Warning: This recap of the July 11 episode of The Bachelorette contains spoilers.
If there’s ever been a week that we needed the distraction of a mindless reality TV dating show, it’s this one — am I right, rose lovers? So no more reruns, ABC. We can’t take it.
JoJo’s “journey” picks up in her hotel room in Buenos Aires, where she’s packing up and contemplating hometown dates, which are right around th proverbial corner. The boys, meanwhile, are just sitting around their hotel living room (perhaps the Bachelor Interns are packing for them?) and going over the events of the night before. “When she walked up with no rose, I thought you were both going home,” Chase tells James and Alex, a bit too cheerfully. And guess who’s still grumpy?
Knock knock knock! It’s Casual Chris Harrison at the door, and he’s brought the rundown for the week: 3 one-on-one dates, and a group date. “This week is huge,” adds the host. “If you get a rose on that date, you’re one of the four guys taking JoJo back to your hometown to meet your family.”
And the first date of the week goes to… Tiny Marine! It’s no surprise, after all the fuss he’s made about being the only guy left who hasn’t had a one-on-one yet. “Now you can stop bitching,” jokes Jordan, who actually isn’t really joking.
So Alex meets the Bachelorette in front of the hotel, where they pile into a black SUV and proceed to… thumb wrestle.
The rest of the guys must suffer the indignity of riding an old-timey bus to the countryside — but no one has less dignity than Robby, who appears to have walked out wearing the hotel slippers.
All the guys grumble about how jealous they are of Alex, but maybe this will make them feel better.
Yes, while JoJo says she’s “really comfortable” with Alex, they really don’t have much to talk about, nor does the Bachelorette really want to kiss him (with our without potato-chip lips). “I’m having a hard time connecting with him romantically at this point,” she admits. Unfortunately his freestyle that rhymes “JoJo” with “yo yo” and “liquor stoh” doesn’t really help.
Eventually they reach their destination, the Estancia El Ombu de Areco, where they’ll be “gauchos” for the day — but not without a costume change first.
After JoJo finally manages to climb up onto her horse, two nice gauchos named lead them on a ride through the fields — until it’s time for one of the guides to gently tackle his ride.
And pretty soon it’s cuddle time for everyone.
“Right now, I’m feeling perfect,” marvels Alex. “I’m feeling the way I think love is supposed to feel.” As for the horse, he’s feeling the way a third wheel is supposed to feel.
Over dinner, JoJo and Tiny Marine share a few more passionless kisses and chat in vague generalities about his hypothetical hometown date. “I think that you would find happiness with my family,” says Alex, before busting out the big guns: “I need you to know… I think I’m falling in love with you.” And doesn’t JoJo look thrilled?
At this point, I started chanting “Send him HOME! Send him HOME!” out loud in my living room… and hallelujah, she heard me. “When you tell me that you’re falling in love with me, I don’t feel as excited as I should feel,” JoJo admits to Alex. “In my heart I don’t think that I will get to that point.” Rather than making him sit around the luxury hotel for days only to reject him at the end of the week, the Bachelorette sends Alex packing…. In a beat-up pickup truck. AMAZING.
Fare thee well, Tiny Marine. Somewhere there’s a petite woman just waiting for you to sweep her off her feet.
Man, we’ve gone almost 10 minutes without checking in on Jordan’s hair. How’s it doing?
High and lustrous, as always. Naturally Jordan gets the second one-on-one date of the week, and there won’t be any horse three-ways on his adventure with JoJo.
It’s private plane time! The duo jets off to Mendoza for some grape-stomping and wine tasting in the shadow of the Andes mountains. Sadly, no one tells JoJo and Jordan that just stomping on a bunch of grapes in a barrel does not make it wine.
Soon enough, though, they’re in the hot tub making out. Meanwhile, Chase and Luke are back at the hotel talking about all the “red flags” they’ve seen with Jordan’s behavior.
BURN. And really, as the only guy left with an actual job (“medical sales rep” trumps “former pro quarterback,” “former competitive swimmer,” “singer-songwriter” and “war veteran” when it comes to paying positions), Chase is allowed to throw a few stones.
Back on the date, Jordan is giving JoJo the rundown of who she’d meet if she gave him a hometown date: His mom Darla, his dad Ed, his oldest brother Luke (and Carl Weathers, Luke’s brilliantly named French Bulldog)… but not Aaron. The famous one. “I have a great relationship with my brother Luke,” Jordan explains. “Me and Aaron don’t really have that much of a relationship. It’s just kind of the way he’s chosen to do life.” While Jordan says he loves Aaron and appreciates all the pressure he’s under, they have different priorities. “I chose to stay close with my family, and my parents and my brother.” It’s hard to tell how JoJo feels about this news.
Jordan even says Aaron doesn’t even know that his little brother is whoring himself on The Bachelorette. And that’s all right with Jordan — he’s spent his life being compared to his superstar brother, and he’s ready to step out of that shadow. “Football doesn’t define me,” he tells JoJo. “I’m defined by the character I have, with the humility I’ve been taught by my parents.” And that’s when it happens.
Am I the only one who gasped at this? We’re not even at the Fantasy Suite date, people. Take it down a notch! But don’t listen to me — JoJo LOVES it.
The music swells as Jordan pushes the Bachelorette up against the wall and attempts to swallow her head.
The next day, the rain is pouring on Buenos Aires as James, Robby, and Chase meet up with JoJo outside of the hotel. The original plan — an “adventurous,” “outdoors” date — is out of the question, so the Bachelorette invites them to “kick it” with her in her suite. “If you were to envision the perfect slumber party, I have it all covered,” she says.
But no, that doesn’t mean they’ll be braiding each other’s hair and playing Light As a Feather, Stiff as a Board. Instead, in a Bachelorette first, they will be eating. Actual food! JoJo has ordered a crapload of junk food, and James — in a desperate effort to pull focus away from Robby and Chase — declares he can shove the entire plate of French fries (minus six) in his mouth at once.
Chase is all for it. “It made him look highly unattractive,” he reports. “And it was hilarious.”
Then it was on to a man-on-man massage train, and then some old-fashioned party games like Bachelor Pictionary, Bachelor Celebrity….
…and Truth or Dare. You heard the woman, Robby — get naked!
James — knowing he can’t compete on a physical level with the chiseled hunks of man meat on the date with him — decides his best recourse is to impugn their character. So James tells JoJo that he’s caught both Robby and Chase checking out other women in Argentina. Chase lets the teasing roll off his back, but Robby’s feathers get quite ruffled.
Once Robby is clothed again, they all pile onto the bed to watch the Brazilian version of The Bachelor (which, by the way, doesn’t seem to have a great track record either).
Good God, people, take your shoes off! Were you raised in a barn? Anyhow, the rain stops long enough for JoJo and Robby to take a stroll outdoors. He fills JoJo in on his last relationship, which sounds maybe like it was with a married woman — “We dated for a little over three years, and I have never seen her house” — and then casually mentions that they only broke up four-and-a-half months ago. JoJo’s mouth says “Oh, wow,” but her eyes say “WTAF dude???”
Naturally the Bachelorette wonders if Robby’s really ready for a new relationship. “Yes, I’ve definitely moved on,” he says, in a completely unconvincing way. “I’m way past that relationship.” Sure pal. You keep telling yourself that, and one day it’ll be true.
Chase and JoJo’s chat, meanwhile, is far more relaxed. He’s “scared” to use the l-word, primarily because JoJo is “investigating” relationships with other guys. Still, he assures the Bachelorette that he wants her to meet his family. “I do want to spend the rest of my life with you,” he says. “It’s hard for me to, I guess, express those kind of things.” Oh don’t worry you big old lunkhead, JoJo gets what you’re saying — and she LOVES it. They make out for awhile, and then it’s finally time for James T.’s one-on-one chat.
The singer-songwriter is looking for a little reassurance, because he knows that JoJo has a “more, maybe, physical” connection with the other guys. Well sure, says the Bachelorette, but she promises James he has all the “qualities” she’s looking for in a husband and potential baby daddy. Oh dear, the dreaded q-word… Well, James Taylor, enjoy this make-out session, because I think your week of borrowed time is about up.
But first, there’s still the matter of the date rose — which sits, oddly enough, on a slice of wood amidst a smattering of mini-bar booze bottles.
And she’d better hand it out soon, because right now things are getting a little tense in her absence, as Robby jumps down James’s throat for suggesting that Jordan’s a frontrunner. “I know what I’m feeling, and I’m confident in that,” Robby announces. “So I myself think I’m a frontrunner.” And gosh-darn it if JoJo doesn’t up and give Robby the date rose. Poor James Taylor looks like his soul might shatter right there on the spot. The Bachelorette sends James and Chase on their way (poor James is so upset he accidentally drops his wine glass on the carpet while hugging JoJo goodbye) so she can “hang out” some more time with the former competitive swimmer.
“The reality is, one of us is toast,” sighs James. “Either me or Chase are going home, and I think we both understand that.”
Enough, JT! You’re bringing everybody down. Luke, can you get over here please? It’s time for your one-on-one date. He meets JoJo at the stables where they saddle up for a ride through some pretty spectacular countryside.
Cowboy Luke is in his “element,” giving JoJo horse-whispering tips and shooting skeet like a pro. “Luke’s for sure a man,” purrs the Bachelorette. “Like, there’s no doubt in my mind.” (Don’t you wonder how Chase, Robby, James, and Jordan felt when they heard her say that?) She’s clearly feeling him, and the only hint of doubt we hear is when she asks Luke if he thinks he’ll settle down in a “small town.” (Girlfriend ain’t about to live someplace without a high-end salon to do her highlights.) But Luke gives the perfect answer — “depends on where my wife wants to be,” basically — and all’s right with JoJo’s world.
So right, in fact, that she doesn’t feel the need for a cocktail party before sending the fifth wheel home. Luke delivers the news to the guys, and naturally Chase and James are pretty bummed. Still, muses Luke, “the hay’s in the barn. We’ve gotta get this narrowed down at some point.”
In other words, everyone knows either Chase or James is going home — including Chase and James. And frankly, everyone knows which one it is. Let’s not drag this out any longer. The roses go to Luke, Jordan, and Chase… meaning sweet baby James Taylor must pick the pieces of his heart off the floor and head back to the States.
JoJo leads him outside, where they make an obligatory pit stop at the Pity Bench. “I’m so sorry,” she croaks. “You touched my heart in so many ways… I really want you to find the perfect girl.” James has heard it all before, and it’s almost heartbreaking to see how not bitter he is about it. “I want to find that too,” he sighs. “I hear that kind of a lot, ‘Oh, you deserve a great girl'… And I’m like, ‘Well then, when? When am I going to finally find her?’” Even through his heartbreak, though, James is a gentleman. “Thank you for being so good to me,” he tells JoJo. “I loved what we shared. It was too short.” OMG you guys can we launch a kickstarter to find James a girlfriend? This whole thing is making my heart hurt.
They share one last sad hug goodbye, and then James is gone — without even a tearful Reject SUV interview for us to remember him by. Team Bachelorette jumps right to the previews for next week — featuring family drama (courtesy of Jordan), ex-girlfriend drama (courtesy of Robby), and tarmac drama (courtesy of JoJo).
Well, rose lovers, at least James and Tiny Marine got to spend a few days more in Argentina than they expected, right? Let me know your thoughts on tonight’s episode — and the final four guys — in the comments. And be sure to check out Chris Harrison’s behind-the-scenes blog here. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go buy one of those scalp massage thingies on Amazon.
The Bachelorette airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.