Oh dear. The Bachelor would like to thank you for sharing your vulnerabilities. Vulnerability is extremely important in a relationship. Unfortunately, your vulnerabilities also sounded a teeny bit like criticism, and The Bachelor does not appreciate that. He’s looking for his person, not a nag. Due to this issue, The Bachelor regrets that he has to ask you to leave. He wishes you all the best on your future endeavors.
Yikes. It makes sense that Zach’s ultimate compliment is saying how “easy” it is to be with someone. The second someone is anything other than easy, his brain starts to short circuit and he sends her on her way. Let’s get into it.
We’re in Estonia! This country is eastern European and cold and that’s about all we know. The girls say they feel like they’re in Frozen because no one wants to remark that they’re currently bordering Russia. Zach joins Jesse in a coffee shop to debrief after the lost COVID week. “You’re out!” Jesse greets him, like he just finished doing hard time at Rikers. He informs Zach that Greer is unfortunately a little under the weather so she will be isolating this week, and Zach seems totally unbothered by this information. He runs through how he’s feeling about each of the girls, and his favorites (Kaity and Kat) have never been more clear. He does not even mention Greer.
The women gather in the hotel to read the date card, which is for Charity! They’re going to “make up for lost time” after their date was cancelled in London. Zach swings by to pick her up, but before they leave, Kat asks if she can “steal him for a sec.” She takes him out in the hallway to tell him she missed him and do some light making out. Zach calls this taking initiative, but Charity is thrown and the other girls—particularly Brooklyn—are pissed. Once they’re gone, Brooklyn tells Kat she was being classless, and Kat says she feels attacked for simply taking her moment. Obviously this conflict will fuel the rest of the episode.
Charity and Zach explore the city in a horse-drawn carriage, trying marzipan, buying roasted almonds from a woman who looks transported from the Middle Ages, and stumbling upon a supposedly authentic Estonian competition called “wife carrying.” What does this mean? Zach throws Charity over his shoulder and has to race through an obstacle course while she hangs there with his ass in her face. He takes it pretty seriously, and it does not look like a good time. Jesse watches from the crowd, sipping a cup of coffee, and has no lines. Later they kiss in the town square as the camera circles them and Zach says, “Wow.”
Nothing interesting happens during their dinner date. Charity shares she was in emotionally abusive relationship with “several instances of infidelity” (just say he cheated on you, we don’t need the technical term) and Zach thanks her for sharing. “There’s something between us,” he says. “You’re pretty awesome.” Thank you for that very sterile verbal affirmation, Zach. She gets the rose, but the whole thing feels underdeveloped, and I predict Charity has one week—two max—left with us.
Meanwhile, back at the hotel, Brooklyn will not let the issue of Kat stealing Zach die. “Girl, you want some harsh words, give me a second,” she says in her confessional. “If the shoe fits, lace that bitch up!” she declares later. Did the producers just wind her up and ask her to spit out some zingers? The group date card comes, and everyone holds their breath as we wait to see who will get the final one-on-one, Jess or Ariel? If you’ve seen even one preview, you know it goes to Ariel, and Jess immediately starts to melt down. “What does it say that I’m the only one who hasn’t gotten one?” Gabi tries to comfort her by telling her she’s not the only one; Greer also hasn’t gotten one. “GREER ISN’T HERE, GREER HAS COVID!” Jess howls like a wounded animal.
Needless to say, the vibes are bad on the group date. Kat and Brooklyn are glaring daggers at each other; Jess is quivering with anxiety; and the whole set-up is that they’re meeting with an Estonian witch. They hold hands and walk around a fire; they sage each other. (“There is not enough sage in the world to cleanse Kat,” Brooklyn mutters.) Each woman has to hold a candle with Zach and stare into his eyes through the flame. When it’s Jess’s turn, the wind blows her flame out. Kudos to the producers for that one.
It all comes to a head that evening. Jess shares with the other women that she’s coming down from a panic attack and they all look at each other nervously. When Zach enters the room, he pulls Kaity first, because of course he does. She says all the right things—“Every move you make is intentional” and “Where have you been all my life?”—and he eats it up. He tells Gabi he missed her and she’s one of his strongest connections. When he’s into someone, he does not hold back the validation.
And then he pulls Jess.
Now, could this girl have been a little less uptight about not getting a one-on-one? Sure. This is the structure of the show, and someone has to go last. But when she raises to Zach that she’s feeling insecure because she hasn’t had time to build their connection in a natural way by spending a whole day together, he basically tells her the one-on-one time is irrelevant.
Truly, the conversation begins with him telling her he feels strongly about their connection, and it ends with him telling her he’s not confident he can pursue a relationship with her and walking her out. “We were just butting heads,” he says once she’s in the car. I have to wonder who told this man you’ll never butt heads with your spouse. Marriage is a lot of butting heads, my dude. I wish Zach a lifetime of happiness escorting his wife to a black car every time she disagrees with him.
Zach is so shaken by this sudden turn of events that he does not give out a group-date rose, but he’s ready for a fresh start the following morning when Ariel joins him at a nudist spa. They are, thankfully, in swimsuits and approach the whole thing with a joint sense of humor. Over a meal (lunch?) she talks about using humor as a shield and shares a fear of losing herself. They actually seem to connect, and Zach compares her to how Sean Lowe described Catherine to start the season. This is actually a good comp! Catherine was a total dark hose who came out of nowhere later in the season, and Ariel definitely fills that role. He calls their day together a surprise and tells her, “You might be the best surprise yet.” Let’s keep an eye on Ariel; she could be a serious contender.
It’s time for the cocktail party. Zach shows up in a coat and these women are in sleeveless dresses! Let them wear little sweaters at least. Before he hands out roses, the drama continues to swirl around Kat and Brooklyn. Charity pulls Kat aside to talk about what happened, since she is the actual aggrieved person here, and they seem to be having a normal chat when Brooklyn comes to insert herself into this conflict. Honey, your Paradise spot is a lock, you can give it a rest! Kat, understanding the only way for her to win is to refuse to play (War Games) leaves the room in a huff. Ariel and Gabi, our unproblematic faves, decide against getting involved. “I do not think that would be in our best interest,” Gabi says wisely. Make this woman The Bachelorette.
Zach had sensed the tension on the group date, but when he gives Kat the opportunity to rat Brooklyn out, she doesn’t take it. She tells him it’s been a challenging week, and he seems irritated. I’m telling you, if you aren’t constantly gassing this man up, he will show you the door.
Roses go to Gabi, Kaity, Brooklyn, and Kat, meaning Aly gets our first “let me walk you out” of the season. Bye, Aly! I hope skydiving was on your bucket list so this whole thing wasn’t a total waste of time. The Greer situation is left totally unaddressed, but the previews promise she will resurface in Budapest (presumably only to be immediately eliminated).
- When Zach first comes to the hotel, he tells the women, “Today was my first day out of quarantine.” Wait what? You just emerged from your London hotel room for the first time, hopped on a plane, and showed up here for a date all today?
- Jess is the only one wearing a hat to the outdoor witchcraft date, even though everyone keeps talking about how cold it is. As someone whose ears hurt when the temps dip below 50 degrees, I find this disturbing.
- Jess in her exit interview: “All I needed was quality time, and he wasn’t processing that.” It does truly baffle.
- When Zach called that the older couple joining them naked in the sauna traumatic, I felt that was a little much. But sharing a hot tub with another naked couple while they make out is going to be a hard no from me.
- “I’m really tired of being alone,” Ariel says tearfully at the end of her date. “I’ve been alone for so long.” HOW LONG? You’re 28 years old!