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We've reached the point in The Bachelorette when the men start to crack. Cut off from the outside world, the contestants forget their humanity as every thought centers around a woman they've spent, I don't know, 45 minutes with? Squabbles over who is “here for the right reasons” and facial hair choices emerge. And through this chaos, a hero rises. A man who remains pure and wholehearted despite the destruction around him. A man we must protect at all costs.
I am, of course, talking about Ivan.
More on that soon. First, let's back up and start at the episode's beginning: According to Bennett, there's tension over “young Noah” and his antics from the night before. He shaved his mustache off! He can't be trusted, clearly. Noah, however, is unconcerned what this “bunch of weens” thinks. And when Chris Harrison joins the men, he shares this advice: “Lesson learned: Tayshia likes bold.”
To that end, the next group date involves writing love songs for our Bachelorette. The winner scores a special one-on-one date and, I guess, bragging rights. The whole thing feels like a backdoor way to cast next season of Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart.
If so, good luck. Bennett struggles with basic rhyming as much as he did with math last week. What did Harvard teach him? Kenny, a boy band manager, writes a truly cringe-worthy song…so that feels right. Zac does his best with a simple drum beat. And while I appreciate Blake's creativity for adding an accordion to the mix, it's a miss for me. We don't see much of Riley's song, which means it must be unmemorable.
There are two viable options, at least. There is Ivan, who has Tayshia join him onstage so the performance feels more intimate. And there is Demar, who writes a very rousing bop named “Mocha Latte.” Tayshia ultimately chooses Ivan, making Demar's loss the second biggest snub in music today. (Grammys, what the hell?)
But even I, a “Mocha Latte” stan, admit Ivan is the best choice for the date. They start with a charming game of The Floor Is Lava, which transitions into a kindergartner's dream meal of chicken fingers, pizza, and a comically large sundae. The food alone would make for a memorable Bachelorette date, but then Ivan and Tayshia start bonding over their families and biracial backgrounds.
Ivan opens up about his brother, who was in prison for four years after a struggle with drug addiction, and gets emotional as he describes the pain of seeing his young niece visiting her father and not being able to touch him. He says the experience taught him to never pass judgment. It also made the Black Lives Matter movement this summer especially impactful because of the instances of police brutality his brother had faced while in prison. “It’s changed me as a man,” he says.
When Ivan then asks Tayshia how this summer affected her, she tears up. She describes growing up in Orange County, California, a predominantly white area, being surrounded by people who didn't look like her. She spent her whole life trying to fit in because she felt different. Ivan can relate—he had a similar experience in college—and says he never thought so many people would come together to speak out against racial injustice.
For Tayshia, this conversation is important because she says it's a relief to talk to someone who gets it. I think it matters for Bachelor Nation to see too. Yes, this is an incredibly silly reality show that we come to for a distraction from the real world. But it has an undeniably huge platform—and a history of overlooking and erasing people of color from its narratives. It took too long to get here, but it is important that the show now includes nuanced conversations about Black Lives Matter that ends with: “We’re both biracial...and we have this beautiful love story developing.”
(And yes, Ivan gets a rose.)
After that, it's a huge left turn into the lowbrow side of the Bachelorette. Becca and Sydney are on hand to help Tayshia come up with a series of dares for the guys to do–including chugging gross smoothies with ingredients like cow intestines, convincing Chris Harrison to autograph their butt cheeks, and mimicking an orgasm over the resort loudspeaker. (“Blake's got some demons, dog,” Eazy quips during that last challenge.) The men also eat hot peppers and stage a fake proposal to Tayshia.
“He's got insurance,” Becca jokes at one point about Bennett's suitability, but in this economy that (literally, sob) is indeed a bonus.
That night Tayshia challenges the men with a “truth.” They all open up in different ways—even Bennett, to my surprise—but Zac gets the rose.
A Bachelorette's work is never done, though, because later that evening—like two-in-the-morning late—both Ben and Ed decide separately they're going to surprise her with a visit. Oh no. Through some clever editing, it's not clear who will arrive at her room first…until, oops, Ed accidentally shows up at Chris Harrison's place instead. While those two awkwardly sip on red wine in silence, Ben gets to court Tayshia with strawberries and Champagne.
At the rose ceremony the next night, things seems to be going well—that is, until Noah gets his time with Tayshia. He mentions that the other guys are insinuating she gave him a rose just for the drama. He can totally take the heat, he adds. He's just upset they are discrediting and questioning her decisions. Oh, Noah. I see the game you are playing, you little shit stirrer, and I tip my hat to you.
Tayshia immediately gathers the men to chastise them—she also cancels the rose ceremony. Everyone's annoyed at Noah as a result, so obviously this will be the central drama of next week.
Speaking of which, some of our favorites won't be joining us. At the rose ceremony, Tayshia gave roses to Ben, Eazy, Riley, Brendan, Bennett, Blake, Demar, Spencer, and Ed. (Ivan, Noah, and Zac already had roses.) That means Chasen, Joe, Jordan, and Kenny are out. We'll miss ya!
Originally Appeared on Glamour