We watched last week’s episode of The Bachelorette while pondering the questions: "Who is the president?" and "Who is the Bachelorette?" This week, we know the answers to both. Clare Crawley made it four weeks; Donald Trump made it four years. But, as with U.S. politics, the arrival of new Bachelorette Tayshia Adams does not mean a total refresh. While she's the new leader, she’s walking into a situation that is already established. Joe Biden will have to confront COVID-19; Tayshia Adams has to confront a bunch of dudes who were left abandoned in the La Quinta Resort & Club with no idea what was coming next.
Since my analogy is starting to run thin and I certainly don’t want to further compare Clare to Trump, let’s get into Tuesday’s episode. Week 5 begins with Tayshia showing up and meeting the remaining 16 contestants. Instead of redoing the limo arrivals, she just has to walk into a room where they’re all sitting. It’s awkward at first, but soon Tayshia’s chatting with guys and we’re actually learning about them because she has the time of day for people not named Dale Moss.
The guys are stoked for Tayshia to be there, not just because she’s beautiful, but because she wants to talk to them. Just as I’m finally finding out that the man with the glasses is named Jordan, Chris Harrison pops in to tell Tayshia that more men are arriving. We’re only getting to know these ones!
The new men (NM) do arrive via limo. The first guy, Spencer, comes in hot — both in that Tayshia thinks he’s attractive and that he walks into the room of original men (OM) and says “Which one of you scared away Clare?” All the OM immediately agree that he’s a jerk.
There end up being only four NM altogether, but of course, the OM are upset about it, because they feel some sort of weird ownership over the season. That part mostly seems like macho BS, but it is reasonable that they’re mad they didn’t get to do their own limo arrivals; Tayshia got to meet the NM one-on-one before she even talked to some of the OM.
One of the highlights of Tayshia’s chats comes when she talks to Kenny, the “boy band manager," and he tells her that he books bands at a music venue. I have long wanted to know more about the boy band that Kenny manages, and now I think he has no idea what the show chose as his job title.
Tayshia gives the first impression rose to Spencer. This is setting up some classic Bachelorette drama: the lead likes the guy who the others hate. There’s no rose ceremony, because everyone has been through enough.
After a commercial break, Chris Harrison tells us “You should be watching Tayshia’s first dates as her love story begins." Um, yeah. Instead, it is very urgent that we hear from Clare and Dale. For we cannot move forward with Tayshia until we know for certain that Clare and Dale didn’t speak prior to filming even though Clare already swore on her father’s grave that they did not.
And she does just that again. The conversation is basically a mini After the Final Rose, and it should’ve been part of the previous week’s episode. The gist of the conversation is: Dale and Clare are happy. Dale and Clare are in love. Dale and Clare never talked before the season began filming. Clare is also very excited to have babies and Dale is artfully avoiding talking about that with Chris Harrison.
Okay, back to Tayshia. The first group date is a pool basketball game where the guys have to compete while wearing tiny speedos. Yosef would not approve. I don’t approve either, but mostly because a bunch of guys playing an unregulated game of basketball in a pool leads to injuries. This is exactly what happens when, as Riley puts it, Spencer’s “face hit my elbow." I don’t want to see someone’s mouth bleeding on TV. Is that so much to ask?
The blue team wins, which means they get to spend time with Tayshia until the nighttime portion of the date at which point the green team will rejoin them. The thing is we don’t see the rest of the day date and the way Tayshia talks about it makes me suspicious that it didn’t happen. “Weren’t the burgers great earlier and the hotdogs?” Tayshia asks the guys in a way that says, “Chris Harrison is making me lie about there having been burgers and hotdogs. I was really just flat ironing my hair.”
While Tayshia is away talking to other guys, Kenny straight up tells Spencer, “You kind of come off like a dick.” Riley says in his confessional, “Where I’m from a guy like Spencer, pretty boy, he’s ‘lunchmeat.' We didn't grow up with a lot, but what we had was fried bologna. I mean, it’s bologna sandwich with the mayonnaise all day.” Riley then tells Spencer to his face that he’s “lunchmeat," which Spencer surely doesn't understand. I get the fried bologna sandwich thing. I get that Spencer seems stuck up. Do I totally get the analogy? No, but I am glad that we are hearing more from a person who isn’t Dale.
The group date rose goes to Eazy, one of a few men Tayshia bonded with on the date. Yeah, she’s definitely a more traditional Bachelorette than Clare, who once gave a group date rose to herself.
After the night is over, Jason, who was not on the date, visits Tayshia in her room and lets her know that he needs to leave because he fell in love with Clare. Tayshia says that her fear coming into the show was that the guys would be more into Clare than they’re into her. Jason reassures her that this isn't the case with the remaining 19 men. And it’s true. Clare only made it on to three one-on-one dates and Jason was one of them. Not only that, but his date involved a bunch of therapeutic, soul-searching activities. The guy was put through the wringer emotionally, and now he’s left to deal with those feelings alone. What a bummer of a Bachelorette experience he had.
The next day, the one-on-one date goes to Brendan. He and Tayshia ride horses around the resort grounds and Chris Harrison repeatedly interrupts them with margaritas, ice cream, and fresh coconut water. They’re stuck at this hotel, so, hey, they have to work with what they have. At dinner, Brendan nervously tells Tayshia that he was married in his early twenties to his high school sweetheart, but they fell out of love. Tayshia is also divorced, but Brendan didn't know this — guess he didn’t watch Colton Underwood’s season — so it’s actually another thing they connect with each other about. Brendan seems nice. He gets a rose.
And that’s the episode. Next week: Tayshia paints the men with oil, Ashley Iaconetti, Jared Haibon, and Wells Adams show up, and that new man with the mustache pisses everyone off.
Winner of the episode: Brendan. Had we heard anything from this guy before? Now, he’s a front-runner endearing himself to America with his Massachusetts accent and story about young love running its course.
Loser of the episode: Spencer, who got hit in the mouth to the point that he bled and was called “lunchmeat” and “a dick." He might have come in hot, but after that, he just kind of sat there and took the insults hurled at him.