By Finesse and Artistry
The Mother of All Bachelorettes, Ali Fedotowsky, tweeted on Monday that this episode is “VERY hard to watch and not because of Bentley.” We agree. But it’s possible we agree for the wrong reasons. Ali was probably not referring to the fact that watching this show makes you feel like a lonely dragon boat racer, recently concussed during a bout of Muay Thai boxing, trying to keep your eye on the patch of water in front of you, because if you allow yourself to look out at the horizon you’d realize, f—, I still have an hour and forty-two minutes to go. No, she was likely referring to the reaction of several of the Gentlemen to Ashley’s revelation about her true feelings for Bentley. The palpable anger. The raging passive aggressiveness. The fiery indignation. It was all clearly justified. Because if there is one thing we’ve learned about relationships, it’s that it is OK if a woman has feelings for six other Gentlemen. But seven? Have you no decency, Ashley? Look, this episode was excruciating for everyone. We’re all emotional right now. Fortunately, we can offer the always cathartic experience of the GTOG recap.
|Honestly, another guy would just be too much.|
– Ah, Hong Kong. Ashley loves “the buildings, the shapes, the hustle and bustle. The traffic.” The only other person we know who would actually like traffic is Ryan. Unfortunately, it seems clear that, much like Rose carried a torch for Jack in the movie “Titanic,” Ashley will still be pining for Bentley when she is 113 years old. When you go through something traumatic with another person – such as the sinking of the Titanic or three conversations on an episode of the Bachelorette – your bond is sealed. Forever. Or so we thought. When Chris Harrison shows up in her hotel room, Ashley’s fight or flight instinct kicks in. “You’re scaring me right now,” she says.
Harrison knows just how to play this. “Don’t be scared,” he says. “Bentley is here, in Hong Kong…”
Ashley: “SHUT UP!”
Harrison is unfazed by the assault on all of our senses. He continues, “…in this hotel, right now.” This sets up a scene with more punctuation metaphors than we’ve ever seen on the Bachelorette.
Read on for the FULL recap…
– Unlike the last time that Bentley broke up with show, Harrison is determined not to let Ashley walk away with the “dot dot dot.” “Push him for details,” he urges. Nodding, Ashley says, “I need more than vagueness.” It turns out that Bentley did give her more than vagueness, using a tried and true method that men use all the time to avoid conversations they don’t want to have: narrating the present. It’s a tactic that, when executed properly, can turn the literal into the romantic. Consider Bentley saying, “I flew all the way around the world to see you.” Ashley eats this up, not realizing that it is simply a literal description of the activities of the last 24 hours. Were Bentley physically capable of articulating his true thoughts, he could have continued, “…because I don’t like you and you need to get over this.” Bentley also seeks to infuse awkward silences with confusion, stammering something to the effect of “you know, who knows, you know, come to Salt Lake, you know, who knows.” Ashley, of course, is getting choked up.
|“You’re crying right now. I’m looking down. Your shirt is pink.”|
– But this is a new and more determined Ashley who is not willing to settle for vagueness. She finally coaxes the breakup line of all breakup lines out of him:
I think you know where I’m at. And I think you know where I’m coming from. A little bit. I think. You’re here for a reason and I think you’re here for a purpose and I think. Knowing that I’m home, it’s it doesn’t look good for me and you. And I would … implore you to … do all that you can to see what you have here, I guess.
And then, to rip off the band-aid, he finishes, “I feel like where you’re at with this whole journey and process, maybe we should call it a period.” Does this mean that Ashley’s turmoil the past few weeks was just PMS?
– In her post-period voicing-over, Ashley says, “He knows exactly how to talk to a girl to make them believe what he wants them to believe.” Does he really? And here we’ve spent our lives trying to think of things to say, when in reality, all we have to do is state facts? “Honey, I need you to leave the room, I’m about to do a podcast.” She breaks out the sexy lingerie. “I can’t meet you for drinks this Saturday, I’m going to the Justin Bieber movie with a 39-year-old man.” Should be a Valentine’s day card. “I really can’t stand Jaden Smith.” Ticket to second base.
– Lucas gets the first 1-on-1, also known as the perfect time to get up and go to the bathroom. Because nothing is happening, and because even Ashley is bored, she is forced to reach deep into the Bachelorette bag of tricks to pull out…….wait for it……..”What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever been through?” BAM! We’re sucked back in. It turns out that it was Lucas’s divorce, and we actually felt bad for him until we realized later in the episode that he may have a psychotically violent temper (more on that later). Not to be outdone, Lucas initiates a game of Bachelorette Cliche Hold ‘Em:
- Lucas: I see your ‘what’s the hardest thing you’ve ever been through?’ and raise you a ‘everything happens for a reason.’
- Ashley: I see your “everything happens for a reason” and raise you a voiceover “There’s something about his manlihood that makes me feel protected.”
Textbook execution on both ends. Lucas gets the kiss, and the rose.
|Snake in the grass. Beware.|
– If there’s one thing every woman needs before going on a dinner date in Hong Kong, it’s a thorough spray tan.
– During Lucas’s date, the Gentlemen back at the hotel receive the next date card. Both Ryan and Blake desperately want the 1-on-1 date because you can only convince yourself that you’re in love with someone you don’t know for so long. At some point, you really need to introduce yourself. After the group date participants are announced, we learn that J.P. gets the following, which only a real Bachelorette fan can understand: “1st 2nd 1-1.” Ames, still concussed, appeared to react to the bright lights and motion, but was otherwise unresponsive.
– Sometimes all you need to show someone’s true colors is a good dragon boat race, and what an inspired choice for tonight’s group date. Dragon boat winner: Ben. If you can’t tell Ben and Constantine apart, you aren’t paying close enough attention. Ben is best described as “better looking than Constantine but worse looking than Rafael Nadal.” Also, Ben is the one with the sense of humor. Dragon boat loser even though he won: the guy that’s screaming “PUSH!” at the poor native volunteers. You don’t want to be an assistant in Chef Mickey’s kitchen. More on him later. How did Ashley feel about the date? “Every time I spend time with them, I get to know them a little bit better.”
– At the cocktail-party, Ames executes a flawless TriAmesFecta: two collars, two pockets, and two shoulder flaps. No one has ever gone from “irrelevant at best” to “absolutely our favorite” in a shorter span of time. Kudos to you, Ames.
|Sort of remembers some of his own name.|
– Ashley follows up her elevator make-out with Ames by immediately making out with Ben, before pulling back upon realizing that maybe she is making out with too many dudes in rapid succession. But Ben smartly holds the kiss, voicing over “The walls are down.” We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again:
|Walls Down. Stock Up.|
– Next up for some alone time on the couch? Ryan, whose light shines so bright that it’s best not to look directly at him. All of the other gentlemen are harboring animosity-bordering-on-rage for Ryan, so please allow GTOG to explain why. The man has a Hero Complex. He’s the guy your sister brings home for Thanksgiving, who immediately remembers everyone’s name, calls your mom “Mrs. [first letter of last name],” cooks three desserts, takes out the trash, makes everyone’s drink, plays video games with the kids, tells the origins of his solar energy company, can’t stop smiling, tells a story about helping people, helps your cousin with his homework, asks to see your baby pictures, does the dishes, fixes the broken chair-leg, recommends a really great doctor for your grandmother to go see, and volunteers to take your aunt to the airport at midnight when her flight is delayed. We all know this person. He’s probably been to your house before and if not, he’s coming this year. None of these things, on its own, is bad. But when put all together, you’re left with a a toxic blend of Goobery Do-Goodery.
|“I believe deeply in harnessing the power of the sun to do good.”|
|“It’s a privilege to meet your grandparents. Such a wealth of knowledge.”|
|“Sure, I’ll take you! Delta or Continental?”|
– But even Apollo’s light cannot illuminate the dim bulb that is Constantine. After Ryan gets the group date rose, Con is flummoxed. “Some people like cheesy,” he says in disbelief. Yes, “some people” like cheesy. It must be especially mystifying for you, Constantine, because you have made the classy decision to find love on the Bachelorette. Blake is also indignant that Ashley finds Ryan’s exuberance to be attractive, believing instead that Ashley should prefer Blake’s passive aggressiveness and constant need for reaffirmation. To each their own.
– JP gets the coveted 1-on-1 and is probed by Ashley to find out if his feelings are real. One thing about JP that we know is real is that he looks like a guy who organizes a Run Club every Saturday morning at the local Starbucks. Beyond that, we think JP’s feelings are sincere, but we can’t know for sure. JP, however, earns Ashley’s trust. “I want you to know about the whole journey,” she coos, before revealing that she had a hard time with Bentley leaving not because Bentley left but because Bentley left. Likewise, we have been having a hard time not because Ashley is the Bachelorette but because Ashley is the Bachelorette. JP handles the Big Reveal with all the dignity you’d expect from a guy who brings extra odometers to the Run Club in case someone forgets. He gets the rose, makes out with a sizable portion of Ashley’s right cheek, and earns coveted status as “The Favorite.”
|“6:30 at the Starbucks everyone! Forty percent chance of rain!”|
– At the cocktail party, Ashley reveals, again, that she was upset about Bentley leaving. To the “2019 Book of Baby Names” Gang (Constantine, Mickey, Blake, and Lucas), this is simply unacceptable. Constantine begins to sweat, if it’s possible to “begin” something you’ve been doing non-stop for a month and a half. Lucas’s eyes bulge from his head as he begins to shout indiscriminately, while somewhere in Texas, his ex-wife lets out a big “I TOLD YOU SO!” He wants to know why it’s fair that all these gentlemen have been sitting here putting themselves on the line, while Bentley controls Ashley’s heart from afar. (Ames chimes in, “and sitting in hospitals.” It’s unclear if that was in response to anything or just because.) Blake seeks reassurance, which is perplexing given that Blake never got assurance in the first place. Mickey pleads to be sent home before realizing that he can just leave. Ames, confused, wonders, “who is Bentley?”
– A situation like this calls for a Hero, and after the 2019BoBN Gang reveals their true colors, it’s down to JP, Ryan, Ben, and Ames to step up. We forget if Ben said anything. JP seeks to defend Ashley in front of everyone, but in return receives only resentment over the fact that he knew the situation the previous night. Ryan, of course, is happy about all of this, if for no other reason than this is a “this,” and, therefore, he is happy about it. But the true hero of the night is Ames. While staring 30-degrees to Ashley’s right, he smiles and gets out the words, “I suppose … that we would all prefer our fairy tales to be simple.” Yes, Ames. We definitely would.
|One more time, just for kicks.|
– With only one Gentleman to be sent home at the Rose Ceremony, and all signs pointing to Blake, it’s up to Chris Harrison’s pre-Rose-ceremony interview to build the tension. But Chris Harrison doesn’t ask you questions in exchange for answers. No, he gives you answers, and damnit, you better agree. The transcript of Chris from the “interview:”
- “It’s rough out there tonight.”
- “It’s amazing how quickly things can change.”
- “You know, it’s different for every person. The path is diffrent for every person. For you, there’s going to be parts of this that aren’t easy.”
- “Essentially, from their perspective was I fell in love with Bentley and … I think they just felt second best tonight.”
- “The good news is you’ve been on the other side. You do fully appreciate what they’re going through.”
- “You’re in a tough spot tonight.”
- “Just be Ashley.”