The Bachelorette Recap: The Eleventh Hour

The Bachelorette

Week Eleven
Season 16 Episode 12
Editor’s Rating 4 stars

The Bachelorette

Week Eleven
Season 16 Episode 12
Editor’s Rating 4 stars
Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC

Have a square-jawed lunk show up at the beautiful Bachelorette’s El Presidente hotel suite once, shame on you. Have a square-jawed lunk in too-short skinny pants with a boatneck T-shirt show up at the beautiful Bachelorette’s El Presidente hotel suite while she’s pretending to put on shimmer lip gloss twice, SHAME. ON. ME. I thought things had changed. I thought things were better. After the year we’ve all had, don’t we deserve a happy ending without any twists and turns? But now, I just feel like a fool. I thought The Bachelorette could change and develop healthy coping mechanisms but here we are, watching Ivan and Tayshia break a non-Guinness World Record.

Weren’t we all having a great time? Watching adults really get to know each other and being stunned by whatever strappy sandal and ’90s inspired minidress Tayshia was wearing? But I guess the goofballs that run this show just can’t fucking help themselves. So we’re back to dates designed to mess with Ivan and Brendan and Ben showing up at Tayshia’s door just minutes before a rose ceremony. Can’t you just let us have this? No? Not at all? Please? The emotional stability of watching these final three guys is the only thing keeping me tethered to this plane of reality? Okay. Fine. Let’s get to it.

It’s time for the Fantasy Suites. Tayshia is such an upbeat and positive person that I don’t really know what her hang-ups are with any of these guys or if there’s anything else she needs to hear from them before she makes her remaining decisions. She’s just looking forward to possibly banging these dudes, but she would never say that because her vocabulary and the show’s vocabulary have reached a singularity. She’s ready for “intimacy.” And nothing says great television like a protagonist with no tension, no goals, and no conflict.

The three remaining contesticles are nervous but they do some journaling about it and share their feelings in a brave space circle and work through it. Zac and Brewndawn are both a little stressed about potentially getting engaged and married again. Zac says there isn’t anybody who wants to stack divorces. Zac is a real delight this episode and I’m ready for him to shine.

To prepare Tayshia for her three evenings, she’s visited by two Bachelorettes of Fantasy Suites past. The first spectral figure to appear to her is JoJo to remind her of the importance and sanctity of the Fantasy Suite. Okay, everyone. I want you to think right now: Who was JoJo’s third Fantasy Suite date? We all remember Jordan, former quarterback, and Robby, sentient Beach Day Ken. But who was the third guy? What color was his vintage cotton henley tee? If you said “Chase,” congratulations on Googling.

JoJo asks Tayshia how she’s feeling and Tayshia says she feels a lot of positives with a few hesitations. What are they? Unclear! Tayshia says she’s the kind of person who can make almost any relationship work. This is the same person who had absolutely no problem with calling John Paul Jones by his full name at all times. But I can’t tell if the show isn’t pushing Tayshia to talk about the questions she does still have or isn’t instructing the Dosh Khaleen to press Tayshia to open up. So all we’ve got is Tayshia is looking for clarity about things with people.

Chris Harrison goes to drop off the first date card of the week and to explain to the guys the stakes of the Fantasy Suites. He makes direct and sustained eye contact with Brewndawn whenever he says the words “proposal” and “marriage.” That’s what we in the biz call foreshadowing. The first date of the week goes to Ivan! The other contesticles agree that Ivan is an upstanding gentleman with extraordinary understanding and social status. He’s a suitable match! Huzzah to Ivan!

The show is also officially out of date ideas. Ivan and Tayshia have to get into an ice bath and try to break the world record for World’s Longest Coldest Kiss while some guy named Big Paulie watches over the proceedings. Out of respect for everyone and the complete lack of romance, I will not say anything more about this date. It was useless. It meant nothing and revealed nothing about Tayshia and Ivan’s relationship. This should be a Week Three date on Bachelor in Paradise and not a Fantasy Suite Week date. It went on too long and quite honestly, made me a little mad.

Because it just demonstrates that the show has absolutely no idea what has been so successful about this season. Tayshia and Ivan’s best moment as a couple was when they just sat down and talked about the world and how they felt in it. Even Clare’s portion of the season was the most compelling when the show just said “Fuck it, what do you want to do?” We understand that the show can’t deliver a camel ride on the beaches of Spain or a concert with a country singer you used to date on the boardwalk so get out of the way, you idiots!! There are hot people with feelings! Trying to achieve the same level of spectacle that the show was able to do in the Beforetimes and failing isn’t as interesting as they think.

Ivan and Tayshia sit down together to vaguely talk about their goals and cry in front of each other. Apparently achieving the goal of kissing while being very cold showed them both that they’re able to do anything together. Ivan then launches into the “I’m falling in love with you” speech and Tayshia sort-of returns it and says, “I’m falling for you too.” There are degrees to how you can express your love on The Bachelorette. It goes:

I’m really intrigued/interested in you.
I think I’m starting to fall for you.
I’m falling for you.
I’m falling in love with you.
I’m in love with you.

Tayshia says more about her feelings when she says he was the first person she felt vulnerable with. She says he’s literally everything and they share a silver trailer set up on the hotel grounds. Tayshia is trying to sell how romantic it is, like a Dad who came home after quitting his job and cashing in his 401K. “Look, we can have breakfast at this little nook. I know it’s not ideal, Diane, but I gotta get out there on that open road. I can’t be a pharmacist forever. That’s not my dream. That was my father’s dream.” Ivan and Tayshia wake up the next morning and don’t even have breakfast at that little nook! They go sit outside and Tayshia still has her glasses on. How have we been deprived of this adorable little look! They stayed up all night “talking” and watched the sunrise.

Up next is Zac! Zac said that the week isn’t about Ivan and Tayshia or Brewndawn and Tayshia. It’s about Tayshia. Period. He also completely dissociates while thinking about how they’re going to “explore.” You can see him get a little fuzzy as he repeats the word “explore” over and over until it no longer has meaning. They have a classic “sexy” date where they cover each other in paint and roll around. Zac has gotten the best dates. After splattering each other with paint, they lie down and imagine their perfect day together. Tayshia says they’d go on a boat and eat sushi which is the fanciest thing someone in 1987 could imagine.

As they enter the evening portion of the date, Zac knows that he’s got to tell Tayshia how he’s been feeling and that he can see her as his wife. He knows that if she plans on being “intimate,” she should know how he feels. He’s full-on in love with her. They sit down under a big bell that neither of them have noticed on the hotel grounds and Tayshia pops her shoulder up, tucks her chin down, and opens her eyes as big as she possibly can. She is going to make herself look as cute as humanly possible. She wants this. She asks Zac about what his mother said, that he realized he wanted a family. He tells her that a part of him has been closed off and he was lying to himself that he didn’t need a family, but after putting every other aspect of his life on hold and meeting Tayshia, he knows he actually does want those things. Meanwhile, I have had almost every aspect of my life put on hold and all I’ve realized is that I’m not going back to wearing hard pants and I can survive purely on cinnamon raisin bagels and anxiety.

Zac closes his eyes and tells her that he’s just got to free-associate for a while, and works his way around to telling her that he’s in love with her. Not falling for. Not thinking about. He’s in love with her. Tayshia immediately squeals and says it back.

Tayshia. Loves. Zac. Zac. Loves. Tayshia.

She does that thing where she asks him to say it again. These two are in LOVE. Tayshia says she’s worried that there might be something wrong and Zac says, “What if there’s nothing wrong?” CUT TO THEM DANCING ON A BED AND ZAC IS WEARING TAYSHIA’S ROBE. Zac says, “I am totally spun out of control with this girl.” He has fully lost his mind and he’s not trying to find it anywhere. This man is SPAH-RUNG and I love that for him. The other guys are sitting around waiting for Zac to return and they think he’s going to come in totally straight-faced, but Zac comes in with a big ol’ grin on his face and he can’t stop giggling to himself. Brewndawn looks positively sick.

Time for the Fantasy Suite date designed to push you over the edge! They head to a tent where Neil Lane has set up a bridal jewelry shopping station. He says the first thing anyone notices about the bride is her earrings. Oh? Do they, Neil? He loads Tayshia up with jewelry while Brewndawn slowly shits his pants. This is a nightmare. He’s in a nightmare. Maybe if he bangs his head against something, he’ll wake himself up. They sit down with Neil Lane, who tells him that couples who have gotten married on the show are still together. What could be bad about that? A choice you make under a time constraint on a television program being part of your life forever? Who doesn’t want that! You could bring children into the world. That’s awfully romantic… and permanent.

They head to the night portion of the date and Tayshia is wearing a bandage gown with knee-to-floor fringe. For the first time in her adult life, Tayshia asks for what she needs in the relationship and Brewndawn self-eliminates. Oh fuck. But haven’t we all been on this date with Suddenly Realizes He’s Not Over His Last Relationship Until You Ask Him for More Commitment Guy? Do I believe that Brewndawn really couldn’t bring himself to propose? Yeah. Do I think he’s a little shy to pull the trigger because of his experience with marriage and divorce? Oh, absolutely. Do I think he waited until the last possible second to have this realization? BIG TIME YUP. Also, have either of these people ever had a conversation about how he doesn’t know if he’s ready to get married? Kinda? Maybe? I feel like the answer is, “Yes but not with each other.” Tayshia is stunned but she’s not going to beg him to love her or get angry. She just… walks him out. You can tell Brewndawn doesn’t want to leave but he knows he has to. Again, haven’t we all had this break-up? Please stop kissing me on the forehead; you broke up with me!

Tayshia seems to have latched onto Brewndawn as an option, but we never really saw their chemistry or relationship develop. They had the fact that they were both married before in common, but that’s about it. He was her gateway guy to the process working and it’s hard for her to let him go, so she needs another ghost of Fantasy Suites past: Rachel! If anyone knows about having to eliminate your favorite guy right before the end, it’s Rachel. But they don’t really talk about that, the conversation finds its way to regrets and Tayshia brings up Ben, thus setting the storytelling requirements into motion. Rachel asks her how she’s feeling knowing what’s at stake and Tayshia says she’s excited.

It’s time for the Rose Ceremo— oh god damn it. It’s Ben and he’s dressed like an avant-garde community theater Peter Pan. Before this, Ben asked Chris Harrison if he could talk to Tayshia and Chris Harrison said, “Yeah, we can absolutely do that dumb shit.” So here Ben is. He’s finally telling Tayshia that he loves her and he shut down when he didn’t get a rose. He also says he doesn’t know what he’s asking for. Just thinking out loud, I guess. AGAIN. WHO HASN’T GOTTEN THIS WEIRD EMAIL FROM AN EX? Why is it so long? Why is it an e-mail, the least romantic form of communication? Why did you sign it “*~*~*~Thoughtfully Yours~*~*~*”?

Tayshia walks over to where her producers are hanging out in her suite and she just screams “WHAT? WHAT DO I DO WITH THAT!”

See you tomorrow for the FINALE, LOLSURE!

The Bachelorette Recap: The Eleventh Hour