By now, we’ve established that this whole “two Bachelorettes” thing isn’t really working, right? Because it’s been seemingly established as a law of the Bachelorette universe that one single episode cannot go by without seeing one of our dear lady leads losing their goddamn minds. For the past three weeks, it’s been Rachel crying her eyes out, so now the tide has shifted to Gabby. Next week, it’ll be Rachel again. It’s the cycle of life! For a season of The Bachelorette that was marketed in the “girlboss, BFF road-trip movie” genre, there have been far too many woman tears and not enough man tears.
But at least this week, we finally get some weepy boys. There’s classic emotional heartbreak, a jealous Tino temper tantrum, and the defeat of the biblical plague that is Logan (if not by a pack of angry women, then by a global disaster). The men have discovered therapy, and they’re not afraid to use it, leaking enough tears to float the Bachelorette cruise all the way back to America.
And, to quote Nicole Kidman, don’t we need that? All of us? The Bachelorette is the last vestige of television where we are encouraged to let our cheesiest, basest impulses play, all under the guise of female empowerment. Although there are only a few episodes left to wrap up this disaster experiment of a season, hopefully we’ll get enough man tears to sustain us till Mike Fleiss inevitably puts two male leads in the driver’s seat.
And in case you haven’t noticed, Ali is out this week (presumably because she was driven mad by the sight of Logan’s whipping-cream-y nipples), so I’m here to fill in. Let’s dive in.
The red-and-white monstrosity that is the Bachelorette cruise ship has found a new port to terrorize: Amsterdam! Our leads don their coziest coats and go for girl talk along the canal only to be interrupted by one Jesse Palmer. Jesse decides to drop his Westworld host facade and tell the women Amsterdam is one of his favorite cities. This season, we’re finding out a surprising amount about our host — last week, it was his perfectly accented French, this week, it’s his European travels. Maybe next year, we’ll find out his favorite color (probably taupe).
Inexplicably, next week is hometowns, so Gabby and Rachel are nervous about meeting the boys’ families. Gabby picks Nate for her one-on-one, while Rachel picks Zach. In response to hearing this news, Tino “the Baby Back Bitch” Franco promptly leaves the guys to go drink some creatine and listen to G-Eazy or whatever it is hot boys do when they’re sad. More on this later, but Tino is probably just mad he’s not nicknamed Tino “the Next Tyler C.” Franco.
Because this week it’s Gabby’s turn to cry, it’s clear she invited Nate on this date only to dump him. After what her own mother put her through, she’s decided she needs to be 100 percent sure she’s ready to become a mother before she meets Nate’s daughter and, therefore, can’t take him through to hometowns. It’s an incredibly emotionally mature response — something The Bachelor franchise isn’t used to — and it just so happens to come at an ideal time. This week, two women came forward saying Nate dated them at the same time and never told them about his daughter despite dating them for well over a year. Gabby, apparently desperate to avoid another Jed horror story, seems to have the Bachelor sixth sense that has eluded other leads such as … well, the last five!
Nate, though, is blissfully unaware of all this, saying the last time he came to Amsterdam, it was during the pandemic so he couldn’t experience anything. Reminds me a little bit of … experiencing Amsterdam in a sponsored cruise ship, perhaps? But, pretty soon, Gabby sits him down on a park bench to explain that she can’t meet his daughter because she would fall in love with him even more. It’s a heartbreaking good-bye, punctuated by many, many tears (male and female) and a mournful solo boat ride down the canal.
Clearly, Gabby likes him a lot — not just because she says so but because she dedicated an entire one-on-one to dumping him, for some reason. Could we dump Nate later and use this time to, I don’t know, get to know Gabby’s other guys? All we know about Spencer is Army.
One question, though: Are producers setting this up for a possible reunion? I can’t say for sure, but considering Fleiss’s tweets defending Nate earlier this week mixed with Gabby’s comment about how she isn’t sure if she made the right call, all signs point to a vocal-fried “yeah.” Meanwhile, the boys over at Team Gabby are just excited to see Nate’s suitcase walking the plank.
Next up is Rachel’s one-on-one, and producers have stationed her in a field of tulips so large they can use every single one of their drones to swing around it and make us dizzy. Zach runs up to her and the two of them take Polaroid pictures in the flowers as if their entire love story isn’t caught in 4K. Then it’s time for a two-minute montage of every Dutch stereotype you can think of, complete with a roadside clog shack and a pair of child laborers hawking lemonade. In typical Bachelorette fashion, the date finishes with a hot tub parked in front of a (TW: Pilot Pete) windmill.
For the night portion of the date, Zach and Rachel roll up to a building that producers hope to God passes for the Rijksmuseum. Zach tells Rachel he started going to therapy a couple of years ago, and Rachel gets as excited as she would when seeing a dress with disproportionately puffy sleeves. How many men have talked about therapy on their dates this season? Three? Officially gone are the days when the ideal contestant was a football player with a soft side or a general contractor whose parents were high-school sweethearts. This season, it’s all about those three little words: inner-child therapy.
Zach, of course, gets the rose. They dance in front of a street orchestra that just so happens to be outside of the aforementioned building. I kind of love them together.
Because the timeline of this show makes little sense, Gabby is also just now telling her men that Nate is gone because she’s not ready to be a mom. Johnny, who I learned was a contestant last week, gets emotional, while Jason, ever the strong, silent type, immediately hugs her. The year of therapy continues!
The next day, it’s Gabby’s group date, which producers clearly designed as penance for the hell these mediocre men have put the Bachelorettes through. A dominatrix explains that the men are going to be talking about sex — or, as Gabby puts it “knocking boots” — during this date. There’s a loose tie to Amsterdam and the red-light district, but mostly it’s just an opportunity for Intern Devin to go crazy with the bleep button.
Unfortunately, this is when Logan shows up. He’d only made a brief cameo earlier in the episode to bitch and moan about Nate, but clearly he hadn’t had enough screen time because now he’s here to inform us that his safe word is “asbestos,” which he helpfully explains is a “toxic chemical.” Logan, you’re a toxic chemical. Luckily, Gabby soon gets her revenge by whipping the men into submission while they’re blindfolded and laid out in a circle Midsommar style.
But nooo. That isn’t all for dear Logan! Just as the boys have wiped the chocolate sauce and whipping cream from their bodies, Jesse Palmer arrives at Gabby’s door like the bearer of death and tells her Logan has tested positive for COVID-19, meaning they’ll have to cancel the evening portion of the group date. How he caught COVID while essentially quarantining in a cruise ship, the world may never know, but it’s now up to Jesse to (masklessly) tell the boys that Logan has ruined yet another night. It’s frankly poetic that Logan is exposing himself as a literal plague upon The Bachelorette.
But poor Gabby! She’s barely gotten time with her boys this week because of (a) the Nate-kup and (b) the scourge that is Logan. Plus, because of this whole two Bachelorettes situation, she already gets half the one-on-ones she typically would. It’s no wonder we barely know anything about her remaining men!
And why can’t they reschedule the group date, anyway? My only guess is that the sponsored Virgin Cruise money is running out, and The Bachelorette crew is only booked for two more days before the ship has to set sail to St. Barts.
Since Teams Gabby and Rachel live on two separate floors of the Monstrosity, we’re fine for Rachel’s group date in Edam, the cheese capital of the world. But Rachel’s date soon turns into a Survivor challenge as her four guys compete to see who can lift wheels of cheese for the longest, their abs quivering in the process. Tino wins (barely) and is crowned the cheese king, but Rachel makes sure to give equal time to the men, tending to all of their various cheese-related wounds. Not all of those injuries are external, however: Ethan — another man I learned about last week but have grown to love — reveals he’s lactose intolerant. Despite the COVID, Team Rachel may soon be tempted to visit Team Gabby once they see the state of their communal bathroom.
Now it’s time for the evening portion of Rachel’s date, where the men are getting ready for hometowns. Aven and Ethan both say they’re excited to introduce Rachel to their family, while Tyler admits he’s falling for her. I don’t know a thing about Tyler besides the fact that he’s from my home state of New Jersey, but it’s enough for me.
You know who it isn’t enough for? Tino “the Cheese King” Franco, who opens up to Rachel with platitudes such as “I haven’t had a doubt in weeks.” Rachel — whose puffy sleeves, once again, make her look like a Disney villainess — loves this, and viewers then have the misfortune of seeing a tongue force its way into Rachel’s mouth.
Afterward, it’s clear Tino believes he nailed his performance, telling the camera he “hit it out of the park” and “deserves” the group-date rose. Tino, who has whined his way through this episode, believing he deserves anything? It’s laughable. I don’t know what it is about his performance, but I don’t trust him. He seems like he’s trying to fit into the “nice guy,” Tyler C. role without any real feeling behind it. At this point, I’m fully convinced Tino has a handwritten journal of Bachelorette notes back in his room like that one guy a few seasons ago.
The act doesn’t fool Rachel, who smartly bequeaths the group date rose to Tyler. This sends Tino “Dear Dumb Diary” Franco into a spiral. He whips around, telling Tyler, “Congrats. Seriously,” before going off to rant to a producer in the hallway with a glass of red. The man tears strike again.
The drama doesn’t stop there. Ethan, with the power of 1,000 cheeses coursing through his lactose-intolerant veins, calls Tino a “baby back bitch” in the most instantly iconic line of the season. But that’s it! There’s no confrontation!!! Where is the drama? The intrigue? Does Tino really think it’s enough to drunkenly lose it in a hallway like a girl in line for the club bathroom? I knew this season was bound to be disappointing when there wasn’t even a shot of an ambulance pulling up to the Mansion in the trailer.
It’s time for the rose ceremony, but there’s one eyesore person missing: Logan, of course, is still exposing the cruise ship’s east wing to a potentially life-threatening disease. Because of this, Jesse informs us that Logan “can’t be joining us for the rest of our journey.” Are you kidding me?? After terrorizing the high seas for three episodes, Logan is just gone without a good-bye Zoom call, without so much as a turtleneck to remember him by? And where is that clip of Jesse telling Logan to “pack his bags” from the midseason preview?? At this point, Jesse could appear at my apartment door and tell me Logan was a chaos god sent to harm the Bachelorettes because they offended Zeus and I would believe it!
This doesn’t get Gabby’s boys off the hook, though: Because she’s had barely any time with her men, she’s only taking three guys to hometowns (sigh). Predictably, she picks Jason, Erich, and Johnny, sending Spencer Army back to Chicago, from whence he came.
Rachel, on the other hand, has the pick of the litter, selecting Aven and Tino (sigh) in addition to the earlier roses given to Zach and Tyler. Poor lactose-intolerant Ethan is sent to clench his way down the plank, but the two share a surprisingly sweet good-bye before he leaves. Paradise, anyone?
All aboard the Monstrosity! Set sail for Palm Beach!
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