Bachelorette week 5 recap: back to basics

Welcome back to Mouthful of teeth’s weekly Bachelorette recap where I’ll break down all the heartbreak, bad feminism, and television gimmicks on Katie Thurston’s search for love.

This is week 5 of Katie’s “journey” and while the house is finally drama-free, there’s trouble on the horizon: toxic masculinity.

Writing a story about toxic masculinity on the Bachelorette has about the same relevance as a story about why the ocean is so wet, however, so let’s turn our attention to Blake. Blake snuck his way onto the show last week because Katie needed someone to sub in for the dearly departed Thomas. Now, it’s time for him to meet the rest of the boys and they aren’t too happy.

Blake’s here!

Here comes the Crimson Chin!

Tayshia was the one to break the news that someone from her past would be joining the season. The best part of her announcement came when she walked in and James the Box Man audibly gasped by how pretty she is. It’s nice to see one of the men finally break.

This was also a clever move to establish Blake’s “good intentions.” By clarifying that he’s already been vetted for the Supreme Crime, the union lost all its power.

Blake walks in to see some icy glares. I know they aren’t friends with the competition, but the silent treatment they gave Blake was a new level of childish. Blake said his apologies and as soon as he realized nobody was going to come to his defense, then the date card arrived.

And of course, it went to Blake. As the saying goes, the devil works hard, but the Bachelor producers work even harder.

To Union President Aaron’s credit, he was respectful to Blake after the date card showed up. He noted how he obviously wasn’t happy, but respected Katie’s decision. Aaron is the gossip queen and unofficial leader of the house, so his endorsement goes a long way.

One-on-one one

Katie threw on her comfiest (and laziest) date outfit to escort Blake away from the big, mean men and towards the even bigger and even meaner horses. Blake is terrified of horses, a fact I’m sure had NOTHING to do with planning this date, and I found it very endearing.

Full disclosure: a fear of horses (or equinaphobia) is a condition Blake shares with your humble Bachelorette recapper and I sympathized with him a lot on this date.

a literal romp in the hay, Bachelor producers are known for subtlety

Last week, I stated that Katie “can barely hold back her disgust for this 5’8” ball of hair” during both her interactions with Blake, but that is a thing of the past. The pair actually seem to have chemistry and the date seemed to go pretty well.

Blake asked a leading question to point out how interesting and worldly he is for traveling to Africa. Katie laughed at Blake’s ineptitude for horseback riding. The two shared the first horizontal kiss of the season (which I would argue is more important than the first kiss). All pointing to a good first date.

ABC learned from last time

Before we get to the night portion of the date, the screen goes black and ABC does something they’ve never done on the franchise before: provided a content warning.

It warned people about the upcoming conversation where Katie would retell the story of her sexual assault and how it affected her. This is a brilliant move and one I wish the network would do more often, but it does seem out of place.

If you remember back to week 3 during the most unethical date I’ve ever seen, Katie told almost exactly the same story to most of the men and Nick Viall. Katie gave a voice to people all around “Bachelor Nation” who’ve gone through a traumatic experience like this, and I’m happy she was comfortable enough to share, but we didn’t get a content warning then.

a look that let’s Blake know he’s supposed to pay attention

The only thing I can imagine that happened during the interim was that ABC producers read my week 3 recap and realized how badly they fucked up. So, with that in mind:

Hi Bachelorette producers! Thanks for reading the blog, I’m a big fan of your work, but I do have a few suggestions for the series if you want to stay relevant and keep any viewer that’s not white, cis, and straight:

  1. Include some bisexual people you cowards
  2. No more white leads for the next five years. I don’t care how much you like Michael A., we’ve had enough of the mayo-enthusiasts
  3. Hire some women because if Katie is your first brush with feminism, you’re already screwed
  4. Put me on the Bachelorette (or Bachelor if you want to fulfil suggestion #1), I’m young, hot, and already know all the rules of the franchise

Oh yea! Back to the date.

Blake responds to Katie’s story as best as a man that dumb can. He thanks her for sharing, which is a great start, and promises to always be mindful of “that topic.” The only count against him came when he told her he never wants her to be scared of him because he’s also sex positive. I think his heart was in the right place, but try not to mention that you’d really like to have sex with her right after that story.

“can’t wait to cash this fucking check, these people are weird”

Katie gives Blake the date rose, claims she can see herself with him at the end of this, and we’re treated to a much-missed Bachelor staple: unknown country music performances. Laine Hardy was the lucky man who got to awkwardly sing while Katie ate Blake’s face off lips-first. I didn’t know how much I missed this trope.

Let’s get ready to perform violence for love

Remember that toxic masculinity I mentioned? Here’s where it gets going in earnest.

alright Bachelorette I forgive the trope now

It’s a classic “sports contest to determine who gets more time with the lead” date. The producers have revamped this cliché with every Bachelorette I can remember, and it has never ended well. Even the women had a version of this date during Colton’s season and it also ended with disaster.

The men unlucky enough to participate are:

  • Softboi Greg
  • Quartney
  • Michael
  • Aaron
  • Mike the Christian
  • Andrew M. (who?)
  • Josh
  • Justin
  • Brendan
  • James the Box Man
  • Catman
  • Tre
  • Hunter

It won’t only be Katie encouraging the boys to hurt each other; she brought some friends. Turns out, it’s Wells and the gay photographer that stole the show on previous quarantined seasons.

Wells put in a marvelous audition to replace Chris Harrison as host. And since the franchise refuses to let a woman hold that spot for more than a season, why not let Wells man the ship? He’s funny, cute, and hasn’t done a bunch of racist things in his professional life.

omg are we watching ABC’s Holy Moley? No silly, that just “clever” brand alignment

The men will be playing “Bash Ball,” which Wells describes as a mix between basketball and rugby, and admittedly looks pretty fun. The only downside to this date is that the losing team won’t be allowed to join the night portion of the date. I don’t really think Katie was ever going to let that happen, but those stakes mixed with some of the men’s (Hunter) aggression makes for a dangerous situation.

And surprise! Hunter hit the shit out of Mike the Christian, which the men described as “setting the tone” for the rest of the game. From there, we saw several dangerous tackles that would’ve injured bodies that weren’t painstakingly groomed to be on television.

Side note: I actually play rugby and can say with confidence that most of Hunter’s tackles would have got him kicked out of a match. He played dirty and went for the knees every hit, which I’m not surprised at, considering his short-man syndrome.

“I blew my back out for this, will you let me blow yours out too?”

Speaking of injuries, Justin hit Michael in the back and destroyed his spine. I don’t think it was a dirty hit, I just think 36-year-old men probably shouldn’t be playing Bash Ball. Justin, for his part, felt terrible and apologized to Michael as soon as he was done getting looked at by the medical staff. He even said “love you dog,” which is a nice, non-toxic thing to see during the violence contest.

Hunter would go on to snort and exclaim “despite the injuries, I had a fun fucking time.” Clearly not aggressive and toxic.

Katie, the expert lead that she is, ended the date right there and paroled us to…

The Night Portion

Before we get to any of the drunken adventures of this date, we need to talk about Katie’s Nicki Minaj moment.

These men don’t treat her as a girlfriend, they treat her like their mom that they might have sex with one day. As Nicki would say, all these bitches are her sons and she ain’t talking about Phoenix.

she’s serving Velma from Scooby Doo 2

She tells them how good they’ve done, and they remark on how lucky they are to be allowed to continue the date. Aaron even says “Katie said we’re all winners” and might as well had a Freudian slip and called her mommy.

That being said, I’d happily call her mommy if she were wearing the same red, leather dress she brought out for this date. It was tight without looking suffocating and didn’t wrinkle like an old recliner when she sat down. Big, leather outfits are hard to pull off and Katie did it with ease.

The rest of the date is pretty standard: men poorly flirted, Katie politely made out with some of them, and someone had an emotional confession. Boiler plate Bachelorette evening.

What happened off camera is more intriguing to me. We didn’t get to see it, but they must’ve had a drinking contest during the commercial because a few of people on the date were pretty drunk. Katie chiefly among them, who managed to cry after Catman sang her the worst song ever written.

“yea, music is my passion, anyway here’s wonderwall”

Here are the lyrics if you don’t believe me:

“Dead of night, tired as I’ve ever been.
You smiled at me and suddenly it’s worth it.
Crazy how I don’t know your middle name.
Crazy how you make me want to love again.
I was wondering after this is over would you want to take a walk outside.
I don’t want to say goodnight”

Not one real rhyme and he played it on ukulele while having four buttons undone. To top it all off, he almost commanded Katie to kiss him when she was trying to talk. I’m unimpressed with Connor B.

Michael and Greg were also feeling tipsy and I don’t mean that just because they were crying. Michael’s late wife’s birthday was the day before and he’s rightfully feeling very emotional about that. He’s away from his family and it must be emotionally brutal.

The reason I think he was a little drunk is because every time the camera went to him, he was holding another empty glass and as any sad person can tell you: when the drinks are flowing, you start oversharing.

Michael told the rest of the (sober) men about his situation and Greg immediately starts balling. There is not one thing wrong with crying or showing your emotions and I’m glad Greg showed some humanity. I do think he was drunk, however, because he’s usually so guarded with his emotions and it played more as two drunk friends empathizing with each other.

To be clear: this was the most likable Greg has been all season.

These two are one drink away from holding each other’s hair back while they throw up. And good for them

He ruined his good reputation with me directly after this, however, by negging Katie. Katie told him that he has “resting sad face” and Greg was immediately defensive. Then, he “promised to be better” and told Katie she was “so worth (continuing to be on the show)” like he was about to leave.

Nothing like insinuating that you might quit if Katie doesn’t give you special treatment.

The date finally ends with Hunter getting the date rose and acting like he’s somehow even in the top 5 of Katie’s favorite boyfriends. Hunter will spend the rest of the episode believing his aggression is what got him the rose and not that he brought pictures of his kids. Equating aggression and masculinity with romance surely won’t backfire later.

After the scene wrapped, I hope everyone got some pizza and water before they went to sleep.

One-on-one two

“are you fucking kidding me Katie”

Andrew S. woke up early because he was so excited to get some alone time with Katie…Then he waited until it was dark to start his date.

This is the worst one-on-one I’ve seen on the show and I think it has everything to do with Blake joining the house. Blake probably went the original date they had planned so the producers had to throw together this shitty date at the last minute.

Andrew follows Katie to the woods where she picks up an extension cord and makes a grand gesture like we’re about to get an amusement park like Tayshia had. But, after all that anticipation, she actually just lights up some Christmas lights with notes on them.

Andrew is rightfully unimpressed with this presentaion, but Katie is doing her absolute best to try and lighten the mood. After some terrible ice-breaker questions, the couple head towards a dark room full of giant, illuminated balloons. This part of the date actually looked pretty fun, but not worth axing the day portion of a one-on-one.

The date finally heads to dinner, where we find out they didn’t even give Andrew an outfit change. Every single one-on-one gets a dinner portion where they get dressed up in evening wear to pretend they’re at a fancy restaurant. It’s supposed to set the mood for a more serious side of dating and they completely took that away.

you don’t know how confident I was they would make a “balls” joke here

Now for the heartfelt, yet a little weird, conversations.

The first was really emotional for Andrew because it was about growing up without a father. His dad was locked up when he was 6 years old, so Andrew threw himself into football. That’s probably a really common thing to do for children of incarcerated parents and I’m glad he had the opportunity to excel at it.

He did talk about his dad’s incarceration like the guy did it to avoid being a father. Andrew said he couldn’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to be there for their kid and how he would never do the same. Listen, I clearly don’t know everything about Andrew and his dad’s relationship, but treating his prison sentence like an excuse not to be a father seems like a stretch to me.

Abolish prisons, by the way.

ABC’s first time talking about race post-Harrison

The second conversation was also strange, but hit at an important point. Andrew told Katie about his last serious relationship where his white partner said something really racist and it sounds like it led Andrew to break up with her.

His girlfriend told Andrew she was worried about having biracial children because “they wouldn’t look like her.” The example she gave him was also bananas. She said she was worried that someone would come up to her in the grocery store and ask if her kids were actually hers.

One of my siblings is adopted and isn’t the race as me or my parents and let me tell you, this happens all the time. People couldn’t stop coming up to my family to ask if my brother was actually one of us.

Wait a minute. That never happened because that would be insane and even Americans aren’t that racist.

Andrew said he knows her heart and she’s not racist, but if looks like racist, walks like a racist, and quacks like racist…

Katie did her best to soothe his worries and actually handled the situation as best she could. She apologized that he had to go through that, admitted she could never fully understand because of naivete as a white woman, and said her kids would be “as beautiful as their love, no matter what they looked like” which is a great line to come up with on the fly.

goes without saying that I’m obsessed with this swim suit

After a very emotional and very necessary dinner portion, it was time for the best part of the date: hot tub time. If you’re gonna screw Andrew over so hard with that date, at least give him a hot tub because there is literally no situation that isn’t improved with a hot tub.

The Cocktail Party Fashion Failure

The only real action for the rest of the episode revolves around the messier members of the boys and Hunter.

Aaron and James the Box Man are sitting around gossiping about how mad they are at Hunter who had the AUDACITY to set up a telescope even though he already had the rose. This is a weird thing to get mad about from some men who I’ve never seen make a real effort to talk with Katie.

oh, did you put that in a carry-on Hunter? bullshit

The only problem I had with this move was Hunter lying that he brought the telescope from home. There’s no way he would lug that to the resort and he said “I think it’s pointed at Orion’s Belt.” If he did this all the time like he claims, there’s no way he’d have it pointing at a constellation you don’t need a telescope to see.

Aaron, James, and Tre tell Hunter how mad they are at him and he gets so sad and small. Don’t worry, he went to act tough in a confessional, but couldn’t bring himself to backtalk the bigger guys who he thought were his friends.

Hunter is the new villain, end of drama.

Let’s instead focus on the crimes against humanity that were the men’s outfits.

Brendan and Mike the Christian exposed themselves this date as only bringing one suit. Both suits are light blue and pretty unoffensive, but this is our fourth rose ceremony and neither of them has worn a different color. How the hell do you come on this show with one suit? Cut them for this crime alone.

“death to all of them” – Wendy Williams and Me

The only member of the group to correctly tie their tie was Quartney. Hunter and Tre at least attempted one, but if you told me their moms tied those knots when they were kids and they just slipped them around their heads every time, I’d believe you. Even James the Box Man didn’t tie one this week because he wore a black turtleneck with a silver necklace in lieu of a suit. This was his first miss this year in terms of outfits though, so I’ll forgive him.

Blake, Michael, and Aaron were champions of the no-tie movement once again, but Aaron was the chief offender. He had the brass balls to not wear a tie, but also not wear a collared shirt. He opted, instead, for the T-Shirt under a suitcoat, which I’ve already stated is a criminal offense.

Thank you for your service Katie

Thank God Katie was there to pick up the slack.

She wore a beautiful red dress that wouldn’t have been out of place on Hannah Brown’s season. While I wasn’t a fan of the long sleeve, the chains around the cut where iconic. Katie is our fashion queen once again, and she brought this miserable episode to a close by serving looks.

The Rundown: Stats after week 5:

We don’t need to talk about the rose ceremony itself, but here’s who is still here:

  • Hunter
  • Blake
  • Andrew
  • Greg
  • Aaron
  • Michael
  • Catman
  • James the Box Man
  • Justin
  • Mike
  • Brendan
  • Tre

Here’s who’s going home:

  • Quartney (Katie said “I’m so proud of you wtf?)
  • Josh
  • Andrew M. (who?)

Number of gossip queens: 3

Number of one-on-ones: 1.5

“yea this is what I would’ve worn to my evening date, IF I HAD ONE”

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