In what’s apparently the tabloid’s second ill-informed story of the week, the New York Post reports that Bachelorette Clare Crawley strolled through her hometown of Sacramento, CA wearing what appeared to be an engagement ring. However, Clare claimed yesterday on Instagram that the rather boring bauble is “a commitment to myself first and foremost, to embody self-love.” Sure, if you think all that merits is a plain band with some smallish stones.
Anyway, in other, even less compelling news, Women’s Health lets us in on the important fact that Clare hikes, rock climbs, and kayaks to condition her mind and body. She does all that “in nature” because her lease won’t permit it in her dining room. She also reported in another compelling post that there’s not a single thing that makes her feel more “alive+happy than when I am immersed in nature!” Except possibly when she’s on yet another episode of a reality TV franchise.
Yet, as we delve deeper into the life of Season 16’s Bachelorette, we still haven’t learned why the “i” is missing from her first name. Fortunately, there are still several weeks remaining to cover important ground like that, as well as why none of the Bachelors holds a job anyone has ever heard of before.
Let’s hope this episode helps us to explore the deeper Clare, at least until she leaves the show, when we’ll have to stat learning details about Tayshia. At least that’s unlikely to be very different material. More importantly,Vanna White has on a floral print dress tonight.
Clare opens the show by repeating that Dale is her Mr. Right. The other guys are understandably pissed at this lack of opportunity to make out with her. Yet the next morning, she wonders how right she was. The guys start drinking to prepare. Chris reminds them about how much time they had to spend in quarantine, then drops off the first group date card. They wander off, following a trail of hearts painted on the sidewalk because the show is more predictable, and less entertaining, than a Cosentyx ad.
On this date, they’ll get to know Clare better by speaking to her heart in front of the crowd. It’s embarrassing, mostly because none of them have complete thoughts to express. Nevertheless, while she’s impressed with the first few semi-coherent dolts, she’s most excited to hear from Dale. It turns out he’s no Lord Byron, but she’s moved, possibly because she’s no Mary Chaworth.
Now ensues the official touching and feeling session. The other guys note how she relates to Dale with great enthusiasm for this exercise. Good thing for the rest of the crowd that a stripping dodgeball game is scheduled next. How do the producers come up with these brilliant concepts.
Claire arrives at the after-party to hand out the evening’s rose. At the moment, she’s still all about Dale, but she heartily congratulates all the also-rans. There follows an odd moment of awkwardness, during which no one has anything to say, even something vacuous. Finally, Clare goes off to talk privately with Bennett. She wants to hear about his inanities, but she’s remains displeased with how everyone fell silent just before, so she returns to the group to bitch at hem for causing her this momentary pre-scripted embarrassment.
“At the end of the day, I’m a woman,” she asserts boldly, as if all women demand the rapt attention of groups of men presented as potential dates for them to choose among. The men attempt to console her, which of course develops into a pointless spat between two of them. The writers must have received their patent on an automated system by now.
Dale pulls Clare away from the crowd of haters. These two can never work, as there’s no way to cleverly combine their names. She’s glad they have a connection, but he scares her because they both have feelings for each other. Some may even be emotional. Commence making out. Back at the house, Jason, another former football player, lands the first one-on-one date.
Clare explains that she first joined the show because of low self-esteem, always a good reason to show your cleavage on the nation’s screens. The experience launched her journey for love through two more failed efforts within the franchise. Her whole life story is on ABC. Maybe a MOTW is next.
Now she’s starting to feel like it’s not just Dale on display at this outlet store. It’s time to make out with another guy who sweet talks her. She revels in hearing sincere words from the other men, or at least the other men who follow the script.
Clare finally gives the night’s rose to Riley, who is grateful for another opportunity to make out with her. Even better, in two weeks, there won’t be any more ads about registering to vote.
Next morning, Jason reads the date card, in which he is instructed to write a letter to his younger self. He doesn’t react well to this requirement, as he was hoping they’d spend the evening doing something vapid and possibly messy so he’d have a reason to put his hand down her shirt. Clare reveals how she didn’t used to be able to open up and let go, to which Jason’s reaction is an enthusiastic “wow.”
They start this emotional process by screaming, which seems very 1980’s. Then they sit by a fire and write down things that are hard for them to accept about themselves, like being icky, insecure, cold, and mean. Finally, they have written letters to their younger selves. I hope they recommend not being icky, insecure, cold, and mean in a few years.
The plot thickens as Jason reveals his fear of facing his demons. Clare wants to know if this is referring to “heavy stuff,” which Jason confirms. How bad could it be, when here he is appearing on the worst reality show ever?
Clare reassures Jason that she will support him no matter what. He admits he used to be a selfish SOB, so he’s grateful for her promise. She claims hears the pain in his voice, although that might just be the beginnings of coronavirus.
What they did tonight opened them up, she confirms. He can bring her anything and open up to her. If only all therapy was complete in 40 minutes of taping time. He accepts the rose. Together they burn the dress she wore at the finale of The Bachelor. I understand symbolism, but this is just weird and a waste of fabric.
The next morning, after a brief reminder to us that they are staying at La Quinta Resort and Club, the group gets ready to play dodgeball. Chris divides the men into two teams; the winner will spend the post-game time with Clare. She suggests they play a strip version, because this is all about love.
The blue team loses the first round and their shirts. They lose again and must remove their shorts. They march up to Clare and strip completely naked, which is okay because it wasn’t on Zoom.
At the winning team gathering, Clare gloats that this team won, as if sh even recognizes any of these guys yet. Eazy rubs her feet, which gives her chemistry and connection. Clare admits to another guy her feelings of being invisible in high school, which draws her in for a make-out session with him.
Meanwhile, the most bitter member of the losing dodgeball team gets dressed and heads over to join the winners with Clare. “I wanted to come in and really show balls,” he explains to her, romancing her like the finest sonneteer. The other guys, enraged at this gall as reported by a witness, rise as one to head over and confront him. I looked it up: That’s Plot Line #14, Scene #7.
Clare sends them away, though, as she wants to send the rule-breaker home on her own terms. Nobody puts Clare in a corner! Next she sits with Brendon, who never thought he would do anything like this before. She is flummoxed by his lack of knowledge about her before coming on the show. He intelligently points out that no one knows her before being on the show, but he’s sinking rapidly. A churlish Clare asks to walk him out. She knows what she’s looking for in a real relationship, despite the fact that this is a fake one. Brendon is not here for the right reason, or apparently for any reason at all.
After dispatching the poor slob, she gives the rose to Jason. This is disappointing to Eazy, who was relying on his foot-rubbing skills to carry the day.
Yosef is now feeling surly about the date he wasn’t on. He wants to know what’s going on in Clare’s head, but she rejects his attempt to grab her first at the cocktail party. She takes Blake aside to confront him about last night. She reassures him that all is well again, and in fact, he gets another rose. He’s back on cloud nine again, but when he returns to the group, they stare him down like he’s Dale with a beard.
She and Dale blather on about providing each other with emotional support. It’s like she’s known him for years, and he agrees, probably because there’s not much to either of them. Next week, their closeness is going to cause problems. She gets to announce that she’s the oldest bachelorette because she didn’t settle for men like “him.” Either that, or she’s counting on this stupid show to find her a life partner.