Sure, the Bachelor and Bachelorette franchise is about finding love. And as we’ve seen in 25 previous attempts, it kinda sorta happens from time to time, occasionally — not really, but hey, that one time, right?

We watch for the drama, the fairy tale, the lavish dates and the attractive and sometimes crazy and evil suitors. But for one night each season, it’s all about the confrontation. And that, my thorny friends, is what’s on tap a week earlier than usual this time around.

In yet another curve ball, the show has pushed up the “Men Tell All” episode, which usually airs one week before the finale so that all but two guys (or gals, in the “Women Tell All”) get to talk about their experiences after they’ve seen them on television. 

But in Desiree Hartsock’s quest for love, a third man either will not be telling his side or will also be appearing on the “After the Final Rose,” which is unusual. But if anything is loose on this show, it’s the rules, right? And since it appears either Drew or Brooks (or Chris? Nah. The family that nasally adjusts together stays together) is unexpectedly leaving next week, they’re saving that drama for the the finale. 

We all know who the spoilers say Desiree ends up with, and we all know who it seems is leaving in the promos, and we all know the unequal emotional rift forming between Des and Brooks. But whether it’s being portrayed that way to throw us off the scent or to lock us on like a bloodhound remains to be seen. Thankfully, Desiree’s season was all about the villains.

So let’s find out what they have to say about their time in the Bachelorette house together. Ben! Brian!! James!!! Sparks shall fly, bombshells shall be dropped and fists of Mikey shall be clenched! On with the show, I say!

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A Different Kind of Bachelorette Party I Don’t Want to Crash

After Desiree crashes some Bachelorette (viewing) parties in Los Angeles and New York City, she sits down with Emily Maynard, Ashley Hebert and Ali Fedotowski to talk about bad boys and how to approach them in this special episode. It serves mainly to remind viewers of the various douchebaggeries these men partook in. Like we needed a refresher.

Send in the Clowns

It’s on to the guys and their tight shirts and testosterone-induced aggression, including a guy dressed like poor Diogo walking through the metal detector in a knight outfit. They should’ve recorded this episode yesterday so that whoever Mikey ends up killing would have a chance to be reincarnated as the royal baby. Can you imagine the fun Chris Harrison would have with that reality show?

Robert is the first one introduced, which reminds me that he was my other first-show favorite along with Drew. Robert will not utter a word the entire show. 

The loudest ovation goes to Juan Pablo, who says the tension is a bit more intense than he expected it to be. Which is amazing, because he’s not anywhere to be seen for most of it. 

This is followed by a compilation reminding us that: Desiree is beautiful, Zak took off his pants, Kasey’s overly-used hashtags, Jonathan was incredibly creepy when it came to his makeshift fantasy suite, Brian had a girlfriend, Ben was hated by all and James wanted to be the next Bachelor.

In all this, it’s worth nothing that Drew has the best color commentary of everyone, highlighted by, “Unfortunately, James will not be America’s next Bachelor, but he is most certainly guaranteed to be America’s next giant assh***.” He’s still my favorite! 

Jonathan, Brian and Words of Wisdom from Juan Pablo

Jonathan first thanks the crowd for not booing him (because everyone kinda forgot about it — then Michael plays his bully card and says, “That’s because no one remembered you.”), then explains that he really sucked that night for what he calls a joke gone wrong. He apologizes to everyone, including the crowd, the guys and Desiree. 

Brian, in light of his secret girlfriend, declines to appear on this show, so all the other guys trash him, especially Kasey. Then way-too-serious-and-already-in-love-adrenaline-junkie Brandon chimes in that that is NOT how you treat a lady! Roaaarr!! Tear. 

Then out of nowhere, Juan Pablo busts out with the wisest monologue in show history. For him, this wasn’t a competition between the guys, because Desiree is the one who decides who she wants. So he was thrown when Ben came in saying he wasn’t there to make friends, because in his mind, he was with 24 other guys and could win as many competitions and get as much alone time as Desiree wanted, but if she didn’t like him, she would pick someone else. 

Shame on all these guys for thinking THEY were the prize instead of Desiree. Could’ve used more nuggets like that from JP when he was still in the house.

Look Kids, Big Ben, Prickliament

Ben is first to take the hot seat, followed by a look back at his time, from Brody to baby blue Bentley to bickering (on the worst two-on-one date ever) to cruising for chicks in the limo. How long does he have to wait to be seen in public with some ladies? Booooooo, says the estrogen-backed audience and their forced-to-be-there whipped mancandy. Why, oh why, can’t I be there? 

Ben regrets the words he chose upon his exit, but he insists that guys act differently around girls than they do around guys, and that’s why there were two Bens. Mikey correctly points out that it must be tough to pull off when you hang out with both your girl and your friends at the same time, and all the guys hammer Ben for being there for the wrong reasons. For Ben’s part, he doesn’t see it and has no idea what they’re talking about.

Then it gets interesting. Beverage sales Dan and his gorgeous fake-tanned face flat out call Ben a deadbeat dad who used his son and didn’t help support or raise him until after the show. Esqueeze me, says Ben. Who are you to comment, leathery minion, on my parenting skills? Well, Dan’s lips ooze between his perfectly-formed chin and slick hair that would make Don Draper jealous, I met your baby mama out in Vegas. Gasp! says the breathless crowd.

So what did Dan learn? Apparently, mom says Ben conceived Brody while cheating on his girlfriend. So no biggie. Chris Harrison brings in the dads on the panel, and Zak says Juan Pablo talked about his daughter in every conversation. This makes the women in the crowd rub hot oil on their skin and strap on shin guards.

Ben says none of these dudes know about how he is as a parent, and that this was a great experience, but it’s time to move on. Thank you and goodnight.

James and the Giant Leech

James has the same deer-in-headlights look he did when the guys were all confronting him, and he hasn’t even been asked anything yet. This should be fun. Flashback to his professions of loyalty and visiting Superstorm Sandy victims to his conversation with Mikey, triple F-you, man tears and turning it all around on Desiree by saying, “If that’s who you think I am, then I should go!” 

Why me, he asks? How did I end up looking like such a bad person? The classic bully claims he got bullied, and the other guys ruined his chances at the love he kinda sorta hoped he might find some day, but if not, you know, he’s cool. 

Chris Harrison asks him to walk us through that fateful conversation, and his version seems benign enough. But he also fills in the gaps by saying, “This, that and the other,” which is generally what you say when you don’t want people to know what you actually said. It’s like yadda, yadda, yadda, but somehow dirtier. 

James even says, “It was just a conversation that men have, REAL men have.” And all us real men are like, oh no you didn’t! The women in the audience are clearly disgusted, and every one of them is wondering why she keeps going for guys like James. 

Dig Your Boots In, It’s Getting Deep

Mikey corroborates the story, saying it was just the two of them lamenting about not getting roses like Brooks, who they considered the opposite of them. But hey, if Brooks is who she wants, they both live in Chicago and they’ll have fun.

I’m not sure what’s said after that, because apparently only big beefy guys who have to explicitly prove how much they love women understand this kind of stuff. (And yeah, Mikey takes a bit of a gay dig at Kasey and Drew, basically saying he and James dream of perfect 10 models cooking them dinner after they do the plumbing, but they don’t know what these guys dream about. And that’s not a quote, just my interpretation of his words.)

But he sums it up by saying you gotta have a plan B in life.

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Kasey Gets a (Verbal) Beatdown, Then Delivers One of His Own

Wait, what, Kasey asks? You’re going to be on the alter with your wife and say, hey, if it doesn’t work out, I’ll find someone else. James does not appreciate the comment.

It’s all he said/she said from this point on, with Kasey reiterating all that he overheard and Mikey getting in his face. But then Kasey differentiates between Mikey and James, directing a blistering tirade at James for pretending to be falling in love while Mikey knew he wasn’t going to win and therefore was more apt to look at the future, and Mikey’s cool with being the better man in that sense. 

When reminded with his exact words at being confronted, James just laughs and says, “I was mad.” But he claims his intentions were true, then tries to steal Juan Pablo’s point that it was all up to Desiree in the end. Juan Pablo replies that while he likes James, he would not want his daughter or sister to date him. Goooooaaaalllllll!!!!! That might be a hat trick for JP. 

Clorox’s Most Bleachable Moment

Was when Jonathan got out of the limo and immediately invited Desiree to the fantasy suite. Backfire!

Getting to Know … Juan Pab-LO (A Poem by Bachelor Chris)

Juan Pablo was the first guy who didn’t garner a nickname, and Chris Harrison calls him the fan favorite who we barely got to know. So let’s give JP and his Spanish flair some screen time. His montage is basically everyone loving him, and he left with tears and confidence that his wife would come. If there’s one guy who has nothing to regret about his time in the house, it’s him. 

He came on the show to find a good woman, one who loves him and loves his daughter. He doesn’t date much because he’s a father first who defies the Latin stereotype, and Chris asks what it would mean to him to find that mate, and if that’s the one thing missing in his life. I think we all see where this is going. Is Juan Pablo the next Bachelor? TBD.

Fab Abs Hit the Stage

Zany Zak W. is next in the hot seat, and we’re reminded of his many sides, from shirtless and pantless goofball wonder to the giver of sweet antique journals, bad sketches and somewhat creepy promise rings. He was blindsided by his departure in a way that reminds us how Ben and James are basically just bad people. 

He knows he comes on strong and takes chances, and he needs someone who is accepting of that and thought it worked for awhile with Des. But he spends half his year on a rig (as a fluid drilling engineer), and at 31 with a bunch of married friends with kids, he has to find creative ways to meet people. So he’s lonely. 

It makes me feel funny that this guy is a year younger than me, because he seems soooo much older and more mature(/desperate?) than me.

Zak wrote Desiree a poem inside the journal in invisible ink, but he doesn’t know if she read it. Doesn’t matter, because Chris Harrison will. I’m going to transcribe it, just so Bachelor Chris can understand other aspects of poetry. 

“Love is it. The only reason to open your home to a stranger, the one creature worthy of surrendering freedom. No risk is too great, no apprehension justifiable. All hope is rooted in it, because love is our only hope for happiness. And I am happy to say that this is love.”

Pfffft, Chris is thinking. That doesn’t even rhyme. 

Enter Desiree

Zak has been waiting for a lofty love, and he found it in Des. He’s still in love with her, and it won’t go away. You lose hope that it could happen, but it’s always there. And this will be the first time he sees Desiree since she dumped him. 

That night, he couldn’t think of a single thing to say. Now, though, he thinks he’s got it locked down. We’ll see.

Des takes aim at Jonathan first, calling him a disgrace to all men. He apologizes, and she accepts.

Brian isn’t there, but Ben is! So let’s trash him! She was into him at first, but he started to distance himself and didn’t show emotion in his eyes. Once he was sent home, his arrogant comments showed his true personality. Ben asks how she could possibly give Michael a rose after how brazen he was on the two-on-one, and Michael wholeheartedly admits he took things too far. But Desiree appreciates his honestly in trying to go about the cause. 

Desiree feels like James always had a backup plan, which included possibly becoming the Bachelor. But she gave him the benefit of the doubt until it became clear to her that it was time to trust her gut. Watching it back, she realizes she was being manipulated on the steps, since James was making her feel bad with his man-boob sweat. James apologizes and wishes her the best, and she ducks behind the couch to dry-heave over his insincerity. 

Des took her relationship with Juan Pablo very seriously, and he understands that when there’s only eight guys left, she might have stronger feelings for other people. But his only question is why he never got a one-on-one date, and she skirts the question before calling him muy caliente. I think it’s because she would’ve gone right for the fantasy suite and the season would’ve been over for the other guys. Like whatever Courtney did to Ben that made him pick her over the other girls.

What Does Zak Want to Say Sing?

Zak was the last elimination, but Desiree just didn’t have the same emotional connection with him. She felt they were very similar and that Zak has a tendency to hide behind his smile, and she questions going home after a bad day and wanting to talk to him when everything is so overwhelmingly positive.

He seems surprised by her candor and is like, holy crap, that’s me and makes total sense. And she’s like, oh, cool, glad you see it now. 

He tells her she looks beautiful, and he has summed up everything he wants to say in a song. It’s way better than his “She Talks to Angels” rip-off and ends with him singing about moving on. It’s as much an audition as a parting gift, though. 


I dunno, they’re sorta funny. But don’t sweat it if you missed them.

A Preview of the 2-Part Finale

This season ends dramatically different from any other, due to circumstances that no one saw coming. It’s the most emotionally-intense finale in the show’s history — like Chris Harrison has never said those words before, but this time, he really means it — and that’s why they had to split it into two parts and move up the “Men Tell All.” So technically, this IS the episode before the finale. Weaksauce.

Things continue to groove along with Brooks, Drew and Chris, with lots of talk from the latter two about spending the rest of their lives with Desiree. Then suddenly, she is heartbroken and wants to go home, and Chris Harrison comforts her. There’s a lot fancy editing that shows us nothing other than everyone crying and Des telling one or two or everyone that it’s over. 

Emily Maynard sums it up in her on-screen tweet: Yikes. 

What do you think is going to happen? Who do you think leaves? Who did you love and hate during the “Men Tell All”? I’ll be on vacation next week, with someone else filling in for part one of the finale, but I’ll be back for the REAL finale in two weeks. Hope to see you then!

You can watch The Bachelorette every Monday at 8pm on ABC. 

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(Image courtesy of ABC)

Bill King

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Emmy-winning news producer & former BuddyTV blogger. Lover of Philly sports, Ned, Zoe, Liam and Delaine…not in that order