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‘The Bachelorette’ Recap: Bright Lights, Big City, and … Camels?

Becca and the contestants went to Las Vegas this week, and while they spent more time doing uncomfortable outdoor activities than partying in glitzy casinos, the drama of Sin City was still out in full force

ABC

The fun part of The Bachelorette is officially over. In case you needed confirmation of this, Monday night’s episode took place in Las Vegas, a city where people go to do fun things, and next Monday’s episode will be in Richmond, Virginia, a place where people go to, I don’t know, form governments for unsuccessful splinter states?

But outside of the episode locales, the plotline of the season is also trending toward the un-fun. I genuinely think the first three episodes of this season were my favorite run of episodes to open a Bachelor/Bachelorette season ever. They were defined by the comically poor choices of men who stood no chance at winning the show: Connor, who got so upset by his loss in an obstacle course race that he hurled a framed picture into a pool; Clay, the NFL player who injured himself playing in a game of Bachelorette football against software engineers and venture capitalists and may have endangered his career; and, of course, Jordan and David, who were locked in a war to convince the viewing audience that the other’s clothing choices were dumber. (For some reason, David thought that repeatedly bringing up the fact that the girl he was trying to date had bought his rival special underwear was a great zing.)

But the roster of enjoyable unwinnables is thinning. Monday night, Jordan and David went on a two-on-one date in the middle of the Nevada desert. Normally, this means that by the end of the episode one of the two will be sent home, so David focused all his attention on knocking Jordan out of the game. For the second time this season, he said that Jordan had been bragging that other women were interested in him, and that Jordan implied he would be “settling” for Becca. Jordan fervently denied this claim, repeatedly asserting that saying one might “settle for” a woman is the worst thing anybody could say to her. (Jordan has apparently never been on Twitter.) Instead of buying David’s claim, Becca decides that David cares less about her than he does about getting Jordan eliminated, and kicks him off the show, stranding him in the desert without a ride. This was heartening—Jordan, while cast as the villain, is actually one of the most entertaining contestants the show has had in years. David was a sniveling narc who dedicated his time on the show to policing the sanctity of a competition to which he showed up in a chicken costume.

With David gone, Jordan got to go on a solo date with Becca. While she had previously seemed entertained by Jordan’s playfulness, her eyes glazed over as he delivered a manifesto on his very strict beauty regimen. Jordan might have been entertaining, but he didn’t provide much of a romantic connection, so Becca eliminated him as well, forcing her to watch a previously planned fireworks show all by herself.

I wanted Jordan to make it through because he’s the best part of the show. Every week, his quotes got better and better. (This week: “I have different things I can do with my face.” “Being handsome is great, but being handsome doesn’t get the job done: It’s all about skin care, hair care, clothing, and what to wear for occasions.” And a completely unironic, “She looks like a snack.”) But Becca has decided that her quest for love is more important than letting the most entertaining contestants hang around.

Hypothetically, the point of the show is romance-related (though we’re all really watching for the foolish high jinks of dumb men). But this is the part where the show gets duller, and that dullness will be compounded by Becca, who was chosen for this role due to her story line rather than her personality. The last few Bachelorettes have all been preposterously charismatic; Becca wasn’t even the most charismatic contestant whose name was pronounced “be-ka” on her season of The Bachelor.

But her engagement with Arie ended with a brutal, nationally televised dumping, perhaps the most stunning thing ever seen on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, so she’s here—and, less than halfway into her own season, she’s already starting to treat every misstep from her suitors like it’s evidence they could be Arie 2.0. Becca, for her part, deserves to give her potential partners a lot of scrutiny after her traumatic breakup. But that doesn’t mean it will be fun to watch.

Least Romantic Moment: Wayne Newton

Oddly, there wasn’t a whole lot of Vegas glitz and glamor in this episode. Jordan and David literally sat in the desert, and Colton’s one-on-one date involved riding camels. I guess Vegas’s tourism board is trying to emphasize the “physically uncomfortable outdoor activities” segment of the city’s economy.

The group date, however, paid a visit to the mansion of Mr. Las Vegas himself—Wayne Newton! (Well, legally, it’s not his mansion—he sold it a few years ago, because he was broke, because did you see how many horses and private planes he bought? But he’s allowed to live there, an added perk for visitors who pay to see what is now a Newton-themed museum.) There, Newton commissioned the contestants to write song lyrics about Becca, to the tune of his song “Danke Schoen,” a song you probably know best when lip-synced by Matthew Broderick. It seems unfair that Newton would force everybody else to do on-the-spot songwriting to that tune since Newton himself didn’t even write it, but when you get shuttled en masse to Wayne Newton’s former house, you have to do what he says.

To demonstrate how love and music are intertwined, the septuagenarian sang the chorus—then asked his wife to come into the room, and sang the song again to her. He asked everybody to notice the additional passion and glow that he sang with when singing to his wife. The point didn’t exactly get across—the only glow I noticed was from the Presidential Orange hue of Newton’s face. Every second Newton was on screen viscerally upset me.

Most Dramatic: Chris

Chris was emboldened by the songwriting group date—after all, he’d just gone on another songwriting date two episodes ago. Richard Marx—[a Bachelorette producer zaps me with a taser]—sorry, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Richard Marx already gave Chris one-on-one instructions on how to put his feelings about Becca to music, so he knew he was going to do a great job. I can’t remember a time the show doubled up on a date premise so blatantly and so quickly—hopefully this means we’ll get another date where Lil Jon tells people to smash stuff with hammers again soon too.

Chris thought he did so well with his songwriting and singing early on in the evening that he decided he didn’t need to talk to Becca for the rest of the group date. Unfortunately, she chose to give her rose to one of the men who actually did speak to her privately in addition to writing her song lyrics at Wayne Newton’s behest.

After this snub, Chris got upset, threatening to leave the show. When Becca found out about this, she began to wonder if his interest in her was genuine—after all, he was willing to give her up rather easily. To prove that he was serious about Becca, Chris decided that he needed to talk to her again. And to prove that he was willing to fight for her, he refused to stand down when it turned out she was already talking to Wills, another contestant. Wills agreed to cede time to Chris and stepped aside for “two minutes” (by my count: 39 seconds) before returning to tell Chris his time was up. Chris attempted to beg Wills for more time, saying his own conversation was “legitimately serious,” implying that Wills’s wasn’t. When Wills refused to give Chris more time, Chris fussily exited, saying it was “unreal” and again threatening to leave.

So, in summary, Chris:

  • Believed his songwriting performance was so incredible that it instantly vaulted him ahead of all the other contestants
  • Believed that his lack of a rose after the songwriting performance was evidence he needed to leave
  • Was so put off by Becca’s disappointment in his threatened departure that he demanded to have a conversation with her immediately
  • Was so put off that this immediate conversation wasn’t as long as he wanted that he threatened to leave

And here’s what we know about Becca’s dating history:

I’m not sure “impulsive mood swings” is the look you want here, my guy.

Best Foreshadowing: Whichever ABC Producer Kept This Shot In

As we saw in an earlier promo, at some point this season Colton will admit to Becca that he is a virgin. On The Bachelor, virgins aren’t allowed to have multiple personality traits—they are virgins and that’s it. So as Colton and Becca walked toward their camels on their one-on-one date, we got this shot:

Best Outfit: Wills

I ragged on Wills for his custom “Wills” sweatshirt a few weeks back, but I’m all in on his RompHim:

Worst Conversation: Wills

At the heart of the Wills/Chris conflict was the fact Wills, at the time of Chris’s invasion, was in conversation with Becca. Wills felt he had an inalienable right to continue his conversation and refused to have that right trampled.

And what was the topic of this oh-so-important conversation? For the 37th time this season, Wills and Becca were discussing being nerds. “I’m actually kind of a dorky nerd,” Becca said. “Amazing. I love it,” Wills responded. After Chris left, they immediately went back to discussing being nerds.

Look, I’m pro-nerds. I think of myself as a nerd, especially with regard to low-level college basketball, weird international sports, and geography. There’s something deeply beautiful about being unabashedly passionate about something that’s perceived to be unpopular or niche.

But since the moment Wills introduced himself to Becca as a “closet nerd,” I still haven’t really heard Wills say what he’s nerdy about! He mainly just likes talking generally about being a nerd. (He does have an “expecto patronum” tattoo, meaning he has one of the most well-known spells from the most popular book series in world history commemorated on his body.) Have they ever spoken about anything else? I can picture long nights after Wills and Becca get married when they sit next to each other in front of a blank television screen, shouting “You are such a NERD” as they watch nothing, because neither of them is actually nerdy about anything.