I would like to open this recap with some fun, breezy introduction. Maybe even a pun. I really, really would. But, alas, I cannot. Because, I may never stop thinking about the many bizarre turns of Colton’s ongoing virginity saga this week. Virginity is a personal choice that neither defines a person nor is all that big of a deal in general, especially on a series as chaste The Bachelorette. It was considerate of Colton — a “bronze” god in Becca’s eyes — to inform the Bachelorette last week that he hasn’t had an intimate relationship… but it’s not the Watergate scandal. It’s not even the confusing mystery box that is Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson’s relationship timeline. To quote an old Jennifer Lopez banger that deserves more respect, “It’s not that serious.”
The first strange part of this tale arises when Colton, apropos of very little, announces to his mother he has informed Becca of his virginity. Then he adds that the fantasy suites, as she knows, are ahead. The subtext of “and that’s where sex happens” is practically just text. While a number of American families should be less terrified around the subject of sex, it’s wholly unnecessary as a full-grown adult to get out a bullhorn and tell your mom, on national television, where you have and have not put your genitals. Colton’s mom, who would obviously rather sip her wine than hear about her son’s sex life, simply blinks on, adding platitudes. Colton has four siblings at his hometown dinner, couldn’t he have had this delicate conversation with one of them?
Minutes later, Becca and Colton’s mom have their one-on-one chat. Inexplicably, Becca, usually ultra polite Becca, brings up Colton’s virginity to his own mother, a woman she has known for roughly the length of time it takes to drink half a glass of chardonnay. Everyone, please remember the words of Jenny From The Block. It’s! Not! That! Serious! Unfortunately, no one listens to J.Lo's advice and, before the rose ceremony, Colton, apropos of nothing again, brings up his virginity in terms of the fantasy suites to Chris Harrison. Chris is first shocked by the question and then assures Colton he can do whatever he feels comfortable doing. Both of these seemingly out-of-the-blue moments reek of producer prodding.
Now that we have exorcised the demons of Bachelorette virginity gawking, let’s get to the other hometown dates with Becca’s remaining brunette men.
Garrett — Manteca, California
As usual, Becca and Garrett have a really cute date. It’s a hard pill to swallow considering Garrett’s now-apologized for xenophobic, transphobic social media history, but here we are. They sit on a tractor, plant tomato seeds, and imagine their child-filled future together. It’s clear a large part of Becca wants that future to become a reality, which becomes abundantly more obvious when she starts comparing Garrett to her late, beloved father. To seal their commitment to each other, Becca and Garrett plant a rose bush so that Garrett, former fan of feminist-dragging memes Garrett, can now be the one to give flowers to Becca, queen of the rose ceremony, forever.
Then it’s off to meet the Yrigoyens, who are a little wary that their large son’s latest relationship. Garrett’s rocky marriage, which ended in divorce two years ago, is brought up about every other minute. But all the tension is for naught. Becca charms her way through two separate grillings by Garrett’s parents, first with his exposition-heavy dad, then his genuinely emotional “mama bear” mother.
Garrett walks away from this random Airbnb that’s definitely not the Yrigoyen home with his ultra tight-knit family’s blessing to bring Becca into the fold. Becca walks away confident she can see herself in that fold. They’re both falling in love.
Jason — Buffalo, New York
Jason loves Buffalo. Jason is Buffalo’s biggest fan. It’s possible Jason merely stayed on the Bachelorette so long just to get a national camera crew to his venerated burg (I kid, I kid; he's clearly head over heels for Becca). And, Jason makes the most of hometowns. There’s a brisk walk around town, a buffalo wing eating contest, which Jason posits as a nearly mandatory legal practice in order to date a Buffalonian, and a make out session in a hockey rink. A zamboni is involved. Someone please make Jason mayor of Buffalo.
At family dinner, Jason’s storyline, I mean history, as a guy who doesn’t say things lightly is further crafted. But, the tension of Garrett and his divorce — and what that means for his relationship with Becca — is lacking here. Poor Jason’s mom even says she couldn’t read if Becca, who once forgot Jason's name, is falling for her son. Still, Jason can’t stop gushing to every person within earshot, including his very handsome brother Steven and Steven’s husband Billy, that he is in love. Finally Jason tells Becca as much, revealing he is insanely, wildly in love with Becca.
Blake — Bailey, Colorado
Blake, with his Johnny Bravo hair and lovably goofy dance moves, often seems like The Bachelorette’s softest boy. But, the biggest surprise of the back half of this season is that Blake is actually an even more surprising tragic figure than failed villain Jordan. Last week, we learned of the truly upsetting divorce scandal that rocked Blake’s family during his high school years. This week, he took Becca to that high school to reveal he is also the survivor of a school shooting. It’s a legitimately sobering, sad story that becomes even more serious with our current political backdrop.
Then, Bachelorette decides to give viewers whiplash by going from Blake’s powerful recollection to a surprise, rollicking Betty Who concert in a lunchroom or an auditorium or some large supply closet. It doesn’t really matter, as the dissonance between the two scenes makes Betty’s power pop hard to fully enjoy, which is a shame. She really gave it her all of there.
To cap off Becca’s trip to Bailey, she heads to meet Blake’s family. Everyone is terrified for Blake’s emotional state, since he was devastated by his last breakup, a detail the entire family cannot stop bringing up. Words like “wrecked” and “ruined” and “heart ripped out of my chest” are used often. As is becoming alarmingly routine, we’re left wondering if, and how, Blake is alright.
Despite the family concerns, Blake announces he hopes to be engaged the next time he sees his mom. Becca is secretly just as invested, announcing in a talking head interview she can see Blake and his family in her life “forever.”
Colton — Parker, Colorado
Becca’s tour of the Centennial State continues. First, she goes a Children’s Hospital with Colton, which is very heartwarming. Then she hangs out with the Underwoods and everyone talks far too much about Colton’s sexual history. Eventually, Colton’s dad asks Becca not to pick his son if she has a single doubt.
Somehow, Becca still describes the evening as having gone “exceedingly well.”
Becca, on a high after her dates, goes to debrief with her Bachelor Nation girls. Bekah M., Kendall, Caroline, Tia, and Sienne, who is dressed as a summer princess in violet, are all there. Everything is all girl talk and mimosas until Tia asks if she can steal Becca for a second. No, we are not done with that trope. So, outside Becca goes for Tia to blindside her. Because, you see, Tia still has feelings for Colton, despite that green light she gave her pal weeks ago to pursue the hunky athlete. This is, at minimum, the third emotional sucker punch Becca has received on The Bachelor(ette).
Becca is rightly irritated and shocked. The women inside are attempting to figure out their own feelings on this new information. This is the moment that kicked off the photo, and presumed Bachelor In Paradise pairing, that launched a thousand angry tweets.
So, Becca heads into the Rose Ceremony with Colton’s father’s words in her head, along with Tia’s big admission (even though the Bachelorette denies Tia’s reveal had any bearing on the proceedings). Blake, sweet Blake, gets the first rose. Then, as a surprise, it’s Jason, who Becca has dubbed the best kisser. Finally, it’s between Garrett and Colton… and of course the rose goes to Garrett, who has never even made out with an acquaintance of Becca’s, let alone a close personal friend.
Becca shares a teary, apology-heavy goodbye with Colton. It’s almost surprising she doesn’t tell him Tia is still carrying a torch for him, if only to make the blow less painful. But, no one should feel badly for the former football player, as we all know Colton will have the time of his life in Paradise.
So, off to Chiang Mai, Thailand, with Becca’s three remaining brunette men!
The Dearly Departed: Colton
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