By the end of “The Bachelorette” last night, Clare referred to Dale as her fiance.
The other guys?
Background extras in the story of their romance.
And they know it.
We return to the cocktail party, where Yosef, this season’s villain, continues to get angry about a date he wasn’t even on.
He confronts Clare about the strip dodgeball game and calls it an atrocity.
I dunno. An atrocity is this country’s response to the COVID pandemic. Or how Republicans rushed through a Supreme Court nominee but recessed without finding relief for struggling Americans. Or President Bunker Bitch gassing peaceful protesters outside a church.
But strip dodgeball?
“I expected a lot more from the oldest Bachelorette that’s ever been,” he says.
Clare starts empathetic but grows defiant as he rants that she’s setting a bad example for his daughter and that he’s ashamed to be associated with her.
His time is done, but Yosef doesn’t go quietly into that good night.
“Remember you’re almost 40!” he shouts.
Yosef is an asshole.
Then, just like a miracle, or most likely a prompt from a production assistant, Dale is there to swoop Clare into his arms for a reassuring hug.
Sure. All those other guys are outside, furious at the way Yosef is going off, but Dale suddenly appears out of nowhere like the Batman?
Veteran Bachelorette DeAnna Pappas visits Clare the next day, and Clare pulls out Dale’s pants, takes a big sniff, and passes them to DeAnna for a whiff.
“He smells really nice,” she says.
Clare reveals Dale ripped them the other day, and she demanded he give them to her as a gift.
Clare even regals DeAnna with a look at how she slept with them on her head.
Dale monopolizes Clare during the group date, angering the other men.
She leads him on a tour of her suite and stops and has him sit on her bed. Oh, Clare!
“Why are you so perfect?” she grins.
They make out forever.
Dale even returns for sloppy seconds later that night, pretending he got mixed up and just happened to return to her room.
Nobody buys it.
Zach J. wins the single date, but I don’t even want to snark about this. It goes horribly wrong in that way that reminds you how much dating just sucks, period.
It’s a spa day. Zach is excited, but ticklish, and just grateful to be with Clare. Clare keeps dreaming about Dale.
Later, at the pool, Clare goes in for a kiss – and stops.
It’s like every cloud around that planet just passed right over that pool.
She tries to run away. Zach, confused, grabs her.
“No. Why did you stop? I was right there. Why did you stop? What happened?”
He tries to kiss her, but she’s over it. She’s not having it.
To the camera, she says she was devastated when Zach pulled away from her and then grabbed her, and it just triggered all her old traumas, and she doesn’t want to talk about it, there’s no point.
From the perspective ABC showed, Zach didn’t pull away. There was no rejection. He was letting Clare come in for the kiss.
Clare cries with her dogs.
Chris Harrison, the Very Last Person you ever want to see on a date, shows up at the dinner to send Zach home.
Comedian Margaret Cho is there to lead another group date in a roast.
The guys all roast Dale.
Clare is not amused.
“Hate on! But you can’t hate on love!” Clare tells the camera.
Later, she grills each guy in turn about why they picked on her poor Care Bear.
She refuses to hand out a rose, telling them she didn’t get what she wanted from them that evening.
Like what? Wedding plans for her and Dale?
They “dished on my fiance so hard,” she tells a production assistant.
The men are left more convinced they are wasting their time.
Next week: Clare blows up “The Bachelorette”! But wait! Rising from the waters like a beautiful mermaid is a new woman who will begin her own epic journey. Something like that.