It's Not Called Let's Make Friends

This week on The Bachelorette, there is a whole heaping pile of boring and just a pinch of dramz. Let us guide you through the morass of awful, while highlighting the tiny drops of sublime.

Chris Harrison's Traditional Introduction

Chris Harrison seems to think that no one, including the men who are willing participants on this mess of a show, has ever seen The Bachelorette before. Thus he explains the importance of the one-on-one date in the overall context of the show. THANK you, Chris Harrison, that will do. We also hear Evil Ben outline his evil plot, which is not really that evil and can't really be described as a plot, either. It's sort of like: "I plan to pursue the woman on whose dating show I am appearing." Finally, we learn that a bunch of randos, including Evil Ben, are going on the group date. Michael the Diabetic says that he does NOT want Evil Ben to come along, but luckily, reasons Michael, "there are nine great guys going on this date." Then, as an afterthought, he adds, "...with Desiree."

Group Date: DODGEBALL

The men are all excited about playing dodgeball, because it's 2004 and that movie is popular. Michael says this is like "a scene out of The A-Team." Except, plus dodgeballs and minus Mr. T and any other recognizable A-Team identifier. Chris Harrison announces that the men will be engaging in a "winner takes all" dodgeball match in public, after which the losing team will be banished for the night, while the winning team gets to have a sexy party with Desiree. The game itself is unremarkable, except that Brooks goes down, like a wuss, and breaks his finger. He is officially the Tierra of this season. I could totally see him doing a good fake hypothermia face, if it came to that. But at least the Disney/ABC "medics"/production assistants/extras got their screen time in early this year.

Anyway, the blue team eventually wins, not that that means anything to anyone. The red team, as you'd expect, is devastated. But then Des, taking a page out of Sean's tired playbook, lets all of the men attend the sexy party, even the losers, who apparently have some remaining human value even after losing such a high stakes dodgeball match.

Brooks's Dramatic Visit To The Hospital

Brooks is in a hospital bed with oxygen in his nose, for some reason? Listen, I am not one to sniff at finger injuries, as I once cut off a third of my finger with a serrated knife and it hurt quite a lot, let me tell you, but all of Brooks's hospital accoutrements -- the oxygen, the IV, the bed, the gritted teeth -- seem a bit much. It's his finger, not his spleen. And he broke it, he didn't have it hacked off with a machete. I mean, oxygen tubes? I feel like even Tierra would be embarrassed by this.

Post-Dodgeball Cocktail Party

Brad the accountant wants to reveal his "haunting" past to Des. Turns out that his haunting past is that he has a three-year-old son named Maddox. Brad tells Des that he hasn't dated in two years because he's been raising the kid by himself, mostly because his baby momma's a no-good drunk, not to put too fine a point on it. Also, minor detail: during some kerfuffle with the aforementioned drunk baby momma, Brad got arrested for domestic violence. But the charge was dismissed, so, no biggie!

The rest of the cocktail party is ho-hum, until Brooks shows up in his dodgeball short-shorts, dramatically clutching his wrist (even though he broke his finger) and yeah, he's definitely the Tierra of this season. Somehow, Des isn't totally grossed out by Brooks's histrionics, and they make out. But Des gives the rose to Chris, and the two of them are treated to a private concert from chanteuse Kate Earl (?). Chris and Des sway back and forth and kiss while Brandon creepily spies on them from above, gnashing his teeth. Brandon's fake-bomb-threat finger is itching something fierce, but he's keeping it in check...for now.

DRAMA, Or, "Brian's Secret Girlfriend Comes For A Visit"

Chris Harrison calls Des at "home" to tell her that he has "bizarre news" about one of the men. Turns out Brian -- gasp! -- has a girlfriend back home. Said girlfriend, Stephanie (no relation), is then marched through the house in front of the other men, just as Brian is explaining to Des that he and Stephanie decided that they were better off as friends. Stephanie, who I think is almost certainly a paid actress, says stuff like, "Don't you care about Donovan, my son, who you have been a role model to?" Then she gets really into the role and starts shrieking a little bit. Chris Harrison keeps trying, gently, to make her stop shrieking, but to no avail. Long story short, Brian’s going home.

Brandon, meanwhile, somehow manages to make the whole Brian-going-home situation about Brandon's own mom's dating history, and oh, Brandon, please don't bomb anyone over this, okay? Brandon sheds some really uncomfortable, herky-jerky man tears about how when he was a kid, he "fell in love with" many of his mom's boyfriends, only to be disappointed, and hey, can we get this guy some therapy over here?

Kasey's One-On-One "Bandaloop" Date

Oh boy, the "trite adventure/face your greatest fear/scale a building and then eat dinner on top of it" dates are starting! The latest iteration of this involves something called "bandaloop," which is basically dancing on the side of a building while wearing a harness. Sigh. Despite the abundant gimmicks packed into this date, it's kind of a dud, because Des is just so exhausted from her earlier confrontation with Brian. Then, things get even worse at dinner when a large windstorm, possibly a haboob, starts blowing the cutlery around, but at least it gives Kasey and Des something to talk about ("Sure is windy!"). Since it's cold and windy, they decide to jump into a pool -- filled with cold water -- to try to warm up. It does not work. Hence, Des is too cold to resist Kasey's advances. Hence, Kasey gets a rose.

Lone Ranger Trailer-Slash-Group Date

This date involves the men dressing up like cowboys and doing stunts. This date is essentially one long plug for the new Lone Ranger movie (in theaters soon!). Des gives Juan Pablo a Lone Ranger badge because he speaks Spanish. Juan Pablo and Des then get "alone time" in a theater where they are forced to watch -- guess what movie? -- The Lone Ranger!

Post-Lone Ranger Cocktail Party

Des has boring, forgettable convos with several of the men. Bryden kisses Des and awkwardly pats her head, once, and I wonder if Bryden has ever kissed anyone before, bless his little heart. James shares his insecurities with Des and is rewarded with a rose. Nothing else happens.

Pool Party

Evil Ben, rocking some evil neon pink shorts, decides to "steal" Des before the pool party. They go on a car ride while the other men mill around nervously and wonder where Des is. As they drive, Ben brings up his son, as usual, and uses the phrase "dad zone," blech, and Des concludes that he is "humble and sweet and a father." Well, one of those things is true. The other men spy on Ben making out with Des in the car and Michael is outraged by Ben's "underhanded measures." The men are very not happy with Ben, but he doesn't even care! He explains: "It's called The Bachelorette for a reason. It's not called Let's Make Friends." Although, I'd watch Let's Make Friends, if it were on right after The Bachelorette and it was about making platonic friends in your thirties when you're married, because that would be relevant to my life. Hey, actually, can we make Let's Make Friends happen?

The other thing that happens is that Brandon pulls Des aside and brings up, once again, his troubled past, which is NOT RELEVANT TO THIS SITUATION, Brandon. He gets all choked up and I think even Des is grossed out at this point. Then he goes in for a really awkward kiss and Des sort of coughs into his mouth and then pulls away. Magical. Brandon, though, is on cloud nine! He is feeling really confident because he told Des he was falling in love with her. Oh, squirm. He says, triumphantly, "There's not much else to think about besides how perfect and meant to be we really are." Oh, Brandon, so wise. And yet, so dumb.

Rose Ceremony

Brandon is going home and simply CANNOT believe it. Dan is also headed out. Dan handles it pretty well, meaning he does not cry. Brandon, meanwhile, is teetering on the brink of hysteria. He tells Des that she's making a huge mistake, and she tells him, yeah, no, bye. So he leaves. But then Des goes after him and Brandon sees a ray of hope! But Des just wanted to tell him that they don't have chemistry. "Once again, someone left me," concludes Brandon. Hey, by the way, can he get his mom's sobriety chip back now?

Verdict

Watch, sparingly. There are some juicy nuggets buried in here, but they are few and far between. It's worth watching Brian get powned by his girlfriend and poor, deluded Brandon let his crazy flag fly.

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