The Bachelorette Recap: Back to ‘Reality’

The Bachelorette

Week Five
Season 16 Episode 5
Editor’s Rating 3 stars

The Bachelorette

Week Five
Season 16 Episode 5
Editor’s Rating 3 stars
Photo: Craig Sjodin/ABC

If there ever was a platonic ideal of a Bachelorette, I think Tayshia might be that Bachelorette. She’s perky; she’s romantic; she loves God but she’s not like … in love with God. She’s been married before so you know she can get across that finish line, but her type also seems to be “doof in a polo,” so she’s open to anything. She’s got a good attitude and isn’t afraid to ask every single man she comes across, “Why are you still single?” She’s also incredibly beautiful. She’s stupid-beautiful in a way that almost feels like a joke. “Tayshia, are you fucking with me right now with those big-ass Pixar eyes, you dumb bitch? No?! Your face just looks like that?! goddamn it.” She’s single and ready to mingle.

So, guys? GUYS? I’m gonna need you to tone it the fuck down. She’s not your reward for suffering through the tempest that was Clare. You didn’t earn anything and you definitely haven’t earned her. Also?! There was absolutely zero reason to believe that whoever walked through that door would be anything other than incredibly beautiful. So just because she’s a nice, beautiful lady who happens to be nominally interested in you doesn’t mean that you are being rewarded for being patient, and it DEFINITELY doesn’t mean you have to fall in love with her right now because you think she’s going to leave you in nine days. Everyone can just relax about 75 percent.

Okay, here’s the real thing happening here. Because Tayshia is a marble statue sculpted by Mike Fleiss and life was breathed into her, she’s not going to do anything too wild. Add in the fact that these guys are basically traumatized shelter dogs who are just excited they get to ride in a car, and clearly no one is messing this one up. Even with the addition of four new contesticles, no one came in wearing a chicken suit or trying to sell their line of CBD matcha lattes; it all just marched forward like any episode of The Bachelorette should. And y’know what? It turns out, I do need more.

Let’s get to it.

Tayshia walks into the cocktail party and all the guys stare at her face for a full 45 seconds in order to fully process what they’re seeing. Tayshia just starts hugging dudes. Someone hands Tayshia a tequila soda, and she says she’s looking forward to a bomb-ass summer. She might be the only person in America who actually had a bomb-ass summer. She does a cheers and all of the men take six steps forward to try to pull her aside. Somewhere in a happy couple visit, Clare felt the energy of the guys rushing toward Tayshia and she felt a pang of regret. Then Dale lifted her over his head and everything was fine again. The first guy to take Tayshia aside is Ivan. He tells her that he felt like maybe he was going to go home soon but now Tayshia is here, and he subtly implies that they’re both … y’know … so Tayshia is more his speed.

Riley takes her aside and asks her what she does for a living. She confidently says that she’s in the “beauty and lifestyle space.” Maybe it’s because I just listened to a podcast breaking down everything that’s wrong with Moon Juice, but I cackled when Riley followed that up with, “Oh, I’m a full lawyer.” Blake and Jason revealed a feeling to another woman this calendar year, so they’re still trying to come around to this whole “Tayshia” thing. Tayshia sits down with Brandon …? Brendan? Braedaun? Yeah, that looks right. They bond over his turtleneck, but before they can go any further, Chris Harrison strides out of the darkness to pull Tayshia away.

Everything. Is. About. To. Change.

Oh, there are just, like, four new guys. NBD. Tayshia heads out to the front of the mansion as a limo pulls up.

HOLD ON. Where did these guys come from? Were they quarantining? How did The Bachelorette just have four guys on standby, cleared by the CDC? Also, when did Tayshia quarantine? I know details are starting to slip out all over the place, but I need a comprehensive timeline of how and when each person was informed they were needed at the La Quinta Resort.

First out of the limo is Spencer, whom Tayshia is immediately horny for. He’s perfectly acceptable. He’s a white guy with a little stubble, a square-enough jaw, and he’s wearing a suit. But instead of flying completely below the radar, he walks in and says, “Which one of you guys scared away Clare?” This is the equivalent of running the vacuum during a fireworks display for these shelter dogs. We also meet Montel, who is wearing a bright salmon jacket that we can expect to see reappearing on each guy’s shoulders. We meet Peter, who is … a human man. And then we meet Noah, who has chosen to cultivate a mustache instead of a personality or moral compass.

Spencer is the first of the new guys to take Tayshia away. Tayshia is 29 and Spencer is 30, and they both like being outside, so they’re a perfect match for each other, obviously. While Tayshia is engaging in her montage at the cocktail party, Chris Harrison drops off the first-impression rose. Clare gave her first-impression rose to Dale and look where we all are now. It’s a terrifying and thrilling prospect. Zac sits down with Tayshia and they have some real chemistry. I thought they were going to go in for a kiss but then fall into the fountain, because there’s some residual romantic-comedy logic floating around.

Tayshia gives her first-impression rose to Spencer because he is the hottest one and she saw him relatively first. She very aggressively pulls him in for a smooch. After that Tayshia acts as if she’s never been on this television program before and says, “This is when the rose ceremony would be happening, yes?” She’s decided to cancel it so that she can get to know all the guys. She is a merciful god!

Now, it’s time for a little detour to catch up with Clare and Dale. Chris Harrison sits down with them to ask them the questions that everyone wants to know, like, “What happened?” and “You lyin’ though?”  Chris continues to push this narrative that Clare was the one who “blew up” The Bachelorette and she just acted SO DRAMATICALLY. She didn’t blow anything up. You all ask-told her that she should break up with all the guys and then told-told Dale to propose to her when he clearly had no idea what was going on.

My biggest problem with this entire “Clare blew it up because she’s SO CRAZY” narrative is that the show can’t have it both ways. You can’t paint a lead who seems to have genuinely fallen in love on your stupid fucking show as unreasonable because she did it too soon. You can’t have a first-impression rose and then question when someone falls in love at first sight. Your last Bachelor managed to fuck it up with two women and then ended up with the woman he met at a wedding before the show even started. But the woman who met someone from your television program and was able to clearly and romantically express those feelings and have them reciprocated is the failure? She’s the one we gotta be suspicious of? Give me an actual fucking break.

Clare and Dale say that they never talked before the season, and y’know what? I believe them. Why not believe them? Why not believe that they’re in love and they’re trying to figure it out while pretending to be engaged like every other stupid couple on this show? Because she did it too early? The show could have edited this as a love story that was so powerful that it had to break the show, but instead they went with “39-year-old woman is a little desperate for this whole thing to work out, don’t you think?” PASS. PASS. HARD PASS.

When they started this interview, I thought it was going to be an hour and a half long and I was ready to strap in, but alas, we’re back to Tayshia’s season. It’s time for dates. Everyone is getting one this week, so please, just relax. Blake, Riley, Zac, Jordan, Noah, Peter, Kenny, Jay, Eazy, and Spencer get the first group date card. This season is already showing its date-creativity fatigue. “Umm … make them put on Speedos … then the losers can walk home and we’ll get no footage of the barbecue. We can’t go anywhere. You do better.” Tayshia also pops out from the pool, Phoebe Cates style, and apparently the show has invested in an underwater butt cam. If you’re horny from being stuck in quarantine, this is the show for you.

Riley manages to gently elbow Spencer in the face to punish him for being new and having an opinion. The blue team gets some sort of barbecue but there’s no footage of it, and the way everyone talks about it, I don’t think it was real. There’s still a full cocktail party at the end of the night. Meanwhile, back at the suites, Braedaun gets the first one-on-one date card.

On the group date, everyone is acting like if they suddenly tell Tayshia that they’re falling in love with her or that their love story is just beginning, they’ll get the group-date rose. Ah, yes, falling in love too hard and too fast. The exact thing that fucked this all up before. Eazy gets the group-date rose.

But before the night ends, Jason realizes that being emotionally vulnerable with two people is just out of the question. He also says that he fell in love with Clare. What? Who are all these people who were falling in love with Clare? Jason heads over to Tayshia’s room to tell her that he’s heading home. Tayshia makes this about her worst fear, that some of the guys wouldn’t be over Clare, and says that Jason seemed like he would have been fun to get to know. Umm … okay?

It’s time for Braedaun’s one-on-one date. Tayshia picks him up on a horse and they ride around the resort. What a romantic date. Riding slowly around a resort in Palm Springs and then hanging out in a pool. Also, is Tayshia a horse girl? She doesn’t have “reads books about horses” horse-girl energy, but she definitely has “owns multiple cowboy hats” horse-girl energy. This whole date is centered on an extended Chris Harrison bit. No one is looking for Chris Harrison bits. They are in high supply and incredibly low demand. They eventually wind up in the pool, and Braedaun says he wanted to do something before at the cocktail party and Tayshia leaps into his arms and they make out. At the dinner portion of the date, they bond over the fact that they were both married and divorced at a young age. Braedaun makes sure to say there wasn’t infidelity or addiction or anything “crazy like that.” Uhhh … dude? Tayshia says that her husband cheated on her but it was still hard to tell her family what caused the divorce. All right, this is cute. These are two little cuties and I’m onboard for this.

They head over to another part of the resort and watch fireworks go off. What’s great about this season is that everyone else can see the fireworks go off, and they know Tayshia is making out with Braedaun. He gets the rose.

Tune in this season to see the guys get offended that someone said Tayshia is a “smokeshow!”

The Bachelorette Recap: Back to ‘Reality’