We pick up where we left off – with the duel between Bennett and Noah, with Bennett continuing to gaslight Noah while competing in his own private verbal Olympics. It’s the small things – literally!
Tayshia is having none of it. Her posture, tone, and attitude all scan “bitch, please” at checkout. One can’t blame her – in a franchise full of tired storylines, this has to be one of the sleepiest. Any seasoned viewer can see the outcome from a mile away. There will always be two contestants fighting, and this season is no different. So much so that I gave myself a gift. Yes, the gift of time! I glided my fast-forward button over 20 MINUTES of back and forth content to get to the obvious conclusion: Bennett has been asked to leave. Noah is granted the well-deserved reprieve. Moving on.
We’re on to last week’s delayed Cocktail Party. Riley’s up first. He has a cake ready to help celebrate their one-week anniversary of being “boyfriend/girlfriend.” Um, sure. But, hey – cake! Put it in my mouth.
Now it’s time for Zac. I am sorry; I just don’t like him, but he appears to be a front runner, so here we are. He brings a “gift” from their recent date – a framed photo of their fashion shoot. You know, because he thought of that and arranged it himself! He already has a rose, so he’s “not sweating it,” but still wants his time – the majority of it affixed to Tayshia’s lips.
Brendan is here! This dude is so low energy, it’s insane. But he does have enough oomph to kiss, and that’s what they do.
JoJo is still here! Did she clear this with Jordan, or is he secretly hanging in her suite? Anywhoodles, she’s playing the role of “Chris Harrison” very well, even nailing his cadence. She’s graduated at the top of her class in the Harrison School of Hosting. Congrats to her and her freaking adorable freckles. Oh! JoJo also has big news: next week are Hometowns! What in the what? Yep. So, it’s a big deal for whomever is staying because fam damnilies are about to get involved.
Time for a Rose Ceremony! Receiving flowers are: Brendan, Riley, Blake, Ivan, and… Noah. (Ben and Zac already have boutonnieres from last week.) That means we’re saying goodbye to Ed, Spencer, and Demar. Um… Noah over Demar?! Okay, then. Like I said: I fear Tayshia’s picker might be broken.
A Date Card arrives. It’s for Ben (yay!), and it reads, “Falling in love is full of surprises.” One surprise is seeing JoJo zip down the breezeway on a scooter. She’s “set up” a date with clues. Sure, take that intern credit, girl. You’re the new Harrison, so revel in that entitlement! The “clues” lead them around the hotel property, because what else are they gonna do? But it does result in Ben taking off his pants to wade in a fountain, so the pointless excursion gets a thumbs up from me!
The evening portion of the date is equally adorable, with Ben complimenting Tayshia on her shoes. (“Everyone is wowed by your dresses, but your shoes are always on point.”) There is the usual cha-cha over untouched food where the lead all but threatens the contestant to basically “open up or else.” And open up Ben does! He reveals that he was raised to strive for perfection, but when a broken back left him in a dark place, he attempted suicide twice. Thankfully it was his sister who saved him. And he possibly saved someone tonight with his frank discussion about his emotional health. It’s all too rare that these types of things are discussed, and Ben is a true treasure for being so brave. Thank you, Ben! Ben is Number One, in my book.
Needless to say, he receives the Date Rose, as well as a “coveted” private concert featuring Adam Hambrick. (Who? Ya got me.) Again… these people are supposed to be in a bubble and I’m not sure why production keeps dragging performers in, especially to sing, which is one of the most dangerous things you can do in a group right now. I’m pretty sure whoever Adam is, he’s not worth it.
Now we’re heading into another Group Date with the card, “The truth is that I’m falling in love.” The lucky lads are: Zac, Brendan, Ivan, Noah, and Riley. This means the next 1:1 goes to Blake. Zac was hoping for more exclusive time, but claims he’ll go into this Group Date “fearlessly.” His bravery knows no bounds!
JoJo is here in a silken hot pink jumper to help Tayshia with her “truth,” which includes hooking the guys up to a ridiculous-looking lie detector that’s surely being run by production. To “prove” that it works, JoJo hooks Tayshia up to the machine first. Is she falling in love? Yes! With more than one person? Um, yep! Does she regret sending anyone home? Maybe. And, the ultimate “must be included every season,” is her husband in this room? Of course – she’s contractually obligated to leave with a ring on her finger and a fiancé on her arm!
Ivan is up next. He admits to getting aroused when he sees Tayshia and he wants kids. I believe both!
Noah agrees women have faked orgasm with him before, but it’s really his mustache that is his true love.
Brendan continues his “mellowed surfer on sleeping pills” approach to this competition, noting that he’s in the orange (aka “maybe”) zone for both marriage and the meeting of the parents. Hmm… Meanwhile, Zac admits to having cheated on a girlfriend before, and Riley fails the test when he can’t even pass go saying his own name.
After that, I think it’s safe to say we all need some drinks! It’s the evening portion of the Group Date, and Zac is the first one to get pulled away for a “walk and talk.” Tayshia lets him know that cheating is an absolute deal breaker for her. In fact, it’s the main reason her first marriage failed. So, he’d better explain his lapse in fidelity, posthaste!
Zac takes a deep breathe. The cheating was flagrant. It took place in public, at a Bowl-o-Rama, where he “frenched” a young lady, thusly being unfaithful to his love. All of this took place in sixth grade, with no transgressions before or since! He swears! Omg, puh-leeze. This is the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever heard. The relief from Tayshia is palpable. She clearly wants to believe the best, despite evidence otherwise… (I’m sorry. I know other people love Zac, but I just cannot get onboard. Maybe it’s because he reminds me of Nick Viall? If I’m misjudging him due to my Viall bias, I will owe everyone an apology!)
Ivan is hesitating. He’s only loved one girl, but maybe Tayshia will make two? Meanwhile, Brendan is still hedging his bets, remaining elusive regarding familial introductions. This does not bode well. Riley did lie about his name, but only because he changed it when he reconnected with his mom. Whew! That’s a waaaaay better reason for failing the lie detector than “frenching” at a bowling alley. And, with this, the Group Date Rose goes to… no one! Tayshia “needs more time to decide.” The men graciously agree. In other news – what choice do they have?
Hey, did you think Patrick Bateman – aka Bennett – was gone?! Because of course he’s not. He creeps up on Tayshia out of nowhere, asking for a second chance. For some reason she lets him into her room and I’ve never been gladder to have a camera crew present. Bennet claims his exit was a “whirled wind” (are we positive that he went to Harvard?) and that he wasn’t thinking clearly, but now he realizes that he “loves” Tayshia and asks to stay a bit longer. Tayshia says she needs time to consider his request, and meanwhile says she’ll walk him out. He attempts to lean in for a kiss. She tersely says, “Nice try.” Somehow, I think this second chance will be extremely short-lived.
Next week: It’s tears, tears, and more tears! Someone is a fraud, a fake, and a phony. Can’t these people just enjoy the pool? Stay tuned! Btw, it's a double header next week, with the Men Tell All airing on Monday and Hometowns on Tuesday. I won't be covering MTA, but be sure to visit me for the Hometown recap!