Welcome back to Mouthful of teeth’s weekly Bachelorette recap where I’ll break down Clayton Echard’s search for a fiancé and the television nonsense along the way.
This is week 4 of Clayton’s “journey” and we thankfully moved on from last week’s drama. That’s right, Clayton addressed #Shrimpgate with the house and thought critically about the issue.
Just kidding, of course none of that happened and we’re still on the same bullshit.
They read my article!
It’s nice to see that the contestants read forward in time when I coined the term #Shrimpgate, but I didn’t expect quote it by name so soon. This isn’t the first time the franchise has read one of my breakdowns and adjusted accordingly mind you.
But yes, we are starting this episode where we left off last week: it’s time for the cocktail party and the house is in turmoil because of contrived beef between Shanae and Elizabeth.
Clayton thinks that this issue warrants a house-wide announcement, so he stumbles through a Biden-esque speech about unity before pulling the two principal actors aside. Once the trio are seated outside Clayton expresses how confused he is (probably true) because he has a connection with both women, but doesn’t understand why they can’t get along.
The entire time Clayton speaks sounds like he’s trying to talk his way out of a DUI. He stumbles over every word and even though you can see him visibly trying to connect dots, it’s evident that he doesn’t have the critical thinking skills to handle this situation.
It probably didn’t help that Elizabeth took off her jacket to show her entire cleavage to win points. I know it was performative because as soon as Clayton gave up on the argument, she put the jacket back on.
The conflict itself really doesn’t require any further analysis. It’s about shrimp and even Clayton realizes how stupid it is.
A squandered chance at peace
Just because Clayton knows the fight is stupid doesn’t mean he knows the way to resolve it.
Clayton didn’t go back to the other women after pulling Elizabeth and Shanae aside. Instead, he left them in a room to stew while he wandered around the mansion looking confused. He didn’t even return once the fight was over.
Which meant a livid Genevieve had the opportunity to explode on Shanae.
We haven’t heard much from Genevieve yet this season, so this explosion was as surprising as it was glorious. She yelled at Shanae for making up drama for no reason and derailing every date or cocktail party she’s attended with her idiocy.
Clayton didn’t sit idly by while his house devolved into bedlam, however. He sent Jesse to intercede and alert the well-dressed women (except for Melina) that they worked hard on their appearance for nothing. The cocktail party is cancelled and it’s time to make cuts.
A truly Matt Jamesian level of house mismanagement.
The Rose Ceremony
Kudos to these women truly. If I were on that cast and spent the last two hours getting gussied up just for my prospective boyfriend to cancel the party (without even telling me himself) I’d throw my shoes at him.
So, who’s staying?
Who’s going home
Sorry Elizabeth, you lost this round. We’ll see you on paradise where you can #girlboss, gatekeep, and gaslight your way to love.
A rough start to a trip
After that tumultuous evening, Jesse Palmer comes into the living room to deliver some bad news.
He tells the ladies that there won’t be a date this evening in Los Angeles because they’re going on a world tour. The only catch is that is starts in Houston, Texas. I’m happy for Kira, Melina, and Elizabeth now because at least they didn’t have to travel to the worst city in America.
Before going further, there are some major downsides to Houston that we don’t talk about enough:
- You have drive 30 minutes minimum) to get anywhere in Houston. I can’t imagine bar hopping when you’re forced to either take numerous Lyfts or drunk drive.
- The weather is hotter than Austin and overly humid despite being miles away from the ocean
- It’s at risk for hurricanes, not because it’s close to the Gulf of Mexico, but because it’s racked with so much urban sprawl, a heavy rain can flood the place
- The sports teams suck
- Everyone there seems to love it
Nevertheless, they persisted in filming this week’s episode there.
All season, Rachel has chided Clayton with accusations that he’s doing things to spite her. Week two, he took Susie on a plane ride right in her face and last week she accused him of putting her in the friendzone.
I thought this was a childish tactic that would turn Clayton off, but apparently he’s into that sort of flirting. The date card comes in and Rachel’s name is the only one on it.
The pair meet up to go horseback riding, which is pretty standard for the franchise, but I take exception that it’s something Clayton “might find on any Saturday in Eureka.” There’s a Six Flags in your city Clayton. Sure, the population is small, but it’s a tourist town and I don’t think you’re as country as you lead us to believe.
Rachel matched his inexperience with horses by trying her hardest to get her finger bitten off. I don’t like horses, but I know you’re supposed to feed them with an open hand rather than shove your fingers in their face.
The ride culminates with a good old-fashioned Texas barbeque. We never learn who this group is, and they look as confused by this weird white couple as we are watching them crash a family meal.
I’m no stranger to Texas BBQ and this looked pretty good to me. The ribs were smoked with repeat dressings, there was plenty of Shiner Bock in the cooler, and there wasn’t any sauce in sight. Clayton’s from Missouri where the best BBQ in the world is and would know good sauce when he tastes it so it’s smart that the Texans didn’t try.
My only problem is that there wasn’t a drop of mayo in the coleslaw.
The day portion ends by the lake where Clayton and Rachel have a contest of who can whisper the softest. By the end of the conversation, they sounded more like a couple making jokes in a public movie theatre than two main characters on a TV show.
I’d tell you about the content of their words if it amounted more than “you’re very pretty and I like you.”
The bar is in hell
The night portion takes place in a literal barn.
It was a furnished barn, but ABC was trying to hit the country aesthetic so hard they landed on comical. A barn dinner after a horseback ride and trip to the lake also makes this the whitest date I’ve ever seen on the show.
Clayton continued his trend of just-passable dinner wear. He popped another crewneck sweater under a dress coat of a different color, which is fine as long as he doesn’t match it with jeans ever again. I’m just happy this marks the first episode he doesn’t wear a literal hoodie.
But, since it’s a one-on-one, that means Rachel needs to expose her trauma to earn Clayton’s affection.
She told a story about her last boyfriend not supporting her job, which wasn’t too moving other than exemplifying how trash men are once again. But Clayton managed to move her to tears anyway through his uncompromising support and understanding.
That’s right everyone: he’s going to allow her to keep her job if they get married.
This radical act of feminism is unlike anything else we’ve ever seen on the Bachelor and I was also moved to tears. He basically donated his life savings to Planned Parenthood and retroactively voted for Hillary Clinton on this date.
After such a display of emotion, the only way to end the date is to slow dance to a personal concert from country sensation* Restless Road. The last thing out of Clayton’s mouth is “I’ll never dim your light” which is as vapid as it was heartfelt.
Keep up the good work you big moron.
Are you ready for some violence!?
Continuing the episode’s streak of feminism, Bachelor set out to prove that you can perform violence to prove your love no matter your gender.
The group date takes place at the Texans’ stadium where the ladies play full-contact football for a chance to go to the afterparty. ABC wheels out some version of this date every season and it’s as tired as the phrase “right reasons.”
Here are the teams:
Shrimp Stampede (seriously)
You can already tell it’s bad news for the Shrimp Stampede because all the lead contenders are on the team with the Olympian. The entire game is a shellacking with the Purple Punishers coming out victorious at 21 – 0.
Sierra and Shanae also got into some extracurricular violence on the side, which no one could’ve expected. We won’t talk about the problem with dates like this though because “they’re just girls” and don’t hit as hard as the men.
It’s the same problem though and if Sierra hit Shanae in a more dangerous way that she intended, both women could’ve gone to the hospital.
But that didn’t happen so all is well, and we can move on. On the bright side, the Purple Punishers won half as many games in that stadium as the Texans did in 2021.
Is it repetitive if we never have something new?
If it sounds like I’m repeating passages from previous breakdowns this season, I promise I don’t mean to. They just keep doing the same thing every week.
The day portion goes well in Clayton’s eyes, Shanae causes problems with the other women, the night portion falls apart to Clayton’s surprise. I don’t even have to pay attention too closely because now that Elizabeth is gone, Shanae just shifted the same accusations to Genevieve and Sierra.
The only twist this week is that Shanae wasn’t even invited to this night portion. She just felt “like she belonged there” so she got a producer to drive her over.
She tattled, Clayton made out with her, the episode ended on a cliff-hanger. It’s not fun anymore ABC, please parole us from this tired storyline. He did put on his most serious “thinking face” for Shanae’s conversation. He might even figure out that when people continually organize against one person, it usually isn’t the groups fault.
Or at least I hope he’ll figure that out.