Arguably the most contentious relationship in franchise history is about to explode on The Bachelorette, and looking back at all the volatility over the years, that designation says a lot. Yes, Shawn B. is one of many who have declined the invitation to join the Nick Fan Club. Only he really, really doesn’t like Nick.
So, as you can imagine, he’s less than psyched to hear that the woman he covets, like Lennie loves rabbits, was intimate with another man, especially when that man is his one-sided self-appointed arch-nemesis. The Fourth of July may be in the rear-view mirror, but that doesn’t mean the fireworks are over.
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The tryst, combined with Kaitlyn’s ill-timed late-night proclamation to Shawn that he’s “the one,” prompted Chris Harrison to decide that Kaitlyn is not responsible enough to meet four families. So she has two more tough calls to make in whittling her field down from five before she gets to have sex three more times and send another guy packing. Then it’s hometown times two.
Since leaving cupcake Chris in a crumbled heap of sprinkles and sobs on the Irish countryside, she has for some reason decided to ease her own guilt by “being honest” about the sordid details of her not-supposed-to-be-an-overnight date.
And based on the amount of sexy time that apparently goes on behind the scenes of other seasons, I’m wondering if that decision is why we’re even aware they went as far as they did. As the slut-shaming continues over the fact that she did it three weeks earlier than is apparently acceptable, it appears she has the semblance of a conscience, whereas most of the guys don’t think twice about it.
But still, don’t expect the confession to go over well.
Erin Go Bragh-less
The five remaining suitors are lamenting Chris’ departure in their Killarney hotel when the date card — Let’s Make Today Unforgettable — arrives for Buble Ben. They paddle a rowboat along the countryside, because everything in Ireland involves either drinking or the countryside, and end up at Innisfallen Island for a free-spirited game of hide and seek. Ben finds her and is rewarded with kisses, which is the same way my first-ever girlfriend and I ended a basketball game on our second date at the age of 15 (I won … and so did she).
At night, they share an Irish coffee by a roaring fire, and he opens up about his biggest fear. He loved his last girlfriend, which ended with him questioning her true feelings and made him wonder if he’s unlovable. She reassures him by saying that she’s falling for him, and he returns the sentiment.
She asks for his thoughts about the fantasy suite coming before the hometown, and he says that, for him, it’s not about getting down and dirty, but he’s excited to talk all night and get to know her better away from the cameras. She reads into his comments and flat-out asks if he’s a virgin, and he cracks up with a hearty no. But he’s glad he comes off as innocent and pure-hearted, and she dubs their date the benchmark for how she should feel going into the overnights. Then she asks how he lost his virginity.
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When Irish Eyes are Crying
The group date card — Let’s Let Our Love Run A-Muck — goes to Joe, Nick and Shawn, the latter of whom is clearly peeved he’s not getting a one-on-one. And even though he doesn’t have a clue how Kaitlyn could be falling for Nick, and despite the fact that she told him they’re taking a step back, Shawn continues his I-need-constant-validation backwards thinking of “This is her chance to show exactly how she feels about me.” He’s supposed to be winning her, not vice versa.
She meets the guys in Killarney National Park, which resembles the countryside, and Shawn does the first stealing. After a week of sitting on the sidelines, he’s ready to turn the step back into a giant leap forward. Let’s get past my needy tendencies, he says, and jump even further ahead of where we were before. But wait, she wants to say, you have trust issues, so you should probably know I banged Nick.
She’s distracted by the fact that she wants to have fun and avoid serious conversations, and luckily, Nick swoops in before she can drop the bombshell.
Dumping the Moonshine
Joe is stressed out and hesitant to take any initiative, probably because he recognizes that he’s the fourth wheel. She has to pull him aside, and there’s an obvious distance between them that he is apparently oblivious to. She asks if he’s ready for marriage, and he awkwardly leans in for a kiss, talking about a 60-year relationship and being the happiest guy in the world. It’s uncomfortably cringe-worthy all around, and she responds to his “I love you” by telling him they’re not on the same page.
“No worries, man,” he says, before giving her a hug and asking what he’s supposed to do next. When she says this is goodbye, he responds with, “I’m not saying shit to you right now.”
One more down, one to go.
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Confessions of a Sexaholic
The date seems set to continue with Nick and Shawn, but Kaitlyn doesn’t feel comfortable giving out a rose at this point. Her conversation with Nick was great, but she’ll see him later because she’s spending the rest of the day with Shawn. Nick is confused, while Shawn gloats, but those tables are about to turn. And the date card makes no sense, as if there is a severe lack of muck.
Over Guinness and wine at a cozy little joint called Gaby’s, Kaitlyn is compelled to be open and honest. Here’s how I think she should frame the confession, to all the guys: “Yes, I had sex with Nick. But if you make it to the fantasy suite, I’ll have sex with you too. All of you. Then everyone will be even.”
Instead, I watch my fiancee turn her head and mutter, “Oh, god. Oh my god. Oh god,” unable to watch as Kaitlyn admits to “going too far.” Shawn sits in stone-faced silence for a minute or so, then asks if she regrets it. She stops short of admitting that, but she did feel guilt, and he has no idea why she’s telling him this right now. He takes a bathroom break to regroup, unwisely leaving his beer on the table. Rookie mistake.
A Roller Coaster of Shawnmotions
He returns from the little boys’ room to say he appreciates her honesty, and while he is upset and has made his feelings known about Nick, he’s focused on Kaitlyn because she’s what he wants. So he’s going to man up, fight his way through it and try not to be mad, as she and this relationship are worth it. He’s sick to his stomach, but on the outside, he stays surprisingly cool and collected. We’ll see how long that lasts.
I have to give him credit, though, because I anticipated a complete freak-out. He excused himself and then showed an unexpected maturity. He returns to the hotel, sits down with Jared and Nick, and shows even more restraint by not mentioning anything.
But then he doesn’t sleep on it, and overthinking has only led to more questions that he needs answered before he can accept a rose. So if he doesn’t hear what he needs to hear, he’s going to walk away from love.
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A Pre-Rose Shawnfest
Much to Jared’s chagrin, there will be no cocktail party, as Kaitlyn’s mind is made up. So it’s straight to the rose ceremony, where three will stay and one will go. She believes that she’s made the right decisions, but it’s still been painful to get to this point.
The first rose goes to Shawn, who says they need to have a talk first, thus continuing the trend of every … single … episode … being … all … about … Shawn. He understands that there are other connections and relationships, but he doesn’t get what she sees in Nick.
“Why would you do that to jeopardize us?” he asks, because after all, she told him he was the one. She responds that she’s here to explore other relationships because she’ll never get to do that again (unlikely, but hopefully), and reiterates that the whole “you’re the one” thing was a mistake. She tells him to trust her and that she has to figure out things for herself, because this is The Bachelorette and not The Make Shawn Feel Secure Show.
They return to the group, and he “absolutely” accepts the rose. The remaining posies go to:
That means it’s the end of the line for Love-Man Jared, who managed to defy expectations and stick around to the final four. I never anticipated him making it this far, but he kept stealing time and forging a connection in the best of ways.
Even at the end, he’s the consummate gentleman, offering her his jacket when they sit down outside. He tells her she’s a great person, that he’s glad he met her, that she’ll always have a special place in his heart and that he wants her to be happy. So she’d better find the man of her dreams because she deserves it. Classy to the end. Now back to being a terrible superhero who cries in limousines. Until, of course, Bachelor in Paradise comes a-calling.
Tell Me Your Sins
The guys pack their bags for Cork, Ireland, where all three will get a one-on-one date and a chance to knock boots in the fantasy suite. Nick is up first, and Kaitlyn wonders if their passionate relationship extends beyond the physical.
They walk around a cathedral, and Nick explains how confession works and how he, just like me and every other kid, confessed that he swore and was mean to his sibling(s). He also had immense guilt after the first time he touched privates, which reminds me of when my friend Matt asked if looking at Playboy was a sin. The priest asked what he thought, and he said he believed it was. So the priest confirmed his fears, and he came out of the booth with new, un-objective and terrifying information for all of us.
Nick gets to talk about his past and how his parents met in church, and she finds his openness and vulnerability appealing. Over lunch, she recognizes that their connection is spiritual as well. Some locals join the party, and they drink and have a unintelligible craic. And despite the fact that Nick is scared of getting hurt again, that won’t stop him from following his heart.
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Return to the Nick Lagoon
While Shawn slowly stews in his jealous rage over Kaitlyn spending time with him, Nick and Kaitlyn head to a jail for the evening part of the date. He decides that if they’re going to have a relationship, he needs to be honest, and that means talking smack about Shawn.
He has no respect for people who project insecurity (that’s hitting the nail on the head), don’t give people a chance and brag about being Eskimo brothers with famous country stars because they had sex with the same girl on the same night. She really needs to just pick Ben at this point, right? That’s the drama-free choice.
The thunder rolls and the lightning crackles as they dive into a dark conversation about the growing rift. But she’s not going to judge them because she knows they’re both good guys.
She’s happy about Nick, though, so she wants to get back to the good times. He whispers niceties, and they retire to a fantasy cell with damp mattresses for a second go-round. It’s fine with Nick because he’s happy anywhere they’re together, but it’s a prank before they head off to the Fota Island Hotel and Spa for pants-less fun.
You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry
After a night of truly getting to know each other, the happy couple shares a room service breakfast and witty banter in the morning. Nick complains about the Irish bacon being ham, which Kaitlyn likes, and Nick says, “That’s because you’re Canadian.”
Back at the hotel, Shawn calls information for Nick’s room number, then pays him a visit to get all the negativity off his chest. It’s about being a man (Shawn mans up a lot, which annoys me and, I’m sure, turns Kaitlyn on) and putting people down to their faces instead of talking behind their backs, like all the other guys have done.
He doesn’t think Nick is here for Kaitlyn, and if she saw the side of him that everyone else sees, a better man would be sitting across from him. He calls Nick manipulative and arrogant, and if she ends up with him, Shawn is fine with that because they’re completely different people.
Nick agrees with him on that point, but he’s curious as to how Shawn knows so much about him without ever making an effort to even talk to him. Shawn responds that it’s based on Nick’s “reputation” from the previous season and the fact that dozens of guys have spoken negatively of him between then and now, and either he’s oblivious or just doesn’t give a shit.
“Beat him up! Beat him up!” my fiancee chants.
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To Be Continued…
The aggression continues next time, with Shawn all but threatening Nick as Kaitlyn feels the hatred between them. It’s jealousy versus arrogance, and I don’t care if you’re Team Nick or Team Shawn, neither of them is painted great in this light.
For me, though, Shawn looks much worse, but maybe that’s only because I don’t question Nick’s motivations or genuineness. I’m sure you’ll let me know what you think in the comments section.
As an epilogue, Brady is going back to Nashville so that he and Britt can try the long-distance thing. (Is it just me or do they not seem super enthused about each other anymore? Maybe that whole showering thing got in the way again.) And then they can both be on Bachelor in Paradise.
You can watch The Bachelorette every Monday at 8pm on ABC.
(Image courtesy of ABC)