A 'Bachelorette' recap: Virginia Is for Lovers (of Virginia)

A 'Bachelorette' recap: Virginia Is for Lovers (of Virginia)

**A TATBT ANNOUNCEMENT: There will be two newsletter-recaps this week because last week contained two national holidays — the birth of our nation and the birth of my best friend. Read on for The Bachelorette episode 6 recap below!**

Happy belated Fourth of July, everyone. I hope that you spent it with family, or on the water, or even better: in the most historic city in the nation: RICHMOND, VIRGINIA. Y'know, where Edgar Allen Poe's mom is buried?!

Ideally, you wouldn't have had the eerily identical visage of an Abraham Lincoln impersonator staring on in shock and barely concealed horror at as two beef sticks called each other names with the pretense of winning your hand in marriage — but listen, we all have different stories to tell. Since the very beginning of her journey toward a marriage proposal surrounded by throw pillows and World Market pedestals, Becca's story has been that she's "got a great group of guys here." And never, not once has that been true…

Until this very moment. At the end of episode 6, Becca has whittled her boyfriends down to a half-dozen, and finally, they all seem like pretty reasonable brochachos. Sure, the bar is set pretty low, but the man convicted of indecent assault is gone; this is time for celebration! Appropriately, Lincoln went out in flames, getting into a petulant, episode-long argument with Chris, a Burlington Coat Factory pre-packaged tie-and-shirt combo come to life.

I am equally elated to see the door hit Chris where the Good Lord split his hairline, especially considering that he lost his ever-loving toxic masculinity mind over the course of the last two episodes. You are not in charge here, my guy, and you are not owed anything by Becca who is, boyfriend-for-boyfriend, sequin-for sequin, the most powerful woman in the world right now. [Ed note: I was, however, sad to lose Connor when we had only JUST gotten a glimpse of how his hotness grows three sizes when he wears his glasses!]

From the moment in the premiere where Chris pulled aside the Tribe Elders — Blake and a Harlem Globetrotter, as I recall — in the premiere, it was clear that this off-duty Drama-from-Entourage impersonator took the show way too seriously. And anyone who takes the show that seriously can't really take Becca that seriously, because they would treat the experience exactly the same if it was Becca they were vying for, or a sock with googly eyes glued on, or Chris Harrison in a dress, or a mirror with a rose taped to it. Chris would have acted like he was falling in love with anyone or anything he was presented, because Chris came on this show to win The Bachelorette.

And that's fine. Pretty much everyone except Jason and Blake — who seem to have wandered in from some sort of Happy Days/Blast From the Past/Pleasantville hybrid scenario — came here because they thought it would be weird and funny to be on The Bachelorette. And no one really wants to lose, so ideally, they'd all probably like to, y'know, win The Bachelorette. But the other bros then caught feelings for the actual Bachelorette, or at least care about Becca enough to make sure she's having a good time. Chris only cares about his hairline and his momma, and he's (not) sorry.

You know how I know Chris doesn’t have feelings for Becca? Because after spending the entire last episode complaining that his co-op girlfriend didn't talk to him enough when he assumed getting the biggest round of applause while singing in front of a comatose Wayne Newton made him a frontrunner…this dummy says he's more confident going into this episode’s Rose Ceremony, even though he has done nothing but dig his hole deeper by getting into public fights and showing his whole ass to Becca, two presidential impersonators, Chris Harrison, multiple children, the governor of Virginia, and the lord…

Right here in HISTORIC RICHMOND, VIRGINIA!

If this man really still thinks he likes Becca, as opposed to just desperately wanting to not lose, then there is no saving him. Chris whines all episode: "How many times am I going to have to defend myself?" The answer, my guy, is none. None times do you have to defend yourself! Just stop being a dick.

VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS (OF VIRGINIA)

Having to watch Chris mentally deteriorate into a pile of baby-man-goo on Monday night was awful. But listening to everyone else completely lose their minds about how much they loooove Richmond, Virginia quickly became my new happy place. The next time I hear something awful on the news, or look at my bank account after I've impulse-bought 10 high-waisted swimsuits in anticipation of one two-day beach trip, or hear Chris speak at the Women Tell All, I will simply think of Becca saying with dead eyes, "I love historical towns. There's just something so mysterious and unique about mixing the old and the new." If you can imagine this, Becca went on to say that there was no better way to explore Richmond than with this great group of guys who are still a little mysterious to her much like the mystery of HISTORIC RICHMOND, VIRGINIA!!!!

Let's go over what a few of these great guys had to say about the United States' most desirable destination (this is, of course, excluding the phrase "Virginia is for lovers," which was said so many times, mathematicians at this very moment are working furiously to come up with a new number with which to quantify it):

"It's like you get a big city feel but you're still out in the country. Becca and I can make some history here." – Garret, never letting you forget that he's a real big nature boi, and he wants to make Becca his real big nature wife.

"Virginia, the land of lovers, will hopefully bring everything I can imagine and more." – Jason: this is not associative logic, but it is prescient because you boutta cry pure happy li’l tears, and I will cry them with you. And after we've emotionally connected, I will then beg you to make that hair a little less Erik von Detten in the 90s and a little more…anything else.

"Just like Virginia birthed the nation, I hope it births a relationship that can really last with me and Becca." – Leo, always doing the most.

"Welcome to Richmond." Chris Harrison, always doing the absolute least.

NORMCORE BABE ALERT: JASON

Before we get to Chris and Lincoln, let's cleanse our palates with Jason, who is the sweetest of hearts, and I just know will get the dopest of haircuts before he goes on Paradise — where he will surely rack up after his tender one-on-one performance.

My very favorite Bachelor(ette) narrative is a charming underdog who becomes the belle of the ball in Paradise. That is my vision for Jason, who gave an all-star performance during a date that was clearly improvised due to it snowing in April. We see Jason and Becca walk around HISTORIC RICHMOND VIRGINIA; we see Jason and Becca ice some giant donuts; we see Jason and Becca go to something called an "unhappy hour" at the Edgar Allen Poe Museum where a lot of off-season-Renaissance-faire performers hang out. The unhappy hour is described as "a welcoming darkness" which, coincidentally, is how I feel about this franchise…

And then, finally, for perhaps the first time ever, I was interested in something that happened on a one-on-one date. Becca had been saying all day that she had an amazing surprise for Jason and with each passing donut and painted black fingernail, I trusted her assessment of "amazing" less and less. Then Jason walked into a beer hall and found three of his friends from home sitting there, and he nearly started weeping. I definitely started weeping because I save all of my emotional sensitivity for television, and because Jason's friends were so endearing, and spoke so highly of Jason in such an emotionally intelligent way. Only on The Bachelorette is being normal and having normal friends endlessly hot.

BECCALECTION 2018: WHEN THEY GO LOW, YOU BRIEFLY KEEP DATING THEM

Because the Bachelor(ette) producers are Machiavellian-level geniuses, but also completely tone-dead to their audience, they think than an election-themed group date will be so fun. Because what we're all definitely trying to relive elections…

But somehow, PTSD-flashbacks aren't the worst thing that happen here. No, that would be Chris and Lincoln who got into a fight earlier in the week where they sat beside each other and screamed while staring straight ahad. See, while the dudes are contractually sitting around, waiting on the date card, Chris says he wants a one-on-one with Becca. Then the one tether still holding his brain together breaks and he says he'd even go on a two-on-one — no, he wants to go on a two-on-one. When Lincoln questions that, Chris says he'd want to go on a two-on-one with Lincoln just so he could beat him. Naturally, Lincoln responds that someone once called Chris (who used to be overweight) a "fat f*ck.” And then they just kind of scream out into the void for a while, grabbing their own biceps.

The men that are not Jason or Leo head to the group date where they're apparently participating in something called "Beccalection 2018," but it’s basically just an excuse to bring in two presidential impersonators RIGHT HERE IN HISTORIC RICHMOND, VIRGINIA. Before getting down to politics, let’s just briefly touch on Chris and the truly ludicrous speech he gives heading into the group date. “I'm going into this date very confident,” he says, insanely. “This is my time to shine, this is redemption. I've got some tricks up my sleeve, and I just, like, literally gotta go all nine guns blazing."

Do you, Chris? Do you literally have to go in all nine guns blazing? In this economy?!?!

Everything Chris says in this episode, especially this broken-down-idiom of a speech, reminds me of the time Jim teaches Dwight how to give a good speech by printing out a bunch of speeches by famous dictators. Blood alone moves the wheels of history! Chris too, seems to be under the impression that redemption — which would presumably mean winning back Becca's affections — should be done through extreme aggression, crazy eyes, and…trickery? We never do find out what Chris’ tricks are though.

Unless  of course, one of the tricks is dropping the f-bomb in front of a bunch of kids when the group date turns into a friendly debate in front of an audience of families, Fake Abraham Lincoln, the Governor of Virginia, and Becca.

When asked why he’s a good catch, Lincoln says he would never pack his bags like Chris did. So when Blake is asked if everyone in the house is honest (and answers yes because Blake would rather break his own legs using his own arms than hurt someone's feelings), Chris jumps in to tell the woman he's allegedly trying to win back, that no, her boyfriends are saying things about her that would disgust her. He then says there's a side of Lincoln that is "malicious and aggressive," which while true, is pretty rich coming from Chris. Keep in mind that all of this happening in front of an Abraham Lincoln impersonator trying desperately to stay in character, and Becca, who looks like she wants to start eating her own hair. After the debate ends and everyone else is put out of their misery, Blake still has to endure Chris telling him it's not faaaair that no one else stood up for him: "And then I have to look like the bad guy!"

Blake would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that he never asked to be a part of, since 2009.

EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS

At the nighttime portion of the group date, taking place in one of the haunted mansions The Bachelorette keeps on retainer in every city, things somehow get worse. Lincoln tells Becca that he's scared of Chris and that Connor wanted to change rooms with him. Becca reports this information back to Chris and he responds, "Is this a joke?" For a man who complains so much about having to defend himself, he's truly terrible at it. Becca is so mad at him, and I can't understand why he won't just leave. She's not going to…marry him???

Oh wait, no I understand why he won't leave — because he wants to win, and Becca has nothing to do with that. " Chris says he is "someone who has a good heart, who always puts other people in front of him, and more importantly, treats women with respect." And then he tells Becca that she's “hurting [him]” by informing him that he's aggressive and disrespectful. Thankfully, Garrett interrupts them, but Becca tells him she needs a few minutes to herself. So Garrett brings his voice above a mumble to tell Chris that he’s ruining this experience for Becca and for him: “I was gonna open up tonight!" That’s all valid, but the last but is also very silly. If you can believe this, Chris who believes he's never done anything wrong in his life, gets upset because "you're mad at me, but I didn't do anything wrong!”

Much like Becca, I have got to move on from this before my head explodes, so I will just tell you that in non-Chris news, Wills told Becca he was falling in love with her, Garret finally got to do his opening up, and Colton/Colton's biceps existed…

Colton/Colton's biceps got the rose.

#BFFLeo

Leo has one single flaw which is that he always refers to Becca as "that girl" (i.e.: "that girl is incredible”). Well, two if you count the fact that he and Becca very clearly have no real romantic feelings for each other. But we can get past that because they’re good buddies and Becca needed a friend in this one-on-one date. Much like with Wills, Becca feels like she can’t bring her best self to her one-on-one with Leo because of the upsetting drama from the night before, so after a silent helicopter ride, she tells him as much. And Leo, a man among Lincolns, says: "Don't feel any pressure to have to go on a date and fake have fun. We can do nothing if you want."

WE CAN DO NOTHING IF YOU WANT!!!

Becca! Take him up on this! You have been wrangling yourself into pleather leggings, chaffing your skin beyond repair with sequins, memorizing facts about Virginia and Wayne Newton and Richard Marx, and listening to grown men whine about you not paying them enough attention for weeks. Go sit in a dark hotel room with this handsome man, let him hold you in his big stuntman arms, and watch Marvelous Mrs. Maisel or something!

Instead, Becca feels better after having a very frank conversation with Leo where he says that this process facilitates all of the men falling for her, and she says everyone needs to settle down about the idea of this ending in an engagement because she just wants to "find her person.” That’s an incredibly annoying phrase, but for this world, it’s also an incredibly fresh take. Remember when Rachel tore her fake eyelashes off in Stellaaaa-style anguish because she wanted to be with Peter but he couldn't commit to getting engaged after spending 12 collective hours with her. Even if Becca has already gone on talk shows and said she ends up engaged, I'm glad to know she could have turned the franchise on its head if she had wanted to.

Anyway, Leo assuring Becca that she can feel the things she feels without apology was a little glimmer of light in kind of a dark season. Does it mean he's immune to having to dance on a platform surrounded by cellphones while an unknown country singer croons badly? No. But it does mean he gets the rose. And that means…

SHE'S WAY TOO GOOD AT GOODBYES

When Leo arrives back with a rose instead of a producer coming to take his suitcase, Chris loses the remainder of his gotdang mind. Already fully prepared to take flight in his pea coat the moment Leo walks back in the room, Chris takes off and arrives at Becca's door make his last whines. Surely he will explain that he's made a lot of mistakes, but he still cares about her, perhaps telling her exactly what it is he likes about her, and what she could expect of him moving forward…

“People need to acknowledge the type of monster Lincoln is,” Chris says to the camera while storming toward Becca’s hotel: “The man eats 12 eggs every day! His cholesterol has to be 6,000!" This is incredible stuff, mostly because, as you'll recall, when Jordan was frustrated with David, he complained that David was always "walking around, cooking scrambled eggs all day." One has to wonder two things: 1. Did David and Lincoln enter into some sort of villains-agreement where David cooked all of Lincoln's daily dozen eggs for him? And, 2: What exactly do eggs — their quality, their quantity, their consumption — represent to men? [Ed. note: Please check this newsletter at a later date for some follow-up investigative egg reporting.]

So, clearly, Chris goes in with a calm head and tells Becca he still fully intends to marry her at the end of this. She tells him that seems like a stretch considering last week he was ready to pack his bags because he didn't get to talk to her on a group date. "Me getting down on one knee has nothing to do with me being upset and hurt because me not having time with you that night made me feel like I took a step back." Oh, Chris. You catch all those mes? It might not have anything to do with that to you because you are under the impression that your instinct to flee situations which you have created for yourself, and then take no responsibility for any of it will in no way affect your relationship with a woman.

"I know we had the little bit of a crisis, but it's not something created by you and I," says Chris, perhaps the least self-aware person to ever set foot in HISTORIC RICHMOND, VIRGINIA. Becca, a simple queen, seethes, "I beg to differ," and informs Chris that they cannot recover, and she will be walking him out. This petulant little chump actually rolls his eyes when Becca — who he was prepared to propose to not three short minutes ago — wishes him the best, and says he doesn’t need her to walk him out. That is when I would have said, good because I didn't want to walk you out anyways, but Becca says she's doing it out of respect. Surely she's lying about that as she shuts the door and immediately says, "He's not a guy I want in my lifer ever."

Always so sure of herself, Chris Harrison informs the remaining men once more that Becca doesn’t need a rose ceremony. (Does she…never want to talk to these dudes???) Lincoln and Connor are sent home: Lincoln with no exit package whatsoever, and Connor hopefully to flush all of his contacts down drain when he gets home. I'll see you back here later this week — RIGHT HERE IN HISTORIC TATBT — to discuss Blake, Garrett, and the social construct of virginity :D