Love is in the rarefied Park City air! Fake love is also in the rarefied Park City air! The men have been winnowed down to a mere 15 — a smattering of men, really, compared to the 28 we met on night one. Oh, how quickly the men dwindle. By episode 4, the men of the Bachelorette have made their impressions. We’ll call it the first post-exposition episode. Thus far, here are the cast of characters:
Jordan, a “clown”in gold panties.
Garrett, a dashing prince with a questionable social media history off-camera. (If I felt like being dramatic, I would call him “the prince with an alt-right past.”)
Jean-Blanc, a man whose ambition will get the better of him. Like MacBeth, y’all!
Wills, the mustachioed spectator who will prove to be essential in the very end. (Think Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings. Wills is both essential to the plot and nonessential to the drama. And, he’s got the sort of gruff humility of Samwise. Plus a Harry Potter tattoo.)
Finally, there’s David, a hero of sorts in Bachelorette Nation after his epic bunk bed fall. When he returns in this episode, the men herald his arrival as if they’re welcoming a temporarily fallen comrade. David was also the guy dressed as a chicken on night one.
Finally, there’s Becca, the princess who really just wants to please everyone. In the scrum, there are a few supporting characters, like John, who is really good at throwing logs, and Jason, who says he “cares for” Becca. And, at the very beginning of the episode, there’s a terse rose ceremony. Mike (long blonde hair) and Ryan (carried a banjo once) depart without much ceremony. (Twitter had more to say about it, but the episode moved swiftly into the second act. No time when there’s love at stake!)
This episode started to wear on Becca Kufrin. The Bachelorette is fashioned to serve Becca, but the reality is that Becca serves it. Halfway through the episode, Becca weeps on camera, struggling to find the words for her emotional state.
“I don’t know. I just feel off right now,” she says, avoiding the camera’s gaze. She blames the moment on an earlier incident with Jean-Blanc (our ambitious colognoisseur), but the emotion feels much larger. This girl just wants to make everyone happy, dammit. So far, Becca has been an effortless Bachelorette, swanning through the mansion like the host of a killer middle school sleepover. She regularly checks on all of her men — Jason, in this episode, is the one in need of consoling — and she’s always, always chipper.
And, for most of this episode, the cheeriness doesn’t seem forced. Becca is genuinely pleased with her dates in this episode, at least until Jean-Blanc’s need to win enters the picture. She first goes on a date with Garrett, the prince.
Before the season started, news circulated that Garrett liked a series of racist, homophobic, and sexist memes on Instagram. He later released a statement essentially admitting to the deed, but adding that his “likes” were not reflective of his personal beliefs. Clearly, he’s an affable guy. (Affability and homophobia are not mutually exclusive, but I’ll move on.) Garrett and Becca have a fairly humdrum Bachelorette date, trucking through the streets of Park City and trying on furry hats. Later, they take on bobsledding with two Olympic bobsledders who happen to be married. They also happen to both be women, which tosses Garrett’s strange social media into chilling relief. The Bachelor and Bachelorette clearly want to plow forward into progressiveness. It’s the contestants (or maybe just one contestant) who might not be okay with it.
Later, princely Garrett shares his epic flaw: He is divorced. He married an “adventurous” girl whom he claims emotionally abused him. They divorced after two months. He explains that this relationship “drove a wedge” between Garrett and his family. Becca, who was previously agog at Garrett’s many princely attributes (“He’s so tall,” she remarked. Later, she said, “He’s so fricking handsome.”), becomes hesitant. Ultimately, he spins the flaw as “his commitment made him get married to her.” Straw into gold!!! Impressed by his commitment, Becca gives him a rose.
Becca is again pleased on a group date with 13 of her men — that’s all of them minus Wills, who has a forthcoming one on one, and Garrett, who already had his. This is a lumberjack date, and the men have to prove their worth as actual lumberjacks. John, previously mentioned, is stunningly good at chopping wood, climbing wood, and throwing wood. He also has the distinction of being the fifth active hire at Venmo. He does not have the distinction of being worthy of Becca’s attention. John, handsome, toothy, and strong, is one of a few contestants who truly doesn’t seem comfortable on camera, even though he’s really trying. At one point, he whoops for the camera, a cheer so translucent it might as well have been cellophane.
The lumberjacking is fun until the cocktail party, when Jean Blanc takes it upon himself to tell Becca he’s falling in love with her. This early on, his motives are transparent, and Becca promptly sends him home.
“I don’t know if I’m on the same page,” Becca says, being truthful. After she rejects him, Jean Blanc recants his admission.
“That’s not necessarily where I’m at. I just thought that’s what you wanted to hear,” he says. Isn’t that what everyone’s saying on the Bachelorette? Even Becca? He’s certainly not the first to lie about these things for the showiness of it all, but he may be the first to admit it. After sending Jean Blanc home, Becca is trembling — the aftereffects of her touch with true, true Bachelor honesty.
And with that, Becca swoops into another one-on-one with her secret champion, Wills. Wills is usually a spectator, commentating on the show only with his facial expressions. Here, he finally gets to talk. He comforts Becca, who’s still reeling from Jean Blanc, by recalling his own heartbreak. (Heartbreak is currency on The Bachelorette. The more forlorn you are, the higher your stock.) He dated a girl for three years and talked wedding rings with her. They discussed wedding venues. Then, she asked for a hall pass. Later, Wills saw her with another guy in the very same place they’d celebrated an anniversary earlier that year. This sad tale cheers Becca, who gifts Wills the rose and insists that Wills was the “right guy” to take her on this date. (The date, also pretty standard, consisted of snowmobiling?)
Somewhere in these love tangles, Jordan, the clown, earns a pair of gold lamé underpants. He trots around one cocktail party in them until Colton, a beefy footballer with a fame-adjacent dating history, gets mad. He’s being disrespectful, Colton claims. Chris, also beefy, agrees. They pull Jordan aside for an uncomfortable exchange that goes something like this. (With my own annotations.)
Colton: “I want the antics and the fuckery to be done.”
Too late, sir, this show is purely antics and fuckery!
Jordan: “I’m just having fun.”
He is! And, for what it’s worth, sometimes he lands a good joke.
Colton: “Well, it’s disrespectful.”
To… whom? Becca, who gifted Jordan the panties?
Jordan: “Don’t call me a fucker again.”
And that concludes Much Ado About Gold Lamé Panties.
For the final rose ceremony, Becca skips the cocktail party this time, which is to say, she means business. It’s week four, Jean Blanc went home, and now people are throwing around the phrase “I care about you.” Becca says, graciously, that she doesn’t want to waste the men’s time. She might actually be trying to save some time for herself. At the rose ceremony, she says goodbye to no one of note, although the drama makes us feel like Jordan will certainly go home. He doesn’t, much to Colton’s dismay. There will be more gold panties! And next week, David, the chicken-cum-fallen hero, is going on a 2-on-1 with the panties.
The Dearly Departed: Mike, Ryan, Nick, Jean Blanc, Christon