“These are my boyfriends. All of them!" –Joelle Fletcher
If JoJo were even one eyelash less attractive than she is, this season of The Bachelorette would be toast. Because season 11’s biggest strength is also its greatest weakness: one Jordan Rodgers and his gravity-defying hair.
Jordan became JoJo’s number one pick from the moment he stepped out of the limo, and she started dreaming about their future together as soon as she got a hold of that last name. He’s somehow the hottest bro (even though Luke is hotter than him), the most Texan bro (even though James Taylor is actually from Texas), and the overall perfect man for JoJo (even though he is inevitably going to break her baby bird heart). She straight up told him in this episode that she’s thinking about what their life will be like together. Do you think JoJo is thinking about taking Alex back to Dallas to flip houses or whatever with her?
I don’t think so. Ben’s season had all the romance of CBS Sunday Morning, and Kaitlyn’s carried out with the integrity of a particularly feisty episode of Maury, but at least we had the element of surprise in those final proposals (both of which, notably, are still going strong). There is exactly no suspense to this season; it’s simply a slow march toward Jordan, riddled with sweaty Wells carcasses (R.I.P. Wells) and doll-size pageant dresses.
But to be fair, the story of Jordan and JoJo is kind of fascinating. Because the fact that Aaron Rodgers’ brother is on The Bachelorette is legitimately insane. It’s like if the next Bachelor was just…Ryan Reynolds’ brother. No, Aaron Rodgers, top NFL quarterback, is not as A-list as, say, Ben Affleck—I guess that would make Casey Affleck the Bachelor in this scenario—but he is as famous as Ryan Reynolds (and Jordan, as noteworthy as Ryan Reynold’s hypothetical younger brother). And what if you were given the chance to marry into a family that contains Blake Lively who can literally survive a shark attack [ed. Note: my review of the best movie of the year—The Shallows—to come] on ABC’s most notoriously ridiculous reality show. THAT’S WHAT THIS IS LIKE!!! Eat your fucking heart out Charlie O'Connell, brother of Jerry O'Connell.
The real shame in the fact that JoJo is going to pick Jordan then, is that we don’t get to see Jordan Rodgers as the next Bachelor. Unless, of course, he plays his cards right…
And as we learned in this episode: Jordan Rodgers knows how to play cards.
This episode picks up in Buenos Aires where JoJo is suddenly left with eight men. Where did all the other men go? I have no idea. I thought we were only like a quarter of the way through this season, but JoJo seems to be mere weeks away from potentially sharing a meal with Olivia Munn. And who does she have to guide her toward that end point? Chris B. Harrison, who’s thought-provoking questions I will now list for you in order:
"Can you believe you’re sitting here in the middle of Argentina?”
“How do you feel?”
“You’re a little bit past the halfway point.”
That last one is, at least, vaguely informative. Here at the halfway point, JoJo cannot believe she’s in Argentina, but she is starting to understand how Ben fell in love with two women. So perhaps in an effort to prepare for that potential moment, JoJo has decided to have the first ever second two-on-one date. The guys are thrilled…
But first: WELLS! Listen, I know there was no way Wells would make it past this point in the season, but I’m proud of him for just sticking around and not, like, passing out, which it seemed like he might do at any given point. Disk jockeys just aren’t cut out for the rigors of reality show dating. Apparently they’re also not cut out for the rigorous sexual needs of Joelle Fletcher.
JoJo sends Wells a date card that reads, “Bésame, bésame muchacho"…which is to say, kiss me Wells, or I’m cutting your ass. The thing is, Wells is nervous. He’s been waiting for the right moment to kiss JoJo, and somehow, between the acoustic male singing groups, and her eight other boyfriends, he just hasn’t found that perfect moment. And it’s totally unfair that we finally get to see Wells in his element here—sweaty, anxious neuroses—just to have him taken out of our lives forever. Watching his one-on-one date is like watching a Black Mirror version of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is to say, fantastic.
JoJo takes him to a Fuerza Bruta which she helpfully translates to "Brute Force,” but goes on to describe the show as, "light and playful.” Totally. Naturally they have to strip down to spandex and slide around on a large sheet of stagnant water. This is determined to be a sexy time by both parties involved, so Wells chooses the sexiest time to finally kiss JoJo: when they are both lying flat on their stomachs.
But I don’t need Wells to be sexy—I just need him to be Wells, and boy does he Wells it up at dinner, talking about how skeptical he was coming into this, but how he now sees their relationship as “viable,” and then stating, “Okay, before we start this, am I sweating?” [Ed. Note: If anyone has any contact information, or maybe like a Bumble link, it would be much appreciated—asking for a friend.]
JoJo asks her favorite get-to-know-you question: What’s your most heart-wrenching past relationship? And when Wells says that’s a little awkward to talk about, JoJo says, “Why? I have to talk about mine all the time!” Hey, JoJo: No you don’t. Nonetheless, Well tells JoJo that he lived with his last serious girlfriend and eventually they realized they were more just like roommates.
Apparently, that is one of the worst things JoJo could have heard. Ex-girlfriend calling you out for cheating—probably a misunderstanding; consistently threatening other men with physicaly violence—let’s give ‘em another shot; but having a past relationship that fizzled out…that is a red flag for JoJo. And she has never seemed younger than when she’s explaining that she thinks a lifelong fairy tale romance like you see in “movies and songs” can exist. Wells—an obvious realist, skeptic, and adult human man—was probably better off by not getting that rose. Good thing JoJo obliged him by telling him that their terrible kiss made it clear for her that they weren’t meant to be.
Wells’, “Find what you’re looking for, okay,” sounds a lot like, “Best of luck, kiddo,” and JoJo goes to stand in the middle of Brute Force alone, presumably to dream of her fairy tale future with Jordan Rodgers, all of his ex-girlfriends and broken dreams.
Jordan, James Taylor, Robbie, Alex, and Luke are chosen for the group date, which means Chase and Derek—two people who are still on this show—are going on the two-on-one. Jordan, Luke, and Robbie all seem thrilled to be on the group date because they all equally think they have this in the bag, so what’s a day out in Buenos Aires playing soccer with their future wife and her soon to be ex-boyfriends? Alex seems mad because Alex is always mad, and has recently stopped brushing his hair, making him even more intolerable.
And James Taylor simply cannot stop saying how much hotter all the other guys are than him. Which is kind of ridiculous, because if he just coiffed his hair a few feet in the air and didn’t wear a shirt he borrowed from one of the Kings of Comedy’s suits, he’d look just fine. It does allow us to get a number of pectoral close-ups, however.
James then beats all the other guys in a soccer shoot-out and somehow still manages to narrate it with the line, “I’m not the sexiest dude in the house, but I’m on a very quick train and it’s headed to JoJo-ville.” Can someone get this dude in touch with Blake Shelton? He manages to combine, self-deprecation, awful clothes, and country music without sounding like he’s about drop a hairdryer in his bathtub. Also, he’s dating Gwen Stefani, who is definitely as ht as JoJo.
Speaking of hot, in the nighttime portion of the group date, JoJo says she’s running out of words to describe her passion with Luke…homegirl needs to make a collect call to Canada and ask he pal Kaitlyn what happens when a Bachelorette “runs out of words."
They vocal fry into each other’s mouths for a minute or two, make out for about 20 minutes—aired in real time—and finally cut themselves off riiiiight before climax.
So James Taylor decides it’s time to dial up the romance by telling JoJo that the love of her life, Jordan, is actually snobby and entitled, and he knows that because they were playing a card game and Jordan insisted that the rule he knew was right, and the opposing rule that James knew was wrong. Listen, I do want James Taylor to be able to believe in himself in a little more…but I also don’t want to ever have to hear him speaks words again after this episode.
And neither does Jordan. JoJo, not a woman with much subtlety I’ve noticed, immediately reports to Jordan that she heard he had an "altercation” with James, to which he naturally responds by laughing because their “altercation” was disagreeing about the rules of poker. They talk it out, and when Jordan goes back to share a loveseat with James, he aggressively swishes his delicate Riesling in silence until James admits what he did.
I believe that Jordan is entitled…I also believe that he knows how to play this game. Just listen to this: “How does one act entitled when stating that the rules of a game are such?” Incredible.
But it’s no matter—JoJo will likely never forgive James for casting aspersions against her beloved, and she gives the rose to Luke anyway, because she will give every rose to Luke until she finally gets him into a Fantasy Suite. For now, she has to get rid of Chase or Derek, and since it as always going to be Derek, I found it more fun to pretend like everything Chase and Derek were saying about their superior connection with JoJo on this date, was in fact, about a growing affection for each other.
“I’ve kept my cards pretty close to the chest, but I could definitely see love between the two of us.”
“I’m definitely going to be as vulnerable as I can be.”
“This is complete 100 percent validation about the feelings that I have. This is real for us, there there’s a glimmer of love that’s starting.”
“When we lock eyes, there are fireworks—it’s insane.”
Despite the obvious attraction between Derek and Chase, JoJo pulls Derek aside where he tells her “I’m so freakin’ lucky to be sitting here with you.” I mean, the man says “freakin’” so many times.
I had no feelings about Derek before this, and now they are, Please get this man off of television.
JoJo is prepared to oblige me in that. All she needs to hear in order to choose Chase is just the slightest suggestion that he likes her at all. He mumbles that it’s hard to make that leap when she’s dating all his best friends. JoJo reminds him that she knows how that feels and then offers up this doozy: “Can I tell you what my biggest regret was? Not being more open with Ben when I was actually feeling it … I waited until the very last second. And I wish more than anything that I would have started right when I started to feel it, like talking about it and letting him know.”
Ya hear that, Chase? JoJo wishes more than anything that she had just done this one thing differently with the man that she was in love with so that he would have chosen her and not that bitch Lauren. As she has repeatedly said, she wants more than anything to have a love like Lauren and Ben’s, because the love that Lauren and Ben have has Ben. Because JoJo is totally, 100 percent over Ben. Here’s your rose, Chase, congratulations!
Derek gets in the Reject Van and at first it seems like he might just shed a single Jim Halpert brokenhearted tear, but then…a woman starts singing “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” for Chase and JoJo’s solo concert, and you know what’s coming: Derek freakin’ spirals.
"I wasn’t enough,“ he says. "I thought I was. But I’m not—I’m Derek. And Derek is imperfect.” This scene is so epic; the swelling strings, Soledad Pastorutti’s beautiful voice, and all of Derek’s Argentinian tears. I hate the Bachelorette editors for so many things, but I love them for this.
JoJo heads to the cocktail party with her remaining six men in a dress that makes me believe in fairy tale romances, and she gets exactly what she wants. Finally feeling the pressure of perhaps not having this in the bag for one single second, Jordan steps up to the plate to seal this deal. And these two do look like a picture…
Jordan tells JoJo that he wants to be engaged at the end of this, “and I think we can get there.” As hearts and animated birds float out of her eyes, Jordan tells JoJo, “I look at you and see the person that I want to fall in love with and that I am falling in love with—the person that at the end of this, I want to do life with. I want to be able to wake up with every fay and fall more in love with you.”
So now, all that’s really left to say is…when’s the freakin’ finale?