SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the October 20 episode of “The Bachelorette.”
Clare Crawley knows what she wants, and she made it known during Week 2 of “The Bachelorette.”
After the first eliminations, 23 men remained to fight for a chance at love with the Season 16 lead. The week was divided into three dates: two group outings and a one-on-one, where all but three were given more quality time with the Bachelorette.
The first outing included nine suitors, but seemingly became an excuse for Clare to spend time with frontrunner Dale Moss. Each man took turns expressing the different love languages and shared words of affirmation and gifts before they shifted to physical touch. Each rotation, Dale moved further ahead in the imaginary leaderboard.
Traditionally after a date, the group reconvenes for an evening cocktail party. Framed in the continued theme of love languages, the men were supposed to use the opportunity to spend quality time with Clare. However, when none of the men initiated a conversation, Clare became visibly upset. “I’m a little bit taken aback. … I’m sitting here, I had made a toast…and then there was the longest awkward silence,” she confronted the group. “I just sat here and was embarrassed. … Does anybody want to spend time with me?”
The challenge caused the men to leap into action, each fighting for a few minutes with her. However, she ultimately rewarded Riley Christian with the group date rose, saving him from potential elimination.
The second date of the week went to Jason Foster, who made an impression on Night 1 after he came out of the limo with a pregnant stomach (Clare debuted in “The Bachelor” franchise when she arrived during night one of Juan Pablo Galavis’ premiere sporting the same pregnant belly). They spent the evening discussing their pasts, and Jason became the second rose recipient of the week.
The final date was the most competitive, as Clare challenged 10 of the men to a dodgeball competition. The group was split in two and the teams faced off in a strip variation of the game, where each round the losing team would remove a piece of clothing. The stakes were especially high, as not only did the losers have to participate in a naked walk of shame back to their rooms, but the winning team had the remainder of the night that they spent with Clare.
The red team left victorious, and Chasen Nick, Jay Smith, Uzoma “Eazy” Nwachukwu, Joe Park and Brandon Goss utilized their extended time with Clare. It worked for Chasen, who was gifted the group date rose, but Brandon’s awkward conversation with Clare felt superficial and inauthentic. She sent him home before the end of the date.
“The thing that is my saving grace is that I know what I’m looking for, and I know what I want,” she told the remaining four men.
Clare wasn’t the only person to go after what she wanted. Blake Moynes was on the losing dodgeball team but interrupted the red team’s cocktail party to show Clare that he cared. “I’m here for you, and I’m going to these uncomfortable places internally to try and show you that. I know I’m going to take a bunch of heat for this, but I don’t really care that much,” he said.
Clare was taken aback, seemingly conflicted about his approach. She eventually thanked him for the initiative but rejected his advance before sending him back to his room. However, the approach proved successful, as the next night Clare immediately pulled him aside during the cocktail party to reward him with a rose.
“I don’t want you to worry,” she told him as she protected him from elimination. “Everything you are doing is so right. … I’m glad you’re here, I want you here.”
Despite her reassurances to Blake, her focus remained steady on Dale for the rest of the evening. During her confessional she said, “With Dale, it’s just that crazy, unexplainable chemistry that when it’s so fresh and so new, it’s like I’ve known him for years. I still can’t put words to it.”
“The Bachelorette” airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.