The Bachelor Recap: Smoke and Mirrors

The Bachelor

Week Seven
Season 27 Episode 7
Editor’s Rating 3 stars

The Bachelor

Week Seven
Season 27 Episode 7
Editor’s Rating 3 stars
Photo: Vulture; Photo: ABC/Craig Sjodin

A Hungarian mentalist, dressed in dark clothing and backlit by the world’s brightest spotlight, quickly pinpoints the vulnerabilities of every woman in the room. Ariel? She’s guarded. Charity? She was cheated on. Kat? She’s too conventionally attractive to have ever been broken up with. And yet, he cannot answer the question that matters most: Who the hell is Zach Shallcross?

Here are some facts we know about this man: (1) He enjoys making locational-based puns, (2) his name should have been Zachary Shacklecross, which sounds like the name of a medieval jailer, (3) his best and only friend is Sean Lowe, and (4) he cannot stand women’s problems unless their problem is how much they love him. During one on ones, he is a mirror: He says things like “You didn’t deserve that” and “You’re awesome” with regularity. During group dates, he is a detective, keeping his eyes peeled for any evidence of insecurity. But who is Zach Shallcross when he’s alone in his Bachelor hotel room? From the B-roll we’ve seen, he’s someone who writes in a comically large journal and scratches his chin like a Bond villain. Yet to the women, all of whom appear to be reasonably well adjusted and/or on the correct dose of Lexapro, he is the answer to their prayers — so much so that they thank him when he kicks them off the show. What are we missing?

Let’s get into it.

This week, the dwindling group has packed up and flown to Budapest. Zach immediately heads to bro time with Jesse Palmer, where Jesse tells him that Greer’s on her way to Hungary after quarantining for a week with just two PowerBars and an iPod Touch for entertainment. But with back-to-back COVID weeks, Zach hints that they’ve lost too much time together. TBH, as soon as he found out she got COVID, he should have made her walk the plank like Gabby did to Logan. At least she’s getting those post-heartbreak airline miles!

Zach says this date is going to an extra-special person, so naturally it goes to Kaity, who’s clearly his favorite. Kat is upset because she’s never been rejected by a man before. Brooklyn appears to have amnesia about her beef with Kat because she sits there in silence instead of calling her a double-crossing bitch or something like that.

Kaity and Zach have a walking-around-the-city date because it’s her second one on one and we no longer have to roll out the red carpet. They go to the top of a viewpoint via a funicular, not a gondola — got that, Kaity? He says he doesn’t know the little things about her like her favorite color, which she says is purple. He doesn’t say what his favorite color is because, once again, we do not know anything about him. They visit a bunch of Hungarian stands, and Zach likes how Kaity chats with the shop owners because that shows she’s a normal, decent person. Then they come across a typewriter and write love poems to each other that are actually not love poems at all but instead the stupid bullshit they say at the end of every one on one like, “I can see a future with you!” Call me when Zach and Kaity rhyme “rose” with “grows” in an A-B-A-B rhyme scheme.

As Zach and Kaity prepare for the evening portion of their date, the group date is announced, and … Kat’s not on it. Worst of all, it’s going to her mortal enemy, Brooklyn. Kat musters up the weakest “I’m happy for you” ever through all of her tears, and Brooklyn tries not to smile even though, inside, she’s two-stepping all over Kat’s grave.

Zach and Kaity enter the evening portion of their date in Hungary’s oldest bathhouse. Zach starts the date by saying their connection leaves him feeling special, safe, and even … flabbergasted? Clearly, when he actually likes a woman, Zach turns into an Orange County Benoit Blanc. Kaity dives into her family life and her relationship with father figures: Her dad left when she was young, and her mom’s boyfriend, who basically raised her, left when she was in the eighth grade. Zach gives his standard “I can’t fathom that” response, but that doesn’t work when Kaity starts really crying. To calm her down, Zach basically tells her in so few words she doesn’t have to say anything on-camera that she doesn’t want to. Then he gives her a goofy little wink, and dammit, just when I hate Zach the most, he does something like this to pull me back in! Maybe I understand these women more than I thought. Kaity gets the rose, and they make out in the bath because, as we all know, Zach loves to be clean.

Greer, somehow, is still on her way to Budapest. She’s stuck in a Bachelor time warp.

Since the witch didn’t work last week, the group date this week is a mentalist. Doesn’t Zach seem like the kinda guy who would try to learn magic in middle school before he realizes it doesn’t actually impress women? Nevertheless, the mentalist starts off with a trick in which he moves a drawn-on heart from Zach’s hand to the hand of the woman whose connection is strongest, which is Gabi. Zach’s convinced: She’s getting the group-date rose. Gabi says something like “holy shiitake mushrooms” instead of actually cursing. She sounds like a Disney Channel character. Zach finds it hot.

The mentalist pinpoints each of the women’s insecurities with uncanny accuracy because he stole these answers right off their Bachelor welcome surveys. But, frankly, I have to hand it to The Bachelor. What a way to get everyone crying while not explicitly calling this group therapy! During the night portion, each of the women has their own traumas to share, and Zach’s already exhausted because he thought this was just going to be a fun little magic date.

First up is Ariel, who does an excellent imitation of her Ukrainian father believing there will be orgies on The Bachelor. Little do you know, Mr. Frenkel, there will be no sex this season! Sigh. Next is Charity, who wants to reassure Zach that she is ready for an engagement despite still being hurt over her previous relationship. He says, “Got it,” and they make out. Then Gabi, whose mentalist critique was something like “You’re a glass cube,” comes in crying because she believes her ADHD makes people confused. Zach, deftly remembering the ADHD discourse from last season, shuts this down immediately by asking about her family. Of course, this makes them want to make out against the stairs. Finally, it’s Kat’s turn, who explains that she wanted to leave the show only because this whole thing is hard, but she decided to stay. Foolish Kat, don’t you know you can’t show that type of doubt around Zach? Didn’t you learn from Jess? They solve this problem by kissing. To summarize this entire date: insecurity = makeout sessions.

Gabi gets the rose. Kat cries again. At this point, how does she have tears left?

The next morning, Zach artfully poses on his hotel porch as if he doesn’t know Greer is coming so he can dump her. Greer is so excited to see Zach after a week in quarantine that she doesn’t realize she’s walking into a trap. She wants him to meet her parents, which … what would they even talk about? How they felt horny for each other on night one and then basically spent the rest of their time together in separate hotel rooms?

They start small talking about the weather, which is a sign that this is all going downhill fast. Zach wastes no time, telling her he doesn’t see a future with her and can’t go and meet her family since they haven’t seen one another since they were in the Eastern Time Zone. Greer is crying so hard that she turns into Ariel — no, not the contestant, the Little Mermaid — and starts whispering her good-byes. Okay, during just one exit, I’d like someone to yell at Zach instead of telling him what a good guy he is! Greer, he had you quarantined for a week just to dump you on national television! He yelled at you for talking about sales! He made you spend exactly two hours in Budapest before sending you right back to the McDonald’s in Ferihegy terminal 2A! Why is everyone still blowing smoke up Zach’s already clean ass?

None of the ladies cares that Greer has gone home. Frankly, they forgot she was still here.

It’s time for Brooklyn’s date, and we’ve already done the walking-around-the-city date, so now it’s time for the biking-around-the-city date. Brooklyn says her grandfather rides a dirt bike around as his form of transportation, and it sounds as if he has more personality than 30 Zachs combined. She’s pretty shaky on the bike, but don’t worry, because they find a hot-air balloon. This date is actually all about unconventional forms of transportation. After that, they head to yet another bathhouse, and I’m sorry, but how was Brooklyn supposed to dress for this date? She needed athleisure, a swimsuit, and a cute daytime outfit that was functional enough for her to wrap her legs around him? Who packed all of that in their Bachelor wardrobe?

At the bathhouse, they chat with a couple who’s been together for 35 years and therefore have wisdom. Honestly, I don’t know what anyone really said here because it was extremely difficult to hear them. The boom guy was clearly trying his hardest, but his swimming trunks were falling down! Also — did anyone else notice the steam around them was very clearly edited in? Maybe it was to blur out all the random strangers around them, but why did it look like a tornado was swirling around Brooklyn and Zach while they talked about her grandpa?

During the night portion of the date, Brooklyn tells Zach that, if they go to her hometown, he’ll meet her grandma, mom, and, most important, her grandpa, who helped raise her when her dad left. To this, Zach gets up and walks away because he needs to think. These are some big feelings here, and though they’re not necessarily directed at him, they’re scaring Zach nonetheless! After Brooklyn sits there twiddling her thumbs, probably wishing she could at least have Greer’s iPod Touch for entertainment, Zach returns and sends her home because he can’t meet Brooklyn’s dirt-bike-riding grandpa if he’s not going to marry her. Of course, as she leaves, she says she’s grateful because Zach showed her that she deserved special love. Can someone get angry here? Lasso him, Brooklyn! Pretend he’s Kat and rope his ass!

It’s already the rose ceremony because I guess you don’t need a cocktail party when half the women have been sent home midweek. The girls have to watch Jesse and Zach shit talk them through a door. Ariel and Charity get roses, so it’s finally time for Kat’s final round of tears. Clearly, she did not think she was going home because her mascara is anything but waterproof. Even Zach sheds a little tear but immediately sucks it back into his eyes because feelings are bad.

Next week, we’re getting a doubleheader of overprotective brothers and daddy issues (oh, and the Women Tell All). Buckle up!

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The Bachelor Recap: Smoke and Mirrors