Bachelorette Clare Recap: Say That You Love Me
Bachelorette Clare Recap | Episode 2 |
It’s taken me a while to recover from the waves of disconcerting moments from Tuesday night. I spent seventy-five-percent of my time rocking back and forth with my head tucked down into my brand new Rose Apothecary t-shirt, groaning for Our Host Chris Harrison to make it stop.
But it didn’t stop. It was an aco taco parade, full of unsettling therapy sessions, blatant groping exercises, insecure outbursts, flagrant nudity, and denied affection. Let’s not forget the charming use of the phrase “I want a man with balls” that filled an entire thirty minutes of frivolity.
The episode’s festivities ignited a flaming garbage can of vacillating moods for all involved. Does Clare have the emotional capacity to get through any of these dates without assuming everyone hates her? Will Bearded Blake find a bleeding horse head in his bed tomorrow? Is it possible for Jason to ever feel joy again? How many pairs of shoes did Bennett actually bring with him, and what’s the ratio of Belgian loafers to regular loafers?
I guess it doesn’t technically matter what’s going on with all these yahoos. Clare has found her husband, and she’s about to call it quits. Everyone else on this island is just a speed bump in the highway that leads her straight to Dale.
If only she hadn’t signed that pesky contract.
GROUP DATE ONE
Clare is looking for a partner in life who knows her heart, so the producers arrange for nine guys to puzzle through this request by gathering them around a one-story, rocky tower made of papier-mâché. I assume Clare is supposed to be Juliet, peering out of her window, waiting for her Romeo to both rescue her (because she likes that) and commend her for being a strong, independent woman (because she likes that, too).
Harrison walks the guys through the process. This date is all about love languages, and Clare is excited to see how these boys measure up to the famous book that teaches couples how to best relate to their significant other. Nine guys avoid eye contact, shuffling their feet in a semi-circle around Clare’s tower. I’d be willing to bet not one had heard of this phenomenon.
Here’s the gist: People give love and receive love in different ways. According to author Gary Chapman, this occurs through words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch, gift-giving, or quality time. In our first exercise, Clare would like the men to affirm her. They have exactly zero seconds to prepare. Read, set, GO!
Words are hard. Putting them together in front of eight strangers to profess your intentions to a girl you barely know is even more difficult. I give the boys snaps all around for their efforts to make this somewhat normal, yet they all receive failing grades for their final products.
Ben: “I think you’re worth it.”
Lincee: “So does she.”
Ivan: “I have layers, and I want to show you who I really am.”
Lincee: “Clare has layers, too. You can read all about them in a letter she wrote to her younger self.”
Riley: “All but one will leave.”
Lincee: “Are you that one, Riles? Perhaps make that fact more clear the next time you are chatting up our bachelorette. Otherwise, she will assume you mean Dale.”
Speaking of Big Boy, Dale steps up and confesses that he’s forgotten how to love. Until he met Clare, he’s committed to giving her EVERYTHING. He’s here for her, and he doesn’t care who watches the journey unfold.
Clare’s panties drop, but we couldn’t see it because of the aforementioned papier-mâché tower, brought to you by one of the crafter employees at the La Quinta. She gushes on her window seal, delighted by all of the kind words.
The next thing we know, the guys are running like maniacs back to their cabanas. Each grabs something from inside and jets back to the papier-mâché tower room. We’ve reached the gift-giving portion of the date, and all have been instructed to fetch a love token to bestow upon Clare.
You may be wondering why one would have to run like a maniac to procure a “gift” from one’s room. I guess that Our Host pulled that trick that my sister used to play with me. How long will it take you to get me a drink? I’m going to time you. You better hurry.
Replace “drink” with “random item from your room that can be substituted for a gift,” and you’ve got a fun game. Even Harrison needs some whimsy every once in a while. Quarantining is the worst.
Ivan gives Clare the queen piece from his chessboard. Riley parts with a sentimental baseball. Someone hands her a book. Dale gives her perfume for puppies, which totally sounds made up. And Ben presents his favorite t-shirt so she could wear it as a nightgown.
The ABC Intern collects all of the junk and places the nicknacks in a handle bag from the La Quinta gift shop. He then passes out sleep masks.
Is it nap time? What’s going on? Surely, they will not grope each other to experience the physical touch aspect of love languages, right?
Wrong. Instead of shoving Clare and a beau inside a janitor’s closet for an impromptu game of Seven Minutes in Heaven, Harrison invites Clare to get her freak on with each guy. Blindfolded. In front of the other guys. As they watch in horror.
Wait. That was me. I was watching in horror. Can you imagine?
The ironic part is that I hadn’t even reached the other two dates where Clare sucks the joy out of Jason and then makes the other group participants strip naked for a rousing game of dodgeball. A little groping seems like a treasured afternoon in comparison to the other dates.
Harrison breaks up the Fondle Fest by announcing that each man will have some quality time with Clare at the cocktail party. Acts of service is overrated and we need to get this show on the road.
Clare arrives in an electric blue, super skin-tight one-shoulder dress with an exposed gold zipper. She talks to the camera about the wonder that is Dale for about ten minutes.
Clare: “OMG, y’all. Dale is delicious. I want to like what he likes. I want to hate what he hates. I want his exhaled breath to be my inhaled breath. He’s my husband. Did I tell y’all that?”
Producer 1: “Um, Clare Bear. Look, you signed a contract that says you will go along with this journey, no matter what happens. We’re going to need you to talk about someone else.”
Clare: “Okay fine. Are we rolling?”
Clare: “These guys are great. [pause] Was that okay? Do we need another take? Has anyone seen Dale? Has he said anything about me?”
Clare’s handler helps her teeter down the cobblestone path to the wicker couch staging area, where all the gents eagerly anticipate quality time with the bachelorette. Clare confidently strides into the fold, eyes dazzling, lipgloss glistening, riding the validation high from her time in the papier-mâché tower room.
She sits in the middle of the pack and offers a token, “Y’all look great tonight.” Then she proceeds to sit in silence for five seconds, staring at the men gathered around. No one says a word. So, Clare lobs up, “Shall we get this party started?” Again. Nothing.
Clare’s face falls. The viewing audience can practically hear the little devil version of Clare sitting on her shoulder, convincing her that these men are not here for the right reasons, as evidenced by their lack of pushing and shoving to be the first suitor to whisk her away for some alone time.
Someone off-camera unmistakably motions for Bennett to engage with Clare, and he obeys the command. They walk off into the dimly lit staging area inside the clubhouse. Bennett starts a sentence and is instantly shut down.
Bennett: “You know, I’m a Harvard man who…”
Clare [interrupting]: “WHY DIDN’T THOSE GUYS STAND UP?”
Bennett: “Well, I myself was worried about getting my suede shoes wet, so…”
Clare: “I’m sorry. I’m not someone who holds something in. Excuse me.”
Clare’s face transitions from one of questioning to one of aggravation. She hikes back to the wicker couch staging area and throws her hands up in the air in a “WHAT GIVES?” fashion. Sweet bespectacled Jordan approaches Clare to whisk her away, but she waves him off to address the group as a whole.
Clare: “Listen, I made a toast, and then there was the longest, awkward silence. I sat here, embarrassed. Does anyone want to talk to me? Because if y’all just want to bro out with each other, that’s fine. I can go to bed.”
A row of legitimately confused faces, including my own, look at Clare with genuine astonishment. What fresh nonsense is unfolding before me now? I thought Bennett was talking to you. If given a do-over, would “bro out” be the term you would choose to use again?
A few stand up to try and assuage Clare’s outburst, but they are denied. Yosef gallantly attempts to offer sound reasoning by “speaking for the group.” Clare shuts that down, barking at Yosef to speak for himself, not the group. A few other dudes pile on that bandwagon and grumble that Yosef should mind his own business.
In the meantime, Zac attempts to usher Clare away to calm her nerves. She slaps his arm away. Other Zack tries and is brutally rebuffed. Dale stands up and delivers a gentle monologue, falling on his sword on behalf of the entire group (which no one seems to have a problem with) and asks Clare if she would like to cool off in a secluded, dark corner with him. She agrees, and they make out for a few hours.
When the sun threatens to rise over the desert sand, Clare’s handler untangles her from Dale and makes her at least talk to two more beaus. She talks about her emotionally abusive boyfriend to Other Zac and slow dances to an imagined Boyz II Men song with Riley. The producers forbid her from giving the date rose to Dale, so she pins it to Riley’s shirt because she appreciates that he knows who Boyz II Men are and is mindful of her generation’s pop culture.
FIRST ONE-ON-ONE DATE WITH JASON
I’d like to skip over this awful date, but I’m a professional. I understand that you need the facts, no matter how queasy that makes me feel. Of all the “bless his heart” reactions I’ve had in the fifteen years I’ve been recapping this show, Jason’s first date might be the biggest.
Clare makes Jason write a letter to his younger self. If that had been me, I would have told myself how to get to the last level of Super Mario Brothers and encouraged Little Lincee to wear more sunscreen. Never would I ever put my deepest, darkest secrets on paper.
Jason didn’t get that memo.
Clare arrives in a pastel pink child’s romper and merrily walks to the property’s edge with Jason on her arm. Jason notices that there is no picnic spread or a chilled bottle of champagne. There’s just a bonfire, a few pillows, and a pair of 12×12 ceramic floor tiles nestled up against a bamboo basket from Pier One. May they rest in peace.
They squat on the ground, and Jason listens as Clare praises him for being a breath of fresh air. She loves his humor and his jovial personality. And that’s exactly why she chose him to be on this date. She must use the power of her non-existent psychology degree to figure out what demons he’s hiding. No one is that happy.
First, they must scream into the unknown. It’s cleansing. It’s good. Next, she makes him write down every hurtful, negative thing anyone has ever said about him on the ceramic tile. Clare eagerly shares her unkind words.
Clare: “People say I’m needy and hard to love.”
Jason swallows the lump in his throat. “I’m manipulative, selfish, cold, and mean.”
Well this took a turn.
Clare tries to recover, wishing she had explained to Jason that he should write down more positive, negative descriptions on his tile. Oh, well. They take their tiles and smash them against the rocks, symbolically letting those negative thoughts go.
Jason is no longer happy-go-lucky like we’ve come to characterize him. But there’s still a bit of spark left. You can tell he’s trying to rally. It is evident by his forced smile that he’s relieved the hard part of the date is over, and now they can make s’mores? Kiss under the stars? Skinnydip in the pool?
Nope. Clare takes that ounce of joy left in Jason’s spirit and forces him to read the letter he wrote to his younger self. HE HATES THIS. He’s miserable. With every sentence, he dips into a darker place. Clare feels like a rock star! Because of her, this man’s walls are coming down, and he’s free to dish all about his hard childhood and parents who should have divorced decades ago.
Clare prods him on. “You can trust me! Don’t push me away. I’m not afraid of your demons!”
Jason’s face contorts into something that resembles deep anguish. He channels his inner Elsa and lets…it…go. Clare cheers him on from the sidelines and promises, “I’ve got you!” Jason releases everything and follows Clare to the fire pit like a deflated balloon when she makes the moment about her by burning her green cocktail dress from the time she told Juan Pablo exactly where he could stick it.
I think I can say with one-hundred-percent certainty that, like Bobby, Fun Jason is no longer fun. Thankfully, Clare doesn’t make Jason go through all of that hell without giving him the date rose.
GROUP DATE TWO
Clare is looking for a man with some balls. The only way to find these men is by playing dodgeball on the squash court in building 9. Our Host Chris Harrison arrives to commentate and offers Fred Willard’s empty seat next to him (may he rest in peace) to our bachelorette. Hare says that the winning team will get some alone time with Clare at the after-party, and the losers will have to take the walk of shame back to their cabanas.
A giggle issues forth from Clare’s mouth. She has a bright idea!
Oh no. Is she going to make these guys share their most traumatic story from childhood while having balls fly toward their faces?
Heavens no. She’s going to make them play strip dodgeball. Losers have to ditch one article of clothing. This sudden onset of a rule change explains the bedazzled jock straps hanging in each guy’s locker.
I won’t go into detail for several reasons.
- I don’t want to.
- The Black Modesty Boxes covered most of the, to put it in Demar’s terms, “man goodies.”
- As eluded to above, most of my time during this date was spent hiding behind a couch cushion or ducking into the depths of my Rose Apothecary shirt. While visually detaching myself from this terrible date, I prayed on behalf of my fellow viewing audience that no one on the court would bend over.
I’m told the blue team lost three games in a row, which was the exact number needed to result in five almost-fully-nude men. To make matters worse, producers instructed the naked men to truck it home in their rhinestone jockstraps. I can only imagine the chaffing.
In the most horrific/hysterical part of the night, all the guys busted into the cabana and plopped down on the sofas beside their fellow suitors who were not invited to free ball it on the squash court. Each politely put a decorative pillow in front of his junk as they regaled the others in tales of a dodgeball game gone awry.
I feel sorry for the La Quinta custodian who had to clean those pillows. I’m also going out on a limb, convinced the person used only a bottle of Febreeze to unlock the butt sweat particles from the canvas service.
At the cocktail party, Clare finds solace in a foot massage, courtesy of Eazy. She full-on makes out with Chasen for a good chunk of time. And her time with Jay is interrupted by a cautious Bearded Blake asking to steal Clare away for a minute.
Jay: “Didn’t you lose?”
Great question, Jay. The answer is yes. But everyone knows that Clare L-O-V-E-S when someone breaks the rules for her. In fact, Bearded Blake was the one who reached out to her during quarantine, and it meant EVERYTHING.
Jay gives up his time with Clare and immediately tattles to the other guys that Bearded Blake has crashed their victory cocktail party. Meanwhile, Bearded Blake admits that he understands he will take heat from the other guys for this rogue behavior, but Clare is worth it. He knows she wants someone with balls, and he’s got them in spades. Figuratively speaking.
Here, all the other dudes come, openly irritated by this loser who is stealing their time with the dodgeball trophy. Eazy lets Bearded Blake know that his balls are less than big. He’s just a sore loser, that’s all. The others chime in with ball-sized-related rhetoric.
Clare finally asks all the silly boys to stop fawning all over her. She commands the winners to go inside for a sec, promising she will be inside momentarily. Then she tells Bearded Blake that she appreciates him coming, but she will not disrespect the others by entertaining his visit. She asks for a hug, he goes in for a kiss, she pushes him away, and I die from embarrassment.
As Bearded Blake slinks away from his failed grand gesture, Clare notices Hot Model Brandon in the foyer.
Clare: “Are you upset?”
Clare: “CAN SOMEONE GET ME SOME STATIONARY AND A PEN PLEASE? Now, sit down right here on this chaise lounge and let me walk you through this invigorating exercise where you write a letter to your younger self and really feel the…”
Brandon: “I never thought I would ever do anything like this. When I found out you were the bachelorette, I knew I had to be here!”
Clare: “Oh, really? I love how you adore me. What about me makes you want to be here?”
Slowly but surely, the blood drains from Brandon’s perfect face as he realizes he does not have an answer to this very basic question. Clare is not fully on board with what’s happening right now, so she asks another question.
Clare: “What did you like about me?”
Brandon: “Well, you’re obviously beautiful.”
Clare: “Uh-huh. What else?”
Strong. Intelligent. Passionate. Looking for love. Takes this seriously. Willing to risk everything. I came up with that list in three seconds while Brandon just sat there.
Remember how Clare’s disposition changed when she left Bennett to yell at a bunch of guys about not stealing her away to visit at a cocktail party? Imagine that reaction, times ten.
I will say that Brandon deserved what he got, which was a one-way ticket back to reality outside of the Bachelor bubble. What a moron. Did he do no homework before he came? Even if you didn’t give a flip about the reality dating show you have been recently cast, the logical thing to do is at least read up on the bachelorette. Brandon couldn’t come up with one praise outside of Clare’s appearance.
Clare girl powers her way back to the cocktail party and haughtily explains to the others that Brandon was superficial, so she sent him home due to his lack of fo substance. Then she gives the date rose to Chasen and wanders off to her cabana to write about all the things she loves about Dale in her journal.
The men cheer Clare as she arrives in a pale pink gown, displaying all sorts of cleavage. She immediately snags Bearded Blake for alone time and clicks her tongue at him for showing up last night unannounced. It was a risk, and at the end of the day, IT PAID OFF.
Bearded Blake is over the moon. Clare coos at him to not worry and to never question her feelings for him. Then she digs down into the couch cushion and pulls out a smooshed rose. This floral gift is her way of easing Bearded Blake’s mind and heart. Then she apologizes for denying his advancements last night and rewards his scampish behavior with a passionate kiss.
It lasts for ten seconds because at that exact moment, the ABC Intern clears his throat and motions for her to dig around in the cushion a second time. She finds a sleep mask, giggles, clasps her hands, bids Bearded Blake adieu, and then runs off to play Caress Clare with Dale in a secluded alcove.
We’ll have to wait next week to see if Clare hands out any more roses or if she chooses to run off into the sunset with her future husband. Here’s hoping the others form a union, make their demands known to Harrison, and call full-on STRIKE for the rest of the season!