The group date saw 10 guys learn the fine art of dodgeball from a group of professional dodgeballers... No, that can't be right. They were from a group called the National Dodgeball League, but surely there can't be any money in it. I guess coming on this series is a way to grow their profile, although it hasn't worked for any of the bands, product placement or former contestants beyond the proverbial 15 minutes.
The fellas were then split up into teams and faced each other in an epic battle to determine... absolutely nothing. They came out scowling in tight, bright uniforms featuring shorts like they used to wear as recently as the early 1990s.
Granted, I don't know the intricacies of dodgeball, but I thought if you're hit with the ball, you're out. Judging from the action montage, it all seemed quite arbitrary. Guys were being hit and would stay on. Knowing this show, I guess the producers would just choose who would have to sit down in order to make it a "thrilling" 3-set match. You knew it was going the distance, right? They always do.
The tension mounted when Brooks broke his finger. Whew, boy, that was close! I thought for sure he was a goner. People don't often make it back from such an injury. Thankfully, the emergency room doctors drew the right amount of blood and gave him all the oxygen he needed and he was able to make a miraculous return to the after-party.
And despite this being for all the marbles, the egalitarian Desiree opened it up to every participant. Everyone gets a ribbon! I wonder if she just wanted someone from the losing team to be there, and if his team had won, she wouldn't have been so inclusive.
Des was worried about Brooks before he stumbled up to the door near death. I don't know why he needed to go to all that effort because staying away would have been a sure-fire rose. Always leave them wanting more, kid. First rule of show biz.
Brad, who I just had to look up – turns out he was the chicken wishbone guy from the first episode, and that's all I know about him! – needed to get some time with Desiree to tell her his haunting tale. I was braced for a doozy. He opened saying he had a 3-year-old son. I thought that wasn't very nice to describe his son with the word 'haunting', but I was premature. There was more.
He has full custody of his kid because the mother had drinking problems that culminated with the fuzz arresting him for domestic violence! Now, to hear him describe it, it was all a misunderstanding. The charges were thrown out, after all. But there are two sides to every story. As we found out later, Des doesn't really grasp that concept. She hears one side and sticks to it. No need to hear further evidence. Our lady's mind is made up! It helps if you can sell it a little bit with tears or histrionics to really sell your side of the story.
Oh, and did you catch the potential time problem with his story? He has a 3-year-old but the arrest kerfuffle happened three-and-a-half years ago. Yes, it's only a potential problem. I realize it could still add up. I just thought it was interesting and would want to learn more before arriving at my opinion.
Another fashion faux-pas was seeing the natural beauty clomping around in stiletto-heeled boots. Not her best look.
Chris, who I called nebbishy last week, took her to the roof where she told him, "Honestly, it's the smallest things that mean the most to me." A look of relief hit him as he glanced furtively down at his own trousers. He's still in the game!
She made out with a sweaty and disheveled, not to mention near-death, Brooks, but it is to her great credit that she didn't offer the rose to him. Instead she offered it to nebbishy Chris and he gladly accepted. They were then given a private concert by someone called Kate Earl and for the second week in a row the music wasn't horrible. Or maybe I'm just becoming inured to it.
Next up was the drama the producers love. They love it so much they create it themselves! The scene started out with Des sitting on her sofa writing in the antique journal Zak gave her last week:
Dear Diary,She was interrupted by the phone ringing. Who could it be?! It was none other than TV's Chris Harrison explaining to her that he had some bad news about one of the guys. Turns out Shiny Headed Brian had a girlfriend back home. Not only that, but she's here with us today! Give her a hand!
I experimented with lipstick today in preparation for the phoney phone call I'm about to get from Chris Harrison. I hope I remember my lines!
Enter Stephanie, hysterical. Remember what I said earlier about emoting to get Des to buy your side of the story? Worked like a charm here. I have no idea who's right and who's lying in this case of he said/she said, but there's no way Des could know either from what we saw. Brian was level-headed and sounded plausible when he said the relationship was over a long time ago. But Stephanie claimed they were together right before he left for California. Hmm, how could we ever know the truth? I mean besides calling a couple impartial witnesses who could shed some light on the affair. But that would take maybe 15 valuable minutes and time is money! Best to just besmirch the guy's reputation for two hours on prime time national television.
But there's something else to consider: Stephanie said on a few occasions that she had tried to break up with him and he wouldn't accept. So... she wanted to break up with him? Then what's the problem? Also, while it does, indeed, take two to tango in the love department, breaking up can be a solo dance. You don't need approval from the other person to walk away.
Chris Harrison, doing his best to fake impartiality, let Des make the final decision on Brian, in no way influencing her judgment by saying, "Is there any chance this guy is staying here?" Yeah, "this guy." The answer: "No, not a chance."
And just how did Stephanie not only find out Brian's deceit (the show hadn't begun airing when this was filmed), but know who to contact to get on the show? And was she told to spew out words like, "lying, cheating, deceitful pig"? Maybe not, but her final query hurled at him was laughably written: "What am I supposed to tell Donovan, my son, who looked up to you?" Does that sound natural to you? I can just imagine the takes on this one.
Stephanie: What am I supposed to tell Donovan?But she raises an interesting question, doesn't she? What, indeed, should she tell young Donovan? Oh, I know! How about mentioning that she tried to break up with him so it was going to happen either way. I guess now, though, she gets some sort of performance fee that'll see her through the next month or so.
Director: Cut! Wait, honey, who's Donovan?
Stephanie: He's my son.
Director: Well, the people at home don't know that. C'mon, honey, use your noggin!... Action!
Stephanie: What am I supposed to tell Donovan, my son?
Director: Cut! Wait, he's your son, not Brian's? What does he have to do with this then?
Stephanie: Well, he really looks up to Brian.
Director: Okay, then, use that! Our audience is stupid. You need to spell it out for them. And keep the tears flowing, please... And action!
Stephanie: What am I supposed to tell Donovan, my son, who looked up to you?!
Director: And print it! Great work, babe. Now scram. Time's wasting!
Cynical? Just a tad.
Oh, and didn't you love how the henchman wouldn't let the guy talk to the others before he left? "No, straight up to your room." Brian dutifully obeyed. But what would (could) they have done if he hadn't listened? He's off the show. There are no more rules to follow.
The one-on-one date went to Kasey, who thankfully hasn't uttered a single hashtag comment since the opening night. Speaking of hashtags, though, the disruptive and annoying tweets were still part of the show. My sense was there were fewer of them, though. Hopefully that's because the army of Alexa, our heroine from last week, flooded them with protest tweets they couldn't use.
The date started with some building dancing. That is, hanging off the side of a building and pushing off it, twirling around, and landing back on the window without shattering it and crashing through. Mission accomplished.
Then they went to the top of the building for the evening portion of the date. They timed it perfectly for the windstorm that hit. The set was blowing over so they decided to hop into the pool. Bad move. It was freezing. Kasey managed to force Des into a kiss but she didn't seem into it. She called the date "disastrous" but still gave him the rose.
The final date was with five fellas. They were picked up from the mansion by a stagecoach and four horses and they travelled all the way to... the end of the driveway, I'm sure. Even though we saw the stagecoach pull up at a ranch, there's no way that thing took to the Los Angeles freeways.
But the South American caballero had charisma, I'll grant him that. He and Des got to take off to a barn, eat popcorn, make out a bit, and get a private screening of the new film.
It occurred to me during this segment that the formerly shirtless Zak, with the six-pack stomach, looks to be about 55 from the neck up. No wonder he likes to draw attention to his midsection.
I thought for sure Big James was going to be sent packing. He just seems like an odd fit. He even leaned in for a kiss, and she quickly let it land on her cheek. But he got a pity rose and will stick around for one more week at least.
The cocktail party was replaced by a "relaxed, chill" pool party in the afternoon. The dastardly Ben intercepted first and took Des for a 15-minute car ride. Whatever, right? But the guys were all getting impatient, wondering where she was. They'd been waiting for a long time, they complained. And I'm thinking, "Uh, she's 15 minutes late." It's L.A. traffic. She could have been stuck behind a stagecoach.
Ooh, Mikey, the Fat Tom Selleck, was steaming. That Ben needed a good old punch in the face. Ben didn't care. It's called The Bachelorette for a reason, he reasoned, not Let's Be Friends. Zing! Right back atcha, Mikey.
That Mikey is a built dude, did you notice? And so are most of them. I was heartened to see nebbishy Chris's sunken chest. Not only can normal guys get selected for the show, but they can last a few episodes. There's hope.
Brandon, who had to walk around without without pants last week, dropped them again this week. Metaphorically, anyway. He told Des that he's falling in love with her and he thinks about her all day long. Too soon, young man, too soon. Then he says, "Let me tell you a secret." She leans in. The secret was that he didn't have a secret. But he did have two lips and knew how to use them. That took Des a bit by surprise. Brandon was on Cloud Nine. He marvelled at "how perfect and meant to be we really are."
At the rose ceremony, he said he's never felt so confident. You know that's the kiss of death. With James, Kasey and Chris all rosed up, ten more would be added. They went in order to:
- Bryden, the Iraq war vet
- Juan Pablo, the former soccer pro
- Zak W, the old abs guy
- Brooks, the 9-fingered wonder
- Drew and his jaw
- Zack, the increasingly invisible book publisher
- Brad, with the haunting story
- Michael, the Type I prosecutor
- Mikey, Fat Tom Selleck
- Ben, the dastardly single dad
Once again someone left me. Once again. Yeah, way to go, Brandon. I can't even cry. I'm just out of tears.I think Wes needs to turn that into a country song.