In case you were hoping that Nick Viall’s return to the Bachelorette franchise wouldn’t be the focus of this week’s episode, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news: The episode kicks off with Nick’s official move-in, during which he asks the guys to respect his reasons for joining the competition. Allow me to present a few choice screenshots, which sum up the other contestants’ feelings on Nick better than words ever could.
Did I mention the guys are unimpressed?
Perhaps most annoyed by Nick’s return — other than Joshua, who will remain bitter about it for (literally) the rest of the episode — is Shawn, whose strong connection with Kaitlyn has seemingly been threatened by Nick’s presence. Shawn takes Kaitlyn aside and tries to convince her that Nick is “full of s—t, like, 110 percent.” But Kaitlyn’s more concerned with Shawn’s sudden cold shoulder: “Can you, like, hold my hand or something?” she begs. (Shawn obliges, but only before telling her that her words and her actions regarding Nick aren’t matching up.)
Am I having a fever dream, or is Kaitlyn actually having a rose ceremony for the first time in weeks?!
Confession: I have no idea who this contestant on the left is. Has he had any screen time… ever?
To absolutely no one’s surprise, Nick receives the last rose of the evening. Anyone got a butter knife handy? I need something that can cut the tension.
One of the highlights of the evening: This nameless old woman, who offers sage advice to Kaitlyn and Ben H. before they enter a two-step dancing contest in San Antonio, Texas. “It’s all about the love, right?” the woman asks before winking at the camera. Something tells me she’s had an exciting life.
Meanwhile, during their romantic dinner together, Kaitlyn somewhat forces Ben to open up about a long-distance relationship that went south a few years ago. Ben is clearly uncomfortable discussing his biggest heartbreak, but it earns him an early rose, so… worth it?
This week’s Utterly Humiliating Group Date asks the guys to dress in traditional mariachi garb and write love songs for Kaitlyn. I have to hand it to the guys this season, though: They really are willing to embarrass themselves if it means winning Kaitlyn’s next makeout session — er, heart.
As if he didn’t already stand out from the rest of the pack, Nick decides to bring Kaitlyn to the balcony for his love song — if you can call his lyrics even remotely romantic. “It gives me such a huge erection,” Nick sings of his connection with Kaitlyn. Classy!
After the mariachi embarrassment is over, Joshua suffers another kind of humiliation: allowing Kaitlyn to give him a “mohawk.” Thanks, faulty hair clippers!
Nick, meanwhile, takes advantage of his alone time with Kaitlyn in a much more effective way. Say what you will about him, but he knows how to make an impression.
Remember how I said Joshua would remain bitter about Nick for the rest of the episode? That comes to a head in the second hour, when Joshua confronts Nick about his relationship with Andi Dorfman (which seems irrelevant), then tells Kaitlyn that not only does he not have a good feeling about Nick, but the rest of the guys share the same opinion. Kaitlyn, not one to avoid confrontation, asks the guys if what Josh says is, in fact, true… and they throw him under the bus faster than you can say “male intuition.”
….And the whole ordeal works out in Nick’s favor in the end, as Kaitlyn offers him the coveted group date rose. I didn’t get a proper screencap of Joshua’s reaction, but just imagine an adorable puppy who just got smacked with a rolled-up newspaper and doesn’t understand why.
Next, Kaitlyn invites Shawn on a one-on-one date and offers us just a taste of how strongly she feels about the guy: “I love his voice. I love his smell. [beat] Ooh, wait, that’s creepy. I’m getting creepy!” Hey, admitting it is the first step.
By the way, if Ben H. is looking for pointers on How to Open Up Emotionally, he can just ask Shawn, who hits Kaitlyn with a heartbreaking story of a car wreck he was in a few years ago, which he truly shouldn’t have survived. (Conveniently, the tale also doubles as a PSA for wearing your seatbelt. Buckle up, folks!)
And, keeping with this season’s theme of introducing a new villain before any rose ceremonies can occur, Ian decides to take on the bad guy role after his ego is bruised from flopping in the mariachi group date. Now that he doesn’t feel he’s impressed Kaitlyn, he needs to get his confidence back — by insulting Kaitlyn in every way he knows how. (“She’s not half as hot as my ex-girlfriend.” Um, OK.)
Unable to understand why Kaitlyn wouldn’t immediately be falling for him — a Princeton grad and ex-model, in case you didn’t hear Ian say it the first 10 times — the new villain decides he doesn’t “find Kaitlyn interesting” anymore, and chooses to tell her as much. “I came here to meet the girl who got her heart broken by Chris Soules, not the girl who wanted to get her field plowed. You’re here to make out with a bunch of dudes on TV.” This week’s installment ends shortly after Ian calls Kaitlyn shallow, but this episode-ending reaction from our Bachelorette should adequately reflect all of our facial expressions at home.