Even though The Bachelor has finished filming, do you think Colton still can’t take a shower without feeling like he’s being watched? We’re not five seconds into episode 2 before this happens:
But honestly, the Shower Cam is the least of Colton’s worries this week. Now they even have him doing his own camera work! “It’s the morning of the first group date,” the shirtless Bachelor tells us from bed, in a phone video shot selfie-style. “Today we’re going to be going to a theater to [slightly uncomfortable pause] tell stories of our firsts.”
Oh Lord, I’ve heard enough. Harrison, please get in here with the date card. Onyeka is raring to get “more competitive” with her fellow “ladies” for Colton’s attention. The group date goes to: Demi, Bri, Tracy, Elyse, Hannah G., Nicole, Onyeka, and Catherine. Get on the bus, gals, because there are some #RelationshipGoals waiting for you on stage at the Regent Theater.
“I’m Lauren H., I’m 23, and I work in retail,” says Ms. Megan Mullally, by way of introduction. Her (frighteningly bald) husband Nick Offerman informs the women that their first-time stories should be “full of adventure and romance” and “brought to a rousing climax.” Megan kicks things off by telling a story called “The First Time I [bleeped] Someone” — though I’m pretty sure she said “kissed” rather than anything truly bleep-able. Nick’s story involves the “velvety petals” of a woman’s “blossom” — so yeah, these two are looking for sex stories. Of course, the “ladies” will be performing these stories in front of an audience of 200 people who had nothing better to do when a PA approached them on the street. Chop chop, girls! Put those pens to paper!
“You ever spoke in front of 200 people before?” Colton asks FIR winner Hannah G. (He said “spoke,” not “spoken” — I listened about four times, hoping each time that I misheard him. Sigh.) Anyhow, his advice for HG is “pretend like everybody’s in their underwear.” Solid.
The “First Comes Love” show begins with Colton telling us all about the first time he admitted — to a fellow athlete, no less — that he was a virgin. The response (“Wow, man, that’s really cool”) was not what he expected, and our Bachelor says he felt as though a burden had been lifted. Gee, this is kind of fun – let me try! The first time I watched The Bachelor, I was 16 years younger, 10 pounds lighter, and at least 43 I.Q. points smarter. (Next: Demi takes charge)
Elyse reveals that now, this very moment, is the first time she’s ever dated a younger man. You go, Old Woman River! Other firsts include dating a white guy (Nicole), feeling “comfortable in my own skin” (Bri, zzzzzz), and acting a fool on The Bachelor (Onyeka). The latter tells the crowd all about “saving” Colton from “some bitches” on night one, adding that “there are some thirsty girls here, so I had to do it.” Catherine (a.k.a. one of the aforementioned “thirsty girls”) does not take this lightly.
Mic drop, I guess?
Tracy’s story involves a virgin fraternity brother and getting punched in the face by another woman, and if you think that sounds dramatic, just wait until you get a load of Demi’s performance.
Yep, her story is essentially “the first time I demanded a kiss from a dude in front of a screaming audience,” though she describes it as “the story of how I got the first group date rose.” To that end, she is the first one to grab Colton at the after-party, and Tracy — who was already shook by Demi’s bold smooch move — is now really starting to fall apart. “It was like, almost a shock to your system,” she says. Thank goodness, then, that Tracy wasn’t there to hear Demi tell Colton that she’s “a total woman supporter,” because her head would probably explode.
What happens next, though, nearly does Tracy in for good. Demi dares to touch the date rose, and Tracy literally can’t even. Is there an EMT in the house? Tracy is “short of breath” and “slightly sick to [her] stomach”! Can someone please administer 10 cc’s of Get A Grip, STAT?
She really shouldn’t worry so much — Colton seems way more into Elyse the Sexy Older Woman than Demi. “Age doesn’t define anything,” says the Bachelor, who blushes through his entire one-on-one chat with the stunning redhead. “I definitely think I can learn a thing or two [from you].” Case in point:
Rein in the tongue, buddy! Nobody wants to see that. Meanwhile, Tracy is still wigging out about the molested date rose, while Demi is in peak DGAF mode.
Be a doll and put your tassels down for a second, Demi, because Tracy would like to read you the riot act — in a whisper — about touching the date rose. “She had, like, a frowny face on,” Demi reports. “But haters gonna hate. I’m not worried about it, because there’s no advantage to being an older woman here.” Side note: Tracy, like Elyse, is 31, which in Bachelor years is practically paleolithic. (Next: Pageant drama!)
After a few more heart-to-heart chats — including Nicole’s emotional revelation that her twin brother is “severely autistic” — Colton gives Elyse the date rose. Awww, Nicole, don’t cry! (Again!) There are still a bunch of roses left to go.
Happy birthday, Hannah B.! You get the first one-on-one date of the season. And yes, I had to look up the definition of “golden birthday,” too.) She and Colton hop in a vintage jeep — oy, those lap seatbelts are a little outdated, huh? — and hit the road. They drive about 50 minutes north to the Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park, where some very patient horses await.
We interrupt this recap to bring you some breaking pageant-world drama: Back at the mansion, Caelynn (Miss North Carolina) is filling a producer in on her history with Hannah B. (Miss Alabama).
“We were roommates at Miss USA,” says Caelynn. “We were super close, and then she was not happy that I was first runner-up. She was mad she didn’t place.” According to Caelynn, Hannah B. “kind of snapped” and became “a whole new Hannah” — and now she’s anticipating/dreading the moment her one-time bestie’s “switch” flips yet again.
Oooh, here’s hoping it flips as she’s in the middle-of-nowhere hot tub with Colton! Though I guess that could electrocute them both — and I suppose technically that would be bad for the show. Before Hannah and Colton even get into the hot tub, the Bachelor suggests they each make a toast, and Miss Alabama completely freezes. Colton tries to help — “You say, ‘Let’s make a toast to…’ and then put some words together” — and eventually, Hannah manages to blurt something out (“let’s make a toast to… this amazing day and, um, roll tide”). The Bachelor is, to put it mildly, not very impressed.
“I thought that it was going to be this really easy, natural flow,” he says. “If we could just make any type of progress, I’ll be happy with that.” Let’s check in and see how they’re doing!
“If Hannah can’t open up, I’m not going to be giving her a rose at the end of the night,” says Colton ominously. Okay Alabama — you betta step it up! Their dinner is on the deck of an ocean liner, which is appropriate because this date is rapidly becoming a sinking ship. (Ba-dum-bum.) The Bachelor tries again to help Hannah relax — “I don’t want you to feel like you have to be perfect’ – and eventually she feels comfortable enough to ask him this season’s million-dollar question: “Why are you a virgin?” He goes the whole “finding the right heart” song and dance that we’ve heard many times before — and that, finally, is what gets Hannah to reveal something (anything) about herself. Fun fact: She too originally was saving herself for marriage, but then… she didn’t. The guilt “killed me,” she says. “I don’t feel perfect because I can’t give [my virginity] to somebody.”
Minor exposure of vulnerabilities — check! Other Hannah has done enough, so Colton gives her the date rose. Cue the fireworks!
The next morning, Colton is up with the sun and outside splitting logs like the Brawny man when his second harem — Alex, Erika, Katie, Caelynn, Sydney, Tayshia, Nina, Kirpa, Caitlin, Courtney, Cassie, and Heather – arrives for their summer-camp themed date. They spend the day having a lot of wholesome fun in the sun (football, badminton, duck-duck-goose (!)), and then these guys drive up:
What the hell is Billy Eichner doing here? (“I wanted a guest spot on The Goldbergs and I got this,” he groans.) Harrison informs the “ladies” that they’re about to engage in a little “friendly competition,” and the team that wins gets to sleep overnight in the camp with Colton, while the losers go back to the mansion. First up, though, Billy has a little pep talk for the Bachelor:
Look, I’d watch the hell out of that. How about you, rose lovers?
The Camp Bachelor Jamboree features a brutal assortment of camp-related competitions: footraces of the egg & spoon, wheelbarrow and three-legged variety, a canoe race (the red team gets so lost, Billy says they’re “like Colton trying to find a vagina!”), and finally, a tug of war. The red team emerges victorious. Sorry yellow team, but you must head back to the mansion, with only your muddy shoes and your shame to keep you company. (Next: Chaos at the cocktail party)
When they get home, the other “ladies” at the mansion are shocked to learn that Colton will be spending the night (in one form or another) with the remaining six women. Could this be the night he finally punches his V-card?
No, of course not. But he sure as hell is gonna kiss as many women as he can. Will one of them be Heather? After much hand-wringing, she tells Colton about her virginity-plus (“I’m a virgin, but also have never kissed anyone before”). The Bachelor’s response is about what you’d expect (“Really?”), but of course he doesn’t judge her — he knows that people in glass houses of chastity shouldn’t throw stones. “I respect the heck out of that,” says Colton, and then they stare at each other in awkward silence for a bit. Maybe next time, Heather!
Back at the mansion, Other Hannah is upset that the other women – especially her pageant rival Caelynn — are getting extra time with Colton. “If I start thinkin’ about it,” she says, “I’ll turn into a crazy woman.” Think about it! Think about it! We need some drama, y’all! Though Other Hannah says Caelynn is the one who’s “fake,” she also says she’s worried that Miss North Carolina will trash-talk her to Colton — which seems like something a person would only worry about if there was actual trash to talk.
Instead, Caelynn skips the pageant drama and tells the Bachelor about surviving a serious childhood illness (encephalitis). They share a smooch, but then in a TWIST, Heather gets the date rose! The Bachelor is rewarding her for being Open and Honest™, which is all he wants from his “ladies.” (Heather and Colton celebrate with a friendly hug, naturally.)
Nerves are on edge as cocktail party No. 2 gets underway — especially for the women of the yellow team, who know this is their last chance to “get time” with Colton before the dreaded rose ceremony. Courtney grabs the Bachelor first; we learn that she’s the oldest of five kids (her youngest sibling is only two!), and that she’s “ready for a family” at the ripe old age of 23. And he LOVES it. Sydney admits to Colton that she cheated during the canoe race, and they’re having a very sweet conversation when…
Jesus, who gave Onyeka an airhorn? “I think I’m deaf!” says a stunned Colton. (Unfortunately for him, he’s still able to hear Onyeka’s joke that she’s feeling “just a little bit horny.”) Sydney is so irked by the rude (and loud) interruption that she turns around and breaks up Onyeka’s chat with Colton by banging a ladle on a cookie sheet — but her rival refuses to budge. (Again, why is Colton just sitting silently while all this silliness transpires? Step up, man!) It is only when Sydney returns banging a spoon on a giant pasta pot that Onyeka relinquishes her hold on the Bachelor.
All of this drama is stressing Tracy out. Unlike some of the children in the mansion, Tracy is ready to find a husband, like, now. But just a few minutes after she sits down with Colton, a bathrobe-clad Demi swoops in and steals the Bachelor away. “I want to show you my Fantasy Closet,” she purrs. Though the other women just roll their eyes (“Does she not have parents?” wonders Caitlin), Tracy locks herself in a bathroom and cries.
The “ladies” scold Demi for her behavior, but once again the blonde does not give a frog’s fat ass that Tracy is upset. “I was up there with Colton having a great time, and I wasn’t thinking about Tracy for even half a second,” she snaps. “The cougar attacks do not get to me at all.” And Demi is more than happy to seek Tracy out (no doubt at the request of producers) and rub salt in the wound. She finds the ancient 31-year-old crying in an upstairs closet. Tracy tells Demi her behavior was “rude and mean.”
In a surprising turn of events, Demi responds by complimenting Tracy (“you are seriously one of the most amazing women I’ve ever met”), but she does not actually apologize. “You just keep doing you.” How’s that sound, Tracy?
“Tracy’s wasting her time up there crying in her room,” marvels Demi. She’s not wrong. By the time the rose ceremony rolls around, Tracy has managed to fix her makeup and put her game face on, but she’s still “pissed.” And naturally, Team Bachelor makes Tracy and Demi stand next to each other at the ceremony. When Demi (inevitably) gets her rose, the older woman does not hide her disgust.
Rose roll call: Tayshia, Cassie, Caelynn, Courtney, Demi, Nicole, Kirpa, Hannah G., Catherine, Bri, Sydney, Onyeka, Katie, Caitlin, Nina, and (final rose tonight) Tracy join Demi, Elyse, Other Hannah and Heather in the winners’ circle. That means we have to say goodbye to Erika, Alex, Angelique, and Annie.
Burning questions: Did Erika shoot herself in the foot by hesitating when Colton asked if she wants kids? Did the Bachelor send Alex home because she snorts when she laughs? And is Other Hannah legitimately a crazy person or does she just play one on TV?
Post your thoughts below, rose lovers! See you next week, when we’ll devote another two hours of our lives to this ridiculousness. Like Megan Mullally says, it’ll all be totally worth it.
The Bachelor airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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