Monday, June 29, 2015

Bill King
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
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The season of the breakdown continues on The Bachelorette, with the latest guy to completely lose his shit taking center stage in Kaitlyn Bristowe's search for love. And since rose ceremonies are no longer considered dramatic enough to end episodes on, we still have a two-on-one date to get through before we find out who stays and who goes.

Our main lady lost her sense of self-control last time, letting serial I-fall-in-lover Nick clean out the cobwebs with the ol' womb broom. (I mean, it's been, like, four weeks and how many guys has she made out with? That's a serious case of blue bean.)

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That overnight experience, which prompted an intense backlash of what I would call unwarranted slut-shaming, also left some of the more insecure guys wondering if they're wasting their time. I'll give you that it was careless and insensitive to their feelings, but y'all should chill with the commentary about her being trashy and in any way justifying Ian's actions. I mean, seriously, who doesn't check the carton for cracked eggs first?

People take things too far all the time, and it's worth noting that the majority of the outrage is directed at the females, as if they allow it to happen while it's expected from guys. When Clare and Courtney had their aquatic romps with Juan Pablo and Ben, respectively, they were the hussies (okay, JP was a deserving target as well). I've read a lot of negative comments in the past week and not a single one of them said, "I can't believe Nick actually had sex with her."

Furthermore, that level of intimacy is at the very least alluded to every single season, but I guess it's not acceptable until the fantasy suite comes into play? So she slept with a guy when there were nine left instead of three, about four weeks of show time earlier than normal. Jeez, what a tramp. Anyway...

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You Hurt My Feelings

When it comes to the wounded birds, Gosling-in-abs-alone Shawn B. in particular is bugging out. He took exception to Love-Man Jared snaking the group-date rose, quickly confiding in his crewman buddy that he can't handle the stress, while muttering, "She'll ruin it all!" as he sauntered up to Kaitlyn's door to express his jealous rage hesitations.

And that's where we pick up the action, with a worried Kaitlyn trying to comfort and reassure Shawn, who flat-out asks if she's in love with him. Whoa, partner, that's not how we play this game. She is taken aback at being put on the spot, but musters an "I'm falling in love with you" before a make-out session seems to right the ship, at least externally.

In private, Kaitlyn laments over her guilt at the fact that her many relationships have developed to different points, and her tryst may have taken for granted all that the other guys have invested in the process, particularly Shawn.

A Pre-Occupied Two-on-One

Kaitlyn's final Dublin date is with pick-a-douchy-nickname JJ and moonshine Joe, two men fighting for a single rose. JJ's banner still reads "former investment banker," which I guess means he's unemployed, and the trio kicks things off with a boat ride along the Irish countryside. They travel to "Ireland's Eye" island, where they stumble upon a picnic consisting entirely of whiskey.

It's awkwardly quiet, so they fill the silent gaps with booze. Joe and Kaitlyn sit on the beach, and he tells her the San Antonio group date was the turning point for him, when he realized that he more than liked her. He like-likes her. She's one in a million (actually, she's one in 7.6 billion), and he's willing to put it all out there because he's falling in love with her. Aw, just like she is with Shawn!

Then she and JJ cuddle under a blanket on the grass, and he drops the bombshell that three years ago, he cheated on his wife. It was a mistake that destroyed his life, losing his spouse and half his daughter in the process. Being up front and honest is important to him, and he's not here for the next rose; he's invested for the whole shebang. She's understanding, and even though that's her greatest fear in a relationship, she is sure he learned a lot from the experience and isn't likely to do it again. Like mom always said, once a cheater, reformed and loyal husband.

In the end, she decides she hasn't spent enough time with Joe to give him the rose yet, but she also can't take JJ away from his daughter any longer when she doesn't see a future with him. So he's sent packing, and she continues the date with Joe to see where it goes. Later, over apps and drinks, he distracts her enough from the Shawn drama to earn a bit more petaled time.

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Shawn's Best Britt Impression

Joe returns to the hotel and walks the other guys through the date, prompting Shawn to storm out in a continuation of his I-need-constant-validation Britt impersonation. He decides to "take a huge risk" and "put all his cards out on the table" by paying an already-exhausted Kaitlyn a visit for the second consecutive night. Duuuuuude, take yo' drama to yo' mama. Can a girl get a freak out-free week?

(On a side note, there was just a preview for Rookie Blue, and how great would a show called Wookie Blue be, with Chewbacca as a police officer?)

The producer informs Kaitlyn that Shawn is on his way, and she's sure he's leaving because he found out what she did. But in reality, he just wanted to explain that he's only acting crazy because he's feeling so much more intense than any of the other guys could possibly comprehend, and every reassurance she gives makes it harder instead of easier.

As soon as she realizes that he's not there to talk about Nick, she quickly turns the tables and tells him he needs to shape up because if they're going to end up together, there's a lot more crap to come. And if it's this much work at this point to make him feel safe and secure, that's a red flag. Just bring your blankie next time, broski. My sister sucked her thumb until she was about 12.

Reassuring the Blarney Stones

Kaitlyn admits that she sneaked down to see some of the guys in San Antonio, and she did, in fact, tell Shawn that he was "the one." And that was going too far, just like she did with Nick, yet she still wants to explore other relationships. And as her heart is still open, she has to be more careful going forward.

She kicks off the cocktail party talking about these "mistakes," which makes all the other guys feel uncomfortable. Ben Z. steals Kaitlyn and some kisses, which reinforces to her that she's been over-validating Shawn.

Buble Ben H., who she calls a "little devil," gets alone time next, and he needs to talk. He was the other guy who was awake when she paid her visit, and he is keenly aware that something happened between her and Shawn while he was showering. When he returned, there was a different vibe, and he knows something went down to put Shawn atop the totem pole, even though he hasn't addressed it with anyone.

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Decisions, Decisions

Ben wants to make sure that if he sticks around, he's not just spinning his wheels, and she gives him the reassurances he needs. She also decides she needs to square things away with all the guys so she's not distracted in her decision-making.

I'm wondering if she is going to tell them what happened, which would make sense as to why they explicitly (and audibly) showed it on camera, and why they milked the drama out of the scenario when sexual encounters are normally kept on the down low (Bob Gauber apparently slept with 5.5 girls, according to creator Mike Fleiss).

She pulls Nick aside to request that he kindly not divulge the details of their liaison, which offends him because he assumes someone else has said he was blabbing. He gets a little emotional about how confident he feels after every time they hang out, contrasted with how over-confident he was during Andi's season. His "sincere emotions" work like a tractor beam.

During Shawn's one-on-one time, he apologizes for bringing the drama and making things harder for her, but she accepts the blame. She tells him she regrets the visit and the assurances, sending him reeling into full damage control. She calls it a mistake and says they need to take a step back so that this won't get in the way of her developing other relationships.

Roses at the 75-Minute Mark

It's a mid-show ceremony to the max, and Jared, Nick and Joe already have roses. The remaining three flowers go to:

Buble Ben H.
Cupcake Chris

That means it's the end of the line for tissue Tanner, who never had an adequate nickname, and boxing champ Ben Z., which is rather shocking. He's been a fan-favorite who grew on me throughout the course of the competition.

Tanner's parting words are "It's been fun," while Ben takes things a bit harder. He is blindsided and truly thought they had something, and he's not sure where it went wrong. He'll be on Bachelor in Paradise, for sure. Or he'll be the next Bachelor. He's got it written all over him.

Chris Harrison assures us that "everything is about to change," and I have to admit that the preview of cupcake Chris sobbing into his scarf elicited an outburst of laughter from me and my fiance. No offense, la dentista.

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Christmas in Killarney

The gang takes a bus ride to Killarney, with all of the folks at home, while Jared gets to road trip it with Kaitlyn. It's a drive on the other side of the road, and she hits a curb or three. They admire the countryside -- Ireland consists entirely of countrysides and bars -- before some bridge selfies, then they hit up Blarney Castle to kiss a giant rock because Kaitlyn will kiss anything.

Meanwhile, the bus ride is silent save for Shawn's deafening snores.

Jared helps Kaitlyn check into her room at the Ballyseede Castle, and they share a cocktail and smooches before he departs for the Randles Court Hotel to meet up with his cohorts.

Dropping the Hammer

Chris Harrison drops in on Kaitlyn to discuss her various off-camera mistakes and to ask if she's ready for hometowns. He says the only way to bring the other relationships up to speed is to have off-camera time with the other guys as well, so he's altering the normal format to adjust for her transgressions.

Instead of two eliminations and four hometown dates, she'll be narrowing it down to three, followed by fantasy suite dates, followed by her meeting just two families, instead of the normal four. The point, he says, is that everyone will have had off-camera time before hometowns, which will level the playing field before families are brought into the picture. So if she knows a guy is not the one, it's time to send him home.

He delivers the same news to the men the following morning, then drops off the first date card -- Let's Take Our Love to the Edge -- which goes to cupcake Chris. The clip of him sobbing again elicits laughter, but I'm actually starting to feel bad. I'm sure it's not pretty when I cry.

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Kaitlyn Pulls a Tooth

They hitch a ride on a helicopter to the Cliffs of Moher, where they picnic cliffside a few hundred feet above the ocean. There's no rose on this date, but that doesn't mean it won't end sadly. She quizzes him about what their lives would be like together, and it's clear that she's not feeling it. It seems like small talk, like the conversation you have right before your girlfriend dumps you.

And dump him she does.

You can feel the fear in him growing even before she breaks down in tears and says that while he fits everything on her checklist, she doesn't see them together forever and promised herself she wouldn't lead anyone on. He gets where it's going, and though he wishes she could be his life, he bows out gracefully, at least while she's in earshot.

Once she's gone, though, he wraps that scarf around his neck and buries his face in it. He thinks she's wrong and doesn't know what she wants, but he'd rather find out now than next year or in 20 years. He promises it feels as bad as it looks, and while she deserves a lifetime of happiness, he's not entirely sure she's ready for that.

He didn't think he was going to cry, and it's more sad than funny in context. Aw, poor Chris. You'll find somebody, buddy. At least you have nice chompers.

The Whispers

For some reason, Kaitlyn apparently feels compelled to tell four of her remaining five guys exactly what she did with the fifth, which does not endear Nick to them further. This is particularly true for Shawn, who will straight-up tell him to "get the f*** out of my face."

And as we gear up for the tail end of the season and the Fourth of July holiday festivities, there is another milestone looming on the horizon. By the time I write the next recap, I will have published my 400th article for BuddyTV. I'll hit the mark with the next America's Got Talent episode, but in truth, of all the shows I've covered, The Bachelor(ette) has always been the most fun.

So happy birthday, America. And here's hoping you'll all still be reading when I hit the big 500.

You can watch The Bachelorette every Monday at 8pm on ABC.

(Image courtesy of ABC)