Hidey Ho, Bacheloreenos! Desiree Hartsock continues her quest for love in what promises to be an explosive week on The Bachelorette. As if things weren’t hot enough only two weeks in, we’re promised muchisimo on display (and not just from nickname-less Juan Pablo!) and a shocking surprise girlfriend, likely from a suitor that hasn’t stood out much this season.
I’m not going to spoil who is speculated to be the still-betrothed not-so-gentleman, but it is seemingly someone I’ve referred to as “forgettable guy blank” since the premiere. At least this should give him some notoriety, albeit the notorious kind.
But what I’m looking forward to most is a spirited game of dodgeball, when the socks come up, the shorts get tiny and the egos get huge. The highlight, of course, will be when the game turns from dodgeball to kickball, which I consider the male equivalent of childbirth. If you’ve never been hit there, ladies, you’ll never know if that’s an exaggeration or not.
The promo tells us which guy has the nut-busting experience, but I won’t spoil that yet either. Let’s get started!
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Jealousy, Lies and Deceit
That’s the tagline for the week, pulled off in spectacular hyperbolic fashion that only The Bachelor franchises can do without alienating anyone. Ben rightly feels like he has a target on his back after his actions at the last cocktail party, but he’s not apologizing for playing the game like it’s supposed to be played.
Everyone knows the villain always sticks around longer than he or she should. Sometimes, they even win. (Looking at you, Courtney and Vienna!)
The first date card arrives, and it’s the group date. One-knee shoe-tier Chris, forgettable financial adviser Brian, my frontrunner Drew, diabetic fountain-climbing prosecutor and now gossip girl Michael G., first-date wunderkind Brooks, adrenaline junkie Brandon, wishbone Brad, plumber Mikey T., Chucks-with-his-tux Zack K. and son-toting Ben will find out that “Love is a Battlefield.”
If You Can Dodge a Wrench, You Can Dodge a Bachelor with a Ball
Desiree is waiting for the guys, all decked out in workout gear, and Drew gushes about how fabulous she looks. He’s still my frontrunner, but I’m starting to question him with how sappy he is all the time. Dude needs to man up if he wants to be Sean Lowe-like enough to win Des’ heart.
They’re playing dodgeball, and they’re all hyped up until the folks from the National Dodgeball League show up and start going balls to the wall at like 100 miles per hour. And by that, I mean they literally throw balls off the wall at like 100 miles an hour. And the guys are intimidated.
Learning the 5 D’s of Dodgeball
While learning the ropes, Michael G. says they’re getting fired at from all angles, even though they’re all standing against a wall with professionals throwing at them from one direction. Brandon is inexplicably wearing gloves.
After they get their asses handed to them by the pros, Chris Harrison shows up to tell them they’ll be playing each other in the game that counts, with the winning team getting to stick around for the rest of the date. Michael G. can’t wait to “let some balls rip and take out some guys.”
The red team is Mikey T., Michael G., Brooks, Chris and Brandon, facing off against the blue team, Ben, Drew, Zack K., Brad and Brian. The odd sexual innuendos continue, with Chris lamenting how huge Mikey T. is.
The guys put on the same size uniforms I wore when I played basketball in sixth grade, and they head to a park to square off in an all-out Bachelor ballfest.
Nobody Makes Me Bleed My Own Blood
With Mikey T. and Brandon, the red team clearly wins the intensity award, which may or may not actually help in the game. Naturally, Mikey is the first one out. Both teams are just happy that Will isn’t around anymore.
Game one ends with Drew and Chris each representing their teams, and Drew surprisingly comes out on top. Des fires up the red team, which wins game two easily. Brandon makes the last out and literally loses his mind. Chris Harrison still hasn’t found it.
That brings us to the deciding game three, which gets off to an incredibly painful start when poor Brooks takes a cleat to the family jewels. If there was coal there before, dude’s got a diamond in his pants now. Wait a minute! NO!!! It’s just his finger! What a big gyp this was! I feel so damn cheated. I was so proud of my clever title for this article that I’m leaving it anyway.
Still, his bloody finger is pretty messed up, and he’s gotta go to the hospital. The blue team drops a player in a show of solidarity.
Chris and Zack square off at the end, with Zack and the blue team earning the victory. The red team isn’t going home, though, and Desiree is bringing them all along, but I don’t care cause I really thought someone got hit in the nuts.
Goin’ Down Like a Sweet Muffin
So Brooks is in pretty bad shape. They have to realign his broken finger, which causes him to pass out. And now he’s an emergency room patient, still wearing his old-school short shorts, feeling lightheaded with oxygen in his nose. I’d hate to see this guy give blood. We also find out that he doesn’t do drugs, because when an ER nurse asks you that, you answer honestly.
Brad’s Secret Past
Desiree is worried about Brooks and feels horrible that he is missing the date, but she’s got other guys to focus on. She pulls wishbone Brad away for some one-on-one time, and I think this is the first time he’s spoken since he got out of the limo. Which is good, because there’s apparently things he wants to get off his chest.
He wants to know if they’re compatible, so he comes clean that he has a three-year-old son named Maddox, who lives with him full-time. And he totally didn’t tell Desiree right away because he’s not as douchy and exploitative as Ben.
He hasn’t dated in two years because he’s been busy raising his boy. He was in a bad relationship with a drinker who tried to run out one night while Brad tried to stop her, and he ended up getting arrested for domestic violence and was slapped with a restraining order. At least that’s his version of the story. The restraining order was dismissed, though, so maybe his ex isn’t standing on her couch screaming, “That’s not what happened!” Probably, though.
That Thorny Rose
All the guys are freaking out about the rose, so Chris decides to do something special to help him stand out. He stumbles on a little rooftop helipad, and he and Desiree sit on the edge and peer out over the skyline. He tells her how the day sealed the deal for him, and she finally felt a connection with him as well. It seems one-knee shoe-tier Chris is coming out of his shell.
A slightly doped-up Brooks shows up, still in dodgeball uniform, and has an awkward conversation with Desiree before he just leans in and plants kisses on her. Still, she spurns his busted finger and gives the rose to Chris.
They get some private time with a personal concert by Kate Earl, dance and kiss in full view of all the other guys.
A Shocking Surprise
The “love defies gravity” one-on-one date card arrives, and it goes to Hashtag Kasey, who has wisely stopped applying hashtags to everything, at least for the time being. Fab ab Zak and “Mr. Big” James are disappointed.
Cue file footage shot number 27 of Des sketching in a notebook, which I’m still upset is the equivalent of Sean showering in each episode of The Bachelor. She is prepping for her date when Chris Harrison calls her with bizarre news about one of the guys being dishonest. She rushes to the house for a confrontation.
She calls forgettable financial adviser Brian outside and drops the bomb that she knows about his girlfriend. He reinforces his sincerity before Stephanie shows up and introduces herself to Desiree with a hug.
…is what a smirking Brian says, and I’m shocked we don’t need something bleeped out. She screams at him for a long time, refusing to let him get a word in edgewise, calling him a liar and a coward. He didn’t tell her he was going on the show, apparently lied to her son Donovan and wouldn’t let her break up with him the day before he was leaving, which he apparently told her was a business trip and invited her, knowing she wouldn’t be able to go.
He denies everything she’s saying about them being together, calls their relationship toxic and reminds her of the time she threw rocks at his face, which she readily admits, you know, cause he was being a jerk. She says she tried to break up with him, yet accuses him of leading her on.
I’ll be honest, I was on his side at first, thinking this was just some vindictive crazy chick, until he admits they slept together two days before he left. Probably not something the dude wanted to get out, and Desiree sends him home immediately. Now I’m sure he’ll go back to this apparently very healthy relationship.
One final note on this — have we ever seen big fat Pauly, the straight-out-of-The-Sopranos security guard who escorts Brian out, before? That guy is awesome.
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Desiree vows to follow her intuition from now on, but the real victim is Hashtag Kasey, whose date is mildly ruined. He’s determined to turn the day around, because this is their real first alone time.
But no one is taking this Brian stuff harder than adrenaline junkie Brandon, who has crazy abandonment issues. He starts crying talking about all the father figures who he fell in love with and then left him, and he is slowly morphing into the male AshLee.
Back on the date, Kasey and Desiree head to Sunset Boulevard, where they do a dance routine dangling from the side of a building. Kasey claims to be a terrible dancer, and he’s not wrong. But he supports her, which she appreciates.
A Date Cut Short
She’s trying to focus on the date, but the whole experience of the day has been draining for her. It hasn’t gone like she wanted it to, but she recognizes it’s not Kasey’s fault. They have dinner on the top of the same building they danced on, but the wind picks up, glasses start blowing around and there’s no chance for any connection. They jump into the pool, and it’s freezing. He manages to sneak in a kiss, but the whole thing is a disaster. She feels bad, so she gives him the rose.
A 2nd Group Date
Forgettable beverage sales guy Dan, “Mr. Big” James, Juan Pablo, Iraq vet Bryden and fab ab Zak W. are competing to be the “lone man standing.” Instead of a baby blue Bentley, they get picked up in a horse-drawn carriage that takes them to the Rose ‘N’ Thorn Ranch, where they’ll be participating in a stunt show taught by the stunt coordinator of Disney’s The Lone Ranger. Whoever ends up as Desiree’s hero will get some special alone time.
They learn to lasso, quick draw and fight for justice, and Juan Pablo incorporates his Spanish to easily win the competition. Dan splits his pants. If I were to give Juan Pablo a nickname, it would be Puss in Boots. But no nickname is necessary. For he is Juan Pablo.
They eat popcorn and watch The Lone Ranger, and she calls it the best date she’s had in forever. He feeds her popcorn, they kiss and I think I am falling for him, too. Maybe a teensie bit more tongue than we needed to see, though.
And the Rose Goes To…
Desiree spends some QT with Bryden, who doesn’t quite know when or how to make the moves. Just like last week, she has to initiate the kisses, but then he jumps all in.
Zak smothers her with praise, and they laugh over his vain misstep in trying to kiss her earlier. They do not try again.
James thinks they’re very similar and feels comfortable and at home with her, but he’s having a tough time connecting with her amid all the other guys combined with his dad’s health problems. He flat out asks if he’s wasting his time or if she thinks he could be someone she sees himself with, and she reassures his waning confidence with a rose.
In our weekly Abreva alert moment, James becomes the third person Desiree kisses on this date. It’s like a high school spin-the-bottle party.
Ben D-Bags It Up
Chris Harrison tells everyone there’s no cocktail party, and instead they’ll be having a relaxed and chill pool party in the afternoon. And just because he hasn’t gotten much screen time this week, it’s apparently important for Ben to remind everyone he’s still here.
He grabs Des for a 15-minute Bentley ride right when she steps out of the car, without the other guys knowing. He talks about Brody some more, because cute kids help you get into single ladies’ pants. But she thinks he’s sweet and humble and treats a girl the way she should be treated.
The other contestants spot them making out in the car, and Michael G. is pissed that Ben keeps using underhanded tactics to steal alone time. But they leave the drama for yo momma and just have fun in the sun.
The only disturbing parts were when the guys all gathered in one tiny hot tub and shook their arms and chests like they were in a Seaside Heights boardwalk club, as well as when Dan gave Desiree a pizza (“Will you be my girlfriend? Is this too cheesy?”) and I’m noticing how tight his face skin is. Dude’s definitely had some work done.
Chris says he’ll take a step back since he already has a rose, while Ben repeatedly lies about already having gotten some one-on-one time. Mikey T. thinks he deserves a punch in the face, so he pulls Ben aside and confronts him about it, claiming it’s about to get physical.
Michael G. joins them, but all they do is call him a liar, say they don’t trust him and won’t be friends with him. Ben says it was his little secret with Des, and that he doesn’t kiss and tell.
Brandon cries to Des about the first time a father figure threw a ball back to him, and I just can’t write about him anymore. But he promises he won’t ever hurt her or take her for granted, and he’s falling in love with her. He grabs her and kisses her and this dude is way too serious and making me uncomfortable. He says she consumes his mind, and there’s not much else to think about other than how perfect and meant to be they are. I’ve already written too much. Ugh.
Finally, Some Roses
Because this feels more like a five-hour episode instead of two. Seriously, even I feel like this recap is too long. “Mr. Big” James, Hashtag Kasey and one-knee shoe-tier Chris are safe, and since forgettable financial adviser and dirtbag Brian is gone, only two men are going home.
Getting roses are:
Iraq vet Bryden
Fab ab Zak W.
Chucks-with-his-tux Zack K.
Diabetic fountain-climber and gossip girl Michael G.
Plumber Mikey T.
That means way-too-serious-and-already-in-love adrenaline junkie Brandon and forgettable beverage sales guy Dan are going home.
Dan feels like he’s missing out, but we haven’t seen anything from him. Good-looking guy, though. Tight face.
Brandon is blown away and tells Des he just doesn’t understand. She says he’s an amazing person, just not for her. He calls the whole experience a big mistake, and she chases after him to say she wanted to send him home now before he got in any deeper.
He got his heart smashed by a hammer, and it’s horrible because he was in love. Once again, another person left him, and he’s too devastated to even cry. I feel for the guy, but dude, just for next time, you came on a little strong…
Next week, it’s off to my hood, good old post-Sandy Atlantic City! There will be helicopter rides, a Mr. America pageant and more Ben drama, plus the first guy who ruins his chances by confronting Desiree to let her know another guy in the house isn’t there for the right reasons.
Whether or not it needs to be said, it never ends well for the guy (or gal) who does it. Tune in next week to see if the rule applies to Bryden as well. See you then.
You can watch The Bachelorette every Monday at 8pm on ABC.
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Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Emmy-winning news producer & former BuddyTV blogger. Lover of Philly sports, Ned, Zoe, Liam and Delaine…not in that order