Welcome to the most chaotic season of The Bachelorette, which now includes... JoJo Fletcher? It’s Week 8 in Tayshia Adams’s (formerly Clare Crawley’s) season, and Chris Harrison is taking leave to drop his son off at college. (During a pandemic? I have more questions.) JoJo shows up to gossip with Tayshia and to intimidate the contestants, temporarily filling in for Harrison and illuminating that he really isn’t necessary. Retire, bitch! Anyway, before Harrison leaves, he informs the remaining men that there are three dates this week: two one-on-ones and one group date, and they really need to step up their game.
The first one-on-one goes to Zac C., a frontrunner for some unknown reason—I maintain it is only because he sort of looks like Nick Viall. Their date is a “fantasy wedding day” photoshoot, where he rocks a tuxedo and she wears a slinky gown with sheer, lace detailing. It’s awkward as hell. She’s uncomfortable because she’s been married before! He’s uncomfortable because it is a weird-ass date! As time goes on, the looks become goofier and more gauche—cupcake dresses covering most of the circumference of a trampoline, vintage Vegas looks sequined to the high heavens. At dinner, Zac tells Tayshia about his past addiction, which caused the dissolution of his marriage. She nods understandingly and offers him the rose; they celebrate by riding a country fair-sized ferris wheel.
Next up: the group date. The guys are tasked with doing charcoal drawings of nude models and clay work while wearing blindfolds. Bennett uses it as an opportunity to kiss Tayshia; Noah uses Bennett’s art as an opportunity to diss him. The date concludes with every guy creating a self-portrait. It, like most of the dates this covid-plagued season, is both painfully earnest and cringe-worthy, like a freshman English major revealing too much in workshop. Ben literally gets naked for his “self-portrait,” which makes Tayshia cry and run away. She returns to thank them for their vulnerability, and the bar is on the fucking ground. Instead of selecting a winner, Tayshia asks all the men to spend time with her post-date. Noah and Bennett use the time to bicker. Ben tells Tayshia he had an eating disorder, bulimia, for 10 years. His eyes start to water, she kisses him, and soon after, gives him the rose. But before she leaves, she calls out Noah and Bennett—“there’s something going on between you two, and I’m going to get to the bottom of it.”
The following day, Eazy’s scored the second one-on-one. He wants it to be romantic, she... takes him ghost hunting at the La Quinta resort they’re quarantined at? Anyway, it looks fun as hell, because they’re both terrified and cracking up. At dinner, Eazy tells Tayshia he’s falling in love with her, and she tells him that she can’t give him the rose, because she’s not where he’s at. That’s a huge fucking bummer, because they were so clearly having a great time hours ago. Like, the most fun she’s had all season? What is going on? He cries in the cab home; she seems mostly unaffected.
Night falls; day breaks. JoJo greets the guys and tells them that Tayshia cannot continue on with the cocktail party until the Noah vs. Bennett drama is resolved—she wants to see them both, ASAP, and only one will stay. Before Tayshia appears, Bennett brings Noah a bunch of weird gifts in a polka dot box, including a book on emotional intelligence, a red bandana, and mustache socks. When Tayshia does emerge, she’s disappointed and frustrated with both of them. Before the episode ends, she notices the gift on the table. And... that’s it. Until next week. Do these episodes really need to be two hours long?