It's that time in the "Bachelorette" season — the "shocking," "awful" reveal that one of the guys has a girlfriend.
Seriously, we could set our watches by how events unfold in this show. Of course this happens the week after Desiree and the men film that hilariously bad "Right Reasons" rap song. Oh, the delicious, producer-manipulated irony!
Pretty much every season of "The Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" has featured the discovery of a significant other back home. (It's even in this Buzzfeed drinking game.) But gotta hand it to the producers — they've really upped the ante this time. The confrontation between Brian and his girlfriend/not girlfriend Stephanie was entertaining as hell.
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Sure, this is a show about finding love, but let's face it — it's also about breaking hearts. Bring on the meltdowns (and more drinks!).
Having a ball
Ten guys are picked for the first of two group dates, which is a dodgeball competition! Bring. It. On. Love the tiny shorts the men have to wear!
They split into two teams of five, and unlike previous challenge-centered "Bachelorette" dates, both sides get to move on to evening cocktails.
The blue team — Ben, Drew, Zack K, Brad, and Brian — ends up winning, though there is a sad casualty on the red side when Brooks of the Long-Flowing Hair breaks his finger. Take good care of that mane, EMTs!
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At the party, various guys get alone time with Des. Brad reveals he has a 3-year-old son, but Chris manages to steal her away to the romantically-lit heliport, where he charms her with his kinda-shy flirting. Then Brooks makes his grand re-entrance (he seems a little woozy on painkillers), and Des rewards him with a bunch of kisses.
But the real reward, the rose, goes to Chris! Nice guys do finish first, sometimes. Des takes him down to a private concert by Kate Earl and the two dance and kiss to the music.
A phone call from Chris Harrison is never a good thing on "The Bachelorette." The host informs Desiree that one of the guys has a girlfriend — it's Brian!
She immediately drives over to the guy's house to confront him. Guess who also shows up? Yup, the girlfriend in question. Her name is Stephanie, and worst of all, she has a son! And man — she starts going after him like nobody's business.
Brian tries to argue that Stephanie isn't really his girlfriend and that they were broken up. "Don't sit here and lie on national television," she screams/sobs. "You're a coward."
Des awkwardly tries to comfort her. Chris Harrison angrily demands what Brian was thinking. When Brian finally admits that he slept with Stephanie two nights before filming began, Chris orders him out of the house. A burly producer escorts him inside to pack, then puts him into the White Van of Shame. Bye, bye, Brian.
Of course, the rest of the guys' eyes are bugging out. Poor Kasey, who has a 1:1 with Des that day! Especially cut up about the whole situation is Brandon, who grew up with a single mom and had to deal with losing father figures from his life. Awwww … Brandon needs a hug.
So does Des. It doesn't seem like she had strong feelings for Brian anyway, but still — the confrontation has shaken her up. Their date activity, "window dancing" at the Andaz Hotel, doesn't help; neither does a brutal Santa Ana wind storm during the dinner part of their date. They end their date sitting in a stairwell, poor things.
"It doesn't have to be perfect. I just like being with you," Kasey soothes. It's the perfect thing to say, and Des gives him a rose.
Go West, young men
The second group date takes Dan, James, Juan Pablo, Bryden, and Zak W. to a cowboy boot camp, though it's really all a giant promo for "The Lone Ranger" (which is a Disney movie, and Disney owns ABC).
The movie's stunt team teaches the guys how to rope, quick-draw a gun, and all sorts of other cowboy stuff. The best performer of the bunch is Juan Pablo, who gets to watch "The Lone Ranger" with Desiree all by himself.
At a campfire party in the evening, Des makes time for each of the guys. First up is Bryden, who still can't seem to put the moves on the girl. Sigh — you're sitting in a tree. What do you do in a tree, Bryden? K-I-S-S-I-N-G.
But the man she really connects with is James, who turns out to be a total teddy bear underneath that muscle-y surface! He melts Desiree's heart by asking if he's someone she can see herself with. So, she gives him the date rose to boost his confidence.
After all the drama that week, Des decides to cancel the cocktail party — and replace it with a pool party. Honestly, if we were around all those hunky guys, we'd do that every week.
Ben, the "I'm not here to make friends" villain of the season, stakes out the front door and runs outside as soon as Desiree pulls up. They go on a little drive together, where Ben once again brings up the fact that he's a dad. You know, we're starting to agree with the other guys — Ben just seems kind of shady.
The Mikes (Michael G. and Mikey T) spy him in her car on their return and know Ben's been up to no good. Then, he just flat-out lies to their faces about getting alone time with Des. Once again, the Mikes confront him, but Ben refuses to apologize.
"It's called 'The Bachelorette' for a reason. It's not called 'Let's Make Friends,'" Ben shrugs.
Meanwhile, Des is trying to talk to some of the guys she hasn't had much time with, like Brandon, who opens up to her about his troubled feelings over the Brian/girlfriend situation. First, he promises never to hurt Des, then admits that he's falling in love with her! Uh, too soon, man. Way too soon. We can see the panic in Desiree's eyes.
The Rose Ceremony
Three guys already have roses: Chris, Kasey, and James. They're safe.
Des starts handing out roses and gives them to: Bryden, Juan Pablo, Zak W., Brooks, Drew, Zack K., Brad, Michael G., Mikey, and … Ben!
The Mikes roll their eyes. Dan, who didn't get a rose, seems mildly disappointed. But heartbroken? Brandon. He tells Des she is making a "huge mistake."
Des is stricken and even runs after him to talk. She tells him that he's a great guy, but the chemistry isn't there. And she didn't want to keep him around and prolong the agony.
A really pitiful-looking Brandon walks away from the house. "Once again, someone left me," he says. "I can't even cry. I'm just out of tears."
Seriously, someone give this guy a hug!
Check out Twitter reactions to the episode, then sound off in the comments below!
Yes, I'll take a Juan Pablo with a side of ummm...Juan Pablo please! #bachelorette— Sarah Crete (@SareCrete) June 11, 2013
Watch the full episode:
"The Bachelorette" airs Mondays at 8 PM on ABC.