The second episode of any reality show like The Bachelorette has the potential to be dull. We don’t know the characters well enough to have true favorites yet and they don’t know each other well enough to have beef, and in the overall meaninglessness of a dating show that hardly ever leads to marriage, there’s little at stake behind the interactions between the lead and her suitors. Meanwhile, she’s forced to herd large groups of random guys into mega-sized group dates, most of which feature arbitrary competitions from which the winner gets nothing. But sometimes, the men of The Bachelorette pull through by finding a way to get unnecessarily competitive about the foolish tasks asked of them. And that’s how an episode like this can end up being great.
On Monday night, the men fighting for Becca were forced to put on tuxedos and ruin them by completing a muddy marriage-themed obstacle course. Whoever designed this obstacle course clearly didn’t put much thought into what would make a compelling race—one obstacle about “not getting cold feet” simply involved standing in a cold tub until a sandglass timer expired—but nobody cared if the race made sense, because the only prize was the right to take a “wedding picture” with Becca. Like I said: arbitrary and meaningless.
Lincoln, the winner of the race, however, decided that his victory was one of the greatest accomplishments of his life. He prominently placed his framed picture with Becca on a table in plain sight of other contestants, and refused to take it down upon repeated requests. Eventually, Connor got angry enough at this repeated act of “disrespect” that he flung Lincoln’s photo into a pool like a frisbee. Lincoln was crestfallen: He told Becca he felt “physically threatened” and later cried while explaining that he had plans to show the picture to his mother. Becca immediately became skeptical of Connor, and for a while, it seemed as if he was in danger of getting kicked off the show. Eventually, Connor saved himself by procuring a picture of himself and asking Becca to throw it into a different pool. Ask any medicine woman, and she’ll tell you: The only way to erase the damage done by hurling somebody else’s picture into a body of water is to hurl your own picture into a different body of water.
After repeated viewings of The Photo Incident, I can’t decide what was funnier: Lincoln’s insistence that the photo was a prized possession of his or Connor feeling so disrespected by the presence of a picture that he needed to drown it. It was the perfect amount of Episode 2 Drama.
Best Beef: Jordan and David
I already told you Jordan was going to be the MVP of this season, and I was right. He is a gift that keeps on giving.
Jordan is a model. As he points out, he’s one of fewer than 100 Wilhelmina male models in the United States. As he also points out, that means he looks good in clothing. However, in this episode, he decides to point out that he also looks good when not wearing clothing. For the second cocktail party of the series, he came out in a pair of briefs and nothing else to greet Becca. (Several other contestants claimed he was “naked” and “walking around with his meat out,” revealing a collective worrisome understanding of the human body.)
Becca seemed lightly bemused by Jordan’s lack of clothing, but David was not. David, who showed up to the first episode of the season wearing a chicken suit, claimed that Jordan’s attire was “disrespectful.” David even became the second cast member of the season to drop a “right reasons” bomb, implying that Jordan was seemingly on the show to draw attention.
This led to a preposterously dumb argument between the two contestants. Here are the dumbest moments of that argument, ranked:
3. David claiming Jordan was “ingenuine,” which Jordan (who previously claimed his IQ was higher than one might expect of an average male model) tried to flip on David by saying he was actually displaying “ingenuity,” which he unfortunately flubbed by pronouncing the word as “ingewinity.”
2. David accusing Jordan of “foul play” and everybody else missing the massive opportunity to mock a guy who previously wore a chicken costume by accusing him of “fowl play.”
1. Jordan yelling, “I wore my underwear! That’s not me trying to get attention!”
Jordan is equal parts conceited, brash, beautiful, and stupid.
Episode MVPs, Juvenile Edition: The Dodgeball Kids
The third and final date of the episode featured a dodgeball competition. Before actually playing, the contestants were grilled on their dodgeball skills by three child actors assigned to amp up their rudeness to 100. Here is one of my favorite clips in Bachelorette history, a guy failing to catch a dodgeball shot out of a jugs machine at 50 miles per hour while a child yells “TRAAAAAAAAAAAASH” at him.
All tweens and teens are capable of ruthlessly roasting adults, but these children are clearly incredible talents. On command, they were meaner than any of the many not-nice adults to ever appear on this show.
Most Confusing Celebrity Cameo: Lil Jon
Arie’s televised dumping of Becca is probably the most interesting thing to happen on The Bachelor in a decade, so of course the show is going to milk that story line for everything it’s worth. Becca’s first one-on-one date of the season was with Blake, and it was Arie-themed: The two went to a warehouse and were given sledgehammers and protective gear, and also license to smash a bunch of items related to her relationship with Arie—a race car, a bunch of televisions playing Arie’s proposal to Becca on loop, a couch that closely resembled the one on which Arie broke up with Becca. (Or perhaps the same couch?)
Then, as the couple got ready to start smashing, they were serenaded by the sweet screaming voice of Lil Jon. (“I’m a big Lil Jon fan!” said Blake. I consider myself pro–Lil Jon, but find it hard to believe that there are “big” Lil Jon fans.) Lil Jon urged them to smash stuff—as Becca hammered a bunch of clay hearts filled with bright powder, Lil Jon yelled, “BREAK THOSE HEARTS JUST LIKE ARIE BROKE YOURS”—and then he disappeared, off to shout things at people elsewhere.
Why was Lil Jon the man for this job? My presumption is that it’s because of the “Turn Down for What” video, wherein a person who is not Lil Jon smashes various objects with his mobile penis. But I’ve always thought of Lil Jon as more of a party yeller, not a destructive yeller. The ideal celebrity cameo for this date would have been Gallagher.
Second-Most Confusing Celebrity Cameo: Fred Willard
Willard showed up last year on The Bachelorette to announce a “dog show”—a great gag, because Willard played the comically unprepared dog show announcer in Best in Show. But on Monday night’s episode, Willard showed up again to announce the dodgeball game. Was Cotton of “bold strategy Cotton, let’s see if it works out” fame unavailable?
Poorest Word Choice: Wills
Wills described his first kiss with Becca as “sultry,” and I hated it.
Best Word Choice: Becca
While smashing Arie-related things, Becca let out an Arie-ism, taking out a pile of champagne bottles with a triumphant “I love that.”
This could go one of two ways: Either Becca still uses Arie’s turns of phrase in her everyday life, indicating that deep down she still subconsciously connects deeply to him and isn’t quite over him. Or Becca knew full well what she was doing and chose to destroy Arie’s stuff while yelling out his signature phrase. I choose to think it’s the latter—like when a character in an action movie kills their rival and sarcastically drops their catchphrase right afterward.
Best Athlete: Leo
There are two former NFL tight ends this season—Clay “The Adobe Port” Harbor and Colton Underwood—and yet, when both men were assigned to athletic activities, they were trounced by amateurs: The Earthen Marina lost his race to Lincoln, and Underwood was repeatedly eliminated from dodgeball games early. (Come on, dude! Your job was catching!)
On the other hand, nobody could knock out Leo, the stuntman with the bellybutton-length hair. Wearing a man bun, Leo was the last man on his team eliminated in all three games. Sure, the pro athletes played sports professionally, but Leo performed stunts in the movie Moneyball, played the role of “baseball player” in the NBC television series Love Bites, and was a stunt double for the video game WWE 2K18. It appears that stuntmen are our greatest athletes.
Episode MVP: Rachel
Last season’s Bachelorette and her fiancé, Bryan—who, of course, she never should have picked, because Peter was better—showed up to guide the men through the obstacle course. She really didn’t need to do anything, but she attacked the job with vigor, repeatedly yelling, “WHAT THAT MOUTH DO,” at men who were trying to speed-eat cake. Becca is fine, but Rachel was truly too good for this show.
Wrong Reasons Alert: Colton
Colton, who I predicted as the show’s winner, pulled Becca aside at one point to discuss a potential problem: In January, he dated Tia, a contestant on the last season of The Bachelor who became friends with Becca. Colton explained that the relationship was little more than “a fun weekend” and that he didn’t feel the same spark with Tia as he does with Becca. Becca is taken aback by Colton’s confession: She admits it even makes her consider sending him home on the spot.
At first, I didn’t get why this was such a big hang-up for Becca. It was just a weekend, right? No big. But the more I think about Colton’s situation, the more skeptical I become. There are 320 million people in America, and it seems rather unlikely that any of the guys picked to be on this show would have randomly dated one of the few dozen women who appeared on recent seasons, right? Like, you have to really try to come into contact with multiple Bachelor contestants, let alone have a romantic relationship with two of them within a few months. Dating multiple Bachelor contestants in a short stint is only acceptable for the person who is the Bachelor; anybody else attempting to try it clearly has some Wrong Reasons up their sleeve.