Dale is still Clare’s favorite, but this week the fans got to see more of the suitors!
In this episode, Jordan, Yosef, Ivan, Ben, Bennet, Zac C, Zac J, and Dale were the first men to be selected for a group date. Clare wrote in the envelope that she was looking for someone to speak to her heart, and all the men delivered.
Perhaps the spiciest part of the first group date was when the men explored the love language of physical touch, but blindfolded to add more suspense and added sex appeal. However, things turned sour at the cocktail party. Clare showed up in a stunning blue dress and addressed the group, but soon felt upset when no men jumped at the chance to whisk her away. Bennet did step up to the plate, but Clare ended the moment when she felt distracted by the disrespect shown by the group that evening.
After taking a breath and clearing her head, she addressed the group and aired out her concerns. Some men apologized and the night turned around, but not before her main man Dale swept in and saved the day. She also enjoyed an intimate moment with Riley, dancing and exchanging kisses, which allowed him to sweep the impression rose at the cocktail party.
Next, she asked Jason to write a letter to his younger self. He has admitted that he has feelings for Clare, but he says he doesn’t feel comfortable with completely letting his guard down. Jason admits that he feels his parents shouldn’t be together even though they have been together 35 years and this has impacted his romantic life. He wants to put his past relationships behind him and do better with Clare, starting fresh. The pair shares some champagne and, in a dramatic moment, Clare pulls out the dress she wore when she was sent home from the Bachelor and they decide to burn it.
The most controversial aspect of the show was the strip dodgeball date, which was met with intense criticism on social media. The concept was incredibly objectifying of the men and led many fans to call out the hypocrisy of the producers- if this was done on the Bachelor, there would be calls to get the show off the air. After each round, the losing team was asked to remove an article of clothing.
It appeared the men were uncomfortable with this, and not everyone there consented. The blue team had to walk home without their clothing and were disgruntled when they showed up at the house complaining that they spent no time with Clare. The red team, who won, got a cocktail party with Clare where they got some quality time with Clare. However, things didn’t go according to plan when Blake showed up at the cocktail party. He felt upset about never getting to spend time with Clare and felt humiliated by the dodgeball date. To avoid even more drama, Clare sent him away. The following night, she pulled him aside to talk things over and even gave him a rose because she admires his bravery and courage.
Chasen won the group date rose at the party after the dodgeball game. At the same party, Brandon got sent home for saying that he was only on the show because he thought Clare was pretty but didn’t know her personally. Clare took offense to this and wanted to be complimented for her brains, drive, or ambition, rather than be judged on something as subjective and shallow as her looks.
Before the rose ceremony, Clare and Dale shared another one of many intimate moments where she interrupted him to pull him in for a kiss. She says she felt that she’s known Dale for years. Clare pulled out a blindfold she stole from the date at the beginning of the week and said they “weren’t finished”. She put her hands all over his body and the credits began rolling, leaving fans with a huge cliff hanger.
Previews for next week show Yosef yelling at Clare saying that “he expected more from the oldest bachelorette”, prompting speculation that Clare and Dale may have gotten even more intimate, weeks before Fantasy Suites. There is so much anticipation for next week already- will the rumors be confirmed about Clare leaving early, possibly with Dale? Will we all be thrown for a loop and learn that she is sticking around for the long haul with the men who are left? Chris Harrison was right- this really is the most dramatic season already!
Need to catch up? Watch the Bachelorette live every Tuesday at 8/7c or catch it the next day on Hulu!