155358_5025

In this episode of "The Bachelorette," 10 men compete in a revealing game of dodgeball.

This week on “The Bachelorette,” group dates kick off and Clare continues to ignore almost everyone except Dale. It’s obvious producers had to get creative filming all the dates on the resort property, but every date this week falls flat in terms of entertainment value.

Clare starts her morning off gushing about Dale, saying she invited him on the first group date because she just couldn’t wait to see him again. About half the men gear up for the event, a love-language-themed date where Clare’s looking for “a guy who speaks to my heart.” 

They arrive on the set of what looks like a high school theatrical production of “Romeo and Juliet,” with Clare standing in a fake stone tower as each of the men profess their feelings for her through words of affirmation. Once again, Dale says absolutely nothing of substance — he says, “I am who I am, and I’m here,” — yet leaves Clare visibly enthralled.

Next came gifts — Dale gives Clare a ridiculous perfume for dogs — followed by personal touch, which felt borderline inappropriate for primetime television. During this date the other men begin to pick up on Clare’s overt favoritism.

The post-date cocktail party rolls around and it’s time for the men to spend some quality time with Clare. Shockingly, nobody makes a move to pull her aside, and after a few seconds of awkward silence, Clare says, “Don’t everybody jump at once.” Bennett finally steps up, but Clare’s so upset that she ditches him to confront the group, asking if they even want to spend time with her.

Dale apologizes, but Yosef chimes in telling Clare she’s “crazy” for thinking they didn’t come on the show for her — confirming last week’s suspicion that he’ll be the season’s villain. In a shocking twist, Riley gets the group date rose for his slow dancing moves during their one-on-one time, leading some fans to believe the producers are prompting Clare to make her favoritism less obvious.

Jason gets the one-on-one date this week, and Clare whisks him out to a desert campfire setting, where she asks him to air all of his demons on national television — because that seems like appropriate first date material. They then write people’s negative perceptions about them on tiles and smash them to pieces and read deeply personal letters they wrote to their younger selves.

The date concludes with Clare throwing the dress she wore when she was denied a proposal on Juan Pablo Galavis’ season of “The Bachelor” into the fire, followed by a rose for Jason.

Another group date rolls around, and this time it’s dodgeball. Regular dodgeball would be too boring, so Clare announces that the game will be “strip dodgeball,” with the winning team earning more time with her.

Chris Harrison makes many, many inappropriate puns, like telling Clare she should be looking for a guy who has “ball control,” and the blue team ultimately loses. They’re forced to strip down completely — and if that wasn’t embarrassing enough, they’re sent home without their pants.

Fans on Twitter voiced their discomfort and even denounced the date, noting a double standard and that there’d be outrage if this were a date planned for “The Bachelor.” 

Blake Moynes begins to spiral after going home with the losing team, taking matters into his own hands as he interrupts the red team’s after party to ask Clare for reassurance. She denies his kiss attempt and even asks him to leave after the red team shows up in angry-mob form like a scene straight out of “West Side Story.”

Arguably the most cringy moment of the episode comes during Brandon’s sit-down with Clare. He remarks that when he heard she was the Bachelorette, he knew he had to apply. Clare asks him what he likes about her, and all he can say is that she’s attractive. 

Clare pushes him to elaborate, and Brandon begs, “Can we not talk about this?” Shocked at this remark, Clare sends him packing.

The rose ceremony doesn’t happen due to time constraints, but Clare ends up giving Blake Moynes a pre-ceremony rose. Yosef is set to cause more trouble next week, airing his grievances regarding the strip dodgeball date.

After an underwhelming episode, the true entertainment came from this week’s credit-reel blooper, in which Bennett invites Demar into his suite, “Chateau Bennet,” for a day of relaxation involving green juice and sheet masks. 

Bennett seems to be the comedic relief this season, and that may be just what fans need to get through more Dale drama in the weeks to come.

Contact Amy Needham at needhaal@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter and Instagram @Breeze_Culture.