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Belle of the Balls – Your Bachelorette Recap! (S16, E2)

Alright, we’re finally getting into the meat of this thing, and if you think this is the last allusion to balls, you are SO WRONG my friend! Chris Harrison has been cooped up for way too long and he is ready to talk about the male anatomy, and then some. Let’s get to it!

Clare is in the pool. Requisite bikini shot: check. She claims there are “a lot of great guys here,” but it’s Dale that “made everything else disappear.” I disagree with both of these statements, and her white bathing suit. Moving on.

Chris Harrison drops by the guy’s living room and sagely says, “There’s obviously something else going on in the world right now.” What? Beyond bikinis and balls? You don’t say! (Beyond the myopic scope of this resort, the world is in roiling despair. You can help by VOTING AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Vote like your life depends on it, because it does!) Anywhoodles.

There is a Group Date! Clare is looking for someone who “speaks to her heart.” The group heads to the La Quinta Ballroom, decorated in AstroTurf, resplendent with a fake turret/castle in order to play, “Let’s compliment Clare.” Otherwise known as “Love Languages.” Clare’s love language is basically affirmations, and I gotta say – that totally tracks. A sample:

Riley: “I have layers.”

Clare: “Be that onion!”

Jordan: “I applied the day you were announced.”

Clare: “Great!”

Dale: “I don’t care who’s watching. I am who I am. I’m here.”

Clare: Drool. Stars in eyes.

Me: “He’s literally just stating facts!”

This was extraordinarily awkward to watch, and it doesn’t get easier when Clare announces, “It’s been such a long time since I’ve heard such kind things from men.” Good lord – the bar is so low for this woman, she might as well be doing the limbo.

Wait – there’s more! In another love language contest, the men sprint to their rooms to grab gifts for Clare. They are basically just random tchotchkes that have been sitting next to their sweaty boxers. I know Clare was getting the short end of the stick this season, but damn…

Finally, there is touch! (JFC, you guys – what did Dr. Fauci tell you?) Clare rubs up on the dudes, sniffing them and letting her hands wander over various pectorals. She has the nerve to say, “COVID did us dirty. That was too long.” (Real time reminder: IT IS NOT OVER. Don’t let watching this show let you forget the very real, still very present dangers. Wear a damn mask! Wash your hands! Distance responsibly. Do these things so that you too may return to random hugs with hot strangers!)

The evening portion of the first Group Date finds the men making a giant faux pas when Clare makes a toast… to crickets. Oh, she’s not alone! No. The men are all sitting there, totally silent and vegged out. Apparently, they didn’t realize the date was still happening, and, honestly, I can’t blame them. Most of us don’t even know what day it is half the time anymore, so how are the men supposed to know if a date’s still going when all they’ve done is walk from one part of the hotel to another? There’s nothing to discern one moment from the next in this vortex of hell. Let the guys sip their scotch while cooling their ankles in the pool! It might be all they have left.

But, not on Clare’s watch. Your work is not done; you are still on the clock. Compliment Clare. Compliment her now. The men scramble to awareness, but it’s too late. Our Bachelorette is pissed and she’s gonna let you know it. Bennett tries to make good, taking Clare off to chat. But our damsel is distracted. She marches back to the fire pit to yell at the guys. (But really to one man. Dale receives the brunt of the group scolding.)

The men are now stressed and get into a petty squabble, culminating in this pearl of wisdom, “There is no ‘me’ in ‘you.’” Yes, this is the gem that 2020 deserves. #2020WorstYear. Finally things conclude, and it’s Riley who ultimately receives the group Date Rose. Um, congrats?

Meanwhile, Jason earns the dubious honor of the first 1:1 Date. They go to another fire pit further away from the property and scream into the desert. This is my favorite tweet about that:

Clare rips all of the emotions from Jason, leaving Twitter concerned for his mental state. Clare reveals she initially went on the Bachelor to escape an abusive relationship, which… is an interesting tactic. One could argue she leapfrogged from one abusive situation to another. Really not so much of an argument as a fact. Very fun date! Not at all stressful or weird! Jason receives a kiss and a hard-earned Date Rose.

Onto the second group date for the totally appropriate game of Strip Dodge Ball. Chris Harrison acts as a judge, and missing Fred Willard is palpable in Bachelor Nation. A sincere RIP, Fred!

The ball puns fly fast and furious – too many to recount. Tap into your inner 7th grader and you’ll be caught up! In short (but not penis size! Rest assured, all of these men have giant penises, okay?!), the Red Team wins, and Chris demands the Blue Team does the “walk of shame back home.” Because, equality? Also, not all the way back home. Just across the parking lot to their respective rooms.

Blake is on the losing team, but this does not deter him. He crashes the winning team’s cocktail party. Men are angry! Clare is confused! Blake is determined. Stuff happens! Along the way, Brandon, the hot real estate agent from Cleveland, randomly gets dismissed. Blake snags a kiss, in a surprise twist. Josef is upset he was forced to strip! What if his daughter later happens upon this “very special” episode? He frets angrily in a stew of righteous indignation.

We end with the now-typical no Rose Ceremony cliffhanger, but not before a steamy make-out session between Clare and Dale. Clare claims she used to be a sucker for guys who were emotionally shut down, who pushed her away, who were nothing more than players. But surely she’s broken this streak with Dale! Right? (Narrator: She was, in fact, still doing exactly the same thing.)

Until next week, Rose Peeps!

Follow and share my weekly recaps – here on Jenna Zine every Wednesday!


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