It appears to be the beginning of the end of Clare’s journey this week on “The Bachelorette” as the other men can’t seem to catch up to front-runner Dale.
The drama unfolded unusually quick with the scene ABC has been teasing all season. Yosef — as predicted — confronts Clare about her “immaturity” during the strip dodgeball date that he wasn’t on, resulting in a screaming match.
Yosef says he’s ashamed to be associated with Clare and that he “expected more from the oldest Bachelorette.” This prompts Clare to recycle part of her Juan Pablo breakup monologue, saying, “I would never want my children to have a father like you. Get out of here.” Exit Yosef.
Cue Dale, swooping in to console Clare by advising her to “focus on what matters and who matters.”
In tears, Clare sits down with Chris Harrison and says she’s quickly falling in love with Dale — in record time before the second rose ceremony.
The rose ceremony comes and goes, and three men who are only vaguely recognizable take their leave.
The next morning, Clare receives a visit from former Bachelorette DeAnna Stagliano. DeAnna reveals she felt love at first sight for her now-husband when they first met, and Clare weirdly reveals that she sleeps with a pair of Dale’s pants so she can smell him.
Still rattled from the night before, she cancels the first group date in favor of a low-key cocktail party. The theme of the night is “quality time” with the men, but it seems Clare only has eyes for one man.
Dale kicks off the date with an odd speech about how he’d like to speak to Clare first, even for a short amount of time, but he doesn’t want to step on any toes. Then, he whisks her away to her suite — but not before initiating a painfully awkward group hug.
The rest of the night’s filled with aggressive attempts by the other men to get Clare’s attention, but they all fail miserably as Dale interrupts almost everyone’s conversation with her. Clare’s even heard asking producers if they could “hurry the rest along,” indicating she only wants to spend time with Dale.
The men confront Dale about owning up to his ample time with Clare, to which he says he was “dazed and confused” and makes up a halfhearted excuse for his actions. Then, he proceeds to tell the men that he thinks he’s the best man suited to comfort Clare, and it becomes obvious producers are giving him the villain edit.
The one-on-one date this week is a spa day with Zach J., who conveniently isn’t able to relax and laughs through his first pedicure. A botched kiss attempt ensues, and Clare becomes uncomfortable when Zach grabs her arm and tries to keep her from leaving.
Clare leaves him at the dinner table alone and sends Chris Harrison to advise him that he’ll be going home.
The second group date is a roast, featuring comedian Margaret Cho as their mentor. The remaining men who aren’t on the date are in the audience, and though Dale isn’t participating in the roast, he becomes the target of all the jokes.
Bennett throws some particularly hostile jokes at Dale, which land with the rest of the men but flounder with Clare. After becoming a fan favorite from his blooper reel in week 2, fans on Twitter are concerned his jokes might earn him a ticket home next week.
At the post-date cocktail party, Clare grills the men on why they targeted Dale. Some bring up Dale’s statement about being the “best suited” for her, but most remain tight-lipped. Feeling like she didn’t get what she needed from the date, she declines to give out a rose and instead gives it to herself for “showing up” — her catchphrase of the season.
“I really don’t think I can sit there and go, ‘You dished on my fiance so hard,’” Clare tells a producer.
Whether using the word “fiance” to describe Dale was a slip up or intentional, Clare’s made it crystal clear who she wants. And this sets the stage for the biggest twist in Bachelorette history next Thursday.
Enter Tayshia Adams.
Contact Amy Needham at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter and Instagram @Breeze_Culture.