SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the Dec. 14 episode of “The Bachelorette.”
Last week’s episode brought Bennett Jordan back into the pool of Tayshia Adams’ contestants. This week, another man returned: host Chris Harrison.
After leaving the property to help move his son to college, Chris returned to offer Tayshia some advice going into the week. They discussed the process of narrowing her remaining seven (eight with the returned Bennett) down to four leading into hometowns. “The honeymoon phase, if you will, is kind of over at this point,” Tayshia told him. “I started to really put my future into perspective.”
Blake Moynes’ relationship was the first to be considered, as the two-headed to their first one-on-one date. Blake — who had originally fallen hard for the season’s first Bachelorette, Clare Crawley — had asked Tayshia for patience as he navigated those feelings. Since then, their relationship had been slow-moving as they developed a “late connection.” They spent their afternoon with a crystal master to review their chakras and “seek answers,” but it was ultimately too little, too late.
“It’ll [their connection] get there, I don’t have any doubt – none whatsoever,” he told her. “It just needs to have more time.”
But with hometowns on the horizon, Tayshia didn’t think their relationship could make up the lost ground. She said an emotional goodbye to Blake, dropping to her knees in tears as he drove away. She discussed how hard it was to send Blake home and how it gave her “clarity” of what she needed to do next.
She immediately headed to the contestant housing, where she was greeted by her remaining six. She was still emotional in her delivery, as she sat on the couch in tears trying to get her words out. “You guys, I’m really trying…. This is really hard. I don’t know what I’m doing,” she cried. She composed herself long enough to ask Riley Christian to talk outside.
She spent the bulk of their conversation complimenting him as a man – his growth during the journey, his willingness to be vulnerable and how comfortable he made her feel, but told him “I don’t want to lead you on.” Blindsided, he pushed back on why she would have kept him around so long before accepting his elimination: “I can argue all day, but in the end, it doesn’t matter because the end result is the same.”
The remaining group headed into the rose ceremony the next day without a cocktail party. Bennett finally reappeared to the other men (he had been separated since his return), but didn’t stay for long as neither he nor Noah Erb received a rose. Ben Smith, Ivan Hall, Zac Clark and Brendan Morais advanced to Tayshia’s final four.
At the half-way point of the episode, the focus shifted to the Men Tell All. The Men Tell All is traditionally hosted as a full episode, with the entire cast and in front of a live studio audience. This time, only nine men returned to recap their season while socially-distanced in Pennsylvania (where Matt James’ season 25 of The Bachelor is being filmed). Bennett, Noah, Blake, Riley, Jason Foster, Demar Jackson, Kenny Braasch and Ed Waisbrot returned from Tayshia’s men and Yousef Aborady – who infamously left after a screaming match with Clare – returned from the Clare era. Neither Clare nor her fiancé Dale Moss appeared during the broadcast.
With the smaller cast, there was less drama to recap than in past seasons. Ed spent his screen time bashing fellow contestant Chasen Nick (who was not present to defend himself), Noah and Bennett reignited their feud and Tayshia was able to confront the men she sent home.
But before Tayshia was introduced, Yousef arrived to defend his actions after making a scene during his last night. A clip reminded viewers that he had called Clare “classless” and that he “expected more from the oldest Bachelorette” before storming out. His outburst caused mass responses online, many angry that he used his daughter as a justification for his behavior.
Yousef stood firm in his behavior, claiming he had “no regrets” and that everything he said was “factually accurate.” His lack of remorse elicited strong responses from the men, several taking turns to call out his “shameful” behavior.
“So just so we’re clear – when you watch that [clip], you’re like ‘That’s cool. I would never mind anyone talking to my daughter like that,’” Chris Harrison challenged him.
“If my daughter did something like that, I would hope someone would call her out,” Yousef said.
“I rarely do this. But I want to try and help you, help yourself,” Chris told him. “I’ve seen a lot of crazy stuff in 20 years. But that was really not a good look. The way it escalated, the way you spoke. But what I would love it if you could just see that, and just be like ‘You know what? I do see that, and Clare – for that, I’m sorry.’”
Yousef stayed firm that he would not apologize.
Afterward, it was Tayshia’s turn to confront the men, having to address the suitors she had sent home. She talked about her journey – how she found out that she would be taking on the role of Bachelorette – and the whirlwind that followed. She spoke to Bennet, Blake and Riley about their goodbyes, each time emphasizing that it was only because there were other relationships that were stronger.
While the men – particularly Riley – were emotional when confronting Tayshia, they all ultimately ended on good terms. The good terms were followed by the lighthearted bloopers, which took the episode to a close.
“The Bachelorette” airs Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ABC.