Bachelor Nation, if you’re reading this, it’s too late. You’re watching this show until Jesse Palmer does a touchdown dance on its cold, unforgiving grave. This week, our guy Zach has been battered in the press, and we’ve dealt with another contestant (Greer) defending blackface, this time in the stupidest way possible. At this point, it must be intentional because their background checks — which are clearly done by Henry the Pig and a single cup of coffee — keep missing truly unforgivable stuff. Sigh, guess we’re all in it for the long haul.
And, before I start, apologies to the Minnesotans for misspelling uff da in my last recap. Now, let’s get uff da it.
The episode begins with the girls overexcitedly running into the mansion, though they’ve it’s clear they have already been inside as they’ve showered and changed since episode one’s sunrise rose ceremony. While Zach shows off his hairy stomach in the shower, the girls tell Jesse how excited they are about their connections, and at this moment, I miss the era when Tayshia and Kaitlyn were hosts. No offense to Jesse, but girl chat doesn’t come as easily when you’re opening up to an ESPN college-football commentator.
Now Jesse tells the women Zach’s doing things “a little differently” this year and making time for dates with all of them instead of excluding, like, two of them, so they sob a little more in their confessionals before inevitably being sent packing. Time for the first group date! Brianna, Brooklyn, Katherine, Mercedes, Bailey, Davia, Cat, Genevie, and Kylie all go. They show up at an empty warehouse and … it’s “Big Energy” singer Latto! This is an incredible Bachelor cameo — real ones remember sitting through alleged artists like “Connor Duermit” and “Lucy Angel” — if not wholly antithetical to everything Zach represents.
Latto tells the gathered women she wants Zach’s wife to have bad-bitch energy and reiterates this in a confessional. Producers, this is your chance — put her on the show! But Latto isn’t the only outsider here to teach these girls a thing or two: Victoria F., Tahzjuan, and Courtney Robertson strut in to instruct them on how to get a villain edit because, clearly, no one is stepping up so far. And side note: Why is Courtney Robertson here? I’m sure most of the women on this group date were not even alive during Ben Flajnik’s season, let alone old enough to watch it. Maybe she’s just promoting her follow-up to I Didn’t Come Here to Make Friends, this time titled I Didn’t Come Here to Teach a 26-Year-Old Man How to Runway Walk.
Now it’s time for the portion of the date where the ladies “prove how much they want Zach,” a.k.a. debase themselves on national television. Cat crawls down the runway in cat ears! Bailey wears a Nicki Minaj wig! Mercedes whacks him with a cane! See, they’re wife material! Then Latto asks them to tell Zach “one time” when they were a bad bitch, and nearly all of them are skipped over in the edit besides Kylie and Brianna, who sound like they’ve actually done some things in their lives.
But none of this is enough for self-proclaimed “bad bitch” Tahz, who, if I remember correctly, once screamed, “Tahz can’t pee! Tahz can’t poop!” at the ocean during a Paradise breakdown. She starts dropping hints that the ladies aren’t good enough for Zach, which … hot take. But then, during the after-party, she shows up! To win Zach’s heart! I’m sorry, why is she trying to embarrass herself for this franchise again? Was she dying to once again gossip about one man while sitting around a pool with her 30 closest frenemies? Did she really miss those rickety mansion bunk beds that much? Wanted to smell the intoxicating aroma of Ariana Grande’s Cloud perfume and desperation one last time? Tahz, be free! Tahz, fly the coop!
This completely derails the after-party — which seemingly takes place in an abandoned furniture store — while performing the double duty of unionizing the remaining women. After speaking with Zach and officially entering the transfer portal, Tahz enters into complicated negotiations with management, as the ladies ask her why she’s here and what she’s after. In response, she reads them to filth, telling the women that it was “very painful” to watch their performances on the group date and that she can’t see Zach’s wife in the room.
Because the rest of these girls have been there for exactly two days, they have no response, so everyone stands there blinking at one another until Zach reminds Tahz she’s been on this franchise twice already and he would be facing a full-on strike if he let her come onto the show once again. So, after Tahz cries that she can’t find love, that’s the end of that. Labor negotiations are so complicated these days!
The rest of the date proves Tahz’s point that these girls are kinda boring: Brianna cries that she doesn’t know if Zach likes her because she got America’s First Impression Rose. Katherine gets the group-date rose after like a three-second-long conversation and a three-minute make-out sesh. Onward!
Now it’s time for Christina Mandrell’s one-on-one, and she’s ready to tell Zach the big news: She’s a mom. But before that, they have to go meet his entire family, which, for some reason, has become an increasingly common first date for Bachelors and Bachelorettes who live within helicopter distance of the mansion. I don’t know what kind of woman wants to meet Zach’s creepy uncle Louis before they’ve ever even held hands, but okay!
After they land at the helipad outside Zach’s childhood home, we learn that this is a BBQ for his mom’s birthday, which was a week ago, but he missed it because he was busy crushing the hopes of wannabe influencers. Christina meets Zach’s entire family minus Patrick Warburton, who was probably off shooting Baby Shark’s Big Show!, a real television series he’s actually on. Honestly, she seems to fit in pretty well besides telling Zach’s cousins that he’s an attractive guy, which results in blank stares all around. Can’t win ’em all!
But it all goes downhill when Christina finally shares that she’s a mom to a 5-year-old girl named Blakely Mae during the night portion of the date. Zach, looking like he accidentally swallowed some baby food himself, explains that he doesn’t know if he’s ready to be a father. Although he’s sure Blakelee May’s “full of attitude” (he’s never met her), he didn’t think he would be a dad this early, which is a somewhat fair reaction even though he should have known this was a possibility when dating 30 women. It looks like it’s curtains for Blakeleigh Maeigh’s mom until Zach suddenly gives her the rose since he thinks “she’s worth it” (she’s getting a villain edit next week). They kiss in what appears to be an abandoned saloon, and this, combined with the furniture-store date, is when I know the recession has finally hit this show.
Wake up, leftovers — it’s time for the second group date! After sipping on a single finger of whiskey in an abandoned backyard, Zach takes this opportunity to kiss Greer, Kaity, Charity, and Ariel, who monotones at him in such a similar cadence to his own that he simply must reward her with a smooch. But none of this holds a candle to Jess, who gets him to admit that, when he was younger, he was diagnosed with a serious case of Blakely Mae … sorry, pyloric stenosis, which caused him to become very close with his mom. They kiss, and she secures the group-date rose (and probably next week’s one-on-one).
Unfortunately, Gabi, who until this point has remained one of the many nameless women they cut to for reaction shots, isn’t pleased with the proceedings. She hasn’t spoken with Zach yet and, meanwhile, people are out here learning about his childhood trauma? All of this overthinking causes her to completely fumble the bag when it’s her time to chat with Zach, calling him “Zachypoo” and monologuing about her trips to the farmers’ market. After she cries to a producer, it’s starting to look like it’s curtains for Gabi, but she beats the allegations about 15 minutes later when she feeds him chocolate at the rose-ceremony cocktail party. Future students of the game, take note: chocolate = swift recovery.
The rest of the cocktail party is sadly taken up by Brianna. Remember Brianna, America’s First Impression Rose, the one who, until this point, has been safe? Well, she doesn’t love that. She blames it all on Christina, who made a (frankly somewhat innocuous) comment on night one about how she hated Brianna because her dress was too pretty. Clearly, the producers have let her know that a dramatic spiral is more appealing to viewers than a self-hating one, so it’s time for a fight!
Unfortunately, there’s no payoff here: When Brianna confronts Christina, she immediately folds and apologizes. You won’t catch her in a villain edit! But Brianna still brings up the comment to Zach, who tells her to handle this in house, and he doesn’t wanna hear about it. He then takes that opportunity to tell her their conversations haven’t felt fun, and really, Zach, you want to talk about fun? This whole thing feels like an SNL parody of The Bachelor.
Rose-ceremony time! Brooklyn, Genevie, Greer, Aly, Charity, Kaity, Gabi, Ariel, Anastasia, Kylie, Davia, Mercedes, Bailey, and Brianna get roses, so Cat, Victoria J., and Kimberly (who, until that point, I had been calling “short-haired girl” in my mind) are going home. Good-bye, Cat, and all of your feline-themed puns!
Next week, it seems we’ll be getting Christina embracing her villain edit and some good old-fashioned slut-shaming. Raise a Champagne-filled glass to that.
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