There are those episodes of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette that are purely filler. Just an episode before something happens; just an episode about just being. The existential exercises of The Bachelorette. This week was one of those episodes. (At the opposite end of the spectrum are those episodes that include Ashley S. Those episodes are perfect from start to finish.)
Week 10 picks up where the last one left off: with Shawn and Nick griping at each other. Shawn knows that if Kaitlyn picks Nick, then he and Kaitlyn weren’t meant to be together. Yes, that's how it works: When the woman you’re pursuing picks another man, the two of you probably “aren’t meant to be together.” But those are just semantics to Shawn. He needs to tell Nick about his arrogance and cockiness — and in telling Nick about Nick, Shawn is telling the audience about Shawn as well. But who cares, really? Is there much fuel left in this tank of insecurity and male posturing? I don’t think so. Shawn accomplishes nothing and leaves. Great. More nothingness in this episode.
Kaitlyn has her overnight with Ben, and goddamn it, Kaitlyn, be more effusive in your praise of Ben. He’s hot, charming, not a player, serious about feelings. She feels happier and better when she’s with him. The two spend their afternoon riding horses, and Kaitlyn talks about having to ride a large animal that you can't control; for a moment I could have sworn she was talking about being The Bachelorette. Ben is a calming presence, and to my knowledge, he hasn’t ambushed anyone at their hotel suite or outside in a parking lot.
We're down to just three guys, and Kaitlyn's still having trouble responding with real human emotions. Ben tells her that he’s been skeptical going through this process but that despite his reservations, he finds himself wanting and seeing a life with Kaitlyn. To that, she replies, “That’s nice and beautiful.” Oh, girl, you little producer-manipulated peony, never change.
They spend the night in Louajjlkfdsalf Cutrasj (What? I don’t speak Gaelic) Castle wearing giant Irish sweaters. The only bit of drama in Kaitlyn and Ben’s relationship is the fact that she’s “an older woman.” He’s 26, and I’ll be damned if white boys don’t age terribly; I thought he was like 32. They spend a presumably romantic night together, and Kaitlyn wakes up conflicted. She’s falling in love with three men and Ben has no drawbacks. What could go wrong? Put a pin in that.
Here we go, Shawn on his overnight date. Whenever Kaitlyn is describing Shawn, it sounds like she’s describing a bad boy in an ABC Family movie. He’s intense and passionate and he was funny once, but something happened and she has to reach out and help him open up again. He’s so misunderstood but so caring. How can you not be drawn to him?
Easily, because he’s cuckoo. The only thing Shawn has demonstrated is that he’s incapable of respecting boundar— wait? He’s taking his shirt off? I get it. Kaitlyn makes him strip and putt, which I believe is the subtitle of one of those Leisure Suit Larry video games. For a Bachelorette who was so preoccupied in the early episodes with making out with everyone and laughing about it, I would really appreciate if Kaitlyn just came out and said, “I find these guys hot and want to have sex with them and will basically pick whoever is the best at giving head.” Because if we’re supposed to believe that Nick, Shawn, and Ben all have emotional connections with Kaitlyn, the producers should be doing a better job editing together sweet moments or feeding her lines through her Cyrano5000 earpiece.
Kaitlyn attempts to confront Shawn about being an Eskimo brother with a country star and Shawn’s hatred of Nick. Shawn tells her that he had go to Nick’s room to find out why he came back to The Bachelorette. Kaitlyn didn’t immediately run screaming from the room despite that being some creepy-ass shit. If a guy tells you that he regularly follows other people home, you don’t date that man. Shawn deflects the question and Kaitlyn invites him to the Fantasy Suite so they can finish their conversation off the air. Right. The next morning, Nick is waiting outside in the parking lot because that’s totally not the weirdest thing anyone could do.
I literally shouted out “WHAT” when I saw Nick’s smug Spencer Pratt–looking face at that moment. Maybe these two guys are doing that thing where two people are very, very attracted to each other but feel they can’t be together so they sabotage each other’s relationships and are actively antagonistic. I’m missing the homoerotic undertones that have been gone since Clint and “It’s not gay if it’s during Rush Week” JJ split up.
Somewhere, Ben is playing with some string, making a cat’s cradle.
At the Rose Ceremony, Kaitlyn eliminates Ben because the producers know what they want out of the finale: a Shawn-versus-Nick cage match to the death. The Schnoz versus the Other Guy. It’s like the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, with more paternalistic misogyny! (Well, maybe the same amount of misogyny.)
Then Kaitlyn meets Shawn and Nick’s family, and I’m going to be brutally honest here: Basically nothing happened. Nick’s family was all upset that he was back on the show because he’d been hurt before, and a tiny little girl asked Kaitlyn some questions about her hometown. Shawn’s dad didn’t believe that the relationship was real.
Kaitlyn bonds with everyone, white wine is drunk, and Kaitlyn makes out with the guys in some hotel suite in Utah. Did anyone care about these segments, or was any revelatory information revealed? Shawn tells Kaitlyn that he loves her, and she didn’t say it back. He thought it was because she wanted to but couldn’t. His narrative was that Kaitlyn has been in love with him all along but has to hide it because of the other contesticles. Nothing new there. Nick revealed to Kaitlyn that he had been hurt before and he was learning to love again. Same ol’ same ol’. Kaitlyn is overwhelmed. She loves two people. Blah blah blah.
Call me when Shawn and Nick fight with medieval weapons as Kaitlyn looks down from a high tower. They spent all that time in Europe and never once engaged in hand-to-hand combat with maces and claymores. Next week: The Men Tell All (about how their male privilege failed them because they couldn’t convince a woman on TV to marry them).
Britt update: Britt is in the wind. Maybe she’s off somewhere making her own cocktail-inspired soap line while Brady looks on, lovingly tuning his dulcimer.