Chris Harrison may actually be right for once. This truly is the most dramatic season ever, and that applies both for the Bachelorette franchise and the American democracy franchise.
Last night, US citizens were forced to choose between watching a race for the White House and watching a race for Clare’s heart. (I am sorry, future president-elect, but I gave Clare the big screen.)
Is it bad I gave Clare the big screen pic.twitter.com/htIBsCyMFP
— Mimi Montgomery (@mimi_montgom) November 6, 2020
Sadly, a limo didn’t roll up to the La Quinta bearing the new president. But, perhaps even better, some excellent reality TV drama went down.
The night opens with the men still confused about Clare’s fixation with Dale. Why are they here when she clearly just wants to sit in her El Presidente suit and huff his pants?
Chris Harrison decides to fix things. Clare is doodling in her notebook (“MRS. DALE <3”) when he comes in. “We need to talk,” he says. “It’s just you and me.” And the rest of Bachelor Nation, Chris!
The gig is up, he tells her. Everyone knows she’s got a bad case of Dale-itis. And there seems to be no cure. Clare nods soberly. She gets it. On one hand, she wants to respect the process, give each man a chance, count all the votes, blah blah blah. But on the other hand…DALE!
It seems like there’s only once choice: Like Prince Andrew abdicating the throne, Clare must leave to go be with Dale. Chris Harrison wipes away a 100-percent fake tear. “We’ve never dealt with anything like this before,” he says. (Hmm, sound familiar, American politics?)
We cut back to the men, who are still milling about in their man-suite, being manly and confused. Sounds like they could use some…Clare-ity. Jason is looking adorable as ever, hanging out in a suit jacket. Chris Harrison comes in and tells them there will be no cocktail party, no rose ceremony, and to add another punch to the kidneys, he asks to speak with Dale outside alone.
“Give me a break,” says Bennet and his cheekbones, looking like he’s wondering why he gave up a weekly standing reservation at Per Se for this pedestrian nonsense. Outside, Chris tells Dale that Clare just wants to spend time with him tonight, and they’ll have their first one-on-one date.
Cut to later that evening: Clare is in a sparkly red evening dress sitting across from Dale, airport pours of wine in front of them. She lays it all out there, telling Dale that she hasn’t been able to stop thinking about him, that he has all the qualities she’s been praying for. They talk about their parents, and, most crucially, we find out Clare’s parents are named Lily and James, which means she is Harry Potter. “I am so in love with this man,” Clare breathily whispers to the camera.
Meanwhile, we pivot back to the guys, and our Arlington man Jason is hurting. “The day you start f—ing with my feelings and emotions, you’re going to see a different side of me,” he says, sitting on the couch in a trucker hat. “I’m going to freak out.”
Collectively, the guys just don’t see this as “it” for Clare. But tell that to freaking Clare. “Every time I wake up, I think about you,” she says to Dale. “Yeah,” says Dale, which is exactly what you want to hear from someone after saying that.
Cut to them making out furiously on Clare’s bed, which is a very weird image to transition back-and-forth to from the New York Times election map. Are they going to have sex, America wonders?
And there it is: The morning-after dress-on-the-floor shot. There is also a shot of Clare’s dogs sleeping on the sofa, which makes me think they had sex in front of her Golden Retriever. Anyways! They both seem very glow-y and genuinely into each other. I don’t want to be happy for them, but I kind of am.
Now that Clare has gotten the D (get your minds out of the gutter, I obviously mean Dale!), there’s clearly only one next step, Chris Harrison tells her. He’s going to Facetime Neil Lane, secure a ring, and Dale will propose to her that night.
Yes, that’s correct: Just like 16th-century Habsburgs, Clare and Dale will get married after spending a total of like, 72 hours together.
When Clare tells the room of other contestants, you can see the light die in Jason’s eyes. There go his dreams of taking Clare home to be the Queen of Clarendon. Clare will apologize for wasting their time and hurting them, she says, but not for love. “As you shouldn’t,” Jason whispers mournfully. Across the DMV, hearts break.
“I’m in disbelief. I’m crushed. I don’t know if my heart is going to come out,” says Jason. “I hit bottom when I gave my last hug to her.” He is clearly hurting after receiving this news, but it’s nothing a night out with the boys at Whitlow’s can’t cure, right?
The rest of Clare and Dale’s story continues as you’d expect: Clare cries some more, Neil Lane comes through with a humongous rock, and Dale proposes to Clare in front of a fireplace that looks like a giant pizza oven. They make out furiously and clink champagne glasses.
But the men’s story does not continue as you’d expect: Their journey isn’t over, Chris Harrison tells them. If they’d like to stay, there will be another Bachelorette arriving.
Jason looks dubious. “How much time are you giving us? Because this is hard,” he says. “I opened up to somebody like I’ve never done before.” They need to make a decision tonight, Chris Harrison tells them. “F—,” mouths Jason. F—, indeed.
Okay, well at least Bennett and his scarf are in. But will our local hero Jason stay? Sitting by the hot tub, he waffles. “It’s hard, man. Having that one-on-one, opening up like that…” He looks off into the distance, taking in the hot desert light that glows like the enamel on Chris Harrison’s teeth. “It hurts.”
As the men shuffle into the room for the cocktail party where they’ll meet the new Bachelorette, the air is tense, the tight pants abound, and the bare ankles are plentiful. The guys look around. Will Jason come in? Or will he return to the shores of the Potomac?
The anxiety in America is palpable. Donald Trump or Joe Biden? Jason or no Jason?
He walks through the doors, the men cheer. Jason will stay, and our new Bachelorette is Tayshia Adams. Let the games begin!