All right, friends, you are smart readers who probably deduced the nut graf of this article from the headline, so I will get straight to it: Yes, our Arlington man Jason has departed The Bachelorette. Now all we’re left with is a man with the vaguely similar name of Chasen. Sad!
But let me back up. When last night’s episode kicks off, the drama is already in high gear. I was watching with my closed captioning on, and even the subtitles were full of intrigue—[insects chirping], [uneasy music]. And for good reason! Clare and Dale had left the show to get married after knowing each other for like, two seconds, Tayshia had replaced Clare as the Bachelorette, and my smoke alarm was going off.
That last one could have been because my boyfriend burned rice, but also because all the guys think the gorgeous Tayshia is such a smoke show: They keep talking about how beautiful she is and how excited they are that she’s the new Bachelorette. One guy, in fact, compliments her on “your big-ass eyes, that were the most beautiful things that I’ve ever seen,” a line he may have stolen from a Shakespeare sonnet.
So yeah, all the guys are excited except…Jason. Our dude is still nursing his wounds after falling for Clare post their Brené Brown-fest of a date.
“It’s been an emotional roller coaster,” he tells the Tayshia when they’re alone during her first cocktail party. “I had feelings for Clare, and I trusted her.” He thought about going home after Clare left, he continues, but says he decided to stick around and give love (and a shot at being the star of a future Bachelor season) another chance.
To be fair, we love to see a man in touch with his emotions, but Jason might need to chill the eff out. He and Clare hung out at a La Quinta firepit for like, a few hours and smashed some symbolic tablets together. It’s not like they were at Crate and Barrel, scanning stemless wineglasses for their wedding registry.
But, of course, because this is reality TV and the year 2020, said emotional roller coaster hasn’t even gone upside down yet. Chris Harrison approaches the men. “Everything is about to change,” he tells them with the glee of an oral surgeon who maybe likes his job a little too much.
He is not incorrect, because then a car pulls up outside the resort. To be precise, it’s “a big-ass-lookin’ limo lookin’ like it’s full of men,” says one of the guys. Correct he is! To keep things interesting, not only do we have a new Bachelorette, but we’re also adding more contestants.
The original crew gathers in front of the windows to watch the new men arrive. “Oh, I’m not worried about him,” says one guy in peak sorority girl betchiness as another crawls out of the limo. The vibes in the resort are awkward—there is definitely a varsity team and junior varsity team feeling going on here.
The vibes are only exacerbated when Tayshia gives the first impression rose to one of the new guys, Spencer. She thought he was really hot when he got out of the limo (we know this because she said, “He is HOT!”), but he’s already kind of established himself as the town douchebag, taunting the original guys upon arrival. Needless to say, even though Tayshia cancels the official rose ceremony and says everyone can stay, the mood is tense in Bachelorette land.
Then everything is interrupted for Chris Harrison to host what is essentially a mini press conference with Clare and Dale. Why are we seeing these people again? I thought they were off staring at Clare’s Neil Lane diamond and eating salads together or something?
“You should be watching Tayshia’s first dates right now, but we can’t do that, because there’s something that needs to be addressed,” says Chris Harrison, like a very stern stepdad after he caught you with the Honda Civic keys. It’s time to talk about the rumors: Did Clare and Dale know each other before the show?
Clare denies this, sobbing and reiterating how in love she and Dale are with one another. They didn’t have any contact before the show, she swears—Dale even had to ask for her cell phone number after he proposed to her. Why can’t America just be happy for them?
“This has never happened before,” says Chris Harrison of Clare and Dale leaving the show. “We’ve never had a pandemic in the past before,” responds Clare, which is…not true.
Chris Harrison shakes his head a bit—oh, you crazy kids. What’s next, he asks them? “Baaaayyyyybieeeeeees,” coos Clare, cuddling up to Dale, who looks like someone just handed him a bill for $5 million and kicked him in the groin.
But back to Tayshia: We find our Bachelorette cozied up on the couch, wearing an off-the-shoulder crop top as she journals, a (definitely fake) cactus in the background.
It’s time for the first group date, people! Jason is not on the card, which, judging by the prior histrionics, is probably a good thing. Tayshia begins the date by, of course, making all the men take their shirts off, after which they hop in the pool and play a game of splash ball (they are really struggling to come up with dates at the La Quinta). The usual antics ensue: the guys get overly aggressive, vying for a chance for more time with Tayshia, and our designated douchebag Spencer gets elbowed in the mouth and starts bleeding.
Meanwhile, Jason is back at the home base, sitting on a pool-side beanbag chair in the dark. If you couldn’t tell by that image, he’s not doing well. “I’m hanging on by a piece of floss,” he says. “I don’t know how much more I have left.”
Later in the evening, he approaches the other dudes. He loves his bros, he says, but he just can’t stay at the La Quinta. “I feel in love with Clare, and I just can’t put my whole heart into Tayshia,” he says. “She doesn’t deserve that, and neither do you guys.”
A lot of man-sighing, back claps, and gruff I love you, bros abound. Jason heads to see the new occupant of the El Presidente suite to tell her the news in-person. [Somber music] plays.
His heart has been broken, Jason tells Tayshia, and it wouldn’t be fair to her for him to stay. She’s got a lot of great guys vying for her love, but it’s time for him set sail for the Potomac shores.
Tayshia nods, appreciating Jason’s honesty. She has to admit, though—this was one of her deepest fears coming on the show. That some of the men would still be in love with Clare, and she’d just be sloppy seconds.
Well, Tayshia, it’s funny you say that, because we also just encountered one of my biggest fears: No longer having a Washington contestant on The Bachelor franchise. Fingers crossed for Matt James’s season.