To cut to the chase: Tonight’s episode of The Bachelorette included one of the most important conversations that has ever been featured on the show. With a conversation about race between Tayshia and Ivan, The Bachelorette moved into the real world in a way it never has before. This episode will, hopefully, be a sign of what’s to come from the franchise. It was handled exceptionally well.
On top of that, this was just a good Bachelorette episode in general. Even though I like Tayshia, I wasn’t finding this season to be all that exciting following Clare’s exit. But, this episode was both fun and had a certain refreshing maturity to it. Tayshia is interested in getting to know all of these guys and asks them straightforward questions about their lives and past relationships, and that makes for a compelling watch. And I say this about an episode that also included a challenge in which the men had to ask Chris Harrison to sign their butts.
First up is a group date (technically, the second group date of this rose ceremony cycle). It’s a competition to win a one-on-one date. The guys have to write Tayshia a song and are presented with a table full of instruments to use. It’s clear that this is a “we’re stuck in a hotel and need to come up with something” date. It’s also clear that none of the men are singers. The best song is Demar’s “Mocha Latte” because it actually has a theme. If you’re on Bennett watch, just know that he decided to rap and included the line “You don’t need no Harvard degree to be in Paris eating brie with me." The winner of the date is Ivan. Tayshia appreciated that he invited her to sit next to him while he performed.
Ivan’s one-on-one starts with chilling in Tayshia’s suite and ordering room service, but they spice things up by playing The Floor Is Lava and and having a fight with down pillows that are already cut open for maximum feather action. It’s ridiculous, but Ivan and Tayshia are cute together, so if we’re going to watch anyone do this, it might as well be them.
Things take a major turn from the fun and games as the night goes on, and Tayshia and Ivan have one of the most honest, important conversations that has ever been shown on this series. After talking about their families and the fact that they’re both mixed race (Ivan is Filipino and Black, Tayshia is Mexican and Black), Ivan opens up about how his brother was in prison for four years. Talking about his brother being beaten by corrections officers leads to a conversation about police brutality, George Floyd, Black Lives Matter protests, and being called the N-word. “How have the events of the world affected you today?” Ivan asks Tayshia through tears. Tayshia starts crying herself and talks about how growing up around mostly white people she always tried to “blend in." Hearing people rally behind “Black Lives Matter” has really affected her in ways she couldn’t have expected.
There are so many things I love about this conversation: It’s about race and it’s in-depth. The mention of police brutality on a show that I wouldn't expect that from. The fact that it’s allowed to be lengthy and get the screen time it deserves. A man shown crying comfortably, no apologies or mention of it. The fact that on The Bachelorette, people are actually talking about real world things and not just bringing up a tough topic because it’s a trope of the show. The Bachelor/ette has been called out for its lack of diversity before. The show has been making up for that with casting, and I applaud them for taking another worthy step in representation here.
The show segues out of this heavy conversation with a commercial break. I’ll segue out of it by just saying that Ivan gets the rose and now it’s time for a group date that involves a smoothie made of cow intestines.
The group date consists of all the people from the singing group date who aren’t Ivan, so they all actually do get some time with Tayshia. Special guests Bachelor contestant Sydney Lotuaco and former Bachelorette Becca Kufrin show up to support Tayshia in running a Truth or Dare date. The men have to run around the resort and do things like chug gross smoothies, make sex noises into a loudspeaker, and get Chris Harrison to sign their butts. Tayshia, Becca, and Sydney just sit there laughing while drinking champagne. Good gig for them!
During the nighttime portion, Tayshia makes a point to have serious conversations with everyone and seems genuinely interested. You can’t help but compare her to Clare, who wanted to have genuine conversations with none of them, but I think I would have been struck by this aspect of Tayshia’s personality, anyway. For instance, she asks Zac, “What scares you about marriage?” She’s very into him, and after a solid answer to her question and a hot tub makeout, he gets the group date rose.
After the date, we hear that Ben and Ed both want to sneak over to Tayshia’s room to get more time with her. Ed knocks on Chris Harrison’s door and asks if he can speak to Tayshia. Chris notes that it’s 2:30 a.m. and that Tayshia’s room is on the other side of the resort, but invites him in for a glass of wine. Meanwhile, Ben, who actually has a chance with Tayshia, shows up at her room. Oooh, the producers did Ed dirty.
Ben was the one who came up with the ill-advised plan at his previous group date to talk to Tayshia last so he’d still be on her mind, but ended up running out of time and not talking to her at all. He apologizes for not stepping up, she forgives him, and when they start kissing, there’s a knock at the door... and it’s not Ed. It’s room service champagne that Ben ordered. These two are cute together. It’s not Ben’s fault that I can’t help but compare him to Ivan now.
Ed doesn’t make it to Tayshia’s room.
The rose ceremony is the next day. Noah says in his confessional that the other guys have been mean to him because of his bold moves on the group date in the previous episode. He then tells Tayshia some guys have “implied that you gave me the rose just to shake things up.” Noah says that’s the worst part of all, that the guys are calling her intentions into question. She says she won’t ask him for names, and he suggests that she just ask the group. He’s totally just riling her up!
Tayshia calls the guys into one room and confronts all of them. She tells them she can make her own decisions and if they’re going to question her, she can show them the door right now. She leaves the room and cancels the rest of the cocktail party.
Everyone is confused, but the focus turns to Noah when he admits he was the last one to talk to Tayshia before she stormed into the room upset. He admits what he said, and is like, “Well, I tried to bring this up with you guys before” and everyone is like, “Dude, no you didn’t.” Noah never even says which guys supposedly questioned Tayshia intentions. In the end, situations like this are only good for showing which guys are most dramatic. Ed, Bennett, and Eazy are the main ones arguing with Noah. The history of this show indicates that this isn’t a good sign for them in the long run.
At the rose ceremony, Tayshia sends home Jordan, Chasen, Kenny, and Joe. I’m very sad about Joe. In the little screen time he got, he seemed very normal and funny, and I wish he was around long enough to become a Bachelor contender.
Noah, who already had a rose, ends the episode saying, “I don’t want to be the villain of this, but I’m not changing. If anything, I’m going to take it up a notch.” Well then.
Winner of the Episode: Ivan, Tayshia, and the show itself. Bravo!
Loser of the Episode: Noah, who ignited some nonsense drama and was shown calling other contestants “weens." Even Chasen, who started the episode talking crap about the other men with Noah, ended the episode by calling Noah “high school” and “pathetic." I don’t think that Noah joining last week’s group date and getting a rose meant the other guys should hate on him — he was just playing the game. Reporting back to Tayshia was the issue for me.