Hey Bachelor Nation, do you like silly group dates with challenges? Do you like whirlwind romantic dates? Date activities that are thinly-veiled metaphors for falling in love? Well, I hate to tell you, but you’re gonna have a bad time this week, because there’s NONE of that in this week’s ultra-dramatic episode. Every season, the Bachelor pulls a bit of a bait-and-switch on the viewers, switching from a fun and silly show to The Most Dramatic Episodes, usually right before hometowns. Ready for tears, weird silence, and more tears? Hope so, because like clockwork, we’re a week to hometowns and things are a MESS!
Are we having fun yet, ladies? | Screencap © ABC
The episode opens in Denver with some semi-mournful music. It appears that instead of staying in his own home, Colton has been put up in a hotel. Colton meets up with Former Bachelor Ben Higgins to talk guy stuff. Ben warns him, “up to this point is nothing like what’s to come,” which makes Colton as well as all of us at home feel super warm and fuzzy. Ben also tells Colton to friggin’ LEAN IN. Just another reminder that as much as the Bachelor pretends to be sensitive, it’s pretty out of touch with a lot of current view points. Sadly, this won’t be the last time we’re reminded of this tonight.
After guy time, Colton meets up with the ladies in a park. Every one of the seven women greets Colton’s dog before they say “hi” to Colton. Seems right to me. Colton explains there will be roses on every single date (which is different...how?), before whisking Tayshia off on a one-on-one date. Tayshia and Colton walk off hand-in-hand while all the other ladies stare daggers at their backs. The date consists of Colton taking Tayshia to his favorite spots around Denver, including an ice cream parlor where Tayshia honestly freaks out about ice cream in a totally relatable way. I think I might like Tayshia more than Colton does.
These ladies are really excited to see Colton…’s dog | Screencap © ABC
Over a glass of something pink & bubbly, Colton asks Tayshia if she had any idea who Demi and Sydney and Katie were ominously warning him about when they left the previous week. Cut to Caelynn and Cassie (who?) talking about who Tayshia might name if she was to, as they say “name names”. They come to the conclusion that they’re both going to be safe because...umh, Reasons.
Back to Tayshia, who right away says that Caelynn and Cassie (her?) are not being authentic with Colton and are spending their time planning which one of them is going to be the next Bachelorette. Colton gets really upset, and says over and over that his greatest fear in this whole process is proposing to someone who wasn’t there for the right reasons. Tayshia and Colton end the night at his (seemingly actual) apartment, making dinner together. Over some fish and roasted brussels sprouts – yum! – Colton asks Tayshia if her dad is “ready for another man to come into [her father’s] life.” This is an oddly-phrased question, but Colton explains it’s because he can’t propose to anyone without the father’s blessing. Tayshia says that her dad will be tough but almost certain to approve of her being in “another healthy relationship” (her words!), and that seals the deal – and the rose. Colton actually seems excited but also terrified that he’s going to meet Tayshia’s family.
The next date card arrives, and it’s a one-on-one for Caelynn. Cassie, Hannah B, and Heather all start crying. The date is Caelynn learning to snowboard with Colton; maybe if the other girls knew what the activity was they’d be less sad about it. After she survives sliding down the mountain, Colton asks Caelynn about what Tayshia had told him the previous day. As the wind whistles ominously in the background, Caelynn denies it all, says that she is the only person that knows if she’s ready for marriage, and insists that Tayshia lied about the whole thing.
Colton, during one of his talking head segments (In The Moments, or ITMs, in Bachelor-speak), says this week is not going the way he needs to, and he’s freaking out about being this close to hometowns with no idea of what he’s going to do next. Back at the dinner portion of the date, Caelynn says maybe she didn’t explain her reaction the right way earlier, and while she was “too terrified” earlier, now she’d like him to know she’s falling in love. Colton tries to make a joke about not noticing the tears, which is really odd because Caelynn is literally crying in front of him as he says it. This bad joke is obviously a joke, yet it flies right over Caelynn’s perfectly groomed head. She gets the rose anyway, and they close out the evening with a private concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater. Even though I’ve never heard of the guy singing, I’m pretty jealous of this concert! If someone would ever like to take me on a date to private concert at the most beautiful venue in America, let me know, I’m waiting by the DMs.
When she returns from the date, Caelynn confronts Tayshia about the things Tayshia said about her to Colton. Tayshia says she was just telling the truth, Caelynn says that’s not true, blah blah blah lots of fighting. Nothing is resolved.
The third date card is another one-on-one, this time for Hannah B. As a surprise, Colton takes her to meet his family. Hannah is clearly freaking out about this “fun” surprise, but her years of pageant work means her smile stays perfectly in place. Colton sits down with his dad outside, while his mom has a chat with Hannah. Hannah says that she’s ready to be engaged or married, and Colton’s mom responds by asking Hannah where she thinks Colton’s at. Colton’s dad meanwhile tells Colton that he doesn’t need to listen to anyone except himself, and to trust his gut. His dad really emphasizes the whole gut-trusting thing, and we’ll see Colton’s Gut become the secret star of the back half of this episode. Later, in the car, Hannah (the giant fake smile still firmly glued in place), asks Colton if he’s doing OK. He says yes, but we all know those eyes say otherwise.
Just two relaxed, happy looking people in a car | Screencap © ABC
Dinner is in an AIRPLANE HANGAR? Is that why Hannah’s wearing balloon sleeves? Because Aviation? (get it?) Despite this ridiculous location, the conversation is very serious. Colton asks Hannah how she knows she’s ready for marriage, and Hannah responds that she was falling in love with him before, and she’s still falling in love with him. This statement makes absolutely no sense to me, but it seems to convince Colton that she’s here for the right reasons...unfortunately too much so. Hannah, convinced she’s gonna get the rose, gushes that she can’t wait for Colton to meet her family. Colton however feels he’s just not that into Hannan B yet, and that he won’t go to her hometown because he’s unsure about their future.
Hannah B is totally sideswiped by this – as I’m sure most of us watching at home were as well. As Colton walks her out of the hangar, we can see his horribly tied tie and the fashion tape sticking out of her deep plunge dress and for a moment, they seem like actual people going through a tough moment. Then Colton opens the limo door, the music swells back up, and we’re back in tragic TV show territory.
The final date is Kirpa, Cassie (huh?), Heather and Hannah G, and the date card says “Saying goodbye is never easy”. Turns out there’s only two roses available on this date. The girls get out of the car, and suddenly here’s Colton, riding in on a train, looking very serious and masculine. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Colton look happier than the moment when he got off and said, “YOU GIRLS LIKE THE TRAIN, HUH?” The date is basically just each woman having a one-on-one while the other 3 sit around and wait. Heather is up first, and is quickly dispatched home, riding the train off to the wild blue yonder. This is truly theater of the absurd, but the show treats it like the Most Serious Thing Of All Time and it honestly makes me feel like i’m going insane. Colton, your Gut is working overtime!
Heather choo-choo-chooses to go home | Screencap © ABC
Cassie (what?) and Colton sit down, and she can tell right away that something’s wrong. Colton says he was really thrown off by hearing from the other girls that Cassie isn’t ready for marriage, and Cassie says that it’s all a lie and she can’t even explain how upset she is by hearing this.
Kirpa says that in Vietnam after Katie left, Cassie (really?) and Caelynn got really defensive and panicky unlike the rest of the group, and that it’s a sign that something’s not right with the two of them. Colton is getting more and more frustrated at hearing two sides of the story and having no idea which one is right. Kirpa returns to the group and tells them what she just told Colton, and Cassie right away goes on the attack, saying Kirpa is lying and that it’s ridiculous to spend your time with Colton talking about other people. After some yelling over each other, the two girls let it go and Colton joins them and says he doesn’t know which two women will be getting roses yet, and will give them out later in the evening. Seems like his Gut’s got a long night ahead.
At dinner, none of the three remaining women can look at each other. It’s wild. Colton enters and starts speaking in a whisper. HIs normal voice returns as he sits down and says that after thinking, he’s gotten clarity on one thing, which it turns out involves Hannah G. Hannah and Colton go outside, while Cassie and Kirpa sit in the most miserable silence ever shown on TV. A clock ticks SO LOUDLY in the background. After a millenium of seemingly nothing, Colton comes back into the room, and picks up a rose to give to Hannah G. Hannah is also spared the agony of the rest of the evening and she comes back to the apartment where Caelynn and Tayshia just happen to be sitting by the door (hmmmmm what a coincidence).
Back at Hell Dinner, Colton is talking one-on-one with Kirpa when we see a mysterious denim-clad figure walking up to the building. We see Caelynn walk in to the house and surprise Colton...who is sitting alone in a dark room...and doesn’t seem that surprised at first to see her? Curiouser and curiouser. Caelynn says that while she wants it to be him and her at the end, it’s important that he have all the facts. Unfortunately, but not unsurprisingly, the camera cuts before we can hear what her “facts” actually are. Colton comes back downstairs, says he has to trust his gut, and the final rose goes to Cassie. After Colton spent so much of this episode saying that the most important thing is that he trusts his “gut,” these results make me feel like he’s thinking with a different part of the body.
Next week is Hometowns, which is always packed with two very specific things: highly skeptical parents and totally producer-manufactured drama. Pack your bags and treat your gut well, we’re coming into the home stretch, Bachelor Nation!