‘The Bachelorette’: Clare burns it all down

The Bachelorette
October 27, 2020

This episode — what a roller coaster. We begin squarely in Clare’s camp as she defends herself against a mansplaining misogynistic jagoff who is angry at her because ~checks notes~ other men played strip dodgeball in her presence. But by the end of the episode, most of the men and the audience itself is ready to walk out on Clare and the man who is so obviously her choice. When Clare has telegraphed who she’s going to choose in the third episode, why should any of us bother sticking around?

It’s clearly a question the producers had to wrestle with, and now we know for certain, thanks to the Tayshia tease at the end of this episode, how they go about resolving it: they show Clare the door and bring in a new Bachelorette. And based on what they showed us in this episode, honestly, it’s the only fair thing to do. While I’m sure Clare would have preferred to stick out the rest of the season and been the center of everyone’s attention, she pretty much abdicates that option when she locks herself in her room for an hour with The One, attacks the rest of the men for joking about him and refuses to give anyone else a rose, and refers to him as her “fiancé.”

But here’s the thing: as I wrote, this is “based on what they showed us.” Since I’ve been writing about The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, I have never seen someone choose the winner so quickly. Clare is already talking about being in love, she is gushing over him in every interview, she tells the producers she’d rather be with The One than any of the other men. And we’re in episode three.

But it’s also hard to not notice some of the choices the show has made, too. Obviously, they are showing us behind-the-scenes comments, like the “fiancé” slip, and they have complete editorial control over her interviews. If they wanted to make it seem like Clare was interested in two or three other men, I’m sure they could edit together comments she has made to tell that particular story. But they don’t. Then you have at least one of the men being clearly told by the producers a rumor that Clare had been in communication with The One ahead of the show, and urged to share that rumor with the rest of the men to foment discontent. And add to that the choices the producers make with the two dates in this episode: 1. they go directly to the cocktail party portion of the date The One is on so that Clare can go straight to hanging out with him privately, and 2. they choose to have The One be a part of the second group date, creating a distraction both for the other men and Clare herself. Taken altogether, this begins to feel like it’s producers who might be actively pushing Clare towards The One and to exit early.

So while the producers might want the narrative to be that Clare found love and chose to leave the show herself, just keep in mind that it might not actually be that simple. Did they have Clare leave the show because she made it so painfully obvious to everyone who she had chosen, or did they want Clare to leave for exciting narrative purposes and led her down a path both psychologically and editorially where she only had one choice?


We begin this episode mid-rose ceremony cocktail party, with Clare chatting with the men. Elsewhere, InstaCheater is seething to whoever will listen about how tacky he thought the strip dodgeball game was and how HE’S GONNA GIVE CLARE A PIECE OF HIS MIND, DAMMIT.

The other men are like, “Lol, you should definitely go do that,” and this idiot is all, “OH, I WILL. I WILL DO IT. JUST WATCH ME.”

InstaCheater interrupts Clare’s conversation with Four-Eyes, plops himself down, and explains that he’s always promised her that he will be honest and open, all he asks is that she “hear [him] out.”


InstaCheater opens by explaining that he has noticed a couple of “red flags” in the past week of dates — which is always a super cool thing to hear from a guy who just called you “crazy” a few days earlier.


POINT: The first red flag was on his group date when she said that she needed to know that the men were there for her. The thing is, Clare, she’s supposed to be there for them, too. It was disrespectful for her to question their motives.

COUNTERPOINT: But this is how the show works? It’s one woman dating a bunch of men to find a husband: they are supposed to be there to date her. So where does he get off turning her questioning their motives for being on the show into him questioning her motives? What other reason would Clare have to be there? Clare has presumably already milked her Bachelor-related celebrity for all its worth having been on four different shows. In contrast, just by virtue of being on this show, the contestants have an entire Instagram-influencer universe now available to them to profit off of, not to mention the possibility of becoming the next Bachelor or being a contestant on Bachelor in Paradise. She’s not wrong — or to use his verbiage, being “disrespectful” — to question their motives.

POINT: It’s a two-way road and he’s sacrificed a lot to be there: he’s missing precious time with his daughter. Every second with Clare is a second taken from his child.


POINT: “Let me continue …”


POINT: “Naked guys doing dodgeball” is humiliating, and he doesn’t understand how that translates into finding a husband.

COUNTERPOINT: Who, exactly, was humiliated? This asshole used the term “humiliated” last week, too, when he clucked over the naked dodgeball game, and I’d like to know who he thinks was humiliated? The men who participated willingly in the game? The men who I’m sure were embarrassed to have lost and to who had to walk back to their rooms in the altogether, but who also seemed to take the entire exercise in good humor, allowing themselves to be objectified the way women have been since … FOREVER, and submitting themselves happily to the female gaze? Or was InstaCheater the one humiliated, his misogynistic ass struggling to wrap his head around the fact that a woman is in charge of this entire situation and that he, a man, has no power, no control, and no say in what she chooses? Could that actually be the humiliation he’s referring to here?

POINT: He’s APPALLED by her choices, thinks that she is silly and immature, believes that the men who participated in the game were just appeasing her, and would not be caught dead in a million years stripping down to his underthings.


POINT: If his daughter or his family saw him on that date, what kind of example would he be setting?

COUNTERPOINT: That’s why he wasn’t on that date.


COUNTERPOINT: Wait, she’s crazy for wondering if the men would rather bro out with one another instead of spending time with her? She’s looking for a husband …

POINT: Hold on …

COUNTERPOINT: Absolutely not. She’s listened to his bullshit for twenty straight minutes, and she has some things she would like to say now.

POINT: Be quiet, a man is talking …

COUNTERPOINT: LOL, NOPE. She never thought she’d have to say this to another man, but there’s NO CHANCE he will ever be the father to her children. Get the fuck out.

POINT: Wait, are you kidding?






Bye, you insecure mansplaining piece of shit. You won’t be missed.

Clare, understandably upset by being attacked by this asshole, is shaking and sobbing when the producers shove The One out to go comfort her. He hugs her and promises that InstaCheater is just an asshole who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and he’s not there to appease her — he’s there to please her.

After telling The One that she just wants to spend time with him, she says in an interview that she can’t believe she is at only her second rose ceremony, but she’s “so falling in love with The One.”

So we’re done here? Surely we’re done here.

But we’re only 30 minutes into the episode, so no, we’re not done here.

Chris Harrison joins Clare and is like, “The One, he’s the one, huh?” Clare admits that he is, but Chris Harrison isn’t allowing her to go home yet: as I said, we’re only 30 minutes into the episode.

Clare rejoins the men and announces: PARTY OVER. Line up, jackasses, she’s passing out some roses.

Rose #1: The One
Rose #2: One of the Zacs
Rose #3: Parachute Guy
Rose #4: Bowtie
Rose #5: Four-Eyes
Rose #6: Dr. Joe
Rose #7: Straightjacket
Rose #8: American Psycho
Rose #9: Eazy
Rose #10: Sukhasana
Rose #11: Bubble Boy
Rose #12: Bobby Fischer
Rose #13: Faux Lou Perlman
Rose #14: Fart Box

Which means we are saying goodbye to Fun Garin, Pineapple Hair, and AM Radio, also known as this guy:


The next morning, Chris Harrison joins the men and assures them that because of the craziness of the night before, everyone will definitely go on a date this week. The quality of said date can not be guaranteed, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The first date card: “My Cousin Vinny; Straightjacket; Eazy; Sir Dumbass; Grizzly Adams; Bubble Boy; Groany McBadJoke, Esq.; The One: Today we separate the men from the boys. Love, Clare.”

Except, first, Clare is going to visit with Bachelorette #4, DeAnna Pappas, who has popped in for a visit.

Quick question — actually a lot of questions: Did DeAnna quarantine to be in this episode? Did she leave her children, ages six and four, for two weeks so that she could film ten minutes with Clare? If not, did they just test her and let her in? And if so, why couldn’t they have done that with everyone? And why DeAnna? Is she friends with Clare? Also, DeAnna actually broke up with the guy that she picked on her season (Jesse Csincsak for those keeping track) after only a few months, and while she ended up marrying the brother of a Bachelorette contestant, it’s not exactly a Bachelorette success story. Or am I being too pedantic?

Anyway, the point is, DeAnna is there to be a non-producer sounding board for Clare who tells DeAnna that she pretty much knew when The One stepped out of the limo that he was the one and that when she’s around him, everyone else disappears.

And then — and I could not make this up if you gave me a year to come up with the craziest, weirdest thing I could think of for a Bachelorette to do on this show — Clare pulls out a pair of The One’s pants, the ones he tore on the group date, and smells them before handing them to DeAnna, who also smells them.

Clare also explains that she slept with said pants draped over her face.


We’re definitely done here.

DeAnna is all, “When you know, you know, and if you’re sleeping with his pants on your face, I’m pretty sure you know,” and Clare is like, “Welp, looks like this is going to be the shortest season ever.”

Meanwhile, the men on the first group date spend the day twiddling their thumbs, waiting for Clare to arrive. And when she finally does — hours later — she’s all, “So, we’re not going to do the date part today, we’re going straight to the cocktail party, see you there!” And everyone is super pissed because they wanted to actually spend time with her, instead of staring at one another in the pool house.

The cocktail party begins, and The One is the first to ask to speak to Clare, assuring the other men that he just needs “five minutes.” As he and Clare stand to leave, The One urges the group to give her a “group hug,” and the other men, they are not amused.

But The One and Clare don’t care, and they head directly to Clare’s suite where they spend the next hour rolling around on her bed until Eazy comes knocking on the door wondering WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?

The One slips out and joins the other men who are like, “What happened to ‘five minutes,’ dude?” But he just shrugs and laughs because SHE’S SLEEPING WITH HIS PANTS ON HER FACE.

The other men each spend some time with Clare, who clearly could not care less about talking to any of them. At one point, she’s chatting with Straightjacket when The One “accidentally” stumbles into the room, interrupting them, but is like, “Since I’m here, do you mind if I visit with her for another hour?” Straightjacket begrudgingly leaves.

When Straightjacket rejoins the other men, they’re like, “wait, WHO INTERRUPTED YOU?” and Sir Dumbass mounts his white steed to save the day. He interrupts another makeout session, sending The One back to the other men who are really mad now. “DUDE.” “BRO.” “DUDE.”

The One claims that he was just wandering back from the bathroom and went in the wrong door and honestly what are you going to do?

The rest of the men:

Clare then joins the men and gives the date rose to The One because SHE SLEEPS WITH HIS PANTS ON HER FACE.

The other men confront The One about how he said he was only going to take five minutes with Clare, but ended up spending an hour with her, and in response, he explains that he was “the best man suited to …” The other men are all, “OH, DO GO ON. THE BEST MAN SUITED TO WHAT?” And The One, realizing he misspoke, hesitantly continues: “The best man suited to be there for her?” The other men, unsurprisingly, are not amused by this answer.

While all of this going on, the next date card arrives: “Fart Box: I’m looking for my best friend. Love, Clare.”

Somehow, “best friend” translates into “spa date” which is what she and Fart Box spend the day doing. They receive pedicures and massages and avocado masks, and Fart Box, he tries his best! He’s uncomfortable with ladies touching his feet — and I do not blame him because I am uncomfortable with ladies touching my feet, too — but he’s at least making an effort, unlike Clare who is just clearly daydreaming about The One the entire time:

These are real pictures of The One from his Party City modeling days. God bless.

Clare and Fart Box then go back to her private pool and splash around for a minute until Clare is like, “OK, how about we get cleaned up for dinner and wrap this up because I can’t keep pretending I’m interested for too much longer.”

And then something strange happens: Clare leans in to kiss Fart Box who backs up, only to have the 16 neurons rattling around that cement block of a head of his realize, “OH SHIT SHE WANT KISS!” He tries to grab her and pull her towards him but does so just a little too aggressively. Clare radiates DO NOT TOUCH, but the 16 neurons rattling around in that cement block of a head of his are still fixated on “WANT KISS,” and he does not read the situation properly.

Clare eventually runs inside her suite and cries that the way he grabbed her “triggered her,” while Fart Box does an uncanny impersonation of Vincent Vega.

Fart Box shows up to dinner, but instead of Clare, it’s Chris Harrison who joins him at the table: bad news, buddy, you’re going home.

Fart Box:

I mean, if I were the Bachelorette, your dumb ass would have been sent home the second you presented me with a fart box, but whatever. Bye, Fart Box.

While all this was going on, back at the men’s’ pool, a few of them are discussing the obvious vibe between Clare and The One, and One of the Zacs has an intriguing theory that according to the “rumor mill” (read: producers), Clare and The One might have been in communication before the season began. HMMM.

As for the last group date, the card instructed the rest of the men (Sukhasana; American Psycho; Bowtie; Parachute Guy; Four-Eyes; Faux Lou Perlman; Bobby Fischer; Dr. Joe; and One of the Zacs): “Don’t take it personally.” And the men, they don’t care what it means, they’re just happy The One won’t be on the date with them.

The group arrives at that one theater space where they are greeted by Clare, Margaret Cho, and a giant sign that reads “The Bachelorette’s Roast.” “It’s a roast!” some of these geniuses declare. Margaret Cho explains that they will, in fact, be writing and performing a roast and that — FUN TWIST! — the other men not on the date will serve as the audience.  Meaning, The One will be there. Meaning, it once again becomes the “Clare and The One Show.”

Of course, it doesn’t have to! All the men have to do is resist taking the bait and writing all of their jokes about the one guy they are most insecure about. However, no one is able to resist taking the bait and they all write all of their jokes about The One.

Sukhasana jokes about attending Clare and The One’s wedding one day; Bobby Fischer jokes that The One is Randy Moss’ son? Sure. One of the Zacs makes a joke about The One not being the Dalai Lama, because “Dale” kinda sounds like “Dalai?” Four-Eyes jokes that The One never shuts up; and American Psycho devotes his entire set to The One, noting that The One said he’s the one “best suited” for Clare — and WORD PLAY! — how The One needs some fashion tips.

But more importantly, American Pyscho also compares The One to Kaa from The Jungle Book, a comparison I’ve been making with villains on this show since my first season recapping The Bachelor, so I’m going to just go ahead and declare this a shoutout.


Meanwhile, The One:

Clare and Margaret Cho also notice how hard the men went after The One and are both like, “DAMN, WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT?” More tellingly, on her way back to get changed, Clare is clearly upset that the men ganged up on The One, and whispers to who I assume are producers that it “WAS NOT FUNNY,” before insisting on an interview that you “can’t hate on love.”


As for the cocktail party portion of the date, the men all convince themselves that focusing on The One was a good plan because it will force Clare to look at him in a new light and learn things about him that she otherwise would have never known.

ORRRRRR, and hear me out, spending all of their time roasting The One will make her defensive of him and turn all of her focus on protecting The One from all of the mean bullies who attacked him rather than spending time with them, getting to know them as individuals.

I’ll give you one guess which happens.

“Why did you have three pages of material on The One, American Psycho? What was that you said about him saying he’s ‘the best suited for me,’ American Psycho?”

“You took some digs at The One, Sukhasana. What was that about?”

“You took some hardcore shots at The One, One of the Zacs. Why? What did you mean?”

“What are people saying about The One, Faux Lou Perlman? Something about him saying he’s the frontrunner?”

The men soon realize that none of them talked about anything but The One during their one-on-one time with Clare. Faux Lou Perlman states the obvious: she’s only interested in The One and they are wasting their time being there. American Psycho tries to argue that she’s a smart woman and it’s early in the process, so of course she hasn’t made up her mind already.

This is when Clare returns, announces that she is not giving out a date rose that night, and tells them she’ll see them at the rose ceremony. GOODBYE.

As she walks away, she literally says to a producer — AND I QUOTE — “I really don’t think I can sit there and go, ‘you dished on my fiancé so hard.’ Like, I can’t be doing that, it doesn’t feel right.”


Clare then gives an interview where she pats herself on the back for defending her “love” with The One and gives herself the rose for “showing up.”

Outside, the men continue to wonder what the fuck they’re doing there, and wonder if they should walk out, and based on what we just saw, I hardly blame them.

The Men Who Have Been Dumped by Clare:

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The Men Who Are Going to Soon Be Dumped by Clare:

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The Bachelorette airs on ABC on Tuesday at 7/8 p.m. but will air on Thursday next week.

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