I have good news to report: Andrew S., the faux-Brit, has hung on for another week and will fight on to be in the finale!
I’m talking, of course, about Andrew’s semipro Austrian football team, the Vienna Vikings, who won their semifinal on Sunday and will play in the Austrian Bowl next week against the Swarco Raiders. Oh, you wanted to know about The Bachelorette? Yeah ... Andrew didn’t make it. He was sent home in a heartbreaking exit straight out of the third act of a rom-com—only without the happy ending.
Andrew stood out from the beginning because of his winning strategy of almost exclusively speaking in a posh London accent despite being from Chicago. But since his one-on-one date with Katie, he had begun to trust his relationship and thus drop the Brit persona. Huge mistake—proper mad, innit! On Monday night, Andrew felt strong enough about Katie to tell her that he was falling for her—but his assurance only highlighted Katie’s hesitance. With hometowns next week, only four contestants could survive, and Andrew was the man left out.
Katie is clearly crushed by her decision to send Andrew home. It’s the first time she’s been upset to see someone leave—most episodes have centered on Katie harshly and vindictively eliminating scummy guys. But after seeing Andrew drive away, she collapses to the ground. When a producer comes over to comfort her, she says that it’s the first elimination she “wasn’t fully confident” about, and that “she had to just hope it was the right choice.”
But when a Bachelorette producer hears a lead admit they might be second-guessing a decision, a big alarm goes off in their head and they do everything they can to make things more confusing. Much to Katie’s surprise, Andrew didn’t immediately fly back to Europe to rejoin the Vikings—instead, he shows up at her doorstep the next morning. After a night of contemplation, both Katie and Andrew are more composed—he doesn’t try to change her mind, and she doesn’t offer to take him back. They talk about how meaningful their relationship was—notably, in the past tense—and both seem content with the choice. They part on positive terms. But then, as Andrew is leaving, he slips her a note: “If you change your mind … I’ll be waiting.” After briefly finding peace with her choice, Katie is once again flustered. She bolts out of her hotel room, frantically looking around for any sign of where Andrew went. She sprints down the stairs—I guess the elevator is slow—and catches him in the lobby. “ANDREW!” she screams. He turns around, starts beaming when he sees her, and she jumps into his arms. The Bachelorette sound team cranks up the most romantic stock music they have as the two hug and kiss.
After that whole production, though, Andrew turns down Katie’s invitation to stay on the show. (I guess the “if you change your mind ... I’ll be waiting” thing was more of a hypothetical.) She did, after all, just dump him. And though he’s caught off guard by his own choice—afterward, he stares off into space and says “She fucking sprinted down the stairs, and I said no?”—it’s probably the right call. Katie was clearly swept up in the romance of the moment, and still has four strong relationships with other guys. Andrew made the safe bet that staying would have just set him up for another dumping.
This is about as good as The Bachelorette can be. The show can be predictable, but I was caught off guard by just about all of this. I wasn’t expecting Katie to dump Andrew; I wasn’t expecting Andrew to leave that note; I wasn’t expecting Katie to chase after him; I wasn’t expecting Andrew to say no. Of course, these moments can only happen when there are actual emotions involved. If Katie were just going through the motions, she would’ve just let Andrew walk; if Andrew just wanted to be on TV, he would’ve accepted Katie’s offer to stay. The formula is fun, but this show really hits its peaks when the contestants care, a feeling that’s impossible to fabricate.
Worst Vibes: Mike the Virgin
Mike the Virgin gets a coveted one-on-one date with Katie, who is hoping their first alone time of the season can push their relationship to the point where he’ll become a realistic candidate for hometowns. Unfortunately, the man who has never experienced physical love decides to repeatedly bring up the only love he’s ever known: his mother’s.
Things start off well. Katie tells Mike that although she had never considered dating a virgin, his openness and perspective has changed her thinking, and she vows to be less judgmental when she hears someone is saving themselves for marriage in the future. Then the two begin cuddling, at the behest of a cuddling expert named Cuddle Queen Jean, who coaches them through a variety of non-sexual holds. At first, the two are clearly nervous, awkwardly giggling instead of relaxing, but over the course of the date, Katie and MTV get more comfortable with finding comfort in each other’s bodies. Perhaps … a little bit too comfortable.
In an interview, Mike says that the experience reminds him of when his mother used to scratch his head as a child to put him to sleep. At first, I was willing to give Mike the benefit of the doubt here—maybe some producer coaxed him into this off-putting comment. But Mike just kept bringing in the mom comps, eventually concluding that while his mom is “the best woman I know ... at some point, every boy has to move on.” (More like Oedipus No-Sex, amirite!) He even tells Katie, in the middle of them spooning, that “you remind me of my mom.” She chuckles and responds, “That’s a lot!” (I AGREE.)
Katie steps away from MTV and thinks things over for a bit. When she comes back, she’s crying, and she tells Mike that he simply hasn’t made the progress he needed to earn a hometown date. This feels broadly true, but it’s also underselling the situation. Mike didn’t just fail to progress—he came out and waved the largest, reddest flag available from the summit of Cringe Mountain. He said his first physically intimate moment with his potential partner reminded him of his mom. There’s no coming back from that.
Worst Lie: Brendan
Coming into Monday night’s episode, there were two guys who had never gotten one-on-one dates: Mike the Virgin and Canadian “firefighter trainee” Brendan. (Just so we’re clear: Being a firefighter trainee does not mean you are a firefighter.) As it becomes clear that only one of the two will get a one-on-one Monday night, the two stare each other down when the group date card arrives. When Brendan’s name is on the list, everybody knows that MTV got the one-on-one.
Looking for answers, Brendan heads over to Katie’s room. (One weird thing about these quarantined seasons: Everybody seems to know where the Bachelorette’s room is! Why don’t they try to visit her more often if they need one-on-one time so badly?) Brendan thinks he’s going to save himself here—he says that every time they talk, the banter is fine, so “it’s gonna go fuckin’ great.” He puts on some Chapstick and knocks on her door.
Brendan explains that he’s feeling good about their relationship, but hasn’t had the time to let her in on his feelings. “I feel like we can take over the world together,” he says. “My dad would love to drink beers with you,” he adds. Unfortunately for him, “chugging Molson with a dad” is not high on the list of Katie’s needs. “I’ma stop you right there,” she says, cutting him off before he can plan out any more father-daughter-in-law drinking sessions. She says that although she “felt” a connection with Brendan, she doesn’t think it’s there anymore, and thinks it would be cruel to even keep him around for a group date. Brendan packs his bag and pays a visit to Blake (who is shirtless) to let him know that he’s going home. “We had an agreement that moving forward, I gotta go home.”
Yeah, sure, you guys had an “agreement.” Brendan agreed that his dad would be best bros with Katie, while Katie agreed that she had no future with Brendan. Truly, a conscious uncoupling between two sides who definitely saw eye to eye.
Brendan hoped that because the dumping happened in private and not during a rose ceremony, he could sell it a little bit better. Unlucky for him, his completely un-mutual dumping was filmed for TV and we all know the truth. Not that anybody bought it for a second—the next day at breakfast, all the guys are talking about how Katie “sent Brendan home.” You can tell that Brendan isn’t a fully trained firefighter yet, because his attempts to stomp out this blaze totally failed.
Most Cliché Moment: The Damn Fish Toss
When Katie announced that her one-on-one date with Greg would be Seattle-themed, I screamed one request at the television: Just don’t do the fish toss thing.
You know the fish toss thing? Whenever Seattle is shown on TV or in a movie, you see only one thing: The guys throwing fish at the Pike Place Market. (Why do they throw fish? No clue. I think for TV?) On the last season of The Bachelor, Seattle native Kimberly introduced herself to Matt James by throwing a fish at him—and was eliminated that same night. Clearly, like me, Matt didn’t want Seattle’s entire essence to be reduced to one tourist attraction.
Katie’s date with Greg has more variety. They replicate the disgusting Seattle Gum Wall; they play football, because Katie is apparently a member of the 12th Man; they eat oysters, because those are presumably fresh in Seattle. (Not fresh at all in New Mexico, though—Katie vomits after eating hers.)
But then, of course … they throw a giant fake fish.
The fish tossing is actually pretty enjoyable—Katie accidentally wallops Greg in the face with one toss; Greg takes down a light fixture with an overzealous toss. But still: I’m angered at the lack of creativity. I swear, there has to be something interesting about Seattle besides the fish toss. Please, tell me! I want to know! I’m never going to go there myself because every television show has convinced me there’s not much to the place besides airborne halibut.
Most On-Brand: Blake
This episode’s group date is art-themed. Because we’re in New Mexico, the men are shown some paintings that are strongly Georgia O’Keeffe–themed but are not actually by Georgia O’Keeffe. (The men really key in on the fact that the paintings are suggestive of female anatomy, blowing straight past the text and focusing entirely on the subtext.)
Eventually, the men are instructed to make their own art—and all eyes turn to Blake. During his stint on the last season of The Bachelorette, Blake was also featured on an art date—and used the opportunity to make a sculpture of a penis.
The other three art pieces on the group date are forgettable—it is surprising, though, that Justin, who billed himself as a painter, makes a painting primarily composed of stick figures—but everyone’s just focused on Blake anyway. Will he do more sex art? The answer, of course, is yes. It’s unclear exactly what he drew, since the entire thing is blacked out by censors. But clearly, it’s a sex thing.
(He says that “not a lot of species can do” the specific sexual act he drew, which really makes me curious.)
Earlier, I said this show is at its best when it’s unpredictable. But I take that back: This show is at its best when everybody expects the show’s horniest guy to make more crude sex art, and he pulls through. I really hope he’s allowed to jerk off at this point.