Oh, how the Men Told All on last night’s episode. And by that, I mean our boy Chad got 45-plus minutes of hot-seat time, and when JoJo came on, I stopped watching. Sorry.
But first, in this week’s spectacular two-night special, as we conclude the most dramatic season of The Bachelorette EVER (until next season!), we meet a hysterically sobbing JoJo on an airplane tarmac. Why a tarmac? Well, as Chris Harrison explained it last week, the loser will be immediately flown home to wallow in their misery and hastily respond to all the teeth-whitening-strip companies and protein supplement start-ups they will soon be advertising on Instagram. Except, upon elimination, a stunned yet ever-so-poised Luke is escorted into a car. Perhaps the car will drive him to the plane. But let’s not dwell on such petty details, and instead, celebrate Luke’s fucking masterful exit, a delicate balance of vulnerability, masculinity, and passive aggressively making JoJo look fucking horrible. God, he’s going to make an amazing Bachelor.
On to Hua Hin, Thailand — the perfect place to fall in love, and to share in the time-honored ritual of ABC-sanctioned coitus known as the Fantasy Suite, a Bachelor tradition crackling with the erotic charge of your parents escaping to their room for “Mommy and Daddy time” while you watch TV. It’s important to share authentic cultural experiences to learn more deeply about your potential spouse, so Robby and JoJo have an emotional heart-to-heart while underpaid Thai women rub their feet. Wouldn’t you know it: After his hometown date last week, Robby’s dad spontaneously slipped a tippy-top-secret, completely organic note in his son’s back pocket, as fathers do, telling Robby not to get upset by the vicious lies his ex-girlfriend is spreading about him in the press, which he proceeds to read to an absurdly gullible JoJo. Good ol’ Dad, always knowing what to say (to make Robby appear to not be a manipulative shithead).
JoJo extends to Robby an invitation to the Fantasy Suite, handwritten in Chris Harrison’s finest calligraphy with a quill made from the feather of the critically endangered giant ibis, which he will later devour with a nice red wine reduction sauce. Sadly, I have come to memorize the note’s contents by heart. He accepts, and immediately begins to call her by her full name, Joelle, because once you are presumably a couple hours away from banging someone, your entire world tilts on its axis and you can no longer be bothered with silly nicknames. Robby goes on about how he wants to be late to work because he doesn’t want to leave his future wife “Joelle” in the mornings. Hopefully his former competitive swimming coach will understand his tardiness to the ol’ lap pool. By the way, Jesus fucking Christ, if you thought the remaining three men look identical, get a load of what Robby’s friends look like.
Next up is Jordan, who alternates between complaining about the hike JoJo takes him on despite being a “professional athlete” (citation needed) and phonily gushing about how super-duper fun of a time he’s having. They hike into a cave, which is also a temple, which means they can’t kiss and unfortunately have to hold uninterrupted conversation. It quickly becomes clear in Jordan’s wavering eye contact that he listens to roughly nothing that comes out of JoJo’s mouth. JoJo asks him what he imagines their life might be like together, and he says those special words every girl wants to hear: “Uhhhhhmmmm... Tough question. I don’t know 100 percent.” Swoon! Then they go have sex. “Aw, we’re eating our first breakfast together!” JoJo exclaims, desperate for something to talk about, the next morning. The food remains untouched on the bed.
We interrupt this broadcast to report that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (a.k.a. Jordan’s more famous and talented brother Aaron Rodgers, who despises him) has broken his silence on he and Jordan’s non-relationship, and it is shady as hell. Apparently, Aaron hasn’t watched any of the show, but “wishes him well in “the competition.” Ouch.
Off to the third and final Fantasy Suite date with Chase, who is so, so dull but seems to mean well. Naturally, this means JoJo just can’t even fake it when he finally, painstakingly tells her he loves her. “Thank you for telling me that,” she says, and disappears into the yard for some alone time while Chase sits on the couch. When she returns, she informs him that hearing those three magic words made her feel nothing and that she would like him to leave now. She goes on for way too long, grasping in vain for a nicer way to say, “You did everything right: It’s just that even at your best, you are not enough.” Understandably, Chase is a little pissed, and he rightfully storms off into the loser van as a despondent JoJo chases him — haha! — into the darkness. Typically, eliminated men grovel at the feet of the Bachelorette, assuring them there are no hard feelings and they wish them the best, blah, blah, so I actually quite respected this power move. Alas, at the just-for-show rose ceremony, Chase “spontaneously” — with no nudging from the producers, to be sure — interrupts the proceedings to apologize for his behavior. Laaaaame.
Here is a fucked-up truth about reality shows: There is always a villain, and when one villain leaves, another must take his place. Ironically, the new villain tends to be the most vocal nemesis of the old villain (see: Chad and Alex). Stepping back a bit: There is a reason the first runner-up of The Bachelor does not generally become the next Bachelorette (and vice versa). Presumably, the logic goes, their heartbreak is too fresh and too deep for them to rebound with 25 singles so shortly thereafter. Remember Caila, Ben’s second runner-up — the sweet but painfully boring fellow software salesperson, who made Ben build a model version of their future house together shortly before he cast her away like an old AOL CD-ROM? (Little software sales humor for ya, folks. But seriously, what does software salesperson do?) Caila was originally intended to be this season’s Bachelorette for the aforementioned reason — that is, until the producers realized no one really cared about her and swapped her out for JoJo. And that is why JoJo has brought up Ben, and the trust issues sustained from his preemptive declaration of love, approximately 600 times this season. It’s hard for her to believe it when these men tell her they love her — not because the men she is attracted to are sketchy, opportunistic liars, no sir! Because of Ben Higgins.
And yet. Upon sending Chase packing almost immediately after professing his love, after already extending him the Fantasy Suite invitation which contractually states the recipient is promised one (1) sex, JoJo has become the thing she feared the most. She has become Ben. (Who, by the way, announced his bid to run for the Colorado House of Representatives, only to be allegedly shut down by ABC in the same week. E for effort, Ben.)
Anywho. Despite Chad’s best efforts, the Men Tell All episode was as unspeakably boring as ever, though he did get to slip in this absolute banger of an insult to Derek: “Your pocket square doesn’t match your shirt.” Next week, we get to watch JoJo ignore every single gut instinct and become engaged to Jordan — I mean, we get to enjoy the rousing conclusion of the most dramatic season of The Bachelorette EVER. And by that, I mean it is almost time for a new season of Bachelor in Paradise, which is a far superior show in pretty much every way, for extremely uncomplicated reasons: a bunch of Bachelor rejects get wasted and fuck on the beach for two months. Chad will be there. Let’s fucking get it.