Welcome to Week 8 in the seventh circle of hell. Colton is four women away from choosing a potential bride and deflowerer. But will he actually propose? Or will manufactured controversy swirl through these final weeks, ending in his remaining alone and ordering saltpeter in bulk? Can Colton and any of these chicks steam up my TV screen like Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga at the Oscars?
Refinery29 thinks there are clues to the answer about Colton’s future marital status. They cite that Colton is still keeping his decision secret, while some Bachelors and Bachelorettes let on that they were engaged before their seasons even started airing. Counterpoint: Colton kept his virginity secret for how many years, so maybe he’s just got a good poker face (or, in this case, pokerless). Or perhaps Reality Steve had other things to do, like figure out who the masked singers were or if the Mueller report will be made public.
Anyhoo, we’re missing Bernie Sanders’ CNN Town Hall special to witness Caelynn, Cassie, Hannah G., and Tayshia parading Colton in front of their families like a Torah being brought down the aisle on Shabbos. Their hometowns are Fredericksburg, Virginia, Birmingham, Alabama, and two cities in California, which suggests the final four were chosen once most of the travel budget was shot.
After those grueling sessions of three-minute chats with parents and siblings, three of the ladies can look forward to a Fantasy Suite invitation. If Colton is intent on waiting til marriage, that may be an evening of Netflix and chilling.
We open with another scene of Colton showering as the camera caresses his upper body. It must be cold water. He worries that he will fall in love with somebody who doesn’t love him back, like my uncle Seymour and his first two wives.
He meets up with Caelynn first in Fredericksburg, where she takes him on a horse-drawn carriage ride. First stop is an ice cream shop, so she can see if he can pick a flavor from among the four available. Her stepdad will be calling the shots at her house. Colton acknowledges the significance of earning her family’s approval. He should hope there aren’t any cognitive ability tests.
It’s quite a crowd in the family’s backyard. Colton can’t possibly be vetted by all these relatives. How do the Duggars do it? Caelynn’s stepdad is very concerned that no hasty decisions are being made. For the same reason, he’s dubious about the current presidential cabinet.
Caelynn’s sister pulls her away to display her ample cleavage to the cameras. She is skeptical of Colton. Is he sincere? Is he up for an inheritance of at least six figures? Caelynn’s mom questions the absurd way they met, and whether Colton is ready to be serious. She has trouble letting her daughter get engaged to an animated mound of Play-Doh. Caelynn assures her stepdad that she truly wants to marry Colton, possibly even for the right reasons. He suggests they just be friends, and maybe co-host an E! show.
Stepdad then confronts Colton about his head and his heart, carefully avoiding his genitals. Much like when Michael Cohen testifies, the questions are intense and unrelenting, searching for depth to this fatuous clod. Colton asks for his permission to marry Caelynn. The prolonged pause isn’t promising for our hero. But ultimately Stepdad will approve if Colton proves himself sincere, and able to start a Roth IRA by the time he’s 35.
When the couple is finally alone, Caelynn tells Colton she is “fully in love” with him, whereas last week it was a mere 72.8 percent. He smiles and mashes his mouth on hers. She can file the paperwork to become vested.
In Birmingham, Hannah G. greets Colton in the woods somewhere. I hope they’re not going on a canoe trip. She takes him to an etiquette class so he can learn to control his drooling when she’s in a bikini. He also learns proper posture, using the only book that ever been that close to him. The etiquette teacher advises him to be Hannah G.’s umbrella, protecting her from destructive elements like Demi and Live with Kelly and Ryan.
Off they go to see her parents and a phalanx of cousins. Hannah G.’s mom is taking this very seriously. No lesser man shall take her daughter away, she declares, although she allowed some optometrist to sell her those 80’s glasses frames.
Hannah’s cousins take her aside. They’ve never seen her emotional about a guy who wasn’t in the cast of Survivor. But is Colton’s being a virgin scary for her? No, she asserts, because it shows he is serious about marriage. That, or the priesthood.
Dad wants to know from Colton what his intentions are for his daughter. Colton assures him that she’s very special, something he knew even as he made out with 20-odd other women. Dad is not buying what Colton is selling, so when he asks permission to marry Hannah, Dad is caught off guard. But he’s impressed that Colton asked, so he gives his blessing.
Hannah G. weeps to her mom how this is the right thing. Mom feels she left their home a girl, and returned a woman with a Q score. Colton is still a virgin, though. Pleased with the outcome, Hannah tells Colton he is such a special person with whom she is falling in love. He says “me, too,” even though that hashtag is taken. She then takes their relationship to the next level by telling him the other letters in her last name.
Tayshia’s hometown is next, somewhere in California. She immediately blindfolds Colton to demonstrate his trust in her, and also that she has a kinky side. They’re going skydiving. Colton is terrified; he doesn’t want to die before he has sex. Fortunately, there’s a reserve parachute, just like there are reserve fiancees. Tayshia is bravest of all for doing this, because her hair will look like hell when they land.
Back on earth, Tayshia tells Colton that she appreciates how he pushes her out of her comfort zone. Everyone has validation, is on the same page, and is falling in love with the other. This is the stuff Lord Byron was never able to come up with.
Time to meet the fam. Colton passes the quiz on their names. Tayshia’s little brother is so cute, he could be The Bachelor in 15 years. Dad is in “protective mode,” he explains, which Colton can understand since he’s protected his penis for so long.
Each one goes off with a parent to talk. Sitting underneath a huge cross on the wall, which bodes well for acceptance of Colton’s virginity, Tayshia tells Mom things are going well. But Mom worries that Tayshia has been hurt before. Are people who’ve had their hearts broken once never supposed to date again? Or should they have an interim period where they just watch rom-coms and eat chocolate?
Dad is stern with Colton. He doesn’t like this clown saying he’s already falling in love with Tayshia, because she’ll be needlessly hurt if it’s not genuine, just like that time I thought I’d paid $280 for a real Michael Kors Voyager East West crossgrain leather tote. Dad also doubts Colton’s sincerity if he’s also falling in love with other women at the same time. Put this man on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Dad appreciates Colton asking for his permission to marry Tayshia, but he just met the guy, for God’s sake. This isn’t 90 Day Fiance. Colton is disappointed not to get the seal of approval he needs to proceed to the altar, so it looks like Tayshia is either going home or getting disinherited.
Big brother consults with Colton next. He’s in federal law enforcement, so yes, Tayshia is going home. Meanwhile, she assures Dad that Colton is A-okay. She learned from her divorce to respond to red flags, like a guy getting so overwhelmingly upset that he scales a fence to avoid facing his problems. Dad is not really satisfied, but he trusts her judgment. Ultimately, he tells the couple that they have his blessing. Colton is relieved that the suspense of who the final three will be can be sustained for another 45 minutes.
Next we’re off to Huntington Beach to get to know Cassie’s family. Colton reminds us how very attracted he is to her. “She has the perfect balance of sexy and cute,” he reports, and probably only occasionally has an opinion. Cassie is not yet ready to say she is falling in love with him, but maybe having her family meet him will make her feel more sure. That’s how it worked for Tristan and Isolde.
At their home, her family generally squeals in greeting, but her dad is unimpressed with the merchandise from the get-go. He glares malevolently as Colton touches his daughter’s leg. Cassie and her sister babble about how serious marriage is, then cry as they acknowledge how much they care for each other. Does the market research really confirm that people want to watch this drivel?
Cassie’s mom sees the chemistry between Colton and Cassie, but is worried about the three other girls he’s got chemistry with. He reassures her that he’s falling in love with Cassie, but he’s waiting on Cassie to “get there” with her feelings for him. There are apparently mike markers for Colton’s emotional status. Every one of these family conversations is more predictable than a Punch and Judy show.
Now Dad expresses his doubts to Cassie. He recommends not jumping into marriage, like Ethel Merman did with Ernest Borgnine. Cassie resents him giving her mature, reasonable advice, but then again, she thinks Froot Loops taste like the fruits their colors represent.
Colton asks Dad about permission to marry Cassie. The man does not hesitate to express his reluctance to approve this cinder block as a son-in-law. Colton is disappointed, but even worse, Cassie is still not saying she’s falling in love with him. Maybe she’s at least approaching the entrance ramp?
With everyone back in Los Angeles, it’s time for the Rose Ceremony. The ladies arrive one by one, each both confident and anxious. The three roses mock them from the little table. Colton appears, calling it an honor to have met all their families. Now he must continue to follow his heart, and probably his libido even more.
The first rose goes to Hannah G. The second goes to Tayshia. Caelynn’s reaction is bleeped. The final one goes to Cassie. I guess Virginia isn’t for lovers after all.
Caelynn hugs Cassie, then leaves the room with Colton to say goodbye. She saw it, she insists; they had a connection from the start. Now she feels stupid for thinking that. As she weeps, Colton tries to comfort her with his meaty biceps. The limo driver revs his engine. Colton watches it drive away, squatting in the driveway with his head hanging. She’ll probably be the next Bachelorette, so there’s that.
He returns to the three rose-holders, his despair at Caelynn’s departure already forgotten, then asks to talk with Chris. What now, you clueless hat rack? While they wait, the girls worry about the Fantasy Suite, and whether softcore porn acts will be acceptable.
Next week, we’ll learn the truth about Fencegate, followed by The Women Tell All on Tuesday. Fab.