Tonight was the night, y'all. Nick Viall from Season 10 is officially back! In case you need a refresher, Nick is best known for this lovely call out after being rejected by Andi, so it'll be quite interesting to see where he takes this season. Forgetting about Nick's return for a hot second, is anyone else going completely loco over the fact that every episode ends on a cliffhanger? I never remember where we left off until I open my notes from the last week and remember that yet another guy in the house is in trouble with Kaitlyn. Have we even seen a rose ceremony since the first episode or are they going on the back burner while Kaitlyn hunts down and kicks out every no-good bachelor in the house? Who knows. Let's recap!
Clint is a big fat liar, and not in a fun way like Frankie Muniz in 2003. The man is so two faced, it's unreal – and literally no one cares if he stays or goes, especially not Kaitlyn. He even tries to turn it around on her, asking if he did anything to disappoint her (dude, duh, read my recap – you messed up). When that doesn't work, he tries to turn it around on everyone else, especially JJ. He tells Kaitlyn that he doesn't want to mess things up because he found a great friend in JJ, and she tells him, “this isn't about your relationship with JJ”. True, this is The Bachelorette, but, like, are we sure it's not about JJ? Because I'm pretty sure Clint only wants to stick around for JJ. Actually, we know that for a fact from last week – these dudes just keep picking fights with her! First Tony, then Kupah, now Clint. Are the producers just trying to pick them off one by one to make room for Nick? Probably.
Clint insists that people don't have a problem with him, so either he's a master manipulator or the number one most oblivious person on the planet. The best part about this exchange is how truly stone cold Kaitlyn turns once she thinks you've wronged her — homegirl has absolutely no qualms with kicking someone out of the house. As anyone who watched The Bachelor last season will know, Chris Soules's lack of backbone when it came to girls in the house lying to him was a recurring theme, so Kaitlyn's “love you or leave you” philosophy is a fresh change of pace. There's no whining, there's no beating around the bush — you mess up and you're done, and I think the guys in the house are starting to realize it. She doesn't trust Clint, she tells him to his face, and she brings him back around the guys so he can say goodbye.
Speaking of shady agendas, JJ “Benedict Arnold” Lane tries to force Clint to apologize to the entire group for wasting everyone's time. That was his friend! That was his ONLY friend! And he still manages to ruin that relationship — as you may know from last week, JJ bullied Tony at approximately every turn, and he is definitely not favored by the other contestants. As our contestants put it, “I honestly think Clint was more sad to hear JJ turn on him than to be sent home by Kaitlyn.” I couldn't agree more. Their bromance break-up was one of the most dramatic, emotionally charged exchanges I've seen on the show … it was just great TV this week, you guys. They both have a borderline breakdown about trusting each other with so much intimate information and then getting betrayed. I couldn't really tell what everyone was saying because Clint cursed so much, that the entire scene was bleeped out (thanks for nothing, FCC!) but the body language told me all I needed to know. Clint got out of Dodge and JJ beat himself up for not acting like enough of a man on camera. Anyone else get Patrick Bateman vibes from JJ in this scene? Or a Tyler Durden/Narrator relationship? They should start a fight club if they ever find a way to repair their friendship.
After Clint leaves, the rest of the guys actually gang up on JJ for how he treated Clint. It's funny because literally every guy in the house told Kaitlyn that she needed to get Clint to leave because of his duplicitous behavior, but I guess seeing as they were super transparent about how they felt, they had a right to berate him for it. Ian straight up told JJ that his behavior was despicable — straight and to the point. I love Ian! JJ can't catch a break, but I think it was pretty deserved after the way he's been acting. The guys realize they've had virtually no chances to talk to Kaitlyn, which makes sense because at every cocktail party she's had to deal with a guy giving her trouble. Kaitlyn realizes this too and decides to not hold a rose ceremony that night because she just isn't ready to say goodbye to anyone. Everyone's super excited that they aren't leaving but also, you can tell, upset that they have to deal with JJ for at least another week. You win some, you lose some, am I right?
Chris Harrison tells the guys that they're leaving the mansion forever … because they're starting a trip around the world. First stop, New York City! I'm super bummed that I did not know about this, because they head straight to Times Square and I work a few blocks away. I would have gone scouting for Shawn on my lunch break. The guys arrive at The Knickerbocker in Times Square and barely get settled in (who am I kidding, they've got drinks on a roof deck with a view of midtown Manhattan … they're fine) before the first date card arrives. Kaitlyn's taking Jonathan, Justin, Ben Z, Corey, Ryan, Tanner, JJ and Shawn out on the first group date outside of the mansion. Not surprisingly, the guys cheer everyone on except JJ.
The guys arrive at a club where Doug E. Fresh shows up to mentor them on their rapping skills to prep for the group date's main attraction: a rap battle. Doug E. Fresh, where did your career go? Why are you stuck on The Bachelorette? Anyway, these guys are so insanely out of their element that it's great to watch. Kaitlyn is by no means the next Nicki Minaj, but she has fun with it. These guys have no stage presence and no talent, but they try their hardest and that's what matters … right? Right? Side note: JJ says he grew up listening to nothing but Broadway showtunes. I'm surprised but also not at all.
While I'm sitting at home hoping and praying with all my heart that Cupcake raps about being a cupcake, the guys jump into a rap battle where they basically perform slam poetry on stage at a club. The guys try to one-up each other, making fun of everyone's haircut/outfits/professions … like, I know you guys have seen 8 Mile, did you not see what happened when Eminem lost the first time? Why didn't you better prepare yourselves?
The rap battle ends … and who's in the crowd but Ashley I. and Nick? Kardashley is back for five seconds as a segue into Nick Viall returning to the competition! Kaitlyn ditches the guys to hang out with Nick, where he tells her that he came to New York to try to win her heart. We then learn that they had been texting for a little before she came on the show, so that provides at least a tiny bit of insight as to why he showed up this season (besides, you know, the fact that the producers had him do it, but SHHH and let me believe this for a second).
The guys find out that Nick is gunning to return to the show and they are not happy about it — with good reason! Would you be happy? No. Actually, if you were The Bachelorette, you probably would be. It's like Project Runway when they bring a designer from another season back to compete again except these guys were totally blindsided! So much ~ drama ~. As soon as the guys found out that it was Nick from Andi's season, you could see their faces just completely fall. It was actually sad. But, also, Nick, if you were going to show up on The Bachelorette couldn't you have traded in your Portland hipster wardrobe for something a little bit nicer?
All of a sudden, someone arrives at the door with a solo date card for Jared! I'm super excited for Love Man and I regret making so much fun of him during the first episode because he's starting to become one of my favorite competitors on this show and one whom I genuinely want to be happy, so I'm very excited that he's getting the first date. Justin gets the first group date rose, although she starts to cold shoulder everyone due to being stressed about Nick. The whole time I'm like … do you not know about this dude's reputation? Are you not even a little bit nervous?
In preparation to get ready for her big date with Jared (and to meet up with Nick to give him her decision over whether or not he's going to compete), Kaitlyn goes to get her hair done by none other than… ASHLEY S.! I missed her so much, I almost teared up when I saw her. She's the perfect hairdresser, you can just tell and if ABC wanted to give Ashley and Kaitlyn their own reality show where they roadtripped around, picking onions that look like pomegranates and telling dirty jokes, I'd watch it in a heartbeat.
Back at the house, the guys can't figure out what Kaitlyn sees in Nick, especially not Joshua. Agreed, Not-Seth-Rogen (has anyone else noticed that Joshua and Seth Rogen sound identical or is it just me?), I can't figure it out either. I think part of it has to do with a) how candid Nick is about wanting to date her and b) the fact that he's gone through the competition before and there's some kind of solidarity there. After a bunch of guys admitting that they were solely there for Britt at first, it's got to be flattering to know that someone came to New York just to try to win you over. Kaitlyn tells Nick she's going to allow him to compete, and his reaction is priceless: “I hope they respect why I'm there … I don't expect them to like it, it's not ideal.” Nick Viall may have just stolen the title of King of Understatements from Chris Harrison, ladies and gents.
Kaitlyn and Jared's big date is at the Met, where they have the whole museum to themselves to walk around, eat dinner and get to know each other better. It's actually an ideal date and I'm thrilled that Jared gets to be on it. As I said, I think he's just such a wonderful guy. Kaitlyn mentions that she spent the whole date worrying about Nick, which is stupid, because hello, you are in the Met by yourself for a date! Shut up and enjoy it! He wrote you a poem! The two go on a helicopter ride over Manhattan, which is the perfect ending to the quintessential New York City date … and of course, Jared gets a rose.
The second date card arrives while the men are stewing about Nick's impending arrival. Ian, Chris, Joe, Joshua and Ben H. are all going on the second group date. Kaitlyn sits the guys down and explains to them that Nick is definitely joining the competition, and Shawn freaks out that their connection isn't strong enough. This is where I interject and request that someone Cher-in-Moonstruck slaps him into reality. This is a competition! How many times do we have to go through this? Don't pull a Britt! I swear, the first impression rose is a curse.
The guys and Kaitlyn show up to the New Amsterdam theatre to the strains of “A Whole New World” — they're at the set for Aladdin on Broadway, where they learn that they're going to be taking the date hint of “let's play” quite literally. The two leads judge the guys' singing, dancing and acting abilities and whoever wins gets to be on stage in the production that night alongside Kaitlyn. They take a super quick musical theater intensive, in which we learn that absolutely 0% of the guys know how to dance and maybe a weak 5% of them can sing without sounding like feral cats. They try so, so hard to impress Kaitlyn, but it's Chris who wins with his ability to emote on stage. He's clearly seen quite a few Broadway shows in his day. They find out that their part in the show, of course, is just a quick step-on-step-off walk-on role, and Ben H. sits in the audience as he complains that he could have done that. Well, Ben H., if you could have done it then you should have tried a little harder. Kaitlyn and Chris share a super intimate moment in the dressing room, make it onto the stage without any mishaps, and end up heading to the roof of One Times Square where they see the New Year's Eve ball in person. Super cool date with a wonderful ending — Chris gets a rose. For having to sing and dance on national television without a background in it, he deserved it.
Nick moves into the house the same night, as elevator music juxtaposes nicely with the devil's impending entrance into the Knickerbocker Hotel. We see the door open, we hear Nick introduce himself … and we fade to previews for episode six. Starting to think the rose ceremony is never coming back, but we'll see next Monday!
Thoughts and questions
- Did you, too, fast forward through the clips of Britt and Brady? I just cannot bring myself to care that they're dating!
- Are you #TeamNick or #TeamLiterallyAnyoneElseExceptNick?
- Is anyone else getting really creeped out by how much these guys remind you of certain celebrities? Joshua sounds like Seth Rogen, Shawn looks like Ryan Gosling, Ben Z. looks like Dylan McDermott. It is helping me keep track of them, but it's so weird!
- On a scale of 1-10, how great was it seeing Ashley S. again? (If the answer isn't 10, I don't want to hear it.)