly just want to wander. This is a thing The Bachelorette could have learned from watching Human Planet. Colton laments that his camel wandered away from Becca’s camel. The move feels prophetic.
More importantly, Colton is a virgin. This is something production tells us by hovering over a street sign that reads “virgin river.” He’s also only loved one person before, someone he dated roughly a year ago. The math, for those wondering, adds up to Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, whom Colton dated almost a year ago. He loved her, apparently, but she didn’t love him back. Too bad, so sad, now he’s on The Bachelorette. Sitting in a hot tub in the middle of the desert.
Nothing about this date seemed particularly fun, but Becca is insistent that she likes Colton. They are “on the same page.” Colton is overjoyed to hear that they’re on the same page. This is called treading water.
Squabble number two: Chris versus Becca in a boring standoff.
Between squabble no. 1 and squabble no. 2, there is a painful, painful group date. The men join Wayne Newton, Vegas’s most exhausted entertainer, in a date that’s all about...singing. This is the second singing-themed date on this season, and it’s no less painful than the first. The men must rewrite the lyrics to “Danke Schoen,” and they all mostly fail. None of them, it seems, have read Sondheim’s Finishing the Hat. Otherwise, they might have been better at making sense of the music. Most men just go with a version of “Danke Schoen.” Wills goes for “merci beaucoup.”
Chris wins the contest by being an entertainer. He cracks jokes, dances a little, and just exhibits a little overall charisma. While the other guys shrunk in the spotlight, he shone, which is also maybe why he relishes the drama so much later in the episode.
Okay, so, the squabble. Chris is convinced he’ll get the group date rose. But, he misses his chance to have alone time with Becca. Becca, tired and probably looking to get some shut-eye, awards the group date rose to Blake. Congrats, Blake, on being the first guy of the season to say you’re falling in love with Becca! He, unlike Jean Blanc, means it, and he gets the rose.
Chris does not! Chris mad. Chris furious that his great dramatic lengths — he sang “muy bonita” instead of “danke schoen” — went unnoticed. Chris threatens to leave, claiming Becca is not interested in him. Chris fail to understand that these types of games do not work on The Bachelorette. There is not “playing hard to get” on this show. You cannot engage in “well, he didn’t text back for three hours so I’ll text back in another six hours.” That is the rather unfortunate beauty of this spectacle. You have to take your shot, and you have to take it fast. Otherwise, you’re Chrs, flailing a little in the relatively calm water. (It’s called treading water.)
Next up: David versus Jordan in a tepid two-on-one.
The two-on-one date is never fun for anybody, except for maybe the show’s editor, who is grateful that finally something semi-dramatic will happen. David and Jordan face off this year in a date in the middle of the desert. (It’s reminiscent of Ashley Iaconetti’s two-on-one with Chris Soules way back in season 19.) Both Jordan and David are eager to preen for the cameras. Becca is eager to escape the whole ordeal — in the middle of the date, she even skips off to the side, presumably to sit in the shade and ignore the buffoons around her. It is here that Jordan delivers yet another great speech.
The reason for the speech: David, anxious to get rid of Jordan (or anxious to take on the role of villain) tells Becca that Jordan isn’t here for the right reasons. Allegedly, Jordan said he would be “settling” for Becca. Whether or not he actually said that is up in the air. Jordan says a lot of things. He says things like “little bit rat ass motherfucker,” an excellent insult if I ever saw one.
Later, he says (and this was in the preview), “Being me is my greatest power. Being you is not your greatest power.” To David, he hurls, “You’re uninspiring, you lack charisma — you lack your own personality!” What David lacks in personality, he makes up for in condescension. Remember, this is the guy who delights in “intellectually fulfilling” conversation. He is “Most Likely To Have Packed A David Foster Wallace Short Story In His Suitcase.”
Becca sends David home first, sensing that at the very least David seems aware of his crimes. Jordan is too blissfully himself to notice. Jordan also tells Becca that he’s emerged from a troubled home life: His mother battled a mental illness, and he grew up poor.
“Sometimes, we didn’t have electricity.”
For better or for worse, Jordan Kimball is the more sincere man in this interaction, and he makes it all the way to dinner. At dinner, Jordan unfurls. He shows off his Blue Steel. He exclaims, “I wish I had my portfolio!” Becca reveals that she likes reading books on a Saturday. (I like her once more!) She ultimately sends him home, too, but not without thanking him for his charisma. We’ll miss Jordan’s fun turns of phrase.
And then! Chris squabbles again, this time with Wills.
Remember when Chris wanted to go home? Well, now he wants to stay, and he needs to prove it to Becca. Becca is already bored with Chris’s frenzied insistence that he does like her, and she swans off to chat with her other suitors. Namely, Wills, who is wearing a plaid suit. Chris interrupts her time with Wills just so he can do more eager equivocating. (“I like you, I do! I was just frustrated.”)
Take this as further proof that Wills doesn’t belong in this franchise: He manages to both deter Chris, who seems manic, and keep himself out of the drama. Wills affords Chris two minutes with Becca, and then he returns, shooing Chris away. (Becca seems thankful.) It’s not the most graceful interaction, but Wills looks like the gentlemen, and Chris the mangy idiot.
And, finally, Chris versus the world. Chris, furious at Wills, returns to the guys irate that he’s lost his chance to speak with Becca. Garrett — our quiet funny guy with questionable Instagram like — defends Wills. Meanwhile, Wills (and John) quietly slip away from the squabble.
“Put yourself in my shoes,” Chris tells Garrett repeatedly. Bro, they’re all in your shoes. This is The Bachelorette. Everyone is in the same boiling pot of water. All that matter is how you handle it.
Amazingly, Becca keeps Chris, and sends John — the fifth active hire at venmo and an avid runner — home. My faith in her is waning.
The Dearly Departed: John, Jordan, and David