The episode opens with everyone mourning the loss of Robby, echoing the voices and heartstrings of an entire generation who had such high hopes for this show. The past is past, however, and we are now left with a handful of vaguely entertaining suitors and an aggressively boring bachelor.
The next day, we see B-roll of the guys exercising in the backyard. When top-notch superstar Robby appeared on my Facebook Live show last weekend, I asked him what they did in the house all day. Apparently there were no books (not that this seems like a group of readers), and they basically just spent their time by the pool, eating, drinking, napping, and working out. Minus the no books and the working out, this sounds like my daily routine, but I can’t imagine a camera being in my face while I do it. Who am I kidding? Of course I can. I’d document my bowel movements on social media if I didn’t think I’d lose followers.
Speaking of bowel movements, Robert arrives at the house with Lance Bass. Lance Bass leads the guys through a game of “What About Robert?” where they basically have to answer trivia about the king of charisma himself. Topics include: his middle name, his favorite fragrance, his father’s name, and his childhood crush. The crush is Jonathan Taylor Thomas, by the way, and it’s the first time Robert and I have seen eye to eye. A lot of the guys guess Jason Priestly, and it’s the most his name has been said on television in two decades.
Justin wins the trivia game, so he gets a one-on-one date with Robert. He also gets to choose the group dates — he sends Chad and Dillon to go dancing with Robert while Brandon and Eric will experience martial arts. Two activities that lead whatever the opposite of my bucket list is.
Justin’s date is at an art gallery because, as Robert tells us, “Art is an essential part of his life.” (Okaaaay?) They wander around a West Hollywood gallery, sipping champagne and looking at the kind of art found in W Hotel rooms. Justin is nervous because he doesn’t know much about art and he’s adorable and endearing the whole time. Robert stopped me dead in my tracks with this gem of a line: “Everyone’s perspective on art is entirely different, so it’s interesting to see how he interprets it.”
I’m NOT calling this show art, but it is worth noting that Robert’s idea of appreciating different opinions doesn’t necessarily vibe with his campaign to search out any person who has written about this show on the internet and block them for their “different opinion.”
The gallery owner (a woman whose story simply must be explored further) arrives and tells them they’ll be drawing each other. This is embraced as if it’s a thing that happens in most art gallery visits. It is not. Justin sketches what is essentially a child’s caricature of Zach Galifianakis. Robert draws a high-concept picture of Justin that looks like Eartha Kitt in Hello, Dolly! (Did that ever happen? If so, is there a bootleg?)
On the next date, we follow Chad and Dillon to a completely empty nightclub where a heterosexual couple salsa dances as Robert sits on a stool all by himself drinking sangria like some sort of Bond villain.
They have to salsa dance and Chad is pretty awkward. I feel terrible for him. The only thing worse than dancing is having to dance on national television. Unless you’re Derek Hough, but that’s also pretty rough because then you’re Derek Hough.
Dillon is the better dancer of the group and he uses the opportunity to have a one-on-one chat with Robert. This sends Chad into a paranoid tailspin and he storms out because apparently he was cheated on once and seeing his crush on a date with someone else is too triggering. He seems to miss the whole “that’s literally the point of this entire show” part, but what can you do? Robert convinces Chad to stay and we leave the soulless nightclub to wither and rot as nightclubs always do.
Next up, the martial-arts date. Eric and Brandon join Robert and a moderately terrifying trainer for various boxing workouts. I zoned out for all of this. Enough with the athletics, people! We get it, he’s “masc” and likes to do tough guy stuff in his $500 gym clothes. In this scene, they learn how to tackle Robert and pin him to the ground, which we all know is very important in a long-term relationship.
Back at the house, Chad loses it on Dillon when Dillon keeps stirring Chad’s boiling pot of insecurity. It escalates to Dillon telling Chad he will never speak to him again. Dillon goes to talk to Brandon, who is Chad’s roommate. Brandon is in bed doing his “evening reflection” in iPhone earbuds when the Dillon-Chad feud moves into the bedroom. Brandon attempts to be peacemaker, but all he really wants is to get back to his “evening reflection.” Frankly, who doesn’t?
Chad is a mess and he’s clearly breaking under the pressure of this entire ordeal. In the end, he quits the show and goes home. By giving up his black tie, he also saves Robert from having to make the difficult decision himself.
I won’t miss Chad. He was nice and probably too sensitive for this show. I hope he finds love in a less stressful way, but I am FURIOUS that he quit when we could’ve had Robby for one more week. That’s life at the Black Tie Affair for you.