Previously on the Bachelorette: Desiree "Dez Bryant" Harstock actually took someone to a bridal boutique for a first date and humiliated her suitors, America, and, if you can believe it, Soulja Boy, by forcing everyone involved to participate in a rap video called "Right Reasons."
It's week two or three (or 18, who knows), and Chris Harrison informs us there will be two group dates and one solo date.
At first, they're just embarrassed by playing dodgeball (sigh) with a team of dodgeball professionals that treat the entire endeavor like Gen. Patton is present. But that's not embarrassing enough:
"I like seeing guys in their natural state," Dez says, which she must mean in an abstract sense, referring perhaps to the camaraderie of Greek Week activities. Or maybe this is literally the natural state of all men.
Oh, but the day is not without heartbreak.
Brooks breaks his finger. I thought, from his reaction, that he'd really mucked up a tendon in his knee or like did something nasty to his hamstring. No. It was the finger. While it's being reset, he passes out, and ends up in the hospital.
Anyway, despite the blue team destroying the red team, and the prize being winning exclusive time with Desiree, the bachelorette declares everyone a winner and herself the participation trophy. As Friedrich Engels once wrote, "Let's do some f—ing shots."
Brandon up top there is a little intense. That's what we learn in this episode. While this is going on, a guy (Brad) is telling Desiree about his "past that has haunted" him. He has a three-year-old from a previous relationship, which presumably ended over her drinking problems; one night, she tried to drive boozily away, he grabbed the keys, and wouldn't you know it, he ended up with a domestic violence citation and a restraining order. That was later lifted, he says, and he is now raising his son on his own. I hope the…producers checked verified this story, because it seems like a real red flag.
Anyway, back in wacky sadness:
Brooks hilariously pops out of the limo from the hospital still dressed in his stupid outfit, hair askew like a limp, discarded mop. It's amazing they were able to film this without laughter shaking the camera. His arrival on the rooftop is met with that nervous skepticism everybody has when, say, somebody shows up to a party already drunk.
In honor of his excellent reactions, Nerdy Chris receives the rose. He and Dez are entreated to some terrible dancing and awkward kissing set to the sardonic tunes of someone who appears to be questioning every choice she's made leading up to this moment.
The next morning is THE ANNUAL TELEVISION EVENT LONG PROMISED: When that girl shows up and yells about trust.
Dez is busy working on her grammar by diagramming sentences when, suddenly, the phone rings! It's the mailman, Chris Harrison, and he is delivering the mail: dishonesty. One of the banker-looking guys has a girlfriend.
"So selfish," Dez intones. "What a —." They bleep it out, so we'll never know what she called him, which is too bad. Depending on the epithet, it would tell us more about Desiree Harstock than almost anything that's thus transpired on the ninth season of the Bachelorette. There's an artistry to cursing, and a good craftsman is to be respected.
Anyway, Dez speeds over to the Bachelor mansion, hugs everyone, and pulls this one outside.
She wants to know if he's here for the right reasons, because the right reasons, "like the rap video," matter to Dez. She says this in complete seriousness. LIKE THE RAP VIDEO. LIKE THE RAP VIDEO…
Like the rap video! The girlfriend, Stephanie, arrives to give that guy a piece of her mind:
And she is beastly. No, that's Doug Hill, longtime trusted weatherman to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, who informed the region at length that a tornado was in the area (the tornado was not Stephanie). Fortunately, we'd basically already watched the entire scene on the promos. But here was the important part not in the promos:
That timeless saga.
After this depressing situation, Kasey (#hashtag guy) and Dez go on a date so terrible that she just gives him a pity rose.
The next day, half the group heads out to a ranch somewhere, dresses up like cowboys, and pretends to fight under the direction of stunt coordinators for Disney's Conveniently Upcoming Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer. Juan Pablo, who is awesome (he does not appear to care about anything), wins the fake fighting contest and the coveted solo time with Dez.
After Juan Pablo instructs Desiree about some Spanish grammar, the crew all changes, presumably eats nothing, and starts drinking, as you would. (You really would.)
Everyone leans healthily into the open bar aspect here and both the Bachelorette and America is better for it. Everybody's having a ball…
…until. Sorrows must be shared. (James' dad is sick, which is terrible for them both, and I hope he's doing well. But man, there just can't be one sustained moment of happiness on the Bachelorette.) Dez dashes off and grabs the single rose of the evening and gives it to him in an apparent bid to end this story.
Presented without comment, because I can't come up with a joke better than this image by itself:
Here is something Brandon tells Dez: "best days of my life." You can't come out of this without feeling terrible for Brandon. Here is something he tells the camera in a sitdown: "There's not much else to think about but how perfect and meant to be we really are."
Can't help people that don't want to be helped. It comes down to Ben the Dick, Brandon ("how perfect and meant to be we really are"), and the "beverage sales director." Dez opts for Ben, setting the table for the inevitable #rightreasons diplomatic mission where somebody falls on their sword in the hopes of also stabbing Ben with it.
Poor Brandon does not take this well.
July 3rd in a theater near youuuuu!
See y'all next week when, like in Elizabeth Bowen's The Death of the Heart, Ben's true identity may or may not be revealed to Desiree.