According to The Bachelorette, every woman can be distilled down to two essential components. Forget your sun and moon sign. Forget your four-letter personality profile, and forget those numbers that everyone seems to have figured out. I mean, did y’all take a quiz or something? How does everyone know that they’re a seven?!?! No, the two essential components of who a woman is can be boiled down to two things: her job and whatever she did in high school. And The Bachelorette will do everything in its power to remind us that Michelle is a Teacher sun and a Basketball rising.
And thank goodness that both of those Woman Star Signs come with easily recognizable activities, qualities, and entire aisles dedicated to them at Party City. Imagine if she was an actuary who did Model U.N. But instead of focusing on how being a Teacher/Basketball means that Michelle wants to make sure her future partner is good at spelling and word problems, we should be talking about how a career of middle-school classroom management has given Michelle the exact set of skills necessary to deal with a house of pizzapreneurs and college athletes. She sets clear expectations, follows through, and holds herself to the same standards. I can’t wait until she starts giving out scratch-and-sniff stickers to the guys who impress her most on the group dates and offering extra credit for watching the State of the Union address and writing a one-paragraph summary. She’s gonna hit them with the quiet coyote, and it will be over for these clowns.
It seems very obvious that Michelle isn’t going to provide production with a ton of drama because she’s got this shit together, so it’s up to these FBoy Island rejects (because they were both too nice and too delusional) to provide the mess. And we are BURNING through story. We’re already getting someone tearing the house apart because his friend heard that Michelle was dating a light-skinned basketball player? “THIS MAN IS REALLY PUSHING MY BUTTONS” is next week?!?! There’s already someone who insists that Michelle’s job is to impress him? And two of these three people are Jamie? He must be dealt with.
Let’s get to it.
Michelle wakes up in the morning and she’s feeling spectacular and is ready to start getting into the deep stuff. Tayshia gives Michelle the advice to pay attention to the guys who hang back on the group dates because that’s when she first started to notice Zach. Kaitlyn gives her the advice to maybe just wait and see if there’s a cute guy from another season who wants to slide into her DMs if this whole thing doesn’t work out. There’s going to be two group dates and one one-on-one date. Brandon, Romeo, Rick, PJ, Will, Olumide, Casey, Danny, LT, and Peter will be going on the first date of the season and it’s TEACHER THEMED!! WHOSE CHILDREN ARE THOSE!!!?!?!?!
There are three fifth-graders who will emotionally devastate these men by making them answer math questions without a calculator and asking them to spell three-syllable words. This is … cruel? Listen, I might be an Emmy-winning writer (HAHAHAHAHHAHA), but if anyone told me my chances to get laid for the next three months were contingent on me spelling limousine on the first try, I would be climbing on top of the washing machine every night to lull myself to sleep. When it comes to the math portion, the kids scream, “COUNT FASTER,” when the men are asked to multiply 2021 by 18.
Michelle asks, “How many times is it acceptable to call Miss Michelle beautiful in a day?” Brandon draws an eight because he’s unclear on what exactly the infinity symbol is. Romeo says, “925,600 times.” Then it’s time for a quick science portion, and Peter keeps trying to get Michelle’s attention, and one of the fifth-grade girls screams at him to LEAVE HER ALONE! We are getting more and more evidence that we don’t need a former football player to host The Bachelor, we need a gaggle of middle schoolers to make everyone feel bad and reconsider their choices.
Will decides that during the spelling portion he’s going to do a funny bit, where instead of spelling narcissist, he’s gonna write the word Peter. Oh my God. Hilarious. I love watching these guys attempt comedy. Peter takes this as a Shakespearean-level slight, and in his confessional, he says “I’m not a narcissist! I was making tremendous progress! I was shining in that group. What about me! What about me! What about me!” Nope, not a narcissist.
It’s time for the after-party of the group date, and does Michelle have chemistry with everyone? At one point, while Brandon is defending his incredibly corny opening line, she puts her hand delicately on his face and is giving him the signal. While Michelle is vibing with everyone, Peter takes Will aside to scream in his face. I tried to take notes during this confrontation, but the only things that stood out while they were talking at the exact same time were “I was defenseless” and “Pizza this, pizza that!” Will also says, “What else do you have to offer besides a slice, bro?” Will is a superstar.
Meanwhile, back at the resort, the one-on-one date card arrives, and it goes to Jamie! Aw fuck. He immediately tells the other men that he lives a wild life where he goes off to “Third World” countries (yikes) with no notice, and he needs to make sure Michelle can keep up with his amazing and perfect lifestyle. Sir, are you aware what television program you’re on? I desperately hate when men do this because ONLY THE MEN DO THIS. This does not happen on The Bachelor. Krystyn and McKell are not spending their time on their one-on-one dates making sure the Bachelor is worthy of them. I’m not sure who is more wrong in this comparison, but either way, I need Jamie in particular to chill the fuck out.
Back at the after-party, Rick has made a sexy Mad Lib to encourage Michelle to kiss him, and I would normally make fun of this but was then reminded that I achieved my first kiss with my boyfriend through similar means. I’m just saying, do not underestimate pen-and-paper-based stratagem to get a kiss.
Michelle takes Peter aside and tells him that she heard him yelling. Peter says that being called a narcissist in front of children was incredibly inappropriate and it opened up old wounds. What wounds? How could that be a thing for you? How often are you being put down in front of tiny children? Michelle says that she is worried that if they disagree or she challenges him, his response will be to yell, and she doesn’t want him to communicate with her that way. HOLY SHIT. This bitch gets it and makes it happen. What an incredible way to let him know that his behavior was unacceptable and why it freaked her out. And it forces him to get his shit together so he can be worthy of her. I love it. She’s crushing it. Peter says that he was romantically ahead of most of the men, but so far this episode, he’s had a child tell him to leave Michelle alone, and she told him to take five minutes in the thinking circle.
Brandon gets the group date rose.
It’s time for her date with Jamie, and from what we see, he doesn’t really “test” Michelle on her compatibility with his jet-set lifestyle. I don’t think he’s going anywhere. I demand to see this man’s passport. They go rock climbing in Joshua Tree and have a picnic on the top of the rock formation. At dinner that night, they dive into their family lives. Michelle talks about how horny she is for her parents’ marriage, and she finally says, “You don’t have to be from that kind of family to achieve that kind of family.” Jamie opens up about his mother’s experiences with mental illness and how she attempted suicide when he was a child and he stayed home from school to make sure she wasn’t home alone. When he was 24, his mother died by suicide, and he talks about how a lot of things in his life came to a halt. He didn’t feel like things were worth pursuing, and he’s worked to wake himself back up and find relationships that felt worthwhile. Michelle is moved to tears, and she tells him that she admires how he’s worked through his experiences and grown as a person. Jamie says that a lot of people say “I’m sorry” to him, but he appreciates that Michelle is able to see how his life has changed and how he became who he is today. He admires how empathetic Michelle is, which seems like a better standard for a partner. He gets a rose.
I do not want to talk about Caroline Jones and reserve the right to not do that. So it’s time for the next group date, but before we can get to that, we see Joe on the phone with his mom because his basketball coach passed away. Joe knows that his coach would want him to keep going, so he gears up for this basketball-themed date.
Michelle is joined by two WNBA stars including WNBA CHAMPION DIAMOND DESHIELDS FROM THE CHICAGO SKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The structure of the day is a little wonky because most of the day is spent watching Michelle and Joe reenact the sexy basketball scenes from Love & Basketball. Then there’s a five-on-five game for Michelle’s love. The winners will head to the after-party with Michelle, and the rest of them will go home. Unless Michelle thinks they’re super hot, then they’ll be able to go to the after-party. We also find out that Joe was Minnesota Mr. Basketball 2011 and Michelle was Minnesota Miss Basketball 2011 runner-up, and if they got together, it would really be a union of basketball royalty.
The blue team is positively kicking the red team’s ass until Michelle gives Joe a pep talk and they come back to lose by one point, but Michelle decides that Joe is the MVP of the game, so he gets to go to the after-party, too. The rest of the red team is DEVASTATED. They are FUCKING GUTTED. The other guys start to get a sense that Michelle and Joe have a special connection, but most of them aren’t bothered about it … except for Jamie, who isn’t even on this date … and has a rose and doesn’t need to do this. Joe gets the group date rose.
It’s time for the cocktail party, and Jamie has chosen chaos. Michelle decides to set up an apple taste test for Rodney, and how cute is the lead setting up a fun cocktail party moment? Jamie starts wandering around the cocktail party telling everyone that his friend maybe saw Michelle at a restaurant and his friend’s friends said she already had a boyfriend. And that boyfriend was a “light-skinned baller.” And according to Jamie, Michelle is wasting everyone’s time, and she needs to answer for her crimes. So he’s going to bring it up in the most passive-aggressive way to Michelle and insinuate that he’s just been “hearing” things in the house and “everyone” is talking about it. No, you and this alleged friend are the only ones talking about it. Michelle immediately freaks out and decides that she must address the group, but she doesn’t know how.
Jamie, how does this benefit you?!? And if she was dating Joe before the season, you have a rose and an opportunity to steal her away. Just do that!
Michelle sits the guys down and explains that the field trip is canceled because of bad behavior and people not returning their permission slips. She explains that she exchanged two texts with Joe a couple years ago, and then he ghosted her. She addressed the rumors by saying that if she goes out with any Black man, people assume they’re a couple and start spreading that around. And y’know what? That’s true. My brothers and I look VERY similar, but anytime one of them came to visit me in college, people would congratulate me on my cute new boyfriend. It’s creepy, and it’s weird, and I would like it to stop. Michelle is worried that some of the men don’t trust her, and she opens the floor up for questions. But because these guys have no idea what the fuck anyone is talking about, they sit silent, which Michelle takes as another sign of their distrust. GREAT JOB, JAMIE!
The guys want to know who started the rumor, and Jamie does the “Who said that?” GIF from Real Housewives of Atlanta. Tayshia and Kaitlyn say that Michelle has canceled the rest of the cocktail party.
At the rose ceremony, Michelle says that she wanted this to be a great night, but now she’s working hard on keeping her walls down. So here goes nothing. Nayte, Rodney, Martin, Rick, LeRoy, Spencer, Casey, Chris G, Mollique, Olu, Chris S, Will, Romeo, LT, Clayton, and Peter all get roses. The men who get roses know that whoever spread the rumor is an insecure rat, and they’re all trying to lay a rat trap.